Friday, February 07, 2014

Free Excerpt from "The Daly News": Joel Daly Hangs Out With The Beatles

The Daly News is now available at Eckhartz Press. The following is a free excerpt from the book, Joel Daly's close encounter with the Beatles. At the time he was the main anchor of the 11pm news in Cleveland...

It was September 15, 1964. I went to Public Square after the 11:00 News, to watch the screaming crowd, awaiting the group’s arrival at the Sheraton Cleveland Hotel. Somehow another reporter and I got swept up by the security detail guarding the rear entrance, and wound up in the Beatles’ suite. I spent most of the night in casual conversation with the Fab Four. I didn’t realize until years later what a big deal it was! The Beatles were on the last stop of a month-long tour and were bone-tired. Acknowledging the “groupies” who besieged them everywhere they went, Ringo complained: “My ‘peter’ hurts”.

While I was there an 11-year old girl arrived with a stolen key for a room; a young boy hid in a packing case being delivered; another tried to get into the Kon Tiki bar, pretending to have a reservation; and another pretended to faint outside, only to request that she be given first aid inside the hotel.

The police asked that the Beatles stay on the same floor where the press conference was held, rather than the Presidential suite, to throw fans off the scent. The press conference provided little news. The Beatles were fidgety, twisting the microphone cords and lighting cigarettes. Someone asked John Lennon: “How did you find America?” He replied “We turned left at Greenland.” It was downhill from there. “How many rings does Ringo wear?” “When was your last haircut?” “Don’t you trust American barbers?”

Later, the Beatles were spirited by the police to the Public Auditorium for their show. During the third song, “All My Loving”, about a hundred fans stormed the stage. Police stopped the show and forced the Beatles to take refuge in their trailer. When peace was restored, it became a “Long Day’s Night.”

Today's Best Tweets--February 7

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

Richard Engel ‏@RichardEngel 14m
Turkish official: attempted hijacker wanted flight diverted to sochi. 110 passengers on board. Situation ongoing.

WGN Radio News ‏@WGNRadioNews 1m
Plane from Ukraine grounded in Istanbul after bomb threat made by passenger demanding to go to Sochi,0,1671723.story …

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 1m
Why are the Sochi Olympics the most expensive in history? @Vice explores the real cost ‏@BillMoyersHQ 2m
Sochi's "totalitarian" security - #morningreads

Sochi 2014 ‏@Sochi2014 24m
Meet the official #Sochi2014 Mascots: Bear, Hare and Leopard! #OpeningCeremony #Sochi2014

HuffPost TV ‏@HuffPostTV 4m
A guide to the new Amazon pilots you need to stream this weekend

Chicagoland Media ‏@ChiRadioMedia 7m
WBBM-TV's Dave Savini Gives Long Statement Regarding His DUI Arrest --

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 11m
Who's advising this doofus? >> Rand Paul: Dems Should Return Money They Received From Bill Clinton

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 20m
These are the 50 greatest #SNL sketches of all time: ‏@Chicagoist 2m
This Chicago Block Hasn't Been Plowed All Winter

RIP Ralph Kiner

Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner passed away yesterday. He was 91 years old. The New York Times has a wonderful obit.

A few teams can lay claim to the great slugger. He wears a Pirates cap in the Hall of Fame. He was the broadcaster for the New York Mets for many years.

But he was also a Cub.

He was one of the most feared sluggers in the league when he played for the Pirates, but by the time the Cubs got him (1953), he was not the same player. He led the league in home runs all seven seasons with the Pirates, and though he did have a decent power season with the Cubs in 1953 (making the all-star team), he was so slow by then, he could barely field his position.

Combined with the equally slow Hank Sauer in right, the Cubs outfield during those two seasons might have been the worst fielding outfield the Cubs ever had. Kiner joked that both he and Sauer used to scream "You got it, Frankie" every time the ball was hit in the air. Frankie Baumholtz was the centerfielder on that team.

After the 1954 season Kiner was traded to the Indians for Sam Jones, who went on to pitch a no-hitter for the Cubs in 1955.

Ralph lived a nice long life. What was the secret to his 91 years? It might have been his Wheaties...

Media Spotlight--February 7

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~Mary Dixon
Finishing up my next column today (deadline is Monday) for Illinois Entertainer. WXRT morning news anchor Mary Dixon will be the subject. She was a delight to speak with the other day.

~Steve Edwards
The former WBEZ mainstay gets a promotion at the Univeristy of Chicago Institute of Politics (founded by David Axelrod). Robert Feder has the details.

~Scott Shannon retires
He was really a New York radio star, but he was on the air here in Chicago for several years as the host of Real Oldies. Radio Insight has the details of his retirement at the link.

The Moguls

~As the Rupert Turns
According to the Vanity Fair article, Rupert was physically abused by his ex-wife Wendy. I knew she was tough (remember when she chased down that shaving-cream-pie thrower?), but I had no idea she was (allegedly) pulling stuff like this...
It allegedly had gotten physical in early 2011, in [the Murdoch’s] triplex on Fifth Avenue in New York. “[Deng] got angry at [Murdoch] and shoved him, and he fell backwards into the piano in the living room and then onto the floor, and he couldn’t get up,” says an individual to whom Rupert confided at the time. “He had to have emergency treatment that night.” The former News Corp. employee in the U.K. adds, “He clearly hurt himself, and he made some excuse that he tripped over something in the office. He made excuses that he wasn’t well. He only talked about what happened later.”
Who could have forseen something like this happening? When your marriage begins in the noblest of ways, by dumping your older wife (and mother of your children) for a much younger Chinese woman with connections to the Chinese media market you want to break into, how can that possibly go wrong?

