Friday, October 03, 2014

All we are saying, is give Pease a chance

My friends Scott & Dina have a dog named Pease (photo--the bigger dog). He's one of the candidates for WCIU's Top Dog contest.

You can vote for him here.

All we are saying, is give Pease a chance.

Another Former News Corp Editor Pleads Guilty

Not that anyone seems to care about this, but yet another News Corp former editor has pleaded guilty to phone hacking.

Details in Rupert's very own Wall Street Journal.

The Economy

Don't look now, but the unemployment rate is below 6% for the first time in many years. Almost 250,000 jobs added last month. Stock market at record levels.

Wouldn't know it if you watched the news, but things are not terrible right now.

How to Pour a Perfect Beer

Incredibly important information...

College Radio Day

This is fitting, considering the topic of my IE column this month (see story below this one). From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Today is “College Radio Day,” encouraging tune-in on the left-side of the dial… There are some very well-done radio stations there and always, there’s interesting audio content that you may not normally pay attention to. Officially, “The aim of College Radio Day is to raise a greater, international awareness of the many college and high school radio stations by encouraging people who would not normally listen to college radio to do so on this day…college radio is one of the last remaining bastions of creative radio programming, free from the constrictions of having to be commercially viable, and a place where those involved in its programming believe passionately in its mission.” The organizers believe that “College radio is the only free live medium brave enough to play unsigned, local, and independent artists on a regular basis.” This story’s headline is “left-side of the dial,” but some college stations also operate outside the “reserved” band for non-coms, which is 91.9 and below. They’re worth checking out. As College Radio Day says, “Put simply, college radio is an important part of the media landscape because of its unique and fearless programming.” And radio could use more of that attitude, couldn’t it? And perhaps some of the talent and ideas from college radio.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Rockin' For You

My latest media column has been posted in the Illinois Entertainer. This month it's a tribute to all my fellow WPGUers in Chicago media, including Rick O'Dell, Robin Baumgarten, Alex Quigley, Wendy Rice, Charlie Meyerson, Kathy Voltmer, Phil Manicki, Greg Easterling, Marc Vernon, Brian TheMix, Adam Harris, Andrea Darlas, Melissa Forman, Dane Placko, Jon Hansen, Lise Dominique, and Gene Honda.

You can read it here.

The Beatles Mono

Mark Caro reviews Beatles mono on vinyl box in today's Tribune.

Doggone it.

Looks like I'm going to be spending some cash again.

Fox News is Ratings Champ

Why is this country so ridiculously polarized? A news station that only reports the stories its viewers want to see, with the slant they want to see it, is #1. From TV Newser...

Fox News Channel reached a historic milestone in the just-finished third quarter. Not only is the network once again the most-watched news channel, but for the first time ever FNC was No. 1 in extended primetime total viewers (7-11pmET/Mon-Fri) in all of basic cable – topping ESPN, USA and TNT. It’s also the first time since the first quarter of 2003 that Fox News was No. 1 in primetime (8-11pmET).

The bubble expands.

For the record, by the way, I don't blame Fox News for giving people what they want. I blame people for not wanting to know what is really happening. Don't ever challenge yourselves, people. The world is exactly as you think it is all the time. Continue to live in absolute certainty. Your side good. Everyone else bad.

FCC Drops Sports Blackout Rules

This rule really is a relic of a bygone era. From Radio Online...

The Order finds that the Commission's sports blackout rules are no longer justified in light of the significant changes in the sports industry since these rules were first adopted nearly forty years ago. At that time, ticket sales were the primary source of revenue for the NFL and most NFL games failed to sell out. Today, television revenues have replaced ticket sales as the NFL's main source of revenue, and blackouts of NFL games are increasingly rare. The NFL is the most profitable sports league in the country, with $6 billion in television revenue per year, and only two games were blacked out last season.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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 the 1950s. Every month I post something about a year or era.

The early-to-mid 1990s in Green White history has now been posted, and features former team members recalling a major championship, the most famous person to ever play on the Green White fields, and a visit from members of the U.S. Men's National Team.

Hot Dougs

Hot Dougs, one of the best hot dog joints in Chicago, is closing it's doors for good. People have been lining up for hours to get one last hot dog. Time Out Chicago has some of the funniest tweets from and about the line.

I've been there many times. My buddies Dave, Dane and I ate there semi-regularly for a few years. The hot dogs were very good. Not wait-in-line good, but good.

I'm trying to think what I would wait in line for these days. Coming up empty. I don't think there's a single thing.

Live Tweeting a Drunk Woman on an Airplane

Gawker has all the tweets from a Modern Family editor/director who was live tweeting the comments and actions of the woman right in front of her.

Pretty darn funny.

Chicago Radio Ratings

The ratings came out again yesterday. Tom Taylor provides a summary in his NOW newsletter...

