Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock has passed away at the age of 83.

He was a great Mr. Spock, but he also hammered out love between his brothers and his sisters, all over this land. RIP, Leonard Nimoy.

Every Cub Ever (G)

Today we feature EVERY CUB EVER beginning with the letter G. From Gabe Gabler to Jose Guzman--125 entries in all.

What will you find there? Five Hall of Famers, 14 videos, 24 classic baseball cards, four celebrity fans, two classic audio clips, two managers, a song, an executive, a psychologist, six Gonzalezes, four Griffiths, the first Latin Cub, the father of the curveball, plus Peaches, Patcheye, and Piano Legs.

Check it out here.

Records Truly Is My Middle Name

Net Neutrality

The FCC Passed Net Neutrality yesterday and I've been reading some dissents that bear no relationship to the actual truth. If you want it explained to you, John Oliver did the best job of it, back when the FCC was thinking of buckling to cable company demands...

And this is Tom Taylor's take on the decision, via his NOW Newsletter...

“Unfettered access to any lawful content.” That’s FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, who also says “This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.” Wheeler and the two Republican Commissioners were cordial at yesterday’s snow-delayed meeting – but they couldn’t be further apart, philosophically. Ajit Pai says the 3-2 “open Internet” vote has “awakened a sleeping giant.” He says whether it’s struck down by a federal court or a future (Republican-controlled) FCC, “I do believe its days are numbered.” Michael O’Rielly huffed about the agency’s “attempts to usurp the authority of Congress.” But in the post-meeting Q&A with reporters, Wheeler predicts that “It will be hard for [opponents] to get a stay” of the rule in court. Wheeler says he’s got just three bright-line tests – “no blocking, no throttling, no prioritized fast lane.” He says the big guys like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and TimeWarner Cable “have all said we didn’t intend to” do any of that stuff, anyhow. Another way to say what the FCC says it’s doing – big ISPs “may not impair or degrade service, or may not favor some Internet traffic over other Internet traffic in exchange for consideration.” Among the witnesses introduced by Chairman Wheeler was Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, who says 88% of the mostly home-based craft-workers who sell with his Brooklyn-based site are women who shouldn’t have to pay extra to gain faster access. Another supporting witness, via video from Europe, was no less than Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. To Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, “we cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged, and leave the rest of us lagging behind.”

That last quote sums it up perfectly. Everything else you hear is noise. Don't be fooled into agreeing with the people who clearly don't have your best interests at heart. There's no agenda behind this decision, but there's a big time (and big money) agenda behind it's opposition.

Johnny B signs a deal with Westwood One

This is obviously why he turned down that job offer at WJMK.

Brandmeier will be the new midday guy at WLS Radio, replacing John Kass and Lauren Cohn, but he'll also be syndicated in several markets. Here's that part of the story, via Radio Insight...

To be based at Chicago’s 890 WLS where it will air live, the show will also air on 790 KABC Los Angeles, 570 KLIF Dallas, 860 KKAT Salt Lake City, 790 WPRV Providence, and 1050 KTBL Albuquerque at launch.

He's replacing Dennis Miller for Westwood One. Miller has decided to give up radio

Congrats to Johnny. He did well in this timeslot at WCKG about a decade ago. As Mark Twain once said--the rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Robert Feder posted this e-mail Johnny sent to his fans...

“WHAT did I say?!” Nothing is over until we decide it is.

We’ve got some news for you about our new radio homes. Yes, homes – it’s plural.

It’s been a crazy few months, trying to figure out the next move. There were options we were seriously considering, but life (or Baby Jesus and Hanky) had another plan:

We’re still “living in the future” – we’ll be expanding our digital platforms and the show will be available online – stay tuned for more details about where to stream, download podcasts, etc. closer to the launch.

THANK YOU all for your patience.

And the RAMP newsletter has the word from Dennis Miller...

Westwood One confirmed that Brandmeier's new show will replace The Dennis Miller Show. "I'm stepping aside from radio at the moment," Miller remarked. "It's been a great run and I've had a phenomenal time interacting with my guests and audience. But with so many other commitments right now, it's hard to maintain a daily talk show. It's time to pass the torch as I move on to explore other opportunities. I wish Johnny B lots of luck."

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Ask the Historian

If you are a baseball geek like me, you'll love this Long and Winding Quiz.

