Friday, April 17, 2015

ESPN Reporter's Meltdown

A very attractive female reporter for ESPN (Britt McHenry) has been suspended by ESPN for saying some really unattractive things to a female towing company employee. (Video is at the link)

Among the things she said were...

*“I’m in the news, sweetheart, I will f*cking sue this place.”

*“That’s why I have a degree and you don’t. I wouldn’t work in a scumbag place like this”

*"It makes my skin crawl even being here.”

*“Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing?”

*"Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh?”

*“Lose some weight baby girl.”

Nice, eh? Pretty unattractive. She does deserve to be suspended for that.

Although, let me just say this as someone who has been towed for no reason, I refuse to stand up for towing companies. The employee in question probably does not deserve the wrath of this entitled reporter, but somebody working there probably does. There's a reason why they are behind bulletproof glass and have a camera trained on the pissed off people arriving to retrieve their cars (And it's not because they fear being robbed).

Once your car is towed, there is literally nothing you can do to get it back except for paying them. Even if they have unfairly towed you. Even if you can prove it. You still have to pay. They have performed their service. Towing you. Pay up or they can keep your car. Legally.

There's something very wrong about that. It's the reason why Steve Goodman wrote this song...

Today's the Day!

Guess who just got called up by the Cubs? Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Today is the Day! It's supposed to be sunny, 70 degrees, and the beginning of the rest of our lives.

No pressure, kid.

Rahm's Reporters

Robert Feder has an interesting piece following up on a Columbia Journalism Review article about Rahm Emmanuel's difficulty with reporters. In the original article, writer Jackie Spinner mentions that Rahm's office told her to contact a few specifically approved reporters to make it a more well-rounded story. She doesn't mention which reporters are Rahm's guys, and she doesn't quote them.

So, Feder followed up to get the list through a FOIA request. Here they are...Rahm's guys (and gal)

*Jay Levine, chief correspondent for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2

*Neil Steinberg, columnist for the Sun-Times

*Fran Spielman, City Hall reporter for the Sun-Times

*Craig Dellimore, political editor for CBS Radio WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9

Interesting list, eh?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Skunk Season

It's already upon us. John Kass has a piece about it today in the Tribune.

I'm going out to get some grub killer, which the article recommends.

My dog Ivy has been skunked four times over the past few years.

Being Ringo

A fun look into the day-to-day life of an ex-Beatle by Rolling Stone Magazine.

I met him in 1989 and had him sign my copy of Ringo's Greatest Hits. OK, it was the Loop's copy. But it's mine now, and the statute of limitations has expired.*

*Plus, I got permission from the boss man.

Rocky Mountain High

From Tom Taylor's NOW column, this little tidbit about a brand new radio format in Colorado...

“K-High 1580” is the new all-marijuana format for Colorado Springs, where new LMA operator Mike Knar’s SoCo Radio vows to “do something different.” The station is owned by Pilgrim Communications, which just changed the call letters from KREL to KHIG (for “K-High”). Mike tells the Colorado Springs Gazette “We didn’t want to lease the station and continue to lose money, so we said, Let’s do something different and give voice to the marijuana industry” – in a state where pot is now legal and “socially acceptable.” Programming includes talk about medical and recreational marijuana, plus alternative medicine, yoga and other compatible subjects. This could a test of whether it’s acceptable to the FCC and other federal authorities for a product that is state-legal but federal-illegal. The Gazette says “Six Springs-area medical marijuana dispensaries have signed on as advertisers.” Lance Venta at Radio Insight adds that the flip from “Fox Sports 1580” to K-High comes as 4-20 is coming up on the calendar – April 20 being a kind of unofficial holiday for marijuana users. The morning lineup includes the “Wake & Bake” show.

I don't want to tell these guys how to sell their station to advertisers, but if they aren't on the phone to the Doritos people already, they are higher than they should be.

Viral Viner

Impressive stuff. Don't try this at home, kids.

You Still Need Permission

Not sure why this happens to Republican presidential hopefuls every four years, but it does. This time it's Marco Rubio. From the RAMP Newsletter...

Marco Rubio wrapped up his Miami campaign kickoff rally on Monday by exiting to the sound of "Something New" by Swedish duo Axwell ^ Ingrosso. There was just one minor problem -- Axwell and Ingrosso told Business Insider that Rubio's campaign did not ask to use their song and they would like him to stop. "Axwell ^ Ingrosso didn't give their permission for this song to be used and don't want to be affiliated with a particular party during the upcoming presidential race," the band said in a statement on Tuesday. Rubio's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The Tramp

100 years ago this week, Chicago film studio Essanay (located on the north side of the city) released a movie starring their newest sensation, Charlie Chaplin. 100 years later it remains his most famous film...

