Friday, April 28, 2017

U2 Finally Catches Weird Al

Love this tweet from Yankovic...

Are the Murdochs Purging Those Connected to Ailes?

The #2 man behind Roger Ailes at Fox News was Bill Shine. His name has appeared in many of the controversies swirling around the network, but none of them directly involved him. On the other hand, he asked the Murdochs to release a statement of support for him, and they refused (according to reporting in the newspapers this morning).

Needless to say, that's a very bad sign.

The New York Times has a piece this morning looking into this subject matter, with the headline: Sean Hannity Defends Executive as Fox News Turmoil Continues.

It's really looking like the Murdochs won't stop until they purge the place of everyone associated with Roger Ailes. Based on the huge number of lawsuits and accusations, I'd say that's a pretty prudent path forward.

LATE UPDATE: This could end all their issues...

Already Getting Mileage Out of Culinary Kitchen

As soon as I heard about this CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen idea, I knew it would be a home run. It's just some great out of the box thinking, and it's already starting to pay off. From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

WUSN (US99)/Chicago hosted Gwendolyn Records recording artist (and Food Network star) Trisha Yearwood for a cooking demonstration inside the CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen. In a triumph of fortuitous timing, Yearwood's visit just happened to coincide with her newly announced partnership with Williams-Sonoma. The demo was hosted by midday personality Drew Walker in front of a live studio audience. From her new Trisha's Kitchen" line, Yearwood whipped up some "unfried chicken" using her Unfried Chicken Seasoning Kit, washed down with "Summer In A Cup," her family's signature cocktail. "We are beyond excited that the extremely talented Trisha Yearwood paid a visit to our CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen," said US99 APD/MD Marci Braun (pictured, left, with Yearwood and Mandy McCormack of Pearl Records). "She has truly become a food and lifestyle maven and we were very honored to have her give our audience a first look at some items from her new line." The Williams-Sonoma/Trisha's Kitchen line is available online now and will be available at all Williams-Sonoma retail locations in the U.S. starting May 19. The video of Yearwood's demo available on-demand at

Ring Lardner

Another fun literary event coming next week. Chicago Literary Hall of Fame founder Don Evans is bringing in former Sun-Times writer Ron Rapoport. Why Ron? Because he will be there to induct the immortal Ring Lardner into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. Ron wrote a book about Ring (The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner)

There are really two events. The first one is a luncheon at Cliff Dwellers (my favorite spot) on May 4th. Starts at noon on Thursday, May 4, ends about 1:30 or 2 p.m. The price for the luncheon and program is $30. Reservations are required, and can be made by emailing, or calling 312.922.8080. Click here for more information.

Later that evening is the actual induction ceremony. That begins around 5pm, and it's free. This one is at the Newberry Library. Click here for more information.

I'll be there, so I hope to see you there too.

Still Not Dead

He'll be 84 years old tomorrow...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 48

EP48 – Rick and Dave discuss Facebook mind reading, signs made by science enthusiasts, excuses to avoid girlfriends, what the Cubs were doing when Adolf married Eva, and Rick’s brush with Slash from Guns N’ Roses.

You can listen to it here.

A Sudden Vacation

Jesse Watters is a protege and former producer for Bill O'Reilly. He was known for his insufferably rude segments that made fun of liberals by getting in their faces with a camera and intimidating them. Tee hee, get it? Whoo boy, hilarious. After O'Reilly's departure, Watters got a promotion. He was added to the show "The Five" to replace Eric Bolling, who got his own show during the lineup shuffle.

In his first week on the job, Jesse made a joke about Ivanka Trump. The joke was about the way she held the microphone, and it was clearly and without question, a blowjob joke. If it had been about Hillary, no worries. But this time it was about a Republican president's daughter.

The next day Jesse took an unexpected sudden vacation.

Jack Brickhouse's Secret Recording of Babe Ruth

WGN-TV Morning News played it this morning.

Check it out here.

Totally cool.

More ESPN Names Released

I told you we'd know some of the names. These guys were all heavily involved and prominently featured. From Radio Ink...

The expected 100 layoffs at ESPN began on Wednesday as many long-time TV and radio hosts were dismissed. Many of them, including Ed Werder, Danny Kanell, Jayson Stark, and Trent Dilfer took to Twitter to post the news. Kanell tweeted, “Poured my heart and soul into ESPN for last 8 years. Moved my wife and 3 kids to CT to go ‘all in’ 5 years ago. Bummed it ended in 3 minutes.”

And then there are some who will have their roles dramatically reduced. From the Hollywood Reporter...

They include Baseball Tonight's Karl Ravitch, ESPN Radio's Ryen Russillo and Hannah Storm, who has been a mainstay at ESPN for a decade and hosted various iterations of flagship SportsCenter. (An ESPN source said that Russillo will continue at ESPN Radio.)

Ravitch is one of my favorites on ESPN. Bad day for sports on radio and television.

