Friday, January 25, 2013

The Illinois Entertainer

It's official.

I have just agreed to become the new media critic for the Illinois Entertainer. My first column will be in the April issue.

Wish me luck.

Today's Best Tweets

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

HuffPost Chicago ‏@HuffPostChicago
Is Sammy Sosa mulling a presidential run?

Jeff Lewis ‏@ChicagoPhotoSho
Correction. O'Hare officially has 0.4 of an inch as of 7:45am. Streak intact! gonna be close. #chicago

Len Kasper ‏@LenKasper
My hero Ernie Harwell would've been 95 today. 1 of the top baseball b'casters of all-time was nicest person I've ever met. My motto: WWED.

Lin Brehmer ‏@LinBrehmer
Do not, I repeat, do not get on the Kennedy

Justin Elliott ‏@elliottjustin
90 Sheriffs say they won't enforce gun laws they feel are unconstitutional

Funny Dibs ‏@funnydibs
A more accurate name for Milk Duds:

kippermcgee ‏@kippermcgee
Morning Blend: Whenever I hear somebody use the word 'literally' incorrectly, it literally makes my brain explode. ~Weird Al Yankovic

Eric & Kathy ‏@EricandKathy
Study Shows: 40% of women will move on and leave the spot when trying to parallel park as others watch. #MIXMindBender

Steve Bertrand ‏@SteveBertrand
Bad advice from good writers. … ‏@TIME
'Movie 43' starring every single actor in Hollywood | (via @TIMENewsFeed)

Book Tours

This article about book tours in Forbes magazine is interesting.

The author of "Go the F*** to Sleep" wrote a piece making fun of the whole concept of book tours and the ridiculousness of book signings at bookstores. The publishing and PR world is really mad at him.

Except for me.

I agree with him totally. I usually advise my authors not to concentrate on them, and not to overbook themselves at bookstore signings, because you'll end up having to beg your friends to attend. There is no natural audience for a book signing, and the bookstores don't do much of anything to promote them. It's up to the author.

And then you give the bookstore 40% of your profit.

When Swany and I were promoting "The Radio Producer's Handbook", we did more than 20 book signings. The few that we didn't aggressively promote drew about three people. That's very typical of authors that aren't very well known.

I've seen it many times.

Go ahead and be pissy with him PR and Publishing people, but he speaks the truth. It's a whole new world out there now. You just have to be creative about where and how you get the word out.

The New Orleans Pelicans

They made it official yesterday. The New Orleans Hornets have changed their name to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Prepare yourself for those "Geaux Pelicans!" banners and shirts.

E-mails, we get e-mails

For some reason I've been getting a bunch of postcard-type images in my e-mail box. Thanks for sending them. Don't know their point of origin, but I think this one is my favorite...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Barnaby Jones

40 years ago today, this show debuted. As we all remember, it was a Quinn Martin production...

I mostly remember this as the show that introduced me to the term: "Epilogue"

Commerce Content

How do you like that term? Commerce Content.

It kind of makes my stomach turn, but Gawker media is using it to make up to 10% of their revenues this year.

What is commerce content? According to Gawker founder Nick Denton: "It's a brand new thing that merges writing and product curation...So commerce content includes everything from posts about the cheapest deal on something our readers need to introducing them to new things they've never seen. It's a new type of service journalism. And yes, we generate revenue when products sell."

Service journalism? There's another great term.

Is this really what it's come to?

I remember one reviewer mocked my "Nascarization" bit from my first novel "$everance" because it was too "over the top". Whatever you say, pal.


Occasionally I'll run into a news story or media story that reminds me I'm not 25 years old anymore. Today's story is about "catfishing" and the MTV show about it. I had no idea what that meant, so I clicked on the article to find out.

For those of you as clueless as I am, catfishing is the term used to describe someone who is creating a fake online identity (like the fake "girlfriend" of Mantei Te'o). For those of you laughing at me for not knowing that term, go to your room, and don't come out until you learn to speak to your elders with more respect.

The TV Hall of Fame

This sounds like a pretty fair list to induct into the television Hall of Fame. These men will be inducted on March 11...

Ron Howard
Les Moonves
Bob Schieffer
Dick Wolf (Law & Order)
Philo T. Farnsworth (the inventor of all electronic television transmission)

Of those five, the only one I question is Moonves, but then again, he is the CEO of CBS. I'm sure the Hall of Fame wants the networks to support it.

John Kerry

I have a sneaking suspicion that John Kerry will be easily confirmed as the next Secretary of State. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is going to be taking that subject up this week.

That committee is chaired by...John Kerry.

Sammy Sosa's Number

Should Sammy Sosa's number be retired?

Sammy thinks so

I'm torn on this one. Yes, he was most likely a cheater, but he was a great entertainer in his day.*

*Written just to annoy White Sox fans.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

At Home Dads Make Parenting More of a Guy Thing

That's the headline in today's Wall Street Journal article about stay at home dads.

