Friday, September 20, 2013

No More Old Style?

I missed this story when I was out of the country. Old Style will no longer be sold at Wrigley Field, because Budweiser made a deal for exclusive rights.

First they came for the veteran players, and I did not speak out because I wasn't a veteran player. Then they came for rooftops, and I did not speak out because I did not own one. And when they came for the Old Style, there was no one left to speak out.

Except for me, and I was in Europe. Doggone it.

Jim Croce

Can't believe it's been 40 years. From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey Almanac...

September 20, 1973…Singer/songwriter (Bad Bad Leroy Brown, I Got A Name, I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song, Time In A Bottle, Operator) Jim Croce and five others were killed when their small charter plane hit a tree just after take-off in bad weather in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on their way to a concert in Sherman, Texas. Croce was 30 years old.

The Hidden Ball Trick

Todd Helton pulls it off against the Cardinals. Watch it here.

Fox & Friends Had a No-Pants Rule

According to this piece in Politico (which quotes from a Brian Kilmeade interview of Gretchen Carlson), the show Fox & Friends has a "no-pants" dress code.

I have the same rule in my basement office.

Although I do usually throw on a pair if I'm leaving the house.

How Italians Tell Time

Today's Best Tweets

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

The Associated Press ‏@AP 6m
Germans vote on Sunday, and there are many possible outcomes to this parliamentary election: -AB

Hub Arkush ‏@Hub_Arkush 6m
Can you coach turnovers out of Cutler?

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy 21m
President Of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi died today at 85. The coroner said he was killed by a barrel throwing gorilla.

Brookings ‏@BrookingsInst 18 Sep
Inconceivable! How Hassan Rouhani's presidential campaign broke boundaries in Iran & defied the West's expectations:

Robin Roberts ‏@RobinRoberts 1h
Happy Friday/Birthday @GMA!! 1 year ago today my sister,@SallyAnnWWL, gave me the best gift ever...the gift of life. Blessings to all...X0

Bill Zwecker ‏@billzwecker 38m
Our Town's own Bill Zehme's upcoming book to become a miniseries.

Zach Zaidman ‏@ZachZaidman 40m
26 years ago today, Walter Payton scored his 107th rushing TD to break Jim Brown's NFL record in #Bears 20-3 win over Tampa Bay.

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum 1h
Congrats to Sens. Kirk and Menendez: authors of the sanctions that are forcing Iran to negotiate away its nuclear weapons program

Ron Smith ‏@oldiesmusic 1h
The headline says it all: 'Mountain Dew Mouth' Is Destroying Appalachia's Teeth, Critics Say

The Paris Review ‏@parisreview 12m
“I measure my life in pages. If I have pages at dawn, it’s been a good night.” —Hunter S. Thompson

Please Pay Closer Attention to the Shapes on your Weather Map

Thanks to "JH" for sending this...

Jimmy Kimmel, Paul McCartney & Justin Timberlake

Jimmy Kimmel is getting more and more pull in LA. Now he's gotten the city to shut down traffic for two big time concert events. The RAMP Newsletter has the details...

Somehow, some way, Jimmy Kimmel has been given approval to create a major music-related traffic jam in Hollywood, and no one seems to mind, given the reason -- next Monday and Tuesday, September 23 and 24, a portion of world famous Hollywood Blvd. will be shut down to accommodate a couple of world-class outdoor concert events -- Paul McCartney and Justin Timberlake will perform (separately) on the street for thousands of people. According to The Hollywood Reporter, McCartney will visit Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday and JT invades on Tuesday. Prior to their live shows, which are expected to draw record-breaking crowds, McCartney and Timberlake will also appear as in-studio guests on Kimmel's show, mostly because they have new projects to plug -- McCartney is promoting his latest album, New, and JT is promoting Part 2 of the 20/20 Experience as well as his new film Runner Runner, which co-stars Ben Affleck and opens October 4.

Setting the DVR...for both nights. I've come to grudgingly respect and admire Timberlake too.

Marconi Awards

The Marconi Awards are probably the most prestigious awards givin out to the radio industry, and one of Chicago's stations was recognized last night. Radio Ink has the details...

