Friday, April 18, 2008

New at JOBC

I've just started a new blog for Just One Bad Century. It's a place that I can link to other stories about the Cubs, and do some longer form stories like "Brushes with Cub Greatness" and the like. Contributions and comments are welcome. Check it out here: Just One Bad Century Blog

Also, today is "Sights and Sounds" at Just One Bad Century, and we're doing a Steve Bartman tribute. Dane Placko tells the story of Bartman being escorted out, we have video of the actual event, Dan Patrick gets punk'd by "Steve Bartman", and we have video of the Bartman ball exploding.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Media Notebook (April 17, 2008)

Collected and Edited by Rick Kaempfer

Highlights and links to the big stories in the news this week about the media. This column appears twice a week at MEDIA NOTEBOOK

Bob Collins named to Radio Hall of Fame, Dahl nominated
(Chicago Sun Times) Robert Feder writes: "Bob Collins, the shrewd "good ol' boy" who was Chicago radio's top-rated morning personality for 14 years, will be inducted posthumously in the Radio Hall of Fame. At the height of his popularity on Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720), 'Uncle Bobby' (as Collins was known) was killed in 2000 when the small plane he was piloting collided with another plane and crashed...Chicago icon Steve Dahl was nominated for the second time in the local/regional category, along with Howie Carr of Boston, Bob Grant of New York, and Ronn Owens of San Francisco. Dahl, who hosts mornings on CBS Radio adult hits WJMK-FM (104.3), told listeners Tuesday that he was so upset about losing to New York's Scott Shannon in 2006 that he didn't think he could take losing again."

Murdoch & Zell appointed to AP Board
(Associated Press) Rupert Murdoch and Sam Zell, two media figures who led major newspaper acquisitions in recent months, are among four new members joining the board of directors of The Associated Press, it was announced Monday at the news cooperative's annual meeting.
(Rick's note: You know, I was just thinking to myself...'why doesn't anyone let Zell or Murdoch have a little more power?')

China demands apology from CNN commentary
(NY Times) This is wild. When was the last time a commentator had to apologize to an entire country? Jim Yardley writes: "China on Tuesday intensified its criticism of the foreign news media's coverage of the Tibetan crisis by demanding that CNN apologize for sharply critical remarks made last week about the Chinese government by one of its commentators. Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, categorized the remarks as a slander against all Chinese people, though CNN later said the criticism by the commentator, Jack Cafferty, reflected his personal opinion and was focused solely on the government. 'We are shocked at, and strongly condemn, the vicious remarks' by Mr. Cafferty 'against the Chinese people,' Ms. Jiang said during a regular news briefing. 'We solemnly demand that CNN and Cafferty retract his vicious remarks and apologize to the whole Chinese people.'"


Laura Bush to guest host the Today Show

(TV Newser) For the first time ever, a sitting First Lady of the United States will guest host the Today show. Laura Bush will co-host the 9am hour of the show next Tuesday, April 22, and she will be joined by her daughter, Jenna Bush during the program. Bush will be involved in all aspects of the show, from interviewing guests to participating in segments. She will also give a special look at her new children's book, "Read All About It!" An interview with Ann Curry from the Crawford ranch will also air.

ESPN cancels Obama interview
(New York Daily News) Rush & Malloy write: "Doesn't ESPN think sports fans want to hear Barack Obama? At the last minute, network executives killed a podcast with the senator that was scheduled for Friday with host Bill Simmons. The presidential candidate was all ready to do it. 'Senator Obama would be happy to appear on ESPN at any time,' said his spokesman, Tommy Vietor. It's not the first time the sports network has canceled an appearance by the Democratic front-runner. According to a campaign source, a television interview set up with host Stu Scott was canceled by higher-ups as well...It's of interest that ESPN president George Bodenheimer has supported Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential bid with a donation of $1,000."
(Rick's note: Liberal media, schliberal media. Once again--the people on the air may be liberal, but their bosses--the guys who make the decisions--are not.)


