Friday, January 22, 2016

The Power of Dogs

This is a beautiful story. What a great idea...

Unleashing Tommy on the World

I saw the excitement in Tommy's eyes when he left for the "el" this morning on his way to Columbia College orientation. School starts for him on Monday--he's tranferring in as a Sophomore.

I shook his hand and said "This is the first day of your life, kid. Knock 'em dead." He was beaming. I've never seen him like that. So happy for him. I know it sounds crazy, but I would happily take that same ride again myself. Even the bumps in the road will be an adventure.

A Sarah Palin Statement

This is great. Thanks to "MJ" for pointing this out to me...

Stunning Music Sales Info

In 2015 the sale of "old music" outpaced the sale of "new music" for the first time in history.

Turns out you're not just getting old and crotchety. The new music out there really does suck.

Hee Haw

A brilliant production piece...

The Mix Gets a Prestigious Award

From this morning's RADIO-ONLINE...

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) will honor WTMX-FM/Chicago with its NAB Crystal Heritage Award, which will be presented during the NAB Show Radio Luncheon, held Tuesday, April 19 in Las Vegas. The Heritage Award recognizes radio stations that have won a total of five Crystal Radio Awards for exceptional year-round community service efforts. Only five other stations have received this honor in the history of the NAB Crystal Radio Awards.

Whether or not you are a fan of the Mix, you have to give them their due. They truly are a first-class organization.

Ted Williams Gets A Gig

Remember the story of disc jockey Ted Williams? He became an overnight sensation a few years ago when he was a homeless man living on the streets of Ohio. A passerby recorded him doing a DJ bit (a talk up) and it was obvious that Ted was a golden-throated talent, who was just down on his luck. Well, after his initial rise, Ted had a few relapses, and never did manage to secure a full-time gig. That changed this week. The RAMP Newsletter has the story...

It was five years ago when the industry was captivated by the story of Ted Williams, the former jock "with the golden voice" who was discovered living on the streets of Columbus, OH after years of drug and alcohol addiction destroyed his once promising career. After several attempts at a comeback (and several tough steps back in his progress), we were pleased to see that someone has taken a chance on Ted -- he's the new host of "The Ted Williams Golden Voice Show," heard weekday mornings on Inspirational WVKO-AM (1580 The Praise)/Columbus, OH, the same station where Williams began his radio career in the '80s. The gig marks Williams' first fulltime employment, in radio or otherwise, since 1993.

The Praise website contains an excellent in-depth piece by Columbus Dispatch writer Kevin Joy that describes Williams' long and winding journey back to radio, and the many personal challenges he still faces on a daily basis. Williams said he hasn't used drugs since Aug. 6, 2011. He now finds that the act of getting up every day and going to work has given him some much-needed structure and a sense of normalcy, as he said, "The sense of routine, the sense of belonging -- all of that is coming back."

Despite Williams' rough past and his sometimes rocky recovery, WVKO GM Mel Griffin, who worked with Williams in the early '90s at the former Miracle 106.3 (then WCKX-FM, the last station to employ Williams) says he didn't struggle with the decision to bring him aboard, saying, "We teach and preach about giving second chances; sometimes we're given third and fourth and fifth chances. We all have issues and problems." Griffin reports the early feedback to Williams' new show is encouraging, saying, "People are just happy to hear his voice and know he is working."

Jophery Brown

One of the most interesting stories in Cubs history is the story of Jophery Brown. He's celebrating a birthday today, and is featured thusly on JOBC...

~Jophery Brown 1945 (Cubs 1968)
The story of Jophery Brown’s Cubs career is a short one. He pitched exactly two innings of one game on a Saturday afternoon, September 21, 1968, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Joe Niekro started that game for the Cubs against the Pirates, but he simply didn’t have it. He gave up four runs in the fourth inning, so Cubs manager Leo Durocher sent Brown out to start the 5th inning. The first batter he faced was Maury Wills. Wills singled to center. Freddie Patek batted second, and he sacrificed Wills to second base. Brown must not have felt too comfortable on the mound with Matty Alou, Roberto Clemente, and Don Clendenon due up next, but he buckled down, and got Alou to fly harmlessly to left field. That brought up future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. There was no question what had to be done in this situation. Cubs catcher Randy Hundley held up four fingers, and Brown intentionally walked the fierce Pittsburgh slugger to face Don Clendenon. If you mention the name Clendenon to Brown today, it would probably still elicit a groan from him, because Clendenon singled to left, driving in Maury Wills. That run turned out to be the only one given up by Jophery Brown in his big league career.

