Saturday, March 30, 2013

Landecker Media Tour Devours Chicago

More ink from The Morning Mouth...

THE MOUTH, MARCH 29TH, 2013 –– One would think the most fun times Chicago's John Records Landecker ever had were back during his days at the legendary 89/WLS. After this week, that could all change. Out promoting his just released "Records Truly Is My Middle Name," produced by Rick Kaempfer, he's getting a major celebrity welcome from Chicago media unlike any radio personality ever before. This week it's been non-stop, wall-to-wall interviews from newspapers, TV (WGN above) and radio, plus calls into shows outside the market. Along the tour, he made a stop at fellow icon, Jonathon Brandmeier's WGN show for what turned out to be one of the funniest, most entertaining interviews you'll hear for a long time to come. LISTEN TO AUDIO HERE

Coming this week...

Phone interview with the Don Geronimo show (Sacramento) on Monday, Morning TV with Melissa Forman and Jeanne Sparrow/WCIU-TV (Chicago) on Tuesday, Phone interview with WROK in Rockford on Tuesday, Phone interview with Gil Gross (San Francisco) on Tuesday, Phone interview with WIBQ-Terre Haute on Wednesday, Phone interview with the Mike Kara show on Wednesday, Phone interview with Bob Malkowski show on Thursday, in studio with Roe & Roeper WLS Radio (Chicago) on Thursday, Phone interview with WRLR on Friday, Phone interview with the Wisconsin State Journal on Friday.

Details on the Eckhartz Press Calendar

Chicagoland Radio & Media Features "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"

CRM logo

The moderator (Larz) of the popular Chicago media site, Chicagoland Radio & Media, did a nice feature about the book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"

You can read it here.

Thanks for the kind words, Larz!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Father Knows Nothing Recognized by Chicago Headline Club

I'm taking a few weeks off writing my Father Knows Nothing column to focus on my new full-time job...publicist for Records Truly Is My Middle Name. The column will return on April 15th.

However, I just got word that my Father Knows Nothing blog at is a finalist for a Peter Lisagor award in the "affiliated blogs" category. That's the good news. The bad news is one of the other two finalists is Roger Ebert. Oh well, you know what they say about it just being an honor to be nominated?

Amazon Is Buying GoodReads

I really think that amazon is going to take over the world. If they aren't a monopoly in the book publishing business yet, this next step should help.

They just bought GoodReads.

GoodReads is a place that readers and authors go to discuss the latest books in the marketplace...and not just books that are available at amazon.


Cubs 365

Just as a reminder as we start the new season on Monday, Just One Bad Century's blog continues to pump out stories every single day in a feature I call "Cubs 365". Here's today's entry...

On this day in 1954, one of the greatest Cubs of all-time ended his association with the team in just about the worst way imaginable.

The Cubs were in spring training preparing for the upcoming season, and their manager was legendary Cubs great Phil Cavarretta. He had managed the team for a little more two seasons. In 1952, they had a decent year (5th place, 77-77, the only season of the decade anywhere near .500), and in 1953 it hadn't gone as well (7th place, 65-89), but the team had very little talent.

The Cubs were old and slow. Future Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner was toast. Hank Sauer, the MVP in '52, hit less than half as many home runs and RBI in '53 and was on the downside of his career. The starting catcher was a 36-year-old career platoon player named Clyde McCullough, who was so notoriously "dim" behind the plate one of his teammates said: "We used to swear he had to put his head down and see how many fingers he was putting down!" The ace of the pitching staff, Warren Hacker, was a 19-game loser. The best ERA in the bullpen was almost 5.00.

When Phillip Wrigley called Cavarretta into his office to talk about the upcoming season, Cavarretta leveled with the boss. He told him he only liked a few players on the team, including rookie shortstop Ernie Banks, and said he was still upset about the trades which had depleted his roster (like trading Andy Pafko and Johnny Schmitz to the Dodgers for four stiffs).

Wrigley listened intently to Cavarretta, and did what any owner would have done to a man who won an MVP and played in three World Series for him: He fired Cavarretta on the spot for being honest. Wrigley released a statement to the press: "Phil seems to have developed a defeatist attitude. We don't believe he should continue in a job where he thinks success isn't possible."

The man who had spent twenty three years of his life in a Cubs uniform was never associated with the team again. He finished his career with the White Sox.