~Will Yahoo! and AOL Get Married?
That's not my headline, that's CNNMoney's headline. Sounds like it's a possibility.

The Pundits

~James Carville Signs With Fox News
That should be interesting. There may be some heads exploding when he explains things happening outside of the bubble.


~Leno's Last Show
I watched the entire show last night, probably the first time I've ever done that in the 22 years he's been hosting. This was the highlight as far as I'm concerned. Billy Crystal's send off tapped into my favorite musical for inspiration...

~The Oscars Broadcast is Sold Out
14 major advertisers are each paying $1.7 million per 30 second spot.

~The Beatles Salute
Don't forget to set your DVR. It's on at 7pm (central) on CBS. Beatle-haters, don't fret. In two years we'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the "we're more popular than Jesus" uproar, and you can burn your Beatles records all over again.

Amy Landecker

John's daughter Amy Landecker is starring in the new series on Amazon (that's right, Amazon). The show is called "Transparent" and it also stars another one of my favorites, Jeffrey Tambor. Here's a review.

It looks very interesting. Based on this review, I'm already figuring out that the title of the show is a slightly different reading of the word "Transparent". I'm sure it will be great. If you've never seen Amy (and how is that possible, she's been in a million things?), you should check her out. She's a very talented actress.

Plus, she's bisexual in this one.

Now I got your attention.

Canada's Response to Anti-Gay Russia

This is well done...

Just One Bad Century--February 7

Today's JOBC Almanac--Burt Hooton, Tido, Beanball Ben, Dummy, and Ted Kennedy was a Cub?

Check it out here.

Cutting Room Floor–George Harrison Special/The British Invasion Years

On today's Eckhartz Press blog I've posted a portion of the George Harrison special I wrote and produced with Vince Argento the day after George passed away. This part focuses on the Ed Sullivan show, and the Beatles launching the British Invasion.

You can read about it and listen to it here.

Hawks in the Olympics

This is a great picture that "SA" sent me. I don't have the photo credit (because he didn't send it to me)...

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Doc Ellis Documentary

I'm looking forward to this one. They've made a documentary about former Pirates pitcher Doc Ellis, who once pitched a no-hitter while he was tripping on acid.

The Daily Beast has the story.

(Photo: Topps 1974 Baseball Card)

Father Knows Nothing Flashback: Pinewood Derby

This weekend we'll be racing our 15th and final Pinewood Derby car in Cub Scouts. I wrote this piece eight years ago about my first one, a moment that caused me to have a panic attack. It will probably be included (still editing down 8 years of columns into less than 300 pages) in the Christmas' Eckhartz Press release, "Father Knows Nothing"

When our first boy Tommy was born, we were still in the delivery room when a vision flashed through my mind.

I was picturing my father, the engineer, painstakingly designing, weighing, and painting my Cub Scout Pinewood Derby car. Whenever I came near the car during his two week construction project, I was told not to touch it. He wouldn’t even let me look at it. As I looked down at my own little boy, I was overwhelmed with emotion.

The emotion was pity.

“This kid is screwed for the Pinewood Derby,” I said to Bridget.

She thought I was kidding, but in the days leading up to Tommy’s first Pinewood Derby seven years later, Bridget began to understand the gravity of my delivery room prediction.

While the other Cub Scout fathers were talking about aerodynamics, design, and preliminary sketches, I was staring at a block of wood and sweating. While the other Cub Scout fathers were talking about chisels, routers, and coping saws, I was coping with a nervous breakdown.

My family doesn’t even allow me to carve the Thanksgiving turkey, but I was supposed to carve a car out of a block of wood? Are you kidding me? I can barely construct a paragraph. I can barely make a sandwich. I couldn’t fix a Chicago parking ticket if my last name was Daley.

To me, the most tragic part of the story was that the man who deserved community derision for his lack of traditional fathering skills (me) wasn’t going to be the victim. No sir. When that chunk of wood didn’t leave the starting gates, they weren’t going to call out my name to retrieve the car. They were going to call out Tommy’s.

I could picture that moment as clear as day when they handed me the Pinewood Derby box.

Bridget sensed I was a little stressed out about this whole thing. I don’t know if it was the sight of me curled up in a little ball that tipped her off, or whether it was my constant murmuring “I’m so sorry, Tommy. I’m so sorry, Tommy,” but she was like a guardian angel when she said the words that would change my parenting life forever.

“Could you use a little help?” she asked.

Could Joan of Arc have used a hose?

That’s when my own personal Joan of Arc took over. She got out the wood-thingy tools. She called her friends’ husbands and got tips for how to install the weights. She included Tommy in the process so he wouldn’t turn out like his own father. And when the two of them were done, they had created a totally satisfactory car.

She even brought along tools to Pinewood Derby night to make last second alterations if necessary. A few of the fathers commented to me about how good the car looked.

“I can’t take credit for it,” I said. “Bridget and Tommy made it.”

That was met with howls of laughter because they thought I was kidding. When they found out I wasn’t, it was met with slack-jawed disgust.

I didn’t care about their derision. I was just happy that Tommy’s car didn’t embarrass him. That horrible moment I feared never occurred.

Since that day, we’ve been to four Pinewood Derbies, and we’re going to another one this weekend. Last year my second son Johnny even won a prize for best design.

I still haven’t learned how to make one of those cars, but I have learned one thing beyond a reasonable doubt: I have the best wife in the world.

The Last Pitch of the Last 25 World Series

Except for the 2005 winners, whoever they were...