Brown pitched one more year in the minors after that, developed arm trouble, and retired from the game at the ripe old age of 24. But Jophery Brown certainly didn’t go quietly. Even during his minor league career he had dabbled in Hollywood, working as a stuntman for the television series “I Spy” (starring Bill Cosby). When his baseball career was officially over, he returned to Hollywood and was soon working steadily. Among his 117 feature films and television shows, Jophery Brown has done stunts for “Live and Let Die,” “Papillon,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Convoy,” “Foul Play,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Vacation,” “Scarface,” “To Live and Die in LA,” “Die Hard,” “Speed,” “Get Shorty” and all three “Lethal Weapon” movies.

The many famous people on Jophery Brown’s “Brushes with Greatness” list are truly astounding, but if you asked him which celebrity impressed him the most, would it be one of those Hollywood legends with stars on the Walk of Fame, or would it be one of his teammates with plaques in Baseball’s Hall of Fame? Hall of Famer Billy Williams played left field behind him and threw the ball back to the infield after Clendenon’s RBI hit. Ron Santo was at third base. Fergie Jenkins was a fellow member of Brown’s pitching staff. Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks, was the heart and soul of that 1968 team. Even the manager of the Cubs, Leo Durocher, was a future Hall of Famer. That’s not to say that Brown’s Hollywood career hasn’t been remarkable, because it surely has. But how many players in MLB history managed to play only two innings in the big leagues, and can still say they played for a Hall of Famer, played with four Hall of Famers, and pitched to another Hall of Famer? I’m betting Jophery Brown has told that story to his Hollywood friends more than a few times, and even they were impressed.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Colbert on the Trump/Palin Lovefest

Very funny...

Free Excerpt From Records Truly Is My Middle Name: Wolfman Jack

If he was still alive, today would be Wolfman Jack's birthday. The Wolfman may have been one of the most famous disc jockeys of all time. He was never on the air full-time in Chicago, but he did occasionally come to town. One time he even guest DJed on WLS. John Landecker tells that story in his book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"...

In the ’70s, one of my hobbies was making movies. I shot lots of home movies on Super 8mm film and taped soundtracks to play with them. They were good enough to show at parties for my friends from the radio station. We called these screenings “The Clique Film Festivals.” Everyone who saw those films loved them, but that was probably because they were often the stars of the movies. I filmed quite a few of them at WLS.

My favorite home movie starred Wolfman Jack. Yes, the real Wolfman Jack.

Bob Sirott was on vacation, and Wolfman Jack was brought in to fill in for him. I probably drove him crazy running around and filming while he was on the air, although Wolfman and I also shared a common bond. As nighttime rockers we hated a lot of the lame music that AM radio played. The Wolfman had been on the air less than an hour when he decided that our playlist was crap.
“This is not what the Wolfman plays!”

Of course, after a few tunes of his own selection, the Wolfman was visited in the studio by our program director. I was filming from the control room through a glass window and captured that moment on film. Radio people always get a big kick out of watching that particular part... even the Wolfman had to put up with program directors. The Wolfman also gave me a great way to end the movie. He led a conga line out of the studio and into the hallway as the O’Jays sang “Love Train.”

(Epilogue: I was on the air after Wolfman that night, and noticed that he left an open pack of Kool cigarettes on the console. When I peeked inside the pack, it was filled with these funny looking cigarettes with twisted ends on them — certainly not Kools. I tried them later. I remember getting very hungry. And sort of horny too.)

That appearance is out there on YouTube. Listen to it below, you can hear the Love Train segment at the end of it.

The Munsters

To be fair and bipartisan, John Kerry is also a dead ringer for Herman.

His Old Stomping Grounds

Thanks to "BD" for this one...

Take It Easy

One of the highlights of Tuesday night's Springsteen show...his tribute to Glen Frey. I haven't written about that show because I'm still processing it. It was an oddly emotional experience and I can't put into words what it meant to me.

As the Sumner Turns

The publicity around Sumner's current mental capacity has led to a lawsuit from investors who want the company to stop giving so much money to a man who is clearly not contributing. That led to this news today in Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Viacom says it slashed payouts to Sumner Redstone and CEO Philippe Daumann. The operative phrase is “under pressure.” The board didn’t wait long to reveal this, after a shareholder suit was filed and after the questions about Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone and his past girlfriends and present mental condition. Viacom says it chopped Sumner’s total compensation for 2015 from about $13 million to $2 million. While the bonus for Viacom CEO Daumann was trimmed 30%, to $14 million. (Daumann’s sometimes referred to by observers as “the son Redstone never had.”) You read here yesterday about the shareholder suit questioning the large amounts paid to Redstone when he was allegedly “physically and mentally incapacitated.” And piling on, Viacom shareholder SpringOwl Asset Management challenges the company to improve the stock price by (among other things) pushing out Redstone and Daumann. Of course anything that affects Viacom like that also affects the other company controlled by Sumner Redstone – CBS.

