Friday, October 02, 2015

Sometimes you just can't reason with a bear

She is doing her best to use rational arguments to convince the bear not to eat her kayak, and you'll never believe this, but the bear doesn't seem to care. I couldn't stop watching this for some reason...

Kathy Voltmer

My latest Illinois Entertainer column has been posted. This month I interviewed the Drive's morning news anchor Kathy Voltmer.

You can read it here.

Marconi Awards

The Marconi Awards are probably the most prestigious in all of radio. They are given out by the National Association of Broadcasters for excellence in broadcasting. Last night at the NAB convention, they awarded best rock station in America to Chicago's very own "The Drive" and major market personality of the year was given to WTMX's Eric and Kathy.

Congrats to both of them. Well deserved.

Another Senseless Gun Rampage

The president asked us to look up these stats in his angry response yesterday. I totally get why he's angry...

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Babe's Called Shot

October 1, 1932

The most famous moment in Wrigley Field history occurred on this date. Or did it?

It was Game 3 of the World Series. The Yankees had won the first two at Yankee Stadium. Soon-to-be President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (sitting next to Chicago mayor Anton Cermak) threw out the first pitch. In the stands; a young boy named John Paul Stevens, who would go on to become a Supreme Court Justice.

The 1932 Yankees were a riled up team who hated the Cubs for dissing one of their former teammates. Mark Koenig had replaced Cubs shortstop Billy Jurges during the season after Jurges was shot by a fan. Despite hitting .353 during the season and saving the hides of the Cubs, the players voted not to give him a full World Series share. This really angered the Yankees, especially their emotional leader Babe Ruth.

He was ticked off and let the Cubs know it in no uncertain terms.

Did Babe Ruth really call the shot? Almost certainly not. The writers said he did, and he played along with it, but he also privately acknowledged that he never would have done that to Charlie Root who was known as a ruthless headhunter. Charlie swore to his dying day that Babe did not call the shot.

According to the Cubs players, Ruth was being taunted by the Cubs dugout (who should have had their heads examined after they already ticked off the Babe). Ruth was more than likely pointing at the dugout, gesturing that he still had one strike left. That may have looked to the writers like he was calling his shot. Plus, the writers said he pointing to left–but he hit nearly all of his homers to right, and the actual homer went to deep centerfield…an unusual location for a homer by the Babe. The called shot is probably nothing more than a legend.

Nevertheless, part of the legend is true. He did homer. And Gehrig homered right after that. And they both homered again later in the game.

The 1932 World Series was a 4-game pummeling. But as famous as that supposed “called shot” was, Babe Ruth was not even the player of the series. Lou Gehrig hit .529, and would have been named the MVP if they had such an honor in those days.

Wrigley Rooftops Lawsuit Dismissed

Instead of continuing with the needless debates about the rooftops, a judge read the actual clause pertaining to the rooftop views...

"The Cubs shall not erect windscreens or other barriers to obstruct the views of the Rooftops, provided however that temporary items such as banners, flags, and decorations for special occasions, shall not be considered as having been erected to obstruct views of the Rooftops. Any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities shall not be a violation of this Agreement, including this section."

...and ruled the obvious. The authorities approved the video boards. It is clearly part of a Wrigley expansion. Case dismissed. Go try to steal someone else's product and charge for it.

Crains has the full story, if you are interested.

Dickey Demise

Robert Feder examines the demise of Cumulus' Dickey brothers in his column today, and I think this paragraph sums it up beautifully...

Not one of the many radio executives I spoke to here lamented the demise of the Dickeys. Most said their overthrow was long overdue. Based on the misguided management, programming and personnel moves they made in practically every major market they ran, it’s easy to understand the air of schadenfraude. In short, these guys weren’t just bad for their company. They were bad for radio.

Yes, yes, yes. Amen.

Maywood & Balmoral Are Closing Down

From NPR's Morning Edition...

Illinois' racing board is taking a gamble in an attempt to save the beleaguered industry. Two historic Illinois tracks will hold no races next year, a decision that could lead to their permanent closure. The decision by Illinois' 11-member racing board was unanimous: no horses will run at Balmoral and Maywood parks in 2016.

That's a bummer. Not quite sure I understand how closing tracks will save the industry, but okey doke. It's obviously been awhile since I was there. Around 20 years or so...

First Nude First Lady?

Considering all the press that Donald Trump has gotten, it's a little odd that his wife has not received very much press at all. That's probably be because she's never at his events, and Donald has kept her out of the public eye since he announced.

This Washington Post piece takes a closer look at Melania. I learned a few things about her that I didn't know. She's she would be the first foreign-born First Lady in more than 200 years. She and Donald have a 9-year-old son. (And I thought I was an old dad). And, when she was a super model, she posed nude for a magazine.

Don't need to do a ton of research to figure out if she would be the first First Lady to do that.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Florida Roller Rink, 1972

Not sure why these photos slightly terrified me, but they did. A photographer found pictures that he took at a Florida roller rink in 1972 and they definitely paint a picture of a time and place...

