Friday, January 09, 2015


I feel very stupid--I just discovered an extra in-box on Facebook. I've always known about the usual facebook messenger, but there's also a category called "other". I'm so sorry I never responded to all of you who contacted me that way. I never saw your messages until today, and there were hundreds of them from readers, fans, and old friends trying to reach me over the past three or four years. I feel terrible.

My apologies.

You can always reach me here:

I know that e-mail is old school, but I'm old, so it works for me.

The Bears Hire a New GM

His name is Ryan Pace, and he's the former director of player personel for the New Orleans Saints.

Hub Arkush starts off his review of the hiring with this sentence: "George McCaskey is on a hot streak."

Read the whole write up here. Hub isn't always right, but he sure knows a lot more about football than I do.

I'm not going to worry about what it says about my ever approaching dementia that the new Bears GM is 15 years younger than me.

Cubs to Remain on WGN-TV

Cubs games will remain on WGN-TV in Chicago for the next five years (with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies).

Robert Feder has the details.

Tony Fitzpatrick Heart Surgery

My old Loop pal Tony Fitzpatrick underwent pretty serious heart surgery yesterday. His brother Kevin updated Tony's friends on Facebook...

To all of you who have been thinking, praying and sending wonderful thoughts toward Tony, I'm updating you with very good news. His surgery went very well and ultimately did wind up with 4 bypasses and a repaired valve. He has come out of surgery and has responded to a few simple tests with reflexes. He has seen Michele and Max and even on the ventilator expressed a great deal of glee and recognition. He was clearly happy to see them. He's going to be sedated for a full day and the holiday for him will end on Saturday when the important work begins. He's got a new lease on life on account of some very outstanding doctors, nurses and staff who have all dedicated themselves to helping him. So far, so good. No, actually very good. There are still some milestones to get past, this is very serious stuff. But, we're thrilled to report that at this moment, everything has gone even a little better than anyone expected. Thank you to all of you for your warm thoughts and words. He'll see all this soon enough but it will be several days before he can begin responding.

Hug every person you love,
Kevin Fitzpatrick, grateful brother, on behalf of our whole family.
Get well soon, Tony. We're all rooting for you.

Bill Cosby Returns to the Stage

Bill Cosby had been laying low for a while, but he returned to the stage last night in Ontario.

Two hecklers had to be removed for screaming he was a rapist, and Cosby made a joke to a woman who was getting up to get a drink ("you have to be careful drinking around me"), but other than that it was business as usual. On the other hand, being called a rapist while you're on stage isn't exactly business as usual.

I suspect for Bill Cosby that old reality is gone forever.

These Ain't My Pants

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter, this little tidbit regarding WGN Radio's Pete McMurray...

Access Hollywood host Billy Bush, who McMurray describes as "a great friend of the show," is hosting NBC's Red Carpet Sunday leading into the Globes. During a recent conversation (posted online), Bush committed to do something very special for Pete's legions of listeners on live TV during his broadcast -- he promised to casually work the phrase-that-pays, "These ain't my pants" into one of his celebrity interviews. For those who may be unfamiliar with a) that particular phrase, or b) McMurray's show, it's a well-known fact that his Executive Producer/co-host Scott R. Miller (right) is an unnaturally avid viewer of the syndicated show Cops, and is well acquainted with the show's rhythms and tendencies. "Scott noticed that in most episodes, a guy will get arrested, they search him, find drugs in his pants and the guy ends up saying, 'These ain't my pants,'" McMurray tells RAMP. "Our listeners have run with it and it's become a favorite catchphrase." McMurray bet Bush he couldn't somehow incorporate that phrase into his live coverage, and Bush eagerly took the bet. As Bush told McMurray, "When Reese Witherspoon walks up, THAT'S WHEN I WILL DO IT!"

I'm still not going to watch the red carpet show, but if someone else sees it, please let me know. That's a good bit.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Q & A with Mitch Michaels

Always loved Mitch. I listened to him in high school when he was on the Loop. I've met him a few times since then, and interviewed him, and he and I get along splendidly.

