Friday, February 22, 2013

National Margarita Day

Today is National Margarita Day (really), and the New York Daily News has some awesome recipes to help you celebrate. I'm going to wait until 5pm. Or maybe 4. But definitely no earlier than 4...or 3:30. Hell, what time is it now? It's afternoon, right?

I've got to work on that impulse control.

Love is Blue

I always think of 1968 as a volatile year, filled with war protests, hippies, assassinations and cutting edge Rock and Roll. Well, 1968 had another side too. For instance, this incredibly lame song "Love is Blue" was the #1 song in the country for FIVE WEEKS, exactly 45 years ago.

Looking for a Gift Idea?

I'm turning 50 this summer (July 28), and I'm sure you've been thinking about what to get for me. I don't want to be a copycat, but this 50th birthday present (to a fellow executive producer) is probably on the right track. (From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac)

February 22, 2003…Near San Diego, Paul McCartney entertained at a private show for the 50th birthday of Wendy Whitworth, the executive producer of "The Larry King Show" on CNN. Sir Paul donated his $1 million fee to the Adopt-a-Minefield charity.

It's just one idea. I'm sure I'll come up with a few more before July.

Chicago History Through Postcards

The WTTW website has about fifteen of these, and a story about them. This one is my favorite...(click on the photo to enlarge it)

Today's Best Tweets

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

Jesse Rogers ‏@ESPNChiCubs
Interesting (sort of) two players (garza/stewart) who rehabbed all winter hurt themselves early in one thing hurt another?

Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat
@LenKasper is in camp. WGN Radio will broadcast #Cubs Cactus League opener Sat, with Len subbing for Pat Hughes

The Onion ‏@TheOnion
"Danica is living proof that there is no obstacle a good-looking woman cannot overcome."

Gilbert Gottfried ‏@RealGilbert
What do you call money made in the Pickle Industry? Dill Dough. I apologize to anyone shoving a Gherkin in their mouth.

Feds To Sue Lance...

Lucas Wittmann ‏@bookbeast
"You can wear a bikini on the bus and have purple hair, and no one will take much notice." Deborah Levy on London:

Funny Or Die ‏@funnyordie
#ff RT @hayeslady: Having another one of those days where I just want to rent out a department store and act out scenes from Mannequin.

RainnWilson ‏@rainnwilson
I was the last person on the cover of "Readers Digest" before it went bankrupt. My face does that.

msnbc ‏@msnbc
Aaron Burr + Alexander Hamilton dueled with pistols. @PressSec + @Brendan_Buck prefer 140-character barbs.

CBS Chicago ‏@cbschicago
It happened again: Chicago made Forbes' 10 Most MIserable Cities in America list ...

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Porn Stars

This is a really interesting article in the Huffington Post.

To me, the most interesting aspect of it has nothing to do with all the facts and figures about typical porn star names, birthplaces, etc.

It's the fact that someone "researched" this for many years. I can hear him explaining this to his wife..."Honey, it's research. I swear!"

The Oscars

The Academy Awards are on this weekend, and I probably won't be watching them for the first time in a very long time.

I'll be in a recording studio with John Landecker going over our audio for the upcoming "Records Truly Is My Middle Name: The Soundtrack". Does it count that some of that audio involves former Oscar winners and nominees like John Travolta, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Brooks, Mary Tyler Moore, and Tom Hanks, among others?

I'll have to DVR the show. I can't wait to see how much Seth McFarlane skewers the stars.

By the way, I put a Facebook page up for "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" yesterday, and there were 350 likes in less than 24 hours. I have a feeling we may be on to something here.

Husband & Wife

How accepted is gay marriage these days? The AP has officially updated their usage guidelines. They will now be using the terms "husband" and "wife" even for same-sex couples.

Remember in 2004 when gay marriage was used as a wedge issue to bring anti-gay voters to the polls? It really is amazing how far this country has come in such a short time. I give credit to the young people, who rightly see this as a civil rights issue. Their generation really is the first American generation brought up to be tolerant, and in a melting pot like America, we'll be reaping the benefits of that for years to come.

How Bad Is It for NBC?

