Monday, December 23, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

John Oliver Says Farewell to Daily Show

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Steve Martin ‏@SteveMartinToGo 4m
I'm only tweeting now to move my misspelling of "Neanderthal" down one tweet.

Molly Green ‏@mollyisgreen 5m
I will fill out the scantron for my calculus final using my tears for ink

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 12m
20 Stars Fired (or Replaced) In Movies: From Samantha Morton in 'Her' to Judy Garland in 'The Valley of the Dolls'

Ana Marie Cox ‏@anamariecox 37m
SO WEIRD anus-vs-vagina comments being defended as, er, “an expression of faith”?

Ana Marie Cox ‏@anamariecox 30m
ALSO TRUE: “Anuses are icky but Jim Crow was not so bad” is a pretty good reflection of Fox News’ worldview.

Sarah Silverman ‏@SarahKSilverman 16m
What kind if rage filled monster takes an axe & chops down a cherry tree??

Sarah Silverman ‏@SarahKSilverman 7m
Abraham Lincoln had a hot nose

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 23m
How Ford's camouflage team hid new Mustangs during public road tests

Robert Feder ‏@RobertFeder 25m
Announcement coming at noon: Back from rehab, @DanMcNeil670 returns Monday to middays with @MattSpiegel670 on @670TheScore.

The Associated Press ‏@AP 14m
35 college bowl games? A reason to watch every single one:

18 of the Best Auto-Corrects of 2013

There were a few that made me laugh out loud, like this one...

Bears/Packers on Jimmy Kimmel

Seems a little mean to me...

My son Sean would react exactly the same way.

Dan McNeil

He's back on the air today. This is what Matt Spiegel wrote on the show's Facebook page...

Dan McNeil returns today at noon, and the Mac and Spiegs show will reconvene. I know many of you have hungered for information and details about the show; I’m sorry I haven’t been able to respond and provide them along the way. The situation was simply too delicate personally, legally, and professionally to comment on publicly. I look forward to Mac being able to tell you about his absence and return, in his words, as he sees fit. Laurence Holmes is a complete pro, a great host, and a phenomenal teammate. It’s been awesome to work with him these 7 weeks and get a rhythm going; I enjoyed my radio tryst. We appreciate those of you that stuck with us, or found us and stayed. Game on. Let the Iron Man streak begin anew.

I'll be tuning in to find out along with everyone else.

Duck Dynasty Suspension Backlash

Inside the Conservative Media bubble...

Duck Dynasy is a show about southern white conservative Christian hunters...the five most oppressed groups in America.

Last week the star of the show only ripped people who could never understand what oppression really feels like (blacks and gays), and was somehow suspended for it, which naturally caused a firestorm.

Why does America insist on oppressing Christians merely for saying that gays are rightfully oppressed (the bible says so) and blacks were happier when they were oppressed (they sang in the fields, didn't they)? Because America, the most Christian nation on Earth, obviously hates Christianity.

And that, boys and girls, was today's glimpse inside the conservative media bubble. Now you'll know what is causing your relatives temples to throb when you see them over the nationally instituted Christmas holiday.

We're #1

"Records Truly Is My Middle Name" has had a heck of a holiday season.

It's back up to #1 at amazon in it's category.

Thanks for all of your support!

Hacking Specifics

When you're a Royal, every move you make is analyzed by the press.

When Rupert Murdoch's News of the World was still in print, it was a little more intense than that. They hacked the phones of Kate Middleton and Prince Harry.

That's just the latest tidbit from the hacking trial in Britain, a trial that really should be televised.

Navy Pier Snowman

See anything wrong with this snowman at the Winterwonderland at Navy Pier? Where do we enter? Are you kidding me? (Thanks to DM for sending it to me)

Left-handed Complement

The Cubs signed three new left-handed pitchers: Jonathan Sanchez, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Tommy Hottovy. All of them are in their 30s and have been invited to spring training with the chance of making the club. Wada is a starter, the other two are relievers.

One has terrible control, another is coming off Tommy John surgery, and the third one has only had two short tastes of the big leagues at the age of 32.

Have we planned where we're having the World Series parade yet?

The Future of Civil Discourse

Michael Savage is now on more than 200 stations.

The Civil Discourse Clock was moved back again.

Scientists are now predicting that civil discourse has only a 5% chance of returning in 2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Larry Lujack Outtakes From His Final Interview with the Illinois Entertainer

I've only met Larry Lujack in person twice.

The first time was in the early 90s, after he had retired from the radio business. I was working with Brant Miller on his KidsRadio program and we had just recorded a segment not too far away from Larry's house. Brant said: "Let's go over and say hi." When we got to Larry's house, he was in the backyard. He had rescued an injured squirrel and was nursing it back to health. The entire visit consisted of squirrel talk. (When I spoke to him on the phone for the Illinois Entertainer article more than twenty years later, he remembered that day.)

The second time I met him was at a live remote for the John Landecker show. He came to our miniature golf outting, and was absolutely hilarious on the air that day.

But even though I talked to him in person a few times, and on the phone a dozen or so times to book him as a guest, I didn't really get to know him until the book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" came out. When I talked to him about appearing on Windy City Live to surprise John, we brainstormed bit ideas. He called me back about five times until he was satisfied that we had a good one.

I remember my son Tommy answered the phone one time.

"Do you know who I am, kid?" Larry asked Tommy.

"Yes," Tommy replied, "You're Larry Lujack the radio legend."

"I'm worried about you, kid," Larry said.

