Friday, September 14, 2012

The Balding Handbook on Twitter

Our next Eckhartz Press book, "The Balding Handbook: 5 Stages of Grieving for Your Hair Loss", now has a twitter account. The book comes out in just over a month.

In the meantime, follow Dave's hairless tweets.

As the Sumner Turns

The Chairman of the Board for CBS & Viacom, Sumner Redstone, has been a very busy philanthropist. He has donated $130 million to charity, including $18 million to Boston University Law School, which will be naming a building after him.

I'm sure he's hoping that these last two or three years of philanthropy will make up for his 80-plus years of ruthlessness.

By the way, according to the linked article, he's also writing a second autobiography. I read the first one, and I have a tip for him. This time he should let an editor tell him that he's coming off as the most unlikable human imaginable. You have to read it to believe it. I challenge anyone finishing that book to say anything nice about the man...and he wrote it about himself.

They either told him he was coming off badly and he ignored them, or they were too afraid to tell him because he was the boss (he owns Simon & Shuster), or they didn't tell him on purpose to passive aggressively get back at him.

The whole time I was reading it, that's what was going through my mind.

The Movie That Sparked Protests

The New York Times looks into the identity of its "filmmaker" today. He sounds like an incredibly shady character. The more I read about him, the more ticked off I get about him making this movie. He wanted this reaction to it. He did it on purpose.

Pointing that out is not defending or "sympathizing" with the actions of the protesters. Of course it's not OK to kill. Yes, the killers are ultimately responsible for killing, not the person who made the movie hoping to provoke that killing.

But there's one thing I don't understand about Mitt Romney's comments in the wake of the protests in Egypt. When he said that the embassy's statement wasn't "defending America's values", was he implying that we need to be defending the moron who made this movie...during the protests he caused? That's what our diplomats should have done?

Defending this creep's right to free speech (the only possible "American value" Romney could be talking about) from inside an embassy that is in danger of being attacked only because this "fire-in-a-crowded-theater-screamer" intentionally wanted to incite riots, makes no sense at all. No sane person would do that.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that one.

Cubs 365, September 14

On this day in 1993, Major League Baseball realigned the divisions, creating three instead of two divisions in each league.

The Cubs had been in the National League East since 1969, and had won that division exactly twice (1984 & 1989). When the dust settled, they were part of the new National League Central. Gone from their division were long time rivals the New York Mets. Into their division came the Cincinnati Reds (who were previously in the NL West).

The Cubs have won the National League Central three times since then; 2003, 2007, and 2008. Unfortunately, they have also finished in last place five times; 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2006, and in second to last place another five times.

iPhone Mania

The latest iPhone sold out in less than an hour. The story of last night's iPhone mania is here.

I'm a little out of my element on this story. I not only don't have an iPhone, I don't even have a smart phone. Although I feel a little guilty writing that my phone isn't smart. I'm sure it has other good qualities.

Agreeing with Mel Two Days in a Row

This might be a sign of the Apocalypse, but I just agreed with Mel Karmazin for the second time in one week. Earlier this week he pointed out that radio doesn't do a good job of investing in programming (he would know--Mel notoriously had to personally approve any expenditure over $500 when he ran CBS). Well, imagine my surprise when I read in this morning's RAMP Newsletter, that...

"The Wall Street Journal reports that during this week's Bank Of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Media, Communications, and Telecommunications Conference in Los Angeles, SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin was candid when asked about his future under (49.7% stockholder) Liberty control. "My instincts today are that Liberty does not need me at the company," Karmazin said, adding, "I have historically been expensive."

Re-read that last sentence. Remember last year when he said that he was one of the most underpaid CEOs in the country?

I wonder if Mel has been hit with a truth hammer.

Kansas Considers Removing Obama from Ballot

The Kansas Secretary of State is seeking more information about President Obama's birth certificate before he will approve putting the sitting President of the United States on the ballot in the fall. Requests were to be sent to officials in Hawaii, Arizona and Mississippi in an attempt to secure copies of the president's birth records.

The full story is here in the Topeka Capitol Journal.

Kansas--the state Obama's American mother was born and raised in--is questioning whether or not he is an American citizen. I'm not one to make fun of entire states, but Kansas really is an embarrassment.

