Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Back after July 4th holiday

I'll be out of the office for the next few weeks, but the beat goes on at my various different ventures.


Eckhartz Press has at least six books in the pipeline for this summer. A few will be coming out on e-book in the coming weeks and a few brand new paperbacks will be coming out soon. My co-publisher Mr. Stern will keep everyone apprised of the new stuff via facebook, twitter, and the eckhartzpress website.


Just One Bad Century
will continue to update new content every day; this week in Wrigley history, Cubs birthdays, historical events, and more. If you're a Cubs geek and you don't like JOBC, I worry about your true Cub-geek-ness.




My regular Illinois Entertainer column will come out on July 1st. This month I interviewed a former Chicago radio pro who is now mentoring and teaching the next generation of broadcasters. Don't laugh. There is a next generation. It's an uplifting interview.




Episode 55 of Minutia Men will come out on Thursday June 15th. Dave and I will discuss where I am, Canadian duels, an eating and drinking history of the Netherlands, Jenkins at the funeral home, the worst trade in Cubs history, and my brush with Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards. Episode 56 won't air until July.





Hope everyone has a great couple of weeks!

Your pal,
Rick


An Ode to Prog Rock

I always had a soft spot for the 1970s progressive rock movement. It made me feel like we were headed to a higher, grander style of music. Turns out we never quite got there.

The New Yorker has a great piece about this movement today.
It appears the kids are now discovering it. I know my oldest son loves it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

As the Sumner Turns

This is the lawsuit that just won't go away for CBS/Viacom chairman/vegetable Sumner Redstone. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Sumner Redstone’s love-life is back in the courts. So are his finances, because the man who’s still the controlling shareholder in CBS and Viacom allegedly gave tens of millions of dollars to his romantic companions, before they were ousted from his estate. Sumner later sued two of them to recover the money. Turns out we haven’t heard the last of gal-pal Sydney Holland. Bloomberg says “A Los Angeles judge on Monday refused to dismiss her complaint that [Sumner’s daughter Shari] secretly paid her father’s staff to dig up confidential information” to use against Holland. Sydney wants “about half of Sumner’s liquid assets” in the California-sanctioned category of palimony. That could be 1% or 2% of $5 billion. Shari Redstone wanted the new Sydney Holland suit to be dismissed – but the judge didn’t see it that way.

Well that's gonna be a leverage killer


Eric and Kathy fans know that Kathy has been off the air for a while now embroiled in some sort of dispute. The ratings news that came out yesterday (Robert Feder reports) probably isn't going to help her if she was looking for leverage.

The show remains #1 in Chicago, even without her.

Eckhartz Press Signs Mitch Michaels

This is what I was doing yesterday...

Four Wrigley backdrop
Photo: (left to right) Author Ken Churilla, Mitch Michaels, Eckhartz Press Co-founder & Publisher David Stern, Eckhartz Press Co-founder & Publisher Rick Kaempfer

For immediate release:
June 12, 2017 (Chicago)

High atop the city on the rooftop of LondonHouse Chicago, legendary Chicago DJ Mitch Michaels and Chicago based book publisher Eckhartz Press came together on an agreement to release Michaels’ book Doin’ The Cruise: Memories of a Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll.

Michaels, a radio disc jockey since 1969 and in Chicago since 1971 is synonymous with rock & roll to generations of Chicago rock fans. Michaels career has included stints on nearly all of Chicago’s biggest rock stations including WLUP, WCKG, WKQX, WXRT, WDAI, CD 94.7 and now as afternoon drive host on 95.9 WERV-FM ‘The River’

Michaels book Doin’ The Cruise: Memories of a Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll is a memoir tell all that delves into his great personal rock and roll stories including the direct impact he had on Rod Stewart’s career, his place in the infamous Disco Demolition, Studio Jams from Mantra Studios, and his personal dealings with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry to breathe life into a lagging Who concert promotion at the Chicago Stadium. Michaels also sheds light on his life outside of radio as well including his successful (and then failed) boutique retail operation, his family life including his marriages, children and the untimely passing of his son.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this book,” said Michaels. “I’ve been rocking in this town since the early 70’s and I've got some stories you wouldn’t believe…but they’re true!”

