Friday, August 12, 2016

Minutia Men, Episode 15

Rick and Dave discuss flipping off Dad, the Beatles and Sky, Young blood for old men, the Cubs celebrating VJ Day, and Rick's brush with Sam Kinison.

Listen to it here.

Around the Publishing World (August 12)

At Chicago Author Solutions (a division of Eckhartz Press), we stay on top of happenings/trends in the publishing world to help out busy writers who are spending their time doing what they should be doing: writing.

1. Writing tips from....Charles Darwin?
He didn't exactly write tips for fellow writers, but examining how he wrote is quite illuminating.

2. Eight writing tips from Ernest Hemingway
These are actual writer-to-writer tips from Poppy. I've used at least one of these tips since I began writing full time about fifteen years ago.

3. Five writing tips from author Donald Ray Pollock
Pollock's tips are really more for getting the idea flow going.

4. Writing tips from author Tim Lebbon
Some of these tips are a little on the "duh" side ("Work hard"), but they are still worth a read.

5. Five tips from literary agent Carly Watters
These aren't writing tips as much as they are pitching tips. If you still want to go the traditional publishing route, it's worth a read.

6. Ten tips for finding inspiration when you don't feel like writing
Always useful to keep an article like this lying around. There will come a time when you need it.

7. In Small Boxes Launch Party
We had a great launch party for the latest Eckhartz Press book, In Small Boxes, this week. If you'd like to see some photos, click on the link.

Interesting First Amendment Issue

One of the main tenets of journalism is that journalists do not have to reveal their sources. That's necessary to keep a free and open press. On the other hand, there's Glenn Beck. From today's NOW column...

Judge orders Glenn Beck to reveal sources for his Boston Marathon bombing comments. Beck repeatedly said on his Premiere Networks show that Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi was “the money man” involved in the horrific attacks at the April 2013 Boston Marathon. Alharbi is suing Beck, his and Premiere for defamation, since he says Beck kept up his line of commentary even after the feds cleared him. (In fact Alharbi was injured, standing in the crowd at the finish line.) Politico reports that the judge in the case realizes there’s a First Amendment question about forcing the naming of sources. But she cites “vague and often contradictory” testimony from Beck and two former associates about the alleged Department of Homeland Security sources of the claim. The next move is up to Beck.

I'm not sure where I come down on this one. I'm normally on the side of journalists, but Glenn Beck is a bomb thrower who makes insinuations--often without actual proof. I suspect in this case there is no source at all, and that's what the judge is attempting to prove.

Still Reading It

I must admit I get a kick out of it when my mailbox includes unsolicited e-mails like these two. They came on the same day...

From "BDH"...

"Just for the record, Rick, as a fellow-radio-producer, I really appreciated your book. It has a home on my bookshelf of radio books I've pored over during the years. Just know you have a fan."

From "TR"...

"Hey Rick shuffling thru stuff at my house Thur evening came across Severance. Remembered how much I enjoyed it. Cracked it open and read it again.Thanks for reminding me how fucked up my business is. Love it. Thanks for writing it."

The Radio Producer's Handbook came out in 2004, and $everance came out in 2007. I love that people are still reading them.

Paul McCartney in Rolling Stone

Great interview with Paul McCartney in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.

I don't know how he does it, but he manages to find new stories to tell in every interview--even though he might be the most interviewed person in history.

Here's my favorite part, and the reason why I'll never approach him if I happen to see him in a restaurant...

You would get fans who'd want something and you'd go, "No, I'm sorry. I'm eating dinner. You've got to go away." They'd go, "Well, we buy your records." We said, "Stop buying them, if that's the trade-off." We were always like that, Ringo more than anyone. They would come to his house, and he'd go, "Fuck off" and slam the door. He would not have any of it. You have to draw the line. Or your sanity goes.


Indiana Republican lawmaker Jud McMillan was one of the sponsors of the state's controversial Gay marriage statutes. He is a firm believer that marriage is between one man and one woman.

