Friday, February 01, 2013

Larry King's Date with Katie Couric

God's Super Bowl Pick

Who is God rooting for in the Super Bowl?

This CNN writer tackles the issue, but of course, not without a gratuitous shot at the Cubs.

And if God's affection for your team translates into more championships, then God really hates the Chicago Cubs. OK, maybe "hate" is too harsh, but there must be a reason the Cubs haven't won a championship in more than 100 years. What did the team do to deserve this much pain?

Even the Cubs crosstown rivals, the Chicago White Sox, won a World Series in 2005. And keep in mind that organization was involved in the infamous "Black Sox" scandal, in which some of its players took bribes in exchange for intentionally losing the 1919 World Series.

And thanks for bringing up the White Sox championship too. I needed another kick in the groin. Gets me going in the morning.

And also thanks for not actually answering the question. Who am I going to bet on now?


45 years ago today, Simon & Garfunkel recorded the song "America". This is the live version from the Central Park concert...note that they thank Ed Koch, who passed away earlier today...

CES Awards Yanked from Cnet

After CBS corporate honchos made their publication Cnet alter their picks for Best of CES a few weeks ago (for financial reasons), the International Consumer Electronics Show has taken the awards away from Cnet, citing "CBS interference".

That seems completely appropriate to me.

I know it's not much, but these guys have to see that there is some accountability for their actions.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Fred Winston ‏@FredWinston
Morning. Life is so much rosier after that first cup of joe. Dog walk was brutal. -17 & everyone wanted to stop and chat. Can't feel legs.

Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal
Travis Hafner earned $57.05M from #Indians over past five seasons. During that time, he averaged 86 games and did not exceed 118. #Yankees

Ben Finfer ‏@BenFinfer
Friday before the Super Bowl and the back page of the Sun-Times is Jim Hendry. Good call.

Steve Kornacki ‏@SteveKornacki
The definitive Koch obit …

Glenn Greenwald ‏@ggreenwald
It won't get discussed much today, but the sad (hopefully obsolete) part of Ed Koch's life was living it in the closet

Ron Smith ‏@oldiesmusic
Happy 45th birthday to Lisa Marie Presley (she was born nine months to the day after the King married Priscilla).

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995
What do you and your significant other fight about? Hitting the Snooze Button was #1 on the Top 30 Fight List

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Rush Limbaugh, who pundits for a living, lashes out at Mexican immigrants, portraying them as lazy

Betsey Stevenson ‏@BetseyStevenson
Over the past 3 months the private sector added 624K jobs, while the govt lost 24K jobs.

Kurt Vanderah ‏@kurtvan
Wind chill of -17 in Chicago, but if you ask me, it really only feels like 14 below.

The N.R.A's Enemy List

I just stumbled onto this today. The NRA actually keeps a list of organizations, celebrities, journalists, and media outlets that they consider anti-gun, and publishes it on their website.

What could possibly go wrong with a list like that? My takeaway from that list is that I'm happy it's so long. There may be 4 million members of the NRA, but let's not forget there are 309 million people in America that are not members. We're just not as loud or obnoxious.

Martha Stewart, The Radio Show

From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW column...

Believe it or not, Martha Stewart’s never done a live daily radio show. That changes on February 17 when she’ll don the headphones for a noon-2pm Eastern show on SiriusXM that repeats from 7-9pm. That’s on the satcaster’s “Stars” channel, #107. Martha of course had her own dedicated satellite radio channel, as one of Mel Karmazin’s early signings after he took over Sirius. (In the publicity photo, they look like a couple of surprised and bashful high school kids.) But that didn’t feature “live” Martha. SiriusXM President of Programming Scott Greenstein says “our subscribers have clearly spoken – they want more access to Martha.” He says she’s “always educating, always informing [and] always interesting.”

There's a great Martha Stewart story in the upcoming John Landecker memoir "Records Truly is My Middle Name." That's all I'm allowed to say about it right now.

Senator Rivera?

I know it sounds preposterous, but Geraldo Rivera is considering running for the Senate. From this morning's Inside Radio...

Geraldo Rivera says he’s considering swapping a syndicated radio show for the Halls of Congress. The conservative talker says he is “truly contemplating” running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg. Rivera told listeners to his show yesterday that he’s been “in touch” with the state’s Republican Party to talk over a run for office.

He would instantly have the best mustache in the Senate.

A Bad For the Cubs

Mark Grace was sentenced to four months in jail.