"I grew up listening to Mitch on the Loop," Eckhartz Press' Rick Kaempfer said. "If you would have told the high school me in 1980 that I'd one day publish the books of my radio heroes (Mitch Michaels, John Records Landecker, Bobby Skafish), I never would have believed it."

Doin’ The Cruise: Memories of a Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll is slated to be released on September 5th, 2017 and published by Eckhartz Press. The book was written with Chicago-based author / noted music journalist Ken Churilla. This is Churilla’s second book.

Cover - ROUGH

Monday, June 12, 2017

RIP Adam West

The former star of Batman died over the weekend. I loved that show. I loved the crash, boom, pows. I loved the batmobile. I loved the celebs looking out the window. Julie Newmar as the Catwoman was the first girl that made me tingle a bit. And I loved the vivid colors. It was the first show that really made me want to get a color television.

I met Adam West a few times in my radio career and told him that. He wasn't impressed. Oh well. His legacy remains...

Farewell to Coaching

Yesterday was my last official day as the soccer coach for my son's team, after seven years at the helm. My fellow coach and I Adam Howarth have one last job with this team. We are taking them to Europe on Wednesday for a two week soccer-playing tour of Holland and Germany.

I must admit, I got a little verklempt when the boys gave us this going away gift...

JRL in Union, IL

Had a great time in Union Illinois on Saturday with John Records Landecker. We were at a phonograph show, and selling some books.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Big Win for US Soccer

The next game will be tougher (vs. Mexico in Mexico)...

Cubs Issues

This 2017 season is starting to feel like a repeat of the 1985 season. That year the entire Cubs pitching staff, which had led them to the brink of the World Series in 1984, went down with injuries.

The second Cubs starter went down this week. Kyle Hendricks is on the DL.

But more disturbingly, Addison Russell has been placed on leave, after being accused of domestic violence. MLB is investigating.

Not good.

On the other hand, this was a touching moment last night...

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 54

EP54 – Rick and Dave discuss embarrassing misspelled searches, a man truly committed to mowing his lawn, Jenkins shutting down an airline, and Rick’s brush with Charlton Heston.

You can listen to it here.

Is there something on TV today?

Hunkering down for a little daytime TV.

When the Watergate hearings were happening, I was mostly ticked off because they interupted my Dick Van Dyke show reruns.

This time I have a box of popcorn.

JRL in Union, IL

This Saturday from 10am-4pm as part of the 42nd Annual Phonograph & Vintage Music Show, 8512 S. Union Road, Union IL, 815-923-7000.

Dave and I will be there too.

Mark Gelinas on HLN

Eckhartz Press' very own Mark Gelinas on national television...

Another one out of middle school

We took him out for ice cream after the ceremony...

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Graduation Day


Son #3 is graduating from 8th grade today.

Back to blogging tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

John Landecker in Union, Illinois

This Saturday beginning at 10am, I'll be joining John Landecker in Union, IL for a phonograph & vintage music show. Should be a great time. John will be signing and selling copies of his book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"

Details about the show are right here.

This is an area we've never gone before, so any of those Landecker fans in that general vicinity should come on out! A good time will be had by all. John is bringing some of his own personal records to sign as well.

John Williams Back in Chicago Full Time

From this morning's NOW Newsletter...