During our conversations that day we really bonded. I asked if he would mind doing an interview with me for the Illinois Entertainer. I said I've interviewed just about every radio personality in Chicago radio history, but the one glaring hole was that I had never interviewed him. He hated doing interviews, and told me he still had a bad taste in his mouth from the book "Superjock" (which he hated), but he finaly agreed.

On the day of the interview I spoke to him a good solid hour. I got so much great stuff from him (he had me laughing until I cried), that I considered making it into a two or three part series. Here's the original Illinois Entertainer column. I never quite did get around to doing parts 2 and 3.

I went back to the tape this morning and got several more quotes and stories from Larry that didn't make the final article. I hope you enjoy them...

His early pre-Chicago radio days...

“I never had a problem with ratings, but they kept firing me because I didn’t sound friendly enough. I had humongous ratings in Spokane, so I thought I could get away with anything. There was a commercial for Volkswagen and it started out in German (“Achtung! Achtung!”) and I thought it was funny—it reminded me of those old WW2 movies. And I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I apparently said something that made them think I was implying this dealership was a cover for an underground Nazi movement in the United States. It turned out that the Volkswagen dealer was from Germany, flew for the Germans in WW2, and his employees were all German and they were highly offended. They were going to sue me and the station, so the station fired me to get him off their back.”

Coming to Chicago...

“WCFL let me do whatever the hell I wanted to do on that overnight show, and it was a lot of fun. I was trying to be who I was, and that had been getting me fired all over the place; in San Bernandino, Spokane, Boise, you name it. I was just glugging down the coffee, pitcher after pitcher of the stuff. When I got the call from WLS four months later to do afternoons, I thought—that beats the hell out of staying up all night.”

The WLS/WCFL Battle...

“At that time the battle between WLS & WCFL was a big deal. Obviously loyalty was not one of my strong suits, because I kept switching back and forth, but I remember the first time WCFL beat WLS in the ratings and it was a HUGE deal. It was a real battle. Very exciting. If I were to count up the number of guys who went through CFL and LS in the 60s and 70s I’d need an adding machine. With millions of dollars riding on those ratings, if you didn’t cut it, they didn’t mess with you. They just got someone else. It was a very stressful business in those days.”

The worst time of his career...

“That last year at WCFL (1976) was the worst, after they changed formats and became beautiful music. They fired everyone but me, because I had a no-cut contract. That was the worst year of my professional life. They were trying so hard to get me to do something that would get me fired, or make me so miserable that I would quit. Everybody had been instructed to note everything I did wrong. Thirty seconds late for work—duly noted. I was coming on the air every fifteen minutes saying ‘The World’s most beautiful music. All day. All night. WCFL.’ If I screwed up and gave the wrong time, or didn’t say the words exactly right, they wrote it down. They were trying to build a case against me. People I considered friends were suddenly afraid to be seen talking to me. It was really really horrible.”

His radio influences...

“I think the Real Don Steele is the best pure rock and roll disc jockey of all-time—he was from Los Angeles at KHJ. That guy was incredible. I never really considered myself a disc jockey—and I didn’t imitate him, but he was the very best. He was like Landecker or Brandmeier—pure high energy. I didn’t do that kind of radio, but I admired how good he was. The best thing that has ever been on the radio though, in my opinion, was Paul Harvey. We used to ride up on the elevator every morning together—we got to work around the same time. He was the best that ever was and the best that ever will be. He was a brilliant writer, and had an unbelievably fantastic delivery. Most news guys go in one ear and out the other. He was way more than that. He reached through the radio and grabbed your throat and said ‘Hey, listen to this. This is important.’ He was so commanding. Everything about it. I just idolized that guy. There will never be another one like him.”

Rush Limbaugh...

“I understand he doesn’t like me anymore. I heard him do one of the cruelest things on the radio once—he was praising how attractive the Bush twins were, while ripping the looks of Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton. I thought that was just unbelievable. They were kids! And I said I was appalled by that, and it got back to Rush. So at the NAB Hall of Fame induction a few years back when I was being inducted, they asked Rush to introduce me because they knew about how he felt about me. Well, Rush said he would only do it if he was assured that I wouldn’t rip him, and of course they couldn’t promise him that—so he passed.”

After I told him that he really WAS charming and delightful...

“I’m so good at fakin’ it. I plead guilty to being moody and easily depressed. I spent a lot of time in a down mood—so that stuff is basically accurate. But I also knew that nobody wanted to listen to someone who was always down, so I faked this whole charming and delightful thing. Very successfully I might add.”

After the interview I asked if he could send me a photo we could use to accompany the article. He sent me a recent photo his wife took of him, wearing an Elvis shirt, along with a copy of Clark Weber's book about radio because I told him that I didn't have a copy of it. His note said: "Tell Landecker that I loved his book but I didn't need to read about the catheter in his dick."

Larry Lujack Stories From "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"


I talked to John last night about Larry's passing and he was pretty shaken up by it. (Robert Feder wrote a moving obituary, if you'd like to read it.)

I've known John Landecker for more than twenty years now, and everywhere he goes someone tells him how important he was to their lives because of his stint on WLS. People really look up to him. But one of the people that John always looked up to was Larry Lujack. He keeps an autographed picture of Larry in his home office, inscribed with classic Lujack wit: "This is to certify that John Landecker knows me personally."

In John's book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", there are lots of stories about Lujack. I thought it was appropriate to share a few of those here today.

This story is about the first time he met Larry...

WLS already had an all-star lineup when I came aboard in 1972. Superjock Larry Lujack was the morning man, Fred Winston was doing middays, and J.J. Jeffrey was the afternoon man. I was hired to fill the evening slot.