I was only 9 in 1972, and I went to a roller rink or two, but whoo boy do I remember it differently. I'm hoping it's just a Florida thing, and not a 1972 thing. (Although, I must admit, I did own a pair of those pants on the right)

Chicago Radio Ratings

Courtesy of Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Chicago – A lead change brings iHeart’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ back to the top, 5.8-5.3-5.7. Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” is now running second, 5.0-5.6-5.4, just a beat ahead of CBS Radio’s all-news/Cubs baseball WBBM/780 (4.7-4.4.6-5.3). Mostly-simulcast WCFS/105.9 keeps the news ticker going during baseball, and it’s up 2.2-2.1-2.3. Fourth is iHeart’s top 40 “Kiss 103.5” WKSC (3.9-3.8-4.0) – and it’s also the cume leader at just over 2.2 million. Fifth place in share is iHeart-owned urban WGCI, 3.8-3.7-3.7.

It Doesn't Pay to Be a Dickey

From this morning's Radio Ink...

In a major management shakeup following weeks of speculation, Cumulus Media has replaced longtime CEO Lew Dickey with board member and veteran magazine publishing executive Mary Berner, effective October 13. Dickey, the company’s founder, will become vice-chairman and continue as a director. Dickey’s brother John, executive VP of content and programming, has exited his position at the company. Senior VP of content & programming Mike McVay will be taking over his responsibilities while the company looks for a replacement.

Imagine how bad Cumulus' current condition is for the founder of the company to be replaced like this. Dickey basically made the exact same mistakes that were made about twenty years ago when deregulation initially happened. He got too big, took on too much debt, cut places that shouldn't (or couldn't) be cut, while lining his own pockets in the process. At least that first bunch of guys didn't realize how badly they were damaging the business, and a few of them even regret it. Dickey did these things KNOWING what would happen. In my mind, that's even worse.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My new favorite college

Hampshire College in Massachusetts stopped taking applicants test scores. This is what they do instead...

In our admissions, we review an applicant's whole academic and lived experience. We consider an applicant's ability to present themselves in essays and interviews, review their recommendations from mentors, and assess factors such as their community engagement and entrepreneurism. And yes, we look closely at high school academic records, though in an unconventional manner. We look for an overarching narrative that shows motivation, discipline, and the capacity for self-reflection. We look at grade point average (GPA) as a measure of performance over a range of courses and time, distinct from a one-test-on-one-day SAT/ACT score

So what happened after they instituted this plan? US News and World report banned them from their list and they received fewer applicants. However, they got better applicants, and a much more diverse pool of applicants.

It still wouldn't help my kids ("Write an essay? Awww, c'mon"), but I think it does a better job of identifying truly great candidates.

Tee Hee

Thanks to "DM" for this one. I did chuckle...

Trevor Noah's Debut

Monday, September 28, 2015


Had a great time footgolfing yesterday. It was a fundraiser for Green White Soccer Club, and Eckhartz Press sponsored a hole. If you've never tried footgolfing before, you really should. It's a riot...

Around the Publishing World (September 28)

We stay on top of happenings/trends in the publishing world to help out busy writers who are spending their time doing what they should be doing: writing.

1. 11 things a writer should never say
Suzanne Brazil is a published writer and she has some excellent tips on her blog about what NOT to say. Good for those of you staring a blank page, or those of you actively promoting a book.

2. The downside of Linked-In for women
We always tell our authors that promoting yourself on LinkedIn is essential for getting the word out about your book. If you're a woman, however, there are a few things you must keep in mind. This article gives you some excellent advice.

3. The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead
Well lookee here. The New York Times has a piece about an unexpected development in the publishing world. Just when it seemed like e-books were taking over, the new stats came out, and dead-tree books are making a comeback.

4. Publishers are screwed. Google is really screwed. Consumers win. Apple really wins
Can you guess why this headline caught our eye? It's really an article about ad-blockers on mobile devices, but it's fascinating nonetheless.

Daily Show Reboot

The new Daily Show kicks off tonight, and Viacom is going big to promote it. The show, now hosted by Trevor Noah, will air on Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Spike, BET, Nick at Nite, MTV2, CMT, TV Land, Centric, Logo, MTVU and VH1 Classic.

Julie DiCaro

Sometimes Twitter can be a very scary place. Just ask the Score's Julie DiCaro. Larz at Chicagoland Radio & Media has the details from Friday...

WSCR-AM/670 The Score daytime update anchor Julie DiCaro is not at work today. She made the decision to stay away due to threats made towards her on Twitter yesterday. As DiCaro has been sending out Twitter updates and reporting on-air updates about the constantly twisting and ever-changing Patrick Kane rape allegation situation, Internet trolls, who only want to hear good things about Kane, have attacked her. The attacks have become uglier in the last day. One Twitter idiot said DiCaro should be "hit in the head" and "killed." Another threatened her and places she frequents daily. As a former criminal and family law attorney, as well as a rape victim, DiCaro has been able to deliver incredibly intelligent and insightful commentary on the situation, not found elsewhere on the radio or online. Sadly, that doesn't stop the morons of the world from attacking her while behind a keyboard. Out of caution, steps are being taken to make sure some unstable person doesn't try to step away from the keyboard and do something even worse in person.