Today's Best Tweets--February 6

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

Rick Kaempfer ‏@RickKaempfer 2h
JOBC #Cubs Almanac--A left-handed catcher & WBBM radio news crew chasing down Ron Reagan at Wrigley Field in 1988. ( …)

Stu Page ‏@777drivr 1h
@RickKaempfer makes you want to vote Republican, right?

Rick Kaempfer ‏@RickKaempfer 1h
@777drivr makes you want to become a Cubs fan, right?

Stu Page ‏@777drivr 1h
@RickKaempfer haha no :)

NYT Olympics ‏@SochiNYT 13m
Last-ditch effort underway in Sochi to save stray dogs facing a death sentence before Games begin.

NBC News ‏@NBCNews 8m
Jamaica's bobsled team is back in business #Sochi2014

Gawker ‏@Gawker 13m
Russia says its Sochi bathroom spy cameras show no problems with the Olympic plumbing. #sochi

NPR News ‏@nprnews 8m
Not many people can say they got pushed out of a job twice while at the top of their game

jason alexander ‏@IJasonAlexander 1m
A bowl of quinoa and kefir is a piss-poor substitute for Fruity Pebbles and chocolate milk.

Dan Bernstein ‏@dan_bernstein 6m
Sources: #Cubs frustration w/rooftops' intransigence is high enough that they are discussing "unavoidable prospect" of options elsewhere.

Media Spotlight--February 6

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~The WBBM Newsroom tracks down Ronald Reagan
Stumbled onto this video while working on my Just One Bad Century blog. Chicago radio geeks like me will absolutely love it...

~WGN America Drops WGN Newscast
I have friends and relatives all over the country who will be pissed about this. WGN News was their window into their former hometown.

The Moguls

~Twitter CEO Says Radical Changes On the Way
CNET has the story. It involves more private messaging and their humble goal to "reach every person on the planet." Good luck with my mom, Twitter.

The Radio Biz

~America's Favorite Radio Formats
Tom Taylor reports the latest ratings news in NOW newsletter this morning: Country is America’s top format, ranked by share of total listening. It’s actually winning by an impressive margin – a 14.8 share, compared to 11.3 for news/talk. #3 at 8.0 is what Nielsen calls “Pop contemporary hit radio.” #4 at 7.3 is AC. And #5 (at 5.5) is classic hits. That’s based on the Spring 2013 survey."

Broadcast News

~CNN Shuts Down CNN Latino
I give them points for at least trying something different--even if it didn't work out.

~Hacking in Sochi
The toilets are funny, the hacking is not. NBC News reporter Richard Engel filed a pretty disturbing report yesterday about just how quickly all of his phones and computers were hacked.


~Jay Leno's Last Night
The New York Times writes about his twenty year tenure. I've never been a big fan of Jay's Tonight Show, but I am a fan of his comedy (he's a great stand up), and I have met him a few times and found him to be a very nice man. Landecker and I did have that one Dancing Itos incident with him in 1995, but even in that case he called my house and came on the Landecker show to explain himself. I wish him the best in the future.

~NY Times May Give Woody Allen Opportunity To Respond
It seems only fair. From Margaret Sullivan's New York Times column about the potential New York Times op ed, and the New York Times response to the column and the op-ed. (Talk about meta)
Woody Allen has asked for, and may get, a chance to respond — in an Op-Ed piece in The Times — to a recent column and blog by Nicholas Kristof in which the filmmaker’s adopted daughter detailed her memories of his sexually abusing her.

“They asked and we said, ‘Yes, send it in,’ ” Andrew Rosenthal, The Times’s editorial page editor, told me today by phone.

It’s not certain that The Times will publish the piece. “It comes down to the editing process,” he said, something that all Op-Ed pieces are subject to. Publishing such a piece is unusual for The Times’s opinion pages.

“Normally, we don’t publish a direct response” as a full Op-Ed article, Mr. Rosenthal said, but as a smaller and less prominent letter to the editor. “In this case, it was so personal, we thought that we should.”

Uh oh, World War I is about to start again...

Just One Bad Century--February 6

Today's JOBC Cubs Almanac--Smoky, Dutch, Shakes, a left-handed catcher, and the WBBM radio news crew chasing down President Reagan as he visits Wrigley Field in 1988.

Check it out here.

Sochi Bathrooms

The Olympics start tonight, but very little of the coverage has been about the actual athletes. I've been getting the biggest kick out of the reactions of the reporters to the public bathrooms. They are constantly tweeting pictures from Sochi.

Want a stall? Nuh uh. Pooping is a spectator sport, my friends. It takes an incredible emergency for me do my business even with stalls, so this would be beyond my imagination.

"So, how about them (grunt) lugers, eh?"

"Yeah, great (grunt) race. By the way, don't order the (grunt) borscht at the concession stands. It doesn't agree with me."

(There are more pictures here at Deadspin, this one below was tweeted by Steve Rosenberg of the BBC)

A Journey Reunion?

It's been a very long time since Steve Perry was part of Journey, but according to this article, he and Neal Schon are in discussions to bring the former lead singer back into the band.

I think I would go see that...even though I was never a huge Journey fan. I saw them in Champaign thirty years ago and was bored, but I've grown to appreciate their music more over the years.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Shovel It (Again)

The advantage (or is it disadvantage?) of working from home. I'm heading out to shovel again.