I met Larry before I was on the air a single time. The program director Mike McCormack called me into his office because he wanted me to sit in on a Larry Lujack aircheck. In the radio business we call them “airchecks,” but they’re really just critique sessions with the program director. The disc jockey brings in a tape of his or her show, and if the program director likes it, he praises it. I suppose this has happened once or twice in radio history. Usually it goes the other way. Usually the program director picks it apart.

McCormack started Larry’s tape, and we listened to a bit Lujack had done that morning. It was reality radio. Larry was pointing out that you could hear the garbage trucks in the alley through the air conditioner in WLS’s main air studio, and he held the microphone right up to it, so the listeners could hear it too. After the bit ended, the program director turned to me.

“What do you think of that?” he asked.

“I thought that was pretty funny,” I said.

I didn’t know what I had done, but after the meeting I was walking back to the jock lounge with Larry and he turned toward me.

“Thanks, kid,” he said.

Apparently before I came in, the program director had been telling Larry he hated it, and Larry was defending it. When I backed him up by saying I thought it was funny, it defused the criticism, and Larry thought the new guy was alright.

On the other hand, not too long after that, I may have turned the tide in the other direction at least for a day. We were in a jock meeting, shooting the shit, and someone asked the seemingly innocuous question: “Who was more important to music — Elvis or the Beatles?”

“I don’t think Elvis was that great,” I said.

Well, I had no idea that Larry Lujack was a huge Elvis fan, but I found out pretty fast. Larry glared at me. And then he nearly spit the words at me, in his patented Lujack delivery.

“You don’t know anything about music, you... Phil... a... del... phia... FUCK!”

Years later I was at the station when the news came across the wire that Elvis had died (August 16, 1977). The first thing that crossed my mind was that nobody in the world would want to know this information more than Larry Lujack. (When someone calls you a Philadelphia fuck for not loving Elvis, you have a tendency to remember that sort of thing.)

So, I called him at home, and his wife answered.

“Judy,” I said, “It’s John Landecker. I’ve got something very important to tell Larry. Trust me; he’s going to want to know about this.”

“OK, hang on,” she said.

A few seconds later Larry growled on the phone. “Yeah?”

“Larry, it’s me, John Landecker. Elvis is dead.”

“Who cares?” he growled again. “I’m taking a nap.”

A story about the WLS family...

I thought we all got along great at WIBG in Philadelphia, but I haven’t worked at a radio station before or since that had the kind of camaraderie we had at WLS in the 1970s. It was like one big non-stop party. We did all sorts of things together inside and outside the workplace.

The whole staff would play basketball and softball against local fire and police departments and various other organizations, and then after the game, all of our families would go out for pizza together. It usually ended up like Thanksgiving dinner, with two big tables — the grown up table, and the kids' table. Superjock Larry Lujack, the biggest star of all of us, would always, and I mean always, sit at the kids' table.

There are lots more stories in the book about Larry--too many to post here now--but I did want to post one more thing from the book. Larry and Tommy graciously allowed us to reprint an old animal stories bit that made fun of John.

Larry: Get your greasy little face up next to the radio because it’s time for America’s favorite radio program, Animal Stories. And now here in person is the Animal Stories news team anchormen, I, your charming and delightful Ol’ Uncle Lar, and him,

Tommy: Hi.

Larry: In person, little Tommy. How you doin’ little Tommy?

Tommy: I’m fine, Uncle Lar.

Larry: We were sent a picture. I guess in Cedar Rapids they had one of those donkey basketball games.

Tommy: Oh yeah, I’d like that.

Larry: All of the players ride donkeys around, and look at the floor. The donkeys left... uh...

Tommy: (Laughs)

Larry: Uh... unsightly...

Tommy: Droppings.

Larry: All over the basketball court.

Tommy: Uh, well that makes it kind of slippery.

Larry: That’s one thing our WLS basketball team does not do. We do not leave droppings on the floor. However, Landecker plays like a donkey dropping.

When it was time to promote the book, John's first appearance was on the television show "Windy City Live". The producer of the show and I worked together to get a mystery guest on the show to surprise John on the air during a live "Boogie Check". That mystery guest was Larry...

Rest in Peace, Uncle Lar.

The outpouring of affection you're receiving today is very real. You were beloved.

Even though I know you wouldn't hear of anyone telling you that.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Reader Reviews for Eckhartz Press Books

One of the most rewarding things about being a publisher is receiving notes, letters and e-mails from readers who were affected by and really enjoyed our books. Thanks for all the kind words, and especially thanks for posting some of those kind words on amazon and goodreads.

If you've read and enjoyed one of our titles, we'd appreciate it if you added your voice to the chorus. Below you'll find the links to each of our books on amazon and goodreads. A few words of praise might encourage others to check out the books as well. It's a nice way of spreading some holiday joy this season.

We're just a humble local Chicago publisher with a limited marketing budget, so any help you can give our authors would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!



The Living Wills on Amazon

Sarah Diaz gave it 5 stars and wrote: "The engaging characters captured my interest immediately, as did the plot. I love books that have seemingly unrelated storylines that keep you wondering how they will intersect. The characters and their lives were very real. One of the best qualities of the novel is the attention that the authors give to the everyday details that seem unimportant, such as the familiarity of your favorite coffee shop or those quirky neighbors we all have. At times comedic, at times heartbreaking, the story kept me interested from the first page to the last. Of course, being a Chicagoan, I appreciated all the local references. I would love to see another novel by these authors!"

