Musings, observations, and written works from the publisher of Eckhartz Press, the media critic for the Illinois Entertainer, co-host of Minutia Men, Minutia Men Celebrity Interview and Free Kicks, and the author of "Back in the D.D.R", "EveryCubEver", "The Living Wills", "$everance," "Father Knows Nothing," "The Radio Producer's Handbook," "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", and "Gruen Weiss Vor".
Friday, December 23, 2016
Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!
I'll be back at the blogging desk in January.
Enjoy this classic from "Father Knows Nothing"...
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Minutia Men, Episode 33
EP33 – Rick and Dave discuss the whipped cream shortage, sitcom doctors and dentists, a truly boozy flight, a 37-year-old rookie, and Rick’s brush with John Mahoney.
Listen to it here.
It happened – Cumulus stock closed below $1 a share, less than three months after the one-for-eight reverse stock split that should’ve repaired the share-price problem. If “CMLS” continues to close below a buck a share, the NASDAQ exchange will shoot off another de-listing warning letter, and give it 180 days to work out the issue. Yesterday’s trading volume was much lighter than usual, during this holiday week. But even so, it was down two pennies to 98 cents. A couple of times it touched 95 cents a share.
That's very bad.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
This is Everything that's Wrong with America
From the CBS reporting: "James Gertie of Des Plaines tells The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald that bundling two cheeseburgers, medium french fries and a drink at $5.90 is 41 cents more than when individual items are purchased."
Seriously. What lawyer took this case? Why in the world is this being allowed to proceed?
Here's a tip, James Gertie. Buy the items seperately and save yourself 41 cents.
For cryin' out loud.
Robert Murphy out at WLS-FM
“A lot went right, not sure what went wrong,” he said of his three-year run. “I did have some difficulty adjusting to what management wanted, and at times I was not really aware what indeed they did want. So I just tried to do good radio and hope for the best.”
I've been there before. Sounds like they had already made up their minds to go with a cheaper option, so they let him twist in the wind until his contract ran out.
I hate to see that. Especially with a talent like Robert Murphy.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
2017's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has officially announced next year's inductees: Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra and Joan Baez will all join the class of 2017. Chic's Nile Rodgers will be given the Award For Musical Excellence.
Should be interesting to see if Steve Perry plays with Journey, or if Jon Anderson plays with Yes. Neither have been in the band now for many years, but both are undoubtedly remembered as the "voice" of those bands.
Cubs are #1
The Lovable Winners are ranked No. 1 in FanSided's inaugural Fandom 250, which ranks the 250 most rabid fan bases in sports, movies, music and even politics. Cubdom got the nod over "Star Wars," the science fiction movie franchise legendary for its fan devotion.
Around the Publishing World (December 20)
1. Tips for Poets
Writer's Digest talked to a handful of published poets and got some good advice. My favorite is: "Don’t love everything. Hating certain types of poetry helps define your own aesthetic."
2. Tips for New Writers
These tips are provided from a PR perspective (PR Daily), but they are actually quite useful to all writers.
3. Tips for writing short stories
TIf you're a short story writer these are important things to consider before you send out your short stories to publishers. My favorite writing tip: "You need to know way more about your story than you tell to your readers." My favorite marketing tip: "Accept semi-pro payments as you build your name and career."
4. Tips for New Bloggers
As someone who has written a blog now for ten-plus years, I agree with all of the tips in this article.
Chicago Radio Ratings
2016 Wasn't a Bad Year for Everyone
It was great for the Cubs and Donald Trump.
Turns out, it was also great for Disney. They pulled in $7 Billion in movie box office sales alone, thanks to Rogue One, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Finding Dory, Moana, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made its debut in December 2015.
Monday, December 19, 2016
SNL Says Bye to Obama
RIP Bob Coburn
Vanity Fair Subscriptions Rise
Trump threatens magazine editor who published a critical review of Trump Grill https://t.co/SOVV61Z96E pic.twitter.com/KhJMM7IZew— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 15, 2016
Well, after that tweet, something really great happened. Vanity Fair got 13,000 new subscribers in one day!
That really makes me happy for some reason.
As the Sumner Turns
Of course, he's essentially been medically unable to have a say for a while now, so this is more or less an acknowledgement of the obvious.
Sumner is 93 years old now.
Variety has the further details.
Bob & Marianne are back on the air
Full details at Chicagoland Radio & Media.
Friday, December 16, 2016
Best News Bloopers 2016
Got an Hour to Kill?
The Return of Legitimate News
Facebook has enlisted real news organizations (like ABC News) to help them get rid of fake news.
It's a little late, but it's a good first step at reclaiming truth.
Another Sign FCC Chairman Will Be Missed
Among the reasons given in this linked interview of radio group owners...