Smiling Stan Hack managed the Cubs instead that year. His happy attitude led the team to a record of 64-90.

Today's Best Tweets

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

Michael Ian Black ‏@michaelianblack 2m
Oh cool, my wife gave me chores to do so now my day has a purpose, and that purpose is finding a divorce lawyer.

Jayson Stark ‏@jaysonst 3m
Tim Lincecum finished spring training with 10.57 ERA. Giants "have to be worried," says one scout. "I saw a guy who looked lost out there."

Julie Hammerle ‏@JulieHammerle 5m
Bad house decision #156: Why, knowing that we have a giant, disobedient, hairy dog, did we put light colored carpeting on the stairs?

Roger Simon ‏@politicoroger 7m
I think President Obama is spending more time on contingency planning for North Korea these days than most people know.

Slate ‏@Slate 13m
Too funny: Boston cops ineptly pretend to be punk rockers w/fake Twitter/Facebook/Gmail accounts--PHOTO:

Stephen Colbert ‏@StephenAtHome 21m
Ashley Judd has decided against a Congressional run. In a related story, Mitch McConnell isn't making any more movies.

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 33m
A letter John Lennon wrote to Paul and Linda McCartney will go up for auction this spring:

CJ Nitkowski ‏@CJNitkowski 39m
Few things depress me as much as Twitter's "similar to you" suggestions.

Neil deGrasse Tyson ‏@neiltyson 47m
The best colleges admit only successful students, offering no evidence the college itself forged the students' later success

Mark Edwards ‏@markedwards 53m
Rush Limbaugh on Gay Marriage: 'We Lost’ - Host says conservatives let liberals redefine word 'marriage' |

We're #1

"Records Truly Is My Middle Name" is out an e-book now and is already #1 at amazon in it's category!

How cool is that?

Who Will Be New FCC Chairman?

Tom Taylor speculates this morning in his NOW newsletter...

"Rosenworcel vs. Clyburn vs. unknown – Breaking the glass ceiling at the FCC will be touchy. A pre-emptive campaign for FCC Chairman? Highly unusual. We’ve been talking about Obama appointing a first-ever female FCC chair for months now, and this week a startling development is reported by National Journal - an organized movement on behalf of current Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. That may be led in part by her former boss – West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, who’s retiring after nearly 30 years. Rosenworcel served on the Senate Commerce Committee staff when he was chairman. We’ve expected that either Rosenworcel or fellow Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn would be named interim chair, once Julius Genachowski splits. But this is something different – 37 Senate Dems have signed a letter to President Obama, recommending Rosenworcel as the permanent Chair. But Clyburn has seniority, and a powerful father in House leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. And reportedly Obama was looking at Tom Wheeler as a strong possibility. Not an easy choice for Obama."

As much as I love the sound of Chairman Rosenworcel (it makes me want to write limericks), I'm still rooting for Clyburn. She wouldn't just be the first female F.C.C. chair--she's our one and only shot of having one named "Mignon". That's a once-in-lifetime situation.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Woody Allen Stammering

Somebody had a LOT of time on their hands...

Today's Best Tweets

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

nonoooo! ‏@Norath3explor3r
The past few days i have been knocking over everything.. Makes me really live up to my middle name, grace. Not.

Memo Lay ‏@memolays
Shocking Study Finds Hackers Are ‘Antisocial Man-Children Who Live In Their Parents’... via BetaBeat

Patton Oswalt ‏@pattonoswalt
"Can there be meaning in annihilation?" -- me at 20 "Can't I just sit and have my coffee?" -- me today & from now on

She's back. The woman who sounds like Donald Duck will again appear in graphic anti-smoking ads:

Cash-strapped states eye legalized pot for new taxes...

Neera Tanden ‏@neeratanden
Was in audience for Potus' WH remarks on guns...palpable emotion in room. As a mom, it'd be tragic if we succumb to inaction after Newtown

Amy Bonaduce ‏@AmyBonaduce
OK, we haven't found Peewee's bike yet, but we just got here... #TheAlamo

Mark Czerniec ‏@MarkCzerniec
The definition of crazy is citing the same old definition of crazy over and over again and expecting it to sound clever.

Brian Stelter ‏@brianstelter 2m
A year of ABC specials will lead up to Walters' retirement. She'll remain on "The View" through May 2014.

