Friday, August 15, 2014

Gregory Out, Todd In

I wasn't a huge fan of David Gregory on Meet the Press, but doesn't it feel like he was shoved out the door in an unseemly manner? Maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age.

Chuck Todd is going to be the new host.

And I thought the drinking was what would kill me...

Turns out it wasn't the binge drinking I did in college that was detrimental to my health (not that it was good for me). According to this article there was another staple of my college years that was even more damaging. Would you believe it was Ramen Noodles.


45 years ago today, the Woodstock Music festival was going on in upstate New York. I obviously wasn't there (I was 6), but I have watched the movie. To me, this is the highlight. Incredible performance by Joe Cocker...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Culture Club

I did not see this coming. From today's RAMP Newsletter

Big news for the many fans of '80s icons Culture Club -- for the first time in over a decade, the band has reformed and will be going out on tour with the original line-up -- (l-r): Jon Moss (drums and percussion), Mikey Craig (bass guitar), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards) and Boy George (lead vocals). Culture Club was formed in 1981 and enjoyed massive success during the '80s, as radio stations pumped out their hits like "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," "Time (Clock of the Heart)," "I'll Tumble 4 Ya," "Karma Chameleon," "Miss Me Blind," and "Church of the Poison Mind."

I have my own Culture Club story. It goes back to 1985. Boy George was one of the most famous singers in the entire world, and his band The Culture Club had just released their third album. Unfortunately, their third album was a flop. The record was floundering, and the crowds were not coming out to see the concerts. I think the best way to describe how badly it was going for them was this--one day the program director of a radio station in Champaign-Urbana received a phone call offering up Boy George as an in-studio guest.

That program director was me.

I accepted the offer immediately, of course. I was also doing the afternoon show on WPGU at the time, and Boy George was far and away the biggest celebrity I ever had the opportunity to interview. I researched his controversial career diligently, and had a long list of questions ready.

He was scheduled to arrive at 4:00 p.m. Around 3:15 one of the WPGU staffers came into the air studio to tell me that a huge crowd was forming outside the radio station door. That was certainly a new phenomenon for us, and only made me more nervous. Around 3:45 the same WPGU staffer told me that a limo had pulled up to the door, seen the big crowd and left. By 4:30 it was pretty clear that Boy George had been spooked by the rabid fans, and had decided to cancel the interview without telling us.

I did what any professional broadcaster would have done at that moment. I asked my friend Dave to come into the studio and pretend like he was Boy George. We were having a great time goofing around. Dave talked in the worst British accent you’ve ever heard, jokingly referred to himself as “Oy George” (Dave is Jewish), and began describing his favorite sandwiches in ridiculous detail. Imagine our surprise when a newspaper photographer arrived at the studio about ten minutes later.

“I was listening on the radio and heard you had Boy George here,” he said.

“Did he sound like this?” I asked, pointing to Dave, who used that same horribly fake British accent in front of the photographer.

“Yeah,” the photographer said. “Where is he?”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP Lauren Bacall

She was 89 years old. This is my favorite scene from her movie career...

Heaping Abuse on the Survivors

This is just sick. What has Robin Williams' daughter seen/heard since her father's tragic death? Tweets of his photoshopped dead body. Snippy comments about the lack of photos of the two of them together. Rush Limbaugh's comments claiming Robin killed himself because he was a liberal.

Wow, just wow.

The Invention of Golf

Not suitable for work, but highly entertaining...

Jimmy de Castro

Robert Feder interviewed my old boss Jimmy de Castro. It's an entertaining interview. Jimmy is upbeat, as always. I worked for him at the Loop for several years in the late 80s, and that's just the way he's wired. He's one of the most memorable people I worked with in my career. On the other hand, last time I saw him and said hello, he had no memory of me at all. Not even a flicker of recognition, and I worked about ten feet away from him for about three years. Guess I'm not one of those memorable people. :)

The Continuing Saga of Casey Kasem's Dead Body

From Tom Taylor's NOW column this morning...

The Associated Press reports that after having Casey’s remains shipped (inexplicably) across the Canadian border to a funeral home in Montreal, his widow Jean Kasem may be preparing to send them across the Atlantic Ocean to Oslo, Norway. That’s what TMZ hears, about Jean’s possible plans. Casey was already far from his Los Angeles home when he died on June 15. Now the three adult children from his first marriage wonder if he’s being transported even further away – as daughter Kerri continues to explore the question of whether this is a case of elder abuse, when Casey was under the care of Jean Kasem. Kerri wonders if Jean is trying to avoid a legal investigation.

Chicago by Ryan Chiaverini

The co-host of Windy City Live on ABC-Channel 7 has released a song and video about Chicago...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dead Poet Society

A really great movie. RIP Robin. This scene still gets me...

Joel Daly Reviewed & Interviewed by the Chicago Bar Association Record

The Chicago Bar Association Record has a great review and interview with Eckhartz Press author Joel Daly in their August issue. Below is the interview section of the article, written by Ruth Kaufman...

Former Channel 7 news anchor and reporter, attorney, pilot, singer and actor Joel Daly’s memoir, The Daly News: A Life on Television News, might never have been written if not for his granddaughter, Kate Scott Daly. After hearing his stories at family Sunday dinners, she told him she wanted to write his biography. So he assembled background information for her, including the Commentaries he wrote for WLS-TV. She recorded some of Daly’s tales, but then got too busy to complete the project. When painters came to his house, he had nowhere to sit. So he went to his office and decided he'd write the book, since he’d already done most of the preparation and background work.