Today's Best Tweets--February 5

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

Slate ‏@Slate 7m
An uncensored look at the real Sochi--PHOTOS:

Debbie Harris ‏@tktchr 20m
RT @stacystclair: Also on the bright side: I just washed my face with Evian, like I'm a Kardashian or something. #sochiproblems

Fred Winston ‏@FredWinston 30m
Have decided to boycott Winter Olympics, because of the Russians slow poisoning of stray animals, position on Gays, et al. #BoycottOlympics

steve rosenbloom ‏@steverosenbloom 5m
The NHL at the Olympics: Still stupid after all these years. And worse if you're a Hawks fan. The RosenBlog:

Julie Hammerle ‏@JulieHammerle 9m
I was born during the blizzard of '78, and my parents always talk about how the dog could step over the fence. We're nearly there now.

Julie Hammerle ‏@JulieHammerle 15m
.@JulieDiCaro I was just going to publicly celebrate the neighbor who is now blowing our entire, snow blowing. #snowsomecourtesy

Mark Caro ‏@MarkCaro 7m
For a kid there's something magical about waking up to a fresh blanket of snow. Too bad I'm no kid.

CollegeHumor ‏@CollegeHumor 10m
The faces behind The Simpsons

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire 15m
Does deregulation make us fat?

MancowMuller ‏@MancowMuller 1m
Miley Cyrus said, "Guys watch too much porn." A spokesman for guys said, "Yes." #mileycyrus

Cubs Are the Worst in the World

Keith Olbermann took a shot last night, and he certainly makes some good points...

Media Spotlight--February 5

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~Joel Daly Gets The First Copy of "The Daly News"
Yes, it's shameless of me to mention this Eckhartz Press book again, but if it's not Chicago media news, what is? By the way, click on the link to see the beaming face of the old anchorman. He was pretty darn excited.

The Moguls

~Big Media still has plenty of muscle
Whenever you hear or read stories about the declining power of "Big Media", remember that television is one part of the media that is most certainly not true. From the LA Times: "There may be 500 channels and almost $80 billion in advertising and subscriber revenue in the television industry, but most of that content and cash is controlled by a handful of companies." The numbers tell the story, and those are at the link.

~As the Rupert Turns
Remember that letter written by Rupert's wife Wendy about Tony Blair? Rupert found it, and it supposedly contributed to his seeking a divorce. Well, Vanity Fair obtained that letter somehow, and published it. Britain's Evening Standard analyzes it at the link. I can see why Rupert was upset...
Writing in broken English, the author exclaimed: “Oh, shit, oh, shit. Whatever why I’m so so missing Tony. Because he is so so charming and his clothes are so good. He has such good body and he has really really good legs Butt... And he is slim tall and good skin. Pierce blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. Also I love his power on the stage...

~Hacking Update: News Corp. Paper Made 6,813 Phone-Hacking Calls in 2 Years
Most of those calls to hack into voicemails were made from phones at the newspaper. 282 different voicemails were hacked. And that's just for 2005 and 2006. The trial is expected to last until mid-May, but the verdict seems pretty obvious. So much so, the judge actually had to say this to the jury yesterday: “This is an important case for all concerned. We have to get through to the end, you and I.”

The Pundits

~Bill O'Reilly's Interview is Getting Hammered
A few of the better examples are below...

~Bill O'Reilly's Obama Interview Showed a Nation Still Divided
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank points out the obvious, and pretty darn gently, I might add. It's also really well written. (And it provoked a complete hissy fit from O'Reilly. He can dish it out, but he can't take it...even a little bit.)

~Obama Defends Himself Against Republican Charges
That's the way the Associated Press...yes, the Associated Press...characterized O'Reilly's interview. That prompted a Fox-News network-wide hissy fit, because these are questions that all Americans should be concerned about. According to the knuckleheads at Fox News, this article proves there is widespread press bias, a full-fledged cosnpiracy/coverup featuring every single member of the press except for Fox News. Really? When the entire world believes that you are crazy, there is at least one possible explanation other than "this proves that everyone else in the world is crazy." Think about it for a second. What other explanation could there be? You will have to pop the bubble to figure it out.

~10 More Questions Bill O'Reilly could have asked the president
This is a brilliant piece by the Huffington Post's Bob Cesca, giving Bill 10 more imaginary Fox-News created and/or promoted "scandals" he could have wasted his precious ten minutes of time on.

And finally, the best of the best, Jon Stewart's take on it...

~MSNBC's Chris Christie Obsession
I'm not just saying this to be fair and balanced. MSNBC's Chris Christie obsession is getting embarrassing. There are other stories out there, for crying out loud. Yes, its a story. But it's not THE story. If we're going to hyper-focus on one state, how about West Virginia? They've got 300,000 people there who can't drink or bathe because of toxic water. Just sayin, let's get some perspective here.

Broadcast News

-NBC News Readies Reboot in Time for the Olympics
The Sochi Olympics is the story most of the actual newscasts have been covering. is rebooting their entire website to accomodate their coverage. If you've been watching any of the stories about hotel accomodations there, you get a feeling for what we might be hearing and seeing in the coming weeks. It could be a very memorable (and not in a good way) Olympic Games.

The Radio Biz

~Sirius Fires Disc Jockeys
New York Daily News writer David Hinkley laments the move, and I concur. Sirius had a billion dollars in revenue last quarter.

~Sandra Fluke running for Congress
Tom Taylor highlights the effect she has had on the radio business since Rush Limbaugh made her famous: "What a difference two years has made in Fluke’s life, and in talk radio. What began as an alert by liberal monitoring group Media Matters about Rush’s birth-control comments has morphed into an ongoing social media campaign. The result has been a turnover in some – not all – of the traditional advertisers on Rush’s show, and other talk shows too. As this NOW Newsletter has reported since we launched in November 2012, the discomfort level toward talk radio by some advertisers has not only persisted, it’s even spread to all-news radio."