Groovyhoovy ‏@Groovyhoovy 10m
Sometimes I feel like my life is set to the Benny Hill theme.

The Peabody Awards

To me the Peabody Award is just about the most prestigious award you can win. They only honor true quality. This year's winner's were announced yesterday. You can see the full list here.

HBO, as usual, won a bunch of them, as did NPR.

Records Truly E-book

You can buy it for your Kindle now!

Click here.

Behind the Scenes with John Landecker at WGN-TV

We had a great time at WGN-Television this morning. We arrived around 7:15 for a 7:45 segment, and were let in to the green room. Dave brought bagels, but since we were the only ones there this morning, we ended up eating them all.

Jeff Hoover was the producer for this segment, and it was good seeing him again. (See his picture below along with his partner in crime, Mike Toomey. They were preparing to dress like the Easter bunny for an upcoming segment). John groaned a bit as we watched the tease mentioning the debauchery in his book, and then we were brought in to the set. When Robin and Larry complimented me on the good job I did on the book, John reminded them that he had a little something to do with it too, you know.

Dave and I sat in the chairs on the neighboring set and watched the interview from there.

See the behind-the-scenes photos below…

(JRL and Eckhartz Press publisher Dave Stern, Jeff Hoover and Mike Toomey with JRL, just before the interview, and after the segment is over

Watch the video here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Behind the Scenes at NPR with John Landecker & Rick Kogan

I haven't been to the WBEZ (NPR in Chicago) studios since "$everance" came out, and had forgotten what a palace it is. For those of us who worked for cheap corporately owned broadcast operations it's really an eye opener. A first class operation all the way, located at Navy Pier.

This time I hopped on the air too. (You can hear the audio at the Eckhartz Press blog) Enjoyed speaking with both Kogan and Landecker about "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". By the way, tomorrow is Rick's last day as the afternoon show host. He's stepping down to finish up a book project.

Tomorrow morning at 7:45 or so, it's back on TV...The WGN-TV Morning News with Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten. I'll bring the camera along again to take more photographs.

Behind the Scenes at WGN with John Landecker & Johnny B

John Landecker and I spent the morning at WGN Radio with Johnny B and Buzz, and it was a tremendous show. Johnny B’s energy is almost impossible to believe until you see it up close. He was incredibly gracious to Landecker, gave him a few great plugs for the book, and they had a great time on the air together.

To me the highlight was the “Just the Punchlines” record-intros. But that’s just me.

Listen to the historic interview here. If you’re a fan of Chicago radio, you will love it.

More photos at the Eckhartz Press blog.

Records Truly Is...Shipping

This is an actual photograph of the first batch of books at the post office. Another huge batch goes out tomorrow.

If you’ve ordered “Records Truly Is Your Middle Name”, you’ll be receiving it in the mail soon!

If you haven’t, here’s where you get your copy!

No Blog Today

I'm following Mr. Landecker around today. See below...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The JRL Media Tour Continues

Tomorrow John Landecker will be on three different big-time radio shows in Chicago.

At 9am, tune into WGN Radio and hear two Johns, no waiting. John Landecker joins Johnny B. This should be fun because Brandmeier contributed a few really great stories about Landecker to the book. One of them probably can't be told on the air, but it's a doozy. (The others are good too)

At 3pm, check out WBEZ Radio. John makes a return appearance to NPR, a significant milestone in his life. He'll certainly tell the story of how NPR helped his parents realize that their son was actually successful (and not just a college dropout)

At 4pm, we'll zip down to the WLS-AM studios and spend time with Roe & Roeper. Richard Roeper and John will probably share a few tales from their mutual film critic days, including the way John used to take over the room during media availablities for celebrities.

Just guessing on the content. I'm not producing the shows...that's just what I would suggest talking about if I was producing them.

I'll be tagging along to all three interviews, taking some behind the scenes pictures for the Eckhartz Press blog. I'm also going to squeeze in an interview with Bobby Skafish at 11am. He's going to be May's feature subject for my Illinois Entertainer column.

Late Update: Roe is sick. Roe and Roeper will be next week instead.

Tornado Knocks Down Radio Tower

Just yesterday I featured a story about a snowstorm causing a television station to evacuate because they feared their tower would fall on their studios. It didn't happen, but they feared it would.