And then he accidentally sent a video of himself having sex with a woman that wasn't his EVERYONE ON HIS CONTACT LIST.


He was forced to resign.

Either Gomer or Goober

I want to hire the witness in this news story for my Andy Griffith Show reboot...

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Someone figured out the Cubs magic number to clinch the NL Central. It's 38.

New US-99 morning show

Would you believe it's Stylz and Roman?

Yes, the same Stylz and Roman that has been on B-96 the past 12 years.

Okey doke.

Straightjacket time

From the Hugh Hewitt show today...

HEWITT: Last night you said that the president was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant, you meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.

TRUMP: No, I meant that he's the founder of ISIS, I do. He was the most valuable player. I gave him the most valuable player award. I give her too, by the way.

HEWITT: But he's not sympathetic to them. He hates them; he's trying to kill them.

TRUMP: He was the found, his -- the way he got out of Iraq was the founding of ISIS.

HEWITT: By using the term "founder," they're hitting you on this again. Mistake?

TRUMP: No, it's no mistake. Everyone's liking it. I think they're liking it.

Hoo boy. He's clinically nuts now.

Book Launch Party: In Small Boxes

Had a great time at the book launch party of Ann Wilson's book "in Small Boxes". Ann Reich Wilson was a rock star. The line was all the way out the door, and we nearly sold out! Congrats to Ann and her great family.

In Small Boxes, of course, is available at Eckhartz Press.

RIP John Saunders

Sad day at ESPN yesterday. Their classy anchorman/reporter/announcer John Saunders passed away suddenly at the age of 61. The staff at ESPN was stunned--and paid tribute to him all day yesterday.

Today, the great sportswriter John Feinstein wrote about him. I particularly like this portion of his column...

If I’ve figured one thing out during all the years I’ve worked in journalism, it is that those who are the best at what they do rarely need to be told, or tell others, just how good they are.

They just know.

John Saunders, who died suddenly and shockingly Wednesday at the age of 61, was one of those people.

Pat Colander

Congrats to Eckhartz Press author Pat Colander for her mention in the current edition of Literary License, the magazine for the Society of Midland Authors. We are indeed very literary.

You can read it on pages 1 & 6 here.

Also, Pat will be appearing on September 2nd. Join us for biggest Labor Day Celebration ever on Lake Street in Miller. Great food (Miller Bakery Cafe), great art (Martin Gardner Center), great beer (18th Street Brewery) great books (Lake St. Gallery--Pat will be signing there--it's in Gary, In on 613 S Lake St) and great fun!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Come on out to Lagrange!

I'll be there tonight along with my co-publisher David Stern for the book release party of our latest book "In Small Boxes" by Ann Wilson. Come on out and say hi!

John Oliver Explains News Gathering

This is really well done. It was one of the subjects of my novel $everance, but Oliver does in 19 minutes what it took me a whole book to do...

The Great Mike Lukovich

Thanks to "DL" for pointing this one out...

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

There is no bottom

For those of you who think he can't possibly go any lower. Sorry, there is no bottom.

Dobie Maxwell on the South Side of Chicago


Another Roger Ailes Accuser

This accuser is one of the most respected producers in the business, and she thought it had only happened to her. Shelley Ross wrote about it in the Daily Beast. She was a segment producer at NBC when it occurred, and he was her potential boss...

“When did you first discover you were sexy?” Roger began. My head suddenly dropped like a marionette and I could no longer make eye contact.

I could only manage to stare at my feet as I answered, “I am finding this conversation very embarrassing.”

I thought and hoped that would be it. He sent his signal. I sent mine back, I believed clear enough but allowing for no hurt feelings or bruised ego. Maybe he would try one more line—then, incident over.
 But that’s not what happened.

Roger was very persistent as he continued to explain how much he believed in loyalty and how much he believed the best expression of that loyalty comes in the form of a “sexual alliance.”