An interview with Dan Rather

(Eat the Press) Rachel Sklar speaks to former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather about the recent travails of the current anchor of that program, namely Katie Couric and the recent reports that she will be leaving her $15-million-per-year contract early. Rather gives some thoughts on Couric and the future of CBS News, as well as his lawsuit against his former employer.

At CBS, Bad News Doesn't End at 7
(NY Times) Brian Stelter writes: "Katie Couric may be the least of Leslie Moonves’s worries. While the fate of Ms. Couric and the “CBS Evening News” is in the headlines, the entire CBS News division represents only a fraction of the CBS broadcast network’s revenue. More perplexing is the prime-time schedule, where no new hit has emerged this year, and as a result, CBS is likely to lose the crown of most-watched network to the Fox network."

Indecency cases stuck in legal limbo at FCC
(LA Times) Jim Puzzanghera writes: "As federal judges consider pivotal cases about what constitutes offensive TV and radio broadcasts, an expletive might best describe the state of the federal government's enforcement of indecency rules. It's all bleeped-up. Thousands of viewer and listener complaints about programs are backed up at the Federal Communications Commission, where officials acknowledge the legal limbo has tied their hands. The FCC is reluctant to rule on these cases until the U.S. Supreme Court hands down a decision on indecency standards -- its first in three decades. 'The FCC finds itself in a very difficult position,' said Jeremy Lipschultz, director of the school of communication at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and author of a book on indecency regulation. 'They're in the cross hairs of this battle, and I think they're trying to navigate as carefully as they can.'"


Wall Street Journal Parody rips Murdoch
(My Wall Street Journal) Check out this new satirical take on Rupert Murdoch and his new Wall Street Journal. This is written by veterans of the Onion and the Daily Show among others.
Ann Coulter piece from My Wall Street Journal (warning: fake nudity)
Video of fake Rupert Murdoch from My Wall Street Journal (warning: bad language)

Megyn Kelly: Fox News' Fastest Rising Anchor
(Washington Post) Howard Kurtz writes: "Kelly sent Fox a tape, which immediately impressed Brit Hume, the Washington managing editor, and his wife Kim, then the bureau chief. 'Here is this woman who was strikingly attractive but has tremendous air presence and a very strong voice,' Hume says. 'We were knocked out. It was screamingly obvious that this was someone with tremendous potential.' What's more, says Hume, 'she seemed to get what we've talked about with 'fair and balanced news' . . . She came in believing there was a left bias in the news. That's not common.' He quickly created an opening for her."

The Daily Show's "Documentary" about Fox News

(Eat the Press) Rachel Sklar writes: "The Daily Show's John Oliver put together a stunning smackdown of Fox News, punctuated by some damning clips showing egregious comments from some anchors (John Gibson, natch) and some — gasp! — flip-flopping on certain positions (like, say, executive privilege). Watch as Oliver tries to sneak into Fox HQ dressed as the Statue of Liberty, hosts a pundit shoutfest, and waves many flags. Featuring Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto, Chris Wallace, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Bill Hemmer, Megyn Kelly, Jim Pinkerton, Peter Hart, Newt Gingrich and the super-chipper Gretchen Carlson."
(The video of this hilarious piece is available at the link above)


Why Generation-Y Doesn't Care About Radio
(Inside Music Media) JERRY DEL COLLIANO writes: "When I arrived at USC four years ago for my radio sabbatical, I was shocked to find young people so distanced from radio. It didn't take me long to find out why. Other alternatives. More time on the computer, cell phones, social networks like Facebook, but the worst cut of all was the one that could have been prevented. In my observation (and I emphasize you're reading my observations which may be skewed), young people had a relatively easy time turning away from radio because radio stopped vying for a place in their lives."

An interview with Barry Keefe
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with long-time WTMX newsman Barry Keefe. It was his last day on the air Friday, and he reminisced about his thirty years at the same FM station. Coming this weekend, WDRV morning man Steve Downes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Suburban Man: Confession Time

By Rick Kaempfer

I have gotten quite a reaction to the prom picture I posted in this space last week. (That's it again above.)

