Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 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
(New York Post) It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Hey, Sumner, thanks for helping destroy the media business while you were in it. Peter Lauria writes: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone, caught in the vise-like grip of the credit crunch, may be forced to sell his prized Viacom Inc., home of MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Studios. A sale of Viacom, or any piece of the company, would be a tremendous setback to the 85-year-old Redstone, as he has spent the better part of his professional life pulling together the crown jewel of his investment portfolio. Sources close to Redstone and Viacom say the executive's current cash situation is so dire that selling Viacom or CBS - which he also controls - is now a real possibility."
Sumner Redstone files for divorce
(Reuters) I wonder how his wife of 50+ years (that he dumped to marry this one) feels today. Dean Goodman writes: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone, the irascible billionaire whose fortunes have been battered by the financial crisis, has filed for divorce from his second wife after five years of marriage, a spokesman said on Tuesday. The 85-year-old executive chairman of both Viacom Inc and CBS Corp cited "irreconcilable differences" with Paula Fortunato Redstone, a former school teacher who is almost 40 years his junior. The couple, who live in a gated community overlooking Beverly Hills, have no children together. They had entered into a 'marital settlement agreement' covering their assets, said the papers filed on Friday in the Los Angeles Superior Court."
Controlling Media Members face new scrutiny on Wall Street
(Smart Money) Nat Worden writes: "The global financial crisis threatens some of the media's elite controlling shareholders after a decade of disappointing investment returns, a rise in investor activism and a chaotic industry transition to the digital age. Media moguls who rose to prominence while keeping a tight grip on control of their empires have lost some cachet on Wall Street in recent years, as public shareholders increasingly view their family relationships and resistance to change as a barrier to stock performance. Now, the outbreak of a historic financial meltdown has sparked massive sell-offs in media stocks in expectation of an economic slowdown that could force structural changes to an industry already struggling to adapt to the Internet. This prospect could loosen the grip of controlling shareholders on their family businesses like never before. 'Conflicts of interest aren't felt during good times,' said Nell Minnow with the Corporate Library, a corporate governance advisory firm. 'But they can be felt strongly in bad times.' Those particularly seeing extra scrutiny are Sumner Redstone, controlling shareholder of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. ; the Dolan family, owners of Cablevision Systems Corp.; and the Ochs-Sulzbergers, who control New York Times Co."
O'Reilly: You still have me to kick around
(Washington Post) Howard Kurtz writes: "Bill O'Reilly has signed up for another tour of duty at Fox News, saying that he decided 'to put myself through all the attacks and smears' for several more years. The pugnacious pundit said that he signed the contract despite what he sees as a constant assault on his reputation. 'I couldn't care less whether the establishment media respect me,' he said yesterday in an interview. 'I feel they're corrupt. They, I'm sure, resent me feeling that way.' Fox is expected to formally announce the four-year deal today, and the decision by O'Reilly -- who will be paid more than $10 million a year -- was not unexpected. After re-signing Sean Hannity and luring Glenn Beck from CNN's Headline News in the past two weeks, Fox has solidified a right-leaning lineup."
Fox President: FCC needs to stop regulating speech
(Broadcasting & Cable) John Eggerton writes: "It is time for the government to get out of the business of regulating indecent speech. That was the message from News Corp. President and COO Peter Chernin to media executives and others gathered in Washington for The Media Institute’s annual awards dinner. Chernin argues that it is not too many steps from censoring unpopular entertainment to doing the same to unpopular political content. Chernin weighed in on the issue in a speech accepting the Freedom of Speech award from the institute, whose trustees include major media companies. Chernin was teeing up Fox’s arguments before the Supreme Court, which is hearing the FCC's challenge to a lower-court smackdown of the FCC's fleeting profanity ruling against Fox's Billboard awards broadcast. That hearing will be Nov. 4, Election Day."
(Portfolio) Duff McDonald writes: "In the upper tier of philanthropy, it’s not just about the cause and the gift. It’s about outdoing the other guy. Here is Condé Nast Portfolio’s look at which billionaires are giving the most, relative to their wealth; which are giving the least; and who is refusing to say."