Although, let's be honest. Even if they take him off the ballot in the fall, how many votes will that really cost the president?

Michael Damsky

Former WLS and WXRT General Manager (and Chicago Radio Spotlight interviewee) has been hired by Chicago's Accu-Radio.

Details are here.

He's going to be the VP/Sales for the internet radio company.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cubs 365, September 13

On this day in 1903, future Cub Rabbit Warstler was born. His real name was Harold Burton Warstler, but they called him Rabbit because of his quickness in the field. He was a backup infielder for 11 seasons, and his last team was the Cubs in 1940. When Rabbit was in the American League, Connie Mack called him "the best defensive infielder in the American League." Babe Ruth complained that Warstler played so deep and had such a strong arm that he stole hits from him.

But Rabbit could never hit much, and that's why he never claimed a starting job. And though he was nicknamed Rabbit because of his quickness, he never stole more than 9 bases in a season.

What about the actors?

The film that is causing such unrest in the Middle East was made in America. There are still sketchy details about who made it and what his origins or motivations are, but I've also been thinking about a few other people.

What about those actors in the movie? Did they have any idea what they were getting into? This is the statement they released to CNN last night...

"The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose," the statement says. "We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."

You know what? I believe them.

Merlin Radio Pros Get New Jobs

Two of the former employees of the Merlin Media radio experiment known as News 101 have landed on their feet.

Both Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly have joined the staff at Virtual News Center.

I hadn't heard of Virtual News Center, so I checked it out online. It sounds like an interesting concept. You can check it out here. Depending on what they charge, I think this might have some legs.

I hate it when I agree with Mel, but...

...there's really no arguing with what he said at a conference in New York yesterday. When asked about terrestrial radio he said radio is an easy target because it lacks investment in programming and technology.

He's right. I hate it when he's right.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Katie Couric Off to a Big Start

Katie Couric's show debuted this week to the highest ratings of any new daytime show since Dr. Phil.

Details are here.

And no, I'm not just reporting this news so I can post my favorite picture of her again. It's just that I'm sure she was cheering when she heard the ratings. It's sort of appropriate this time.

No-Nipples Zone

Facebook has a very strict code for what they will allow in their photographs. For instance, male nipples are fine. Female nipples are not...Even if they are in a New Yorker cartoon.

The New Yorker was temporarily banned yesterday for this cartoon about Adam and Eve. After being mocked all day, Facebook backed off.

Today Show Skips 9/11 Moment for Kardasian

This almost sounds like a parody of the news business, but it's true. While the other networks were covering the commemoration of 9/11, the Today Show was airing an interview with Kardasian matriach Kris Jenner talking about her breast augmentation.

I kid you not.

Instant Karma

Bart Shore does a podcast called "Time Warp Radio" and I'm a subscriber on Facebook. Every now and then he plays a song that is really interesting, and today is one of those days. This is a very cool version of "Instant Karma" before Phil Spector added his wall of sound. I think I like this stripped down version better than the one he released.

Cubs 365, September 12

On this day in 1998, Sammy Sosa became the first Cubs player to hit 60 home runs in a season. He did it in the sixth inning of a wild slugfest against Milwaukee Brewers reliever Valerio de los Santos.

Sammy's homer was memorable, but it wasn't the most dramatic homer of the game. On a day the wind was blowing out, eight other players also hit roundtrippers; three for the Brewers and five for the Cubs.

After 7 1/2 innings, the Brewers led 12-5, but the Cubs chipped away at their lead. They scored four in the bottom of the seventh, and added another in the bottom of the eighth. The Cubs entered the bottom of the ninth down by a score of 12-10. The Brewers brought in Bob Wickman to close it out for them, but on this particular day, Wickman didn't have it. The Cubs managed to string together three singles and a walk, scoring two runs to tie the game.

Then, with runners on first and third, pinch hitter Orlando Merced came to the plate. The Wrigley Field crowd sensed that something big was going to happen. They were cheering before, during, and after Merced sent Wickman's pitch into the Wrigley Field bleachers.

Final score: Cubs 15 -- Brewers 12.

The win gave the Cubs a half game lead over the New York Mets in the hunt for the 1998 Wildcard.

