Friday, November 06, 2015

100 years at Wrigley

The ballpark turned 100 in 2014, but next season marks the 100th anniversary of the Cubs playing there...

Bob Quits Bob & Tom

They've been a radio duo for more than 25 years, but Bob chose his induction speech into the Radio Hall of Fame to drop the bombshell that he was leaving. I guess that's as an appropriate time as any. After the ceremony, the duo released a statement to the press...

Tonight at Bob and Tom’s induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame, Bob Kevoian announced that he will retire at the end of this year. “When I was a teenager, I was a real smart ass,” Bob Kevoian said in his remarks to the National Radio Hall of Fame. “I didn’t get along with my Dad. And he said “if you continue this behavior, you’ll amount to nothing. But you will make it to the big mouth hall of fame.” I made it, Dad. I always thought you had to die or be retired for five years to be considered for any hall of fame. Thank god I’m not dead, but I am going to retire at the end of this year and walk away from the mic. Thank you for this great honor.” “It was a huge thrill to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame with my partner Bob,” said Tom Griswold. “He will always be a part of the BOB & TOM Show, and his presence will continue to be felt as we broadcast the show for many years to come”.

I know lots of people who have appeared on the Bob & Tom show over the years, and they report that the relationship between these two was a little odd, to say the least. They didn't exactly hang out together. But they were a very successful duo for many years and definitely deserve their induction into the Hall of Fame.

I guess it's just going to be the Tom show now.

A Call I Never Received

The one glaring hole in my radio producer resume is that I was never able to book a sitting President of the United States. I spent seven years trying to book Bill Clinton to no avail, and spoke to his press secretary a number of times, but that's as close as I got.

The listeners in Kansas City this morning, however, are hearing an exclusive radio interview with President Obama. How did that happen? The explanation comes from Radio Online...

Becker was invited to the White House by Josh Earnest, a fellow Kansas City native. The focus of the President's interview was on open enrollment of the Affordable Care Act, and also included questions on the economy, as well as the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals.

"It's not every day that you get a call from the White House, asking if you can be in Washington the next day," said Becker. "With the current political landscape, the importance of so many issues affecting Kansas Citians, along with the honor of interviewing a sitting President, who could say no!"

Now that's a call I never received. Doggone it.

RIP George Barris

George Barris passed away this week. You may not know his name, but the custom car designer created the coolest car in history (in my opinion). He created the batmobile.

Barris received a call about the most momentous gig of his career. The producers of the “Batman” television show needed a heroic ride for the superhero’s battles with the Joker.

“I saw the script and it said, ‘Bang,’ ‘Pow,’ ‘Boom,'” Barris told the Los Angeles Times in 2012. “That’s exactly what I wanted the car to be able to do. I wanted it to be as big a character as the actors’ themselves.”

Over 15 days and with $15,000, Barris transformed a 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura into the go-to method of transportation for crime-fighting in Gotham City. Black with fluorescent red pinstripes, the sleek Batmobile was outfitted with “bulletproof” plexiglass bubble windshields and 450-watt “Bat Ray” laser beams.

In 2013, it was sold at an auction for $4.6-million.

I had a batmobile car (I think it was Matchbox) that was one of my prized possessions as a kid.

Climate Change Scandal

I have a few friends who are climate change deniers, and when I ask them what possible motivation the scientists would have to launch this worldwide conspiracy, they always tell me it's about money. Scientists are doing it because they get paid more money if it's real. (Because the kind of people that are inspired to go into science are so famously greedy?)

When I argue that the people who benefit from climate change denial are the huge oil companies, and that they are the ones spending billions to make you doubt the scientists, they scoff as if that's somehow a crazy conspiracy theory. They probably won't want to read this news in this morning's Washington Post...

New York is investigating Exxon Mobil for allegedly misleading the public about climate change

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Do it on Spec

Love the way this shows just how ridiculous the advertising business really is. This is how it's done...

James Bond at the Rental Counter

I thought this bit was incredibly funny and well done last night by Colbert & Craig...

Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton

Is there anything Timberlake can't do? Seriously. The man is an amazing talent. He killed it at the CMAs last night.