(Hint: #1 is Warren Buffett. Last place is Rupert Murdoch)
Rupert Murdoch ready for spending spree
(Financial Times) News Corporation has a $5bn “war chest”, Rupert Murdoch said on Friday, as he highlighted his appetite for acquisitions while more indebted rivals struggle. “We are as well positioned as we can be to face what may well turn into a prolonged economic downturn,” he told the media group’s annual meeting in New York, pointing to a 22-year average debt maturity. News Corp was forced this week to abandon its attempt to sell News Outdoor, a Russian billboard business, to JCDecaux, and its auction of free-to-air television businesses in Bulgaria, Latvia and Serbia has stalled. However, the group chairman highlighted eastern Europe as one of three regions, with India and the broader Asian market, in which he would seek to expand.
NBC Universal cutting $500 million
(LA Times) Dawn C. Chmielewski writes: "NBC Universal is planning to slash spending across the board next year as it braces for a sharp drop in consumer spending on entertainment. In a memo, NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker said the cuts would amount to $500 million, or 3% of what would be a $16.7-billion annual budget. He called on division heads to make cuts in staffing, promotional expenses and discretionary spending on travel, entertainment and outside consultants."
(Associated Press) The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, two of the most influential US newspapers, backed Barack Obama on Friday to become the next US president, praising his leadership abilities despite his relative inexperience. Obama also picked up hometown support from the Chicago Tribune -- marking the first time since its founding in 1847 that it has come out for a Democratic candidate. Their editorials took to 51 the number of US newspapers endorsing Obama so far in the November 4 election, against 16 for McCain, according to a tally by the Editor and Publisher trade journal...The biggest newspaper to come out for McCain so far has been the New York Post, a part of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's empire that also includes the conservative Fox News channel.
Palin draws big ratings
(Associated Press) Sarah is big...but not quite as big as Nancy Kerrigan. "The entertainment summit of the season — Sarah Palin and her impersonator, Tina Fey — earned "Saturday Night Live" its best ratings in 14 years. But if you blinked, you might have missed it. Fey was answering questions at a news conference, something Palin hasn't done yet as the Republican vice presidential nominee, when Palin walked on the stage. Fey beat a hasty retreat in the opening segment, walking past the real Palin with a barely perceptible nod. If anyone was hoping for a side-by-side photo of the identically dressed women, they were out of luck. Palin's guest shot, widely anticipated since Fey began imitating her a month ago, led "Saturday Night Live" to its highest mark in overnight Nielsen Media Research ratings since March 1994, when assaulted skater Nancy Kerrigan was guest host."
Robert Feder's farewell
(Chicago Sun Times) You get the feeling that the Sun-Times has no idea what they'll be missing? Robert Feder writes: "Yes, this is it. I'm stepping down today after 28 years of daily coverage of radio and television for the Sun-Times. But in the words of Sonny & Cher, the beat goes on. Although I won't be here to report them, here are some predictions I'm willing to bet will occur in the coming months and beyond:" (Click on the link to read his predictions about Channel 5, Richard Roeper, Steve Cochran, Steve Dahl, and Mancow among others)
As of Monday, Nine-FM--the "We play anything" station is no longer on the air. They wrote a letter to their listeners on their website. Click the link to read what they have to say, including recommendations for other stations.
Saunders readying for final signoff
(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes: "WMAQ-Ch. 5 lead newscaster Warner Saunders, who's been part of Chicago's television landscape for 40 years, expects to leave the station he has called home since 1980, retiring at the end of May from the 10 p.m. newscast he has co-anchored for 11 1/2 years. Although WMAQ has yet to make any formal announcement, Saunders, who turns 74 in January, said by e-mail that he signed a brief contract extension that smooths out the transition for the NBC-owned station's newscasts. Saunders intends to move off the station's 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts with the new year, while remaining on Channel 5's marquee 10 p.m. broadcast alongside Allison Rosati for another five months. Barring something unexpected, Saunders indicated he looks to retire June 1. Nothing is set in stone, but Channel 5 4:30 p.m. anchor Bob Sirott, the former CBS News correspondent and "Chicago Tonight" host who doubles as host of a noon show for Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co.'s WGN-AM 720, is expected to land in Saunders' spot on the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. programs. If all goes well with Sirott's on-air reunion alongside Rosati, with whom he long ago co-anchored WMAQ's "First Thing in the Morning," he's front-runner for the 10 p.m. program, too, once Saunders assumes his next challenge."