~Vanity Fair's Paltrow Takedown
Vanity Fair was rumored to be working on an epic takedown of Gwyneth Paltrow. Today they explained what is going on. As for me, I don't get the Paltrow-hatred thing at all. What am I missing about her? She seems like a decent person to me.

JOBC Cubs Almanac--February 5

Today's JOBC Cubs Almanac--the goat of the 1918 series, the 3rd baseman who got away, the future GM who got a game winning hit while John Lennon was apologizing for saying the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and more.

Check it out here.

Shovel This

I made it through about 1/3 of my driveway. Taking a break, then going back out. Usually when we get seven inches of snow the boys are home from school to help. This winter has made everyone sturdier, including the schools.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Joel Daly Gets the First Copy of "The Daly News"

This is always a big moment in an author's life...the moment when he or she gets to hold their brand new book for the first time. A few minutes ago, Joel Daly was handed the first copy of "The Daly News". Now the rest of them can go to press. We'll start sending them out next week. Pre-order your copy today.

Joel and his book

Benny & The Jets

This song was released exactly 40 years ago today. I bought the 45, which was not the live version we hear all the time these days. (I like it better, but I haven't been able to find it). Here's Elton performing the song on "Soul Train"...

A Sure-Fire Argument Starter

The WXRT website has a list of 10 of the worst and most overrated rock songs. I couldn't agree more about three of the songs on their list, but I also like three of the songs quite a bit. There's no way everyone will agree. Discussing bad or overrated songs is a sure way to start an argument. My list will probably start just as many arguments, if not more. Please note--I like all of these artists and bands, just not these songs.

Ready? Here goes...

"Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes
It's not terrible, it's just OK, and definitely not worthy of it's radio (over) airplay.

"She Loves You" by the Beatles
That's right. I said it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Disclaimer: My feelings about this song may be slightly influenced by working at an Oldies station and playing it every single day for ten years)

"Do Wah Diddy" by Mannfred Mann
See the disclaimer above.

"Eclipse" by Pink Floyd
Ugh. I can't change the station quickly enough.

"Hurts So Good" by John Cougar Mellencamp
He evolved after that one.

"Peaceful Easy Feeling" by the Eagles
It's nice, but it's not rock and roll. To my ear, they didn't really rock until Joe Walsh joined the band.

"Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns & Roses
Where do we go, where do we go, now? I go to the next song.

"Take the Money & Run" by Steve Miller
The grammatical mistakes in this song are like nails on a chalkboard to me. He took the money and ran, Steve. That's the way you say it in English.

"Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones
Wow are they bad singers, but they never sounded worse than they do on this one. My dog howls during the harmonies.

"Let 'Em In" by Paul McCartney
You know how much I love Paul, and the melody on this song is actually pretty darn catchy, but wow are these lyrics stupid. They couldn't be more stupid.

Today's Best Tweets--February 4

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

Chicago Cubs ‏@Cubs 5m
Two months until the #Cubs home opener at Wrigley Field!

Deadspin ‏@Deadspin 5m
Sochi's not ready yet, and staying there is a hilarious adventure:

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 17m
What on earth is going on in these Sochi bathroom signs?

Sarah Spain ‏@SarahSpain 12m
If I were out in Sochi covering the games I'd have a minimum of 10 stray dogs in my hotel room by Day 2. So awful.

Keith Olbermann ‏@KeithOlbermann 15m
Monday's Worsts: Putin now pre-arresting protestors (Don't Watch The Olympics, Either); Premature tattoo jocularity

Stephen Whyno ‏@SWhyno 4h
One of rooms Canada men's hockey team will stay in

Rolling Stone ‏@RollingStone 6m
Watch David Bowie play "Fame" at Howard Stern's 44th birthday bash:

CollegeHumor ‏@CollegeHumor 8m
9 Pick-Up Lines That Are Definite Red Flags How bout we rearrange the alphabet and put "P" on "U"?

Mary Dixon ‏@MaryLDixon 8m
After the last 2 months, I'm all, 'Whatever, winter. Bring it.'

Taegan Goddard ‏@politicalwire 15m
Surprise! Less War Improves Morale of Soldiers … via @rollcall

Media Spotlight--February 4

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~Linda Yu is Back!
Happy to hear it. I was worried about her after hearing she was involved in a motorcycle accident. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who has anything bad to say about Linda, and in the media world, that's a small club indeed.

Social Media

~Facebook is 10 years old today
And they are celebrating with a video look back.


~Advertising on the Oscars
The Oscars are second only to the Super Bowl for advertising, and you'll probably hear stories (like the one linked here) about sponsors bailing out of the broadcast. In this case, it's true that both Coca-Cola and Hyundai have backed out. The sub-head, however, shows why it's a non-story. GM and Pepsi instantly took their places.

~U2's Free Download Raises More Than $3 Million for AIDS fight
I know there are people who don't like U2 or think Bono is puffy and full of himself, but is there a group that more consistently does good for their fellow man?

~Roger Ebert wanted Philip Seymour Hoffman to Play Him in Movie
Roger's widow Chaz revealed that the other day. He would have been the perfect choice.

~Jerry Seinfeld on TV vs. Web
There's a video interview at the link, and it features this great line: "Why would I put a show in a box in your living room when I can put it right into your pocket?"

Today's Time Waste

I took the "Which Star Trek Character Are You?" quiz. Looks I'm comfortable with my feminine side...