Carlos Marmol was accused of domestic abuse.

The cute and cuddly Cub was anything but. Not excactly a great day for the Cubs yesterday.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Should the Oscars Change Gender-Specific Awards?

This is honestly something I've never considered before. An AP writer (via the NWI Times) examines the issue.

I think when push comes to shove, I'm against it. It would take away 1/2 of my favorite part of the show: The shot of the losers pretending to be happy for the winner. Now that's some award-worthy acting.

Truth Teller

This is interesting. A new software that fact-checks as you watch...

Today's Best Tweets

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

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Chinese millionaire sells "fresh air" in cans as pollution levels soar

MLB Trade Rumors ‏@mlbtraderumors
Rodriguez May Not Return To Yankees #mlb

Daytona Cubs ‏@daytonacubs
Today would have been Jackie Robinson's 94th birthday! It's hard to believe he broke the color barrier in Daytona...

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin
Dan Marino fathered a love child with a CBS production assistant:

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock
10 years ago today #Comiskey Park was changed to the ever dull U.S. Cellular Field. The #Sox sold the naming rights on the cheap

ThinkProgress ‏@thinkprogress
Chairman of House Judiciary Committee proposes bill to abolish the entire tax code and replace it with nothing.

DH ‏@PeggyKinnanes
Bundle up today, we're in the middle of the largest four-day January temperature plunge on the books here since records began in 1871!

Rob Sparks ‏@halfastro
The more hysterical Wayne LaPierre gets, the more I feel I need a gun to protect myself from Wayne LaPierre. Damn, that guy is clever!

Gilbert Gottfried ‏@RealGilbert
I will not talk to someone who has less than 10 toes. I am LACK TOES INTOLERANT. I apologize to the little piggy who went to the market.

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
WATCH: Frank Sinatra 'used to throw spaghetti at me'

How bad is the media job market?

Consider this little item from Buzzfeed today...

"Within 24 hours of posting openings for the majority of their new positions, Al Jazeera America received 5000 applications for open positions, a number that has grown to 8,063 over the past three days, a network source told BuzzFeed...The ads were placed on Al and as well as other prominent job listing sites like the New York Times, Washington Post, and LinkedIn."

That's how bad it is.

CNN Making Big Changes

The new boss at CNN, Jeff Zucker, is already making some big changes. According to Fishbowl DC...

"CNN Contributors James Carville, Mary Matalin and RedState‘s Fox News-bound Erick Erickson were parting ways with the network under the direction of the new sheriff Jeff Zucker. But who’s next? We’re hearing that CNN may look at parting ways with Contributors Donna Brazile and Roland Martin, as they appear to have been slowly replaced by pundits who are known as their “black replacements”: civil rights activist Van Jones, NYT‘s Charles Blow and Democratic Strategist Cornell Belcher. CNN avoided using Brazile and Martin during its Inaugural coverage."

I guess when your ratings are in the toilet you have to make changes, but I'll miss the serpent head.

The Grammy's

From the RAMP Newsletter...

"Performing this year at the Grammy's on Februray 10th: Justin Timberlake, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, The Black Keys, fun., The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Jack White and a duet from Elton John and Grammy nominee Ed Sheeran. Two-time Grammy winner LL Cool J returns as host of the Grammy's."

Bubba is victorious

The radio bad boy trial is over. The jury came back late yesterday afternoon and cleared Bubba the Love Sponge in his defamation trial. From Tom Taylor's column this morning...

One alternate told the Tampa Bay Times the whole affair was "a waste of time." One key for Bubba may have been the testimony of former Jacor/Clear Channel boss Randy Michaels. One online trial watcher says "Having Randy on the stand was incredibly important, because the jury got to have it explained by a real media executive who's been there in the trenches." Today, Bubba will be taking a victory lap on his “Bone” WHPT (102.5) morning show with a wide grin on his face.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Green White History

One of my on-going writing projects is writing the history of Green White Soccer Club, a club co-founded by my father in 1956.

Each month I write about one year in Green White history. This month it's 1972.

You can read it here.

How Babies Are Made in Canada

Thanks to "BD" for sending this to me...

Canadian photographer Patrice Laroche surely will have no trouble explaining to his kids about the birds and the bees. During his wife Sandra's pregnancy, the artist created an explanatory photo series titled "How to Make a Baby."

The Lone Ranger

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac, this little tidbit from 80 years ago today...

