Friday, March 08, 2013

Countdown to "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"


John Landecker and Larry Lujack were long-time colleagues at WLS-AM back in the 1970s and 80s, and their paths crossed far more often than you would expect from a morning man and an evening man. Larry often stayed late working on the next day's show, and Landecker often came in early working on that night's show.

In "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" there are a few memorable stories about Larry and John...

*Sitting in on a Larry Lujack aircheck on Landecker's first day at WLS

*Discovering the depths of Larry's admiration of Elvis.

*The seating arrangements at the post-WLS-basketball game parties

*A Landecker-bashing Animal Stories segment

*Larry's farewell from WLS

Those stories alone are worth price of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". The book is available for pre-order now, and it ships on March 28.

Today's Best Tweets

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

ProPublica ‏@ProPublica
Roughly 12x/day, drs forget surgery supplies inside patients. Their mistake can have fatal consequences: #muckreads

Tom Hanks ‏@tomhanks
NYC parents nightmare. Lost binky on sidewalk !! Hanx.

emily axford ‏@eaxford
using condoms feels like the word prophylactics sounds

Alex Watt ‏@AlexanderWatt
Shamrock Shakes: letting Irish people know they can always feel worse.

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy
I was a dancing gorilla wearing a Blackhawks sweater and a sombrero. And how is your day going?

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock
Red rising! Banged up Blackhawks in mile high tonight to face colorado. step number 25 in the real life novel...

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm
O'Keefe Agrees To Pay $100K To Ex-ACORN Employee … via @ericlach

Dave Wischnowsky ‏@wischlist
Something shady afoot at Illinois with the university refusing to release the results of the #ChieforNothing vote: …

Chicago Cubs ‏@Cubs
These #Cubs fans lined up at #WrigleyField for tickets this morning. You can get yours here:

NBC News ‏@NBCNews
BREAKING: Conclave to elect a new Pope will begin next Tuesday. #NBCPope

Daylight Savings Time

Don't forget: Clocks and watches get moved up an hour this weekend. Say goodbye to that one extra hour of sleep you got in October.

Bloomberg Rips the Media

Michael Bloomberg is disgusted with the current state of the media. Here's the money quote from the New York Times: “The public gets its information from the media, and the media is a shell of what it was before...They used to pay for reporters and editors with experience, and for lawyers, but all that’s gone, because the economy of the news business is so bad; they’re dumbing it down...I don’t see any difference between a newspaper on the Internet and a blog. It confuses everything and takes away the difference. People are getting their news from sitcoms and from movies with a political agenda. They’re even getting information from games!”

And don't forget, Michael Bloomberg owns a media conglomerate himself, so I guess he knows what he's talking about.

The Latest CNN Rumor

Jeff Zucker has been in command at CNN for a few months now and he's been quietly recruited new talent. The latest rumor involves Joy Behar, who stepped down from her position at The View after 16 years.

Not exactly new blood. Joy is 70.

The Weather Channel's New Power

Now that they are naming storms, the Weather Channel has new power. So much power, in fact, that weathermen across the country are worried that it's only a matter of time before their local weather jobs are obsolete.

Full story today in the Daily Beast.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Countdown to "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"

John Landecker, 1965. This is the year he got his first radio job. More info at the Eckhartz Press blog.

Today's Best Tweets

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

James Janega ‏@JamesJanega
LeBron James is a #Blackhawks fan  @KingJames #streaking (Does this mean I have to forgive him for Miami?)

Jimmy Greenfield ‏@jcgreenx
Fact of the day: The #Blackhawks have 18 regulation wins. The #RedWings and #STLBlues have 18 regulation wins combined. Enjoy.

DKnobler ‏@DKnobler
Rafael Furcal to have Tommy John surgery, Cardinals announce

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm
TMI!!!! Rand Paul: I Decided Against Using Catheter During Filibuster … via @davidtaint

Jimmy Baron ‏@jimmybaron
Let me get this straight, I can now bring a knife on an airplane but my kid's container of yogurt will still get confiscated? #TSA @AC360

Lynn Sweet ‏@lynnsweet
BREAKING NEWS: The Senate Judiciary Committee just passed the Durbin/Kirk gun trafficking bill on a 11-7 bipartisan vote.

Joel Sucherman ‏@JSucherman
The car is the only place the entire family gets together now. Radio still incredibly powerful there. - @shingy #ima2013

Tommy Lasorda to light @EmpireStateBldg at 11 am ET to celebrate start of @WBCBaseball play in the U.S.

phil_rosenthal ‏@phil_rosenthal
I'm beginning to think maybe Dennis Rodman isn't Henry Kissinger.