Mancow replaces Jerry Agar at WLS
(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes: "Erich "Mancow" Muller, who lost his last full-time Chicago radio job 27 months ago, has signed a letter of intent to host a weekday talk show for Citadel Broadcasting's WLS-AM 890. Mike Fowler, WLS-AM's president and general manager, confirmed that Muller will replace Jerry Agar in the 9 a.m.-to-11 a.m. slot, beginning Monday. For his first week, he will be paired with Pat Cassidy, who joined WLS from WBBM-AM 780 this summer. "It's going to bring a lot of energy to the station," Fowler said. "It's a younger version of Rush [Limbaugh], with some Roe Conn thrown in." Muller, who will continue to do a separate syndicated morning program, did not return a call for comment.
Mini Interview: Shelli Harmon
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Every week I'm featuring excerpts from my SHORE Magazine article about 14 local radio voices. This week: Shelli Harmon from from Sunny 101.5 in South Bend.
Chicago Radio Spotlight interview: Marc Silverman
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with the co-host of ESPN Radio's "Waddle and Silvy," Marc Silverman. Silvy talked about his early radio influences, his highs and lows, and his current broadcast partner, former Bear Tom Waddle. Coming this weekend: Robert Murphy.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I wrote the following piece when I returned home from the hospital after the birth of my oldest son Tommy, thirteen years ago this week (October 19, 1995). Yikes...we've got a teenager in the house.
The phone rang at the office. It was the very pregnant Bridget on the line. “I’m not sure, but I think my water might have broken.”
Like any rational adult, I went into a sitcom panic. “What do you mean, you think your water might have broken? Isn’t that usually accompanied by a huge swoosh of water?”
After we both calmed down (although now that I mention it, Bridget was pretty calm) we decided to swing by the doctor’s office and have him check. It was his day off and he conducted the examination over the phone with another doctor. The fluid was checked under a microscope.
Like any rational adult, I called everyone I knew and said “We’re going to have a baby!”
Of course, reality set in when we got to the hospital. The woman in the room next to Bridget’s was in her second day of labor. Later in the night we heard a woman screaming in such excruciating pain that we thought it was a baby crying. I knew right then and there that my beautiful wife would be numbing the pain with drugs. The more, the merrier.
I’m pretty sure that my mother set some kind of speed record from Mt. Prospect to Chicago in the middle of the afternoon. Bridget called her sometime around 1PM, and she was in the waiting room by 2PM. Apparently we weren’t the only ones anticipating the birth of this child....Oma wanted to be there when her first grandchild was born. As it turned out, she wasn’t.
After sitting there for eight hours with very little progress I sent her home. That’s when all hell broke loose. Bridget had to be induced, and almost immediately she started feeling intense pain. My memory banks have catalogued this beautiful moment between the anesthesiologist and my wife. It went something like this....
Dr: So, you think you need something for the pain?
Br: Yes, yes, yes....oooooh.
Dr: OK, we’re going to have to ask the father to leave the room for a moment.
Br: Groan. Groan. Groan. Groan. Groan.
(Rick leaves the room, returns 1/2 hour later)
Br: Oh, thank you doctor, thank you. I just wanted to really, really, really, really thank you.
We both knew we were in the home stretch then. Well, at least I knew. I’m not sure if Bridget even knew where she was for the next few hours. Thank God. It was so great to see the transformation from the really unhappy Bridget to the really happy Bridget.
It was now 2AM. Time to start pushing. They called Dr. Sabbagha. He checked out the goods and decided that we still had some time, so Bridget kept on pushing while the doc took a little nap. Molly the nurse helped us push. She held one of Bridget’s legs and I held the other and we coached her through each push. About every third push Bridget’s leg slammed me right in the family jewels.
Then I saw it....
At first I wasn’t sure what it was, Molly had to fill me in. It was the baby’s head. The hair threw me off. I didn’t expect to see hair, I was expecting to see a perfectly shaped bald (Michael Jordan-esque) head. But there was no mistaking it...the time was near.