This is a great Q&A with Mitch in the January issue of West Suburban Living. I'd like to give the writer of the piece his or her props too, but no name is attached to it.

Give me an "L"

When I see what kind of schools Chicago has (according to the graphic below), I begin to understand the problems we have in this country.

Happy Birthday Lucky Jackson

The King would have been 80 years old today...

Here is the last song he ever performed in public in 1977. Yikes...

Baseball's Right Around the Corner

Writing it down on the calendar...Pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training on February 19th.

At least that's the date for the Cubs. Not sure about the other teams.

Don't really care about the other teams.

Home Depot is Radio's #1 Advertiser

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

The national home fix-it chain bought a grand total of 2,316,016 spots on national radio last year, per the year-end tally from Media Monitors. That’s well ahead of the second-largest user of paid radio spots, GEICO, at 1,872,660 spots. (iHeart shows in the #2 spot, but those are non-revenue spots promoting the iHeart app and various events.) #4 is McDonalds, at 1,381,907 spots for the year. #5 is the Walgreens national drugstore chain at 1,261,860. The rest of the top ten – AutoZone (1,042,736). The federal government’s Department of Health & Human Services (871,099). National retailer Macy’s (866,300). O’Reilly Auto Parts, the second of two national auto parts chains in the top ten, at 855,262. And the TrueCar consumer information site at 805,498. The second ten shows four wireless companies – MetroPCS (#14), Boost Mobile (#15), Verizon Wireless (#16) and AT&T Wireless (#19).

The Steve Kroft Affair

I know this is tabloid reporting (New York Post/National Enquirer), but the details of 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft's extra-marital affair are pretty disturbing. I can't get the visual of him "pouring champagne into his mistress' hind quarters for a refreshing snack" out of my head.

These stories and more, at the link.

Don't read it while you are consuming a meal.

No Satire Here

When they start coming after the satirists, I admittedly get a little nervous.

I would just like to point out to the terrorists of the world that I haven't written a satire since 2007. My business card does NOT say satirist and this post is not intended to be satirical. Want to hear a joke? Don't know any.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Reviews for Records Truly Is My Middle Name

The book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" must have been a popular Christmas gift this year, because it has surged back up into the top 5 of broadcasting books on amazon.

I haven't read the reviews lately, but wow, I'm blown away by some of these recent 5 star reviews...

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Behind the Scenes Look at the Heyday of Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Radio October 16, 2014
By Jade Blackmore

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

As a kid in Chicago in the early 1970s, I listened to Larry Lujack and his Cheap Trashy Showbiz Report, Klunk Letter of the Day, and sourpuss meanderings. In college in the early '80s, the irreverent banter of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier kept me entertained between classes. During high school in the mid '70s, my radio go-to guy was John Records Landecker, of "Boogie Check" fame.

In Landecker's autobiography, Records Truly is My Middle Name, (Eckhartz Press) Landecker explains that, yes, Records is his real middle name, not a stage moniker. He even includes a photo of his selective service card in the book to prove it. John's mother, Marjorie Records married sociology professor Werner Landecker, so yes, his mother's maiden name truly was Records, and John incorporated that in his on-air persona. Of course, it sounded too good to be true and many fans, myself include, surmised it was a stage name.

When your Mom's maiden name is Records, a career in radio is your destiny. Landecker's first radio gig, in Flint, Michigan in 1965 on a station that required all DJs to use the last name Jones on-air. Naturally, John chose the name Dow Jones. He made his major market debut at WBIG in Philadelphia from the late `60s to the early `70s, with fellow DJs Jerry Blavat (The Geator with the Heater), Hy Lit and Joe Niagara.

