Friday, November 02, 2012

Hello Goodbye

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, 45 years ago today...

November 2, 1967…At EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London, the Beatles finished recording "Hello, Goodbye."

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are some that caught my eye today...

Karl Klockars ‏@karlklockars
Flipping between Morning Joe and Mancow on WPWR. I can feel my brain tearing itself apart.

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
Only one day in Ohio and I already breath sighs of relief when non-political ads appear. "Do you have dry skin?" YES YES I DO PLEASE

Lynn Sweet ‏@lynnsweet
Sweet blog October jobless rate is 7.9 percent: 171,000 jobs created. Good news for Obama

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein
Best part of the report is the revisions. Past months up 84k. So this is 50k higher than expectations and 84k added to previous months.

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS
What today's jobs #s really mean: The last land mine in Obama's path to reelex has failed to detonate:

Mark Murray ‏@mmurraypolitics
Despite spin on jobs report, here's reality of U.S. economy: If Romney wins, he'd inherit a MUCH stronger economy than Obama did in '08

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980
I can't wait until next month when no one will give two craps about the jobs report.

Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter
Chiefs are first team not to hold a lead during a game in first 8 games of season since 1929 Buffalo Bisons, who folded after 1929 season.

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
From late last night: A team besides the #Redsox is showing serious interest in David Ortiz. Story: …

Andy Borowitz ‏@BorowitzReport
Reminder: on Sunday we will gain an hour which we will immediately waste on Twitter.

Cubs 365, November 2

On this day in 1888, future Cub Dutch Zwilling was born. If you go to the Baseball Encyclopedia and look at the last name listed there, you'll find Dutch Zwilling.

Dutch was born in St. Louis, and only lasted four big league seasons, but the centerfielder might have seen more historic Chicago baseball history than any other player.

His career started in 1910 with the Chicago White Sox. If that year doesn't instantly ring a bell, it should. It was the first season the White Sox played in their brand new Comiskey Park.

After that year he kicked around the minors for a few seasons, but reemerged in the newly formed Federal League in 1914. If that year doesn't sound familiar, it should. It was the opening season of the ballpark now known as Wrigley Field.

Dutch played both seasons for the Feds, and led the league in homers one season and RBI the next, so when his owner bought the Chicago Cubs the following year, he made sure that he brought his boy Dutch to play for the Cubs. That was 1916, the first season that the Cubs played in Wrigley Field.

Dutch Zwilling may be the last man listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia, but he saw things in his playing days that most of us would only dream of seeing. He and his buddy Rollie "Bunions" Zeider remain, and will always remain, the only two players to have played major league baseball for three different Chicago teams.

Chicago Radio Spotlight

This was the message I posted at Chicago Radio Spotlight yesterday afternoon. It was a good run...

First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read Chicago Radio Spotlight over the past five-plus years. During that time I interviewed over 200 Chicago radio pros. I knew some of them already from my own radio career and really enjoyed re-connecting with them, but I also enjoyed meeting and interviewing many others that I had only admired from afar. Writing this blog has been a great experience.

Unfortunately, with all of my other responsibilities beginning to pile up, I no longer have time to do it.

My publishing company, Eckhartz Press, is doing quite well now, and demanding a great deal of my time. In the next few weeks we'll be shipping our fourth book "The Balding Handbook". (It's really funny, by the way, I highly recommend it). I'm sure you'll be seeing, hearing, and reading all about the book's author David Stern in the Chicago media over the next few weeks. I'll probably accompany him on that tour, and get a chance to see many of you.

Of course, if you know me, you know I can't get radio totally out of my system. Luckily, my publishing company will also be a new outlet for my radio-jones.

Next year (March 28) Eckhartz Press is going to be releasing a memoir from one of the 200+ interviewees listed on this blog. I'll reveal that mega-star's identity on December 10th, but I will tell you that if you've enjoyed this blog, you will LOVE that book. There are some incredible stories by the author. Just incredible. Plus, I interviewed over thirty additional radio personalities and asked them to tell me about their brushes with the author. Some of those tales are even more amazing. There will be tons of great pictures as well.

I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if further radio books were to follow. (Feel free to pitch me-- In the meantime, all of my previous Chicago Radio Spotlight interviews will remain on this blog. If you haven't read them all, explore the site. The interviewees are listed alphabetically on the right. Also, I will continue to do my personal blog every weekday morning, if you're interested. Radio is one of the many topics I write about on a regular basis.

Thanks again for reading me over the years, and thanks for your kind words and support.