In the latest ratings NBC is now in 5th place...behind Univision.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Records Truly Is My Middle Name

The first excerpt of the upcoming John Landecker book "Records Truly is My Middle Name" is in the current issue of Shore Magazine. This little excerpt explains the origin of "Boogie Check".

Just a small taste of what I just know you'll think is a fascinating book.

The book also has it's own Facebook page

Today's Best Tweets

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

dailyherald ‏@dailyherald
Mount Prospect OKs larger beers, cocktails at movie theater

Fred Winston ‏@FredWinston
Morning from Chicago. Salt trucks ready to pepper the landscape. Big snow on the way. Enjoy your day.

If you were a member of the Academy, who would get your vote for best actor? Use #MyOscarGoesTo

Chuck Todd ‏@chucktodd
I get marketing, but did every single plot line on every ABC show have to be Oscar related? Annoying and cheapening to show.

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire
As Deep Throat said, follow the elk heads

Big John & Amy ‏@BigJohnandAmy
Here is @LynnSweet's photo of the deer head hanging in Jesse Jackson Jr's Congressional office$4VEjC5ClcH8bEfls$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYs42$b0IWbWrslSluLkSILzWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_CryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg …

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS
Most impt finding in new Pew poll: On every major issue, GOP position is held by 1/3 or fewer Americans:

Susan Page ‏@SusanPage
Paging @MarcoRubio: Hispanics prefer Obama over GOP on immigration by 5-1: From the 1st USA TODAY/@PewResearch Poll

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum
Honest to God, sometimes I think my party gets its ideas of strategy from the Japanese war cabinets of 1939-41.

Chicago Tribune ‏@chicagotribune
Chicago sushi, other fish mislabeled one third of the time: fish fraud study

Which Team Won the Winter?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the most improved baseball team since last year is the Blue Jays.

#2 is the Cubs.

That's good news. They predict the Cubs will win eight games more than last year. Of course, the bad news is that they'll still be twenty games under .500, but you take what you can get when you're a Cubs fan.

The Boston Globe

Got a few hundred million lying around? The Boston Globe is for sale.

Don't ask about their debt, or the trajectory of their revenue. I'm sure it's fine.


This weekend is Green White Soccer Club's annual fundraiser, The Schlachtfest. Every year we gather to eat our famous sausages and have a few beverages. A few years ago I became part of the official sausage making crew. Tonight's our big "sausage making" night.

Honestly, it's a fun time. I'm looking forward to it.

You know how they say you don't want to see sausage being made? That's not true if you do it right. We use all natural ingredients--high quality cuts of pork, special spices (Hungarian Paprika is key), and garlic. I don't want to brag...but this is the best sausage in the world. (Tickets are still available if you want to go...let me know)

The Arthur Godfrey PSA

Arthur Godfrey is more or less forgotten these days, but it's hard to overstate how incredibly popular he was in the 1940s and 1950s. He was so popular, in fact, that President Eisenhower asked him to record a PSA alerting the country that we had just been attacked by the Soviets. Eisenhower figured only Godfrey could calm the country in such a horrible situation.

That PSA obviously never aired...but now a radio historian is trying to locate the audio. The full story is here. Nobody knows for sure where it is. If you know, there's a "contact us" link at the website.

A Fine Mess

The new issue of Shore Magazine is out, and my "A Fine Mess" column is my one and only Mike Royko story.

You can read it here.

White House Correspondent's Dinner

It's always a prestigious gig to be chosen to host the White House Correspondent's Dinner.

This year's choice is below...(the one on the right)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

35 years of Dahl

Robert Feder spoke to Steve Dahl on the 35th anniversary of his arrival in Chicago.

You can read it here.

Hey Joe

The BBC has apologized for playing "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix after their report about Oscar Pistorius. Why?

Listen to the lyrics. This is a big whoopsie daisy.

10 Years Ago Today

I remember hearing about this as we were preparing the John Landecker show on WJMK. A terrible, terrible story. I had a few good friends in Providence at the time who had worked in radio--and thankfully neither of them were at this show. I hadn't kept up with what happened to the perpetrators, but Bob Dearborn has all of that information in The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac this morning...

