Friday, January 16, 2015

Glen Campbell Nominated For An Oscar

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Every year people spend a lot of time and energy debating the merits (and the snubs) of the Academy Award nominations. This year was certainly no different; although there was one very special nomination we feel almost everyone could agree on: Glen Campbell's final recording -- the poignant and haunting "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Original Song. Already nominated for a Grammy Award, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" is featured in the critically acclaimed documentary, Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me, which chronicles Glen's final tour and his battle with Alzheimer's disease.

It really is an amazing song...

Roe Conn Move Official now

From Radio Ink...

Roe Conn heads to afternoons on WGN and John Williams moves to weekend duties. So, the new weekday lineup starting the 26th at WGN shakes out like this: Steve Cochran 5-9 a.m., The Bill and Wendy show moves to 9 a.m.-noon from their current 3-7 p.m. shift, Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano stay in place with The Business Lunch from noon-1 and in their 1-3 p.m.shift, Roe Conn will host afternoon drive from 3-7 p.m. Evenings and overnights will stay the same. John Williams starts his Saturday shift on January 31. Commenting on the Roe Conn move to mornings, WGN Radio VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, "Roe craves what's behind the curtain of breaking news. He's a master of investigative conversation, so you'll learn and you'll laugh. We're building an even stronger bridge between our radio journalists at the Tribune Tower and the incomparable newsroom at WGN-TV." Explaining Williams' move to weekends, Manley notes, "Two shows in two cities -- five days a week -- is just too much for someone who crafts talk the way John does and WCCO has first rights to John."

I talked to Todd Manley the other day, and he will be the subject of my next media column for the Illinois Entertainer. We talked about Garry & Brandmeier, the new moves, what happened at the Game, and more. I believe it comes out on February 1st.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Birthday Bonus Father Knows Nothing Story

My little brother Peter is featured in several stories in the book Father Knows Nothing. This story is something that was part of a Father Knows Nothing column I wrote several years ago, that did NOT make it into the final version of the book. I'm reprinting it today in honor of Peter's birthday...

There are moments in life when your heart is telling you to scream, but your head realizes that if you do, you’ll just make the situation worse. I call these “hold your breath” moments.

The first one I remember happening to me occurred on the Tower of Pisa. The year was 1978. I was 15 and my little brother was 8. In those days they let you walk all the way to the top of the tower. My brother and I ran ahead of the rest of the family.

Now, obviously, you know that the Tower of Pisa leans. What you may not know, however, is that you could walk to the very edge of it…and there was no railing there. So, before my parents caught up to us, my little brother calmly walked to the very edge; his toes literally couldn’t have moved another inch. That was enough to scare me, but it’s what he did next that still palpably terrifies me to this day. He craned his neck over the edge, and leaned forward in the same direction the tower was leaning…186 feet above the ground.

My heart almost stopped.

I wanted to scream, but I knew if I did, it could startle him, and cause him to fall off. I calmly asked him to back up, and he did. Nothing happened. At least nothing happened to him. I’m still afraid of heights to this day.

In the original column I went on to tell a story about my dog, which I'm not reprinting today because it has nothing to do with Peter. Anyway, as you can probably guess, Peter is still alive and well. Today he is celebrating his 45th birthday in Detroit, Michigan (his new hometown) with his wife and two sons. (That's him in the background there in 1974, "helping" me do the dishes).

Happy birthday, kid.

Thanks so much for not falling off the Leaning Tower of Pisa in 1978. And thanks for letting me print the stories that I did include in the book, including your famous dive off the top bunk.

The photo below is Peter and my cousin Martina with me at Wrigley Field a few years ago...

Radio Flashback

I was just sent this photo via e-mail, and I have to admit I don't even have this in my files. It's a promo picture of the WJMK morning show--circa 1997 or so. From left to right--Technical Producer Vince Argento (now production director at the Loop), newsman Richard Cantu (now with ABC Radio Network News/New York), John Records Landecker (now evenings on WLS-FM), Executive Producer Rick Kaempfer (that's me), Traffic Reporter Andi Kuhn (now working in sales/and suburban radio), and Associate Producer Tom Sochowski (now working in radio sales). This lineup may not have had the greatest ratings (although most stations would kill for those ratings now), but we sure had a lot of fun.

Movie Theaters & Oscar Nominees

I realized the other day that I didn't step foot in a movie theater in 2014. That has to be the first year I haven't gone to a theater since I was too young to attend movies. Apparently, I'm not alone.

According to this piece in the Hollywood Reporter, 53% of Americans don't go at all because of high ticket prices. That's not the reason I don't go. Bridget just doesn't enjoy going to movies, and I haven't been motivated enough by the stuff Hollywood produces lately to go by myself. Also, since On Demand has become part of my cable package, I can see new movies pretty soon after they come out, and I don't have to leave the house.

I've actually seen a few of the nominees which were just announced this morning. Here are the main categories...