"At-home dads aren't trying to be perfect moms, says a recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research. Instead, they take pride in letting their children take more risks on the playground, compared with their spouses. They tend to jettison daily routines in favor of spontaneous adventures with the kids. And many use technology or DIY skills to squeeze household budgets, or find shortcuts through projects and chores, says the study, based on interviews, observation of father-child outings and an analysis of thousands of pages of at-home dads' blogs and online commentary."

Um, OK. I'm guessing they haven't read my blog. Only the first eight words apply to me.

Today in Beer News

If you haven't read the current issue of Draft Magazine yet, I've taken the liberty to name the Chicago bars that made their list of "Best Beer Bars in America"

I don't think I've been to any of them, which is a situation that needs to be rectified in the near future...

BANGERS & LACE | Chicago
Fueled by artisan sausages and the Wicker Park hipsters who down them en masse, this vintage-sparse beer bar’s libations are nothing if not thought-provoking: The 32 taps are obscure (Bourganel Biere Au Nougat, previews from newbie Solemn Oath), and the short but sweet bottle list wanders even further off the beaten path (think Sarasola Sagardoa cider from Spain). 1670 W. Division St.,

Still a baby in Chicago’s beer-bar scene, this buzzing tavern wins over connoisseurs with a pedigreed beer director (he’s a Goose Island and Sheffield’s alum, as well as a Cicerone), a friendly rooftop garden and 200 globe-spanning, rotating beers. The beer’s topnotch, but the mood’s low-key. 1970 W. Montrose Ave.,

If Lars Ulrich had a beer bar, it’d be this edgy Lincoln Park cavern. The rocker crowd’s a little surly, but they’ve got a soft spot for craft beer; 31 taps touch on Belgium’s De la Senne and the East Coast’s High & Mighty, plus a few seriously unsung house beers. 1102 W. Webster Ave.,

MAP ROOM | Chicago
Want to travel the globe for beer without the jet lag? Visit the great beer nations (Belgium, England, Germany, and the U.S. of A., of course) by pint glass with super-smart staffers as your translators and old National Geographics as your inspiration. You’ll never taste everything—the Cicerone who mans the beer list rotates the spigots often—but it can’t hurt to try. 1949 N. Hoyne Ave.,

Even a new expansion that doubled its size (not to mention a visit from “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”) couldn’t squash the humble, neighborhoody vibe of this beer bar icon. The Belgian-leaning food menu’s grown, and with a slew of new taps, the beer list remains one of the world’s best. 5148 N. Clark St.,

More upscale and less neighborhoody than Chicago’s other beer bars but just as beer-heavy, Pour House boasts Cicerone-certified staffers slinging pints from 90-plus taps. The beer’s not your usual Chi-town stuff, either, with Cali’s Port Mongo IPA and Michigan’s Greenbush Distorter Porter pouring alongside Bottlenectar, the bar’s collaboration amber with nearby Two Bros.

If you don't live in Chicago and would like to see if your area has any that made the list, the full list is here at Draft Magazine.

Today's Best Tweets

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

@MTV Check it! We've got our hands on some never-before-seen#Movie43 footage. It's time to get gross:

David Haugh ‏@DavidHaugh
What lockout? Blackhawks fans return to cheer focused, hungry 3-0 team Kane says has "a chip on our shoulder." Column.

DeanRichards ‏@DeanRichards
IT'S OFFICAL. An evening with PEARL JAM at Wrigley Field Friday, July 19th. Tickets On Sale Saturday, 2/9 at...

@washingtonpost: Manti Te'o says he briefly lied about fake girlfriend when he found out she didn't exist

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
Blockbuster will close 300 of its stores. Great, now where will I be able to find a VHS copy of "Jaws 2?"

Pat Tomasulo ‏@pattomasulo
Almost had a complaint about work today. Then I watched a bunch of guys wielding a fire hose in -2 degree weather.

Chris Nickles ‏@nickles71
Happy 63rd b-day to MacGyver! He's making his own cake with only a rubber band, banana peel and false teeth in less than 2 mins.

Ana Belaval ‏@anabelaval
German beer brewed now in Chicago @HofbrauChicago. We will show u more @WGNMorningNews


Publishers Weekly ‏@PublishersWkly
RT @ravenbooks Teenager to friend carrying Slaughterhouse Five: I've never read that, I should probably start with Slaughterhouse One...

Barbara's Noggin

Barbara Walters had a tough inauguration week. She fell and hit her head. It sounds like she's OK. I saw one televised report that said she was already giving orders. That's a good sign.

A Wrigley Hotel?

If you haven't been following the news closely about the Cubs renovation proposal, part of the plan is to build a hotel across the street from the ballpark (on the site of the current McDonalds).

Details are here.

I've got a gazillion dollar money making scheme for them once the hotel is built. Everyone leaving the ballpark (except those with valid mass-transit passes) should be forced to take a breathalizer test. If they fail, they've got to sleep it off in the new hotel until they're able to drive.

That's a free one, Mr. Ricketts. Better build a highrise.

Bill Klaproth

This is good to see. My old pal Bill Klaproth is back in the radio game. From Tom Taylor's NOW newsletter...

