Friday, January 20, 2017

White House Website Scrubbed

The moment Donald Trump took the pledge, three things were scrubbed from the White House website: Health care, Climate Change, and Civil Rights.

That's not a bit. It's true.

Good luck America! Good luck World! Or as Albert Brooks tweeted...

New Era

"The only person supported by a majority of Americans just left via helicopter."
--Matthew Dowd, ABC

New Author

Dave and I are excited to announce a new author has been added to the Eckhartz Press stable. Lee Kingsmill has written a beautiful novel about growing up in Chicago in the 1940s and 50s called "Safe Inside". It will be coming out later this year (August). We made the final arrangements over breakfast this week. The smoked salmon was delicious.

Tick Tock

It looks like Cumulus stock has a real chance of being dropped by NASDAQ. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Cumulus stock closes below $1 a share, starts the clock ticking at NASDAQ. A long-enough string of closes below a buck per share gets you a de-listing warning on different grounds from what cost SBS its place on NASDAQ. Cumulus resorted to an 8-for-1 reverse stock only about three months ago, on October 13. That’s when it was trading in the 30-cent range. Yesterday’s close of 98 cents means the NASDAQ will watch to see if “CMLS” stays below $1 for 30 consecutive days. If that happens, it could be back to the familiar routine for Cumulus – use the 180-day grace period to try to regain compliance. One good sign is that yesterday’s trading volume was well below the usual level.

A $330,000 truffle

Brent Petersen, author of "Truffle Hunt", sent me this little tidbit yesterday...

Forbes Magazine profiles the family behind the $330,000 truffle.

I'm not a huge fan of truffles (a little strong for me), but I find the Truffle world to be incredibly fascinating.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A moment of levity

Minutia Men, Episode 35

EP35 – Rick and Dave discuss Nazi bootprints, inauguration performers, My Little Pony burgers, Cubs in the White House, and Rick’s brush with Ann Margret.

Listen to it here.

An Astro, a Ranger, and an Expo

Congrats to the newly inducted members of baseball's Hall of Fame: Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez, and Tim Raines.

McCartney Sues To Regain Rights to his Songs

It has always stuck in Sir Paul's craw that he doesn't own the rights to the Beatles songs. He never has.

At first they were owned by the band's publishing company. Then they were bought by Michael Jackson. Then Jackson sold them to Sony.

Paul has been filing suits and trying to get his hands on his songs ever since, but this latest gambit is probably his strongest. The Hollywood Reporter has the details.

Let the man have his songs! He (co)wrote them for Heaven's sake.

More Praise for Gel Strong

Eckhartz Press author Mark Gelinas is a lucky man. He has beaten back the deadliest of cancers twice (pancreatic). He has chronicled that struggle in his beautiful book "Gel Strong".

And the Gel Strong community has reacted with constant praise and love. Here are a few more examples that hit his cell phone this past week...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Obama Pardon

Some of Obama's more controversial pardons and commutations (Chelsea Manning) are getting the most attention, but this piece on WBEZ's website points out another less-controversial one.

One of my favorite sluggers from the 60s and 70s, Willie McCovey, has been pardoned for his tax-evasion convinction. He never actually served any time for the offense (he was sentenced to two years of probation), but it remained on his record.

I won't make an assessment about the merits of that pardon, but "Stretch" has been in poor health for many years now. This should cheer him up.

Pat Colander in the Chicago Tribune

Congrats to Eckhartz Press' very own Pat Colander for this piece by Philip Potempa in the Chicago Tribune...

Editor and author Pat Colander of Miller has a new book that is generating plenty of ink and also accolades in the publishing field. She grew up on the south side of Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois and Purdue University Calumet, the latter of which just welcomed her as a new faculty member in the communication department. Her new book is called "Hugh Hefner's First Funeral and Other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago" (2015, Eckhartz Press, $15.95).

Colander was a writer for both "The Reader" and "The Chicago Tribune" in the 1970s and 1980s, and several of those most strange stories she penned serve as the yarns of love and death in Chicago that are featured in her new book. The book title is taken from her details of the shocking death of Bobbie Arnstein, the executive secretary to Hugh Hefner and hailed as the woman behind the man who created the men's magazine empire. Other tales in the book range from a tour of the old Cook County morgue and the investigation that led to the capture of the Tylenol tampering killer.

On Saturday night, Colander was one of the winners at Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year awards ceremony. On Jan. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., she will be discussing and signing copies of her book at Miles Books, 2819 Jewett Ave. in Highland. FYI: (219) 838-8700 or

Colander is also still fascinated by the death of candy heiress Helen Brach, who was the subject on one of her earlier books, "Thin Air: The Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Helen Brach," published in 1982. Colander said even though the book has been optioned five times for film rights, she was never impressed with any of the finished screenplays. Actors Tom Berenger and Richard Gere were connected with previous potential movie versions.

Bill O'Reilly Scores Trump Super Bowl Interview

Variety has the details.

The man who has settled two different sexual harrassment lawsuits will be interviewing the man accused by twelve different women of harrassing them. The subject is sure to include serious whining about liberals whining. The whining loop cannot be broken.