"But this is my company," a mentally alert Sumner might say. "I built it into what it is today."

"Yes you did," the investors would respond. "Now give me my money and get out of the way old man."

"How could you do this to me?" he might wonder, before remembering. "Ooooh. That's right. This is exactly what I did to people my entire adult life. My whole life was a ruthless insatiable money grab."

(Knock Knock)

"Who is it?"

"It's Karma. Is Sumner there?"

(And, Scene)

Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

This is a momentous occasion...the first ever full-time female NFL coach.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I remember this winter vividly...

Is there another planet in our solar system?

According to this Newsweek article, two scientists in California are convinced that there is another planet beyond Neptune. They are tentatively calling it Planet Nine. There's a video at the link, if you're interested. The scientists attempt to explain why they believe this, even though that planet has not yet been seen.

A little above my pay grade, but definitely interesting.

Chicago Radio Ratings

From Tom Taylor's NOW Column this morning...

AC/Christmas WLIT (iHeart) scored a 14.2 share a year ago in this book, and it nearly repeats that this time (3.3-6.6-13.9). It wins every daypart except mornings. #2 station for the total week (and morning drive champ) is CBS all-news WBBM/WCFS (5.9-7.0-6.8), and third is iHeart’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ (6.0-6.1-5.8). Quite a holiday-induced drop for Hubbard’s fourth-place hot AC “Mix” WTMX (5.4-4.7-4.2). Fifth is iHeart’s urban WGCI (3.3-3.2-3.5). The country rivals are tied-for-thirteenth “US 99.5” WUSN (CBS) going 2.8-3.0-2.3. and iHeart’s “Big” WEBG (2.0-1.8-1.7). In talk, the players include Tribune’s talk WGN (3.6-3.8-3.3) and Cumulus-owned talk WLS (1.8-1.6-1.6). In classic hits, Cumulus WLS-FM is steady (2.8-2.8-2.8) versus CBS WJMK (3.3-2.9-2.3). CBS all-sports “Score” WSCR (2.2-2.2-2.0) tops Disney-owned/ESPN-run WMVP (2.5-2.0-1.9). WLIT’s market-leading weekly cume averages 3,636,500.

Kris Kelley

When the former Chicago broadcaster died in Philadelphia the other day at the age of 45, everyone wondered about the cause of death. According to the RAMP newsletter this morning, that question has been answered...

As the industry continues to mourn the recent untimely passing of former programmer Kris Kelley, RAMP has learned from sources close to Kelley's family that the medical examiner has ruled that her death was caused by choking on some food. There was no evidence of foul play or any other reasons for further investigation.

Trump & Palin

Yesterday Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for President, and Trump hinted that she would be his running mate if he gets the nomination.

Now I'm really looking around for the Punk'd cameras.

Please tell me I'm just having a very bad dream. It is slowly but surely becoming impossible to write satire in this country. Reality is far more ridiculous.

Glen Frey

Saw this for the first time this morning. Obviously Henley is the one who sang it on the record. Also had no idea it was the first song he and Henley wrote together...

Glenn Frey, "Desperado"

Letterman, 1983.

Posted by Ted Slowik Music on Monday, January 18, 2016

Tom Waddle

Ed Sherman has a great piece in the Tribune about former Bears receiver and current afternoon drive co-host at ESPN Radio, Tom Waddle.

Didn't realize that Waddle had a finance degree from Boston College.

I did realize that Waddle is an underrated radio talent. He and Silvy do the best sports talk show in Chicago.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bonus Father Knows Nothing: A Frigid Walk To School

This year marks my tenth anniversary as a blogger, so all year long I'm digging into the archives to feature a few of my favorites from my 30,000+ posts. Today I'm featuring a story that didn't quite make the cut for my Father Knows Nothing book (I wrote over 400 columns...I had to cut somewhere) I think of this one often on cold mornings. My youngest son Sean is now in middle school, but when he was in elementary school, we lived only a few blocks away so we walked to school together every morning. This column is a good representation of what those walks were like. I originally posted it in 2009.

Sean and I bundle up against the elements, and walk to school together every morning. We are easy to spot, especially on cold winter days when we are literally the only ones on the sidewalk. He’s the short one. I’m the one wearing a giant Russian Army hat (a gift from my friend Kim–who got it in Russia).

I’ve seen the looks in the mini-vans driving by: “Who is that crazy dork in the Russian hat that makes his kid walk to school in sub-zero weather?”