John Williams has had one foot frozen in Minneapolis and the other one planted in Chicago, but now he’s leaving the Twin Cities – and its reticent listeners. The talk-host tells the Star Tribune that Chicago audiences – like the ones he’s entertained on Tribune’s talk WGN/720 – “are much more forward. They tell you what they think.” While Minnesotans “are more inclined to text or tell you what they feel at a cocktail party.” He says getting listeners of CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO/830 to call in and voice opinions “always felt like an uphill battle.” John just did his last 3pm-6pm show for ’CCO last Friday, and is moving to Chicago where he’s got family. He’d been originating a Saturday morning show for WGN after moving to the Twin Cities, and in recent months he’s also created a 1pm-3pm weekday show for WGN – followed by that three hours on WCCO. Doing two markets every day, he says, is “not good for your mental health.” He started offering $50 to a caller’s favorite charity if they caught him using the wrong call letters.

Cumulus Wants No Dickey

The people who run Cumulus broadcasting have noticed that their former chairman has been slowly amassing a war chest of cash, and they are getting nervous. From this morning's Inside Radio...

The plan includes what’s known as a “poison pill” which would automatically be triggered if someone buys more than 4.9% of the company’s stock on the open market. It comes as former chief executive Lew Dickey’s newly created Modern Media has amassed a $207 million war chest seeking acquisition targets.

Once activated, Cumulus’ poison pill would award shareholders with incremental shares of stock or give them the option to buy shares at a significant discount if the company becomes a takeover target. Either action would effectively dilute the acquirer’s position to 50% or less of what they’ve acquired.

Dickey may be the founder of Cumulus, but there's a good reason he was forced out. Many people believe he is the biggest reason the company stock is now less than a dollar a share.

Must See-TV

How big is this Jim Comey testimony on Thursday?

The networks are covering it live. It could be several hours of no ads. That's how big it is.

ABC, CBS, CSPAN, and all three cable news channels will be covering this sucker.

The question is this: Will the president be live tweeting it, or will his staff succeed in hiding his phone from him?

Monday, June 05, 2017

RIP Jimmy Piersall

Cubs coaches recall working with Jimmy, who passed away this weekend.

I told my brush with Jimmy in a previous episode of Minutia Men. You can listen to that here.

Jimmy was immortalized in film by Anthony Perkins in "Fear Strikes Out"...

Bill Maher

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like Bill Maher if I got to know him better. I met him once, and it didn't go well. On the other hand, I do watch his show every week and think he does provide a valuable service. He is an unwavering liberal, as aggressive in his beliefs as the standard conservative is on his or her side.

But this weekend I did cringe when he flopped out the "N" word, trying to make a joke about himself. First of all, the joke wasn't funny. Secondly, that's a word that should just be dropped into the bins of history.

To his credit, Maher did something the day after that he never does. He apologized.

Somebody is actually hiring

From Tom Taylor's NOW column this morning...

They’re hiring, at Chicago Public Media’s not-for-profit news/talk WBEZ Chicago/91.5 – “a dozen reporters, editors, producers and hosts,” says media blogger Robert Feder. The newsroom’s already at 56 people and CEO/President Goli Sheikholeslami aims to take that number “to 68 by December and to 90 by 2020.” With Chicago’s two daily newspapers perhaps merging and Tribune Media apparently going to Sinclair Broadcasting, the CEO says there’s more need for independent media – like WBEZ.

The World Series Ring

At a charity event this past weekend I got a chance to wear a Chicago Cubs World Series ring. it belonged to the Cubs trainer, who was kind enough to let me wear it. We might have gotten a little carried away...


Friday, June 02, 2017

If the President can do it...

...so can I.

No blogging today. I'm conducting business.

I am technically the president and co-publisher of Eckhartz Press. The other guys I'm golfing with could be heads of state. You'll never know. There's a media blackout.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Nigeria, Hello

In my instant messenger box this morning, a note from Nigeria...

Good morning sir,actually I see it as an honour and privelege coming in touch with you sir,on the platform,although sir,I read about you,while looking for great authors in my career of which the books,could make a great impact in my life & generally,in the practice of the profession. I am ige olalekan by name, student "nigerian institute of public relations" but now building career in broadcasting of which based on my passion for content development,I came across the name of your book"The radio producer's handbook" of which based on your wealth of experience will go a long way to improve my skills, & have in positive impact in terms of broad thinking, exposure & viewing things from the perspective of a professional.