"I don’t think that Chairman Wheeler has been proactive on behalf of broadcasters."
"Regulatory radio rules remain stagnant and out of date while new media industries around us continue to grow and thrive."
If I can translate for you, these guys believe the only way to improve their business is to buy more radio stations. The Chairman realized that isn't true. I'm with the chairman on this one. I also love the cracks in the article about how he played politics with the internet...by not allowing the telecom giants to gouge and create different internet lanes for the big boys. I'm with the chairman on that too.
They have it back now. The Wild Wild West will be returning soon. Innovation will be coming...in the form of consolidation and internet gouging...you know, to *improve* the public airwaves.
Black is white. Up is down.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
More Sad News
According to this Turner Sports press release, Craig Sager has passed away. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/MT0GPqSFgx— Rich MacLeod (@richmacleod) December 15, 2016
Sager was originally from this area, and he was a Cubs fan. So at least he got to see that glorious championship before he passed.
We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Craig Sager. #SagerStrong pic.twitter.com/0xzctYw2Uz— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 15, 2016
RIP Dr. Bombay
Minutia Men, Episode 32
You can listen to it here.
It's not gonna stop when he becomes president
Trump threatens magazine editor who published a critical review of Trump Grill https://t.co/SOVV61Z96E pic.twitter.com/KhJMM7IZew— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 15, 2016
FCC Chairman to Step Down on Inauguration Day
Under the guise of being more pro-business, many businesses will be damaged (Black is white, up is down). The internet will cease to be an equal opportunity job creating force for businesses like mine, and will instead favor the huge corporations who will have to pony up big bucks to get an internet advantage.
And once the ownership limits are erased (this will happen almost immediately), there will be another debt-leveraged buying spree which will increase stock prices and short term gains for media investors (namely the bosses themselves) at the cost of constricting and constraining future budgets because of the inevitable debt. This will cost media jobs, decrease media quality, and drastically alter the media landscape.
Not trying to be a Debbie Downer. Just telling it like it is.
Another Friday view of the future American Airlines 1914 Club. pic.twitter.com/aZKzEJlCKp— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) December 14, 2016
Trump's Plans for the Press
Speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt, Priebus said "many things have to change" in the White House's relationship and daily traditions with the media, including the daily briefing with the White House Press Secretary and the seating chart.
"I think that it’s important that we look at all of those traditions that are great, but quite frankly, as you know, don’t really make news and they're just sort of mundane, boring episodes," Priebus said.
Uh huh. Boring to keep the American people informed through professionals who can ask questions. Instead, just announce things on Twitter, and hope that nobody scratches beneath the surface.
This is gut-check time for the press in this country. This president thinks he can get by without scrutiny. It's your job to hold his feet to the fire and make him answer questions. Don't give up. Don't ever give up.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
RIP Alan Thicke
I'll always remember him from Growing Pains, his hit show in the 1980s...
Another Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Fox News
I've worked with and for some pigs before, but none of them are in the same league as Roger. It's hard to believe this actually happened in the workplace, and that it happened (allegedly) for such a long time.
I have a face too, you know
The World's Highest Paid Musicians
The top ten are...
9. Calvin Harris (a DJ)
8. The Rolling Stones (and they only played 27 gigs)
6. Garth Brooks
2. One Direction
1. Taylor Swift
Just out of the top ten...McCartney's in 12th. At 74 years old. Not bad. Springsteen is in 11th at 67. Gotta love the old dudes.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Bill and Barack
Don’t putter around. Head to https://t.co/GNfbft9Ewv by December 15th to #GetCovered starting January 1st, 2017. https://t.co/X4R4hhC5Fe— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 12, 2016
Johnny B Signs Off
“They want to go political across the line,” he said of his bosses. “All political. And we certainly handle all of that, but all political. It’s very simple. So each show sounds exactly like the next show. That’s the way radio thinks today.
“That’s what you do: You make sure that every show sounds exactly the same. So you can’t tell. There’s an angry white guy. There’s an angry white guy. There’s an angry white guy. I heard ‘Obama.’ I heard the word ‘Obama.’ I heard ‘Trump.’ And then it just goes on and on and on.”
I love this. Amen, Johnny. Tell it like it is.
Monday, December 12, 2016
The Golden Globes
The full list of Golden Globe nominees is here.
Looks like a pretty respectable list this year.
Trial Date Set for Radio Engineer
The Chicago Tribune has the details.
P.S. I'm not 100% sure it's the same guy, but I believe I worked with him back in the day.
Angela Merkel on SNL
Patti Smith Accepts Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize
If the House or Senate chooses not to investigate this, they will have a very hard time explaining that to the public.
Even the Trump voters.
Genuflections Book Launch
Lossano and Friends
We had a lively discussion. You can listen to it here.