Theater Hall of Famer--Robert Falls

The Chicago Tribune has a great piece about Robert Falls, the former Goodman Theater director who is being inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame next week. Tribune Theater writer Chris Jones picked out 12 of his top moments.

One thing that didn't make the list, was this one. In 1989 for Steve & Garry's 10th anniversary concert at the Chicago Theater, Robert Falls choreographed this dance number featuring Garry as Cliff, along with the Cliff Dancers (comprised of me and my friends--Dave Stern, Mike Bramel, Jim Defillipi, Mike Davis, and Shemp DeYoung). Sorry Bob for bringing it up, but it is a true story!

No Charges for Kane

Looks like Patrick Kane is not going to be charged after all. From Fox 32 in Chicago...

The Erie County District Attorney announced Thursday he will not pursue rape or sexual assault charges against Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III released a statement Thursday morning saying there are significant inconsistencies between the complainant's accounts and those of other eye witnesses. The statement went on to say that the DNA test results leant no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant's claim of penetration, a required element for proof of rape.

I read the statement, and there were a few weird portions of it (for instance, the whole thing about Kane sticking to his story the whole time and not incriminating himself...that's an odd thing to include), but I really think this case ended the day the alleged victim's mother fabricated a story about the evidence bag.

I wouldn't be honest, however, if I didn't admit that this whole thing still gives me an icky feeling when I see Kane and the Blackhawks. I wish it didn't, but it does. My gut is telling me that something really did happen here, even if it didn't technically meet the legal definition required to charge him.

Mel on Howard

Mel Karmazin was Howard Stern's champion for many years, first at Infinity/CBS, then at Sirius/XM. He's the one that signed Howard to those record-breaking contracts. Yesterday the retired billionaire was on CNBC and had this to say about Howard's current contract negotiations. (From the RAMP newsletter this morning)

One possibly lucrative option, said Karmazin, could involve Howard's valuable 30-year treasure trove of radio shows and other material. "He owns it all. He could syndicate it," Karmazin said. "He doesn't have to work anymore. He could either sell his company or he could do a Law and Order, a Friends, a Seinfeld, and make a whole bunch of money because everyone is in need of content." Karmazin continued, "Howard could also do something, arguably a la Netflix-type. It's original content. He does the video... [and] it could be a TV show that could be available worldwide." Karmazin also thinks Apple would be a good fit for Stern. Going a step further, he said he didn't see any reason why Apple wouldn't want to just buy SiriusXM -- a titillating observation.

All this being said, however, Karmazin says he hopes The Howard Stern Show stays on SiriusXM, where it's been since 2005. "I think Sirius would be in a position of paying him whatever it takes to keep him," he continued. "My bet would be he would stay, but I have really don't have an idea." Analysts estimate that Stern's current SiriusXM contract is worth $80 million a year. "I think Howard loves money. I don't say that in any pejorative way," Karmazin said. "He's working. He knows how much money other people are making off of that [radio] show. And I think he wants his fair share or unfair share."

Gee Thanks Dad

A new biography of George H.W. Bush is being released, and the Washington Post had a preview of some of the juicier nuggets. Among them--some criticism of his own son...

“The big mistake that was made was letting Cheney bring in kind of his own State Department,” Bush told Meacham. “… But it’s not Cheney’s fault. It’s the president’s fault.” He added: “The buck stops there.”

In the biography, Bush Sr. also took a dim view of some of his son’s talking points.

“I do worry about some of the rhetoric that was out there — some of it his, maybe, and some of it the people around him,” Bush said. “Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem.”

He took quite a few shots at Cheney (called him "iron ass") and Rumsfeld ("an arrogant fellow"), but I think the thing that will get under the skin of those guys the most is Bush Sr's characterization of why Cheney got so much more conservative and hardline than he had been as Secretary of Defense. He said it was because Cheney's wife and daughter made him that way. Ouch. Cheney laughed it off, but you know that one stung.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Good advice

Thanks "PO" for this one...