That's not the sort of message I receive every day, needless to say.

Minutia Men, Episode 53


EP53 – Rick and Dave discuss fasting, 20th century comedy gems from Dave, another crazy story from Florida, Every Cub Ever with the letter U, and Rick’s brush with actor William Petersen.

Listen to it here.

Bonus Father Knows Nothing: The Emergency Room




My fifth book "Father Knows Nothing" has become a bit of a seasonal choice. When Father's Day rolls around, we know to be stocked up on books. This year I thought I'd feature a few of the outtakes from the book. I wrote the column for nine years, so there are lots of them that didn't make the final copy of the book, including a few of my favorites.

This one goes back to 2006. It was the second Father Knows Nothing column ever.





I always thought Emergency Rooms were supposed to be scary. They certainly seemed scary to me when I was a kid. We used to go there as a family to wait for my little brother while he was being stitched up every month or so. The waiting room was uncomfortable. Sick and injured people moaned in pain and dripped blood on the floor. Nurses and doctors came running in and out. Monitors beeped. Ambulance alarms whirred. And everyone waited for hours.

That’s what I was expecting the first time I accompanied Tommy to the Emergency Room to get stitches. He was eight years old at the time and had a very deep cut in his chin. I tried to prepare him emotionally for the whole Emergency Room experience, but he looked at me like I was crazy. He had been there a few times before with his mother and wasn’t concerned in the slightest. I gave him a comforting hug.

“You are so brave,” I said. “I’m so proud of you.”

He actually rolled his eyes. That choked me up. This kid was like one of those cowboys in the old time Westerns. His eyes were saying…“It’s just a flesh wound, Hoss; let me dig out the bullet in peace. Now go out there and keep them rustlers away from our herd.”

He was still nonchalant when we walked into the Emergency Room and awaited our turn with the triage nurse. He made small talk with her, wincing only slightly when she looked at the gash on his chin.

“Does it hurt?” she asked.

“A little,” he said.

“A little?” I thought to myself. “That thing is going to need ten stitches.”

“It’s a pretty big cut,” she said, “but we’ll take care of it for you.”

“Are we going back there?” he asked, pointing to the door behind her.

She nodded.

Uh oh, I thought. Here it comes. Now he’s going to remember what happens behind those doors; the needles, the prodding, the pain. I prepared for the hysterical reaction. I saw how he behaved when some small thing went wrong, like his macaroni touching the vegetables on his dinner plate, and could only imagine what was coming. I hunkered down for the fit of all fits.

“Follow me,” she said.

We followed her through the door to the kid’s section of the Emergency Room. Suffice it to say, it has changed a little over the past thirty years. The colorful walls were painted with cartoon fish. The gigantic fish tank contained a rainbow of tropical fish worthy of the Shedd Aquarium. It was like walking onto the set of “Finding Nemo.”

When they opened the curtain to his room, he was actually excited. He jumped onto the bed, pressed the buttons to raise it to the level he preferred, adjusted the television to the proper angle, and began changing channels. While the nurse put the numbing agent on his chin, he was watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon on the Cartoon Network.

“Do you have any video games?” he asked.

I was about to chastise him for his prima-donna demands when the nurse surprised me.

“Sure,” she said. “What kind of video games do you like?”

“Do you have Super Mario Brothers?” he asked.

“I’ll go get it,” she said, and walked out of the room before I could even utter a response. My boy looked up at me and smiled.

“Dad,” he said, “You’re gonna love this one.”

I’ll admit it. I found myself watching him progress through the levels of the video game instead of watching the doctor stitch up his chin. When the stitching was done, the doctor told us it was OK to leave.

“After this next level,” Tommy said.

She smiled and said, “I’m sorry, but we need the bed.”