He may not be a Cub anymore, but wow

Dobie Throws Out The First Pitch

Eckhartz Press author and Milwaukee native Dobie Maxwell got a thrill this weekend when the Milwaukee Brewers asked him to throw out the first pitch at Miller Park. Congrats to Dobie!

Marc Vernon

My old college buddy Marc Vernon is a weekend disc jockey for the Drive (97.1FM), but he's also something else. He's a Saab lover. That's right, he loves the Swedish car maker. He's driven a Saab as long as I've known him--and that's pushing 35 years now. (Let's say we were infants at the time).

How much does he love these cars? This video answers the question better than I ever could...

New Home for Rob

He's back in a newspaper, where he belongs. Congratulations Robert Feder!

100,000 Miles

This column came up in my facebook memories timeline yesterday. I wrote it exactly four years ago, the day our minivan hit 100,000 miles.

It's obviously gone quite a few more miles since then--we're pushing 150,000. Also, my boys drive it now, so it looks like it's been in a demolition derby.

I have fond memories of this moment. It was one of the last stories I cut from the book version of Father Knows Nothing, mainly because it wasn't technically a Father Knows Nothing column. It written for Shore Magazine, when I wrote a regular column for them called "A Fine Mess".

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

RIP Jonathan Demme

Sad news. Demme passed away today at the age of 73. His biggest moment was this one below, the day he won the Best Director Academy Award for "Silence of the Lambs"...

Not So Lucky

Employment Bloodbath at ESPN

Today's the day that 100 (!) on-air employees at ESPN get fired. It's going to be brutal, and you're going to know many of their names. This is the internal memo that put employees on high alert...

ESPN President John Skipper frames the cuts around a shifting content strategy. ESPN’s content strategy, he writes, “still needs to go further, faster… and as always, must be efficient and nimble. Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week.”

The cut of 100 on-air personalities represents 10% of the workforce.

UPDATE: NFL expert reporter Ed Werder is first to announce he was laid off by ESPN.

WBBM Wins AP Broadcast Awards

Congrats to the team at WBBM-AM Newsradio 780. They brought home a few of the big awards handed out this week at the Illinois Associated Press Broadcast Awards...

WBBM received Illinois AP’s first place “Best Spot News Coverage” award for “The Rally that Never Was,” highlighting Steve Miller, Bob Roberts, Rob Hart, Lisa Fielding, Geoff Dankert and the retired Don Schuble from the WBBM staff.

The station also received Illinois AP’s first place “Best Newscast” award for the 7 p.m. newscast, on March 11, 2016 highlighting Cisco Cotto, Geoff Dankert, Bob Roberts, Steve Miller, Rob Hart, George Ofman, Bernie Tafoya, Paula Fagan, Frank Strait, Jeff Bellinger, Brad Robinson, Ken Kosek, Susan Glick, and Brian Callahan from the WBBM staff.

Individual awards were also presented. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding received the “Best Series” award for her Generation Heroin series; and WBBM’s Rick Gregg received the “Best Sports Report” award for The Ballad of James Shields.

I've previously interviewed a few of them (Bernie Tafoya, Rob Hart, Cisco Cotto) and Geoff Dankert is in my Cubs season-ticket pool. Happy for all of them. They are true pros.

Peabody Award

When I first saw the report they created I knew it was special. The Peabody Awards agreed. Brad Burke, Adam Woullard, Joe Reed, and Gareth Hughes produced the "Just Not Sports" podcast which featured men having to say the horrible tweets directed at female sportscasters Sarah Spain and Julie Decaro to their faces. Here's an example...

Robert Siegel Steps Down

One of the most iconic voices on NPR, the host of "All Things Considered" Robert Siegel, is stepping down in January 2018. He has been with NPR since 1976. From Radio Online...

"This is a decision long in the making and not an easy one. I've had the greatest job I can think of, working with the finest colleagues anyone could ask for, for as long a stretch as I could imagine," Robert says. "But, looking ahead to my seventies (which start all too soon) I feel that it is time for me to begin a new phase of life. Over the next few months, I hope to figure out what that will be."

Big loss. NPR starts a nationwide search for his successor immediately. Don't be surprised if the candidate is already working there in the Washington office.

Jeter & Bush

Talk about a strange pairing. Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush may have just won the chance to buy the Miami Marlins...

The group of buyers led by Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush has reportedly won the auction to purchase the Miami Marlins. Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reported the auction results. Per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Marlins "are moving forward with the Jeb Bush/Jeter group and are optimistic deal will be reached for sale." Jackson noted the sale price as $1.3 billion and added Bush would be the controlling owner with Jeter having an "active role." Forbes estimated the Marlins' value at $940 million.

No Pressure

There is only one male white northern rhino left in the world. He lives in Kenya and the people who watch over him have given him a tinder profile to help find him a mate...

"I don't mean to be too forward, but the fate of the species literally depends on me," the rhino's profile says. "I perform well under pressure."

The campaign called "The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World," by a Kenyan wildlife conservancy and the dating app, focuses on the rhino named Sudan.

