Friday, May 30, 2008

RIP: Harvey Korman

I miss him already...

He was the best...

Do you remember him as the voice of Gazoo on the Flintstones?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Media Notebook (May 29, 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

FCC may rule on XM/Sirius merger by June 30
(Radio Online) The FCC could reach a decision on proposed Sirius-XM Satellite Radio merger by the end of June, Chairman Kevin Martin said at a press conference on Friday. "I still think the Commission could act by the end of the second quarter," Martin told reporters -- even though the matter did not appear on the agency's agenda for its regular monthly meeting on June 12. In recent weeks, many lawmakers and several interest groups have asked the FCC to impose restrictions, if approved, including the spin-off of some of the two company's spectrum -- which is larger than the AM and FM bands combined. Groups also want the agency to require that HD Radio be included in any new receivers.

NBC's fall schedule includes "Thursday Night Live" specials
(Washington Post) Lisa de Moraes writes: "When the new schedule was unveiled in early April, NBC's programming chief, Ben Silverman, offered no details on that 'Office' spinoff. 'We're keeping a tight lid on that,' he said, which we think was another way of saying, 'We don't know what it is.' NBC also said it would air four 'Saturday Night Live' election specials in the Thursday 9:30 p.m. time slot; they'll be called 'Thursday Night Live.'"

MSNBC leaning left, getting flak from both sides
(Washington Post) Howard Kurtz writes: "MSNBC, which bills itself as 'the place for politics,' is being pummeled by political practitioners. 'It's an organ of the Democratic National Committee,' says Steve Schmidt, a senior strategist for John McCain's campaign. 'It's a partisan advocacy organization that exists for the purpose of attacking John McCain.' Ed Gillespie, President Bush's counselor, says there is an 'increasing blurring' of the line between NBC News and MSNBC's 'blatantly partisan talk show hosts like Christopher Matthews and Keith Olbermann.'"
(Rick's note: This was one of the points in my book, $everance. People who had been ripping the liberal media but believed that Fox was just a natural counterpoint, were comparing apples and oranges: "Left-leaning while attempting to be objective" journalists versus blatantly partisan advocates. Now, with the way MSNBC has turned, you have an actual counterpoint. This is what Fox looks like to non-conservatives. If you don't take umbrage when your side does it--you lose the right to take umbrage when their side does it. Hate Michael Moore but love Ann Coulter, or vice versa? Fine...but please keep your fake outrage to yourself, because you're no better than the people that outraged you.)

Cable Networks put more content online
(Broadcasting & Cable) Anne Becker writes: "Increasing their output of content on the Web was a hot topic among programmers at the NCTA show. As advertisers continue to demand the greater accountability and demographic targeting that the Internet offers, networks have adapted differing strategies in dispatching content online—posting “extras” or full-length episodes from their old and current TV series, creating new shows or launching entirely new Websites."


Google replies to Viacom's lawsuit
(Associated Press) A $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit challenging YouTube's ability to keep copyrighted material off its popular video-sharing site threatens how hundreds of millions of people exchange all kinds of information on the Internet, YouTube owner Google Inc. said. Google's lawyers made the claim in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan as the company responded to Viacom Inc.'s latest lawsuit alleging that the Internet has led to "an explosion of copyright infringement" by YouTube and others.

Whatever happened to Iraq?
(American Journalism Review) Armando Acuna, public editor of the Sacramento Bee, turned a Sunday column into a public flogging for both his editors and the nation's news media. They had allowed the third-longest war in American history to slip off the radar screen, and he had the numbers to prove it. The public also got a scolding for its meager interest in a controversial conflict that is costing taxpayers about $12.5 billion a month, or nearly $5,000 a second, according to some calculations. In his March 30 commentary, Acuna noted: "There's enough shame..for everyone to share." He had watched stories about Iraq move from 1A to the inside pages of his newspaper, if they ran at all. He understood the editors' frustration over how to handle the mind-numbing cycles of violence and complex issues surrounding Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Tribune Quietly Relaunches Superstation
(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes: "The relaunch was quiet. The new brand isn't. Superstation WGN, the national cable and satellite version of Chicago's WGN-Ch. 9 that parent Tribune Co. has targeted for an overhaul, assumed its new identity in a soft launch during the Memorial Day federal holiday. As of Monday, it's WGN America. The change won't fully kick in for a few weeks. But the new logo -- a rendering of a woman's eyes, much like the one used by The Movie Channel through most of the 1990s -- and the slogan "TV You Can't Ignore" already have made their debut."