February 20, 2003…The fourth-deadliest fire in U.S. history killed 100 people and injured 230 at The Station, a rock 'n' roll nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Ty Longley, guitarist for headliners Great White, was one of the victims. The fire started with sparks from a pyrotechnic display which ignited flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. The display was a gimmick used by Great White and in this case was set off by their road manager, Daniel Biechele. He and the two owners of the nightclub were charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter, two per death. The owners, Jeffrey A. and Michael A. Derderian, were also fined $1.07 million for failing to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees.

In May 2006 after pleading guilty, Biechele was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with four to serve and 11 years suspended, plus three years probation. Biechele was released from prison on March 19, 2008.

After changing their pleas from "not guilty" to "no contest," thereby avoiding a trial, Michael Derderian received 15 years in prison, with four to serve and 11 years suspended, plus three years probation, and Jeffrey Derderian received a 10-year suspended sentence, three years probation, and 500 hours of community service. Michael Derderian was released from prison in June 2009, receiving time off for good behavior.

Today's Best Tweets

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

ABC Entertainment ‏@ABCNewsEnt
Full Story: Robin Roberts Returns to "Good Morning America"

Robin Baumgarten ‏@WGNRobin
It's the video that made @lashpot say he wanted to "strap on a saddle and ride to cutietown." #yikes

Ben Olson ‏@radiobenolson
Was "alcohol a factor"? LOL... RT @RobHart1980: Beer truck rolls over I-80 at I-57. Coors Light spilled all over the road.

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
Overturned Coors Light truck on I-80. Police on the scene wishing it was a Dunkin' Donuts truck.

Eric Alper ‏@ThatEricAlper
"The duty of youth is to challenge corruption." - Kurt Cobain, born on this day in 1967.

davidfrum ‏@davidfrum
Sequester fight is 3d battle in a row joined by GOP - after Bush tax cut & debt ceiling - lacking any plan for success. This won't end well.

Elizabeth Rago ‏@bethrago
"Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!" — Ingrid Bergman

McMurray, Pete ‏@PeteMcMurray
1950's test that urges Husbands NOT to be 'Sissies' (article)

Steve Bertrand ‏@SteveBertrand
Classic albums as classic book covers. This is cool.

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom
The Cubs say they will update the music at games this season, so, oh boy, get ready for Castro Gangnam Style.

101 Worst Pick Up Lines

You can read the full list here.

Here are a few of my favorites...

4. Are you a parking ticket? (What?) You’ve got fine written all over you.

88. I was so enchanted by your beauty that I ran into the wall over there. So I am going to need your name and number for insurance purposes.

101. Do you have any raisins? No? How about a date?

Bad Advice For Girls

I thought this post had some good points about the terrible, terrible advice given to girls in magazines and books.

When I go to the supermarket and see the headlines on the cover of women's magazines, I just shake my head. Most of them offer ways to turn on your man. Look, ladies, I don't want to give away too much here, but you're really overthinking this. If you're having trouble in this area, you are almost certainly with a gay man or a blind man. Even a man having "problems" has the strength to drag side-by-side bathtubs to the top of a mountain, and take a little pill.

If your man is not interested, get him to an eye doctor. If his vision is 20/20, set him up with your hairdresser and look for another man.

Problem solved.

Jimmy Kimmel

The Washington Post has a nice piece this morning about the pressure on Jimmy Kimmel to top last year's post-Oscar show.

Last year he had Oprah. This year he's got Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, and “Good Morning America’s” newly-back-after-bone-marrow-transplant host Robin Roberts.

Last year he had a critically aclaimed bit called "Movie: The Movie", which garned something like 20 million views on You Tube. This year he'll feature "Movie: The Twovie"

David Stern on BlogTalkRadio

The host is Cyrus Webb...

Listen to internet radio with Breakfast With Books on Blog Talk Radio

A Cold War Emergency Broadcast Bunker

All of my buddies in the radio business will love this story done by NPR.

It's about an emergency broadcast bunker built in Charlotte by WBT during the Cold War. It remains frozen in time--untouched--with perfectly functioning 1963 equipment. (photo courtesy of WBT Chief Engineer Jerry Dowd)

A Rare Q&A

The chairman of the F.C.C., Julius Genachowski, doesn't often do interviews or take questions. But at this year's NAB Show in Vegas, he is slated to do a Q&A session with the broadcasters on hand.