The Living Wills on GoodReads

Carol Riha gave it five stars and wrote: "I absolutely loved this book! I loved the characters, the storylines, and especially how the stories all came together at the end. I also laughed and cried, and was sad when I finished the book. I would love to read more books by these two authors. Keep writing, guys!!!"



Down at the Golden Coin on Amazon

Bart Stine gave it five stars and wrote: "A beautiful story, written in an energetic and lighthearted style. Like a sweet cocktail, you don't realize what you're getting into until it hits you like a two by four to the back of your head. Then you begin to rethink everything, your place in the universe, your priorities and your own personal spiritual journey. The authors hip, witty prose belies a strong undertow of cosmic thought and philosophy. I literally couldn't put it down once I started it and the introspection it triggered lasted much longer than the book."

Down at the Golden Coin on GoodReads

Janette Skinner gave it five stars and wrote: "This book is funny, serious, enlightening, and thought provoking."



Cheeseland on Amazon

Cyrus Webb gave it five stars and wrote: "Delivered with skill and captivating from beginning to end, CHEESELAND reninds us of the preciousness of life and the importance of making the most of each and every day."

Cheeseland on GoodReads

Kelly McNeese gave it five stars and wrote: "Richardson writes with humor and compassion about two friends who don't have the capacity to deal with the enormous loss they've suffered. What they do instead--set out on a road trip that quickly goes down the tubes--will keep you turning the pages and wondering how they'll ever survive the summer."


The Balding Handbook_Front Cover

The Balding Handbook on Amazon

David from Tokyo gave it five stars and wrote: "The book made me laugh. It is still enjoyable for people like me who still have most of their hair. Or am I just stuck in denial?"

The Balding Handbook on GoodReads

Brent Petersen gave it five stars and wrote: "So funny. So funny. So funny. I received this book in the mail and read it the same day. My neighbors must think they are living next to a lunatic as I laughed loud and hard at every chapter."



Records Truly Is My Middle Name on Amazon

Kipper McGee gave it five stars and wrote: "This is not just a typcial "DJ" radio book -- it is a thoughtful, instructive story of a sojourn from which we can all learn. Plus, nobody tells a story like JRL! (P.S...the only reason I gave it a 5-star rating is because that's as high as the system allows!) Whether you're a radio person or a radio listener who enjoys 'behind the scenes' stories -- BUY THIS BOOK. You won't be disappointed."

Records Truly Is My Middle Name on GoodReads

Paul gave it five stars and wrote: "For anyone who grew up in Chicago, you heard John Records Landecker on the radio. Even if you didn't, after reading this memoir, you'll wish you had. "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" is just like Landecker's various radio shows: often funny, sometimes serious, always entertaining, and uniquely John Records Landecker."



Recalled to Life on Amazon

"RECALLED TO LIFE to me is about waking up in many ways. For Peter's father this is a literal occurrence but for Peter and us it can be as simple as realizing that the life we want is not always going to go according to plan. Dan Burns reminds us of what really matters in this thoughtful yet entertaining novel, and I think you will not only resonate with the characters but see a piece of yourself in them as well."

Recalled to Life on GoodReads

Lisa White gave it five stars and wrote: "Awesome book that makes you really think about your family and short life seems sometimes. I read it in one day! I would reccomend this book to anyone!"



Chuck Quinzio's book "Life Behind the Camera" is the talk of the Chicago media community. Bill Zwecker calls it "a must read for anyone interested in learning about the world of TV journalism" and Bob Sirott says "Anyone in broadcasting will be fascinated by Chuck Quinzio's TV and radio adventures." But Life Behind the Camera only appeared on amazon in the last few days, so you can be the first to review it there.

Life Behind the Camera on Amazon

We just started up a GoodReads page for the book too. Your reveiw on GoodReads could be its first as well.

Life Behind the Camera on GoodReads


Thanks for your encouragement and support and we promise more books to come in 2014!

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 1m
From their debut to 'MTV Unplugged,' look back at photos of Nirvana's legendary career:

The Associated Press ‏@AP 2m
German town revokes Hitler's honorary citizenship after an outcry over earlier decision:

Slate ‏@Slate 7m
The real history of the R-Word:

Hardball ‏@hardball 21m
.@hardball_chris: 'I don’t think there should be a debate about whether you get the right to vote."

Dave Martin ‏@martindave 15m
Google Zeitgeist: Discover the Top 100 Searches of 2013 …

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 24m
Happy birthday, Keith Richards! The legendary Rolling Stone turns 70 today

jodikantor ‏@jodikantor 28m
Quite a statement on gay rights: Obama will not attend the Sochi Olympics. Instead he's sending Billie Jean King.

Hub Arkush ‏@Hub_Arkush 30m
Was Monday's loss to the Ravens the last straw for the Lions? My column:

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 30m
Bernie's scouting report: #Cubs have impact outfield prospect in Almora via @cubs @albertalmora

Dan McNeil ‏@DanMcNeil670 49m
Off for showtime with the suits. Always worth the price of admission.

Cellphone Crashing

I got a kick out of this. It's really mean, but it's also really funny.

Recreating Realtor Bench Ads

This is totally weird, but I laughed out loud when I saw it. A guy spent a lot of time re-creating the look of realtors, taking a picture of himself as those realtors, and then pasting his own face over their faces on bench advertisements.

You can see it here.

He's a genius even if he is using his freetime in the weirdest possible way.

The Goal Cam

I have a feeling this Blackhawks Ice-Girl didn't realize that there was a goal cam. She knows now...