My son started to get upset, so I put my hand on his shoulder to comfort him.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “I’m sure you’ll injure yourself again. We’ll be back.”

“You promise, Dad?” he asked.

“I promise,” I said.


Father Knows Nothing makes a perfect Father's Day gift, particularly for new dads, or fathers of boys. You can order the hard copy here at Eckhartz Press for only $10, and the e-book here at amazon.com

Larz Signs Off

After 12 years of covering the local Chicago media scene, Chicagoland Radio & Media moderator Larz is pulling the plug on his website.

This is his farewell note to his readers.


There was a time when I read that site daily because he always stayed on top of the local media news. His absence leaves a big hole in the local coverage.

Larz was always kind to me. He posted all of my media interviews on his site. He reviewed all of the media books released by Eckhartz Press, and he gave a wonderful review to my first novel "$everance".

I sent him a note this morning wishing him the best. That site will be missed by the dwindling number of media geeks like me.

The Daily Show Tackles Covfefe

Ryan Arnold


My latest Illinois Entertainer article is out.

This month I interviewed WXRT night jock Ryan Arnold...a man that was destined to work at WXRT.

Read it here.

Wonder Woman Banned in Lebanon

The government banned the movie because the star is Israeli, and had served in the military, and because Lebanon is at war with Israel.

On the other hand, she has an invisible plane. And that awesome golden lasso.

My money's on Wonder Woman.

Kathy Griffin Steps In It

One measly photo shoot with a severed Donald Trump head, and whammo. She's been fired by CNN and lost her endorsement deal with Squatty Potty.

That seems to be an appropriate move, if you ask me. What on earth was she thinking?

Cable News Ratings

With as powerful as Fox News was just a year ago, and how weak MSNBC was, it's hard to believe it's come to this.

For the May 2017 Ratings Sweep, MSNBC has beaten both Fox News and CNN. That's the first time since September 2000.

That's also a ratings increase of 105% over this time last year. The Apprentice may no longer be on the air, but Donald Trump is still making money for NBC.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bonus Father Knows Nothing: My Un-impressible Family




My fifth book "Father Knows Nothing" has become a bit of a seasonal choice. When Father's Day rolls around, we know to be stocked up on books. This year I thought I'd feature a few of the outtakes from the book. I wrote the column for nine years, so there are lots of them that didn't make the final copy of the book, including a few of my favorites.

This one goes back to 2011, right after my novel "The Living Wills" came out.





My kids never tire of hearing stories about my childhood, but there is one thing they will never ask me about under any circumstances.

My career.

They just don't care. I can understand that on a certain level. My own father was an engineer, and I remember that after I discovered he wasn't a train engineer...he was just a civil engineer...his job didn't interest me in the slightest. Even when I attended a school that he had personally designed (Heidelberg American Middle School), I wasn't impressed. I remember telling him: "The hallways are a little confusing."

So, I suppose it's only fair that my own kids are similarly unimpressed with my career. When they were little, I worked in radio. My two oldest sons Tommy and Johnny were even featured on the show quite a bit. But I remember their reaction one time when a stranger was impressed by meeting them because he had heard them talking on the radio.

They thought the guy was nuts.

When this fan asked Tommy what it was like hanging out with a famous disc jockey like John Records Landecker, he just shrugged his shoulders. So did Johnny. To them, John was just one of Dad's friends. No big deal. And being on the radio was also no big deal. It's just a bunch of people sitting in a room with microphones.

When my first book came out, I gave an autographed copy to my oldest son. He put it in the closet. When my first novel came out two years later, I gave copies to all three boys. Two of them have no idea where their copies are now. When my most recent novel came out, none of the boys wanted a copy. None of them even asked me what it's about.

But when that book came out, I did something that I thought might actually interest them: I was interviewed by WGN Television.

I mentioned it to the boys at breakfast that morning as I put on my suit.