The winners of the 2013 NAB Marconi Radio Awards were announced Thursday night at the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at the Radio Show in Orlando. CBS' WBBM-AM in Chicago was named legendary station of the year, Premiere's Steve Harvey won for Syndicated Personality of the year and Jerry Lee's WBEB in Philadelphia won for major market station of the year.

The full list of winners is here, and includes a few more Chicago winners. Eric & Kathy were named major market personalities of the year (not the their first time winning it), and WTMX Radio was named as AC Station of the Year (also not their first time winning it). One of the things that the Marconi people consider is community involvement, and Eric & Kathy's (and WTMX's) fundraising on behalf of charities is really unmatched.

(By the way, the Eric & Kathy show will be featured in my next Illinois Entertainer article, due out on October 1st)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ann Margrock

50 years ago today Ann Margret appeared on the Flintstones as "Ann Margrock". She did a few songs including this one...

Pope Francis

Great piece about the Pope in the latest New York Times. In the article he laments the church's obsession with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, and says that the church must get back to focusing on the most important teachings of the Bible; namely helping the least among us and showing love to our fellow man.

I must say, as a lifelong Catholic, I find this Pope to be a breath of fresh air. I know I've only lived through six papacies, but this is by far my all-time favorite Pope.

Speak Like A Pirate Day

Today is supposedly "Speak Like A Pirate Day", so I'll be using a Puerto Rican accent all day in honor of my favorite Pirate, Roberto Clemente.

Today's Best Tweets

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

C. McPherrin FOX 32 ‏@coreymcpherrin 8m
Congrats to DePaul's Mark Aguirre & all the inductees into Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame! @GoodDayChicago

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock 51m
Thanx to all who made my induction into the #Chicagolandsportshallfoffame last night so special. Especially John McDonough and jay Blunk

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 13m
Do more guns make us safer? Two studies suggest not, but the answer is more complicated

Lise Dominique ‏@LiseDominique 16m
'Does The Dog Die?' Spares You From the Saddest Part of Any Movie via @mashable

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune 17m
Sting's "The Last Ship" to get pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner 20m
Dale Sveum
Might be sorry he came.
As soon as the #Cubs become less sucky,
He'll be dumped for someone more lucky.

Mark Edwards ‏@markedwards 25m
It's National Talk Like a Pirate Day, and if you want a cheap thrill, change your Facebook language settings to "English (Pirate).

Slate ‏@Slate 30m
Republicans are still obsessed with defunding Obamacare. And yet, it's NEVER going to happen:

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 33m
Roger Waters says he was wrong to have sued his former Pink Floyd bandmates:

The New York Times ‏@nytimes 5m
Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion

Happy Birthday Sean Kaempfer

When Sean was born on September 19, 2002, I was still the executive producer of the John Records Landecker show on WJMK Radio. Like we did with the birth of my two other sons (Tommy and Johnny), the John Landecker show followed the pregnancy on the air. I even recorded the actual birth on digital audio tape as it was happening, and then called into the radio program with a full report live from the hospital.

His brothers were both born early in the morning (Tommy at 4 AM, Johnny at 2 AM), but Bridget was in labor DURING the show for Sean. I called into the show every hour and gave updates, some of which are referenced in the transcript below. Sean was born less than hour after the show ended that day.

This is the transcript of the call the following morning, September 20, 2002. The show members at that time were John Landecker, Leslie Keiling, and Bonnie Greene.

John: Magic 104.3, 8:14, John Records Landecker along with Leslie Keiling, that's Sister Sledge "We are Family". Rick, our producer, are you there?

Rick: I'm here.

John: You're a brand new dad.

Rick: Yes I am.

John: Bridget are you there?

Bridget: Hello. I'm here.

John: Do you have a radio at the hospital?

Bridget: No. We had one down at labor and delivery, and we were listening. The anesthesiologist thought you were really funny.

Leslie: Oh great.

John: You mean when he called him "Shakes"?

Rick: And a heroin addict, I believe.

John: Ha! So, how long do they let you stay in the hospital these days after delivery?

Bridget: 48 hours, and I'm taking every last second of it.

John: Well you sound good.

Rick: She looks good too.