Note: The music at the beginning of the film, "Du Du Liegst Mir in Herzen", will become a no-no just a few years later when America enters World War I.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Aaron Hernandez is a convicted murderer.

The NHL Playoffs Begin Tonight

Go Hawks. Love this spot...

The Mix and The Drive Bring Home More Hardware

Hubbard Broadcasting has figured out what broadcasting for the community is all about. Once again two of their stations (The Drive and The Mix) were honored by the National Association of Broadcasters with the Crystal Award.

Details are here.

Congrats to a first-class organization.

More Like A Platinum Parachute

John Hogan ran iHeart radio (formerly known as Clear Channel) before stepping aside last year. It was rumored that he got a pretty hefty farewell handshake, but the actual details weren't released until yesterday. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

The longtime head of Clear Channel radio retired in January 2014 as CEO Bob Pittman re-shaped and flattened the executive structure. A just-filed proxy statement at the SEC reveals how golden that goodbye handshake was – just $38,352 in Hogan’s 2014 salary (reflecting his January exit). But $5,312,531 in the grab-bag of “all other compensation.” That included $225,000 in “housing and related expenses,” covering his move from San Antonio to New York (to be near Pittman). And another $175,145 in “housing and related expenses tax gross-up” – meaning that the company made up for the taxes Hogan had to pay on his perks. (That’s what “gross-up” means.) Hogan shows $25,000 in “legal expenses.” That may be related to negotiating the exit package, where the really standout number is Hogan’s severance - $4,874,063. Part of Hogan’s total pay was $900,000 in deferred compensation from 2012.

Keep in mind that under Hogan, Clear Channel cut it's operations to a ridiculous staffing level barely able to keep stations on the air. But as long as he is taken care of, everything is fine.

Ringo on the Radio

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

It's been 27 years since The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This Saturday, the famous Ringo Starr will be one of just 21 performers to be inducted twice, and the only one to be inducted in two different categories. Starr discusses the honor and his life and times with The Beatles on this week's episode of Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, brought to you by our friends at Envision Networks. "Paul McCartney was the instigator," Starr said. "He called me to say, 'They're going to put you in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,' and he's going to do the induction and would I accept? And I said, 'Oh yeah, sure!'" The full feature will air April 17 on affiliate stations and will also be available online.

Worst Jobs

According to, the #1 worst job in America is...Newspaper Reporter.

See the full list here.

The others in the bottom 5 are...Lumberjack (my job), Enlisted Military, Cook, and...wait for it...broadcaster. The top 5 are...actuary, audiologist, mathemetician, statistician, and biomedical engineer.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Is this a real meltdown?

It appears to be Dennis Quaid having a meltdown on set. (Caution: NSFW) I'm not sure if it's real or not, but this piece in Slate has a few more meltdowns on tape that you might also enjoy, including Christian Bale, Lilly Tomlin/David O. Russell, and Bill O'Reilly.

LATE UPDATE: It's a Funny or Die bit.

RIP Percy Sledge

He passed away today at the age of 73. Percy will always be remembered for his one big hit...

Ron Wood

From The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 40 years ago today...

April 14, 1975…The Rolling Stones announced that former Faces member Ron Wood would be replacing the guitarist Mick Taylor who had departed the band.

Abe Lincoln Poetry

Eckhartz Press co-founder David Stern, the author of “The Balding Handbook”, was a child prodigy. (That’s him on his big sister’s lap in 1964). By the time he was in grade school he was writing award-winning poetry. He wrote a poem about his hero Abraham Lincoln back in 1974–when he was only 11 years old. He won the grand prize, which was to read it on the air on WBEZ Radio.

Sadly, that recording has been lost to time. Luckily for us, Stern later performed his award-winning poem as an adult. On this 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination, enjoy it in all it’s audio splendor at the Eckhartz Press blog.

The story of "Louie Louie"

The man who wrote "Louie Louie" sold it for a whopping total of $750. It has since become the most recorded song in rock and roll history. Bummer for him, right? Well, I didn't realize that this story actually had a happy ending for Richard Berry (the writer of the song). It didn't happen until many years later, but it did happen.

That story is here. (H/t to "M.E." for pointing this out)

This is his original version of the song, by the way...