Landecker begins each chapter with a round-up of the top events of each decade, setting the backdrop for the revelations to follow. The book is an engaging read that isn't just for radio buffs. It's a roller coaster ride through the prime decades of rock 'n' roll, told from the POV of someone who was well-known enough to glimpse the inner workings of rock's hedonistic years, but down to earth enough to retain a realistic attitude for most of the ride..

Landecker's autobiography entertaining is just as much fun when he focuses on his personal life as when he writes about his radio shenanigans.

Many times, readers of pop culture autobiographies complain about the author including too many personal anecdotes that aren't as interesting as events in the author's professional life. Landecker's life out of the broadcast booth is just as interesting to read as his DJ exploits.''John's father Werner Landecker, was the last German Jew to earn a law degree in Germany before World War II. Werner immigrated to the Untried States and married Indiana farmgirl and 4H winner Marjorie Records. The story of how, they met, stopped at an intersection in separate cars, is a cute meet worthy of a remake novel. Werner and Marjorie married, and their first child John was born on March 28, 1947. Landecker's childhood and adolescence mirrored that of your typical Baby Boomer He writes about playing football in high school, being in class when a student-teacher tearfully announced President Kennedy's assassination. Other, less serious, rites of passage included discovering that the lyrics to Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen were dirty, (The lyrics weren't actually dirty. It was an urban legend), and watching the Beatles - and Mitzi Gaynor in a low cut dress - on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. As the book moves on, we learn about Landecker's tumultuous second marriage to a hellion named Paula and his financial victimization at the hands of a once-trusted manager.

Landecker's halcyon years at WLS in Chicago from 1972 to 1981. During his signature bit, The Boogie Check, he fielded calls from listeners unafraid to be goofy. Landecker outdid them at their own game with glib comments. Spinning "Seasons in the Sun", "Eres Tu" and other cheesy Top 40 songs would bore anyone, so the DJs had to be wacky to keep listeners interested - and keep themselves from falling asleep! Personality based radio flourished at this time, featuring bits that entertained in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge way; shock jocks had yet to take over the airwaves. Landecker's fellow DJs at WLS included Larry Lujack, Fred Winston and Bob Sirott.

Landecker recorded two comedy singles, 'Make a Date with the Watergate" and "Press My Conference", poking fun at President Nixon and the Watergate scandal. "Make a Date" was a parody of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side". Despite being big hits with listeners, the songs were temporarily shelved when an ABC affiliate in Florida, up for license renewal, freaked out over their (relatively innocuous by today's standards) content.

During Landecker's tenure at WLS, other highlights included a personal appearance with John Travolta (then a teen idol as Barbarino on Welcome Back Kotter) at a suburban Chicago shopping mall. The promo drew 30,000 screaming teenage girls. I remember hearing the broadcast live that night. It sounded like a 747 taking off. Many of the bands of the time stopped by, co-hosting and commenting on records, and Landecker premiered Lady by Styx on his show, the song that propelled the band to stardom.

Like many other DJs and musicians, Landecker fell prey to rock `n" roll excess. He woke up one day on a flight over the Grand Canyon with no recollection of how he got there. His drinking escalated to the point where he drank vodka openly in the studio. He divorced his first wife (his high school sweetheart), married a trophy wife, then a much younger woman before marrying his fourth wife and soulmate Nika.

After leaving Chicago for a gig in Toronto,(followed by an unsuccessful return to Chicago radio) Landecker hit rock bottom with alcohol and drugs. After conquering his demons, he reemerged on Chicago radio, settling in with a well-received shows on WJMK, a band and a syndicated show called "Into the 70s" for TKO Networks. He is currently broadcasting on WLS-FM (Chicago's Classic Hits) weeknights from 8pm to 11pm.

"Records Truly is My Middle Name" is sure to stir great memories for Chicago radio fans who grew up in the 1970s, or any Baby Boomer who grew up on AM radio.