“I didn't know if I could write a book or not, or if I had enough to say,” Daly said. “I knew I didn't want to start with, ‘I was born.’ I pride myself on being fairly good writer, which is why I enjoyed doing the Commentaries.” It only took him a couple of months to write.

Daly first self-published, then heard a story about Eckhartz Press, which had done WLS-FM and former WLS-AM DJ John Records Landecker’s memoir. He contacted Eckhartz because he wanted his book to reach a bigger audience.

But going with a publisher meant making a few changes. For example, just mentioning The Beatles wasn’t enough for his editor, who wanted to know more about them and also George Wallace, former governor of Alabama. “Everyone thought, ‘Oh, you met The Beatles,’ but it wasn’t a big deal to me at the time,” Daly says.

Since publication, he’s done a few book signings and interviews, including one on WGN radio with Bob Sirott and on Channel 7’s Windy City Live. He answered audience Qs at a signing at the Beverly Art Center.

“It just all happened,” Daly says of the major events in his life. “I was more of a reactionary, opportunities came up. I'm a lucky guy. I was always that way. In retrospect, I always wanted to keep learning. So when I became a pilot, I became a commercial pilot then a flight instructor. I wanted to be better, and the way to do that was to get more ratings.”

He continued, “The whole singing thing was a fluke. I was writing an article on country music for the Tribune, and went to a Sundowners concert. They said, ‘Hey, Joel Daly is here.’ I sang as a guest because of my yodeling.” He performed with them for years.

Going to law school had been on his mind for thirty years, even as an undergrad. But his decision to attend at age 50 was as spontaneous as described in the book. “I never sat down and said, ‘I want to do this.’ It just happened. If I hadn’t been taken off the 10:00 news, I wouldn’t have become a lawyer. That’s serendipity.” He “really enjoyed law school,” but said “some professors were dubious at first,” because he was still anchoring the 4:00 news.

Though The Daly News is jam-packed with Daly’s accomplishments, a couple were left out. He’s been doing radio shows at the Chicago Cultural Center with the SAG-AFTRA Senior Players for 20 years and also performs in dramatic readings of movies in “Films for the Ears.” His favorite role in the former was the Lone Ranger, and in the latter, Howard Beale from Network.

What’s next for this Renaissance man? His main role right now is taking care of his wife, but he’d like to do more acting.
Naturally this fabulous book is available one place...Eckhartz Press. Get your copy today.

McCartney to Close Candlestick

From today's RAMP Newsletter...

August 29, 1966 marks an historic date for Beatles fans worldwide -- it marked the band's final official concert, and the site was San Francisco's legendary Candlestick Park. With the Giants now playing at Pac Bell Park and the 49ers moving into their new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara this season, Candlestick is scheduled to be demolished. Therefore, it's only fitting that, nearly 50 years after that landmark Beatles concert, the final event ever to be held at the venerable venue is Sir Paul McCartney's "Farewell To Candlestick" concert this Thursday, August 14.

Soccer Talk

NBC is going the extra mile to support it's coverage of the Premiere League this season. From Variety...

NBCSN said it had lured Embassy Row President Michael Davies and writer Roger Bennett to its fold to produce soccer program “Men In Blazers” for TV and digital outlets in an attempt to burnish the network’s investment in English Premier League soccer. The two had previously been contributing soccer commentary to ESPN during recent World Cup coverage and contributing a soccer-related podcast to the Walt Disney unit’s Grantland outlet. “Men In Blazers” will air on NBCSN and stream on and the NBC Sports Live Extra app weekly on Mondays beginning in the first month of the Premier League season. The show will follow NBC Sports Group’s weekend Premier League coverage. Bennett will also serve as a special contributor on television, providing on-site features from the U.K. and making monthly studio appearances alongside Premier League Live host Rebecca Lowe. He will also contribute long-form features to

Pre-Mork Robin Williams

Everybody I saw yesterday was saying the same thing. "Can you believe he's gone?"

I was watching all sorts of clips of his stand up last night, and this is one I really like. Maybe not the funniest thing he ever did, but this was in his pre-Mork days. You can see him totally take over a room even when nobody had any idea who he was. Incredibly brave comedy...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Landecker in Georgetown, Illinois

I posted a full report about our memorable weekend in downstate Illinois on the Eckhartz Press blog. There are a bunch of photos too.

Check it out here.

The Alma Mater

I hadn't been back in several years. Dave and I stopped by the old school in Champaign-Urbana on our way to the John Landecker appearance in Georgetown, Illinois...

New Market Manager for Hubbard

A few months ago, Hubbard quietly pushed out their market manager (Jerry Schnacke) to oversee the Mix (101.9), the Drive (97.1) and FM 100.3, and the position has remained open until last week.

The new market manager is John Gallagher, who once managed the ABC stations in Chicago.

Amazon's Fight Against Hachette Gets Nasty

Amazon took a very unusual step over the weekend. They sent out a letter to their customers, to get them to send nasty e-mails to the CEO of Hachette.

They framed it as amazon fighting for the little guy (you) in it's fight againt the big publishers who want to charge you more money (Hachette), and it actually gave out the e-mail address of Hachette's CEO.

Look, you may believe whatever you want, but if you believe amazon is on the side of the little guy (you), you are living in an alternative universe. Amazon is trying to take over the world.