Just One Bad Century--February 4

Today's JOBC Cubs Almanac--the man who stole first base, and a home run that was absolutely crushed...

Check it out here.

Russell Brand's Explanation of Addiction

This is a great piece by Russell Brand, explaining the inexplicable, drug and alcohol addiction. It's particularly helpful in understanding the Philip Seymour Hoffman story, even though it was written almost a year ago. There's something about addiciton that people who have never come across it don't understand (and by the way, who are these people?). How could someone who has it all throw it away? Is there a profound unhappiness within that person? Not necessarily. They may be perfectly happy. They may have everything going for them. But they just can't stop.

It sounds implausible, but I've seen it.

The Inaccuracies of WKRP in Cincinnati

Ken Levine's blog, if you don't have it bookmarked yet, is a great read for those of us who love classic television comedy (and radio!). Ken was a disc jockey and sportscaster, but he was also one of the all-time best sitcom writers. In this blog post from Friday, he examines the innacuraccies of WKRP in Cincinnati (one of my favorite shows).

Many of his observations here also hold true for "Frasier", by the way, which Ken wrote for several years.

Monday, February 03, 2014


My favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman movie was "Almost Famous". He was amazing as Lester Bangs...

Today's Best Tweets--Febuary 3

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

NYDN Politics ‏@NYDNPolitics 12m
‘SNL’ creator Lorne Michaels says Republicans take a joke better than Democrats.

Matt Yglesias ‏@mattyglesias 3m
Pushing back against @chucktodd’s slam on American beer:

670 The Score ‏@670TheScore 6m
Did you realize? Northwestern has climbed to 4th in Big Ten by rallying around Chris Collins, writes @CEmmaScout:

They're back! @PugsandCo and @HeyItsMeKelly return to Chicago radio! Listen now! #wgnfm

Los Angeles Times ‏@latimes 14m
This legal case perfectly underscores the differences between U.S. and Canadian gun laws

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 11m
Chicago Man Shoots Himself In The Toe While Cleaning Gun …

People magazine ‏@peoplemag 16m
Philip Seymour Hoffman posed for an eerie photo at Sundance two weeks before his death

Huffington Post ‏@HuffingtonPost 6m
"She's second only to bacon," says man who married wife at bacon fest

FreedomDork ‏@JackieBodnar Jan 31
RT @CorkGaines: To the surprise of nobody, Rob Ford enjoys a good tickle [reuters].

Brendan Nyhan ‏@BrendanNyhan 2h
The civic damage resulting from newspaper closures - empirical evidence in two new studies …

Media Spotlight--February 3

Every weekday in 2014, I'll be keeping an eye on what's happening in the media. My focus will be on some of my favorite subjects...the moguls, the pundits, the broadcast news biz, show business, and the publishing business. (Read "$everance" if you want a crystallization of my positions on those subjects.) And, of course, I'll also keep tabs on Chicago's media.

Chicago Media

~Greg Brown
My February media column has been posted at the Illinois Entertainer. This month I got into the weeds of disc-jockeying with WLS Radio's Greg Brown.

The internet version of WGN, which stars Johnny B and Harry Teinowitz, is adding a few other voices this week. Pugs & Kelly and Abe Kanan will be getting tryouts this week, according to Chicagoland Radio & Media. (I've previously interviewed Pugs for Chicago Radio Spotlight)

~Lineup Shuffle Coming to ABC-7
Robert Feder has the details about the implications of Katie Couric's departure, and it's good news for Jeopardy fans. It looks like it will be returning to it's old 3:30pm timeslot.

The Moguls

~Amazon's plan to take over the world
According to this piece, it's poised to become the biggest media company in the world.

~Rupert to be inducted into the TV Hall of Fame
The ceremony will be held on March 11. Details in the Guardian.

The Pundits

~O'Reilly's interview with the president
It was testy, but Bill finally got to ask questions about the non-scandals that Fox News is obsessed with. "These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them," the president said. Now Fox will get to spend a week obsessing that the president is blaming them for the non-scandals they just know are much bigger deals than everyone else in the world believes. It's a never-ending cycle.

~Katie's getting married
Katie Couric was a guest on Howard Stern's 60th birthday bash and spilled the beans about her upcoming wedding. People Magazine has more at the link.

~Bill Kristol to join ABC News
The Weekly Standard's editor Bill Kristol will become a panelist on George Stephanopolos' show "This Week". Basically he and George Will have just swapped jobs.


~Super Bowl Commercials
The New York Times analyzes this year's crop. I don't think there was a particularly memorable one in the whole bunch.


~Philip Seymour Hoffman
Sad news--the Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died yesterday of a drug overdose (the needle still in his arm). Addiction can take any life, even the great ones. I hope he's remembered for his work and not for the way he died. It usually doesn't work that way, unfortunately. Ask John Belushi's family.

~Jerry & George Reunion
They teased it on the Super Bowl commercial last night, and here's the full webisode at the link above.

The Day the Music Died

On this day in 1959, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Iowa.

It was four years before I was born, but I have since met many of the people affected by this important day in history. Bobby Vee filled in for Buddy Holly at the gig he was flying to--and became a star. We had him him on Landecker's show and he told the story. We also had Nicki Sullivan, one of the original Crickets, on the show.

Bob Hale was the MC of that last Buddy Holly gig, and I interviewed him a few years ago for Chicago Radio Spotlight. Here's the crucial part about the day the music died...

Rick: I know you've had to answer this question a million times, but please indulge us by answering it one more time. You were the Master of Ceremonies on February 2, 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa--the last concert by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. Describe the scene backstage for us, and explain your part in that ill-fated coin-flip.