Molly went to get Dr. Sabbagha, and told us we could keep pushing if we wanted. BIG MISTAKE. With her first solo try, Bridget grunted hard, and poof - there was the head...all the way out. I’m not sure what I said, but I think it went something like this....
“STOP. STOP. STOP. Holy Bleep.”
Molly came back in, saw the head and said...”Oh my God, we better get Dr. Sabbagha.”
He barely had time to get his gloves on before the event. Just a few moments later, at 4:06 a.m. we had a bouncing baby boy.
We didn’t even know the name of the baby when I called Mom up around 4:45AM. We hadn’t allowed ourselves to really put a lot of thought into a boy’s name, it just didn’t seem possible that we would have a boy. Bridget's entire family at the time consisted of nothing but girls.
Naming a child is one of the most awesome responsibilities a person ever faces. Our momentous decision was made something like this....
Rick: We need to come up with a name.
Bridget: It’s a boy. I can’t believe it’s a boy.
Rick: I guess the name Grace Anne won’t work now.
Bridget: Well, what do you think?
Rick: Let's name him after our fathers.
Bridget: I'm not naming him Eckhard or Stanley.
Rick: Fine, then let’s name him after our Dad’s middle names. Peter Thomas or Thomas Peter?
Bridget: I don’t know, I’m getting stitched up right now.
Rick: OK. Thomas Peter.
Most of our friends and relatives heard about Tommy on the radio. As a matter of fact, in one of the earliest broadcasting debuts in history, Tommy was on the air when he was 2 hours old.
The following is a transcript of that telephone conversation that morning. The participants are John Landecker (center), sidekick Vicki Truax (the only female in the group picture), and proud papa Rick.
John: Oldies 104.3 WJMK, It's 12 minutes after 6:00 with John Records Landecker and Vicki Truax. The hotline...the private line...is ringing. Hello.
Rick: I'm a papa.
(Loud cheering and whooping in the studio)
Vicki: A girl or a boy?
Rick: A boy.
Vicki: I KNEW IT!!! What's his name?
Rick: Thomas Peter.
Vicki: What time?
Rick: 4:06 a.m.
John: Wow. How's everybody doing?
Rick: Everyone is fine.
Vicki: Bridget is fine too? Is she exhausted?
Rick: Yup, she's holding Thomas right now.
John & Vicki: Awwwww.
Rick: 7 pounds, 3 ounces.
John & Vicki: Awwwww.
Rick: And I recorded the entire thing on Digital audio tape.
Vicki: You're kidding? She didn't make you turn it off?
Rick: No. I had it put in a nice place where it didn't get in anyone's way.
John: We've got Thomas' birth on tape.
Rick: Yup. And we got his first bath on tape too, and his first cry.
John: Something tells me we better get more tape. OK, here's his first eyelid opening. Better get that on tape. We're going through his first toll...let's get that on tape. Hey Rick, don't you just want to...
John, Vicki & Rick: Hug and kiss them all the time?
(That was something Vicki said so often about her daughter it was a running joke on the show)
Rick: He is so damn cute.
John & Vicki: Awwwwww.
Rick: Wait a second...is he crying? Hold on.
Sound: A tiny baby cry can be heard.
John: Is that him?
Rick: Yup. His on-air debut.
Rick: He's got some lungs on him.
John: That kid sounds like he's two years old.
Rick: Yeah, he's got good pipes.
John: Does he want to come in and do a few record talkovers?
Vicki: How long is he?
Rick: 21 inches.
John: So what was it like?
Rick: It was so cool. It was just like the movie "Alien." The baby kind of popped out and looked around. Then he jumped up and sucked my eyes out...
John & Vicki: (Laughing)
John: Then Siguorney Weaver came in with some sort of a mechanical device. It was unbelievable.
Vicki: You guys. Is he all wrinkly. Does he have hair?
Rick: Yeah, he does have hair. That was the first thing we saw. I asked the nurse...ewww...what is that? That's his hair. Oh.
John: Did you get it on tape?
Rick: Of course. Uh, oh. I have to go. We need to take Bridget up to the recovery room.
Vicki: You're still in the delivery room?