All the best,
Rick Kaempfer

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Eckhartz Press Presents: The Balding Handbook

Eckhartz Press is thrilled to announce the release of our latest book, "The Balding Handbook" by David Stern. We're currently taking pre-orders. The book ships on November 16th.

What is "The Balding Handbook" all about?

It's modeled after the stages of mourning devised by Elisabeth Kubler Ross in her book "On Death and Dying". "The Balding Handbook" takes the balding man through the five stages of mourning for his hair loss; Denial & Isolation, Anger & Rage, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

David Frank Stern has penned this self-help masterpiece drawing from his many years of anguish and pain.

Stage One, Denial and Isolation- Stern delicately discusses subjects like the Bald Man's Crack (the baseball hat). He takes on the much harder and dangerous head gear such as: fedoras, Indian headresses and over sized sombreros. He also tackles combovers, plugs, wigs and more. That first stage is a painful one.

Stage Two, Anger and Rage - Easily, the most enjoyable stage of the grieving process, Anger and Rage provides a much needed outlet for the balding man. From defacing relative's graves to snapping the heads off GI Joe and Ken dolls, Stern provides healthy, fun and cathartic exercises to hasten the voyage through Stage Two.

Stage Three, Bargaining - Looking to the heavens, desperate bald men turn to a higher power in Stage Three, begging God to give them their hair back. Stern takes his suffering brothers through the entire sales process. From opening ice breakers, to fool proof closing techniques, Stern makes selling the Ultimate Decision Maker easy. The bad news is that if you get an appointment with Him, you're probably dead.

Stage Four, Depression - Stage Four announces it's arrival with the onset of hopelessness. Balding men mired in this stage realize that the loss will be permanent. Seeking other afflicted bald men is the key to a healthy recovery, and Stern will tell you where to find them. He also has uncovered some truly therapeutic and soothing words from the greatest poets of all time.

Stage Five, Acceptance - The painful journey will end here with self actualization. Stern outlines his vision for the eventual utopia that awaits when bald men of the world unite.

"The Balding Handbook" is more than a book. It's going to change the world, $15.95 at a time. Pre-order your copy today.

Cubs 365, November 1

On this day in 1907, future Cub Larry French was born. French pitched for the Cubs from 1935-1941, and was one of the most memorable characters to wear a Cubs uniform. He was a hero off the field (After leaving baseball, he participated in the invasion of Normandy as a landing craft material officer), but on the field it was a slightly different story.

French started a World Series game for the Cubs in 1935 (losing it in the bottom of the ninth), and appeared in the 1938 World Series as a reliever, but that season he also made history. Larry became the only pitcher with a losing record in major league history to lose as many as 19 games for a pennant winner. He went 10-19 on a team that was 89-63, personally accounting for nearly 1/3 of the team's losses. That's a pretty staggering total.

Despite this "achievement," French was very popular with the fans and his teammates. Again, it was the off-the-field stories that fueled his popularity. In 1938, he made news when he bought a live bear cub from a fan for $10. Larry learned a valuable lesson that summer...keeping a live bear cub isn't as easy as it sounds. After the cub tore up his apartment, French somehow managed to convince his teammate Ripper Collins to take the bear off his hands. Collins learned the same valuable lesson. After a similar unpleasant experience, he donated the cub to a conservation camp in New York.

Despite his record setting season of 1938, Larry French was a pretty good starting pitcher during his Major League career. He won 18 games for the Pirates twice, and had two good years with the Cubs in 1935 & 1936; winning 17 and 18 games respectively. He finished his Major League career with 197 wins and a 3.44 ERA, and went to his grave (in 1987) without ever again owning a live bear cub.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are some that caught my eye today...

The Onion ‏@TheOnion
Reaganomics Finally Trickles Down To Area Man

TracieEganMorrissey ‏@jezebel_tracie
It's actually incredibly difficult and a huge pain in the ass taking candy from a baby.

Conan O'Brien ‏@ConanOBrien
I sure hope my two kids like the "Hannity & Colmes" Halloween costumes I got them.

Harold Ramis ‏@harold_ramis
i have a separate bucket of shitty candy to give to kids who don't live in my neighborhood. im not running a soup kitchen here

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger
Letterman: "Mitt Romney visited those hardest hit by the storm: swing-state Latinos."

msnbc ‏@msnbc
Romney compares Sandy relief to cleaning up after high-school football game

Elizabeth Grattan ‏@egrattan
Dear Radio: Stop playing S.A.F.E.T.Y Dance. Thank you.

shawon dunston jr ‏@DonnyDShay333
One day ill be where once dreamed about when I was 8, which is playing in the big leagues #slowlybutsurely

miketoomey ‏@miketoomey
11-1-59, Jacques Plante:1st NHL goalie to wear a hockey mask, just one day after Jason Voohrees became the first serial killer to do it.