In Florida, it actually did happen to a radio tower. Nobody was hurt, but it caused major damage to the radio station's building and knocked them off the air.

Maybe these things shouldn't be built right next door to their towers.

Meet the Roger Ailes of the Left

His name is Phil Griffin, and he has turned MSNBC into the Fox News of the left.

Actually, after reading the article, he doesn't sound much like Roger Ailes at all. Roger Ailes is a true believer; a political animal. Griffin sounds more like Rupert Murdoch. All Murdoch cares about is money. All Griffin cares about is ratings. This paragraph from the piece sums it up to me...
“Phil is the perfect distillation of the television mentality,” says one former MSNBC employee, “which is: whatever the audience wants.” And, actually, no one at the network knows much about his politics; he’s probably a Democrat, but it’s just not something he cares much about or discusses with ease. “[Fox News President] Roger Ailes is a lifelong TV guy,” says Chris Hayes, MSNBC’s new 8 p.m. anchor, “but he’s also a political consigliere. Phil is not. Whatever his politics are, they are not woven into the DNA of what we’re doing.” Put another way: Fox News is a TV network that succeeds because of its ideological slant. MSNBC is a TV network that has an ideological slant because that’s what happened to succeed.
As someone who actually wants to see news when he watches a "news" channel, it makes me shake my head.

A Rare Photograph

John Landecker and I worked side-by-side for ten years doing a radio show at WJMK. Then, seven years after that ended, we spent three years writing a book together. And yet, I think this picture that appeared in Sunday's Chicago Tribune is the only picture ever taken of just the two of us...(Photo by the Chicago Tribune's Alex Garcia)

Today's Best Tweets

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

Homer J. Simpson ‏@HomerJSimpson
As a tribute to passover, for the next seven days I will celebrate with my version - comb over.

What The F*** Facts ‏@WhatTheFFacts
Your ankle is the most satisfying place to scratch in your entire body and produce sensations similar to having sex.

Jeff Greenfield ‏@greenfield64
Mo's last year; maybe Jeter's too. Just remember: we got to see two of the greatest ever on the same team at the same time for 15 years,

Chet Coppock ‏@ChetCoppock
Have the Cubs moved to Rosemont yet. Gee, this whole sham smacks of the con the White Sox ran when they were gonna move to Tampa back in '89

Stephen Colbert ‏@StephenAtHome
Thanks to Mark Burnett's help, The Bible might become the number one bestselling book of all time!

ABC News ‏@ABC
Daredevil Dies in Rope Swing Stunt Popular on YouTube

The New York Times ‏@nytimes
Why do residents of one Greek island have remarkably long lives? It might be the coffee:

L.A. Times Past ‏@latimespast
1900 @latimes article lamenting the presence of those "advertising monstrosities," billboards:

Scott Smith ‏@ourmaninchicago
Look, there is entirely too much Jim Belushi talk in my timeline. I don't want to make a big deal about it but let's not make this a habit.

Bruce Levine ‏@ESPNBruceLevine 3h
Nice moment when Shawon Dunston Senior and junior exchanged line-up cards before Cub -Giant game

22 Things Happy People Do Differently

I thought I was happy until I read this article.

Now I realize I'm only 13/22 happy. (I only do 13 of those 22 things that happy people do)

To be fair, that's more than half. Turns out my cup is not half empty after all...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Over the Head Shot

Bruins coach throws earpiece over his shoulder, and look where it lands...right in some poor schlub's beer.

Attention Trekkies!

To celebrate William Shatner's 82nd birthday, Hulu is putting every single episode of the original Star Trek series on line for your viewing pleasure.

Details are here. Live long and prosper.

The Spring Storm

How bad was the storm that hit south of Chicago last night?

A television station in Missouri had to evacuate the premises because they feared the broadcast tower was going to fall over on their building.

Details are here.

I can't say I've ever heard of that happening before.

The NCAA Tournament

I'll admit that I'm not a huge college basketball fan. The only time I really follow it closely is when the Illini are good. This year's team didn't qualify as good--but they did make the tournament, so I watched both of their games. (No need to comment on the bad ref calls, that would be whining)

When I checked to see how my brackets were doing after that Illini game last night I was shocked to see that I was in the 97th percentile nationally on the ESPN site. I point this out not to glorify myself, but to honestly wonder how it's possible that 97 out of 100 people did a worse job of picking games than a guy who hadn't watched a (non-Illini) college basketball game all season.