"Is it going to be on the Internet?" Sean asked.

"I'm not sure," I said. "I hope so. If not, I can probably post it on YouTube."

"Do you know how to do that?" Tommy asked.

"No. Do you?"

He just shook his head and continued eating his waffles. No follow up questions. Not the slightest bit of interest. After they came home from school I asked them if they wanted to watch the interview. All three of them said no. Bridget, to her credit, actually did want to see it when she came home from work. I even heard her guilting the boys into watching it too. Only two of them were moved by her techniques; Tommy and Sean. Johnny still didn't care. He stayed in his room reading Captain Underpants.

The rest of us watched the segment together. After it was over, Tommy said: "That's it?"

"Yup," I replied.

Sean didn't say a word, he just walked away. Bridget said: "That was pretty good, but..."

"What?"

"You were a little slouchy."

Gotcha.

I must say, there's very little chance of getting a big head in this household. I suppose that's probably for the best. But I also have a pretty good idea now how my Dad felt when I told him the hallways in his school were a little confusing.

Father Knows Nothing makes a perfect Father's Day gift, particularly for new dads, or fathers of boys. You can order the hard copy here at Eckhartz Press for only $10, and the e-book here at amazon.com

Someone Fell Asleep While Tweeting Last Night

Guess who?

The tweet is here.

It's getting ripped mercilessly on Twitter today.

Scott Pelley Out As CBS Anchor

This had been rumored for awhile because of his low ratings, but Scott Pelley has officially been removed as the nightly anchor of CBS News.

The New York Post has the details. According to them, his office was cleared out while he was on assignment for 60 Minutes yesterday.

Ah, the media business. Not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Literary Takedown

I've seen quite a few pieces that take down the president, but this is without question, the sharpest. It's written for Literary Hub by Rebeccah Solnit, and her literary knife cuts deep...

The man in the white house sits, naked and obscene, a pustule of ego, in the harsh light, a man whose grasp exceeded his understanding, because his understanding was dulled by indulgence. He must know somewhere below the surface he skates on that he has destroyed his image, and like Dorian Gray before him, will be devoured by his own corrosion in due time too. One way or another this will kill him, though he may drag down millions with him. One way or another, he knows he has stepped off a cliff, pronounced himself king of the air, and is in freefall. Another dungheap awaits his landing; the dung is all his; when he plunges into it he will be, at last, a self-made man.

Yowza. That's gonna leave a mark.

Bonus Father Knows Nothing Column: The Tooth Fairy




My fifth book "Father Knows Nothing" has become a bit of a seasonal choice. When Father's Day rolls around, we know to be stocked up on books. This year I thought I'd feature a few of the outtakes from the book. I wrote the column for nine years, so there are lots of them that didn't make the final copy of the book, including a few of my favorites.

This one goes back to 2007. My youngest son Sean was five years old at the time...






Sean had been harboring some suspicions about whether or not the tooth fairy really existed.

“Dad,” he said, totally seriously, “I noticed that your pile of gold dollars is gone. What happened to it?”

“We spent them all,” I said, truthfully.

“So, we have ZERO gold dollars in this house right now?”

“That’s right.”

“And the banks are closed, right?”

“Right.”

“Well,” he said, exposing his smile, and pointing to the new hole where a tooth had just come out, “I guess we’re finally going to find out the truth tonight.”

“The truth about what?” I asked.

“The tooth fairy.”

“How?”

“Well,” he reasoned, “Every other time the tooth fairy has come, there was a pile of gold dollars in the kitchen. How could I know for sure if it was really the tooth fairy leaving me a gold dollar, or if it was YOU!”

He pointed as he accused.

“Me? What am I going to do with a used tooth?”

“I don’t know,” he said, his finger still pointing. “But I’ve got my eye on you. Now that I know you don’t have any gold dollars in the house, and that the bank is closed so you can’t get any more, I’ll know. If I wake up in the morning and a gold dollar is there, the tooth fairy is real. I’ll let my friends know. We’ve been talking about it at school.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I said.