CollegeHumor ‏@CollegeHumor
"You haven't listened to a word I've said, have you?".....Always seems like a strange way for someone to start a conversation with me.

OFFICIAL: #Rays re-sign senior baseball advisor Don Zimmer for 2013, his 65th season in pro baseball and 10th with Tampa Bay.

The Associated Press ‏@AP
BREAKING: Survey of consumer confidence rose in October to highest level since February 2008.

Andy Richter ‏@Andy_Richter
BUYER BEWARE!: Hamsters are not aquatic.

3 Musketeers

Last night my youngest son Sean (10) gave me all of his 3 Musketeers Bars.

"Dad," he said, "you don't get to trick or treat anymore. It's the least I can do."

I know he doesn't like those candy bars, but I'm choosing to be touched anyway. It was a nice gesture.

The Butt of the Joke

Care to guess who has been the most frequent butt of jokes on late night comedy shows since this summer?

If you guessed Mitt Romney, you would be correct.

President Obama came in second.


One of my on-going writing projects is writing the history of Green White Soccer Club, a club co-founded by my father back in the 1950s.

This month I'm focusing on 1969.

By the time the club celebrates their 60th anniversary (in 2016), I'll have written the entire book.


My old Loop colleague Dave Benson is back in the radio trade news. From the RAMP Newsletter today...

"We were pleased to learn that major market programmer Dave Benson has joined Triple A WNRN in beautiful Charlottesville, VA. Benson will certainly hit the ground running, as he will be wearing two big hats simultaneously, making him walk funny -- GM and PD of the public radio station that is owned by Stu-Comm, Inc., a Virginia non-profit, non-stock corporation..."I'm just super excited to have a '.org' email address!" an elated Benson tells RAMP. "I finally found a radio station and a locale with the right combination of ingredients," he said. "I want to work in a creative community environment where our connection with listeners is more immediate and not distorted by the ratings game. WNRN has a unique pedigree and committed staff and board of directors. I'm here to learn and help and play good music, all in one of the best cities in America." Benson can be congratulated via his super-exciting new .org email address --

I interviewed Benson a few years back for Chicago Radio Spotlight.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"The Halloween Grinch"

Republished from three years ago, when my oldest boy Tommy was only 14. He's 17 now and still hates Halloween...

Everyone loves Halloween. Everyone you’ve met. Everyone you’ve seen.

But not in our house high above Booville. The Halloween Grinch (my oldest son Tommy) is living there still.

He won’t wear a costume. He won’t trick or treat. He won’t even hand out candy to people he meets.

The Grinch hates Halloween - the whole Halloween season. Now, please don't ask why; no one quite knows the reason.

I’ve given up trying to figure it out. I’ve given up asking him what it’s about.

For though I’m the Grinch’s father, I have two more boys. They both love Halloween candy, and they both love Halloween toys.

They love wearing the costumes, and ringing the bell. And I always love going along as well. I love watching their joy as the candy goes plop, from the first house we visit until we finally stop. But because the Halloween Grinch is the one left at home, he won’t answer the door when he’s all alone. So we end up with candy that isn’t given away, and the next day I’m home with a candy buffet.

Last year I decided to put an end to that. There’s no need for Dad to get doughy and fat.

So I sent the Halloween Grinch to his room, and I manned the door beginning at noon. I was determined to hand out every Twix and KitKat, and I didn’t care what the Grinch said about that.

I sent the two younger boys out all alone, but before they left our little home, I made sure they knew to watch out for each other, as they trick or treated dressed as the Mario Brothers.

“OK, who can tell me what the buddy system is?”

Sean raised his hand. He was ready for this quiz.

“We have to stick together,” he said. His big brother nodded, and both of them fled.

“It will never work,” said the Grinch from his room. “Those two will just fight wearing those costumes.”

But for fifteen great minutes I handed out Twix, to all the Boos who wanted treats and tricks. Until one little boy dressed up as a Q-tip, had a paper mustache attached to his lip.

It looked very much like the ones I made that day, for the two little boys that I just sent away.

He told me he got it just down the street. It was lying on a driveway, on the concrete. Mario and Luigi had ripped off their stashes, in between punches, and lunges, and smashes. They were fighting over who got to ring the doorbell, and needless to say, it didn’t turn out too well.

I marched out to the sidewalk, and what did I see? Mario and Luigi coming home to me.