New Illinois State Laws for 2014

Every year, January 1st not only brings in a new year, it brings in new state laws.

Here are nine of 'em coming to Illinois next year...

1) Driving while talking on your cellphone is now illegal state-wide. $75 fine.
2) Medical marijuana is legal for certain medical conditions. (High cholesterol, sadly, is not one of them. I checked.)
3) Tanning is illegal for children under 18.
4) Voting in a primary is legal for 17 year olds, if you will be 18 by the general election.
5) If you buy a sick puppy, the pet store either has to take it back or pay your vet bills.
6) Cigarette butts now count as litter. Littering is subject to a $50 fine.
7) The new speed limit is 70 (but most of Chicago can still opt out)
8) Fines for speeding in work zones will now be lower if nobody is there working.
9) Sex Ed in school will now include discussion of birth control in addition to abstinence.

There are more rules coming, and you can find out about them here.

Hot Mic Reporter Fired

Yesterday I posted the video of Justin Kraemer from a Wichita television station. He didn't realize his mic was still hot when he said "let's the f*** out of here."

After all the attention it got, the station fired him yesterday. TV Spy has the news.

Jose Veras

The Cubs signed another free agent. His name is Jose Veras. (More details about the deal are here)

He did save 21 games last season for the Astros and Tigers, so I'm guessing he'll get a chance to save games for the Cubs this year. He's not a young man (he's 32), but he has been a solid reliever in the National League for the past few years.

Hey, it's better than nothing. (I should get that slogan trademarked)

Conservative Media Consolidation

Don't look now, but Salem Communications which locally owns WIND, has become a major player in the conservative media world. TPM has the details, but these are the highlights...

Last week, with two high-profile acquisitions, a conservative media company catapulted itself from successful but largely below-the-radar company to a player with a portfolio that could make it the next news empire on the right. Salem Communications, which got its start in the 1980s in talk radio, formally announced its purchase of Twitchy, the conservative social media tracker founded and run by Michelle Malkin. It also reportedly finalized a deal to acquire Red State, best known for the punditry of its editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, and several affiliated properties in January. Both moves were first reported by BuzzFeed.

The audience numbers are significant: Twitchy self-reports 12 million unique page views per month, and BuzzFeed reported that Eagle Publishing's properties, led by Red State, attract five million page views per month combined. New audiences could also mean more email addresses to sell to advertisers, a reportedly major part of TownHall's and other conservative outlets' revenue stream. The terms of the sales were not disclosed. The addition of Regnery Publishing, which is a part of Eagle Publishing, gives Salem the opportunity for "full-brand management": radio, digital and book deals can all co-exist under one roof. That is critical in the current cross-promotional, multi-platform media environment.

This is how the conservative media world works. This is considered a "news empire". The stories they report originate from one of these internet sites (or one of their published books), then they become fodder for the talk radio shows which they also own, who promote the internet sites and the books, which in turn make them money on several platforms, and build their e-mail lists to make even more money in the future. It's a great business model.

It also, not so coincidentally, serves the needs of getting the consersative message out in a way that won't encounter any challenges. Obviously these stories must be true. They are being reported on multiple platforms and multiple media outlets, right? When I talk about being "inside the conservative media bubble" that's what I'm referring to. It seems like everyone is saying or thinking what conservatives believe because there are so many platforms saying it--but when you scratch below the surface you find that there are very few originators, and they are all pollinating the various platforms. That's what leads to genuine surprises like the last presidential election. They had no idea what was happening outside the bubble.

Merlin Speculation

Tom Taylor speculates this morning about the future of the Chicago radio stations owned by Randy Michaels' Merlin Media...

What is Merlin Media going to do with its hometown stations? WIQI has recently shifted to rhythmic AC, while “Loop” WLUP (97.9) and leased-Channel 6 TV audio alt-rock “Q87.7” have stayed in their lanes, format-wise. Surely Tribune’s Jimmy deCastro would love to be running the Loop once again, as he did under previous ownership. And surely he’d love Santa to drop WIQI’s big Class B signal down the chimney at Tribune Tower, for duty as WGN-FM. But Tribune may be playing it cool, just biding its time. A potential bid for 101.1 by Cumulus would just raise the bidding floor for others, and deCastro may hope Lew Dickey passes on the purchase – so he can slide in there.

I'm wondering if that famous meeting between Randy Michaels and Wert & DeCastro wasn't about something else. It's well known that the old Loopers are looking for an FM station, but remember, they can't buy one as long as they own the newspaper. That's an FCC rule. What if that meeting was about selling the Tribune instead? Or a combination of the two things? It's not as crazy as it sounds.


Everyone was going mega-crazy about the mega-millions lottery yesterday. The jackpot was $636 million. We've all heard the "7 times more likely to be hit by lightning" odds, but I read a better one this morning in the Washington Post...

“You’re about 100 times more likely to die of a flesh-eating bacteria than you are to win the lottery,” Emory University mathematician Aaron Abrams told NPR.

The odds were 1 in 258,890,850.

The winning numbers were: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39, Mega Ball 7

I bought six bucks worth and matched 2 numbers on the whole card.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Onion And Rick

The Onion had a little fun with my first name today...

ATLANTA—As The Walking Dead returns to AMC for the second half of its third season, writers for the popular zombie drama told reporters Monday they are beginning to regret naming absolutely all of the characters in the series “Rick.” “When we started working on that first episode, there were just a few characters, so we figured it didn’t really matter what we called them,” said showrunner Glen Mazzara, whose writing team has since expanded the show’s ensemble cast to more than 50 unique roles, including protagonist Rick Grimes, fan favorite Rick Dixon, and a mysterious, shadowy figure known only within the show’s universe as “Rick.”