Best Picture
"American Sniper"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"The Imitation Game"
"The Theory of Everything"

Best Director
Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"

Best Actor
Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone, "Birdman"
Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods"

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
Edward Norton, "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”
Damien Chazelle, "Whiplash"
Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Anthony McCarten, "The Theory of Everything"
Graham Moore, "The Imitation Game"

Best Original Screenplay
Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, "Foxcatcher"
Dan Gilroy, "Nightcrawler"
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, "Birdman"
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"

If Boyhood doesn't win, I demand an investigation.

Joe Walsh...Keeping it Classy

From this morning's Radio Ink, this little tidbit about our own town's radio host Joe Walsh (from WIND-AM)...

The Chicagoland Radio and Media Blog has the details about a tweet host Joe Walsh posted on Wednesday. The report says, "Walsh feels that some of the American news networks are "cowards" for reporting the story of the new Charlie Hebdo cover, but not showing the actual cover on their network for fear of offending the religious beliefs of some Muslim viewers. Walsh went on Twitter and posted the following: "Let's hope that when the Islamists next strike they first behead the appeasing cowards at CNN, MSNBC, etal who refused to show the cartoons."

Lost Chicago

Feeling nostalgic the last few days. Found another site that features lost Chicago. This site is called CraigsLost Chicago and features photos of Chicago area restaurants that are no more. I think of this one every Easter when I join my mom for Easter Mass at St. Alphonsus church. The site of this place is now the church's parking lot.

My grandmother worked in the kitchen of Zum Deutschen Eck when they first moved into the country. My grandparents had their 40th anniversary party there. My parents had their 25th anniversary party there. (I had to serve as a sort of MC both of those nights). Lots of family memories for me.

7 Cultural Concepts We Don't Have in the US

I can speak to the German one on this list, "Gemuetlichkeit". That is a word I've been using my whole life and had no idea it wasn't really translatable into English until I tried one day. The writer of this piece describes it pretty well. You've heard the word if you've ever been in a German beer hall when the song "Ein Prosit" begins. The band plays it at least a dozen times a night, as a signal for everyone to toast and drink.

Ein Prosit,
Ein Prosit,
Der Gemuetlichkeit,
Ein Prosit,
Ein Prosit,
Der Gemuetlichkeit.

Mark Your Calendars

I'll be in Muenster, Indiana on February 11th to support Eckhartz Press author Rich King. Here are the details...(click on the image to enlarge it)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chicago 1969

Woah. I found this while I was looking for something else. I totally remember this Chicago of my youth...(love the cars too)

Pot is a Ratings Grabber

60 Minutes did a segment on pot, and voila, 17 million people tuned in.

TV Newser has a piece about how pot has become a ratings grabber.

Preview of the Cubs Convention

Jesse Rogers has a preview of what fans can expect to see and hear at this weekend's Cubs Convention.

For the 30th year in a row, I will not be in attendance. A lot of my Cubs friends like to attend this event, but it has never appealed to me for some reason. I figure I give them enough of my money during the season. Speaking of that, just sent in my money for season tickets. I have a 1/9th share (2 tickets for 9 games), and my share was over $1500. Ouch.

These last few years I seriously contemplated giving my tickets up--but after being a season ticket holder for almost twenty years--and having moved up to some pretty good seats now--it would have killed me when they actually started winning. At least this year my hand didn't shake when I wrote the check. I'm looking forward to this season for the first time in several years.

Video: Jorge Soler's batting practice

Conan's Mailbag

I've been told that I look like Conan O'Brien on the cover of my book a million times, so yesterday I dropped a copy in the mail to him. Hopefully he or someone on his staff at Team Coco will get a kick out of his midwestern literary doppelganger.

The artist (Dave Moselle) saw this post, and sent me this revised sketch. I love it...

More DJs Added to New Country Station Lineup

Their names are Alabama (not her real name--she's originally from Birmingham) and Erik Zachary.

Radio Online has the usual press release quotes from both of them.

Should be interesting to see if they can take a bite out of US99's ratings. It sounds to me like they are doing a CHR (Top 40) version of the format. At least they have live jocks from 6am--Midnight. I give them credit for that, in this day and age.

Cold Chicago

This picture was taken by my friend Barry Butler. If you haven't seen his Chicago photography, you are really missing something. He's probably the most talented photographer I know...and he's a radio guy in real life.

This picture sums up what these past few days have felt like in sweet home Chicago...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Get Well Soon Dick Biondi

According to Robert Feder, Dick is off the air recovering from a fall.

Here's to a speedy recovery!

(Photo: Rick and Dick on the air together in late November '14)

Colbert to Premiere in September

The Hollywood Reporter has the details.

Looking forward to the show. I loved his Comedy Central show, but I'm worried about how he is going to do in this Late Show slot. I met Stephen a few times more than twenty years ago when he was at Second City. I'm sure he has zero memory of that, but I still root for him.

Unique Record Collection

We spent the weekend at my father-in-law's house, helping get it ready for sale. My job was to go through the records, and I found some doozies.

These are all real records from his collection...