"Former Chicago PD Bill Klaproth joins RadioMD as a marketing/social media consultant, says the Disa family. That’s Tim Disa and Tim Jr., who aim to create “a talking health information source” at RadioMD. Klaproth worked for a decade at WLUP, from 1998 (as music director) until 2008, when he was programming the Loop."

I worked with Bill at the Loop when I consulted the Morning Loop Guys, and I worked with Tim Disa a thousand years ago in the early days of AM 1000. It's a small world after all.


Remember Julian Nieh? He left B-96 a month or two ago because he wanted to be a solo-host again. I guess he figured his good ratings and longevity in the business would lead to a bunch of phone calls. Sounds like it hasn't.

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

"It was shortly before the Christmas break when we initially reported on the departure of "Julian On The Radio" Nieh, who was exiting his morning co-host spot on CBS Rhythmic WBBM (B96)/Chicago. Apparently that news got swallowed up in that swirling, sucking black hole of the holidays, because Julian tells us that many of his industry peers were surprised to hear that he is now officially free and clear to chat about any interesting opportunities that may be floating out there. "I'm interested in a good situation in morning drive, either as a host or co-host," says Nieh. "I'm also open to afternoons, and I'd also love to assist in the Programming Department in any capacity," Nieh tells RAMP."

It's always been a tough business. It sounds like it's getting even tougher.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

50 years ago today...

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

January 22, 1963…At the Atlantic Studios in New York City, the Drifters recorded "On Broadway," with Phil Spector playing the guitar solo.

January 22, 1963…At Radio Recorders in West Hollywood, Elvis Presley recorded six songs for his movie "Fun in Acapulco," including "Bossa Nova Baby."

January 22, 1963…George Martin produced Gerry & the Pacemakers' "How Do You Do It" at their first recording session.

I like all three of those songs (recorded before I was born), but this one is probably my favorite. This is the Beatles version of the Gerry & the Pacemaker's song...

Today's Best Tweets

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

Max Armstrong ‏@maxarmstrong

Time Out Chicago ‏@TimeOutChicago
.@RobertFeder: WLS program boss Hayes headed back to KABC in L.A.

People magazine ‏@peoplemag
Prince Harry on nude photo scandal: "It's a classic example of me probably being too much army, and not enough prince."

NWS Chicago ‏@NWSChicago
The streak without a subzero temperature in #Chicago has ended at 711 days! This was the 4th longest such streak on record. #ilwx

Cindy Hamilton ‏@c_hami_nike
To everyone screen shotting the temp on IG: “@NikeChicago: "There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." - Bill Bowerman”

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
Let's all stop saying "it's cold out." It's January. And you live in Chicago.

@amyguth Food additives legal in the U.S. that are illegal in some other countries (and why)

NBC News ‏@NBCNews
And the healthiest state in the U.S. is ...

Darren Marlar ‏@darrenmarlar
He that won't be counseled can't be helped ~ Benjamin Franklin

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995
Would you let your 3 year old wrestle alligators? Check out this Austrailian Kid...

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column has been posted. I'm calling it "Rip Van Tommy" and it's about a sleep experiment Bridget and I conducted on our teenage son Tommy. The boy is a chip off the old block.

You can read it here.

Metal Gangnam Style

If you are so inclined, someone has done the metal version of the song, accompanied by the original video.

It actually works pretty well, if you ask me.

The Inauguration

I watched the coverage for a few hours yesterday, and there were some memorable moments. For me the highlight was when Obama stopped on his way off the stage to take one more look over the crowd and soak in the moment. That, and the sight and sound of Al Roker standing on the side of the route back to the White House, screaming at both the President and Vice President as they walked by.

The New York Times has their own list of the silly and the sublime from yesterday's television coverage.

Herman Cain

The former presidential candidate starts his new career as syndicated radio host today.

It's on in 80 markets...but Chicago is not one of them.

Chuck Hagel

You may know his as a former Republican Senator from Nebraska. Or you may know him as President Obama's nominee to be Defense Secretary.

But did you know he is also a former radio guy? It's true. From Tom Taylor's NOW column today...

"Chuck Hagel, Obama’s nominee as Defense Secretary, once worked in Omaha radio. In fact, he trained as a broadcaster at the Brown Institute (now Brown College in Minnesota) before serving in Vietnam, where he won two Purple Hearts. When Hagel returned from ‘Nam, he did news and other jobs in Omaha radio to make money, as he finished his degree from the University of Nebraska."

Of course that has nothing to do with whether or not he should be confirmed as Defense Secretary. I just thought it was interesting.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What the World Needs Now

Every year on MLK day...

Katie's Big Get

Katie Couric has scored the big first interview of Notre Dame's Mantei Te'o. It will air on Thursday.

And no, I'm not just reporting that news so I can post the photograph of Katie in cheerleading costume again. This time it's almost appropriate.

RIP Stan Musial

The great Stan Musial passed away over the weekend at the age of 92.

I never saw him play, but his stats speak for themselves. He led the league in hits six times, doubles eight times, RBI twice, won six batting titles (lifetime average .331), and was MVP three times.


Some of his most memorable moments in baseball happened at the little ballpark on Addison & Clark.