It’s me. But it’s not my idea. It’s Sean’s. He sees it as a badge of courage.

“Dad,” he’ll say, “Look. Nobody else is walking again today.”

Nothing makes him happier. He sees us as the toughest dudes on the block. I love the walk to school too, but not for the same reason Sean does. I love it because it seems like he saves up his questions and thoughts for this special Dad & Sean time. This is a sampling…

*”Who came up with the word for ‘grass’?”

*”Why don’t you ever tell me to shush? My teacher says it all the time.”

*”I wish there was a button you could push that would make you learn how to read like (snap) that. Like a remote control or something.”

*”Did you know that basketball shoes make you a teeny bit faster? They don’t help you jump though.”

*”I had a dream last night that Tommy, Johnny & me were inside a video game. You weren’t in the dream, Dad. But maybe I just woke up too soon. You might have been in the next level.”

These conversations are my favorite. He is starting to question the world around him, but is still completely unafraid of sounding silly or strange, and (unlike his brothers) he still likes his father. And after a spirited debate across the frozen tundra about the best outfielder on the Cubs, or the legal ramifications of neglecting to put salt down on an icy sidewalk, he’ll always ask me the same thing at the corner before we reach school.

“Dad, can I wear your hat for a few seconds?”

I hand it to him, he puts it on over his coat hood, and sighs like someone dipping into a hot tub. “Aaah.”

“OK, that’s enough,” I respond after a few seconds. “The bell’s going to ring. Time to get into school.”

He waves to me as he crosses the street, and I wave back, trying desperately to savor every moment of our tough-guy time together.

Sting & Peter Gabriel Going On Tour Together

They come to the United Center on July 9th.

The River

Bridget and I are going to Springsteen tonight at the United Center. He's doing The River, which came out my senior year of high school. I have fond memories of a senior ski-club trip to Boyne Mountain. Someone had a cassette of this album and played it over and over again on the bus ride to Michigan. Whenever I hear a song from this record, I think back to that time. Our seats tonight may be crappy, but the music surely won't be.

Around the Publishing World (January 19)

At Chicago Author Solutions (a division of Eckhartz Press), 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. A Reason to Use a Pen Name
Authors write--it's what we do. But sometimes we write a book that doesn't exactly fit our brand. Derek Haines discusses when the use of a pen name is appropriate.

2. Dictating a Book
Software technology has advanced to the level where dictating a book is actually possible--at least for a first draft. This article has some good tips for authors who choose to go this route.

3. 11 Mistakes New Self Published Authors Make
More tough love. Excellent advice, however. Sometimes we need to hear these things.

4. Createspace penalizes international authors
The writer of this linked piece points out the shortcomings of Createspace for an international author. Something to think about if you ever find yourself living overseas. (Some American authors also have reservations about Createspace, but that's a story for another time).

5. Fifty Shades of Bad Movie
When a blockbuster novel is made into a movie, it usually helps the novel. In the case of Fifty Shades of Grey that doesn't appear to be the case. It received a razzie nomination for worst movie of the year.

6. Oscar Nominated movie based on a novel
The flip side of the movie coin is the novel Room. The author of best-selling novel Room was so confident it would be a hit movie she wrote the screenplay for it before the book was published. Now it's nominated for an Oscar.

7. Revisiting David Oglive's 10 Tips for Business Writing
David Oglive was an advertising genius. We are all in the business of advertising when we promote our work. PR Daily recently went back and looked at his famous 10 tips, and they hold up. Recommended reading.

8. A new category of author--the Artisanal Published author
This is a much needed new label in the publishing world. There's a big gap between traditional publishing and self publishing. Hybrid publishers are a middle ground (sharing the costs and profits with authors). Slightly closer to self-publishing, artisanal publishing is a good name for high quality self-publishing. More at the link.

9. What Can Hollywood Teach Brands About Content Marketing?
Dave Wishnowsky is a local writer who examines the lessons Hollywood teaches us as brands. Not all of it is applicable to authors, but it's worth a read to get your brain in a marketing mindset.

10. Publishing and Publicity Packages
At Chicago Author Solutions we've been signing up clients that need all sorts of help in the publishing process. This link takes you to a few of our packages. Remember that each individual part of the process is available on an ala carte basis. You can e-mail either of us for more information (,


British Parliament Debates Trump

This is priceless. It's what I keep expecting Americans to say. It's so obvious to me, and yet I've been in several conversations with seemingly intelligent Americans (my friends and relatives) who don't see it.

RIP Glenn Frey

Another one is gone. So far, 2016 has been a very bad year.