John: Do you feel good too?

Bridget: Yeah. And we got a little trooper here too.

Leslie: Is the trooper in there with you?

John: No hold on a second, we're not giving anything away here. OK, so Rick. So far you have Tommy...

Rick: He'll be seven next month.

John: And Johnny...

Rick: He's 4 1/2.

John: Now people want to know. Hit it, Vinnie.

(Music: Theme song from "My Three Sons")

John: It would be my three...

Rick: Sons.

John: How big was our boy?

Bridget: 7 pounds, 12 ounces.

John: How long was labor?

Bridget: I'm not exactly sure because when we got here I was already in labor.

Leslie: That's the best way isn't it?

Rick: It really wasn't that long. I think she only had to push about ten times.

Leslie: And then went to the prom.

(Everyone laughs)

John: Let's get to the tape. Now Rick, you taped this yourself?

Rick: I did.

John: Any problems?

Rick: None at all this time. I had the surgical gloves on, and was helping the doctor. I had a leg in one hand, and..

John: Now wait a second here. What leg were you hanging on to?

Rick: I was hanging on to one of Bridget's legs.

John: Oh. So let me get this straight. You're hanging on to Bridget's leg with one hand, and the microphone in the other hand?

Rick: No, I set the microphone down on the table.

John: Oh geez. I had an image in my head here...

Rick: I'm very talented.

(Everyone laughs)

Rick: I did test levels.

(Everyone laughs)

John: The first time you didn't even know the microphone was on, the third time you're testing levels.

Rick: Exactly.

John: OK, roll the tape.

Dr. Sabbagha: Hi, hi, there it is. Can you push a little more?

Bridget: Ugh

Dr. Sabbagha: Hi there. Push push.

Nurse: Hi pumpkin.

Dr. Sabbagha: God, you're beautiful. Say something, precious.

Rick: It's a purple baby. That's Johnny's favorite color.

Baby cries.

Dr. Sabbagha: There he goes.

Rick: It's a boy!

Bridget: It's a boy?!

Rick: My three sons. Good work!

John: Rick. Guess whose crying in the studio? Oh, look, I got two of 'em crying.

Leslie: That's so beautiful.

Rick: It was soooo cool. I really got to enjoy it this time.

John: (sarcastically) Oh, and I know how hard the whole birthing process is for you.

Bridget: I actually thought he was funny this time. He made me laugh.

Bonnie: Because you hated him the other two times, right?

Rick: She kicked me in the knutchkies the first time she was so mad at me.

Bridget: I did not.

You did too.

Oh come on now, you two. You just had a baby.

Rick: I'm actually really proud of her. You should see her. You'd never believe she just had a baby.

Leslie: How are the boys. Are they excited?

Rick: (long pause)

(Everyone laughs)

Bridget: Tommy was so excited for about ten seconds. He came running into the room, held the baby, and then...hey what's in this cabinet?

Rick: And Johnny didn't even want to hold the baby.

John: Oooooooh.

Bonnie: Johnny's the middle child now.

Rick: Yup. My mom asked Johnny yesterday how his day went, and he said...Um, let's see...I went to school...I played in the asked, 'Did anything special happen?' and he answered..."No."

John: Oh well, that will be an on-going story.

Rick: We're going to all go to a White Sox game tonight and beat up a coach. (This was the day after the William Ligue story)

John: You were gloating all morning, weren't you?

Rick: Yes I was.

John: I told you! Cubs fans are gloating all over the city. So...the name of the child is...

Sean Harrison Kaempfer

(Baby noises in the background)

John: Is that him?

Bridget: Yup. I'll put the phone up to him.

(More baby noises)

Bonnie: He sounds like a puppy.

John: OK, Sean. That's Irish for John, right?

Bridget: Yes, technically it is. S-E-A-N.

John: Harrison, I've got to guess, is...

Rick: Let's just say it's not for Harrison Ford.

John: It's for George Harrison, isn't it?

Rick: Yes it is.

John: I knew it!

Rick: But I didn't pick Sean. That was Tommy's idea.

John: And Johnny wanted to name it...

Rick: Johnny abstained.

(Everyone laughs)

John: Johnny threw his headphones down and walked out of the Security Council meeting!