5.0 out of 5 stars John Landecker truly tells the truth about radio. December 20, 2014
By Terri Killen

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

This book is truly the truth about the radio business. If you've ever wondered what it's like working in radio..Landecker will tell you....the good, the bad, and the butt ugly. Sex, Drugs, Rock N Roll, and the lying, backstabbing radio world. The life and times of a major market DJ. He's lucky to be alive. I listened to him on WLS AM in '72 when I was 15 living in VA. The BS in the Radio business he describes will blow your mind. I know, I went through it as a writer and on air talent in the smaller markets like Jax, FL and Roanoke, VA. The whole time I was reading this book I was saying to myself ..OMG this happend to John too! WTF I can't believe this .. He had to go to Canada for a gig. You will learn that Radio does not value talent. Not even John....considered one of the most creative people in the business. John Landecker's problem was.. he didn't have the big ego most Radio types have. Nor was he carrying around a knife ready to backstab his best friend and kick him or HER TO THE CURB. John is an entertainer with a human touch. A rare find in radio. I think he missed his calling to do stand up comedy. (He can now be heard on WLS FM nightly..and through the magic of the internet.)

Thanks so much to everyone who takes the time to write such wonderful reviews on amazon. Every little bit helps us spread the word!

CBS Radio Launches Podcast Network

I think this is a pretty interesting idea. What they're basically doing here is repurposing content in new ways. CBS has a ton of content. Makes a lot of sense to me. It will be interesting to see if it catches on...particularly with younger listeners.

Baseball's Hall of Fame

Congrats to John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Craig Biggio for making it into the Hall of Fame.

Their numbers certainly call for induction. They totally deserve it.

However, I do have one question. Why is it that there is suspicion hanging over the heads of all the sluggers from the steroid era, but not the pitchers? I'm not accusing any of these guys of being on the juice, but if you're suspicious of the hitters, isn't there a case to be made to be suspicious about the pitchers too?

Wasn't Pedro on the same team as several proven juicers? How did he get the ball up to the plate with that velocity when he only weighed about 150 pounds? How did Randy Johnson continue to throw nearly a hundred miles an hour as a 40-year-old? What happened to Smoltz's hair...isn't hair loss a proven side effect of steroids?

Again, not accusing any of those guys. I don't think they did use PEDs.

But this is what I hate about the steroids era. Voters have to guess. Bonds and McGwire have admitted it now, and Palmeiro was caught, but Sammy never was. We just assume he juiced. (He probably did, but you get the picture). What about Piazza and Bagwell? Don't you think suspicion about them is one of the reasons they haven't been elected? Neither guy has ever been connected to it, as far as I know, but some voters clearly wonder. Their numbers call for election. What about Tim Raines? Did steroids help make him faster on the bases? Probably not, but who knows?

I don't have an answer to the question. I just wonder. Why aren't the pitchers suspected? It's not like we don't know that some of them probably did juice (Roger Clemens anyone?). Jose Canseco said that something like 70% of the players from the era used something. His formerly outlandish claims don't seem that outlandish anymore, do they?

I'm glad I don't have a Hall of Fame vote. I have no idea how I would handle this.

8 Surprising (And Scientifically Proven) Things That Lead To A Lasting Marriage

This article was in the Huffington Post. Bridget and I have been married now for 23 years, and I think we fit six of the eight things on this list.

We don't put each other on pedestals, however. Do some people actually do that? Sounds fake to me.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Hannibal Buress

I went to the late Louis CK show last night (10:30pm show), and it was typically hilarious. I'd see Louis do anything. He's that funny.

But I was really surprised by how funny his opening act was. Hannibal Buress was hysterical. I've been watching his older stuff on video this morning, catching up on a very funny career. Here's a special from early last year (filmed at the Vic Theater in Chicago). He didn't do any of this stuff last night...which means he's a great comedian. Constantly updating his material. I'm impressed.

(Warning: NSFW)

This Could Be A Game Changer

ESPN announced yesterday that it will soon be available as a stand-alone service through streaming--without going through a cable company.