Frey and the rest of the Eagles were supposed to be given Kennedy Center honors a month or so ago, but postponed it until next year because of Frey's surgery. It didn't sound that bad at the time, but clearly it was much worse than they let on.

Big, big loss for the rock and roll world. The Eagles Greatest Hits album is the biggest selling album of the 20th Century (29 times Platinum).

Frey was the lead for this iconic song...

Don Henley's statement about his bandmate...

"We were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry -- and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn't quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved his wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year History of the Eagles Tour to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I'm not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some."

Monday, January 18, 2016

Creative People

This about sums us up. Thanks to "MJ" for this...

Late Night Tacos Will Kill Ya

This is an interesting sidebar to the arrest of El Chapo. Would you believe that a late night taco order is what finally did him in? Gawker has the details.


This is the greatest Pope ever. (From "KG" on Instagram)...

RIP Gary Loizzo

I didn't know any of this information about the former lead singer of the American Breed. This comes from Ron Smith's facebook page. Thanks for the info, Ron!

Gary Loizzo, lead singer and guitarist with Chicago’s American Breed, died of cancer Saturday (January 16) at the age of 70. Formed as Gary and the Knight Lites, the group saw some local success in 1963 with “If I’m Lonely Tomorrow” on Kedlen Records and continued recording for three other labels before being discovered by officials of ACTA Records who were snowed-in during Chicago’s blizzard of 1967. With a name change to the American Breed, the group scored success that year with “Step Out Of Your Mind” (#24-1967) before hitting with “Bend Me, Shape Me” (#5) early the next year. But the follow-up, “Green Light” (#39-1968) proved to be their only other top 40 tune (though they charted locally with “Ready, Willing And Able” that year as well). Nevertheless, the American Breed were in high demand for commercial jingles, including such products as Coca-Cola, American Airlines, Partridge Weiners and the TV show, “Temperature’s Rising.” A change to more R&B-flavored records as Ask Rufus (later shortened to Rufus) followed Gary’s departure and eventually led to fame for lead singer Chaka Khan. Gary, meanwhile, formed a suburban Chicago recording studio where he engineered (and sometimes produced) the city’s top talent, including Styx, REO Spedwagon, Survivor and Dennis DeYoung. He was twice nominated for Grammys for his engineering work.

We played this song on WJMK all the time when I worked there. His biggest hit...

Tom Clay

I like to post this every year on MLK Day. A wonderful musical tribute...

RIch King Announces His Retirement

He has been hinting at this possibility now for many years, but Rich King finally made the announcement this weekend. He has decided to retire from broadcasting. This news came via his facebook page. He wrote...

it is finally official. i am calling it quits on June 15th. the end of a 48 year career that wildly exceeded every dream I had when it began on that warm summer day in 1968. It is fitting it will end where it began, at WGNTV where I started out as an intern. Sandwiched in between was a 24 year run at CBS radio and TV. I plan to enjoy each day in the final five months hoping the Bulls and Blackhawks will send me out with a nice playoff run. I told my boss ,Jen Lyons , that it will be hard to give it up but at the same time I am finally at peace with my decision. The timing is right. I still feel I am in top form and could go on for a year or two, but it is better to go out on your feet instead of being carted out the door feet first on a stretcher. Had I not met April I would have retired six years ago. She gave me new life and restored my taste for living and working. We have exciting plans now. More time for travel, more time to enjoy with old and new friends. More time to enjoy each other.

Media columnist Robert Feder wrote about it in his column yesterday.

King, 68, a native of Chicago’s South Side and graduate of De La Salle High School and the University of Illinois at Chicago, first joined WGN as an intern in 1968 and was hired as a writer and producer in 1969. He spent more than two decades at CBS-owned WBBM AM 780 and WBBM-Channel 2 before returning to WGN as sports anchor and reporter in 1991.

“For nearly 25 years, he’s been a rock in our sports department,” said WGN news director Jennifer Lyons. “Everyone knows Chicagoans are serious about their sports and they trusted Rich to bring them a front row seat to all the big moments. . . . Beyond a talented journalist and sports anchor/reporter, Rich is one of the kindest men in the business. Hard working is an understatement. Whether it was chasing the Cup at 1 in the morning or surviving sub-zero temps in Green Bay, he always took on every assignment without a complaint.”

In 2014 King was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

His good friends at Eckhartz Press wish him the very best. Rich's wonderful books about his life and his storied career ("Back in the Game" and "My Maggie") have been an inspiration for his many many fans. Maybe we can convince him to write another one after his broadcasting days are officially done.

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Ringo Explains his Drum Patterns

This is a great view for Beatles fans like me. I hope you enjoy it too...