I learned a few new things about baseball history.

Happy Birthday Johnny Cash

He would have been 83 today...

Every Cub Ever (F)

Today Just One Bad Century features EVERY CUB EVER beginning with the letter F. From Jim Fanning to Mike Fyhrie--80 entries in all.

What will you find there? Two Hall of Famers, six videos, seven classic baseball cards, two managers, two celebrity fans, two classic audio clips, a Cubs broadcaster, a Cubs scribe, a player/author, a 1908 Cub, the 1918 World Series goat, the first Mexican born big leaguer, the most famous usher ever, three Foxes, Death to Flying Things, a musician, a song, a Cub who kept a pet Cub, and a live toad swallower.

Check it out here.

Jon Stewart Fights Back

Here's the Vine video he mentions if you want to look at it a little more closely. Click on it to pause it.

Johnny B Turns Down WJMK

That's the word from Robert Feder this morning.

There's a lot not written in that piece for those of you who like to read the tea leaves. Sounds to me like the money offer wasn't sufficient, but that's just a complete guess. After listening to the people filling in on the Loop, however, I'm hoping he's working on deal to return there instead.

US-99 Wins More Awards

Yesterday their PD was named as top PD, but there were a few other awards given out as well.

US-99 was named major market country radio station of the year, and Ray Stevens & Lisa Dent were named best major market personalities. More details are here.

Congrats to everyone at US-99. I just interviewed Ray Stevens for a recent column at the Illinois Entertainer, if you're interested in reading more about Ray.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Truffle Hunt

Thanks for your patience Truffle Hunt fans. The book ships today!

Congrats to author Brent Petersen. The book looks fantastic.

Order your copy today.

Worst Day in Chicago Sports History?

I was watching the Blackhawks game last night and saw Patrick Kane's injury. Looks like he broke his collarbone, or injured his shoulder very badly. They're calling it an upper-body injury, but I suspect he may be out for the season. (We'll find out more in the next day or two)

UPDATE: He's out 6-10 weeks, and the playoffs start in 7 weeks.

And then the scroll under the game announced that Derrick Rose had ANOTHER knee injury, and will have ANOTHER surgery. He may be finished entirely. (This is starting to feel like Gale Sayers all over again)

Two superstars in one day. Has there been a worse day in Chicago sports history?

Boston's David Stern

David Stern, of course, is the co-publisher of Eckhartz Press--but he's also the proprietor of the Pothole Store, which sells "pothole product" to Chicagoans as a sort of protest against the pothole. Last year Dave made appearances on about a dozen shows in Chicago and sold thousands of dollars worth of pothole product.

Well, meet Kyle Waring of Boston. After this historic snow-filled winter, he is now selling "Boston Snow"...and people are buying it.

Full details here.

Down at the Golden Coin

Who Will Replace Jon Stewart?

It won't be Jason Jones or Samantha Bee.

They just signed a deal for a TBS series, and they are also leaving the show.

O'Reilly Goes For the Jugular

The Washington Post today has a piece examining the many threats Bill O'Reilly is throwing around to anyone who dares write about his embellishment story. He said the reporter who wrote it should be "put in the kill zone" (after he called him a "guttersnipe"), and then he threatened a New York Times reporter (“I am coming after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat.”)

People can agree or disagree with the basic premise of the article--that O'Reilly embellished. I agree he did, but I don't think it rises to the level that he should lose his job for it.

But one thing is beyond dispute: Bill O'Reilly is a dick.

UPDATE: Uh oh. There's a new story about another embellishment this morning. This one is about his Kennedy book.

UPDATE 2: I've gotten several e-mails from people who are upset with me for not demanding an O'Reilly resignation or suspension. I can't really explain why I don't think he deserves it, other than to say, I have never considered him a credible news source anyway. This isn't like Brian Williams--who I really did trust.

