Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Pete Best

The unluckiest man in the world, Pete Best, is celebrating his 74th birthday. Pete was the drummer of the Beatles...until just before they hit it big, when he was replaced by Ringo. There aren't too many recordings of the Beatles with Pete on the drums, but here's one...

Billy Goat Bartender Retiring

I go to the Billy Goat a half dozen times a year to meet with my friends in the media, and bartender Jeff Magill has been a constant presence. He has been there since 1981.

But that's about to change. Chicago Magazine has the story of Jeff's retirement.

Chicago Radio Ratings

The latest monthly numbers are out, and Tom Taylor's NOW column gives us the highlights...

Last month’s actual tie at the top turns into a virtual tie, with urban AC “V103” (iHeart’s WVAZ) leading by a tenth of a share (5.7-5.8-6.0). Next is CBS Radio’s all-news/Cubs baseball WBBM-AM (5.7-5.8-5.9) and then Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” 5.4-5.3-5.4. There’s a quite a gap between Mix WTMX and the fourth place stations, but look at the growth of alternative WKQX. Merlin-owned/Cumulus-managed alternative WKQX is up to that tie for fourth place, 3.2-3.5-3.7. That’s its best PPM number ever. It’s tied with Univision’s regional Mexican WOJO (3.2-3.7-3.7). Tribune talker WGN is #6, 3.6-3.3-3.6. While we’re on talk-based formats, most of the time WBBM simulcasts with WCFS/105.9, but the FM carries on with the news while 780 breaks for play-by-play. Once the baseball season’s over they’ll be comboed again by Nielsen, but this month we can glimpse WCFS by itself (2.3-2.3-2.2). Cumulus talk WLS holds (1.2-1.9-1.8). A spike for Disney-owned/ESPN-run all-sports WMVP (1.6-2.1-2.5), putting it above CBS Radio’s all-sports “Score” WSCR with a third straight 2.2. The country war is between CBS-owned WUSN (a third straight 2.8 share) and iHeart’s new “Big” WEBG (2.4-2.0-2.0). In seventh place overall is iHeart CHR “Kiss” WKSC (4.0-3.6-3.5) – the Windy City’s leading cume station at just over 2.1 million.

NBC Fixes "Equal Time" Issue

When Donald Trump hosted SNL, it opened Pandora's Box for NBC. According to election laws, the network was technically required to provide equal time for all the candidates. A few of them filed formal complaints.

The New York Times has the story.

NBC has granted the campaigns of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, Mike Huckabee, James Gilmore and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina their specific equal-airtime requests.

This does not mean that a coming “S.N.L.” episode will be hosted by any of the candidates. Nor will there even be a cameo.

What it does entail will be the use of commercial and promotional airtime in prime time this weekend, including during “Saturday Night Live,” when a re-run will be broadcast.
Sounds reasonable.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pat Colander Book Signing

Roger Ebert once called the Old Town Ale House "the best bar in the world that I know about". The Ale House is also the setting for one of the true tales in Pat Colander's Hugh Hefner's Last Funeral and Other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago. In this classic bar some 30 years ago, a regular customer talked openly about a certain type of poison that would mysteriously turn up in Tylenol bottles shortly thereafter. Naturally, this was the perfect setting for Pat Colander to stage a book signing for the book that tells that tale, "Hugh Hefner's First Funeral and Other True Tales of Love & Death in Chicago". Heck, she was even featured in one of the paintings on the wall.

The owner of the bar was there, the incredibly witty Bruce Elliot. He should charge people to come listen to the regulars offering their commentary during Bears games...especially during losses. At one point, my 13-year-old son looked at me and said "Are they allowed to say that?" I believe they are, although I'm also pretty sure what they were suggesting Jay Cutler should do isn't technically physically possible.

The walls of the Old Town Ale House were filled with paintings (painted by Bruce) of celebrities and politicians, and the book signing drew a few literary illumanti as well, including the talented playwright John Lisbon Wood. Pat Colander was right at home in this setting, and she clearly reveled in the conversations with those who came out for the event. Thanks to everyone who came out for a great afternoon of conversation.

Harbaugh to Hell

We have a lot of Michigan State people in my family, and they are pretty vocal in their hatred of the University of Michigan. Their hate-affair with Jim Harbaugh goes all the way back to his playing days at Michigan.

But as much as MSU hates Michigan, people from Ohio State hate U of M even more. A group called the "Dead Schembechlers" has written this song. It's a parody of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell".

Some good hate for a happy Monday morning...

Bringing the Family Together for the Holidays

This is incredibly well done. I was impressed...

The Next GOP Debate

According to this piece in Deadline, the next GOP debate may not feature Rand Paul. He's on the bubble. Chris Christie is back up at the grown up table.

Without Paul, it should be a two-hour stampede for war.

RIP Bernie Allen

From Robert Feder's column. Sad news about one of big names in early rock radio...

Memorial services will be held December 6 for longtime Chicago radio personality Bernie Allen, who hosted middays during the golden era of Top 40 WLS AM 890 in the 1960s. He died November 16 of pulmonary fibrosis at 86. Allen, whose real name was Bernard Hallenberg, worked as a child actor in Hollywood on the “Our Gang” comedy series in the 1930s and in radio as a regular on “Screen Guild Theater” and the “Jack Armstrong” series. Back home in Chicago, he joined WBEZ FM 91.5 and later worked for WIND AM 560 and the former WJJD before joining WLS in 1963. With subsequent stops at the former WCLR, WLAK and WCFL, he retired from WJJD in 1990. “Golf and bowling are my sports,” Allen once said, “but record hops can be just as much fun.”

I tried to contact Bernie a few times over the past few years to do an interview, but alas, never made the connection.

Around the Publishing World (November 22)

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. Eight things I've learned from Judd Apatow
Don't scoff, fellow writers. There's some wisdom here. You will relate.

2. You can't pay your rent with the unique platform your website provides
This writer points out to the good people of Huffington Post and their ilk, that yes more people will read us when we post something on your site, but on the other hand, our landlord doesn't generally accept that as a rent payment.

3. Just another brick in the paywall
As losses mounts, newspapers are forced to seriously consider paywalls for their online content. This is sort of the flipside of the previous article. Writers are being asked to write for free, partially because readers are generally demanding they get their information for free.

4. Evidently Apple and Facebook aren’t perfect
Making money publishing the news not going well for the titans either.

5. The Five Basic Elements of an Author Website
There's some excellent advice for authors who are putting together a website to promote their work. If you aren't one of those authors, why aren't you? Every author needs one these days.

6. Audiobooks and self publishing
Keeping up with market trends, debuts self publishing portal. For a great summary of their business model click on the link.