Vicki: That's dedication.
John: How many calls have you made so far?
Rick: This is my second call. I called my mom first.
John: Wow. Well take care of everyone.
John & Vicki: Bye.
John: There they go. Dad Rick, Mom Bridget and now Thomas Kaempfer.
Vicki: I kind of liked the other name Rick was talking about before.
John: I don't think Bridget was ever going to agree to Ringo.
Monday, October 20, 2008
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: 22 jokes for the kids. Contributed by "K"
1. How Do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?
Unique Up on It
2. How Do You Catch a Tame Rabbit?
3. How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest ?
They Take the Psycho Path
4. How Do You Get Holy Water?
You Boil the Hell Out Of It
5. What Do Fish Say When They Hit a Concrete Wall?
6. What Do Eskimos Get From Sitting On The Ice too Long?
7. What Do You Call a Boomerang That Doesn't work?
8. What Do You Call Cheese That Isn't Yours?
9. What Do You Call Santa's Helpers?
10. What Do You Call Four Bullfighters In Quicksand?
11. What Do You Get From a Pampered Cow?
12. What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman With a Vampire?
13. What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches?
A Nervous Wreck
14. What's The Difference Between Roast Beef And Pea Soup?
Anyone Can Roast Beef
15. Where Do You Find a Dog With No Legs?
Right Where You Left Him
16. Why Do Gorillas Have Big Nostrils?
Because They Have Big Fingers
17. Why Don't Blind People Like To Sky Dive?
Because It Scares the Dog
18. What Kind Of Coffee Was Served On The Titanic?
19. What Is The Difference Between a Harley And a Hoover ?!
The Location of The Dirt Bag
20. Why Did Pilgrims' Pants Always Fall Down?
Because They Wore Their Belt Buckle on Their Hat
21. What's The Difference Between a Bad Golfer And a Bad Skydiver?
A Bad Golfer Goes, Whack, Dang! A Bad Skydiver Goes Dang! Whack.
22. How are a Texas Tornado and a Tennessee Divorce the Same?
Somebody's Gonna’ Lose A Trailer
Stories you might have missed
1. GOP group depicts Obama with watermelon, ribs
(This is a funny story, not because the racism is funny, but because they are claiming with a straight face that it's not racist at all.)
2. How big is America's nuclear arsenal?
(This is a short video using BBs to represent nuclear warheads)
3. "I told my husband to get a happy ending."
(And she wasn't talking about a movie.)
4. Ringo Starr: No more fan mail
(Does this mean my autographed Ringo album is worth more?)
5. The Kennedy Tapes
(This is really fascinating audio of President Kennedy talking with a few of his good friends--off the record for a book project--in the months before he is elected.
Video of the week: Contributed by "B". He calls it "Rachel Ray Corn Porn"
Rachael Ray Corn Porn - Watch more free videos
Photo of the week: Contributed by "S". It's the new "Cubs flag"
Regarding Political Jokes
"Rick, I'm not accusing you of being a lefty, but I was just wondering why you haven't picked out any Obama jokes for your Monday jokes?"
Rick responds: I have gotten a few Obama jokes, but to tell you the truth, they all have two things in common. 1) They are racist. Not just kind of racist, but, 'what is this, 1865?' racist. 2) They aren't funny. So, if you've got a funny Obama joke that isn't about his race, I'll happily post it. If it's just another joke that makes me cringe, forget it.
Regarding Suburban Man: "Second Thoughts"
"There have long been T-shirts reading, "Baseball is life. The rest is just details." I think baseball was first with this often-copied refrain, and there is reason for it. Other sports are posers. Baseball is a metaphor for life, and it's why the game has such a strong hold on so many of us. You are teaching your kids well by helping them to love the game.
Baseball starts in the spring, our world's time of new growth, hope, and a full future. It is a grind, played day after day, like life itself. There are good days and bad. For six months every year, it is always there, a friend ready to engage us. It teaches loyalty. It rewards perseverence. It is unchanging, a link to our past, which has been lost in so many other ways.