I've been waiting for that one moment that signalled the end may be near for cable, and this could be it. Let's see if other cable channels follow suit. I think I watch a total of 5 stations (at least two of which are in the ESPN family). My wife may watch another 5. My sons may watch another 5. If I could pay for only 15 channels, I suspect the cost would be a fraction of what I'm paying now. It's all in how they end up pricing it.

Look out cable. Maybe you need to start being nice to us.

Bill White

Former WGN Program Director Bill White has re-emerged, according to the NOW Newsletter...

Bill White should soon be officially announced as the new PD at iHeart’s news/talk KFBK-AM/FM Sacramento (1530/93.1). Bill’s programmed in markets such as Charlotte (talk WBT-AM/FM at 1110/99.3) and Chicago (talk WGN at 720). This NOW Newsletter hears that Bill starts at KFBK on January 20.

I interviewed Bill and met him more than ten times, and each time he had no idea who I was. I always thought that was a little strange--it's not like there are dozens of media writers to remember in this town. This photo was taken when John Landecker appeared on Johnny B's WGN show to promote Records Truly Is My Middle Name. It was actually a classic radio interview--John and Johnny had a great time. Bill snuck in for this photo op.

U of I Tuition Freeze

I think University of Illinois might finally be waking up to the effects of their ridiculous tuition hikes over the years. The cost has gone up 1200% since I attended 30 years ago (not a made up number), and I'm pretty sure inflation is nowhere near that. From yesterday's Tribune...

"Tuition costs have risen faster than at a number of our peer (institutions) over the last decade," said Christophe Pierre, U. of I.'s vice president for academic affairs. "We are concerned that we are losing Illinois applicants, even though they would prefer to attend. They accept offers for a lower-cost education at out-of-state universities."

I'm an alum and my own son (who could have gotten in) never even considered going there.

Monday, January 05, 2015

New Country Station in Chicago

Looks like my interview with US 99 Morning Man Ray Stevens is even more timely than I thought. iHeartMedia (formerly known as Clear Channel) launched a new country station today. This came in my e-mail box about ten minutes ago...

iHeartMedia Chicago announced today the debut of Big 95.5, Chicago's Hit Country, effective immediately...Big 95.5 will announce a live and local talent lineup soon.


Yes, it's very cold, and I'm still living in a pre-seatwarmer, pre-steering wheel warmer world. But that's just because I'm a rugged outdoorsman-type. Don't worry about my baby-soft writer-hands. Wearing the wife's backup mittens today...just like Grizzly Adams.

RIP Stuart Scott

Sad news this weekend via ESPN...

Net Neutrality

Looks like the matter will be resolved soon, but how will it be resolved?

The FCC wants to pass something to preserve net neutrality by February.

The new Republican Congress, with mega-corporate marching orders in hand, wants to actually pass a law PREVENTING the FCC from passing a rule. If you hear a politician talk about the dangers of "regulating innovation" I hope your B.S. detector goes off. The "innovation" they are talking about is charging you more for what you already have, and for creating a tiered internet system that allows big money corporations to have a better, faster internet than you.

Regulating it means this: Leaving it as it is...the greatest innovator in the to all equally.

That's the full explanation, period. Everything else you hear is noise intended to distract you. It's actually a very simple matter.

Band Dorks Outnumber You

From Radio Ink this morning...

On New Year’s Day, while the College Football Playoff Bowl Games were in full swing, Jim Rome wrote on Twitter: "Is there anyone not in a marching band who thinks those dorks running around with their instruments are cool?" The backlash from the tweet was so intense that the tweet was later deleted from Rome's account. The CBS Sports Radio host later apologized on Twitter saying, "Band nation -- I hear you. I was out of line. I apologize. I do not condone bullying of any kind and that was not my intent."

I wasn't even in the band, and I know better than to say that. Haven't you gotten the memo, Rome? Nerds rule this country right now...finally.

Ramblin' Ray Stevens

My January media column has been posted in the current issue of the Illinois Entertainer. This month I interviewed US-99's Ray Stevens.

You can read it here.