Thursday, September 05, 2013

Taking a Blogging Break

I'm heading over to Europe for a writing assignment in Munich & Croatia (I know, tough work, eh?). I won't have access to e-mail or the blog for the next few weeks, so I'm taking a short hiatus here.

The blog will start up again on September 16th. Father Knows Nothing will return when I come back too.

The Just One Bad Century blog and website will continue without me.

If anyone has any Eckhartz Press business, contact David Stern (

Have a great few weeks, and go Bears and Cubs!

Meet John Landecker at the Michigan City Library September 7th

From the Post Tribune, all the details about John Landecker's visit to the Michigan City Library...

Is Records truly his middle name? You might find out as the longtime Chicago-based disc jockey, John Records Landecker, kicks off the Writing Out Loud season at the Michigan City Public Library this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Each year Writing Out Loud brings several authors to the Michigan City Public Library, giving readers an opportunity to hear a variety of writers read from and discuss their work.

This free program is in its 29th season. While that’s a long run, it’s not as long as Landecker has entertained radio listeners.

“John Landecker is a legend around the Chicago area,” said Robin Kohn, of the Michigan City Public Library. “He was a DJ in the 70’s when I was a teenager — he made radio cool. He’ll talk about some of the fun, crazy things he’s done over his career.”

In his book, “Records Truly is My Middle Name,” Landecker also writes about his encounters with celebrities, the cultural events of the times and some of the challenges he’s faced in his personal life.

The Michigan City (Indiana) Public Library is located at 100 E 4th St Michigan City, IN 46360. Call (219) 873-3044 if you have any questions.

The man and his book

Cubs in the World Series?

It's not like it's never happened.

On this day in 1918, the World Series began a month early because of World War I. The Cubs faced the Red Sox. (Photo: Cubs rotation L-R, Lefty Tyler, Hippo Vaughn, Shufflin' Phil Douglas, & Claude Hendrix) Where did they play it? Would you believe Comiskey Park?

Read about it in Cubs 365.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

15 Years Ago Today

How much has the world changed in the last 15 years? Google was founded on this day, 15 years ago.

Facebook is nine years old, Twitter is only seven, and the iPhone is only 6.

Just try to imagine where we'll be 15 years from now. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Today's Best Tweets

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

Jim O'Donnell ‏@jodonnell17 6s
Great Sam Rayburn quote: "When you're talkin', you ain't learnin'."

Len O'Kelly ‏@LenOKelly 54s
How to complain about business: buy a promoted tweet and go right after their customers. This guy did. … #GVSUCOM641

Mark Glaser ‏@mediatwit 2m
"I’ve never met an author who was happy with the marketing efforts of his publisher." ~@GuyKawasaki

Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 22m
Putin calls Snowden a "strange guy" who’s in for a "difficult life":

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 28m
Baseball's cruelest streak is over. For the first time since 1992, the Pirates won't have a losing season.

SportsPickle ‏@sportspickle 32m
Announced crowd at last night's Astros game: probably a few dozen. Picture(s): …

Eric Alper ‏@ThatEricAlper 6m
Today in 1969, the classic '60s counter-culture movie Easy Rider opened. Get your motor running.

Chicago Blackhawks ‏@NHLBlackhawks 21m
It's official: Niklas Hjalmarsson and the #Blackhawks have agreed to a five-year contract extension! #HjammerTime

DL Hughley ‏@RealDLHughley 5h
Its amazing that Ariel Castro who kept 3 girls chained in a basement for 10 yrs! Kills himself after being imprisoned after a few months!

Eddie Volkman ‏@EddieVolkman 28m
Bill Nye The Science Guy on "Dancing With The Stars"?? I wonder if he and his partner will have chemistry. #DWTS

Cheap Trick Sues Their Drummer

Bun E. Carlos, the former drummer of Cheap Trick, is being sued by the rest of the band. I hate reading about my favorite rock bands treating each other like corporate board members.

I just read Pete Townshend's book, and that was depressing as well. The way he described their business meetings ruined it for me.