The next morning he came to the breakfast table with his toothless grin. “Dad,” he said. “I want you to swear on the Bible that you didn’t go to the bank last night and get some more gold dollars.”

“I swear,” I answered truthfully. “The bank was closed.”

“Then we have our answer,” he said. “The tooth fairy is real.”

When his big brothers rolled their eyes, he pounced. “It’s true! There’s no way Mom or Dad could have gotten a gold coin under my pillow because they don’t even have gold coins in the house right now. There’s no question about it. The tooth fairy is real. Right, Dad?”

“Sounds like you’ve got some pretty airtight evidence there,” I said.

Sean looked me right in the eye. “You know, Dad, I’m going to tell my friends that this is true now. Is there anything else you’d like to say to me before I go to school? One last chance?”

It took all of my earthly restraint not to smile. He was letting me know in no uncertain terms that his credibility was at stake here, and he’d never forgive me if I led him astray.
What would you have done?

I just smiled, patted him on the head, and walked away.


Father Knows Nothing makes a perfect Father's Day gift, particularly for new dads, or fathers of boys. You can order the hard copy here at Eckhartz Press for only $10, and the e-book here at amazon.com

Biondi on the Mend

Robert Feder posted this piece over the weekend about Dick Biondi. Dick has been notably absent from the airwaves of WLS-FM for the past few weeks, and his fans are concerned about him.

He released a statement saying that he is on the mend and itching to get back to work.

Read the article here.


(Photo: Dick and I on the air together back in 2014 on an episode of "Lossano And Friends")

RIP Frank Deford

He was one of the great sportswriters of his generation, but he was much more than that. Frank Deford also provided more than a thousand commentaries to NPR. He passed away this weekend at the age of 79. NPR eulogized him yesterday...
And so what began as a brief gig in 1980 became a deep and lasting relationship with NPR's listeners. Each week, he would voice opinions both creative and controversial, references to Shakespeare and scathing takedowns — not just of commissioners but even occasionally entire sports, as some ice hockey and soccer fans may still remind you.

His body of work on NPR — as well as in Sports Illustrated, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and 20 books of his own — earned him not just listeners' loyalty but his profession's and the nation's highest honors, too: an induction into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame in 1998, and a National Humanities Medal in 2013.

He was the first sportswriter to win that medal.

"A dedicated writer and storyteller, Mr. Deford has offered a consistent, compelling voice in print and on radio, reaching beyond scores and statistics to reveal the humanity woven into the games we love," President Barack Obama said of Deford in a statement at the time.

RIP Greg Allman

RIP Greg Allman. If he can make it 69 years after all he did to himself, I'm feeling much better about my chances...



My weekend



I spent the weekend like I do most weekends...on the soccer field. Congrats to the boys on my team, the U15 boys who won their tournament this weekend. It's been a tough season so far for the boys, but this was nice. In a few weeks, we're taking the boys to Germany and Holland to play in a series of friendly games. Can't wait.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Vanity Fair Praises WGN-TV Morning Show

Granted, the writer of this piece James Warren is a Chicagoan. Neverthless, it's startling to see a lengthy discussion of Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten in an article in Vanity Fair.

Check it out here.

It's really more about how little Trump's controversies are covered by local news, compared to the obsessive coverage on cable news. It's an interesting read.

Let's Face It, He's Dreamy

Ranking Sgt. Pepper's Songs


Sgt. Pepper turns 50 on June 1st, and Newsweek has ranked the tracks in order of best to worst.,

You can never please everyone with rankings like this, but I strongly disagree with their list, except for the top 3 ("A Day in the Life", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Sgt Pepper") and the last two ("Mr. Kite", "Within Without You")


The rest of Newsweek's rankings are as follows...
4. She's Leaving Home
5. With a Litte Help From My Friends
6. Getting Better
7. Lovely Rita
8. When I'm 64
9. Fixing a Hole
10. Good Morning
11. Sgt. Pepper Reprise

I personally like the Reprise as much as the first Sgt. Pepper, but I get the difficulty of where to place it with the rankings, so let's just leave that one out. Here are the rest of the rankings as far as I'm concerned...

