Friday, March 22, 2013

50 Years Ago Today...

...The Beatles released their first album in the U.K. They called it "Please Please Me". The lads drifted off into obscurity after that, never to be heard from again.

I'm Starting to Really Like this New Pope

Unlike the last Pope, this one really seems to be a man of the people. I heard lots of stories about his humility over the past weeks, but I think this is my all-time favorite one.

The other day he called Argentina to cancel his own newspaper delivery.

I love that!

Change Coming at the F.C.C.

Two of the F.C.C. commissioners are leaving. Two days ago Republican Commissioner McDowell announced he was a goner. Today it will be the Chairman Julius Genachowski. Details in Tom Taylor's column this morning...

"Genachowski’s replacement could be Tom Wheeler, while House and Senate Republican leaders will make their own recommendation to the White House. But getting them to agree on a single candidate could take a while, and during that period, you can forget about action on the media ownership proceeding and other major issues. That will all wait for the next Chair. How long will it take to re-stock the 8th Floor? Obama will want to move his choice as Chairman and the Republican nominee together as a package, through Senate confirmation. We could be looking at this Fall, if not later. The prediction here is that for the first time, we’ll have a female interim Chair, probably Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. She may have the gavel in her hands for many months."

Clyburn has one of the greatest first names in government history (Mignon). I will not be happy unless we get another commissioner named either Cutlet or Bouillabaisse.

RIP Herbert Streicher

Don't recognize that name?

You may have known him by his stage name: Harry Reems.

The star of Deep Throat is dead at the age of 65.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It looks even better in print

This could be a collector's item--a hard copy of Time Out Chicago. (Click on the photo to enlarge it)

Still blown away by the incredible review Robert Feder wrote about the book...

A bigger better flier

They keep sending me this stuff, so I feel it's only friendly to keep posting 'em...

Behind the Scenes with John Landecker and Rick Kogan at the Chicago Tribune

This was our first time visiting the internet hub of the Chicago Tribune, their webcasting headquarters. The television studio is right in the middle of the newsroom. (Those are real life Tribune reporters doing their job in the background). By the way, if you’ve ever wondered–newsrooms are not at all like they appear in the movies. They aren’t loud and boisterous–this one was as quiet as a library. I felt like I should have been whispering.

We were lucky enough to have John interviewed by another Chicago legend, Tribune reporter and feature columnist Rick Kogan. Rick and John got along great on the air today. Kogan also interviewed us for his upcoming Sunday column in the Tribune, “Sidewalks”. A Tribune photographer was on hand taking pictures of John and me. Look for those photos in this weekend’s newspaper.

John will be back on the air with Rick Kogan on his radio show (NPR–WBEZ) next week. Details in the Eckhartz Press calendar.

More photos at the Eckhartz Press blog.

The NBC Sports Radio Lineup

They may have only one station signed up to broadcast them, but the NBC Sports Radio lineup has been set. They launch in September.

I'm not going to judge the quality of the broacasters because I've never heard of them. That doesn't mean they aren't good. In fact, I think it's refreshing that they're giving somebody else a chance.

The only red flag I see is the afternoon show (my producing instincts are sounding a WARNING alarm). The show features two ex-quarterbacks (Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone). It's been my experience that one athlete may be able to handle the gig with the right coaching, but two is a step too far. I could be wrong, but I'll be surprised if I am.

It should be interesting to see if anyone else picks up the full 24/7 lineup.

Why does everyone hate Jay Leno?

I've been wondering this over the past few weeks. As rumors have swirled that Jay is being replaced by Jimmy Fallon, I kept thinking to myself: "Why are they doing this? The guy is #1."

Somebody else is wondering the same thing; Richard Rushfield at Buzzfeed. He wrote this today...

Four paragraphs from the bottom of Wednesday's New York Times story on the impending ouster of Jay Leno comes a very telling sentence. After nearly 800 words detailing NBC's suddenly desperate scramble to remove Leno from his Tonight Show perch and replace him with Jimmy Fallon, reporter Bill Carter points out that: "Another complicating factor has been Mr. Leno's continued success in the ratings." Such has been the tragedy of Jay Leno's career; scorned by critics, reviled by all of comedy, plotted against by executives. The host lives a lonely life, unloved by anyone except the viewers.