I know these are multi-million dollar corporations, but pardon me for not wanting to think of them that way.

Who Do Members of Congress Follow on Twitter?

According to this piece in New York Magazine, they basically just follow people who agree with them.

Taking a look at the top twenty accounts divided by party shows zero overlap beyond the Hill, Politico, Roll Call, and CSPAN: Although they like a few of the same publications, Democrats and Republicans tend to lack interest in ... each other.

Surprise, surprise. They're all in a bubble. It's doing wonders for the country, by the way.

Dial Global Becomes Westwood One

From this morning's Radio Ink...

As expected, Dial Global has changed its name to Westwood One. The announcement was made official this morning. CEO Paul Caine said, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as Dial Global. Through our belief in the power of sound we are dedicated to continuously reinventing the industry and creating the most dynamic audio programming that connects people to their passions. With the audio industry’s ever-changing landscape we know we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible for audio’s broad consumption. By reclaiming and reviving an iconic audio brand name, we are not changing who we are, but accelerating the great work we are doing to contribute to the growth of audio.”

That quote sounds like word jazz or word soup to me. Just a bunch of words thrown together and surrounded by quotation marks. Who talks like that?

As for the iconic name, I worked for Westwood One about ten years ago. I wrote, produced, and voiced three national radio specials (one about George Harrison, one about geographical rock and roll, and one about the Beach Boys). I wonder if I still have those lying around the house somewhere. The only thing I remember about writing those is that we were forced to end each of them with the phrase "Executive producer: Norm Pattitz", even though he literally had nothing to do with them.

Elizabeth Grattan

A former Chicago radio voice is in the news. From Radio Online...

Elizabeth Grattan has exited her role as Career Services Director for the Ohio/Illinois Centers for Broadcasting as multiple clients are added to RADIOELIZABETH, Grattan's voice production company founded in 2003. "The timing was right," said Grattan. "The addition of Telstar Productions and Victory Restoration as RADIOELIZABETH celebrates ten years just fits."

I've never met Elizabeth, but she did interview me once (on the phone) for a podcast when $everance was first released. (Maybe it was "The Radio Producer's Handbook". It's all a blur now.) I only remember one of her questions because it was one of the more ununusal questions I've ever been asked. She asked me to define "true love". I have no idea what I answered.

The Winning Streak

On this day in 1935, the Cubs began the longest winning streak in baseball history. They won 21 games in a row. (Details at Cubs 365). If they did that this year, they'd nearly make it back to .500.

(Photo: Game 3 of the 1935 World Series)


Paul's latest song just came out. It's catchy as always...

Chicago Radio Ratings

The usual suspects at the top of the ratings in the Windy City. From Tom Taylor's column...

Urban AC “V103,” Clear Channel’s WVAZ, is #1 for the 16th time in the last 17 books, though it’s off from last month’s peak 6.9-7.4-6.7. #2 is Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX, 5.6-5.3-5.0, followed by CBS Radio’s all-news WBBM (plus its FM simulcast), 4.5-4.9-4.9. #4 is CC’s urban WGCI (4.1-4.1-4.7) – its best topline share since the PPM came to the Windy City. Cumulus classic hits WLS-FM is softer, 3.2-3.4-2.7. But sister talk WLS (2.1-1.8-1.7) slides to its lowest share ever in PPM. And though it’s not statistically valid to compare PPM and diary shares, let’s break the rules and say that to find a number as low as that PPM 1.7, you’d have to time-travel all the way back to Fall 1989, and the diary quarterly. Looking at baseball and radio - Cubs home station WGN, Tribune's talk station, is flat 5.3-4.6-4.6 (with a number of talent changes occurring in other dayparts.) White Sox flagship WSCR, CBS Radio's "Score," goes 2.5-2.0-2.2.Chicago's cume leader is once again Clear Channel CHR “Kiss” WKSC, at 2,229,600. In AQH share, it ranks #7, 4.0-4.1-3.9.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

RIP David Frost

Sad news. The obit is in the New York Times.