I literally made those picks in less than one minute.


I was in Stickney yesterday participating in the Loop's Poor Man's Fantasy League draft. It's the 25th year of our league, believe it or not. When we started the league all of us worked at the Loop in various different grunt positions, and the draft was actually held in the fancy Loop conference room. One year the Loop even sprung for a hotel conference room for us.

Team owners have come and gone over the years (people like Dan McNeil, Peggy Kusinski, Cindy Gatziolis, Terry Gibson, Mike "Igor" Davis, Mike Medina, Clay Champlain, John Bell and others have been part of the league at one time), and as you might expect of the radio business, it wasn't long before none of us worked at the Loop anymore.

But we still have a great time getting together, picking our fantasy teams, and talking baseball. This year, for the first time, someone brought a camera. Thanks so much to the pizza guy for snapping this picture.

Billie Jean

30 years ago today, this was the number one song in the country...

Today's Best Illini Tweets

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

dailyherald ‏@dailyherald
Illini lose thriller to Miami

Alex Quigley ‏@alexquigley
Anytime your team's season ends on a play that spurs a rule change for the following season...well, that sucks. #illini

Eric Horng ‏@EricHorngABC7
Gutsy performance by #Illini. Serious hosing by the refs at multiple points in the game.

Ethan Asofsky ‏@AsOfTheSky
#Illini head coach John Groce's thoughts on out-of-bounds call: 1) Officiating was tremendous 2) You saw the same video that I did.

IllinoisLoyalty ‏@IllinoisLoyalty
Groce obviously disagreed with the controversial call, but answered it in the classiest way possible. #Illini

Shannon Ryan ‏@sryantribune
Groce interrupted a question to Egwu about blown out of bounds call. Said he'd take all questions on the play.

Rafer Weigel ‏@RaferWeigel
Despite 63-59 loss to #Miami. #Illini should be proud of the season. Good showing. I look forward to watching program grow under @JohnGroce

Ben Finfer ‏@BenFinfer
I think #Illini fans should be happy with the season and excited about the future. Mike Thomas was 1 for 2 with his big hirings.

Dave Wischnowsky ‏@wischlist
Great effort, #Illini. A truly great effort. Very proud of you guys.

Steve Cochran ‏@CochranShow
That's a tough way to go out. Seriously. What a shame.

Green White History

One of my on-going writing projects is chronicling the history of Green White Soccer Club; a club co-founded by my father in 1956. Every month I highlight one year in Green White history. This month it's 1974.

You can read it here.

Rick Kogan Reviews "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"

In Sunday’s “Sidewalks” column in the Chicago Tribune, Rick Kogan reviewed the book “Records Truly Is My Middle Name” by John Records Landecker. The headline of the piece is: “John Landecker: One Heck of a Life”.

Among the highlights…

*Being John Landecker might have been a great deal more fun decades ago than it is today, but if you had led the raucous and substance-abusing life that Landecker lived decades ago, you might not be around today. But here is Landecker, looking fit and trim and altogether alive, and saying, “You liked the book? It’s all there, isn’t it? Some life.” The book is his remarkably candid new memoir, “Records Truly Is My Middle Name,” and its official publication date comes Thursday, the same day Landecker turns 66.

*Though there will be some readers drawn to the book for the salacious details, four wives and numerous other dalliances — and its ample number of celebrities — some of the most interesting sections of the book deal with Landecker’s childhood and his parents.

*He now has good relationships with his two daughters, actress Amy and writer Tracy, even though, he writes, “I put my children in many inappropriate situations. I exposed them to parts of life that are not for kids. … (But) I have an 8-year-old granddaughter who has never seen me drunk, and I love her to death. Whatever parental DNA I’ve got left will be passed on to her when needed.” The book is filled with many such honest reflections, terrific photos, some of Landecker’s funniest parody songs and snippets of favorite interviews. It’s peppered too by a self-effacing tone: “Maybe I’m just a guy writing a book about the times we all lived through.”

Read the whole review here.

Pre-order your copy of the book right here at Eckhartz Press.

(Photo by the Chicago Tribune’s Alex Garcia)

Sunday, March 24, 2013