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 2m
See all the inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, from 1986 to the 2014 class:

jamesvanosdol ‏@jamesvanosdol 1h
Hall and Oates are totally suspect as R&R HOF inductees, but I'm down with Peter Gabriel, Nirvana, and KISS.

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 47m
Daryl Hall on Hall and Oates' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, "I didn't think this would happen":

Ed Sherman ‏@Sherman_Report 7m
Detroit's loss paved way for Bears-Packers to be flexed into Sunday night on Dec. 30 for NBC. #Bears #Packers

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 8m
From "Goosebumps" to "The Boxcar Children", here's what your favorite children's book series says about you

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980 10m
The Quietly Rebuilding White Sox:

Paul M. Banks ‏@PaulMBanks 14m
Chicago Blackhawks weathering major injury, penalty kill issues: The Chicago Blackhawks have the best record i...

Michael Wolff ‏@MichaelWolffNYC 35m
Why every media issue is about advertising (and why nobody admits it).

Kasie Hunt ‏@kasie 1h
Sen. Graham: "We're in a big hurry around here to show you how functional we are. Even when we're functional, we're dysfunctional."

Peter Gammons ‏@pgammo 50m
Coffee and Clippings: Holland talks time Pierzynski screamed at him during a game via @dallasnews @euqubud

FCC Drops Media Ownership Changes

So happy to hear this. The FCC had proposed easing media ownership rules (which they've done in the past with disastrous results), and once again the public outcry made them withdraw the proposal. This appears to be one area the public won't allow billionaires to write their own rules. From the Wall Street Journal...

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has withdrawn a proposal to relax the ban on owning multiple media outlets in the same market. The proposal would have paved the way for smaller TV stations to own newspapers. The agency plans to "reassess" the issue.

This is the right thing to do. I applaud the FCC for buckling.

Miley's Christmas Card

She tweeted this out to her fans, along with the message: "Merry Christmas. Thank You New York for being one of the few states to @freethenipple"

An hour later she tweeted: "It's not about getting your t*****s out. It's about equality."

Good to see she's keepin' it classy.

Blue Christmas

This 16-year-old kid is a viral senstaion. Nearly 7 million people have already viewed him singing "Blue Christmas". You won't believe the voice is connected to that young face. Incredible.

The Television Hall of Fame

Six new inductees were announced yesterday for the Television Hall of Fame. Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't deny their contributions.

The six are Jay Leno, Julia Louis Dreyfus, writer/producer David E. Kelly, sound pioneer Ray Dolby, network executive Brandon Stoddard, and Rupert Murdoch.

Bears Playoff Scenarios

The Lions lost last night against the Baltimore Ravens, which means the Bears are now in first place all alone. My sister-in-law is a Lions fan and we watched that game on Thanksgiving together. I told her at the time that the Lions had just clinched the division as far as I was concerned. They haven't won since.

Now there are lots of different potential scenarios.

If the Bears win both remaining games (against the Eagles & Packers), they win the division.

If the Packers win both of their last two games, they win the division.

If the Bears lose to the Eagles and then beat the Packers, and the Lions win their last two games, the Lions win the division.

If the Bears lose to the Eagles and then beat the Packers, but the Lions lose one of their last two games, the Bears win the division.

If the Lions and Packers both lose next week, and the Bears beat the Eagles, the Bears win the division.

In other words, any of those three teams could still win the division, but the Bears are in the best position to do so. None of these remaining games for any of the teams are pushovers. The Lions play the Giants and the Vikings. The Packers play the Steelers and the Bears. I personally don't want that last game against Green Bay to be the decider. I have a bad feeling about that one.

Disney Has Best Ever Year at Box Office

The numbers are pretty staggering for Disney. Their movies raked in $1.57 billion dollars in 2013.

Deadline Hollywood has the details.

By the way, even the Lone Ranger, which was widely mocked as a failure, made a profit. It cost $215 million to make, and has brought in $260 million.

Meet the Newest Cub

A Free Agent Signing! Never heard of the guy. From the AP...

Left-hander Wesley Wright and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,425,000. Wright, a reliever who turns 29 on Jan. 28, was 0-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 70 games last season for Houston and Tampa Bay, which bought his contract in August. Wright had been the longest-tenured player on the Astros.

Inside Derek Jeter's House

Would you like to see a photo of the inside of Derek Jeter's house? Sorry.

According to this piece, he doesn't allow cameras in his house. When you enter St. Jetersburg (his name for the house), you must put your cellphones in a basket by the door.

The Mic Is Still Hot

Attention Wichita: Even after they pan away, your mic is still hot...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cutting Room Floor: Another Classic Landecker Moment

In the book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", John writes about his experiences at the Loop, FM 97.9. He was only there briefly, and it wasn't a good mix for him. It did however yield one of the tracks that made the final cut of the CD, an interview with Tina Turner.

John left the Loop to join a brand new station called G-106 to host his first morning show in Chicago. That debut was teased with a television campaign promoting John. The station is gone now (it's actually the FM simulcast of WBBM-AM), but the television ad lives on forever on YouTube

None of the bits from his days at G-106 made it on the CD, but lots of memorable interviews, bits, and songs of Landecker's career did. You can see the track list below...