Key Cleaner

Thanks to "BJ" for this one. It's shockingly effective... (Just kidding, kids. Don't try this at home)

Letterman's Last Month

I've been watching David Letterman's show lately, and he's really going out with a bang. His last show is coming soon. It will be on May 20th. Adweek has some details about the upcoming guests...

George Clooney, Billy Crystal, Robert Downey, Jr., Tina Fey, Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Sarah Jessica Parker, Don Rickles, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, John Travolta and Oprah Winfrey are just some of the guests lined up for the final 28 Letterman-hosted shows. Among the musical guests scheduled to perform are Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Mumford and Sons and Tom Waits.

I'm still in denial that we're losing both Jon Stewart and David Letterman in the very near future. Maybe it will help me get to bed sooner.

Lawrence Phillips

The story of Lawrence Phillips just got even worse.

He was a star running back at the University of Nebraska and a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft (by the Rams), but he has been plagued by off-the-field problems his whole adult life. A few years ago he was sentenced to prison for assault. Yesterday he was accused of killing his cellmate.

The Washington Post has the details.

Cumulus Loses Voice-Tracking Battle

This happened the other day, but I was remiss in not reporting it here. From Radio Online...

Close to a dozen current and former employees of WLUP FM 97.9 "The Loop" and WKQX FM 101.1 in Chicago have been awarded back pay dating from last spring to present day after an independent arbitrator ruled against Cumulus Media over the company's use of voice-tracking. The decision follows two days of hearings held last January, instigated by the Chicago local of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the union representing broadcast talent. The primary issue was whether Cumulus had the right to use voice-tracked recordings of air personalities seven days a week or on holidays while paying them only for a standard work week. The arbitrator ultimately ruled that the practice was in violation of the union's contract.

Union victories are so rare these days (the odds are stacked against them), that I felt I had to offer my support. I'm not in this union anymore, but I do support them because of moments like this.

Dan Mason

The president of CBS Radio, Dan Mason, has stepped down after his second stint running the radio division for CBS. The RAMP Newsletter has the details...

He initially served as President of CBS Radio from 1995-2002, where he oversaw the integration of the original CBS, Group W, Infinity Radio and American Radio Systems stations. After a five-year stint as an adviser and consultant to CBS and other companies, Mason returned to CBS Radio in 2007. As Mason's memo concluded, "Most people are lucky enough to have one great run at the helm of an organization -- I've had two. My thanks to Leslie Moonves, who has been so supportive of every new road we traveled down since this extraordinary second time around began for me in 2007. His desire for great content has been an inspiration for all of us and will no doubt continue to be the foundation of the company. Thank you as well for facing every opportunity with optimism and dedicating yourselves to teamwork, excellence and creativity. You have been great colleagues. I look forward to seeing you all grow in the years ahead, adding to a long list of successes."

Mason was running the company when I worked for it in the 90s and early 00s. We only had one experience with him directly. He had been a big fan of Landecker's in the 70s, and when he heard our show in 1996 (when it was in the top 5 in the market), he said he wanted us to play more music. It took us two full years to recover from that terrible advice, because it was doled out as if it was gospel. And it was wrong.

Chicago Radio Ratings

Robert Feder has posted the most recent radio ratings. He lists the top ten in both mornings (led by WBBM) and afternoons (also led by WBBM).

But the big story is that the new country station in town is already beating US-99 in the 25-54 demo. That's the only demo advertisers care about, and that has to be a wakeup call for US-99.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why was Eric Burdon known as The Eggman?

I never heard this story before, but according to this piece, when John Lennon referred to "The Eggman" in the song "I am the Walrus", he was referring to Eric Burdon.

Why? It involved Eric, girls and eggs.

Sounds messy to me.

Leslie Moonves

I'm taking up a collection for the CEO of CBS, Leslie Moonves. In 2013 he was riding high--and pulled in a salary of $66 million.

Last year he had to make do with a salary of only $57.2 million.

That poor bastard.

John Dickerson

CBS didn't waste any time naming the new host of Face the Nation.

Bob Schieffer's replacement will be John Dickerson. Dickerson is a second generation journalist. His mother Nancy was the first female correspondent for CBS.

I Knew It!

Toddler DJ

I thought this was a cool article about a 2-year-old disc jockey in South Africa.

You know what's even cooler? The video at the bottom of the article.

Hillary's Announcement

This is what everyone in the media was breathlessly waiting for. I hope you're sitting down. Hillary is apparently running for president...