Bob: The bus with Valens, Holly, Richardson, Dion, and Frankie Sardo arrived in the late afternoon…actually around 6PM . We hurriedly got them something to eat, and then all pitched in to set up for the performance. Those days were pre-high-fi days, so we had to deal with only one microphone. The tour manager was Sam Geller of the GAC Corporation (which would go on to purchase Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus). As the set-up was taking place, Buddy was playing the piano. Sam and I were listening and he said to me, “This guy is going to be one of the greatest popular music composers of our time. He’s so talented – he can play so many instruments, and he creates such interesting music.”

Buddy’s talents were put to use during the concert as he played the drums during the Dion set. The regular drummer, Charlie Bunch was in the hosp[ital in Green Bay , Wisconsin , having suffered frostbite on the broken down bus! Buddy would play the drums for Dion’s set, which began the second half of the show. The first half was Frankie Sardo, and Big Bopper.

The second half, Dion and the Belmonts, followed by Buddy.

When Dion’s set was over, I sat down with him on the riser in front of the drum set and asked him to introduce his musicians. When it came time for the drummer Dion said something like: “This fellow is taking the place of Charlie Bunch, our regular drummer who is in the hospital in Green Bay suffering from frost bite. Um...let’s see…the drummer’s name…is…ah, oh yeah! BUDDY HOLLY!”

Buddy jumped up, grabbed his guitar and began singing “Gotta Travel On.” The backup men quickly changed places and joined Buddy before he was half way through the first stanza.

There was some drama taking place off-stage, even before we got started, actually. At one point Bopper was sitting with my wife, Kathy, and me in a booth. Kathy was expecting our first child, and Bopper said something like, “That’s what I miss most…being around my wife when the baby moves. Kathy, may I feel your baby moving?” Kathy took Bopper’s hand and placed it on her stomach as the baby moved. Bopper smiled: “I can’t wait to get home to do that.”

Interestingly, no such conversation took place involving Buddy. We didn’t even know at that point that Maria was expecting.

During intermission the back-and-forth conversation between Bopper and Waylon Jennings took place, resulting in Waylon giving up his seat to Bopper. At that point Waylon uttered a phrase that would haunt him all his life – “Well, OKAY, but I hope your plane crashes!”

Years later, at a social gathering in Kentucky, Waylon and I recalled that night. He said: “Man, there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t wish I could take back that comment. The next day when I got the news in Fargo, I went nuts. I cried, I yelled. And I began to drink. Drugs helped along the way. Of course, I realized years down the road I was killing myself, so I quit. I don’t know, maybe deep inside I was so damned guilty, I was trying to kill myself!” He admitted that no matter how long he'd live, he’d always be haunted by Feb 3rd 1959.

After the show was over that night, Tommy Allsup, pressured by Ritchie Valens, said, “Let’s flip a coin.” It’s at this point that two versions of the coin flip emerge. Tommy maintains he flipped the coin; I maintain that as soon as he suggested it, he reached into his pocket and realized he had no money – he was still in his stage clothes. He asked me if I had a coin. I took out a 50 cent piece, said to Ritchie, “OKAY, Ritchie, you want to go, you call it.”


“Heads it is, Ritchie, you’re flying.”

Tommy said, “OKAY,” and went out to the car to retrieve his bags which he’d already put in Carroll Anderson’s car. Regardless which version of the coin toss you hear or accept neither Tommy nor I demand “ownership.” We’ve talked about this, and have no emotional investment in either version. What we agree on is that night was a tragedy and an extremely emotional one for us all.

Rick: What was that next day like?

Bob: February 3rd would be a painful day for family, friends, fellow-musicians, and for those who attended the Winter Dance Party. Within minutes of my announcing the plane crash – I was pulling the 9 to noon shift on the 3rd, teens began arriving at the station (KRIB) just to talk. It became a day-long wake, Pepsi and Coke distributors brought extra cases to our studios – we had so many people just “hanging around.” Parents came, too. Many had been at the Surf the night before. It was the custom of Carroll Anderson to invite parents to the weekly record hops free of charge. Many teens and parents were in tears.

Some students from Waldorf College had been at the Surf the night before. Some came to the studios. I interviewed college as well as high school students. What I didn’t know at the time was that Waldorf, a two-year Lutheran college, did not condone dancing! The school had a rigid Danish-Lutheran background which was extremely conservative in social activities – “Sad Danes,” they were called in Lutheran circles. When the school heard about the students who’d been to the Surf, they immediately suspended the dozen or so students for a couple of weeks. No comments on the deaths – just on “school policy.” Fortunately time has given Waldorf a more enlightened school administration, as well as transforming the college into a four-year, well respected liberal arts college.

On the way home in the afternoon, after conducting about two-dozen telephone interviews with radio stations across the country, I drove by the crash site. The bodies had still not been removed, as the ambulances were still in the corn field. I could not bring myself to walk the hundred yards to the site – and to this day, I’ve not been able to make that walk!
And Bob Dearborn became an expert on the song about that day ("American Pie") and became a nationwide sensation with his interpretation of the song. I worked with Bob at WJMK, and got to know him well enough to ask him to write a guest blog for me on the anniversary of Buddy's death. He was gracious enough to comply...

The Day the Music Died
By Bob Dearborn

Some dates – December 7, 1941; November 22, 1963; August 16, 1977; September 11, 2001 – remain as indelible in our minds as our memory of the shocking events that took place on those dates.