I was living in Germany when Frost did his Nixon interviews so I didn't see them until many years later, but I absolutely loved the movie about them. He was a unique individual.


Thanks to "JR" for sending this writer joke. Pardon his French...

It Was The Third of September

The memorable first line of this memorable classic by the Temptations...

Today's Best Tweets

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

Scott Smith ‏@ourmaninchicago 46s
"Pain-in-the-ass hard or swimming from Cuba-to-Florida hard? The former? Well maybe you can just suck it up then." - Me to myself all week

Rob Hart ‏@RobHart1980 14m
Referenced "Stacey's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne this morning. I'm chock full of contemporary material.

Lisa and Ray US99.5 ‏@LisaandRay995 25m
TOO FUNNY! @ChiB lackhawks Bobby Hull encourages @Cubs after 7th Inning Stretch to “spank that horse hide”!

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 34m
My sister Amelia Lincoln has survived leukemia because of donors. A Cubs prospect is a donor. … E:60, tonight 7, ESPN2.

Greg Sargent ‏@ThePlumLineGS 43m
.@nytimes edit board asks good, tough questions about Obama's handling of Syria thus far: …

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 53m
Op-Ed: Thoughtful attempts to foster empathy in children would improve our schools and make for a better world

Jim Wiser ‏@JimWiser 1h
Dennis Rodman returns to North Korea to visit his 'friend' via @THR

Dalai Lama ‏@DalaiLama 2h
I’m optimistic that there is a growing appetite for peace in the world. Many young people are fed up with war and violence.

Mike Baker ‏@MikeBaker45s 2h
Today is National Grilled Cheese Day

Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN 2h
Paul Konerko's home run Monday was his 432nd career, 44th-most all-time; he passed Cal Ripken, Jr. (431).

War of the Worlds, 21st Century Version

Of course it happened in Alabama.

A wacky radio stunt ("Aliens have taken over our format") leading up to an actual format change managed to panic a few of the station's listeners. CBS Atlanta has the details...

The TimesDaily reports that concerned parents and students called police and schools, and the station says it received phone calls, too. Tuscumbia school superintendent Mary Kate Smith says absenteeism was up slightly Thursday, and she fielded a call from a worried parent. Police increased patrols at schools to ease concerns.

Somewhere Orson Welles is laughing his head off. We've come a long way since 1938, haven't we?

American Idol "Changes"

According to this morning's RAMP Newsletter, American Idol's promised "complete revamping" will be more like a "retouching"....

Just minutes before Season 13 auditions were slated to get underway, Idol is already starting to look and feel.... um.... oddly un-revamped. As had been widely rumored, Season 11 judge Jennifer Lopez is now returning to the new three-judge panel after a one-season hiatus (and a successful concert tour). Late last week The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that former Idol mentor and frequent performer Harry Connick, Jr. has been signed to fill that third judge position. It was becoming clear that a serious time crunch was working against the producers, as the Reporter said, "Had the show not signed a third judge soon, production could have faced a delay." Finally, the dearly departed Randy Jackson has already been resurrected, this time in the new role of mentor. Season 13 of American Idol gets underway on January 15, 2014.

Cumulus Buys Dial Global

This deal was formally announced on Friday, and it's a biggie. See if you can spot the red flags if you happen to be an employee at either Cumulus or Dial Global. From Tom Taylor's column this morning...

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is so confident about his ability to get $40 million in “cost synergies” between DG and his own Cumulus Media Networks, he’s predicting that the $260 million deal will be a deleveraging event for Cumulus. That would be another move in the right direction for Cumulus, which recently reported leverage of 7.3-times cash flow. Breaking down the $260 million price, $215 million goes to retirement of debt, and $45 million is attributable to equity.

Let me translate "Cost Synergies" for you: Knives are being sharpened as we speak, and there will be cutting as soon as the deal is approved.

Andy Shaw

This month's Illinois Entertainer media column has been posted.

I interviewed former long-time ABC-7 reporter and current BGA CEO Andy Shaw about his long and interesting career.

You can read it here.