Eric & Kathy Fundraising

I know not everybody is a fan of the Eric and Kathy show, but you have to give them credit for the great work they do fundraising. This is really incredible. From today's RAMP Newsletter...

"Another year, another stunningly spectacular display of monstrous fundraising for WTMX (101.9fm The Mix)/Chicago morning duo Erik & Kathy, whose legions of generous listeners once again turned out in force and came through with flying colors, generating an amazing $1,722,153 for Lurie Children's Hospital during the duo's 13th Annual 36 Hour Radiothon! The fundraiser ran from 6am last Friday, Sept. 7 and ended at 6pm on Saturday. For the first time, Eric & Kathy did their broadcast live on-air and online from the Crown Sky Garden of Lurie Children's, airing heartfelt stories of heroic children who are battling critical or even fatal conditions. With the help from corporate sponsorship from companies like Walgreens and Fifth Third Bank, every dollar raised during the Eric & Kathy 36 Hour Radiothon stays in the community to support the work of the hospital! As we speak, someone from Lurie Children's Hospital is on their way down to the local bank to see the Giant Cardboard Check Deposit clerk...Since it began back in 2000, the Eric & Kathy 36-Hour Radiothon has raised over $22 million for Lurie Children's!"

When I was in broadcasting we did several big fundraisers, and if we raised over $10,000 we considered it a success. This is truly remarkable.

Oh Local News, You Do Amuse Me

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour

The actual tour started on this day in 1967, according to Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

September 11, 1967…The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" bus started cruising the English countryside "just to see what would happen." Unfortunately, nothing did. There was no script, no clear idea of exactly what was to be accomplished, not even a clear direction about where the bus was supposed to go. The film was a disaster and received scathing reviews. It was called the Beatles' first failure.

Yes, the film was a failure, but the songs on that special are among the best Beatles song ever. Including this one...

Inside Scoop on Obama's and Romney's Facebook fans

I thought this article was pretty interesting. It's an analysis of the interests of the two candidates' facebook fans...

Some favorite activities of Romney’s fans:


Some favorite activities among those who like Obama:

Stand-up comedy
Power walking
Playing computer games
Jigsaw puzzles

I thought that was interesting and a little surprising (Guns & Quilting? Power Walking & Puzzles?), but not as surprising as the things the two groups of people have in common. The answer...

Both enjoy a good game of football or soccer.
Both shop at Target.
Both get a good laugh from The Hangover.
“Family Guy” is a hit on both sides of the political spectrum.

"Family Guy"? Wow. I officially don't know anything about anything anymore.

Mr. Fifty Shades of Grey

If you haven't heard about the novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" you might be living under a rock. It's the best-selling erotic novel (actually a trilogy) that every women's book club in America has read--and it's very naughty.

The book is written by a woman (EL James). Her husband has a book coming out too, but as you might imagine, everyone that interviews him isn't asking him about that. They just want to know if he and his wife have the kinky and adventurous sex life that the characters in "Fifty Shades of Grey" have. Is he anything at all like the seductive billionaire who turns a college student into his sex slave?

His answer is here.

By the way, this is the reason that there are no sex scenes in my books, and never will be. I can't imagine how uncomfortable that would make the real people in my life feel. Although I'm fairly certain no one would ask me if my seductive billionaire character is based on me.

New Uses for Television

This is an interesting article about television usage in America. More and more people are getting rid of cable and satellite, but they aren't getting rid of their TVs...

"Many of these homes are satisfied to use their TVs for games or get programming through DVDs or services like Netflix or Apple TV."

I'm not quite ready to go there yet, because I still like watching live news and sports, but I can see a day in the not too distant future when I'll be perfectly happy watching those through the computer.

Cubs 365, September 11

On this day in 2001, on what might have been the worst day in American history, the Cubs were at home and were scheduled to face the Cincinnati Reds. They were in third place at the time, but still in the race, only six games behind the division leading Houston Astros.

Needless to say, after the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, all baseball games were cancelled that day. In fact, all of that week's games were cancelled as well. When the season resumed the Cubs were on the road--and it wasn't kind to them. By the time the Cubs returned to Wrigley Field on September 27th, they were out of the running.

But on that day, something truly memorable happened. Sammy Sosa hit a home run, his 59th of the season, and as he passed by first base, he pulled out a tiny American flag.