My guess is this new defamation lawsuit against Trump won't come up...unless of course they whine about it.

Eric & Kathy Renewed

Eric and Kathy have renewed their contracts, so Chicago's top rated morning radio show will continue to roll on.

Radio Ink has the details.

Over the years I've interviewed all the members of the show multiple times. You can check a few of those out here.

I remember the humble beginnings of the Eric and Kathy show. I was recruited to come in and produce the show when they were still located out in Skokie (before Eric was hired) and I declined. But I recommended a friend of mine for the gig, and he was the perfect hire. John "Swany" Swanson is still their producer 20+ years later. (He also co-wrote "The Radio Producer's Handbook" with me. For a blast to the past, check out this interview of the two of us from Lake Magazine in 2004. We were interviewed by ABC-TV news reporter Andy Shaw).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Troubled Times

Dig this Green Day song...

Solid Gold

I can't begin to explain how much I love this video...

The White Wash Press Corp

What is Trump planning to do to the press in retaliation for covering him accurately and quoting him correctly using his own words? Tom Taylor's NOW column has a preview...

Radio talk-hosts likely gain more prominence at the Trump White House. Donald Trump would probably enjoy tweaking the establishment press by having a lightning rod like InfoWars host Alex Jones visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Or some of the other radio talk show personalities who picked up his banner last year. Like many other things in the Trump administration, things are fluid. But you’ve probably heard about the option of relocating the press corps out of the White House to the Old Executive Office Building, or elsewhere. Part of the thinking (says Trump spokesman Sean Spicer) is the chance to “involve more people, be more transparent, have more accessibility” compared to the 49-seat West Wing press briefing room. And, per The Guardian, Spicer says that’s because “a lot of talk radio and bloggers...can’t fit in right now...because they’re not part of the Washington elite media.” Meaning the officially-accredited White House press corps. Spicer says letting talk radio hosts ask him or Trump a question would be “a positive’s more democratic.”

For those of you cackling at the payback to the press, be careful what you wish for. With all these people in the room, Trump can avoid ever talking to actual trained professional reporters--the essential Free Press that has been the hallmark of this country. Reality is about to be replaced by fever-swamp fantasy. Or as the Trump spokesman put it..."it's more democratic".

Someone's Gettin' Paid

For all my friends in the radio biz who struggle to make ends meet thanks to the ridiculously heavy debt load your company uses as an excuse to say they cannot pay you more, you might not want to read this little tidbit from today's RAMP newsletter...

There was major cause for celebration in the upper echelons of iHeartMedia and Cumulus, as it was revealed via separate 8-K filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that both companies will be showering sweet bonuses upon several of their key executives -- on January 10, 2017, the Board of Directors of iHeartMedia, Inc. approved a form of retention bonus agreement and individual retention bonus amounts for Bob Pittman , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer -- $1,750,000; Richard J. Bressler, President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer -- $1,750,000; and Steven J. Macri, Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance -- $750,000.

But wait! There's more! The Board also approved the "2017 Key Employee Incentive Plan," under which Pittman and Bressler will be eligible to earn an aggregate bonus of $7,000,000 and $3,000,000, respectively. That Incentive Plan runs from January 1, 2017 until December 31, 2017. All the fine print is included in the 8-K filing.

Meanwhile, over at Cumulus, the compensation committee of the Board of Directors of Cumulus Media Inc. approved a one-time compensation award payment of $1,087,500 to company President & Chief Executive Officer Mary G. Berner, "in recognition of, among other things, her exceptional efforts and contributions during 2016, both individually and as a member of the management leadership team, in the initial phase of the Company's operational turnaround plan and ongoing operational and financial restructuring."

Both companies are still in serious financial trouble. iHeart will never get out from under their mountain of debt, and Cumulus is essentially a penny stock these days...but somebody's gettin' paid. It just isn't you.

Obama and the Cubs

I got a little verklempt during the ceremony. Even Jose Cardenal was there! Here's Theo's speech to Obama...

Monday, January 16, 2017

RIP Gene Cernan

Great man. One of the astronauts I idolized as a boy. The last man to walk on the moon. And without question, the best singer the surface of the moon has ever heard...


This is just funny...funny is funny.

The Cubs are in the House

The White House...

SNL Takes on Trump

I didn't watch it on Saturday night, but I did see this tweet today, which made me go back and watch it.

Some pretty funny stuff here. Thanks Mr. Trump for the reminder...

Martin Luther King Day

I post this song from Tom Clay every year on MLK day. It seems more appropriate than ever these days...

Bobby Skafish in Hillside

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Chicagoland Record Show in Hillside yesterday. Bobby Skafish got a chance to meet a lot of fans and sell lots of books to people who were really passionate about the music. It was like being in the world's greatest record store. I'm just happy I didn't bring more money with me. I walked out with a stack full of wax.

Chicago Writers Association Awards

Really enjoyed myself at the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Awards. Our very own Pat Colander (Non-fiction book of the year) and Randy Richardson (Special Recognition) were given awards. Well deserved! Proud of them both.

A Transition in Attitude