Friday, May 08, 2015

Two of Us

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 45 years ago today...

May 8, 1970…The Beatles released "Let It Be," their twelfth and last album of original studio material, although it was actually recorded before the previously released "Abbey Road."

"Let it Be" is one of my five or ten favorite songs of all time, but when I bought the album, this is the song that really spoke to me. I still love it today...

Next Week on Letterman

Check this out. People Magazine just tweeted this info...

On Friday, CBS announced the line-up of guests for next week, a.k.a. the second-to-last week of The Late Show with David Letterman. Oprah, Bill Clinton, George Clooney and Julia Roberts will be among the final guests.

Last night's show had another memorable moment. I did not see this coming...

As the Sumner Turns

We don't hear much anymore from CBS/Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone. He's in his 90s now and he's clearly not in the kind of shape he was in just a few years ago. However...whenever the subject of succession comes up, Sumner hops out of his wheelchair to smack it down. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Sumner Redstone disputes reports of a CBS/Viacom turnover to daughter Shari. Yesterday’s New York Post report that Sumner would “transfer CBS, Viacom control to daughter” spurred this statement – “Decisions about who will succeed me as Chairman of CBS and Viacom will be made by the boards of the respective companies, and not by any individual. Despite press reports to the contrary, such decisions have not yet been made.” No doubt the Post report about 61-year-old daughter Shari likely winning the support of both boards got CBS and Viacom employees digging through the Internet to learn more about her. She’s already on the board of National Amusements, which controls those companies, and the Post quotes a recent Vanity Fair report about what could happen next. Namely, that the two independent directors who will serve on the seven-person board of the National Amusements trust have previously done work for Shari and her mom. The Post says Shari will become “the irrevocable chairman of CBS and Viacom” – and the guessing game is just beginning.

Over the years Sumner has held this over his daughter's head, telling her she could have it, then changing his mind. It's very similar to the dysfunctional Murdoch clan.

The NextRadio App

From Radio Ink...

Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan: "We will be in every smartphone." To date the NextRadio app, which requires no data usage from the listener, has about 2.5 million downloads and Smulyan says the recently launched radio campaign is working and proves radio works. Smulyan has consistently said NextRadio is a game-changer for the industry. He believes it will make radio cool again and bring in new revenue. Currently, Allstate is running a campaign with interactive ads on Nextradio and that's where Smulyan not only believes new revenue will flow into the radio industry, he says it will allow radio to cut back on what many people admit are unlistenably long stopsets.

I hope he's right.

White Sox Radio Rights

This could be weird. The White Sox could end up on WGN. According to Robert Feder this morning, they are in the running...

CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670, radio home of the White Sox since 2006, is making a strong bid for renewal, while Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720 and Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890 also are said to be vying for the rights.

I know this one!

Clark the Mascot stumps all three Final Jeopardy contestants.

Watch it here.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Cavs Domestic Violence Promo

Get it? If your woman is a Bulls fan, throw her on the ground. Wow. Who in the world approved this?

RIP Ty Wansley

Sad news, reported by Robert Feder just minutes ago.

Former Chicago radio personality Ty Wansley has passed away at the age of 63. I interviewed Ty more than twenty years ago when he was teamed up with Ed Vrdolyak at WLS, and then got to know him when we worked together at the old WJJD/WJMK.

Heck of a guy. A true gentleman.

He'll be missed.

Another Surprise Letterman Appearance

This was great...

Bob Uecker Gets Locked in Booth

This could only happen to the funniest man to ever broadcast a baseball game...Bob Uecker.

From the ABC-7 website...(which also has the video)

Brewers broadcaster and funnyman Bob Uecker was locked in the radio booth at Miller Park when the door handle broke during the sixth inning against the Dodgers Wednesday night.

The 80-year-old known for his wit was trapped and, of course, made a joke out of it.

"People who are listening to the ballgame, I know what you're thinking: 'He's ready for the (nursing) home. He's cooked. It's finally happened. He's seeing ladders and doors without handles.'"

When the door wouldn't open from the outside, a long, red ladder was brought to the walkway on the Loge level and an employee climbed through the large front windowless opening of the booth to remove the hinges in the seventh inning.

"Anyone, really, from the concourse could just walk up our ladder," joked Joe Block, Uecker's broadcast partner, who was also locked in.