Ezra Klein ‏@ezraklein
This is why Obama’s having dinner with Republicans

The Art of Asking

Amanda Palmer demonstrates the art and power of asking. Totally different and interesting.

30 Years of Bob & Tom

The syndicated morning duo out of Indianapolis is celebrating their 30th anniversary today. The Indianapolis Star has the details.

If you drive around the country, you'll often hear them in smaller markets, but their attempts at breaking into the big time haven't gone quite as well. (Remember when they were on 103.5 FM in Chicago? Yeah, that's what I thought. Most people don't).

You still have to hand it to them. 30 years together on the radio is a heck of an accomplishment.

The Legal ID

This was drummed into me when I was getting into radio: "You must do a top of the hour ID. You must do it legally, exactly correctly, in the right order. It must be between 5 minutes before the hour and five minutes after the hour." There's not a broadcaster alive that doesn't know this. That's why you never hear any stories about radio stations getting in trouble for not following this rule, until now. From Tom Taylor's NOW newsletter...

L.A.’s KBIG missed a station ID – and the FCC caught it. You seldom see a Notice of Violation for a missing top of the hour ID – and you very rarely see that problem in the #2 market. But the Commission says that “On January 23, in response to a complaint, an agent from the Los Angeles office monitored KBIG (104.3)” and found the broadcast “failed to identify the station properly.” So this is a good time to review the Legal ID rule. To wit – “Official station identification shall consist of the station’s call letters followed by the community of license or communities specified in its license as the station’s location.” In the case of highly-rated hot AC KBIG, it has 20 days to explain what happened, when the FCC agent merely heard “104.3” at the top of the hour. This is a Notice of Violation – not a fine (at least not yet). One possibility - KBIG ran its legal ID before or after the top of the hour, while the agent was listening close to :00.

Don't tell me there are no rules. The rules may be a little arcane, but there are rules.

Korea Threatens to Nuke U.S.

Here's the headline: Furious Over Sanctions, North Korea Vows To Nuke U.S.

Rodman! What did you say to these guys?

A Real Filibuster

Rand Paul actually did it yesterday. He filibustered the nomination of CIA chief John Brennan for almost 13 hours. I flipped around the cable news networks last night to see how this was playing, and it was getting universal praise from the left and right, although not necessarily on the substance of the debate.

It was just nice to see someone doing a filibuster the way it was intended to be done.

I still don't understand why they don't change the rules back to make it necessary to do it this way.

Sears & SNL

SNL did a bit a few weeks ago starring Christopher Waltz, the Academy Award winning actor from Quintin Tarantino movies. They called it "DJesus Uncrossed", and it's being protested by Christian groups across the country because they consider it blasphemous. (It feaures Jesus seeking revenge).

Now Sears is in the crosshairs of the AFA (American Family Association), which is demanding they pull their advertising from SNL. You can be sure this controversy will be on the air continuously at Fox News--it fits into their "Christians are persecuted in the United States" narrative.

That's not true of course. If you're a Christian (as I am), ask yourself this question: Have you ever been discrimated against for being a Christian? We all know the answer to that. No. You haven't. This is probably the most religious Christian country in the entire world.

DJesus Uncrossed was just a comedy bit. I have done a comedy bit myself on the Second City stage called "Dean Martin's Jesus Christ Roast" (I was Red Buttons). You may say those bits are a little tasteless, and I agree, but in comedy the only thing that really matters is: Is it funny? That's all comedy writers think about. They are not trying to persecute Christians. You know it, and I know it, and the AFA knows it.

Now, if you're offended, and I can see how you might be, there's nothing wrong with getting upset, or even protesting the sponsors. Just don't tell me this is an example of Christian persecution (I can hear it perculating), because it's not.

RIP Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee, the leader of the band Ten Years After, has passed away at the age of 68. Lee was a great guitarist, as you'll see from this incredible performance at Woodstock. He looks so unassuming and nervous at first, and then launches into something truly amazing...

This is probably his most famous song. It was always one of my favorites...

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Countdown To “Records Truly Is My Middle Name”

John Landecker’s upcoming memoir “Records Truly Is My Middle Name” is more than just a chronicle of one radio personality’s career. It’s a trip through the Baby Boomers collective history.

WERX was one of John’s first radio stations. It was a little daytimer in Wyoming Michigan, and he worked there in college. Landecker tells a few great stories about his time there; the birth of his oldest daughter, his friendship with someone who would go on to become one of the biggest voice over artists in the world, and his 1A status for the draft during the Vietnam War. All of that went on during the tumultuous Summer of Love.

Pre-order your copy of “Records Truly Is My Middle Name” today.

Howard Stern Late-Nights?

I noted yesterday that NBC is floating rumors they're about to get rid of Jay Leno and replace him with Jimmy Fallon.