Then, like life, it ends. For most of us, it ends in resignation that those dreams were never close to coming true. For some, it ends in heartbreak. Only a few reach the mountaintop, but even for them, it ends. The flowers fade. The leaves fall. Your friend, so omipresent for so long, has gone. The winter is cold, dark, and empty.
That's when only our belief that spring will come again carries us forward. That the world will bloom again, that the days will be warm, that there is promise in next season.
I believe that it's not whether you win or lose. It's that you played."
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Marc Silverman is the co-host of "Waddle & Silvy" every weekday morning from 9 to noon on ESPN Radio, AM 1000
Rick: You're a local Chicago boy. Who did you listen to on the radio when you were growing up?
Marc: Easy. Chet Coppock. Every single night. I would sit at home not doing my homework, and sneak the phone into my room and try to call the Coppock show. It was considered a toll call in those days and my parents would ask me what all these calls to this 591 number were.
I loved Coppock. We had Bulls season tickets, and I would shush my grandparents on the way home from the game so I could listen to what Chet had to say about the game. He did the only really sports show in town those days, before Sports talk started as a format. The Score started just as I was going to Southern, and it was a big thrill for me to have guys from the Score on my show in Carbondale. I had Dangerous Dan McNeil as a guest, who I idolized from his days with the Coppock show. I also had George Offman on the show. I used any excuse to talk to these guys.
Rick: That was at WIDB, right? There are quite a few Chicago radio people who got their start at that radio station.
Marc: Yup. Lots of 'em. I don't know them all, but I know David Schuster did, and so Peggy Kusinski and George Offman. I think Mike Murphy worked there too, although I'm not sure. I know he went to SIU.
Rick: Your Chicago career started at WGN, as a sports reporter. That must have been quite a thrill to be working at the number one station in Chicago as a youngster.
Marc: Oh yeah. I was in Northwest Iowa before that, in a little town paying my dues. I was sports director at KILR Radio, but that just meant that I directed myself, because I was a one-man sports department. When you're at a small market station like that you do everything. I DJed an oldies show, went to the state fair, all of those stereotypical things, but I really wanted to get into radio in Chicago. Dan Falato was at WGN at the time, and I bugged him every other week, asking for ways to break in there. At the time they had this paid internship program, and I finally scored one of those. This was in the days after Chuck Swirsky left but before David Kaplan was there, and they didn't really have anyone who was willing to go to the locker rooms and do all the legwork.
The first story they sent me out to cover was the day it was rumored Jordan was coming back. It was the first time I had ever been to the Berto Center, and there I was, amongst this crowd of reporters—-all these guys that I had seen and heard, all looking for the same story. Jordan didn't show up, but guys like BJ Armstrong and Bill Wennington were interviewed. I made a bit out of it when I got back to the radio station. I used the mission impossible theme, and I knew how to splice reel-to-reel tape, so I created this bit about the intern out to get the impossible story. I played it for Joe Bartosch (photo) who was Punnett's producer, and he loved it. They played it on the air, and after that they trusted me to cover these stories more often. When my internship ended, Tisa Lasorte, who was the program director at the time, offered me a job. It really was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
Rick: The years you were there (95-98) happened to have coincided with the last three Chicago Bulls championships. Do you have any favorite stories from those years?
Marc: I was a huge Bulls fan growing up. My family had season tickets. Honestly, the chance to cover Jordan on a day to day basis was definitely the biggest thrill. I was there 3 ½ years, asking him questions in the pack of reporters every day. Well, one day, when the Bulls were down in a series, I asked a question that he didn't like—it ticked him off, and it was like he was seeing me for the first time. He asked "Hey, who is this guy?" I wanted to say, "Hey, it's the same guy who has been asking you questions every single day for the past 3 ½ years."
Rick: You moved to ESPN (WMVP) in 1998 and have been there ever since, in various different roles. You've been in this midday time slot now with three different co-hosts; Jay Mariotti, Carmen DeFalco and now, Tom Waddle. Compare and contrast the experience of working with each of those guys.
Marc: My experience with Mariotti was totally positive. I know a lot of people who have worked with him or against him have had bad things to say, but I never felt that way about him. We only had one minor disagreement on the air. I still consider him a friend of mine and I thought he was very good at what he did. I was bummed when the situation with the station didn't work out (during the renegotiation of the White Sox/Bulls contract), and I still miss reading his column every day.