Here a few sample comments I received...

A) “Your frilly shirt matches your date’s dress. Please tell me you didn’t plan that.”
B) “Look at her facial expression. She’s screaming ‘I’m dating a fuzzy tuxedo! Save me!’”
C) “Wow. Foxy. When are the two of you meeting up with Huggy Bear?”
D) “You wanna know what I thought when I saw this picture? I thought–’He got a girl to date him?’”
E) “Nice Mustache. You look like a younger, skinnier, and less-hip Dave Wannstedt.”

On the other hand, this whole experience has been oddly liberating. I always pictured that prom photo emerging at a time when it could really damage me (like during a political campaign). By voluntarily allowing it’s release, I controlled the story–I didn’t let it control me.

That’s why I’ve decided to take every other 1970s and 1980s skeleton out of my closet for all to see. After these revelations emerge, I will be “fully vetted.” No one will be able to humiliate me again.

Buckle your seat belts. This could get ugly.

(NOTE: Those of you born after 1985 or so may not get most of these references)

*That tuxedo in the picture? Didn’t rent it. Owned it. It still hangs in my mom’s closet. I wore it a half dozen times including for my high school graduation picture.

*The theme song for my prom was “Theme from Mahogany” ("Do you know where you’re going to"). I thought it was a good idea.

*I wore a gold chain for a decade (1972-1982). That’s right. And it had a “Leo” charm at the end of it, too. If a girl had asked me my sign, I wouldn’t have had to say a word. I could have shown her my necklace. No one ever asked.

*I loved shiny clothing. Jogging suits? Yup. Neon Yellow “Chicago Sting” shirt, jacket, and shorts? Yup. Fire-Engine-Red Satin Jacket? Yup.

*Earth shoes? Wore ‘em. Although I felt oddly off-balance when I did, just like I did when I drove my olive green 1971 Duster.

*I loved Starsky and Hutch so much I tape recorded the theme song off the television with my hand-held tape-recorder microphone. And I listened to it. Often.

*I had a giant belt buckle with my name (”Ricky”) on it. I was 15 at the time. (Look at that picture again. Does this revelation really surprise you?)

*I tell everyone that the first album I bought was Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles. That was actually my second album. My first album was by the Partridge Family. I can still recite the chorus of the hit song… “I think I love you, but what am I so afraid of, I’m afraid that I’m not sure of, a love there is no cure for. Oh, I think I love you, isn’t that what life is made of, though it worries me to say, that I never felt this way.”

*My father once told me that I wasn’t welcome back in the house until I got my hair cut, and I seriously contemplated living in the wilderness. If we had had a better stocked pantry, you’d be reading about a mysterious 44-year-old suburban mountain man.

*The photo that mysteriously appeared on the school bulletin board of the soccer coach picking his butt? Guilty, your honor. You have no idea how much film I wasted before I got the perfect shot of the man who cut me from the team.

*”Grease Soundtrack”? Owned it.

*”Disco Demolition Army” t-shirt? Yup. I also had not one, but two “Death before Disco” shirts. They were shiny.

*What were my friends and I giggling about as we listened to Ted Nugent records right in front of my mother? She had no idea what “Wango Tango” was about.

*My buddy Dave and I worked out every other day and drank protein shakes to gain weight because we were maybe 125 pounds at the time. One day we missed a workout. I haven’t worked out a single time since. That was 1983.

There. Forgive me for not providing any further photographic support for these moments. I think I’ve officially paid my dues.

Anyone care to join me in my humiliation, or have I been “vetted” needlessly?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Musings

Every Monday stop by for jokes, links to stories you might have missed, amusing photos and video, and more. Contributions and suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Click on the "Email Me" link on the right to contribute.

Joke of the Week: Contributed by "T", who by the way, is married to a woman from the South....