Net Neutrality Wins The Day

This fantastic news comes courtesy of some really engaged activists who rallied the troops and let the people in Washington know that a few business giants cannot simply change everything we know about the internet simply because they have the cash. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

A blitz of 55,000 calls to FCC officials on behalf of Net Neutrality, bypassing the switchboard. That’s unprecedented. Below the water line, there’s been fierce advocacy for Net Neutrality. The New York Times says “in mid-October, the technology activist group Fight for the Future acquired the direct phone numbers of about 30 FCC officials, circumventing the switchboard to send calls directly to policy makers.” We already know about the literally millions of comments filed by members of the public in last Fall’s rule-making. We’ve seen very little upfront from Netflix, Amazon and other big guys. In fact, the Wall Street Journal says that after years of pressing for net neutrality, Google is now “straddling” the issue, and says that “Soon after President Obama announced his support for strong net neutrality rules late last year, Google’s executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a top White House official the president was making a mistake” – because neutrality’s no longer a priority with Google. It’s now worried about the possibility of new regulations over the Internet. But the Times says “a swarm of small players, from Tumblr to Etsy, BoingBoing to Reddit, has overwhelmed the giants of the tech world.” As Tumblr’s director of social impact and public policy Liba Rubenstein says, “We don’t have an army of lobbyists to deploy…what we do have is access to an incredibly engaged, incredibly passionate user base, and we can give folks the tools to respond.” The Times says that “Republicans who had branded Net Neutrality ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ have grown much quieter under the barrage.” Now comes tomorrow’s FCC vote – and it appears Chairman Wheeler will get his way.

Making the case that this is bad for consumers requires a Fred Astaire-quality dance, and people just don't dance that well anymore. Even Ted Cruz sounds ridiculous arguing that this will harm innovation. All it harms is innovative new ways to gouge consumers. Instead they'll just go to court, find a Republican judge that agrees with them, and try to get it all the way to the Supreme Court. The big boys don't believe that rules should ever apply to them.

Program Director of the Year

Radio trade publication Radio Ink has named Chicago's very own Jeff Kapugi as the country format's program director of the year. Details at Radio Ink.

Congratulations to Jeff.

Every Cub Ever (E)

Today we feature EVERY CUB EVER beginning with the letter E. From Don Eaddy to Scott Eyre–45 entries in all.

What will you find there? Four Hall of Famers, six classic baseball cards, two videos, an incredibly memorable audio clip, two managers, an executive, two Cubs scribes and a publishing house, an Evil Eye, plus someone who really lived up to his nicknamed Bad Bill.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keith Olbermann Suspended Again

This time for an angry tweet war with students at Penn State.

Details are here.

You know, I follow Keith on Twitter and it always amazes me when he stoops to respond to every single person who says bad things about him. He is an immensely talented man, but he's also his own worst enemy.

Michael Keaton Vine

This is a bummer moment for Keaton. It's the moment he puts away his acceptance speech after losing best actor Oscar.

Dancing with the Stars

ABC announced the new lineup for Dancing with the Stars. I've actually heard of four of these people this year. That's a nice change of pace. The pairings are below.

Noah Galloway with Sharna Burgess
Robert Herjavec with Kym Johnson
Patti LaBelle with Artem Chigvintsev
Nastia Liukin with Derek Hough
Riker Lynch with Allison Holker
Charlotte McKinney with Keo Motsepe
RedFoo with Emma Slater
Michael Sam with Peta Murgatroyd
Willow Shields with Mark Ballas
Suzanne Somers with Tony Dovolani
Rumer Willis with Valentin Chmerkovskiy

Basketball Twilight Zone

What happens when both teams are trying to lose a game so they get put in the easier playoff bracket?

The most ridiculous basketball game in history.

Drink More Coffee

This is welcome news for the coffee-holic (like me). The Washington Post headline says it all: It's official: Americans should drink more coffee

Fair enough. I think I will.

I have a feeling that medical science will eventually come around on all the staples of my diet. Still waiting on that "Salami saves lives" piece, but mark my words, it's on the horizon.

Every Cub Ever (D)

Today Just One Bad Century features EVERY CUB EVER beginning with the letter D. From Bad Bill Dahlen to Frank Dwyer–108 entries in all.

What will you find there? Four Hall of Famers, eight videos, eight classic audio clips (including a few with some profanity), three broadcasters, two celebrity fans–including one who was shot dead, a song, two brothers, a 1908 Cub, nine Davis’, the one that got away, a homocide detective, a jewel thief, a player who was banned from the game, plus Boots, Cozy, Dizzy, Pickles, and a hell of a mustache.

Check it out here.

Did Bill O'Reilly embellish?