Rick: That's right.

John: Well congratulations everybody. We now have Sean's first on-air performance on tape too.

Bonnie: Are his eyes open yet?

Leslie: He's not a kitten for Pete's sake.

Rick: Blue eyes.

Bridget: He's kind of dozing right now.

Poke him. Wake him up.

Leslie: Isn't it good that Bonnie doesn't have children? Have you taken him out for a walk yet?

Rick: We've got newspaper all over the floor...

Bonnie, it's a baby.

Bonnie: Sorry...

John: Well thanks for procreating.

Rick: My pleasure.

John: I'll bet it was. And now we have the vasectomy next.

Yes we do.

Leslie: And then we'll hear Rick making baby noises.

(everyone laughs)

Sean Harrison Kaempfer. That's a cool name. You'll have to change your answering machine message you know.

Rick: I'll do that today.

John: Cause it says, Rick, Bridget, Tommy & Johnny can't come to the phone. Well thanks guys, and congratulations.

Rick: Bye.

Bridget: Bye.

Bonnie: Of course, it will be awhile before Sean can come to the phone.

Leslie: Whoa.

John: The next time we do anything with children, you don't talk.

Bonnie laughs.

Deadline Hollywood Drama

It isn't often that the New York Times ventures into the world of Hollywood gossip, so it took me by surprise to read this article about the people who report Hollywood gossip.

Nikke Finke was the owner (and creator) of Deadline Hollywood, a pretty mean spirited Hollywood gossip site that is feared and read by everyone in Hollywood. A few years ago she sold it to media entrepeneur Jay Penske, who later also bought Variety. It's apparently been a pretty bumpy ride.

Nikki's sad.

I'm sure the Hollywood stars she has humiliated over the years feel really bad for her.

Fox News Interviews Assad

How in the world did Fox News score an interview with the Syrian president?

Would you believe it was lined up by ultra-liberal former congressman Dennis Kucinich? He's a Fox News Contributor (he is?) and had the proper contacts to make it happen.

The interview airs tonight.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Few More European Vacation Photos

These photos from Croatia and Montenegro were all taken by one of my travel companions, my buddy Stu...

WKRP in Cincinnati

35 years ago today, WKRP in Cincinnati debuted on television. That show is one of the things that inspired me to get into radio. I absolutely loved it.

The opening theme song became famous, but to me the song that really rocked was the one they played over the closing credits every week.

According to Wikipedia, the closing theme was written by an Atlanta musician named Jim Ellis, who also wrote incidental music for WKRP. He didn't have any lyrics for the tune yet, so he sang a bunch of gibberish to give a feel for the song. Hugh Wilson, the series producer, decided to use it anyway because it would be a humorous commentary on the incomprehensibility of many rock lyrics. I think he had a point.

Sliding into a Butt

That's what an Astros player did last night. See it here from every conceivable angle.

Tom Hanks Teams with CNN

Tom Hanks and CNN will co-produce a 1960s documentary series kicking off with Kennedy assassination, and covering other important cultural milestones like The Beatles, the escalation of the Vietnam War and the moon landing. The full story is here.

If "That Thing You Do" is any indication, Tom Hanks has a pretty good feel for the decade. I'll definitely be checking this out.

Fox Sports 1 vs. ESPN

ESPN put out a press release pointing out that their ratings have gone up since the debut of Fox Sports 1.

That may be true, but I wouldn't be gloating if I was ESPN. I've been watching Fox Sports 1, and I think ESPN has reason to be worried. They seem to have more life, more ideas, and seem a lot fresher than the tired old ESPN shows.

That's just one man's opinion, but it's one man that watches a lot of ESPN.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Mysterious maple syrup smell covers New York City...

The Associated Press ‏@AP 4m
BREAKING: US builders break ground on most single-family homes in 6 months, seek most permits in 5 years.

GPS for the Soul ‏@GPSforSoul 10m
“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” -- L.M. Montgomery

WPGU1071 ‏@WPGU1071 13m
Weird Fact of the Day: A study has found that the first two years of college are basically useless.