Down south, Bubba called his attorney and asked, 'Is it true theys suin them cigarette companies fer causin People to git cancer ?'

'Yes, Bubba, sure is true,' responded the lawyer.

'And now someone is suin them fast food restaurants fer makin them fat an cloggin their arteries with all them burgers an fries, is that true, Mista Lawyer?'

'Sure is, Bubba.'

'And that lady sued McDonalds for millions when she was gave that hot coffee that she ordered?'


'And that football player sued that university when he gradiated and still couldn't read?'

'That's right,' said the lawyer.

'But why are you asking?'

'Well, I was thinkin . . ..What I want to know is, kin I sue Budweiser fer all them ugly women I slept with?'

Stories you might have missed

1. Someone finally put a curse on the Yankees
(It won't take effect until they go into their new ballpark next year)

2. Is that the reflection of a naked lady in Dick Cheney's sunglasses?
(It looks like one to me...but then again, I have a very active imagination.)

3. Bill Buckner finally forgiven in Boston
(I actually welled up when I read this...the poor guy. Shouldn't the Cubs do the same for Bartman?)

4. Other people who should be forgiven

(I particularly like the last one on this list...and no Bartman didn't make the list.)

5. You'll never believe what John McCain once called his wife
(Warning: Don't click on this story if you're easily offended by bad language. The word is explicitly spelled out. Further Warning: Women hate this word.)

Video of the week: I can't really describe this, but it was pretty amazing to watch...

Picture of the week: Contributed by "T"--He calls this "Haircut of the year." Look at it closely.

Reader Response

Regarding Suburban Man: Blue Velvet

"Nice tux! At least you didn't have to wear lederhosen. What was your prom theme? 99 Luftbalons? Just kidding. We were just discussing my husband's wonderful lime green tuxedo and ruffly shirt, the photo of which I only saw once. I have to tear the house apart to see if I can find it, so my girls can share in the hilarity. I'm sure it's torn up or well hidden. By the way--Always with the redheads!! Must have been some kind of premonition..."

“Your frilly shirt matches your date’s dress. Please tell me you didn’t plan that.”

“Look at your date's facial expression. She’s screaming ‘I’m dating a fuzzy tuxedo! Save me!’”

"Wow. Foxy. When are the two of you meeting up with Huggy Bear?”

“You wanna know what I thought when I saw this picture? I thought–’He got a girl to date him?’”

“Nice Mustache. You look like a younger, skinnier, and less-hip Dave Wannstedt.”

"You know, I don't have the heart to make fun of you in that photo, although the hair alone is BEGGING for it. My junior prom was also in May 1980, and my date was wearing a similarly styled dark blue tux. Fortunately, he decided against the ruffled shirt, a move that I'm sure he is thankful for now, as photos like that tend to resurface and haunt you later on. Come to think of it, I had a pink dress, too, just like your date! But, looking back, the dark blue velvet paled in comparison to the powder blue tux with ruffled shirt that my senior prom date wore in April 1981! Good thing he was hot. What? You think guys are the only ones who talk like that?"

281 days until we get a new president.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chicago Radio Spotlight: Barry Keefe

Barry Keefe had been a news anchor at WTMX (and the other call letters that have used that frequency) since 1978. His last day on the air was Friday.

Rick: I think 30 years with one FM station has got to be a record of some kind. What was the station like when you started there in 1978?

Barry: Well...the place was certainly doing well. (Photo: It was WCLR at the time) They’d just had a strong spring book the day I arrived. Jack Kelly was the PD who melded elevator music with pop currents to make what was perhaps the first AC station in America. And with FCC things still in place…there were 4 people on staff doing both news and public affairs. The presentation of news at that time wasn’t much different from what you’d find on AM radio. I was not at all the conversational chum I try and sound like these days. On staff back then were several Mormons, per ownership (Bonneville is owned by the Mormon Church). They were great workers…but that presence in the Midwest has changed a lot over the years.