~The Art of Buying, Cooking & Storing Meat
~The Good Housekeeping Plan for Reducing Weight and Height (what?!?)
~The Ten Catholic Holy Days in Song
~How to Learn Morse Code
~Songs of the Confederacy
~Songs of the Union
~How I Became Successful Through Selling
~What is Communism? (including 8 anti-commie folk songs)
~WBBM News recordings of the Moon Landings
~Smith Corona: Teach Yourself to Type in 10 Days

He also had some classic jazz albums that I'm currently getting assessed, but for me those albums listed above were the real find. Too bad I'm not doing a radio show anymore.

Ex-Dolphin's Harrowing Adventure

This story is pretty amazing. Former Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad was miles out at sea when his fishing boat hit a wave and he was thrown overboard. The ship was on autopilot and kept on going, but he was stuck in the water. The rescue boats and copters couldn't find him, but he somehow made it back to shore...27 miles away from where he started. He was in the water for 16 hours.

The Washington Post has the full story.

Is This Heaven? No it's Wrigley Field

Enjoyed this Tribune interview with Kevin Costner.

In it, he says: "The Cubs are sort of America's team."

So true. Hey Kevin? Wanna have a catch?

Monday, January 12, 2015

2 Big Chicago Radio Scoops

Robert Feder has two big scoops today.

John Howell has been hired by WLS to replace Bruce Wolf.
(No word what is happening to Bruce, but Pete Zimmerman will remain aboard as producer)


Roe Conn has been hired to host afternoons at WGN.
(Bill and Wendy will move back to their 9-noon slot)

Truffle Hunt

Our next book is being prepared for release. All I can tell is you is this novel will make you hungry. Here is a little tease for you...

Father Knows Nothing

Amazon was hyping Father Knows Nothing over the weekend as one of their "Hot New Releases" in the parenting category, and it was in the top 100 in that category. Who knew?

Of course, this is the way that my co-publisher David announced that news on our Facebook page: "Possibly the only time "Hot" and "Rick Kaempfer" have been used in the same sentence!"

It's good to see we're all working on the same team here.

A Miracle Photo

I'm not posting this because I think it's a good picture. My wife Bridget looks good (as always), but I was just wearing my soccer coach jacket (after a big win--but that's a story for another time). The reason I'm posting it is because it was taken with an iPhone, by my mother. That's right, Hildegard used the ultimate in scary technology and successfully snapped a photo with a phone. She wants one now.

The Golden Globes

I didn't get a chance to watch the show this weekend, but Variety has the highlights, in case you are interested.

I'm glad to see The Grand Budapest Hotel was honored. That's a fun and quirky movie. Also, Transparent, the show co-starring Amy Landecker got a few awards.

Crystal Palace

I've recently starting watching the English Premier League now that NBC is showing the games on Saturdays. I've always been a soccer fan, but until NBC picked it up, those games aired on Fox Soccer channels that are not carried by my cable system.

Anyway, I had never seen a game at Crystal Palace before--a team from South London. I had no idea that their tradition is to sing the song "Glad All Over" by the Dave Clark 5 every time they win. It was so cool to hear a stadium of 50,000 or so fans screaming this song at the top of their lungs. This morning I looked up the background of that tradition. From Wikipedia...
"Crystal Palace Football Club adopted the song as their anthem in the 1960s. It is played at the start of all home games, and after full time (when Palace win). The chorus is played after home goals, before the goalscorer's name is read out. It is also sung by fans as a chant. On Saturday 10 February 1968 The Dave Clark Five played "Glad All Over" live at Crystal Palace's home, Selhurst Park. A cover version, sung by the squad at the time, was released as part of their FA Cup run (where they reached the final of the competition) in 1990."

Chicago's New Country Station

A few details have come out over the past few days about who will be manning the airwaves and calling the shots at the new country music station in Chicago (95.5 FM). The main players are coming from St. Louis. The RAMP Newsletter gave them a big write up this morning...

Steve Stewart has been named PD of iHeartMedia's brand new Chicago Country station, WNUA (Big 95.5), effective immediately. "This is the job everyone waits for... launching a BIG station in a huge market," said a clearly enthused Stewart. "I can't be more excited to lead this team in what is a historic station launch of the New Big 95.5!"...Stewart will be taking a couple of buddies along on his Chicago adventure -- current KSD/St. Louis afternoon stars Mason and Remy will also be relocating to Chicago to host mornings on Big 95.5, beginning January 20. The guys have longstanding ties to the Chicago area and first met while working in Bloomington, IL earlier in their careers. In a joint statement, Mason and Remy said, "We are beyond grateful for the opportunities we've been afforded with the team at iHeartMedia and can't wait for this next step in our careers with Big 95.5. We both visit Chicago regularly and have friends and family in the area so we're really looking forward to BIG things." Stewart added, "These are two of the brightest and most talented talents in our industry today. I'm proud of the success they have achieved and look forward to continue working with them on the future success of Big 95.5." Mason and Remy will continue to do their afternoon show on KSD as part of an expanded role in the company.

Mornings in Chicago and afternoons in St. Louis. Shouldn't be a problem for talented talents.