The two crying boys running on the asphalt, both were screaming “It was all his fault!”

While I broke up the fight happening on my front lawn, I looked at the window, and you know who I saw?

The Halloween Grinch.

In Booville they say that the Grinch's Halloween smile grew three sizes that day. With that smile on his face, he wandered our way, and he had a few things that he wanted to say.

“Next year, I volunteer to supervise, but I won’t wear a costume or a silly disguise. I still hate the concept of Halloween, but next year I’ll be over fourteen. That’s old enough not to have to participate, and as long as I don’t have to, everything will be great.”

I made the deal, and I’m looking forward to that.

It'll keep me away from the candy, so Dad won’t get fat.

Jersey Shore

My wife Bridget and I were watching the storm coverage yesterday, and she jokingly said, "But what does the cast of Jersey Shore say?"

They have now released statements.

For real. Oy.

The Mustache Bet

I love this bet on Morning Joe today. David Axelrod said he would shave off his mustache live on the show if Obama lost Michigan, Pennsylvania or Minnesota.

Joe Scarborough said he would grow a mustache if Romney lost Virginia or Florida.

The MSNBC website has done a mockup of how both would look.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are some that caught my eye today...

Slate ‏@Slate
Paul McCartney on Yoko Ono: "I Don't Think You Can Blame Her for Anything."

Adam Franklin ‏@radstarr
Rod Stewart Put Cocaine Up His Butt, Did Not Service a Bar Full of Sailors …

Doug Bensing ‏@dougbensing
The next "Star Wars" film won't include Jar-Jar Binks, but will feature Goofy. #whatsthedifference

Brian Stelter ‏@brianstelter
RT @jonathanwald: The last time Today cancelled its celebration of Halloween? 10/31/11 in the wake of 9/11. Right call then and now.

Ray Stevens ‏@RamblinRay995
The big lake is kickin'

Paul Konrad ‏@PaulKonrad
Late Afternoon/Evening Halloween Forecast.. 4pm: 47 NW Wind: 18mph Wind Chill: 40 8pm: 41 NW Wind 13mph...

Tony Lossano ‏@LOSSANO
NORM!!! RT @WGNNews George Wendt hospitalized in Chicago-area with chest pains

jason alexander ‏@IJasonAlexander … The brilliance of T. Jefferson. Scalia take note.

Albert Brooks ‏@AlbertBrooks
Romney now says he believes in FEMA when the life of the mother is in danger.

Funny One Liners ‏@funnyoneliners
The first time I ever saw a doctor, he grabbed my leg and hit me so hard I cried, so no, I don't trust doctors.

Darwin Barney

Barney wins the Gold Glove!

"I'm extremely thrilled," said Barney, who beat out two worthy nominees, three-time winner Brandon Phillips of the Reds and Aaron Hill of the D-backs. "It's something you came into the season working toward but it's not something where I thought the results would be there as quickly as they were. I'm extremely happy about it. There's a lot of good competition. I'm really surprised it ended up happening for me. It's an exciting night for me."

One small sliver of good news in an otherwise horrible Cubs year.

Family Dinners

Eckhartz Press author David Stern and his family are featured in today's Tribune, in this article about family dinners.

I'm not a Tribune subscriber (paywall!), so I can't read the article--but Dave gave me the link in case anyone was interested. His "The Balding Handbook" officially becomes available for pre-order tomorrow, by the way.

Cubs 365, October 31

On Halloween 1963, future Cub Fred McGriff was born. He was nicknamed the Crime Dog because of his last name's similarity to the "actual" crime dog McGruff.

Our crime dog, it's safe to say, was at best a reluctant Cub. He refused to be traded to the Cubs at first, and then when he finally agreed to the trade, he seemed to be a bad luck charm as the surging Cubs faded out of contention shortly after he arrived in 2001. He had a great season in 2002 (30 HR, 103 RBI), but that team was headed nowhere.

He played two more seasons after he left Chicago, and ended his career with 493 home runs. During his big league career he was one of the premier sluggers in the game.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One Winner During Storm

The Weather Channel. Ratings are up 500%.

Record Low World Series ratings

My brother, the Sox fan and Detroit-area resident, pointed this out to me over the weekend. My buddy Dave, the Sox fan and spawn of Satan, pointed it out to me this morning, with this message: "Hi, now shut up."

It appears that the White Sox no longer have the lowest rated World Series in television history, because this year's World Series had even fewer viewers.

That's not nearly as satisfying.

Today's Best Tweets

I've begun to spend a few minutes every day reading my twitter feed. Here are some that caught my eye today...