Bernie Tafoya ‏@ChicagoFile 18m
#StanleyCup will be at Millennium Park today. Will YOU be getting your pic taken with it? @WBBMNewsradio

Starbucks News ‏@Starbucksnews 8h
We are respectfully requesting that customers not bring weapons into our stores. Here’s why:

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune 43m
Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, coach downplay 2nd dugout spat in 2 games

Neil Steinberg ‏@NeilSteinberg 58m
Your teenagers won't always talk to you--at times it seems won't EVER talk to you-- but their friends' parents will.

Chris Nickles ‏@nicklesradio 1h
Tonight's Powerball jackpot 400-million big ones, odds of winning 1:175-million. So, you're saying there's a chance!

HuffPost Chicago ‏@HuffPostChicago 1h
17 bizarre sex facts you probably didn't know

Woman Knifes Man Because of Eagles Music

Ever live with someone who played the same band over and over and over again? Well, a South Carolina woman lived with such a man--and he was playing the Eagles continuously. She told him to stop it, but he refused. So...she went into the kitchen, got a knife and started stabbing him. (He is OK) has the article. My favorite part of the story is this line, which of course, I was expecting to read at some point:
Police added that "all parties involved were intoxicated."

The article doesn't say what happened the next day, but I'm guessing after the Tequila Sunrise, the Witchy Woman apologized to the Desperado, who in turn, promised to Take It Easy with the Eagles music. But mark my words, One of These Nights he'll Take It To The Limit again. If she's smart, she'll be Already Gone.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I just saw on Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac that Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira, is turning 62 years old today.

I've never met her, but I did talk to her on the phone once when I was Steve & Garry's producer during the Halloween season more than twenty years ago. The conversation went something like this…

“Hello this is Cassandra calling the Steve & Garry show.”

“Elvira?” I asked.

“That’s a character I play,” she said. “Please call me Cassandra.”

“OK, Cassandra. You’ll be on the air with Steve & Garry in just a minute. Obviously we’ll be talking about Halloween. Please hold.”

I put her on hold for a second and stared at the phone. I had that queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I picked up the phone again.

“You will be going by ‘Elvira’ on the air, right?” I asked.

“That’s not my name,” she said. “My name is Cassandra. If they want to discuss the character of Elvira, and how I get into the character, I’d be happy to do that.”

“OK, thanks,” I said. “Please hold.”

That’s when I knew it was going to be a horrible train wreck. Steve & Garry had an incredibly low threshold for actors who took themselves too seriously. I walked into the studio during the commercial break, and prepared to take my punishment.

"Elvira's on hold," I said.

“Tell her we’ll get to her after the commercials,” Steve responded, barely looking up at me.

I cleared my throat.

“Actually…there’s something you should know before we put her on.”

Steve looked up. His radar was beeping.


“Um…well, she wants you to call her... Cassandra.”

Steve gave me the classic “Bye Bye Now” flight attendant wave.

“Get rid of her?” I asked.

"No," Steve said. The sarcasm was dripping. "I'm sure our listeners would love to hear all about someone named Cassandra."

And that was that.

Scott Redman at the Beverly Arts Center


Eckhartz Press author Scott Redman will be appearing at the Beverly Arts Center (2407 W 111th St, Chicago, IL) on Sunday September 22nd to read his children's book "Chug-A-Chug" as part of the "Get Booked" program, which encourages children to discover a love of reading.

He will read the book at 2:30 and 3:30pm, discuss how he got the idea to write a children’s book, and the process he undertook to create it. He's also bringing along a train set.

If you're in the area, bring your children and spend an enjoyable afternoon at the Beverly Arts Center.


The 2022 World Cup Trainwreck

When FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, everyone (with a brain) immediately thought it was the worst idea ever. After all, the temperatures are in the 120 degree range during the summers there. Even if they build air conditioned stadiums (which they promised to do), the fans would still have to walk to and from games in that insane heat.

So, another genius suggested they just move the World Cup to the winter. It's much nicer in Qatar (only 90 degrees or so) in the winter. What could make more sense than moving an event that has been staged in June for a century to a completely different season simply because they stupidly awarded it to the wrong country? I don't believe I'm going to write this next sentence, but here goes: I agree with Fox.