We have just marked the anniversary of another stunning tragedy, one not as big as those others but an important milestone for many people of my generation and, to be sure, for me personally: 55 years ago, three popular young music stars perished on what came to be called a dozen years later, “The Day The Music Died.”

In the very early hours of February 3, 1959, a small plane chartered after a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, crashed shortly after takeoff leaving all four on board dead: the pilot, singer Ritchie Valens (‘La Bamba,’ ‘Donna’), J.P. Richardson who performed under the name, "The Big Bopper” (‘Chantilly Lace’), and Charles Hardin Holley, known by millions of his fans the world over as Buddy Holly.

I had seen death before, close up, although the earlier experience for me was more curious than catastrophic, more surreal than sad. Oh, I liked my grandparents, all right, but I was 10 and 11 years of age when they died and I hadn't developed enough yet intellectually or emotionally to really understand or feel an impact of their passing.

Of course, two years later, I was much more mature, and starting to realize all kinds of important things. What a revelation it was to discover that music could be about more than the beat, that movies and TV shows could be more than shoot ‘em ups and car chases, that the sudden loss and finality of death could be devastatingly sad.

The first time I was really moved by the passing of someone I cared about was when Buddy Holly died – somebody I “knew” only from his music, his hit records, his appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

I couldn't have guessed it at the time that his music would have a great influence on future generations of musicians and songwriters, including the young, not-yet-famous Beatles and Rolling Stones. I just knew I liked it. From “Peggy Sue” and “That'll Be The Day” through everything that followed, I was first a fan of his music.

He changed the style of rock ‘n’ roll music by altering the chorus and verse pattern of contemporary song composition. He popularized the four-man group configuration. Buddy was the one who advised Elvis to get a drummer (to join Scotty and Bill in Elvis’ backup band). He was the first rock ‘n’ roll singer to use violins, a whole string section, on his records (‘It Doesn't Matter Anymore’). For a man who enjoyed fame for only the last year and a half of his young life, he made the most of it. Leaving his fingerprints all over contemporary music, his influence has been felt and his popularity has sustained for almost 50 years.

It was more than the music for me, however. In an era of pretty-boy teenage idols ruling the music charts, here was this young Texan who was kinda … geeky. He wore horn-rimmed glasses on his face and his emotions on his sleeve for all to see and hear – from the youthful pedal-to-the-metal exuberance of songs like “Rave On” and “Oh, Boy!” to the playful intimacy of a song like “Heartbeat.”

This guy was not only different and good, he was the first rock ‘n’ roll star that I could relate to, since I was a gawky, sensitive, geeky kid with black, horn-rimmed glasses, too! Buddy Holly’s acclaim and success confirmed that it was okay to be and look that way, that I was okay. He was MY hero. And his death was a crushing blow.

Ritchie, the Bopper and Buddy were the first popular music/rock ‘n’ roll heroes to die suddenly, shockingly at a young age. Theirs are the first names on a list that we review with heartache for its scope and length: Eddie, Johnny and Jesse … Patsy, Gentleman Jim … Sam, Otis and Frankie … Janis, Jim, Jimi, Ronnie and Duane … Jim, Rick, Karen, John, Harry … Marvin and Stevie Ray. Elvis. John.

Each time the bell has tolled, we've been stunned to learn of the loss of another hero, another artist who touched us with their music, a person we never met but who was so much a part of our lives that we viewed them as friends. And, too, with each passage, we've felt the loss of yet another important touchstone of our youth.

For me that all started with Buddy Holly. I was changed by his presence while he was alive, profoundly moved by his untimely death, always transformed by his music. And touched yet again by all of that in late 1971 when I first heard Don McLean’s brilliant composition, “American Pie.” Masterpiece is not a big enough word to describe that recording.

The song’s story begins with Buddy Holly’s death … as felt and told by one of his great fans, Don McLean. The clever metaphors of American Pie’s lyrics, then as now, leave many people confused, unable to understand what the song is about. Don and I are the same age, we lived through the same music era with similar reactions to all the changes that occurred, and we were, first and foremost, big Buddy Holly fans. I knew immediately what Don was saying in that song.

Where did all this lead? I invite you to click on the link below that'll take you to a Web site that Jeff Roteman created in tribute to my analysis of American Pie. I hope you enjoy “the rest of the story” at this site, that it helps you appreciate what a wonderful piece of work American Pie is, that it makes you want to know more about Buddy Holly and his music, and that you find the experience a fitting observation for the anniversary of “The Day The Music Died.”

Bob's Full "American Pie" analysis can be found right here.

Bob's excellent The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac can be found here.

Just One Bad Century--February 3

Today's JOBC Almanac--Norman Rockwell, a Newt, a Tiger, and three generations of big leaguers.

Check it out here.

14 Books You Could Have Read Instead of Watching the Super Bowl

It was a bad game, and the commercials weren't even good. What else could you have done during that time?

PBS has a list of 14 books you could have read instead. Some of them are classics.

Maybe next year...unless the Bears are in it.

Ground Hog

This just about sums it up. Thanks to "TS" for sending this. What did the ground hog say yesterday? First of all, he doesn't talk, so he didn't say anything. Secondly, Who cares? It's a rodent, and has no earthly idea what the weather will be like for the next six weeks.

High School Rankings

US News & World Report came out with their annual rankings of America's high schools. My two oldest sons attend the #9 school in Illinois! Pure luck on our part. It just happens to be the school within walking distance of our house.

World Cup '14

It's another World Cup year in 2014, and this year the World Cup will be held in Brazil. I like this first ad I've seen promoting it. This one's by Nike...