Saturday, July 08, 2017

Bill Paige with Bill & Wendy on WGN

I spent the morning on Friday with Bill Paige, author of the Eckhartz Press book "Everything I know I learned from Rock Stars", at WGN Radio studios. Bill did a great job explaining his book and hitting a few of the highlights with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder.

If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

Here are a few photos from the interview...

Friday, July 07, 2017

The Big AM Voices

Tony Bender writes an ode to the big AM Radio voices in the Adam's County Record. Here's a short excerpt, which includes a tip of the cap to John Records Landecker...

I always had the voices to fall back on. They spoke to me every night from KSDN Aberdeen, KSJB Jamestown, KOMA in Oklahoma City and WLS Chicago. KSJB was king back then—in my mind at least. Bobby Gaye, Ole Olson and Wee Winnie Winslow spoke to me, assuring me that I was cool—maybe the coolest cat in the whole seventh grade, and so what if Tracy Lahr never did notice me. The voices knew. We rocked together every night.

John Hruby spun stacks of wax on K-Fire (KFYR)! The Doc of Rock machine gunned intros over only the coolest of the cool songs at KSDN, firing that AM signal from nine directional towers, sizzling, directly into my brain. Eric Snow and Norm Anderson and Les Cummings were there, cool, hip and happinin,’ but the Doc was the coolest because you knew he “just had to be on something” and anyone that could talk that fast, even if it made no sense at all, had to be more than all right.

The voices came through car radios at night as we aimlessly drifted on gravel roads. John Records Landecker “boogie checked” my socks off. “And Records truly is my middle name,” he would say, and I believe him still. And he, most definitely, was on something.

You can read the whole piece here.

What Media Consolidation is Really All About

Why on earth do broadcasters fight so hard for deregulation when it has brought nothing but hardship to the media business over the past twenty years? This little tidbit about the Tribune/Sinclair merger reported by Robert Feder might shed some light on that...

In a filing this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Sinclair disclosed plans for generous severance payments to top Tribune execs when they exit the company after the merger is completed. They include: Edward Lazarus, executive vice president and general counsel: $9,681,435. Chandler Bigelow, executive vice president and chief financial officer: $9,248,157, Larry Wert, president broadcast media: $7,760,566

This is what media consolidation is really all about. Thanks to rules changed by President Trump's FCC, we're about to go through this destructive period once again.

It's hard to blame the guys who line their pockets (who would turn down millions?), but when they talk about the collective good that will come of this for the company or the employees or the customer/consumers (us), feel free to turn on your BS detectors.

This is exactly what brought us to this point in our country's broken media eco-system.

A few dozen have gotten very rich. Everyone else is collatoral damage. And that damage includes a media environment that nobody trusts.

Another paragraph from Feder's column...

“Sinclair’s business model is going into a market, buying multiple stations, moving them all to one facility, and firing three quarters of the staff to get as much work with the fewest employees,” one union official told Media Matters.

“Our employees are very nervous about the situation,” said another. “It is a combination of political influence and that Sinclair is extremely anti-union in dealing with its employees. What is it going to mean?”

It's going to mean outstanding media professionals will be fired. Some of the few people left that we actually do trust in this town will be looking for work with no place to find it.

They will lose big.

As a city, we will all lose big.

Except the few people who are making millions.

John Landecker in the NWI Times

Thanks to writer Tom Lounges for this mention in yesterday's NWI Times...


Congratulations to veteran Chicago rock radio DJ John Records Landecker on his being named last week as one of the eight inductees voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. The black-tie optional induction ceremony takes place at the home of the National Radio Hall of Fame – the Museum of Broadcast Communications (360 North State St.) in downtown Chicago on Nov. 2. Tickets now available:

Michigan-born Landecker has lived in Northwest Indiana for many years, and has rocked the microphone in various cities during his nearly 50 years as a broadcaster, many of those years spent in Chicago at WLS, WLUP, G-106, WCKG, WAGO, WZZN, WGN and WJMK. Landecker even spent a few years doing the afternoon drive at WIMS 1420-AM in Michigan City a few years ago.

A majority of the 1,000 voting members from the broadcast industry who choose the inductees has honored the man whose famous "Boogie Check" bit became legendary during the 1970s during his run at WLS-AM 89. To tie in with his induction, Landecker's 2013 autobiography -- "Records Truly IS My Middle Name" (Eckhartz Press) -- is being re-issued this fall, with a new cover, added photos and updated text covering the last four years.

Bill Paige in the Daily Herald

I must say, this is a new way to get into the newspaper. Eckhartz Press author Bill Paige had a great angle for the Daily Herald.