A Near Skype-tastrophy

Yesterday morning I had a Skype interview scheduled with a behavioral therapist in New York. She wanted to talk to me about my book "Father Knows Nothing", which she said contained lots of parenting wisdom. (Seriously) The interview was scheduled for 9:00am.

At 8:57am, Com Ed knocked on the door and said: "We're shutting down your power for two hours, beginning in three minutes."

"But I have a Skype interview scheduled at 9," I said.

"Not any more, you don't," the Com Ed man said.

And poof. It was gone.

Luckily we rescheduled for this morning and it went very well. She'll be posting the entire interview on her website soon, and I'll share with everyone.

Steve Winwood

For no reason...except I just saw it on Youtube and loved it. Thanks to "RS" for pointing it out to me. I love this song...

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

This day in 1998

17 years ago today I was called into the boss' office along with the rest of our morning show (John Landecker, Vince Argento, Catherine Johns, Tom Sochowski) and told that we were no longer allowed to do anything on the air except play the records. No more interviews, no more remotes, no more bits. Just 10 songs an hour (or more), news/traffic, and generic/inoffensive/brief music-related content. It didn't take a genius to realize our award-winning production staff wasn't going to be needed much longer. So, I took my fellow producers Vince and Tom to the Cubs game, and we drowned our sorrows. Little did we know we were about to witness history. That was the game Kerry Wood struck out 20 men. One of the greatest games of my life was played on one of the worst days of my career. It's funny in retrospect--I barely remember that meeting, but I'll never forget that game.

The Jimmy Butler Show

Something I bet you thought you'd never see...Jimmy singing Taylor Swift.

The Hindenburg

On this day in 1937...

Crawford, Crawford, Crawford

Aren't there rules about derisively chanting someone's name? The Wild fans were doing the mocking "Crawford, Crawford, Crawford" chant while he was shutting them out.

We didn't chant "Darryl, Darryl, Darryl" after Darryl Strawberry homered. Only after he butchered a play in right or struck out.

That's Taunting 101.

Letterman's Ratings Are Up Huge

As he approaches his last show (May 20), people are tuning in bigtime.

His numbers are up 75% from last year.

I missed it last night because I had a meeting, but I'm taping every episode.

Weezie Kramer

My old boss at WJMK (she was briefly the GM there) is now a bigshot. Yesterday she was named the COO of a major broadcasting company, Entercom. From Radio Online...

Entercom announced today the promotion of Louise "Weezie" Kramer to Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Kramer is a media veteran who has been with Entercom since 2000, most recently serving as Station Group President. In this role, she spearheaded the company's reinvention efforts, focusing on enhancing the company's future growth and directly overseeing several of the company's markets. She is also a member of Entercom's Operating Committee and, since 2013, has served as chairperson.

Congrats to Weezie!

I'm like the Professor & Mary Ann

Check out this tweet about the latest episode of Lossano and Friends. I'm the one guest who isn't mentioned ("And more!") Reminds me of the original theme song of Gilligan's Island, which mentions all the characters except the Professor and Mary Ann (it says "and the rest"). Just made me chuckle when I saw it this morning...

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Harry Caray on Letterman Last Night

An unannounced cameo by Harry last night on Letterman's show.

Watch it here.

The president was on after Harry. I'm tellin' ya, if you haven't been watching these last few weeks, you're missing something memorable.

Texas Takeover

Cinco De Mayo

For Cinco de Mayo Just One Bad Century celebrates all the Mexican-born players who have played for the Cubs. Would you believe there were only six of them?

Check it out here.

Somersaulting into home plate

They didn't show this on the broadcast last night...

Merle & Willie

Fascinating watching these two legends working together...

New Pulitzer Chair

The newest chair for the Pulitzer Prize board is Wall Street Journal editorial director Paul Gigot.

On the one hand, Gigot has won a Pulitzer himself. On the other hand, Gigot is a staunchly conservative partisan. Should be interesting to see who gets Pulitzers next year.

Chicago Public Media Leaps Into Mobile With Both Feet

It helps when you a get a $2 million grant from the Pritzker Foundation, but once again Chicago Public Media is leading the way to bring radio into the modern era.

Robert Feder has the details.

Their investment in mobile technology is something that all radio stations will eventually have to do. I'm sure the big corporate giants won't until they absolutely have no other choice, but this is the new reality. It's all got to be easily accessible in that phone in your pocket.