January 30, 1933…"The Lone Ranger" debuted on WXYZ Radio in Detroit. Next it was heard on the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network; and finally on NBC's Blue Network, which became ABC. The last of its 2,956 original episodes was broadcast September 3, 1954. Transcribed repeats of the 1952–53 episodes continued on ABC until June 24, 1955, and then selected repeats appeared on NBC from September 1955 until May 25, 1956, giving the radio series a total run of more than 23 years.

I always loved the Lone Ranger television show (which obviously was inspired by the radio show). When I was a kid, WGN showed it every Sunday morning (along with the Cisco Kid). I even bought a Lone Ranger DVD box-set for my son Johnny when he was little (he loved cowboys), and he liked it too. Not sure why, exactly. It's unbelievalby corny. I think part of its appeal was this totally cool opening sequence...

Well, Golllll-eee

This is a nice story, but sad that he had to wait until he was 82 years old...

The actor best known for playing the TV character Gomer Pyle in the 1960s has married his male partner of 38 years. Hawaii News Now reports Jim Nabors and his partner, Stan Cadwallader, traveled from their Honolulu home to Seattle to be married Jan. 15…The 82-year-old Nabors says you’ve got to solidify something when you’ve been together as long as they have. They couple met in 1975 when Cadwallader was a Honolulu firefighter. Cadwallader is 64. Nabors says he’s been open about his homosexuality to co-workers and friends but never acknowledged it to the media before…

Today's Best Tweets

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

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995
What song do you never want to hear again? MJ's "Thriller and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" Made the Top 10 List

Reagan' s home could become a parking lot for Obama's library...

Ben Bradley ‏@BenBradleyABC7
What's changed in 5 years since George Ryan went to prison? Well, I can watch his release live on my iPad on the train. That ain't nothing.

ABC News ‏@ABC
Poll: Obama’s Favorability Best Since ’09; 2-1 Approval for Inaugural Address

Breaking News ‏@BreakingNews
US economy shrinks 0.1% in 4th quarter, 1st time in 3-1/2 years; deep cut in defense spending seen as key factor - @AP

Lizz Winstead ‏@lizzwinstead
Watching men folding a towel is kind of insane. They often give up half way through like it's the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle.

Morning Joe ‏@Morning_Joe
Scarborough: NRA extremism biggest threat to Second Amendment right: #morningjoe

Eric & Kathy ‏@EricandKathy
Ouch. A Study has shown that women look their oldest around 3:30pm on Wednesday afternoons. #ScienceStinks

HowardKurtz ‏@HowardKurtz
More from dumb Super Bowl Media Day questions: What type of lunchbox did you have as a kid? (Groan)

Kevin Butler ‏@Therealbutthead
#deer-antler spray really? Damn I could still be kicking

Top Prospects

According to, the Cubs have three of the top 50 prospects in all of baseball.

Javier Baez, a 20-year-old shortstop, came in at number 16, Abert Almora, an 18-year-old center fielder, is number 39, and Jorge Soler, a 20-year-old Cuban outfielder, is at number 42.

The full list is here.

The Twins and Cardinals each have four of the top 50, and the Rays & Mets have three. The White Sox have zero. (Their highest ranked prospect comes in at #68)

Radio on Radio Defamation?

I hadn't really thought of this angle while I followed the ridiculous Bubba the Love Sponge trial in Tampa, but Radio Ink has a good point today. If it's defamation to say horrible things about your radio competitors, then hasn't Howard Stern been guilty of it for something like 30 years?

From today's Radio Ink...

"As the jury awaits instructions in the Bubba The Love Sponge defamation lawsuit Wednesday, we spoke to someone who can certainly relate to Todd "MJ" Schnitt's situation. John DeBella was the radio king in Philadelphia from 1984-1989... In 1986, Howard Stern was being piped into Philadelphia on WYSP. And, as Stern did with every top-rated morning show he competed against, he went right after DeBella. There was the typical name-calling, and long tirades with Stern delivering nasty, nonstop verbal assaults. Then came the more personal attacks. When DeBella and his wife were having issues, Stern threw a "divorce party." Stern did eventually become number one in Philadelphia, which led to gloating that culminated in Stern's making a trip to Philly to stage a mock funeral for DeBella in Rittenhouse Square, right below the windows of WMMR. Stern even burned DeBella in effigy. For his part, DeBella never engaged on the air with Stern, and he says not once did he consider filing a lawsuit against Stern for the things he was saying."