"Records Truly Is My Middle Name (The Soundtrack)" is available right here at Eckhartz Press. It's being sold as a fundraiser for The Chicago Lighthouse, which does great work for visually impaired and blind people. John's father was blind, so it's a charity he deeply believes in and supports.

And by the way, the CD is a perfect stocking stuffer for the Landecker fan in your family, and it's only $11.99.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Chicago Bears ‏@ChicagoBears 26m
LM: #Bears CB Zack Bowman: "To watch Alshon make that catch, you're like, 'Oh my goodness, did he just do that?'"

MLB ‏@MLB 3m
He was named after Jackie Robinson - just one of the many things you may not know about @Mariners 2B @RobinsonCano:

Danny Ecker ‏@DannyEcker 8m
United Center is locked in, but there are 5 sports naming rights deals up for bidding or expiring in Chicago in 2014:

Brian Noonan ‏@briannoonanshow 7m
When the chips were gone, the raccoon went after fingers.Watch: Pack of raccoons goes crazy for Doritos via @usatoday

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum 9m
My big child raising idea: "Children hear nothing and see everything." You can only teach what you yourself do. Unfortunately… (1/2)

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum 9m
… much of what goes by name "cultural conservatism" is attempt to enforce by scolding what isn't demonstrated in the parent's own life

VANITY FAIR ‏@VanityFair 21m
Joan Fontaine, the only actress to ever win an Academy Award for acting in a Hitchcock film, passed away Sunday

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 21m
Get caught up on what you might have missed this year with all our year end lists, essays, and photo galleries:

The Daily Beast ‏@thedailybeast 32m
The 25 most charitable celebrities

Chicago Bears ‏@ChicagoBears 34m
LM: #Bears WR Brandon Marshall on Cutler: "I can only imagine the commentators and the fans back at home after the first and second pick."

RIP Billy Jack

CNN has the obit for the actor who played Billy Jack, Tom Laughlin. He passed away at the age of 82.

I wasn't allowed to watch those movies when they came out, but I did know one thing about them. They popularized this awful song, which was a HUGE hit in 1971...

Is Huckabee Starting Up An Internet News Website?

When Mike Huckabee announced he was leaving his radio show at the end of this year, it prompted speculation that he was going to run for President. Mediaite has a different theory, and it's based on an ad they saw on Craigslist.

38 Test Answers That Are 100% Wrong But Totally Genius At The Same Time

These two are my favorite, but there are 36 others...

Well Done Ad By Coke

It captures those early parenting years beautifully...

As The Rupert Turns

Never a dull moment in the soap opera that is Rupert Murdoch's life. This past weekend, according to the Daily Mail, Rupert was banned from attending the 50th birthday party of his son-in-law.

The Freud party snub came after Mr Murdoch had Mr Blair barred from attending a media summit in the US after finding a note suggesting Ms Deng had a ‘crush’ on him and discovering the pair had spent weekends at Mr Murdoch’s homes without his knowledge. Mr Blair and wife Cherie were star guests at Mr Freud’s celebrity-studded party at his Oxfordshire mansion, with his father-in-law conspicuously absent.

I do think it's somehow fitting that Rupert's son-in-law has the last name Freud.

Oh Susanna

Robert Feder takes a pretty tough look at Fox 32's Susanna Negovian's practice of getting free stuff from companies she mentions on the show. I've known Susanna for about ten years and I like her, but I have to admit it's pretty hard to defend some of this stuff.

The Most Popular Radio Format for Millennials?

From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

For the 65.2 million Millennials, “country is now the #1 format". That shift completely rearranged the usual order of things for 18-34s, with country (at a 16.5 share of listening) dethroning Pop CHR (13.5). Rhythmic CHR is #3 with that demo at a 6.7 share, closely followed by AC at 6.5 and hot AC at 5.8.

That's definitely a first for country music radio.

Ryan Freel

Remember former Cub Ryan Freel? He played for the Cubs briefly in 2009.

Tragedy struck only a few years after he retired from the game. He took his own life last year, leaving behind two little girls.

Well, they looked at his brain, and it appears that he was suffering from CTE. The Indy Star has the story

A Gratuitous Shot

In an analysis of the upcoming year's stock market forecast, seeking alpha writes...

There are some things we know for certain about the year ahead. The Winter Olympics will take place in Russia, Brazil will host the World Cup, the mid-term elections in the US will take place in November, and the Chicago Cubs will not win the World Series. There is no certainty, however, about the stock market outlook. There never is.

Is there no analysis in which a gratuitous shot at the Cubs isn't appropriate?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Eckhartz Press Thanks You!

Big year for us at Eckhartz Press. Thanks for all of your support!

Dick Van Dyke

Happy 88th birthday to the star of my favorite television show of all-time, Dick Van Dyke. Here's a seasonally appropriate clip...

Friday the 13th

It's supposed to be the unluckiest day of all, but why? PolicyMic explains. Here's an excerpt...

No one knows for sure where a fear of Friday the 13th comes from. Some point to the last supper of Jesus Christ. The 13th guest at the table – Judas – ratted him out to the Romans, leading to Jesus’ crucifixion one day later, on a Friday. At least that’s how the story goes. Others link Friday the 13th to Norse mythology, which includes the tale of another dinner party (what’s up with these dinners going horribly?) Legend says the Norse gods were dining together when a 13th uninvited guest, Loki, arrived. One thing led to another and Loki arranged the death of Balder, the god of joy, for which the “whole earth mourned.”

There's also a general fear of the number 13 itself. The idea that so many things are organized in groups of 12 – months, zodiac signs, apostles, tribes of Israel, etc. – might be why 13 is considered unlucky. Just don’t tell that to any bakers you know.