He claimed he had reported from a war zone during his time in Buenos Aires, and a report in Mother Jones magazine says he had exaggered (ala Brian Williams). It all revolves his reports for CBS News at the time. O'Reilly angrily asked that the footage be released to prove his point. CBS News did release it...

You can judge for yourself if he was embellishing or not. Looks to me like a slight embellishment. Honestly, I don't think this is something worthy of taking down Bill O'Reilly.

UPDATE: I just found this tweet from Bruce Wolf, who disagrees with me.

Another UPDATE: The Washington Post examines the charges here. I think the conclusions in this article are exactly correct. He is essentially guilty as charged of embellishing, and it absolutely does not matter to his bosses.

WLS Drops Bruce Dumont

His show "Beyond the Beltway" has been on the air in Chicago for 35 years. WLS told him that this weekend's show will be his last on that station. They are going all-paid programming on the weekends. The show will still air in other markets via syndication--just not in Chicago.

Robert Feder has the details.

A few years ago I interviewed Bruce for Chicago Radio Spotlight. At the time he was still running the Radio Hall of Fame. He passed the baton on that project last year.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Every Cub Ever (C)

Today Just One Bad Century features EVERY CUB EVER beginning with the letter C. From Cabrera to Cvengros–161 entries in all.

What will you find there? Three Hall of Famers, 17 videos, 26 classic baseball cards, two Cubs scribes, three Cubs broadcasters, three classic audio clips, three songs, three celebrity fans, six Campbells, five Collins, four Clarkes, three Clarks, a manager, a ballgirl, a father/son team, and the most famous Cubs movie star ever.

Check it out here.

The Morning Shift

Heading out early this morning because I'm going to be interviewed on NPR, WBEZ (91.5FM) in Chicago about my book "Father Knows Nothing".

If you think of it, tune in to the Morning Shift between 9:00am and 10am. I believe I'm scheduled to be on the air around 9:15 or so, and will be done by 9:45.

I'm excited about reaching a new audience. The NPR audience is notoriously loyal and doesn't tune away to other stations very often.

Late update: Here's the photo taken of me on the air (from outside the windows). Thanks again for having me on WBEZ!

If you want to hear my WBEZ interview from this morning, it's posted on their website now. It begins at the 33 minute mark: Author Rick Kaempfer Proves That Father Knows Nothing

Let it Be

I own every Beatles album in every conceivable format. I've seen virtually every special ever written about them. I have delved into the depths of Beatles trivia to the point that I'm probably more than a little annoying when the subject comes up in conversation.

I've never seen the Beatles perform live, but I have seen Paul about a dozen times now, and Ringo a few times too, and I've also seen at least ten or fifteen different Beatles tribute bands. Most of them are pretty good, but there have been more than a few clunkers along the way.

On Saturday night I took my entire family to see the show "Let it Be" at the Rosemont Theater. Nobody was excited about going. When I announced it was time to leave, I heard a collective groan.

But the performers in "Let it Be" won them over pretty quickly. They were extremly loyal to Beatles authenticity, from their costumes and hair styles to their insistence on each Beatle playing the proper part. When it was a Paul song...Paul sang. When George and Paul did the backup vocals on the record, they did it on the stage. Paul played lefthanded. John's voice was spot on. George was outstanding on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". Their ad-libs were even exact replicas of real Beatles ad-libs (which I have to say--did annoy me a bit).

I was really enjoying the show, but then again, I'm easy. That's not the test. When I looked over at my family I noticed that my boys were singing along with every single song. That's the test, and Let it Be passed it with flying colors.

I don't know why I never thought of doing this before. It's the perfect night out for the family. The tickets were reasonably priced, the music was excellent, and we all bonded together as a family. I don't have to tell you how rare of an experience that is with two teenagers living in the house.

If the show comes back again, I recommend checking it out.

The Living Wills

I'm not sure what is causing this, but there's been a recent resurgence in sales for my novel (written with Brendan Sullivan) called "The Living Wills". The reviews on Good Reads have been really nice. Thanks to everyone who is buying it, and thanks to everyone who has posted nice reviews. We really appreciate it.

Gary Kroeger

This is an incredible look backstage at the SNL party by former cast member Gary Kroeger. He took his teenage son, and he does a great job of painting a picture of the night. I can only imagine what this must have been like for his son.