Nearly 40 years have passed since a vinyl record album by experimental musician Harry Partch was "borrowed" from the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. On Thursday, it returned and library officials accepted it with no questions asked.

"We understand things happen," said Executive Director Jason Kuhl. "We try to be welcoming and want people to know there's not some thousand-dollar fine waiting for them.

"We look at returns on a case-by-case basis," he added. "If patrons have something like this, we encourage them to bring it back. We're always willing to work with customers."

In this case, the patron was Arlington Heights native Bill Paige, who said he wanted to come clean and return the collectible to its rightful place.

"It's an artifact and in mint condition. I wanted to clear the slate," said Paige, a lifelong music buff, who worked as a writer in the entertainment industry before serving as communications director of Oakton Community College in Des Plaines. He retired in 2010 to Austin, Texas.

Paige described using the library as a teen at St. Viator High School and during his years as a commuter student attending Loyola University. His first job out of college was as a record promoter for A&M Records, before he built a career as a reporter and editor.

While working for magazines that covered the entertainment industry and ultimately for United Press International, Paige had the opportunity to meet and interview artists ranging from Roy Orbison, Fleetwood Mac and Van Halen, to Boy George, Journey and B.B. King.

He chronicled some of those conversations in his first book -- "Everything I Know I Learned from Rock Stars" -- which was published this month by Eckhartz Press and includes a reference to the Arlington Heights library.

Paige presented a copy of his book to the library with the hope that officials might add it to the collection.

Partch is not in the book but he continues to fascinate Paige, with his ability to invent instruments and push the boundaries of Western music.

"I always thought I would return it," Paige said of Partch's three-record set, "but there was just so much to listen to."

At one time, Paige had as many as 4,000 albums, but since relocating to Texas he has been liquidating his collection. The Partch album he presented to the library was still in its plastic cover with its vintage checkout card.

Kuhl said the library has not had a vinyl record in its collection since 1994. He likely will turn the album over to the Friends of the Library, whose quarterly used book sales generate funds for items such as special programs, equipment and art work.

"That makes me happy that I might be able to help the library in some way," Paige added. "That gives me closure."

Bill will be on WGN radio this morning (Friday) discussing his great new Eckhartz Press book.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Bill Paige on Bill & Wendy on Friday

Tune in tomorrow morning (Friday) at 10:30 on WGN Radio (Bill & Wendy show) to hear Eckhartz Press author Bill Paige discussing his great new book "Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars: Conversations 1975-1995"

I'll be tagging along to take some pictures.

Minutia Men, Episode 56

EP56 – Rick and Dave discuss annoying vacation pictures on Facebook, a man-bites-dog story out of Nigeria, the cheapest airline ever, a Cub player that was shot by a crazy female fan in 1932, and Rick’s brush with Bruce Willis.

You can listen to it here.

What is WGN Radio Worth?

Tom Taylor's NOW column takes a crack at that this morning...

Chicago’s talk WGN/720 is worth an estimated $58.4 million in the Sinclair sale. That’s the way it pencils out to Kagan, teasing apart the $3.82 billion price for all those Tribune-owned TV stations plus the company’s sole radio property. Who knows how Sinclair values WGN, though? It’s a TV consolidator, and its only other radio properties (in Seattle) were strictly come-along assets when it bought Fisher Communications. With Tribune, Kagan says Sinclair gains WGN radio plus “the programming of one additional FM station.” (It’s not clear what that refers to, since Tribune already severed the LMA with the low power TV 87.7.) Sinclair kept Fisher’s Seattle radio properties in 2013 and presumably will retain WGN radio.

If Fox News Isn't Compliant Enough

Fox News is basically a Pravda-style promotional machine for the Republican party these days, but they do still have a few actual journalists on staff like Brett Baier, Chris Wallace, and Shep Smith.

If the occasional truth makes Fox News a little too critical for you, guess what, you're in luck!

You can now watch One America News, which is even friendlier to the president.

One America’s owner, Robert Herring Sr., a millionaire who made his money printing circuit boards, has directed his channel to push Trump’s candidacy, scuttle stories about police shootings, encourage antiabortion stories, minimize coverage of Russian aggression, and steer away from the new president’s troubles, according to more than a dozen current and former producers, writers and anchors, as well as internal emails from Herring and his top news executives.

And they call liberals "snowflakes".

Trouble at the Broadcast Museum

From this morning's Inside Radio...

It bills itself as “one of the country’s most respected media museums,” but that apparently has not helped the Museum of Broadcast Communications pay the bills. The 35-year Chicago-based destination has not paid its mortgage since 2015—and is now facing a final shutdown deadline of this December, according to a story in Crain’s Chicago Business.

