Friday, June 14, 2013

A Wrigley Marathon

The Cubs won 6-5 yesterday in 14 innings.

I was there with my son Sean. It was my first time this year, and my first time checking out my brand new seats (about 13 rows behind first base dugout). It was a beautiful day. We were sitting in the sun. Sean got an autograph from a Reds player (Bronson Arroyo). The Cubs won.

And yet, 14 innings of Cubs baseball (something like 500 pitches) is a bit too much even for me.

Even for Sean.

How long is it going to take before we get a team worth watching?

Rupert Files For Divorce...Again

Remember when Rupert had to testify to Parliament about the slimy way his newspapers were bribing officials and hacking phones? A protestor hit Rupert with a shaving cream pie that day. The moment was noteworthy because Rupert's much younger wife Wendy nearly lept across the table to protect her man.

Now he's dumping her, as he dumped his two previous wives.

Full details in Rupert's own Wall Street Journal.

You're Really Not Paranoid

I've been getting a kick out of the Daily Show's bits this week about NSA spying. They are calling the segment--The Good News Is: You're Really Not Paranoid.

Of course my beat is the media business, and I know that I sometimes come off sounding a bit paranoid about the people who run that business. For instance, I wonder why the annual meeting of the media moguls in Idaho is off-the-record and notoriously secretive. I point out the monopolistic urges of the old media giants, and the new whippersnappers coming onto the scene. Sometimes when I write these things, I think I must be paranoid, because I look around and it seems that precious few people even care.

And then, I read this today from the court case regarding the fixing of e-book prices...

A high-level Apple executive admitted his company's deal with publishers caused some e-book prices to rise, giving weight to the government's accusation that Apple's machinations hurt consumers. Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, who took the stand Thursday in district court in lower Manhattan, also said Apple considered splitting the market with Amazon in a setup where Apple would control the music market, while Amazon would monopolize books.

Emphasis added by me. Just read that sentence again.

The good news is, I'm really not paranoid.

CNET has the full story

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Andrew Shaw was Mic'd on His Gamewinner

You can see/hear the video at Deadspin. It's pretty cool.

A Free Excerpt from "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" (A story about Bill Bailey--RIP)

Former WLS disc jockey Bill Bailey passed away yesterday. Tom Taylor's NOW column reported the news this way...

Bill Bailey made it to “the bigs” while he was young – Chicago’s “Big 89” WLS (he was the second Bill Bailey there), Detroit’s WDRQ, and two stations in Washington D.C. (WKYS and then-Xtra 104 WXTR). Later in his career, he worked in Grand Rapids as the PD/afternoon jock at WLHT before his most recent gig doing wakeups on Grand Valley State University’s oldies WGVS/WGVU (850/1480). WZZM television reports that Bill “died of an apparent heart attack on the 17th tee at the Meadows golf court in Allendale” – and yes, he was participating in a station-sponsored golf event. Chicago native Bill Bailey won a Marconi in 1998. How did he break into the business? Trying out radio at what was then called Armed Forces Radio (now American Forces Network), during the Vietnam War.

John Landecker worked with Bill Bailey in his early days at WLS. They are standing side by side in the back row of this staff photo below...

WLS air staff early 70s

In "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", John also tells a story about how Bill Bailey helped him out during those early days...


As much as I was loving this radio station, there was one thing that bothered me right away. Mike McCormack wouldn’t let me use my middle name again.

I had been John Records Landecker in Philadelphia — that was the guy that they hired — but when I came to Chicago they lopped the Records off my name. (I eventually was allowed to use it again when a new program director came aboard.)

Even though I couldn’t bring my whole name to Chicago, I did bring one thing from Philly: the high school assembly program. I started doing it right away. I learned quickly, however, that Chicago was a little bit different than Philadelphia.

I had no idea how segregated Chicago public schools were, so I naively chose the schools based on enrollment. I remember walking into Englewood High School, and realized pretty quickly that every single kid in the school was African-American. Two kids, in particular, were staring at me.

“What’s goin’ on?” one asked the other.

“Aw,” the other replied, “just some honky with a tape recorder.”

They weren’t exactly interested in my presentation. But I had an epiphany that day while I was bombing on stage. Bill Bailey, the guy on the air after me every night, was an African-American. So, after that one time, I made sure to check if we were going to an African-American high school, and if we were, I brought along Bill, and had him wait in the wings. I’d come out and do my spiel, and they’d be as apathetic and disinterested as they were at Englewood High, but then I’d say, “Let me bring out another WLS jock to give me a hand. Please give a big round of applause to the guy that follows me on the air every night, Bill Bailey!”