But most contemporary references to a fear of the number 13 didn’t hit the mainstream until the 19th century. One of the earliest superstitions around the number 13 included “if 13 people sit at a table together, one will die within a year” (again with these dinners, come on).

Friday the 13th has some troubled history, too. On Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, France’s King Philip IV began a raid against the Knights Templar, charging them with illegal activity and throwing them in prison, where many of them eventually died.

What about people born on Friday the 13th? Are all of them evil? Well, it depends who you ask. Births on Friday the 13th feature some notable names, including Fidel Castro, the Olsen twins, and noted witch Nate Silver.

Maybe we should just ask Nate Silver for the odds of it being a bad day today. I'm sure he's got all the statistical models already built.

As for me, I can't remember ever having a bad day on Friday the 13th. In fact, my son Johnny was scheduled to be born on Friday the 13th of March 1998. Fate intervened, however, and Bridget's water broke the day before. Johnny was born on the 12th.

Today's Best Tweets

Here are some tweets that caught my eye today...

Time Out Chicago ‏@TimeOutChicago 47m
It's like Christmas came early! Our annual list of the 100 best things we ate and drank this year: #100BestDishes

Matt Taibbi ‏@mtaibbi 32m
New post: video artifacts of pure subprime-era villainy, courtesy of a recent multibillion-dollar court case:

Brett Taylor ‏@BleacherNation 7m
#Cubs: The Asking Price for Jeff Samardzija Has Indeed Been as Lofty as it Should Be

People magazine ‏@peoplemag 10m
Think your kids' Santa pics are cute? Just wait'll they've taken the same pic for 34 years, like these guys:

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum 10m
Radio hosts Levin & Beck talk amicably. … Most surprising reconciliation since Betty & Veronica,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg …

Chicago Bears 360 ‏@ChicagoBears360 15m
Best, Worst Case Scenarios for Chicago Bears Playoff Run - Bleacher Report

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 18h
How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 48m
Cano felt disrespected by the Yankees, who offered $175m. Should the Yankees feel disrespected because Cano didn't accept their first offer?

Joseph Carlson ‏@joscarlson 59m
Study in the 'festive' December edition of the BMJ documents all the drinks in Bond novels. Shocker: 007 is a drunk

WPGU1071 ‏@WPGU1071 1h
Weird Fact of the Day: Swans only have one partner for their entire life - If that partner passes away, they can die of a broken heart. #WFD

Social Farters

Yes, it's sophomoric, but I am who I am. It made me laugh.

Ed Schultz

Ed Schultz is a host on MSNBC. I have a hard time watching him because he isn't the most articulate when it comes to explaining his position. When he gets into a "debate" with someone who disagrees with him, he gets schooled pretty routinely.

He does, however, have a real passion for a few causes, and one of those is American labor. He defends the labor position more consistently and vociferously than anyone else in the media.

That's why this piece in Politico is so troubling.

It appears he's being paid to do so. Even if there's a logical explanation for these payments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the perception of impropriety is unmistakable. This is why journalists are not supposed to accept money from people they may have to cover. I know Ed isn't a journalist, but he is on an all-news station.

He's giving his critics legitimate ammunition by taking that money.

Ant Hill Art

These are fire ants. If they were regular ants it would feel gratuitously mean to me. They're pretty harmless...especially in a hill like this in your backyard. (I think I'm getting soft in my old age)

Cumulus Flirting with Anti-Trust

Cumulus is the second largest radio company in the country (locally they own WLS AM/FM) and they've been on a buying spree lately. Their most recent purchase of Westwood One, however, does have some potential anti-trust implications. Tom Taylor explores that asterisk in his newsletter...

Justice could still weigh in with some post-closing “remedies” to what it might call an anti-competitive situation. This NOW Newsletter continues to hear from folks who’ve been interviewed by the DOJ, and several say the agency’s focusing in part on the satellite-provider situation. Cumulus buying the former Dial Global means that Cumulus now owns two satellite delivery platforms. That’s a classic anti-trust question – will the merger raise prices for its third-party customers? Here’s what Cumulus said officially, last night – it “believes the merger does not raise any anti-competitive issues [but] it continues to voluntarily assist the DOJ with its evaluation.” Then comes the safety clause – the company “cannot predict if the DOJ will elect to seek, or obtain, any remedies.” Hypothetically, those might include requiring Cumulus to continue servicing WestwoodOne customers at their existing rates, for a period of time. Or requiring it to offer access to new customers.

My thoughts on this matter are well known. If you don't know them, read "$everance".

Josh Groban Christmas 2013

Ron Coomer

In some ways the person who gets the Cubs radio job is almost more important to us than the players on the field. Players come and go, but the radio voice spends all summer with us, every summer. Meet our new summer radio companion, Ron Coomer. (Robert Feder has the details)

Coomer is a native Chicagoan (although I'm pretty sure he came from the South Side and grew up a Sox fan), and played for the Cubs one season--2001.


Sorry Duchess of York, and sorry singer from the Black Eyed Peas, in Chicago there will always be only one Fergie. Fergie Jenkins.

It's Fergie's birthday, and there's an awesome film of him posted at Cubs 365 today. It was made during his stint with the Cubs for Canadian television.

You can watch it here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Life Behind The Camera" Now Available on Amazon

If you’ve been holding off buying our latest book “Life Behind The Camera” by Chuck Quinzio until it came out on amazon for your kindle, your wait is now over!

Click here to purchase the e-book.