Ivy Renovation

Just dropped off our dog Ivy for knee surgery. The neighborhood rabbits and squirrels are going to have to join a gym if they want to stay in shape for the next few days.

Gus Savage

I missed this story over the weekend. Former US Congressman (from Chicago) Gus Savage died over the weekend. He was 90 years old. I covered Gus during my radio days, and he was always good for a controversial quote. His career ended because of a scandal (he had several of those), but he was ironically beaten by Mel Reynolds...who himself had to leave office because of a scandal. (My Kind of Town, Chicago is)

This is the only clip I could find of Gus on Youtube. I don't think it will take you too long to see exactly why he was considered so controversial...

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Abbey Road Bystander

Sir David Attenborough Talks Up Adele's "Hello"

Casey Kasem's kids can collect insurance money

The sad story of Casey Kasem is getting resolved at least in one respect. From today's Tom Taylor column...

TMZ has been following the sad/bizarre story about Casey’s widow Jean, and the suspicions of Casey’s three children from his first marriage. They think that Jean (at the least) wasn’t a good guardian for their dad during his last months. Jean allegedly thinks the same thing about them and tried to keep insurer MetLife from paying off on Casey’s $2 million life insurance benefiting them, pending an investigation. But a California judge clears the payoff to be disbursed to a trust for his children (which include a daughter he had with Jean). “Countdown King” Casey Kasem died June 15, 2014 after he was moved multiple times while sick. He was buried last December (and this was definitely bizarre) in the snows of Oslo, Norway, from his beloved Los Angeles.

Trump Negotiating New Debate Rules

Trump is handling the debate negotiations himself, according to this morning's Washington Post. The story doesn't say exactly what Trump is asking for, but I did a little investigative work, and found Trump's sample list of questions for future debate moderators.

#1: Why would you give up your HUGE business to take a pay cut? Is it because you love the American people so much?

#2: We've spoken to women you've known over the years and they insist your bank account isn't the only thing that's HUGE about you. Smile if it's true.

#3: My God, you're good looking. I don't have a question. Just had to say that.

#4: I know you're not Catholic, but if Pope Francis said he'd like to declare you a Saint, would you accept that new title?

#5: We know how humble you are, but would you say that you're the greatest ever at humility?

Shouldn't be a problem if they get the right moderators.

There's Certainly Plenty of Material

Coming soon to FX1: TMZ Sports.

The National Enquirer of television will tackle (no pun intented) the sports world, and as I think we all know too well, will find more than enough material.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Book Launch Party

Spent the afternoon yesterday in Beverly Shores, Indiana for the launch of Pat Colander's book "Hugh Hefner's First Funeral and other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago". It was a great time. Thanks to everyone who came out to the event!

Sinatra at 100

From the RAMP Newsletter. Gonna set the DVR for this one...

The Recording Academy®, AEG Ehrlich Ventures and CBS will honor the remarkable legacy of nine-time Grammy® winner Frank Sinatra by presenting Sinatra 100 -- An All-Star Grammy Concert, a primetime entertainment special celebrating the icon's 100th birthday. Initial performers announced for the tribute include a slate of multiple Grammy winners -- Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Adam Levine, Carrie Underwood and Usher. The live concert taping will be held Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas. The finished special will be broadcast on CBS on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 9-11pm ET/PT.

Hope they do this song...

Mitch Michaels

My latest media column has been posted at the Illinois Entertainer. This month I interviewed the River's Mitch Michaels.

You can read it here.

Gerri Wells

This morning's Robert Feder column delivers the news that Gerri Wells is stepping down at WGN Radio. Here's the report...

Gerri Wells, a much-loved behind-scenes dynamo in Chicago radio for more than 30 years, is leaving WGN AM 720, where she’s been the right hand to Jimmy deCastro, the station’s president and general manager. “I am at that stage in my life and career where I want to stop and smell the roses more, and work on a different schedule,” she told colleagues. Effective next month, Wells said, she’ll continue to work as deCastro’s personal assistant at his Evanston office but on a more flexible schedule.

To know Gerri is to love her. I worked with her for about seven years at the Loop, and she is one of the kindest, sweetest ladies around. I wish her the best.