An excellent point. So I guess my original question in the headline of this post isn't the correct question at all. The real question should be: Why do the viewers like him?

Maybe someone should be investigating that. It would seem more helpful.

Balls of Steel

He oversaw a news outlet (News of the World) that has been proven to be a criminal organization that used bribery, phone hacking, and intimidation to destroy people's lives. An investigation has proven some of these techniques are prevelant at other outlets as well. Now the government is stepping in, appointing a regulator to oversee this out of control British press. What would you expect him to say about that? In a world where there are consequences to the boss, he might say, "Sorry--yes, you're right. We need to get this under control."

Not Rupert Murdoch.

He compared it to George Orwell's Ministry of Truth and ordered his newspapers to start attacking the Conservative British Prime Minister that his newspaper helped elect in the first place.

I'm telling you...the man is Snidely Whiplash.

YouTube Clicks

How many people are checking out YouTube these days?

A billion.

Every month.

John Landecker Book Signing

Thanks so much to Shore Magazine for really getting behind John Landecker's book signing coming on April 7th. This flier is all over their site and included in all of their e-mail newsletters. I like how it's shaped like a bookmark. (click on the image to enlarge it)

We really appreciate it...

Cubs 365

Just as a reminder, the Just One Bad Century blog still cranks out a Cubs story every day. Here is today's entry...

On this day in 1880, Bronco Billy Anderson was born. At the time of the Cubs World Series dynasty, he was a huge movie star. Chicago was also the movie capitol of the world at the time, thanks to Bronco Billy's movie studio, Essanay.

The studio was located on Argyle Street in the Uptown neighborhood. At that time there was still quite a bit of open space to film in that neighborhood, and Essanay preferred to shoot outdoors if possible. They also built an indoor studio at that location.

On the day the studio was opened in 1907, the Cubs were in the midst of a magical season, on their way to their first World Series title. The Cubs built one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history, and Essanay was doing the same on Argyle Street.

Anderson was the talent. He was a former vaudeville actor who became famous playing one of the outlaws in the 1903 mega-hit, "The Great Train Robbery".

Essanay quickly became the studio for westerns and comedy. "Bronco Billy" cranked out one western a week for 376 straight weeks. (A few were shot in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, the rest at Essanay locations in Colorado or California.)

Despite Bronco Billy's success, however, the studio really lived and died with another star that came a few years later, Charlie Chaplin. He created maybe his most famous film of all time, "The Tramp", during his Essanay era. Other Essanay Chaplin titles include "The Champion", "The Bank", and "Shanghaied." But most of Chaplin's Essanay work wasn't filmed in Chicago. The only one he shot here was "His New Job."

Essanay studios was only operating in Chicago for eleven years, but in those years, the Cubs were in the World Series three times, and began playing their games in what is now known as Wrigley Field. It was a critical era in Cubs and Chicago history.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rick Kogan interviews John Records Landecker at the Chicago Tribune

I was very impressed by Rick Kogan's interview. He really is the best...

Father Knows Nothing

My latest Father Knows Nothing has been posted. It's about a hiding place that my boys will never find.

You can read it here.

Today's Best Tweets

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

MLB ‏@MLB 7m
No. 1 Republic: Dominicans become first unbeaten #WBC champs:

Paul Sullivan ‏@PWSullivan 14m
Maybe Crane should ask Tunney to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field again. #HostageResolution

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 16m
Letterman: "GOP report says the party is for old, stuffy white guys. John McCain heard about it and said: 'Get off of my lawn!'"

Paul M. Banks ‏@PaulMBanks 21m
from national champs to first round NIT ouster, Adolph Rupp must be turning over in his grave #ukbb #kentucky

Exavier Pope ‏@exavierpope 23m
Dear Mr. Hawk: We bow to your windy, wintry power. You can let spring weather come now. Signed, #Chicago

Nikki Knepper ‏@queenofcussin 36m
I finally understand why women jokingly say "burn it down and start over." My house is plague central. Dear God will it ever end? F.U. Flu!