David Roberts ‏@drgrist
Lots of government bureaucrats and moochers wading around NYC tonight, saving people's lives.

Glenn Thrush ‏@GlennThrush
We interrupt 18 months of BS, vitriol and partisan re-packaging to bring you a few days of Americans acting like Americans...

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
RT @tedfrank: A half hour of CNN watching provides less information than reading a good set of Twitter feeds for 5 minutes.

Barack Obama ‏@BarackObama
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the storm. Support Red Cross relief efforts here: http://OFA.BO/2iMcEV -bo

Mike Flannery ‏@PoliticalEditor
mt "@GovChristie: I want to thank the President personally for all his assistance as we recover from the storm."

Governor Christie ‏@GovChristie
The surge was so strong we have rail cars on the Jersey Turnpike this morning. #Sandy.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
"The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as..last night." -MTA Chairman Lhota

Nicholas Kristof ‏@NickKristof
I'm hoping that Sandy will help turn the conversation from weather to climate. This should remind us of the stakes, no?

Lizz Winstead ‏@lizzwinstead
Hey Super Pacs. How about spending money on disaster relief this week. #DeafEarsSuggestion

Steve Martin ‏@SteveMartinToGo
Trump Tower still standing due to last minute, multi-layer coating of hair spray!

Paul Konrad ‏@PaulKonrad
Michigan City Buoy just reported at 59mph sustained wind and a 67mph gust.

Lou Brutus ‏@LouBrutus
How will New Jersey get back at Hurricane Sandy? My guess is she'll be found w two bullets in her head in the trunk of a late model Buick.

And here's one non-storm one that made me chuckle...

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom
The Cardinals last year, the Giants this year --- everywhere Ryan Theriot goes, World Series follow. No, wait . . .

More Sandy Photos

When the biggest story in the country is happening in the biggest media center, it will be one of the most chronicled events of all time. Some incredible photos...

350+ photos from ABC News

A shark in a front yard in New Jersey.

Sand buries street sign in New Jersey, hundreds of feet away from beach.

Before and After NYC blackout

Svengoolie's New Coffin

Gotta love Svengoolie.

Didn't know he had been working with the same coffin for 40 years. Happy to hear that he got a fancy new one in time for Halloween.

Robert Feder has the details.

Sandy's Damage

These pictures from Manhattan are unbelievable.

I can't believe this is happening to New York. It's like a scene out of Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth". Manhattan really is being flooded, just as he predicted.

The number of deaths caused by this storm are already in the double digits. This is horrible.

A Publishing Mega-Merger

Two of the huge publishing companies just got huger: Random House merged with Penguin.

The linked article examines the effects this will have on the publishing business. Needless to say, this isn't a good thing for editors, agents, and authors (although maybe Random House will give me the rights back to the Radio Producer's Handbook!). But according to the article, it could also pose a legitimate competitor to amazon, which I have to say, is quickly becoming a monopoly (and is acting like it).

Not sure who to root for here. It's like watching a White Sox-Cardinals World Series. Can I root for them both to lose?

Cubs 365, October 30

On this day in 1897, future Cub Kettle Wirts was born. He joined the team in 1922. The Cubs had three catchers on the roster; starter Bob O'Farrell and two young backups with awesome nicknames, Gabby Hartnett and Kettle Wirts. Wirts and Hartnett both caught 27 games that season for the Cubs, but their careers would go in very different directions. Hartnett would develop into such a force that the Cubs would find O'Farrell expendable. (They traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals, and he led them to their first World Series title in 1926.) Wirts, on the other hand, drifted off into obscurity. He played his last major league game in 1924.

In parts of four big league seasons, Elwood Vernon Wirts managed to get only 86 at bats. Although he accumulated a total of only three extra base hits (two doubles and one home run) in those at bats, he also acquired a great nickname. Unfortunately, the origin of that nickname has disappeared into the ether like Kettle himself. Wirts died in Sacramento California in 1968 at the age of 71.


I drove home yesterday from Atlanta through the beginning of Hurricane Sandy. The wind was fierce. In Indiana I barely managed to maintain control of my car as it whipped from side to side. My arms still hurt from holding onto the steering wheel so tight for so many hours.

And this is obviously just the outskirts of the storm. Any storm that can make 30 foot waves in Lake Michigan--more than a thousand miles away from the eye of the storm--is terrifying.

Praying for the people on the East Coast today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Back on Tuesday

Sorry all. I was out of town these past few days attending my uncle's funeral in Atlanta.

I'll be back blogging tomorrow.

And thanks for the well-wishing inquiries, by the way. I didn't know I'd be missed.