John Landecker & Dylan Gardner

My latest Illinois Entertainer column has been posted. It's about Dylan Gardner and John Landecker, and the unusual bond that ties this teenage rock star with the "don't be nervous, don't be rocky, you're our teenage guest disc jockey" radio legend.

Read it here.

Monday, May 04, 2015

John Oliver on Bud Light

I love the "commercial" at the end of this bit. I couldn't agree more. Literally the worst beer I've ever had.

Kent State

45 years ago today the National Guard shot four student protestors at Kent State University. This Slate piece (from two years ago) is an excellent primer on the story, complete with photographs.

I also interviewed radio personality Mitch Michaels about this once. Mitch was there, and this is how he recalled that day...

I was working for a radio station in Cleveland at the time, as a board op, and doing some stringer reporting for them while I was at school, and the whole weekend before the shooting had been crazy. There were sit-ins and protests, and helicopters hovering, tear gas in the air, and spotlights, it was like a movie set. The protesters burned the ROTC building on Saturday night. The National Guard members were wearing gas masks and were pounding everyone. They couldn’t see anything out of those masks. I had a press pass, and they pounded me too. On Monday I was in the car with my wife on the way to the dentist when I saw all the commotion. Police cars, sirens, people running all over, complete mayhem. I pulled over to the side of the road, locked the door, and told my wife not to move, and I went over to see what was happening. I got there just as they were carrying the girl into the ambulance. It was around 12:30 or so. By 2pm, it was completely deserted. They had closed down the campus and sent everyone home. It was eerie.

Cub Man, Blackhawk Fans

Texas Governor Deploys State Guard To Stave Off Obama Takeover

A sitting governor of a state thinks the president of the United States is trying to take over a state that's already part of the United States.

Like any story, there are two sides to this story. On the one hand, the governor could just be an astoundingly paranoid and stupid dipshit. On the other hand, he could just be catering to his astoundingly paranoid and stupid dipshit voters who actually believe this could be true. There isn't a third hand. The Onion wouldn't have printed this story because it would have been deemed "too ridiculous". It's impossible to satirize the news these days. I can see why Jon Stewart is walking away from it.

RIP Ben E. King

From the RAMP Newsletter...

Ben E. King, the former lead singer of The Drifters and a man whose voice will forever be associated with his iconic solo hit, "Stand By Me," died last Thursday, April 30 in Hackensack, NJ. He was 76. King was born Benjamin Earl Nelson on Sept. 28, 1938, in Henderson, NC and grew up in Harlem, where his father had moved the family when he was a child. He was working in his father's Harlem luncheonette in 1956 when a local impresario, Lover Patterson, overheard him singing to himself and persuaded him to join a group he managed, the Five Crowns. Lightning struck in 1958 when the group, then known as the Crowns, performed at the legendary Apollo Theater on a bill with the original Drifters and attracted the attention of the group's manager, George Treadwell, who also owned the Drifters name. He later fired the Drifters en masse and replaced them with King and three of his fellow singers.

This is the song he will always be remembered for...

$400 Million

That's how much money was pulled in from the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight.

Unbelievable numbers.

I didn't watch it. I think a few centuries from now people will look back at things like boxing and that ridiculous extreme fighting in the same way we look back at gladiators today. "Wait a second, people paid money to watch men punch each other in the face hoping to knock the other person out cold?"

But I know my opinion is not in the mainstream on this one.

Funniest Video I've Ever Seen

My boys and I have watched this video a dozen times over the weekend. We had to wipe tears out of our eyes from laughing so hard.

Clark Weber in the Hall of Fame

He's one of the most legendary Chicago radio personalities of all time, and the Illinois Hall of Fame is finally honoring him as such. Robert Feder has the details.

The surprising thing in the article to me, is that Clark has announced he's retiring. It sounds like he's really walking away from all of it. From Feder's piece...

Weber said his last radio interview will be May 19 with midday hosts Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano on Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720. His last speaking appearance will be May 22 at Chestnut Square Retirement Community in Glenview. Then he’ll take one last bow at his June 16 Hall of Fame induction.

I worked in the same hallway as Clark for several years when I was with John Landecker's show at WJMK and Clark was hosting the morning show at WJJD. I always enjoyed chatting with him. He has some incredible stories. If you ever get a chance to read his book, there are a bunch of stories in there.

He told some more (including the story of introducing the Beatles at Comiskey Park) when I interviewed him a few years ago for Chicago Radio Spotlight.

Sunday, May 03, 2015