Friday, December 09, 2016
Reading FCC Tea Leaves
“The Trump Doctrine eschews limitations, particularly when it comes to media.” Is there a “Trump Doctrine” for broadcasting and other businesses? Writing for The Hill, former FCC staffer Adonis Hoffman says that generally, “We should expect a more benign, pro-business approach to communications regulation.” He expects “a rollback on regulations that impose what appear to be arbitrary or antiquated restrictions on who can own what in the media – except for foreign broadcast ownership.” Hoffman’s prime example is “NBCO,” the ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership. When it comes to telecom regulation, he predicts “a light touch.” And he says under Trump “size will not matter...big corporations are not seen as inherently bad or suspect, despite candidate Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip reactions to questions on mergers during the campaign.” Hoffman says the Trump worldview could be “not so much a retreat from consumer protection as an advancement of corporate priorities in a jobs-first economy.”
Got that? Let me translate this very gingerly presented view. "Antiquated restrictions on who can own what in the media" means that there will be no limit on what a company can own. "A light touch" means they will not be regulating at all. "Size will not matter" means that within this presidency, four companies (maybe five, maybe three) will own ALL media outlets. "Advancement of corporate priorities in a jobs first economy" means that large numbers of media employees will be losing their jobs.
When you allow consolidation, you do NOT grow jobs. Not now, not ever. Never happened in the history of mankind. Welcome back to opposite world. Black is white, repeat. Let the younger version of me explain it to you this way...
P.S. That's supposed to be ironic. I never thought I'd have to say so, but I am saying so. I'm NOT really on the side of the nine Americans who want this.
He *Really Is* a Reality Show President
Now when he's called the reality show president, it's not a metaphor.
And don't panic if he suddenly has a meeting with Meatloaf.
Dexter Fowler is Gone
Can confirm he's headed in now for physical. Description of deal remains big, to get him. Was seeking $18m, #cardinals go beyond their plan https://t.co/9Gm4jo33V1— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) December 9, 2016
Last year, the Cubs took Heyward and Lackey from the Cardinals.— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) December 9, 2016
This year, Dexter Fowler goes the other way.
MORE: https://t.co/Ot33rt7Cjt pic.twitter.com/5uH13dLeqi
Thursday, December 08, 2016
Minutia Men, Episode 31
Rick and Dave discuss a bionic thingee, a fake news loop, Catholic apps, the man responsible for 45 years of losing, and Rick’s brush with “You Light Up My Life” singer Debbie Boone.
Listen to it here.
RIP Greg Lake
The details are here.
That leaves only Palmer from this incredible threesome...
Bobby Skafish interviewed Lake during his radio days. It's one of the stories in his book.
New Cubs Lead Off Man
Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber.
I personally think Zobrist is the logical choice because of his great batting eye, but Schwarber is an interesting outside of the box thought.
Here Comes the BS
Last-minute attempt in Congress to kill “NBCO” – the Newspaper-Broadcast cross-ownership ban. The NAB’s Gordon Smith recognizes it as an important step, if the legislation proposed by both Republicans and Democrats could speed its way through the House (where it’s starting), the Senate and the White House. We don’t know whether President Obama would sign it. But we surely know that his chosen FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, wouldn’t be in favor. Wheeler refused to substantially relax or eliminate the 41-year-old rule forbidding combinations of local daily papers and broadcast facilities. (He did add a “failing newspaper” waiver, similar to the “failing TV station” policy.) So the drive to kill the cross-ownership rule (actually two of them) is underway both at the FCC, in an NAB petition for reconsideration, and now in Congress. On another track, NAB has asked to be a “party at interest” in the Third Circuit appeal of Wheeler’s Quadrennial Review. The concern among Congressional Republicans is that either Dems will remain in control of the FCC in the first part of 2017, or that a 2-2 Commission wouldn’t deal with cross-ownership. NAB’s Gordon Smith says “striking this cross-ownership ban would save journalism jobs, create more investigative reporting and provide communities with greater local news.” The bill in this lame-duck session of the 114th Congress is co-sponsored by onetime Oregon radio station owner Rep. Greg Walden (a Republican) and Kentucky Democrat John Yarmuth.
There are zero circumstances in which this will be true. No jobs will be saved if a company can own even more media outlets in a market. Jobs will be cut. Period. That's what has always happened (without exception) and that's what will happen again.
I'm not right all the time (see the past election), but I've never been wrong about this. It was addressed in my book "$everance" and I stand by that book. The predictions I made ten years ago are sadly all coming true.
Another Fake News Consequence
Unfortunately, some people believe this stuff. For real.