Sammy carried that flag around the bases during his home run trot--his tribute to his adopted country--a country still in mourning and shock.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ian Punnett

Ian and I went to college together a thousand years ago at the University of Illinois, but he is probably best known to you for his time at WGN Radio or WLS (as the weekend host of Coast to Coast).

He's now on the air in Minneapolis/St. Paul and is undergoing some medical problems associated with Tinnitus. The full story is here. It sounds like it's painful. I wish him a healthy and speedy recovery.

If you'd like to read my Chicago Radio Spotlight with Ian from a few years ago, that's here.

Hashtag Backfire

Here's the headline: Republicans’ #areyoubetteroff Hashtag Backfires when Twitter Responds ‘Yes’


Here's the money paragraph from the Media Bistro article...

"#areyoubetteroff was combined with the word “yes” more than 1,800 times in its first 24 hours, while it was only paired with “no” around 600 times during the same time period. Since then, the yes/no ratio has been an embarrassing 5 to 1. To make matters worse for the Romney campaign, their problem child of a hashtag has already spawned rebuttal hashtags like #iambetteroff and #betteroff."

To be fair, I think it's important to point out that the Twitterverse is not exactly the go-to location for typical Republican voters.

Teachers Strike

While I watched the coverage of the Chicago teachers strike last night, I did have some sympathy for both sides--the teachers and the city. However, my main sympathy goes out to the parents who are all scrambling today trying to figure out what to do with their kids.

I'm so happy we moved out to the suburbs.

The Jeff Probst Show?

There are a slew of new daytime talk shows debuting this week, all hoping to claim Oprah's old throne. One of them is hosted by Survivor's Jeff Probst.

Details are here.

No offense to Jeff, but I have a feeling I know which daytime talk show will be the first one voted off the television island. (Although after reading the article about it, it does sound like it's not the same old stuff--which is refreshing).

J.K. Rowling's New Book

She is publishing a novel for adults, and her publisher is having a difficult time deciding how to market her.

This Ad Age article discusses the dilemma.

Little Brown considers her an "unknown entity" as a novelist for adults.

Little Brown, you've got to be kidding me. You think that publishing a J.K. Rowling book is taking a giant risk? This is a perfect example of why I hate the publishing industry, and why I decided to start my own company instead of dealing with you people.

Comparing Convention Coverage

Cubs 365, September 10

On this day in 1918, the Cubs and Red Sox played Game 5 of the World Series at Fenway Park. The Red Sox were up 3 games to 1, so the Cubs had to win to keep the series alive, but before the game, the teams decided to do something that hasn't been done before or since.

The players on both teams got together and threatened to go on strike. They were very upset that baseball was reducing player shares because of the war. In 1917 the players on the winning team each received more than $3600. In 1918, they received $1103.

The start of the game was delayed for more than sixty minutes as the players representatives held talks with the national commission—they were holding out for $2000 a man. The commission, led by Boston Mayor John Fitzgerald (JFK's grandfather), wouldn't budge. With the crowd getting angry, and the realization hitting them how bad they would look if they held out for money when the country was at war, the players buckled and played.

Hippo Vaughn shut out the Red Sox, forcing a Game 6.

In that game, Cubs outfielder Max Flack dropped an easy fly ball which allowed two runs to score. The Red Sox won that game 2-1, and the series.

Did the Cubs throw the series? That's been the claim by some, and it's easy to see how they could come to that conclusion based on the player revolt, and the dropped fly ball, but nothing has ever been proven and no-one ever admitted a thing. Baseball looked into the allegations while they were investigating the 1919 Series (that the White Sox did throw), and found no evidence at all of the Cubs cheating.

The pitchers obviously weren't jaking it. Only 18 total runs were scored (10 by the Cubs, 8 by the Red Sox). The two staff aces, Hippo Vaughn for the Cubs and Babe Ruth for the Red Sox, both pitched magnificently.

Legitimate or not, neither the Red Sox nor the Cubs won the World Series the rest of the century.

Father Knows Nothing

My latest "Father Knows Nothing" column has been posted. This one is about my suave abilities in the kitchen. I call it "Mr. Smooth"

You can read it here.