They are objecting to the latest idiotic plan. Good for them.

Move the Cup to another country, brainiacs.

Legal Drinking in Germany

My buddy Stu took this picture at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. I was there with him and we saw this with our own eyes. A boy that couldn't have been older than 3 or 4 was drinking a beer...his own beer...and so was his slightly older sister (maybe 5 years old).

In this country, that gets a call to DCFS. In Germany, it's totally legal.

My grandfather gave me my first beer when I was 11, which in retrospect seems a touch early too, but this is ridiculous.

Today's Best Tweets

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

HuffPost Chicago ‏@HuffPostChicago 4m
#ICYMI: Bill Daley drops out of the running for Illinois governor

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995 7m
OMG! Group of college buddies make friend get Bieber tattoo for losing Fantasy Football League! WATCH HERE

Marcus Leshock ‏@marcusleshock 13m
Consumer jet packs are coming. What could go wrong? …. (Via @patkiernan)

Eric & Kathy ‏@EricandKathy 10m
Men: The best item to have at home to impress a woman is fluffy towels. #MIXMindBender

Jon Swerens ‏@jonswerens 43m
So, wait. The Pirates lead their division, and the Steelers are 0-2? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune 33m
Timelapse video: Salvage crews pull the shipwrecked Costa Concordia upright

Ben Bradley ‏@BenBradleyABC7 14m
Average speed on Amtrak's Chicago-Indy line: 39 mph. Not quite "high speed rail" is it?

Duane Dudek ‏@TheDudekAbides 32m
I propose a death match between the Headless Horsemen of Sleepy Hollow and the Fox game day robot.

jennifer bendery ‏@jbendery 37m
So a man who'd been treated for hearing voices, with a past gun offense, legally purchased a gun and had clearance into Navy Yard. Got it.

New York Daily News ‏@NYDailyNews 3m
Aaron Alexis used same weapon as Newtown, Batman killers. #NavyYardShooting


I really like Paul's new song. I like the video too...

The guy knows how to write a melody, doesn't he?

The Navy Yard Victims

The Washington Post has a writeup about some of the victims of yesterday's shootings. The press coverage over the next days and weeks will focus on the sicko who shot these people (and why), but I thank the Post for telling us a little bit about the innocent victims. We need to put real faces on these people or we will continue to be desensitized to the carnage.

I won't be watching the news the next few days because it will depress me once again. We're going to hear the same old stuff from the gun nuts. "If everyone in that place was armed, they would have shot him sooner."

They say those words seriously, as if it's not completely insane to live in a country where everyone is armed and ready to shoot. If they succeed in turning this country into a 21st century version of the Wild Wild West, I'm looking for a new country.

(By the way, if you were watching the disgraceful coverage yesterday, the media once again incorrectly identified the shooter. How you'd like to be the guy they incorrectly named?)

RIP Jerry G. Bishop

I always had him on my interview wish list, but never got around to interviewing him. The great former WCFL jock (and the original Svengoolie) Jerry G. Bishop has passed away at the age of 77. Robert Feder has all the details.

I once interviewed his Svengoolie successor, Rich Koz, and this is what he said about Bishop, the man who gave him his big break:

The job with Jerry actually came about when he was leaving WFLD after they cancelled his Svengoolie show - he was in talks with NBC for both radio and TV, and he thought enough of me to try and get me involved as part of his team for the radio side. He did some fill in at WMAQ, with me filling the afore-mentioned sidekick/producer/goofball role- and, when they brought him in full time- first, in afternoon drive, then in morning drive- I went along for the ride.

It was a great gig, other than having to get up so early for the morning show- we’d ride in, going over the papers, and he’d read something about Dean Martin, and say-“let’s do a bit on this- you be Dean!” I’d write stuff and be about 85% of the characters and “celebrities” that called in- I’d write song parodies for him, invent new bits, and we’d do sponsored commercials as bits- for example, I played the president of a lumber/home improvement chain, playing him as a sort of dopey guy, in a running series of live read commercials, and they went over really well.

Plus, on Monday mornings, when the show started an hour earlier than usual, for a while, Jerry had me do that first hour by myself! Jerry was the best--very generous, and, as I’ve always said, the guy who’s responsible for me getting into the broadcasting business…so blame him!