Now there are rumors that Howard Stern is being groomed to replace Fallon. Of course, those rumors come from Howard himself. And the New York Post.

Decide for yourself if it's true or not.

A Radio Show I Will Never Tune In

Joe Walsh has a radio show.

No, not the Eagles guitarist. He's actually very entertaining on the radio. I've done quite a few shows with him.

I mean the former Tea-Party Congressman. He was hired by WIND-AM 560, and will be on from 7-9pm weekdays. Say a prayer for Steve Cochran who will now have to see him every single day.

Today's Best Tweets

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

USA TODAY Video ‏@usatodayvideo
Whoops! Waitress handed her own ID by suspected thief #dumbcriminals

Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi
Ryan Braun is playing for your national team. You should embrace him -- at least for 2 weeks. My column: @MLBONFOX

HowardKurtz ‏@HowardKurtz
Trifecta: In new book, Roger Ailes calls Obama 'lazy,' Biden 'dumb as an ashtray,' Gingrich a 'prick'

Crain's Chicago ‏@CrainsChicago
Tables turn on 'Grave Dancer' Sam Zell

@WSJ: Breaking: ADP: U.S. private sector added 198,000 jobs in February.

WeatherBug ‏@WeatherBug
Miami gets 6 inches of snow!!! That got your attention... it is actually the Miami in Ohio, not FL. Still not too shabby!! #snow #ohwx

Mary Hartley RD, MPH ‏@MaryHartleyRD
Note to self: Spray the snow shovel with cooking spray to keep #snow from sticking. @RealSimple

Cheryl Donnelly ‏@Scotzwife
This morning's entertainment is watching the kid across the street haphazardly shovel his driveway. #snow

Sean D. McCarthy ‏@McSean3
One of those days when you can tell who has a garage. #snow

DaddyBriefs ‏@daddybriefs
While everyone is waiting for it to #snow, I turned on my Air Conditioner last night cause #AZ is warming up already.

Valerie Harper

This is sad news. Valerie Harper announced she has terminal brain cancer. Doctors are telling her she only has three months to live.

I've met Valerie several times over the years. In person she's about as friendly and down to earth as any celebrity I've met. There's even a story about her in the upcoming "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". She helped us carry out a practical joke against her good buddy Mary Tyler Moore.

My prayers are with her. Brain cancer is a nasty, nasty disease. I've seen it too many times.

Jon Stewart is Taking the Summer Off

Jon Stewart is taking the summer off to direct a film, and his main "correspondent" John Oliver will be taking his place.

That's the longest time Stewart has been away from the show since he began in the late 90s. The film he's directing, by the way, is also written by him. And it's not a comedy. Details in the Washington Post link above.

Snow Grillin'

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

As the Midwest was getting bombarded with a mountain of snow yesterday, one hearty radio exec walked outside, looked skyward, laughed -- and fired up the grill. We're talking about our new favorite GM Scott Kosak, who runs NextMedia Classic Hits WERV (95.9 The River) in the beautiful Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL...Kosak looks at inclement weather as just another excuse to barbeque -- instead of closing up shop, he heads outside and cooks burgers and brats for the entire staff! "Being a suburban station, we're blessed with enough space to stretch out a little bit," Kosak tells RAMP. "The kettle grill is always parked alongside the garage and we keep a stock of charcoal and lighter fluid on hand, just in case."

I grilled last night too. Made some chicken enchiladas. What's nine or ten inches of snow to us hearty Midwesteners?

Trickle Down

The Occupy Wall Street people might have been unwashed hippies, but they also had a point about income inequality. It's actually worse than they portrayed it, as this video shows in graph form. The friend who sent me this is a Republican, and former believer in trickle-down economics...

Cars Without Radios

This is the sort of story that will send a chill up the spine of everyone working in radio. From today's Radio Ink...

"AUTO DEALERS ARE DEVELOPING VEHICLES WITHOUT AM/FM. That's what representatives from the automotive industry said during a panel at Convergence yesterday. They wouldn't say who and they couldn't predict when. However, everyone was confident that it will happen in our lifetimes. The point they were making was that everything is moving to IP, and radio had better get with the program. General Motors Managing Director/ Advanced Technology Office, Silicon Valley Dr. Frankie James said consumers want what they get from their smartphone. And her research shows the next generation is not listening to the radio."

Of course anyone who lives with the "next generation" already knows this, but for some reason the radio industry hasn't come to grips with it. There's no way to ignore it anymore when they start making cars without radios.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Father Knows Nothing

This week's Father Knows Nothing column at is called "Blade Runner Story Problems"

You can read it here.

Carly Rae Jepsen, Nine Inch Nails Mash-Up 'Call Me a Hole'

Inspired weirdness...