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith, someone who has been quite critical of Genachowski, says: "This session is sure to be informative for radio and TV broadcasters and an excellent opportunity to learn about the regulatory issues shaping our industry."

Should be interesting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Balding Denial

6 Signs You're In Balding Denial by the author of The Balding Handbook, David Stern.

The Dead

Exactly 40 years ago tonight, the Grateful Dead played a gig at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago. Anyone up for a 7 minute (plus) version of "China Doll"?

Drop out and drop in, man.

Burger King Hacked

You know I'm not a fan of hackers, but once again, they've done some hacking with flair.

They hacked Burger King's Twitter account and made it look like McDonald's.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
Braves to retire Chipper's number and induct him into their Hall of Fame

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost
Seth MacFarlane's Oscar prep

phil_rosenthal ‏@phil_rosenthal
Shouldn't parents wakened from a dead sleep be scarier than any "nightmare" their kids have had?

Confirms: Michael Jackson Plotted to End Brother Jermaine's Career...

Catherine Johns ‏@catherinejjohns
My bank killed my #Buick! Car crapped out - Buick says bank's security cam frequency interfered w/ keyless ignition. True?

NBC News ‏@NBCNews
Ding-dong, Hotmail's dead: All accounts switching to by summer @NBCNewsTech

The Associated Press ‏@AP
8 masked gunmen drive onto tarmac of Brussels airport and steal diamonds from plane's hold: - VW

Peter Gammons ‏@pgammo
One veteran pitcher says the ban on fake-1st-3d will result in a run of pickoff attempts on runners on 3d by RHPs. Thinks they'll work early

Tommy Edwards ‏@LilTommyEdwards Protected account
A cold windy snowy Chicago morning. Reminds me of opening scenes of #HillStreetBlues. #greatTV

Adam Franklin ‏@radstarr
AWESOME! A Beer-Dispensing Arcade Game @Paste @BeterThanAliens @Triple3Fast …

The Longest Daycare

This one is nominated for an Oscar (best short)...

The Cubs on WGN

There was a lot of speculation in the papers yesterday that the Cubs would be leaving WGN television after the 2014 season. I wouldn't be surprised at all if that happens. I also thought their relationship with WGN might be in trouble, but according to Inside Radio today, that's not the case...

Cubs to stay put on WGN radio. The Chicago Cubs may part ways with Tribune’s WGN-TV next year, ending a relationship that began in 1948. Team chairman Tom Ricketts has opened the door to parting ways with its longtime hometown partner and former sister division. Regardless of what happens on TV, the Cubs will remain on news-talk “Radio 720” WGN for the foreseeable future.

Micah Owings

If you're a baseball geek like me, you might remember the name Micah Owings. He was a big league pitcher for a few years before he had arm trouble. He was also known as being a very good hitting pitcher.

Well, now that his pitching career is over, he's trying to make it as a position player. Don't laugh, it's been done before. Rick Ankiel of the Cardinals did it just a few years ago.

Chicago Radio Ratings

I used to follow this much more closely. For instance, I didn't realize that WVAZ was now the #1 station in town. More ratings info courtesy of Tom Taylor's NOW...

"Chicago – WLIT, the Clear Channel all-yule AC station, plummeted more than usual once the regular playlist returned. It gave up the 10.0 holiday book number for a 3.2. That compares to a 4.0 in the January book of a year ago. All the Christmas hoo-ha didn’t affect stations like #1 urban AC V103, Clear Channel’s WVAZ (6.1-6.2) or CBS Radio’s all-news WBBM (5.0-4.9, on both AM and FM). But Hubbard must have been counting the days until December 26 – its hot AC “Mix” WTMX rebounded, 3.9-4.8. For CBS Radio’s all-sports “Score” WSCR (2.8-2.9-3.4) it’s an all-time PPM high."

9 Job Titles Changing The Face of Media Business

This is the list...

Head of Data
Head of Analytics
Head of User Experience
Chief Content Officer
Chief Revenue Officer
Head of Premium Information
Head of Social Media
Head of Subscriptions
Chief Marketing Officer

Here's the article to explain what in the world those jobs do.