In the mid seventies, someone at a local TV station had approached Jerry G. about maybe doing a summer gig reviving his Svengoolie character. At that time, Jerry felt he didn’t really want to do so, part of the reason being that he was thinking that- someday- he might actually want to run for a political office- and didn’t want his opponent holding up pictures of him as Sven saying “THIS is my worthy opponent?!” But- he already felt confident enough in me that he suggested that I could be the Sven character- as “Son of Svengoolie”- and he would produce and write it with me.

We had some false starts on it, and it didn’t really go anywhere- until Jerry was about to leave for the west coast, and asked what I planned on doing. I said I might try to pitch a TV show to local stations- and he said that, if I wanted to try and do the Son of Sven bit, he’d give me permission. It’s a long story, but, it finally ended up at WFLD- with me doing the Son of Svengoolie- in my original audition, I looked exactly like Jerry’s character, but, since they felt that looked too dated, I devised the look that finally premiered.

My character was pretty much based on how Jerry played the character, layered on my own personality, with the accent being, as Jerry puts it “Bela Lugosi crossed with Lawrence Welk!” I did the character there for 6 and a half years- and, even after that, was requested to do the character for appearances, radio and TV guest gigs- right up until I came to WCIU.

When I was taking the job here, Jerry was in town, and we talked about it- I mentioned that, even by the end of my WFLD run, there were people who said “SON OF Svengoolie? Who’s Svengoolie?”-and that I thought I might shorten the name or something. Jerry said –“I tell you what- you’re all grown up now- just be Svengoolie!” It was nice of him to hand over usage of the name to me.

Monday, September 16, 2013

European Vacation

I spent the last week in Europe. I thought I would share a few of the photos from my trip...

Old town/Dubrovnik, Croatia

Kotor, Montenegro

Perast, Montenegro

Lokrum Island, Croatia

Munich, Germany

My travel companions, Stu & Bill

My Father Knows Nothing column this week will be about those two guys, my A Fine Mess column in an upcoming issue of Shore Magazine will spill the grisly details of the trip, and I'm also writing a traditional travel piece about Croatia for the magazine.

Meet The Eckhartz Press Authors


If you haven't been using the Eckhartz Press calendar, you've been missing opportunities to meet and greet Eckhartz Press authors.

John Records Landecker ("Records Truly Is My Middle Name"), Dan Burns ("Recalled to Life"), and Randy Richardson ("Cheeseland") are all going to be out and about over the next few weeks and months. Here's a quick link: The Eckhartz Press calendar

Keep checking back for updates. Several more events will be posted in the days and weeks to come, including the release date of our newest book, "Life Behind The Camera" by Chuck Quinzio.

Today's Best Tweets

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

ChiTribSports ‏@ChiTribSports 5m
First-place Bears winning despite growing pains

Robbie Gould ‏@RobbieGould09 14m
Back to work this am. I'm excited to head back to Pennsylvania and play @steelers. #BearDown

Brad Biggs ‏@BradBiggs 15m
From Sun night: Mr. Fourth Quarter? It used to be Jay Cutler's worst quarter. Now, he's making plays to win games

Jeff Dickerson ‏@ESPNChiBears 15m
BE: Cutler becoming comeback machine

Mark Edwards ‏@markedwards 22m
14 reasons you're not dead yet

dailyherald ‏@dailyherald 33m
Bob Newhart finally gets his Emmy Award

Richard Deitsch ‏@richarddeitsch 9h
Greg Anthony will become CBS's lead CBB game analyst; Clark Kellogg to the studio. The SI media column: ‏@BillMoyersHQ 59m
A new rule could make known when a CEO makes hundred or thousands of times more than his workers. by @lighttweeting

Big John & Amy ‏@BigJohnandAmy 1h
.@AmyJacobson is livid because Ravens QB missed the birth of his child on Sunday for "work reasons." Your thoughts?,0,7498962.story

People magazine ‏@peoplemag 10m
Miley Cyrus says there's a reason why she's acting the way she is nowadays and it's Hannah Montana's fault.

Are Storytelling Ads Journalism's New Peril?