This was not a romantic or flirtatious conversation.

Susan Collins

Bad day for Donald Trump yesterday. A letter signed by 50 Republican National Defense bigwigs was published, saying in very strong terms that Trump was not qualified to be president.

Then last night, Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine, who isn't even running for office this year, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post saying she wouldn't be voting for Trump. Here's the final paragraph...

I am also deeply concerned that Mr. Trump’s lack of self-restraint and his barrage of ill-informed comments would make an already perilous world even more so. It is reckless for a presidential candidate to publicly raise doubts about honoring treaty commitments with our allies. Mr. Trump’s tendency to lash out when challenged further escalates the possibility of disputes spinning dangerously out of control.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. You may think both candidates are terrible choices this year, but it's really not a tough decision at all to pick which one is worse.

The Beatles Love Sky

Sky Daniels was an icon in Chicago during his days at the old black-t-shirt Loop days. For the past several years he's been programming a not-for-profit station in Los Angeles. Among his fans, both remaining Beatles. Not kidding. From today's RAMP newsletter...

Back in March of 2014 we told you that Sky Daniels, PD/GM of listener-supported KCSN/Los Angeles had experienced one of the coolest moments of his life when Paul McCartney called to personally thank him for playing his new music. Sir Paul was in L.A. shooting a video for "Early Days" and learned that KCSN was an active supporter of McCartney's album, New. McCartney asked how he could contact the station to say thanks. "Paul's call was so thoughtful, I found myself fighting back tears," Daniels told Billboard. "He told us how his friends loved the station, and that KCSN was playing a number of songs from New and he simply wanted to say thanks." Paul's call turned into an amazing hour-long interview.

Now comes word that the other surviving Beatle, Ringo Starr is also singing the praises of KCSN. In the new issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Lucas Shaw chatted with Starr on a wide variety of subjects, including the Beatles being late to streaming, Britain's recent vote to leave the EU, and much more. When asked how he listened to music, Starr said, "At home, I do it all. I love iTunes. Though the Beatles are streaming now and have had a billion streams, I haven’t actually done it myself. If I'm in the car, I usually listen to the radio, 88.5 Northridge [KCSN-FM, operated by California State University at Northridge]. I just love that channel, because it's such a mixed bag."

That's about as cool as it gets. Congrats to Sky.

US-99 Rebranding

Ray Stevens is gone. Lisa Dent is gone. Night jock Jax is gone. And now, so is the slogan and the approach.

They are now known as "US 99 Chicago’s Hottest Country" and they're going for the younger audience. The program director told Robert Feder that “everything must pass the filter of what’s hot.”

This is, of course, a reaction to the ratings success of their competitor Big 95.5, which has been nipping at their heels. I'm not a country fan (although it is growing on me), and I'm not in the demo, but I've seen moves like this before and they rarely work out. It smells of desperation.

Zander Moves On To Rockford

I met Mark Zander when he was the overnight jock at the Loop about 13 years ago. He has since moved into the programming world, and his next stop will be Rockford. From Radio Insight...

Midwest Family Broadcasting Rock "104.9 The X" WXRX Belvidere/Rockford IL has named Mark Zander as their new Program Director/Morning Host. Zander joins WXRX from Hubbard Classic Rock "97.1 The Drive" WDRV Chicago where he was currently serving as a weekend and fill-in host. He has previously programmed Weigel Soft AC "87.7 MeTV-FM" WRME-LP Chicago and Digity's Classic Hits "95.9 The River" WERV Aurora and Rock "100.7 Q-Rock" WRXQ Coal City IL.

Olympic Swimmer, Cub Fan

When you watch Connor Dwyer in the Olympics, don't forget you're not just watching a Chicago native. You're watching a Cubs fan...

Tee Hee

German field hockey players at the Olympics. Thanks to "MK" for sending me this.