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column has been posted at

I call it "Talent Show".

Monday, February 18, 2013

Down Under

This was the #1 song in America thirty years ago today. I played it many times on WPGU in Champaign. It was the first time I'd ever heard of a vegemite sandwich.

The Maker's Mark Controversy

If you're a fan of Maker's Mark (as I am), you'll be interested in the controversy about the proposed changes to this delightful Bourbon.

If you're not a fan, never mind. There are probably more important stories in the news.

Today's Best Tweets

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

NY Daily News Photos ‏@NYDNPhotos
Happy Presidents' Day - Hail to the actors who've played (& mocked) the role of commander in chief

Michael Ian Black ‏@michaelianblack
Do ALL Presidents count today? Even Gerald Ford?

James Finn Garner ‏@jamesfinngarner
With all CPS students in school today, Presidents Day may soon become a completely meaningless event to them, like it is for the rest of us.

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM
Star of GOP campaign ad that went viral in 2010 is being charged with shoplifting beer:

Amy Guth ‏@amyguth
Woman bites off part of man's tongue during Valentine's Day quarrel: prosecutors

Mike Bresnahan ‏@Mike_Bresnahan
Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away this morning. A sad day for L.A.

ColonelTribune ‏@ColonelTribune
Country singer Mindy McCready dead of apparent suicide at 37.

New York Daily News ‏@nydailynews
LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood react to Mindy McCready's apparent suicide

POLITICO ‏@politico
PAC backing Marco Rubio has sold upwards of 4,000 water bottles, raking in more than $100,000

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger
They sent it by mail RT @After 148 years, Mississippi finally ratifies 13th Amendment to abolish slavery 

President's Day

Radio & the Presidency

On this President's Day, a brief history lesson of radio's role in the presidency, courtesy of Tom Taylor's NOW...

"Radio and “Silent Cal,” President Coolidge, intersected in radio’s earliest days. Coolidge’s election as vice president was almost incidental to the big news about the November 2, 1920 election of President Warren G. Harding, broadcast by 8XK Pittsburgh. Like most VPs in those days, Coolidge was an afterthought to the top of the ticket. But the thousand or so people who had radio sets that evening heard a broadcast from what 8XK successor KDKA calls “a tiny, makeshift shack atop one of the Westinghouse Electric buildings in East Pittsburgh.” Amazingly, you can hear the results of the first president election carried on U.S. radio on the KDKA site here. Coolidge made history in a more prominent way in 1923, when President Warren G. Harding died and Veep “Silent Cal,” known for being taciturn, delivered the first inaugural speech heard on the radio. At the time, Coolidge was a stranger to virtually the entire population, and the familiarity he built on radio probably helped him win election on his own, in 1924. The U.S. President most closely linked to radio is probably FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His “Fireside Chats” during the Great Depression, beginning in 1933, helped calm the nation. (His “Nothing to fear but fear itself” line, still one of the most famous presidential sayings, came in his 1933 first inaugural, not a fireside chat.) FDR had seen the value of radio earlier, when he appeared on Albany-market WGY as governor of New York State. In the current movie “Hyde Park on Hudson” starring Bill Murray, you can see the network radio engineers setting up for a “fireside chat” from FDR’s country home."

You Had One Job

A site that accumulates photos of screw-ups. They call it "You Had One Job"

Warning: It's a rabbit hole.

Fun with pregnancy photos

There are dozens of them at this link. This is only one example.

Tony Sheridan

According to Beatles legend, manager Brian Epstein discovered the Beatles because a Liverpool teenager came into his record shop looking for the Beatles record "My Bonnie". While researching this local band he stumbled into the Cavern Club and was immediatly smitten by the Beatles. He signed the band to a management contract, and under Epstein's tutelage, the Beatles became a worldwide sensation.

Ironically, that song he was looking for wasn't even technically a Beatles record. The Beatles were only the backup band on "My Bonnie". The lead singer was one of the stars of the Hamburg music scene: Tony Sheridan.

Sheridan passed away over the weekend. He was 72 years old.

Harry Caray

The legendary Harry Caray passed away exactly 15 years ago today.

When he died, I wrote the following song for Landecker & Legends: "Hats Off To Harry"