The 43-year-old and his last two female companions are unable to breed naturally because of issues that include old age.

Sounds like the big fella needs a little rhiagra.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ella Fitzgerald

She was born exactly 100 years ago today. Still one of the greatest singers ever...

David Ross on DWTS

The Media Bubble

This is an interesting piece in Politico about the media bubble, and how it managed to miss the Donald Trump victory story.

It's really the story of the decline of the local newspaper--which used to give us a much better feel for how every part of the country felt-- and how the national media is essentially located only in urban centers. Urban centers are more likely to be liberal and journalists live and work in that environment, so it's only natural they have a more liberal outlook. Food for thought.

Tony Lossano

From Robert Feder's column this morning...

Congratulations to Tony Lossano on the 20th anniversary of “Nude Hippo,” his locally produced variety/talk show. Premiering May 3 at, “Nude Hippo 20” will be hosted by Lossano and Amy Zanglin. The one-hour special will feature reporters Jen DeSalvo, Vickie Eisenstein, Evie Olson, and an animated character named Grouchypuff (who’ll interview Rich “Svengoolie” Koz). Other highlights will be great moments from the past 20 years and some never-before-seen footage from Lossano’s archives.

Tony's podcast Lossano and Friends also returns this week on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.*

*Full disclosure: Tony is also the Executive Producer of Minutia Men, my podcast with David Stern.

Heather Nauert Named State Department Spokesperson

Makes sense. She was on the president's all-time favorite show, Fox & Friends (not kidding).

Read all about her here.

Hopefully this means that the State Department will have regular briefings again (like they've had for 50 years before this presidency).

Here Comes Megyn Kelly

Her new shows will debut soon on NBC. Variety has the details.

I'm interested to see if she really is a draw or not. Did her former conservative fans tune in only because she was on Fox News or will they tune in to NBC? Will the non-conservatives accept her? Will her new show be less conservative?

We'll find out.

Chobani Yogurt Company Sues Right-Wing Radio Host Alex Jones

Remember now, he has admitted to being a performance artist, not a truth teller. Nevertheless, you can't say stuff like this...

The complaint says InfoWars released a video on April 11 describing Chobani's practice of hiring refugees and a sexual assault case that did not involve the yogurt company. During the video, an Info Wars reporter republished statements that claimed the Chobani plant brought crime and tuberculosis since it opened the plant five years ago while also pointing out previous reports of its willingness to hire refugees in Twin Falls.

This is very reminiscent of the phony "sex-ring-in-a-Washington-pizza-parlor" story they made up during the election. There was no sexual assault. There was no tuberculosis. They employed some refugees and nothing bad happened.

Chobani is a big company and has the deep pockets to sue. Those Sandy Hook families (Alex Jones/Infowars claimed it was a staged event) are not in the same position.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Life Accordian to Trump, Part 2

I admit it's childish, but I find this hilarious...

I'm with Ed

By the way, despite protests in hundreds of cities around the world, and being the #1 trending subject on Twitter all weekend, the Sunday morning political shows didn't even mention the March for Science. Tell me again how the mainstream media is biased in favor of liberals?

House Hunter Tweets

My wife loves the show on HGTV, but we also make jokes about the budgets the couples have. Didn't realize it was a thing. These are funnier than the ones we say...

How Bad Are Problems at iHeart Radio?

How about this headline in the Hollywood Reporter: iHeart Radio Parent May Not Survive Another Year .

Here's an excerpt from the article...

iHeartMedia, owner of iHeartRadio, has massive debt on its books mostly because of a $24 billion leveraged buyout of billboard-advertising company Clear Channel Communications, MarketWatch reported on Friday.

The company has nearly $350 million of debt due this year, and another $8.3 billion in 2019.

"Management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017, will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued," iHeartMedia said in its filing.

In Chicago, iHeart owns Kiss-FM, My-FM, WGCI, WVAZ, and Big 95.5.

RIP Cuba Gooding Sr.

He was the father of the actor, but he was also famous in his day. Cuba was the lead singer of the band The Main Ingredient. Gooding Sr. was 73 years old when he passed away over the weekend.

The White House Correspondent's Dinner

The dinner will be held on Saturday night in Washington. The last time a president DID NOT attend was 1981, when Ronald Reagan didn't go. He was in the hospital, recovering from an assassination attempt--and he still called in.

Trump will not be there. He cannot handle people telling jokes about him, and he loathes the press like a spurned lover.

So he will hold a rally instead, letting his supporters stroke his very brittle ego and make him feel like everything is going great.

It's hard to imagine a whinier and more emotionally fragile President. And he calls everyone who doesn't agree with him a snowflake. That's what the psychologists refer to as projection..."Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others." (Sigmund Freud)

Another Harrassment Charge

CNN's Alisyn Camerota: Roger Ailes sexually harassed me

You have to see it. There's video at the link. I totally believe her.

Is anyone keeping track of the number?

UPDATE: Sean Hannity has also been accused now.