Not that what Howard did was OK, but it really wasn't that unusual. In Chicago we had several jocks who did stuff like that on the air. I was personally slandered reguarly by one of them.

I never filed suit either.

I figured it was just part of the business.

Hormone Guide

Thanks to "PP" for unearthing this one...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pub for your Humble Blogging Friend

From Robert Feder's column today...

As sorry as I was to report on Cara Jepsen stepping down as media critic for Illinois Entertainer, there’s good news about her successor: Rick Kaempfer, the respected media blogger, author, publisher and former Chicago radio producer, will take over the monthly magazine’s media column in April. “I'm excited to be back on the media beat,” Kaempfer told me. “I think Cara did a wonderful job over the past 20 years. She recommended me as her replacement, so I do feel some pressure to ably fill her shoes. Although, now that I say that, I don't think she wears shoes anymore — she's a yoga instructor. I'm looking forward to highlighting some of the great Chicago stars, past and present — a continuation of my work at Chicago Radio Spotlight."

Thanks so much, Rob! I greatly appreciate it.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who read this week's Father Knows Nothing column, note that Mr. Feder used the word "respected". Please send this to my mother and sister.

Beer Can Design

When I was a boy I collected beer cans, which in retrospect seems like a really weird collection for a little boy, but at the time wasn't considered strange at all. I only mention this because the current issue of Paste Magazine nominates its 30 best beer can designs.

One local Chicago brewery (photo) made the list.

Joke for a Tuesday morning

Thanks to "DS" for sending this one in...

Osama Bin Laden was living with 3 wives in his compound and had never left the house for 5 years. It is now believed he called the Navy Seals himself.


The Miami Herald has a piece today that names names in the Performance Enhancing Drugs controversy in Miami. There are some big athletes listed, including some that have never been linked to PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs) before.

These players are on the list of clients of a Miami clinic that is famous for dispensing PEDs. They have been under investigation ever since Manny Ramirez was caught cheating. Here are the names from the article...
San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera
Oakland A's hurler Bartolo Colón
pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik
budding Cuban superstar boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa
Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz
New York Yankees' $275 million man Alex Rodriguez
Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal
Washington Nationals star Gio Gonzalez
Of course, the big name there is A-Rod, who claimed he stopped using PEDs ten years ago. Mmmm Hmmm.

I know that baseball gets all the pub on this PED story, but I'm waiting for the big reveal on the NFL. There is no way those unnaturally large, fast, and powerful beasts aren't using something.

Must See TV

The all-Bengazi-hysteria network will be interviewing Hillary Clinton this week. Greta Van Sustern gets the honors. (She's the only one on the network that didn't think Hillary was faking her concussion). And the same network will be interviewing Colin Powell just weeks after the entire network ripped him a new one for criticizing Republican racism. Bill O'Reilly gets the honors there. Of course, that Powell interview will be taped, which means it can be edited any way Mr. O'Reilly would like to edit it. Buckle up, General.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune
Today is the warmest Jan. 29 in Chicago's recorded weather history. The record fell before sunrise

@Skilling the Blizzard of '67 occrd 2 days after mid 60s which produced powerful t-storms & even funnels.

Topps Company ‏@toppscards
Something is in the air.....could it be Spring? Could it be baseball? Topps 1 is about to ARRIVE! Bring it on! Rip a pack Baseball is back!

Phil Rogers ‏@ChiTribRogers
Luis Valbuena remains a hitting fool. His .345 average leads Venezuela playoffs. His Lara team on verge of reaching Caribbean World Series.

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
There is a long list of alleged PED clients detailed in this article. …

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller
In a new survey, 17% of men have watched porno at the office. The other 83% couldn't answer the survey b/c they were watching porno.

HowardKurtz ‏@HowardKurtz
This reeks: CBS continues to block CNET from committing journalism

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Send this story to the chronically late person in your life

Joe Scarborough ‏@JoeNBC
Memo to Washington: You can be responsible facing down America's long term debt crisis without slashing short term spending #WalkAndChewGum

Tina ‏@TinaMav
I finally figured out what I want to be when I get older.... Younger.

Royal Pranksters Canned

From Tom Taylor's NOW newsletter this morning...