Chicago – Univision’s regional Mexican WOJO (3.7-3.6-4.3) dislodges Cumulus classic hits WLS-FM (4.4-4.6-4.0) from fifth place with its best score since November 2012. But for iHeart’s own regional Mexican “El Patron” WNUA, it’s a recent low, 2.1-2.0-1.5. Chicago’s top four look very familiar – iHeart’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ (6.1-5.9-5.9), CBS all-news WBBM (and simulcast WCFS), 5.5-5.4-5.5, iHeart’s Top 40 “Kiss” WKSC, 4.5-4.7-4.7, and Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX, 4.9-4.8-4.6. A softish book for CBS country WUSN, 4.5-4.3-4.0, which ties with WLS-FM. No more oxygen this month for Tribune’s talk WGN, 3.6-3.7-3.6. CBS Radio’s “K-Hits” classic hits WJMK delivers a four-year-best, 2.3-2.7-2.8. Chicago Public Media’s news/talk WBEZ attains a three-year high, 1.4-1.9-2.1. But just a flicker of movement for Cumulus talk WLS, 1.4-1.6-1.4. In sports, there’s CBS Radio’s “Score” WSCR, 1.9-2.1-2.2 and ESPN-run WMVP (1.6-1.3-1.3). Tribune-leased “Game” WGWG (the audio of a low power Channel 6 TV station) is flat, 0.3-0.4-0.4. Digity’s north-suburban “95 WIIL Rock” WIIL breaks a 1-share in the Chicago book, 0.7-0.8-1.1. CHR “Kiss” is the Windy City’s cume leader at an estimated 2,318,900.

Robert Feder breaks down the dayparts...




Monday, September 29, 2014

The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra

These secret recordings were done inside the Federal Reserve, and they involve how and why regulators operate. It basically confirms everything you think about special treatment for the big boys, and the system being rigged. Not exactly encouraging if you're worried about a repeat performance of 2008.

Don't believe me. Check out the transcript for yourself. It aired on NPR.

As the Rupert Turns

Rupert Murdoch (photo) may be one of the richest and most successful media barons of all-time, but his personal life is a soap opera.

The latest episode stars his daughter.

She was once in the old man's favor, seemingly poised to take over when he retired or died. No more. Each of the sons have also had that carrot dangled in front of them and yanked away.

Who knows what's really going to happen next. Tune in next episode to find out.

Dahl vs. de Castro & Cochran

I don't know if you saw this over the weekend, but Robert Feder had a few very interesting columns.

The first one was a recap of Steve Dahl's most recent podcast. He apparently went on a ten minute rant against WGN calling it the "worst station ever", and unloaded on Jimmy de Castro, Bill Leff, Wendy Snyder, Steve Cochran, their decision to let the Cubs go, their terrible commercials, and more. Read the article at the link for the exact quotes.

The second article was Steve Cochran's response--an open letter to Dahl. The title of the piece is "Why so bitter Steve?" Cochran rips Dahl right back, saying that Steve was funnier when Bill and Wendy appeared on his show, and he should get over being bypassed by WGN by listening to his old tapes of when he used to be funny.

Whoa. Reminds me of the old days.

For the record, I agree with a few of Dahl's criticisms of WGN (especially the part about losing the Cubs and the ridiculous number of live commercials on the station), but I don't agree about Bill & Wendy, and I'm willing to cut de Castro some slack for the photograph that set Steve off. It's a photo from Pat Hughes getting inducted into the WGN walk of fame. Steve was upset that de Castro was front and center, seemingly trying to "hog the glory." I suspect there's a more innocent explanation of that, like somebody noticed Jimmy wasn't in the picture before it was taken, and asked him to hop in. Maybe I'm wrong.

As for Cochran's letter to Dahl, he is correct that people at WGN seem to be happy working for Jimmy. I've interviewed several of them now, and they all ethusiastically praise him. On the other hand, I think Cochran is incorrect when he says that Jimmy didn't need Steve back in the day--Steve needed Jimmy. That's really not the way it went down.

Steve & Garry helped create that AM 1000 station with de Castro. Jimmy may have found Brandmeier, but he didn't find Steve & Garry. They were already huge stars in Chicago. They were more than just air-fillers. They gave the Loop AM instant credibility. They helped recruit the rest of the lineup (including Kevin Matthews) and helped guide the station in the direction of their vision. Jimmy was there too, obviously, and provided a great atmosphere for success, but I think even he would agree that he couldn't have done it without Steve and Garry.

I suspect Cochran only said that to ding Dahl, who had already dinged Cochran.

I'm only commenting on this whole episode because I received several e-mails asking my opinion. Take my analysis for what it's worth. Yes, I did work for both Dahl and de Castro, but that was more than twenty years ago. Yes, I know Steve Cochran and have interviewed him multiple times, but I haven't spoken to him about this.

I have zero insider information.

Just educated hunches.