At first he would be greeted with the usual polite applause, but the second they made eye contact with him, the place would go insane! I’m sure that the high school assembly program had a lot to do with the gigantic teen numbers we got in those days. There was a time at night when we had over a third of all teens listening to us. We had the highest nighttime ratings in the entire country.

Records Truly Is My Middle Name is available via Eckhartz Press.

Edward R. Murrow Award

The Edward R. Murrow Awards were given out yesterday. The full list is here.

The only winner from Chicago media was this radio documentary by WBEZ.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1973 Stanley Cup Finals

I have been to exactly one Stanley Cup final game in my lifetime, and it was way back in 1973--another NHL finals meeting between two original six teams. I was nine years old (almost ten) and was crushed that the Canadians beat the Blackhawks to win the Cup. It was Game 7...on home ice in Chicago...

40 years later I can't afford the tickets to see the game, and it's not on my cable system, so I'll be watching it from a neighborhood tavern tonight.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Paul Konrad ‏@PaulKonrad 25m
Chicago now under HIGH Risk of Severe Storms this afternoon & Evening. #NotGood

Amy Guth ‏@amyguth 56s
Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals preview in today's @chicagotribune sports section.

New York Daily News ‏@nydailynews 27m
Blackhawks fan grows a 'playoff lawn' ... until city objects:

Dick Vitale ‏@DickieV 53m
Read where Cubs Triple A player Ian Stewart said Mgr Dale Sveum does not like him -I am sure he does not like .164 avg! #GETAGRIPBABY ‏@Salon 6m
"Shockingly condescending and disrespectful": Darrell Issa's latest temper tantrum via @joanwalsh ‏@nwi 10m
Do you think gas prices will drop? ... Analysts: Midwest drivers to see lower gas prices: #nwindiana

The Associated Press ‏@AP 14m
Action Comics No. 1 – aka the 1938 comic book featuring Superman's first appearance – sells for $175,000: -DC

David Corn ‏@DavidCornDC 17m
...Or see Rand Paul take the crazy train to NSA conspiracy theory town. …

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner 23m
Who sez the Post Office doesn't deliver? Not Mike Perez: #indians #tribe #baseballpoetry

The New York Times ‏@nytimes 40m
Pope Is Quoted as Acknowledging a Vatican ‘Gay Lobby’

No Boston on The Loop

This is a nice little gimmick. In honor of tonight's Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals (Blackhawks versus Bruins), the Loop is not playing any songs from bands that come from Boston today.

No Aerosmith, Boston, The Cars, or J. Geils Band.

I like it. Chicago civic pride.

Radio Directly Connecting With An Artist

This could be a very big news story for the radio business. Fleetwood Mac has signed a direct deal with Clear Channel. Details at the RAMP Newsletter...

Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and Fleetwood Mac just announced what could be a precedent-setting agreement -- the first direct performing rights partnership between a radio company and a recording artist that will enable the iconic group to receive revenue from airplay on Clear Channel's digital and broadcast radio platforms. The group's new EP, Extended Play, features the first recording of new Fleetwood Mac music since the release of Say You Will a decade ago. "It's fitting that a group that’s played such an integral role in radio and music history would be the first band to take such a major step -- helping the music industry create a sustainable digital marketplace so it can thrive for decades to come," said Irving Azoff of Azoff Music Management. "We're delighted to join Clear Channel in creating a new model for the music industry, one that will be good for performing artists, good for music fans, and good for the people who have invested their talent, time and money."

Very interesting, indeed.

Ripping the Bosses

There's a reason why I chose to write "$everance" AFTER I left the radio business. You simply can't publicly rip your bosses and not expect to be punished for it.

Chicago Cubs Triple A third baseman Ian Stewart found that out this week, when he went on a Twitter tirade ripping the Cubs. Someone needs to explain to the young man that "social" media means that everyone else can see it too...including your bosses.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

45 years ago today...

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac. Hard to believe that all of this was going on the same day in London 45 years ago today...

June 11, 1968…At EMI's Abbey Road studios in London, John Lennon worked on "Revolution 9" in Studio 3, while Paul McCartney recorded "Blackbird" in Studio 2.

June 11, 1968…At Olympic Studio in London, a fire in the building interrupted the Rolling Stones while they were recording "Sympathy For The Devil" for their "Beggars Banquet" album.