First they were suspended, now they’re terminated – and Mel Greig and Michael Christian must be feeling a draft, from the lack of support from management at Sydney’s 2Day FM. They never thought their phone call would be put through to the London hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated. They did the two-minute bit, clumsily posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. Then comes the key part here – they waited to see if it would air. Michael Christian told an Australian TV show “We don’t get to make those decisions. That’s done by other people…our role is just to record and get the audio and to wait to be told whether it’s OK or not OK and act upon what we are told.” It was management at Sydney’s 2Day FM that cleared the bit, which was followed by the suicide of a hospital nurse.

I know they were encouraged to do bits like this, but you really can't argue with the decision to fire them. Of course, management could/should be fired too.

Nerds Only Please

This is encouraging news. The Cubs have placed a want ad at Baseball Prospectus. They're looking for a director of research and development.

It appears they are really going to be taking this saber-metrics approach seriously.

Why not? All previous approaches obviously haven't worked. I say--Go for it.

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing has been posted. I call it "Mr. Responsible" and it's about changing my image in the eyes of my mom and my sister.

You can read it here.

Monday, January 28, 2013


40 years ago today, we lost an icon. From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's almanac...

January 28, 1973…Actor (Hogan's Heroes, The Chicago Teddy Bears, 36 Hours, Once Upon a Honeymoon, The Fallen Sparrow, Hitler, The Young Lions, The Interns, The Prize, The Story of Ruth, Operation Eichmann, The Yellow Canary, The Blue Angel, The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz, Bedtime Story, Never Say Goodbye, The Juggler, Guilty of Treason, The Fallen Sparrow) John Banner died of an abdominal aneurysm at age 63.

I loved Hogan Heroes when I was boy--absolutely loved it. And every time my dad walked into the room when I was watching it he would get mad at me.

"How can you watch this nonsense? They make the Germans look so stupid!"

To which I always replied: "I thought you said that Germans and Nazis were not the same thing."


He was right. The Germans are very stupid in this show. That's what makes it so funny.

Sarah Palin

You might have heard that Sarah Palin has left Fox News, but there have been some conflicting reports about why. I've read that she wanted to escape the "lamestream media" and that Fox wanted to get rid of her. The truth is probably closer to the second one. According to Howard Kurtz at the Daily Beast, Fox News just gave her a lowball offer in the hopes that she would say no. Even the Fox News crowd has gotten tired of her act.

Her incredibly deep and insighful commentary will be missed.

Stephen King

Stephen King's latest written piece isn't a novel. It's an essay about guns, and what can be done about gun violence. You can get it for only 99 cents on your kindle.

Details are here.

The Radio Bad Boy Trial

If you haven't been following this trial, you're missing one of the weirdest soap operas of all time. It's taking place in Tampa--Bubba the Love Sponge versus Todd "MJ" Schnitt. The latest twist involves one of the men sending a woman to woo the other man's lawyer--and buy him a few drinks--and then send the cops after him for DUI (allegedly).

The full details are here.

Watch the Watches

I personally don't wear a watch because I have some sort of a magnetic issue in my wrist that kills them (not kidding), but I do admire them.

I stumbled onto this blog written by an old college buddy of mine, Marc Vernon (who is also a weekend jock at the Drive, 97.1FM) called "Watch Reviews by MCV". If you like watches, you should definitely check it out.

The Music Disc Jockey

A former radio colleague of mine sent me this article that was posted at, with the subject line: "Well, Duh..."

It is obvious that music radio has changed over the years -- some of the changes have been for the better, but some have actually been for the worse.

A growing number of industry observers and participants alike believe that the ongoing disappearance of the “personality element” in music radio - once considered a means of avoiding tune-outs -- has actually dangerously disarmed over-the-air audio and thus disadvantaged the medium from being able to compete effectively against its growing army of new media competitors.

As RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison puts it, “By assuming that any verbal component of the musical presentation in radio is an automatic ‘interruption,’ programmers are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

In this new PPM world, PDs are so fixated on eliminating what they perceive to be the ‘tune out’ factor that they have taken their attention away from their primary task - and that is to create compelling ‘tune-in’ factors. It is a huge mistake that sells the potential of this art form short to think that music alone - no matter how popular - can cut it.”

Radio-Info is doing a five part series this week about music disc jockeys, if you're interested. I know I have a bunch of them that read this blog.

Aw Shucks

The website Chicagoland Radio and Media posted an unbelievably nice write up about me and my new writing gig at the Illinois Entertainer.

I'm not used to people being so nice to me. How is one supposed to react to that? I sent a note saying thank you.