But when you're working with Jay, you always know you're going to be #2, and the show is going to be hardcore sports. With Carmen, it was totally different. I will always believe that we had a big following and we would have had a bigger following if we had been allowed to continue together. We were both young and raw, but we had a great time doing that show and it was really developing. I still consider Carmen to be one of my best friends in the world. And he still sounds great when he's filling in for Mac. He's more opinionated than ever and he knows how to have a good time on the air.
That's actually something I've always tried to keep in mind too. Danny Mac taught me that. The most important thing is to entertain the audience. At the end of the day they care about that more than they care if you were right about some sports story. The best e-mails I get are the ones that say "you guys crack me up."
That's what Waddle and I try to do. He's great to work with too. He always shows up prepared and he's thoroughly professional in everything he does, but he doesn't take himself too seriously. That makes it fun every single day. We like to poke fun at each other, and I think that makes it fun for the listeners too. He says I nag him like a wife—which I suppose is true. We're true partners. We're also lucky that we have one of the best producers in the business, Randy Merkin. Without him the show wouldn't be nearly as good as it is. If anyone would know how important it is to have a great producer it's you...and we've got one.
Rick: There have obviously been some highs and lows during your ten years at ESPN. What was your highest high, and what was your lowest low?
Marc: The highest high was probably this most recent spring book. We were #3 men 25-54, with a 4.6, which is something we were really proud of. The show has really come a long way. Waddle and I had a 3.0 in our first book together.
The lowest low was probably the day Jeff Schwartz (ESPN Radio PD at the time) told us that Carmen and I were moving to nights. I was really down. Really pissed. But again, it could have been much worse. We could have lost our jobs completely. The other lowest low was probably at the beginning of my time here. We never knew if this station was going to make it in those first two years and that was pretty stressful, just wondering if was going to work out.
Rick: I listen to your show quite often and I've heard a few awkward moments. I mean that in a good way. When I worked with Steve and Garry they always used to say, if it can't be funny, let it be awkward. Sometimes those are the most memorable moments from a listener's point of view. Do you have any favorite examples of that?
Marc: Yes, but it doesn't exactly make me look good. One time I had just gotten back from a Police concert and had been drinking for about six hours. Waddle called me up and said "Hey, I'm town. Let's go out." Well, that doesn't happen often. When Waddle's in town, you go. I was pretty gone already by then, but I went. We were having a great time and I was talking to this 23 year old girl. Obviously there was a big age difference there, I'm 36, she's 23, so I said, "I may 36 years old, but I have the body of an Adonis." Waddle told that story on the air, and it made me look like a loser and an idiot. People still mention that story to me. I guess it's funny to everyone else, but it was pretty embarrassing for me.
Rick: I really look forward to the Mark Giangreco segments on your show (every Tuesday). I've done a few shows with him over the years, and he is an absolute natural behind the mic. You've known him for a long time—all the way back to the days you served as his intern.
Marc: Actually, I knew him before then. When I was in 7th grade, in Junior High, they had us call people up to ask if we could shadow them for a day. I called all these sports guys in town, Jack Brickhouse, Johnny Morris, you name it. They all said no way. So I called the new guy at Channel 5, Mark Giangreco, and he said "Sure, no problem."
Rick: Anyone who listens to your show knows what a big Cubs fan you are. I'm a big fan too, obviously. I recently wrote about my second thoughts about bringing up my children to be Cubs fans. I know you don't have any kids yet, but if you do, will you bring them up to be Cubs fans too, or will you end this cycle of abuse with the next generation of Silvermans?
Marc: You mean "when" I do have kids, not "if". Let's make that clear. If my mom reads this and it says "if" instead of "when" there will be trouble. The answer is yes, absolutely, yes. I will raise them to be Cubs fans. In fact, I can't wait to do it. Some of my fondest memories are my childhood Cubs memories. I was 13 years old in 1984 and taking the Skokie swift to the games, and I loved every second of it. As much as I'm a pessimistic Cubs fan, I'll still make my kids Cubs fans, and I really look forward to that day. Granted, by then it will be 120 years since their last World Series championship...