Chicago Radio Ratings

A nice paragraph to sum up where everyone stands, courtesy of Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Chicago – Hot AC WTMX, Hubbard’s “Mix 101.9,” is indeed hot, up 5.3-5.9-6.4. That’s the first time it’s topped a 6-share in either PPM or diary measurement. It’s #3 in cume, behind the two big CHRs, Clear Channel’s “Kiss” WKSC and CBS Radio’s “B96” WBBM-FM. Back to the shares - #1 again is Clear Channel’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ, 6.5-7.0-6.9. Then comes “Mix” WTMX and CBS Radio’s all-news WBBM (plus its FM partner at 105.9) – 5.4-5.4-4.5. Tribune-owned Cubs flagship WGN is off 4.7-4.8-4.3. Merlin’s classic rock “Loop” WLUP improves 3.6-3.5-3.7 for its best PPM yet. Cumulus talker WLS (2.5-2.7-2.5) may still be missing Don Wade and Roma in mornings. In sports, it’s CBS Radio’s “Score” WSCR (2.5-2.8-2.7) compared to Disney’s WMVP (1.1-1.1-1.5).

iTunes Radio

To the surprise of no-one, Apple introduced their new streaming service iTunes Radio yesterday.

The Washington Post has the details. This is the bottom line...

Using the firm’s Music app, users will be able to create digital radio stations based on their favorite artists or songs. Listeners can then tweak the stations by indicating which songs they like and which they don’t. Users can also buy songs with one click, see what music is trending on Twitter and share songs with friends. Apple’s new service will not require a subscription, though the free version of the service will include advertisements. Users who pay for the company’s $25 per year iTunes Match service, will be able to listen to iTunes Radio without commercials of any kind for less than comparable services from competitors.

Katie's Show Is In Trouble

Even though the ratings for Katie Couric's show are pretty good, there are some obvious signs of unrest. Two producers and a director have left the show over the past few days, and there are rumors that CNN is trying to woo Katie to leave the show too.

According to the article in the Hollywood Reporter, Katie's having trouble adjusting to the softer stories she has to do in daytime after her stint as a network news anchor. (Ironically, they said the same thing about her transition from soft stories to hard-news stories when she first became the network news anchor).

All I know is that it's not appropriate at this time to print my favorite Katie Couric picture, because she clearly doesn't feel like cheering right now.

Although...think about it for a second. Sometimes cheerleaders need to be brought in for this precise purpose, to cheer everyone up when things aren't going well. OK, that settles it. I talked myself into it.

You Won't Finish This Article

According to a recent study of on-line behavior, readers only finish about 50% of on-line articles. Slate has the story. I didn't quite finish it, but it probably has some good points.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Eckhartz Press at the Printer's Row Litfest

Eckhartz Press took over the Chicago Books United tent on Saturday at the Printer's Row Lit Fest.

Here are a few highlights...

"Recalled to Life" author Dan Burns (left) and "Cheeseland" author Randy Richardson in front of their books...

"Records Truly Is My Middle Name" author John Records Landecker...

"Down at the Golden Coin" author Kim Strickland...

John Landecker holds court along with "The Balding Handbook" author David Stern and "Down at the Golden Coin" author Kim Strickland.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautful day. Thanks so much to everyone for coming out and saying hello (and there were many!)

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

'Vampire' Mom Admits She Has Drank Human Blood From Donors For 30 Years...

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 15m
A list of players' relatives who were taken in the MLB draft-and those who weren't:

Chuck Garfien ‏@ChuckGarfien 21m
After not winning a major league baseball game in 7 years, Neal Cotts has won 2 in the last 5 days.

NBC News ‏@NBCNews 27m
More than 1 in 3 American adults now own a tablet, study reveals (up from 18% last year)

WGN Radio 720 ‏@WGNRadio 31m
Kane's winner earns spot among great Chicago sports moments, writes @DavidHaugh. #stanleycup

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 36m
Hey, that's not Jon Stewart! Meet John Oliver, @TheDailyShow's replacement host

david carr ‏@carr2n 41m
I was not compensated for this tweet endorsing @nickbilton's story about murky world of Twitter endorsements.

Jeff Dickerson ‏@ESPNChiBears 42m
Bears trade former first-rounder Carimi

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 56m
8 things that may slow the aging process

NHL ‏@NHL 7m
MUST SEE: An all-access view of the @NHLBlackhawks celebration: #StanleyCup

The Lone Ranger, the video game

I'm really looking forward to The Lone Ranger movie coming out this summer. It's being released by Disney, which is also releasing a video game. Details about the video game are here.

Hi Ho Silver...get to the next level.

Somehow that doesn't sound right to me.

If you watch David Letterman, you might have seen Jay Thomas come on the show and tell his famous Lone Ranger story. I love this story, and it's obvious that Dave does too. He makes Jay Thomas come on the air every year to tell it...

Trial Date Set

Two of Rupert Murdoch's former top henchmen (and women) in England had their trial date set on Friday. Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson (former spokesperson for the Prime Minister) will go on trial beginning September 9th.

The trial is expected to last up to three months.

I can't wait.

Uniform Numbers

On this day in 1932, the Cubs wore numbers on their uniforms for the very first time.

Read about those first uniform numbers at Cubs 365.