4. Getting Better
5. Lovely Rita
6. Fixing a Hole
7. With a Little Help From My Friends
8. Good Morning
9. She's Leaving Home
10. When I'm 64

That last one is getting a little too close for comfort.

Garry is Leaving Chicago?

From Robert Feder's column this morning...

After 67 years in and around Chicago, Meier is telling friends he’s moving to Santa Monica, California, where he’ll continue his subscription podcast. Meier’s last on-air radio gig with WGN ended in 2014. In March, the Chicago Tribune reported that Meier and his wife had listed their three-bedroom condo on Chicago’s Near East Side for just under $2.2 million. It’s now listed for $1.9 million.

(Photo: Garry Meier as Cliff on stage at the Chicago Theater in 1989. I was one of the "Cliff Dancers")

Me-TV Radio Goes Nationwide

From this morning's Radio Online...

MeTV FM (87.7 FM) in Chicago has partnered with Envision Networks to syndicate its new radio format with a winning mix of music from the 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond to U.S. markets. MeTV FM is curated for long listening and features a deep playlist from an active library of more than 3,000 songs across nearly four decades, including singer-songwriters, country crossovers, Motown, iconic groups and many other artists. There's a wide diversity of music programming from folk rock to funk, deep tracks to disco favorites, and sixties British Invasion to eighties pop.

"We created MeTV FM as the musical companion to America's #1 all classic TV network, MeTV. Both our television and radio formats present timeless and memorable entertainment that resonates with hipsters, hippies, baby boomers and beyond, as we like to say," said Weigel Broadcasting Co. Vice Chairman Neal Sabin. "MeTV FM's music format has broken many of the radio rules in terms of presentation, depth of playlist and mixing of genres. Using a challenging dial position in one of the most competitive radio markets in the country, we have proven the validity and viability of the format. We look forward to working with Envision to bring MeTV FM to many more places."

The Body Slam Guy Wins Anyway

It's not often that a person who commits a crime the eve of his election gets elected anyway, but it happened in Montana last night.

He did apologize during his acceptance speech to the reporter he body slammed by the neck and punched, however, so it's all good.

Nothing to see here. Just because it happened on the same day the president pushed another NATO head of state out of the way so he could be in the front of a picture, doesn't mean we are turning into a cartoonish caricature of the ugly American before our very eyes.

It depends on your perspective. We could also be Making America Great Again by being assholes. I think that's the other side of the argument, but I can't be sure. I'm not an asshole. I don't speak the language.

Hall of Famer

This is Rudi Mayer, my childhood hero. He was the star player for Green White Soccer Club when I was a kid--the club that my dad co-founded. Rudi went on to play for a National Championship at Michigan State, played for the U.S. Olympic Team in '72, and professionally with the Chicago Sting.

In November he was named to the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame, and last night he was honored at Toyota Park before the Fire game along with the rest of the '16 inductees.

Super proud of him. You'll never meet a nicer man. I couldn't be there last night because of commitments to Green White (ironically), but my sister Cindy was there, and snapped this photo.

John & Bobby

This picture of John Landecker & Bobby Skafish was taken on April Fools Day in 1981. John appeared on WXRT as if he had the gig there. That was part of XRT's annual April Fool's Day stunt.

I heard a portion of that broadcast. I was a senior in high school and a big fan of both guys. If you would have told me that day I'd eventually work with both of them (with Bobby at the Loop for 7 years, and with John at WJMK for ten), I would have been excited beyond words. If you would have told me that I'd also eventually publish both of their books, I never would have believed you.

What a long strange trip its been.