Today's Best Tweets

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

ABC 7 Chicago ‏@ABC7Chicago
More than 1,000 flights canceled at #Ohare, #Midway airports in #Chicago. Check #flightstatus at #SnowStorm

Eddie Volkman ‏@EddieVolkman
Perez hilton is confused. He had a baby because he believes the children are our fuchsia.

Carly Carlamity ‏@carlyken
What if at the end of Breaking Bad they drop Bryan Cranston into witness protection and that's the beginning of Malcolm In The Middle?

Tim Kurkjian ‏@Kurkjian_ESPN
Stephen Strasburg is still angry about how last year ended for him and his team. Being angry is good if you can channel it. He can.

Colin Faulkner ‏@ColinFaulkner
Here's a picture of one of the cards we created w @toppscards and are sending to @Cubs Season Ticket Holders.

ThinkProgress ‏@thinkprogress
Top Republican isn't worried about food inspection cuts because there will always be at least one inspector working

Gina Pace ‏@ginamariepace
Celebrity chef Rick Bayless to create craft beer:

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes
As a diplomat, Dennis Rodman is "a great basketball player," John Kerry says

Royalist ‏@royalist
Hey! Stop Looking At Kate Middleton's Boobs! via @thedailybeast

Lizz Winstead ‏@lizzwinstead
Is The College of Cardinals in the same division as The University of Phoenix?

The Cubs

This is a pretty darn good spot for the young Cubs...

Crazy Buzzer Beater

This is the wildest finish I've ever seen in a basketball game.

Click on the link above to watch it at Deadspin.

Good News, Bad News

The bad news is that my boys are home from school today because of the big snow storm. The good news is that they are now old enough to shovel.

Get out there, boys. Daddy's comfy on the recliner.

Cubs 365, March 5

Just as a reminder, the JOBC Blog is still providing Cubs stories every day. Today's example is below...

On this day in 1982, famous Cubs fan John Belushi died at the way too young age of 33. His career was peppered with references to his favorite baseball team. On Saturday Night Live, he flipped "Cheesborgers" in a place eerily similar to the place that allegedly brought us our World Series curse...the Billy Goat Tavern.

Even more famously, in the classic film "The Blues Brothers," Jake and Elwood say that their address is 1060 West Addison Street. When the band of moronic Nazis turn up at the brothers’ official address, they are none to pleased to discover what is really there...Wrigley Field.

Just a few months before John died in 1982, the Tribune bought the Cubs. John called them "the fascist paper from Chicago." A few months later, Harry Caray was named to replace the retiring Jack Brickhouse in the broadcast booth. Sporting News writer Bill Conlin wrote: "Harry Caray taking over for Brickhouse will have about the same shock value as John Belushi taking over the network news."

John Belushi never heard Harry broadcast a single Cubs game. When he died on March 5, 1982, spring training had just begun. In John Belushi's lifetime the Cubs never appeared in the playoffs a single time.

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Great Flydini

Still funny more than twenty years later...

Slut-gate one year later

One year ago today Rush Limbaugh made his famous comment about Sandra Fluke being a slut because she wanted birth control. How has that affected Rush one year later? Tom Taylor's NOW column called a few radio executives and got this answer... “the new advertiser base of shows like Rush Limbaugh won’t be swayed by the social media badgering of MediaMatters. They know they can get results advertising on shows like Rush. But some of the big advertiser names that left haven’t come back.”

The Evolution of Mom Dancing

Another great bit by Jimmy Fallon. This time with guest star Michelle Obama.

Pushing Jay Out...Again

Looks like Jay Leno is being pushed out again, if this Hollywood Reporter story is true.

I'm not a huge Leno fan (when you read the Landecker book you'll understand why), but I do think the way NBC has treated him over the past few years is pretty shameful. He's still #1, isn't he? Yes. Yes he is. How about a little respect?

Rodman in North Korea

This whole "Dennis Rodman in North Korea" story got a lot of play in the press this weekend. Not surprisingly, a television show was behind the stunt. It's a show called "Vice" that will be airing on HBO.

As stunts go, this is a pretty good one.

What is Yahoo!

They used to call themselves "a premier digital media company."

That's no longer their mantra. The new branding? "A global technology company focused on making the world's daily habits inspiring and entertaining."

Full details are here.

Harry Teinowitz

I was sorry to see this news when I got back from a little weekend vacation out of town. Harry Teinowitz, one third of the afternoon saloon program on ESPN radio, was let go by the station at the end of last week. Robert Feder has the details.

I always liked Harry, and hope he resurfaces soon.

I've interviewed him several times over the years, including this one at Chicago Radio Spotlight.