NBC News ‏@NBCNews 41m
Mark Sanford advances to GOP runoff in S.C. congressional primary, Elizabeth Colbert Busch wins Democratic vote

Adam McKay ‏@GhostPanther 1h
Today is 10 yrs since US invaded Iraq. If u supported the war u at least owe it to the 1000's of dead to question why u supported.

Adam McKay ‏@GhostPanther 53m
Just lost a few hundred followers for suggesting that the ppl who supported the Iraq war question why they did so. #USA!

Lou Brutus ‏@LouBrutus 1h
If that guy loved his horse so much, why'd he sell it to a beer company in the first place?

A Hivio?

This is from Tom Taylor's NOW column this morning, and I'm not sure why, but it cracked me up...

“I’m sick and tired of radio being sick and tired,” says researcher Mark Ramsey. When Mark’s got a hunch about where things are going, he does a survey, and this one wasn’t pleasant. For the question “Radio brands create unique and compelling content,” 51% of those in a 1,000-person poll said “disagree.” Mark says “radio needs to embrace fresh and exciting consumer-facing ideas” to stay relevant, and that’s why he’s announcing a “Radio Ideas Festival” named “Hivio.” That stands for “a hive of smart people in and around radio.” The one-day in-person event (at “a secret location in San Diego”) is free, though it’s invitation-only, for 25 to 50 people.

I'm betting the secret location is a strip club or a casino.

All Access interviews John Landecker

Landecker on WCL 1

The radio on-line trade publication All Access interviewed John Records Landecker about his book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name."

If you're interested why John wrote the book, what it was like in the 70s working on a station that covered the entire country, why creativity isn't as prevelant in radio today, how he drove thousands of teens to listen to the radio, his first radio gig, the best and worst songs he played, a surprising part of his past, and what advice he would give to young broadcasters, you should read this column.

If you have ten different questions to ask him, you should conduct your own interview.

If you're a media-type, it's possible, you know. Contact Rick Kaempfer at to set something up.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Eckhartz Press Calendar


The Eckhartz Press website now has a calendar feature to keep track of our author's comings and goings. Right now the next few weeks are full of John Records Landecker television and radio appearances, and his first book event.

Here's the direct link to the Eckhartz Press calendar.

Be sure to subscribe to the Eckhartz Press blog for all the latest news and information, including behind the scenes photos of John Records Landecker making his media rounds.

Don Wade Health Update

I was very happy to read this and look at the pictures of Don Wade on the WLS website, apparently doing well after chemotherapy.

Here's hoping his recovery continues to go well. Chicago is rooting for him.

Chain Bookstores Lose Market Share

2012 was a very bad year for chain bookstores.

Having dealt with them on the business side, I can tell you that I'm not surprised in the slightest by this news. E-retailers now have 40% of the market and they'll soon have much much more. I think that could be a good thing...but only if amazon doesn't become the on-line equivalent of the chain bookstore.

As a consumer it may be convenient, but they are really starting to squeeze their vendors (just as the chain bookstores do), and when that happens, the markets will dry up. It's the reason we have rules against monopolies in this country.

Woman Who Inspired "The Natural" Passes Away

Her name was Ruth Ann Steinhagen, and she was 83 years old.

I had no idea she had been living in Chicago this whole time.

I've written about her, and her shooting of Eddie Waitkus previously at Just One Bad Century.

On-Air Proposal

Reshuffling the Executive Deck

Three stories in the news today...

1. Former WGN General Manager Tom Langmyer has landed in Milwaukee.

2. Former WLUP General Manager Marv Nyren has landed in Jacksonville, Florida.

3. And a new Cluster-Leader for Clear Channel in Chicago comes from St. Louis.

The State of the News Media

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism did a study on the state of the news media in 2013. I'm afraid the findings were a little depressing. Among the findings...

*Estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30% since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978.

*A growing list of media outlets, such as Forbes magazine, use technology by a company called Narrative Science to produce content by way of algorithm, no human reporting necessary.

*In local TV, our special content report reveals, sports, weather and traffic now account on average for 40% of the content produced on the newscasts studied while story lengths shrink.

*This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands.

*Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to.

This report focuses on something that I've been talking about since I wrote $everance. There may be more media outlets, and it may seem like we're getting more and more information, but the number of people actually collecting the raw news--the reporters--is shrinking. The information gets out there faster, and is spread easier, but collecting the actual raw information--that crucial first step--is being neglected.

The saying used to be "Content is King".

If only it were so.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Love Train

40 years ago this week the number one song in the country was this one, now more closely associated with Coors Light...

Joke for a Monday Morning

Contributed by "SR"...

I was at the bar the other night and overheard three very hefty women talking at the bar.

Their accent appeared to be Scottish, so I approached and asked, "Hello, are you three lassies from Scotland?"

One of them angrily screeched, "It's Wales, Wales you bloody idiot!"

So I apologized and replied, "I am so sorry. Are you three whales from Scotland?"

And that's the last thing I remember.

Jay Leno Angers His Bosses

I've always wondered about this. According to this piece in the New York Times, Jay Leno has angered his bosses by making jokes about their terrible ratings. The one they mention particularly is this one: "The Biggest Loser isn't just a TV show anymore, it's our motto."

Pretty good joke.

Not surprised the bosses are upset about it. Media executives are not known for their thick skins.

More Phone Hacking Claims

The British Police have obtained the phone records of an insider to Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, and guess what they found?

600 new cases of phone hacking.

I've lost track of the number of charges at this point. I stopped counting the arrests made when they got past 20, and stopped counting the hacking charges at a thousand.

I'm sure they were just going rogue. No need to investigate if other publications owned by the same corporation in this country used similar techniques.

The Devil

I missed "The Bible" on the History Channel yesterday, but I've been following the controversy over the portrayal of the Devil. See any resemblance between the Devil and a prominent politician in America? Even Glenn Beck noticed it...

I'm sure it's just a coincidence.


Radio Bad Boys Settle

A few weeks ago the radio bad boy trial ended in Florida with a verdict in Bubba the Love Sponge's favor. There was talk about another lawsuit being filed regarding some shenanigans that took place during that first trial, but you'll be relieved to hear that the two parties have finally settled. Details are here.

But as the RAMP newsletter points out this morning, it's not like they are now suddenly going to make nice...

Interestingly, the settlement does not protect Schnitt from further on-air attacks from Bubba, who sounded more than eager to get back at it again, saying, "The verdict will stand... And I'll be able to light up MJ on the air." Schnitt told reporters that he was prepared for any future remarks from Bubba, as long as Clem keeps his family out of it. "I'm a public figure," Schnitt said. "You can assail me. You can attack me. You can call me a short guy, say you don't like my hair, say my show is no good. That's fair game," he said. "This has been about protecting my family. My children, primarily." Feisty right to the last, Bubba added, "I'll never take my boot off his neck, ever."

Aren't you glad you don't live in Tampa?

25 Years of Rush

This year marks Rush Limbaugh's 25th year as a syndicated talk show host.

I was looking through my archives the other day, trying to find a piece I had written about an upcoming interview subject, when I stumbed onto something else: An article I had written about Rush in a publication called Chicago Advertising & Media in 1990.

I really don't even remember writing it, but in the article I warned against the hiring of nationally syndicated voices because it would inevitably diminish local radio, and I suspected that radio stations wouldn't be able to resist the opportunity to save money.

I also wrote this: "I listened to his show for fifteen minutes and in that time he called people who care about the environment 'pot smoking hippies' and people who think women should have equal rights 'feminazis'. And they call Howard Stern and Steve Dahl shock jocks?"

In 1990 hearing that on the radio was shocking to me.

In 2013 it's the norm.

Thanks so much for your contributions to American society, Rush.