One Sandy Hook parent got death threats because of it. Imagine losing your son in a mass shooting, and then getting a call saying “You’re gonna die you [expletives and slurs deleted]… And what are you going to do about it? You can do absolutely nothing. … this is coming to you real soon [expletive deleted]. You going to die. You [expletive deleted] look behind you, justice is coming to you real soon.”
All because some asshole in Texas said it was staged.
Luckily the woman making the death threats has been indicted, but the asshole in Texas who says these things got a phone call from the President-Elect thanking him for his support.
LATE UPDATE: The Pope has declared that spreading fake news is a sin. Nice to have him on my side.
Mark's been getting a great response to his book, an inspiring look at his struggle with pancreatic cancer. This text is an example...
This is the video referred to in the text...
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Around the Publishing World (December 7)
1. Ten Tips For Writing About Japan
Good tips, interesting topic.
2. Award-winning poet shares writing tips with Las Vegas writers
Her name is Sharon Olds. There's also a video at the link.
3. 5 Tips for Succeeding as a Freelance Writer in a Rural Community
I've never really considered the challenges of writing when you're in the middle of nowhere. Some good advice here.
4. Spike Lee offers tips on becoming a writer-director
He rightly points out the best way to break in to the film business (good writing is hard to find). Easier said than done, but Spike pulled it off himself.
5. 4 Tips To Avoid Writer's Block
I especially like the one called "the kindergarten trick".
6. A few tips for those considering a career in writing, editing and publishing
From an Australian point of view
7. Five tips for preparing your manuscript
These are excellent. The first two tips, especially.
8. Great 20th Century Authors Give Tips That Help Today's Bloggers
Hemingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Bradbury and more.
9. Eight Great Tips for How to Find the Funny in your Life
Courtesy of Emmy-award winning writer Monica Piper.
10. 5 Sure-Fire (and Simple) Tips for Writing More SEO-Friendly Blog Posts
For the tech-savvy wanna-be.
11. 5 Writing Tips I Wish I'd Known Before I Wrote My First Novel
Great advice for fiction writers.
12. 5 Tips for Creating Characters That Aren't Boring
Courtesy of Emily Littlejohn, the author of "Inherit the Bones"
13. 5 writing tips from bestselling authors
Courtesy of Mark Twain, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and more.
14. 5 Tips on Writing & Illustrating Children’s Books From Debbie Ridpath Ohi
From Writer's Digest.
Instead of pointing out the obvious bias in the right wing press, they are now going to focus on exposing fake news.
I think that's a great idea. It's the biggest scourge on the media landscape at the moment. From Politico...
Media Matters will now focus their efforts on grappling with misinformation, where it comes from, and how it spreads. These new efforts will include new staff and a focus on technology, bringing in experts to build in-house software to help track conspiracy theories and misinformation.
“We have to think about how we’re getting bigger and louder, not just misinformation but all out propaganda. That’s a role that’s very different than in the past,” (new president) Carusone said. “We’ve not tried to mobilize massive amounts of people or develop a larger following. But it’s going to have to be a part of what we’re doing."
Killing AM Radio
Let me just say this as a media writer. This is a classic case of finding a solution for a problem that doesn't exist. Even if AM radio isn't doing as well (and in Chicago by the way, it's still thriving), so what?
This reminds me of the quest to get rid of vinyl in the late 80s. After all the "improvements" in sound quality, people just decided that we goofed when we got rid of vinyl a generation ago. It's now outselling downloads again. (And I threw out hundreds of great records about twenty years ago. Arrgh.)
There's something about listening to an AM radio station. I love sitting out on the deck in the summer and listenting to a ball game. It's one of the pleasures of my life. And that occasional crackling sound doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's part of the soundtrack of my life. Also, I have a few tremendously cool old-time console radios from the 40s and 50s. They only play AM radio, not FM. Don't take those away from me.
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Rashaan Salaam's family told by police that they suspect his death might be suicide. Note found https://t.co/L3HAHZ3RSl— Brent Schrotenboer (@Schrotenboer) December 6, 2016
This Year's Grammy Nominees
Record Of The Year:
"Hello," Adele (XL Recordings/Columbia Records)
"Formation," Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)
"7 Years," Lukas Graham (Warner Bros. Records)
"Work," Rihanna Featuring Drake (Westbury Road Entertainment)
"Stressed Out," Twenty One Pilots (Fueled By Ramen)
Album Of The Year:
25, Adele (XL Recordings/Columbia Records)
Lemonade, Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)
Purpose, Justin Bieber (Def Jam Recordings)
Views, Drake (Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records)
A Sailor's Guide To Earth, Sturgill Simpson (Atlantic Records)
Song Of The Year:
"Formation," Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)
"Hello," Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
"I Took A Pill In Ibiza," Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
"Love Yourself," Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
"7 Years," Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)
Best New Artist:
Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers, Chance The Rapper, Maren Morris, Anderson Paak