Here’s a fun-fact. All the GMs in Bonneville were given a Pontiac Bonneville to drive. And they had to drive the Pontiac that happened to have the name of their company on the rear quarter panels.

Rick: As you mentioned, WCLR had an actual fully staffed news department. Do you think that those days are officially over for FM radio?

Barry: Over…Forever (except public radio). Ain’t gonna’ happen. Station management have figured out a way to corral newsies at someone else’s place and let THEIR bosses worry about getting the news out each day.

Rick: Your newscasts have also had to change over the years. Talk about the different approaches throughout some of the different regimes. Your career is almost the perfect example of the evolution of FM news, isn't it?

Barry: I hope they’ve changed. Because I was one of the lemmings back when. Everybody’s news, content-wise, sounded the same. There was no molding to the sound of the station you’re working for. My content for women is now so finely targeted there are lots of days when I run a slew of stories no one else even thought of.

Rick: You've also worked with a multitude of different air personalities, including Eric and Kathy for the last decade or more. When they first started did you sense this show was going to be the juggernaut it eventually became or were you as surprised as some of their critics?

Barry: I told our then-PD Barry James on the Friday of Eric’s first week that this thing was going to blast off. I still remember walking into the traffic office and seeing him and making sure he knew that. When Eric arrived, he and Kathy ignited the phones. And the targeting of women over and above what people had ever imagined before! What the hell did your average radio programmer out there THINK women talked about everyday? Purses, lipstick, cosmetic surgery, celebs and goofy domestic stuff. That’s especially true pre-parenting.

Rick: Do you think that has been the secret to the show's success?

Barry: That, and Eric (photo) comes off as the ‘guy’ he is, too. He can talk pocketbook or sports with anyone, anytime. He’s an exceptional golfer…loves to play cards…and he probably reads that famous ‘baseball abstract’ tome too.

Rick: What have been a few highlights for you during these Eric & Kathy years?

Barry: Well, I once had a lot of attractive nurses dine on my belly ala some famous French cafĂ©. Yes – the guy serves food on his massive torso to women willing to pay for it. We completed the stunt, live on the air…with me doing the news on my back. 60 minutes later, in walks Bruce Reese, the Bonneville CEO. I had no idea he was even in town. He touched me on the shoulder and said ‘Barry…THAT was ‘taking one for the team!’ I also enjoyed Melissa giving me a spray tan. Everyone should be spray-tanned by Melissa.

Rick: Throughout your time at the Mix you've also been a teacher at Columbia College. Between the many colleagues you've worked with at your station and the many students you've taught who have gone into the business, I don't think you even realize how many lives you've touched. When Robert Feder reported you were leaving, I literally received dozens of e-mails asking me to interview you before you left. Have you been besieged with well wishers?

Barry: I cannot lie. I have nearly 100 e-mails right now (we conducted this interview on Tuesday), all from Rob’s column. And not a word has been said on the air about this yet!

Rick: The way your departure was described in Robert Feder's column ("the curtain came down unexpectedly") makes it sound like you weren't quite ready to go. How did they approach you with the news, and were you already planning to step down in the near future?

Barry: They approached me with an HR person present…but I guess that beats approaching me with some little guy in a court jester’s outfit. The HR stuff is law and regs. It was an uplifting meeting, thanks to the care Jerry Schnacke (Vice President/Market Manager of Bonneville Chicago) and Greg Solk (President of Programming/Bonneville) took with a few things. I got a good deal…and having never been one for contracts – I can go and work anywhere ASAP. Our family’s departure for Michigan isn’t as imminent as some may have made it seem.

Rick: Is there anything you'd like to say to your former colleagues, students or listeners that may be reading this interview?

Barry: Don’t be frivolous with money. I hit the age of 55 in a couple of weeks at the tail end of the era of severance and pension. It’s going to be an unfriendly world out there. Young adults just entering the work world would do good to enjoy Burger King’s Tuesday 59 cent burger specials once in awhile. And I’m not kidding. Hey…for only a dime extra you get cheese with that!