The museum remains open in a 62,000-square-foot four-story building and includes the National Radio Hall of Fame, a vintage WGN Radio studio, doors from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” set, and television shows from the 1990s, including “Friends” and “The Simpsons,” Crain’s reports.

As of last August, the nonprofit owed $2.5 million to Pepper Construction in Chicago, which holds the building’s mortgage. Pepper and museum officials are “in ongoing discussions about how this matter can be resolved,” said Bruce DuMont, museum founder and president, according to the story. “We are doing whatever needs to be done.”

A meeting scheduled for Wednesday (July 5) was seen as being pivotal to the future of the museum. Larry Wert, the museum’s interim board chair, president of broadcast media at Tribune Media and a longtime Chicago broadcast exec added, “We have more than one strategic plan that we are currently evaluating with stakeholders.”

Crain’s says the museum ended 2015 with an operating deficit of $561,331, according to its tax filing, the most recent one available. The tax filing values the museum building at $16 million.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

How Will Sinclair Change WGN?

John Oliver has one vision of it, and it's terrifying...

CNN Takedown Video Creator Apologizes

How much of a deadbeat is our president? The man who created the CNN Body slamming video on Reddit that was getting so much airtime this weekend has apologized. He was tracked down, and when he was discovered, he said the following...

First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened. I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did.

The President of the United States, the leader of the free world who should be an example to us all, retweeted it and has refused to apologize. When the formerly anti-semitic Reddit guy who goes by the name HanAssholeSolo has more of a conscience than the president, we're all in deep deep trouble.

Is There Something in the Water?

Just a month or two after sexual harrassment claims blew up Fox News, the same thing is apparently happening at Fox Sports.

The LA Times has the story.

The story is still in its early stages, but it's notable that the big boss has already been fired. Seems they might have learned a lesson about to handle a story like this.

The Senate at Work

Still true today...

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Birthday 'Merica

After one grueling day in the office, I'm taking the day off today to celebrate our great country's birthday.

Happy 241st!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Len O'Kelly

The July issue of the Illinois Entertainer is out and features my interview with Grand Valley State's Len O'Kelly. He's responsible for sending the broadasting world the next generation of broadcasters.

You can read it here.

Excited Authors

Bill Paige's book is available at Eckhartz Press for pre-order right now! He got a copy of the book in the mail and reacted in a way that cracked us up...

All authors feel this way when they see their book for the first time, but Bill managed to show it more than most. Love it.

Lee Kingsmill's book is coming out at the end of the summer, but we're already in production. He also got a copy of his book recently, and while his response was more muted, he was just as excited...

Both men are first time authors and we're thrilled to help make their dreams come true.

Look Who Is In the Hall of Fame!

This news broke while I was out of town, and I couldn't have been happier to hear it. John Records Landecker is in the National Radio Hall of Fame!

Love this quote in the article... "Thanks to everybody who listened to me, everybody who worked with me and everybody who married me.”

Then I read this blurb in Robert Feder's column and realized that John and I were going to be working hard on the new edition of the book.

The acclaimed autobiography of radio legend John Records Landecker is being reissued to coincide with his induction in the National Radio Hall of Fame. Records Truly Is My Middle Name, first published in 2013, is tentatively set for re-release October 23. As announced this week, Landecker will enter the Chicago-based shrine honoring radio’s greatest stars on November 2. Branded as a limited “Radio Hall of Fame edition,” it will include new photos and Landecker’s reflections since he quit WLS FM 94.7 in 2015, according to David Stern, co-founder and publisher of Eckhartz Press. “This is a perfect opportunity for us to publish all the stories John forgot to include in the first one,” he said. Stern’s partner in Eckhartz Press is Rick Kaempfer, who served as producer of Landecker’s morning show on WJMK FM 104.3 and co-wrote the book.

That work begins today...

Where in the world were you, Rick?

I was in Holland and Germany with my son's soccer team for the past few weeks. If you're interested, you can read the story in three parts.

The World Class Training

The International Matches

The Sights We Saw

We also made a trip to my hometown of Heidelberg so that my boys could see where their old man grew up. They were only impressed by one thing...the Heidelberg castle.

Then we swung by London so that my middle son could reunite with his grade school best friend. They hadn't seen each other in eight years.

While we were there, of course, I had to see this...

Now I'm back to earth and ready to rock. Lots of very exciting stuff happening right here in Chicago.

Bobby Skafish's e-book is on Amazon!

Bobby Skafish's e-book is now on Amazon!

He'll also be appearing at the Record Collector Show in Hillside on July 16th. I'll be there with him.

Looking forward to seeing everyone's favorite Daddio again.