WLS Rewind returned for Memorial Day
( Last year it was entire day of former WLS Rock Jocks back in the saddle, taking the 50,000 watt blowtorch for a ride. This year's it was just as good, with especially impressive performances from Larry Lujack and John Records Landecker.
Read about some of the participants

Clark Weber writes book about WLS History

( I heard this book mentioned all day during the WLS Rewind, and spoke to Clark Weber asking when it would officially be available. He said: "It's available for pre-order now! At Barnes & Noble, Borders, and" That's the link above. It will be in the stores by August 1st.

An interview with Paul Brian
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with famed automobile guru and radio talk show host Paul Brian about his fascinating career in both radio, racing, and the Chicago Auto Show. This coming weekend, I'll have updates on previous interview subjects Greg Brown, Jennifer Keiper, Phil Manicki, and Cara Carriveau.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Suburban Man: Take Me Out to the T-ball game

By Rick Kaempfer

Those of you who know me well, know what a huge baseball fan I am. I'm the editor-in-chief of a website dedicated to my favorite baseball team, the Cubs (Just One Bad Century), and I've wasted countless hours of my life following that team.

I must admit, when Bridget and I had three boys, I envisioned that I would spend most of my time playing and watching baseball with them. It hasn't exactly turned out the way I pictured it. My oldest son Tommy is more into music and technology and doesn't like sports at all. My middle son Johnny is more into soccer and comic books.

I haven't pushed either of them to get into baseball. We play it a little in the backyard, but it's clearly not their favorite sport. That's always been OK with me. I thought it was pretty funny actually. After all, my dad was a soccer fanatic, and I spent most of my youth playing baseball (even when we lived in Germany!). It seemed only fair that my kids would prefer something else too.

That's probably why I was so surprised when my youngest boy Sean asked if I would sign him up for T-ball.

"Are you sure?" I asked. "Your brothers both picked soccer."

"I'm sure, Dad."

So I signed him up this spring and did my best to keep my expectations low. I tried not to get too excited when he began sitting next to me, asking questions about the players and the rules as I watched the Cubs. I pretended not to notice when he started playing with baseball cards. I tried to maintain my cool when he started asking me to hit him a few grounders, and when he started fielding those grounders with natural ease.

I tried not to explode with pride when he put his hands on his knees in baseball-ready position, and when he requested the coach pitch to him because he didn't need the tee. I pretended not to notice that he was always the first to volunteer for any assignment on the diamond, and that he played a flawless first base, and that the coach considered him "scrappy."

I really thought I was doing a good job of hiding it until Bridget came to a game with me last weekend. Out of the corner of my eye I could see she was staring at me. She had a big grin on her face.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"You," she said.


"You've never been happier in your life," she said.


I can understand why she's amused. She knows why I'm so happy. It has nothing to do with Sean's athletic ability, which is probably just slightly above average. It has everything to do with his obvious love of the game. I'm just excited because I finally have a baseball buddy in the house.

Plus, as a bonus, these T-ball games are unbelievably entertaining. Whenever someone hits the ball, the entire team chases it. There were eight players crowded around second base trying to field a grounder the other day. That's just funny.

Another time a kid forgot which direction to run, and ran to third base first--which caused a traffic jam on the bases. Hilarious.

Our second baseman spent the entire first inning grooming the infield dirt into a pile, before pouring it into his hat, and putting the hat onto his head. Our third baseman loves to slide so much that she slides into home plate after every runner. Our centerfielder has forgotten to come in when it's our turn to bat because he loves picking dandelions.

That's free entertainment.

And I'm loving every second of it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

WLS Memorial Day Rewind

I'm loving this WLS Memorial Day Rewind today. For those of you searching the internet for more information about some of the participants, I've previously interviewed several of them here.

Read about...

Fred Winston

Catherine Johns

Karen Hand

John Records Landecker


Jeff Davis

Also, they were giving away the book written by WLS legend Clark Weber, and I'm pretty sure that WLS History website operator Scott Childers was part of the festivities too.

Monday Musings...

will return next week.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day.