That's the subject of this story in the New York Times. As far as I know, it's an actual story, not a story telling ad.

New Weekend Update Anchor

Seth Meyers has been holding down the fort for years, but he is leaving SNL to host his own late night talk show, so the Weekend Update desk is open yet again.

The new name to be added to a list which includes such former "anchors" as Chevy Chase, Dan Ackroyd & Jane Curtin, Dennis Miller, Norm McDonald, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler is....

Cecily Strong.

The Jewish Hunger Games

Pretty darn funny. Thanks to "DS" for sending me the video...

You Can't Judge A Book...

Thanks to "OG" for sending this...

Radio Salaries

From this morning's Inside Radio...

The best-paid employees at the typical radio station may not sit in the corner office. They may instead be rolling out of bed before the sun even comes up. That’s one of the top findings from the Inside Radio Salary Survey, being released today. It shows that in a business where content is king, morning drive personalities in the top 25 markets have the highest average salary.

I don't even have to look at the survey to know where radio producers ranked.

Free Excerpt From "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" (Don Wade Stories)

Wade Brothers

One of John Landecker's friends, former colleague Don Wade, passed away last week from brain cancer. (Robert Feder has the details). Don and John worked together twice (at WIBG in Philadelphia in the late 60s/early 70s) and at WLS-AM in the 1980s. During the writing of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", Don was gracious enough to provide a few stories for the book. He spoke to me on the phone for about an hour and couldn't have been nicer. (His wife Roma was in the car with him and called out in the background..."Tell John we love him!")

The following stories made it into the final version of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". This first one is about their time together at WIBG in Philadelphia...

"When I worked with John in Philly at WIBG, I was doing mornings and John was doing evenings. Our schedules were opposite, but we saw each other at weekly meetings that were a complete waste of time. We’d eat pizza and try to be serious, but nobody was. Before or after the meetings a bunch of us would go to this par-three golf course and drink beer, and hit balls. We didn’t fit in at all at the golf course — we didn’t know how to golf, we all had long hair, and got dirty looks from the real golfers, the business executives. When we weren’t “golfing,” we were playing softball. Rick Buckley, the son of the owner, would get a keg, and would show up wearing sweats, and we would go out and bat the ball around. We all loved working for Rick. All he wanted to do was have drinks and have a good time. He was one of the guys."

The second story is about the final days of the music format on WLS in the late 1980s...

"In those days we were only playing about four records an hour because John Gehron, who was running the place — and really is a radio genius, recognized that the future of music on AM radio was pretty grim. It was great working with John again. I’ve always considered him to be a great guy — always smiling and always positive. He was genuinely supportive of everyone else on the air. He would go out of his way to let you know when he heard things that he liked on the air. The other thing I’ve always admired about him is that he really works at his craft. He may come off like he’s goofing off, but trust me, he really works at it. He takes it very seriously."

This is the way John recalled Don during the writing of the book...

Although there weren’t many highlights from that second WLS era, I did get to work with my old friend Don Wade, who I had worked with in Philadelphia at WIBG. He’s known as Mr. Conservative now, but when we worked together at WIBG he was a long haired hippie with bellbottoms. He did a scripted bit show there, the same kind of show he was doing at WLS in the 80s in the midday slot. When WLS changed formats to news/talk a few years later, Don was the one they asked to stay.

When the news hit that Don had passed away, John took to his facebook page to offer his heartfelt condolences...

"I am so saddened to hear about the passing of Don Wade. My thoughts and prayers go out to the lovely Roma who's partnership with Don was a beautiful thing to see and hear. I knew Don before Roma. Don, his brother Long John and I worked together at WIBG in Philadelphia in the late 60's -early 70's. It was a great time. We were all a lot younger and the station was over the top with on air stunts and promotions. Years later I spotted him at a Cubs game when he was on US99. That was the first time I met Roma. A few years later all of us were together at WLS-AM. Those were dark days at the station but Don and Roma carried on. So well that they were invited to stay when the station went talk. The rest is talk radio history...never fear I'm sure Don is talking to God right now complaining that heaven is a little to liberal and needs to move a bit to the right..."

The broadcasting business has lost a giant.