Friday, January 29, 2016

Conan Meets His Censor

Pretty funny...

RIP Paul Kantner: An Excerpt from "Records Truly Is My Middle Name"


Paul Kantner, the leader of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, passed away yesterday at the age of 74. Kantner was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Time Magazine has the details.

In the book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", John Landecker tells the story of his trip down to Dallas to record a song with the Jefferson Starship, and Paul Kantner played a memorable role. Here is that story...

In 1979, a momentous political event happened in Chicago. The city elected its first female mayor, Jane Byrne. By a strange twist of fate, Byrne became the Mayor of Chicago around the same time the song “Jane” by Jefferson Starship became a hit.

I had the idea to do a parody song about our mayor to the tune of that song. This is another story about the power of WLS. Because of who we were, and the number of listeners WLS had, someone actually managed to get Jefferson Starship to send me a mix of the song, recorded by the actual band, without any lead vocal on it.

I decided, in my grandiosity, that this wasn’t big enough. Now that I’m looking back at this, I can’t even begin to understand how in the world I pulled this off, but I did. I flew down to Dallas where Jefferson Starship was performing, and the record company flew in Jefferson Starship’s producer Ron Nevison with the original tracks to the song. Even though I was all fucked up on coke and couldn’t sing for shit, with the use of technical wizardry, Nevison somehow managed to put together a passable version of the song.

The hotel that night was wild. Just imagine, all of these people were staying there at the same time: Jefferson Starship, Molly Hatchet, Michelle Phillips from the Mamas and the Papas, and a former member of the Brady Bunch. It was quite the scene. The day after the recording, Paul Kantner, Nevison, Paula and I drove into Dallas. Kantner had some pot and lit up a joint in the car, but before passing it he warned me: “It’s really strong stuff.”

Paul was right.

He also said that Grace Slick told him that the shopping center we were going to reminded her of Oz. OK, Grace, if you say so.

My parody of “Jane” got a good reaction on the air, but it wasn’t the only song I wrote about Jane Byrne. Around this time, I hung out with a band called The Kind. After I got off the air, I would go out and see these guys, get drunk, go up on stage, and sing “Gloria” with them. Eventually I got The Kind to back me on another parody song about Jane Byrne called “Cabrini Green” which was done to the AC/DC song “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” It was about her controversial and bizarre decision to move into the Cabrini Green housing projects to prove that they really were safe.

Dax Shepard and Kristin Bell do a video for Toto's "Africa"

Not bad...

The Hottest Neighborhood in America

Redfin is an on-line real estate brokerage, and they just-released their "Hottest Neighborhoods of 2016" report, which ranks neighborhoods in 32 cities across the country.

Of all the neighborhoods in all the big cities in America, Ukrainian Village (right here in Chicago) comes in at #1.

DNAinfo has the details.

The Post Super Bowl Colbert Show

Stephen Colbert's show announced yesterday who some of the guests are going to be on the live version of the show that will air right after the Super Bowl next Sunday. Pretty strong guest list including Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Key & Peale. There will also be a few surprise guests, and I'm going to go out on a limb and guess who one of those guests will be. During the show on Wednesday night Colbert teased that he had to fly out to Washington right after the show that night to tape something. Hmmm. Who lives in Washington that could be a big draw?

The Debate Freak Show

I couldn't stop flipping between the news channels last night. Trump was featured on CNN and MSNBC and the rest of the GOP candidates were on Fox News debating. It was one of the weirdest political nights of my lifetime...and I found myself rooting for Donald Trump!

I can't believe I'm writing that, but it's true. The Fox News debate looked boring and small without him. The other candidates, some of whom I would actually consider voting for, tried too hard to sound tough like Trump--and came off looking like dweebs. Meanwhile, Trump was holding court on his jet on CNN, and announcing to everyone that Roger Ailes called to apologize to him and beg him to attend.

That's about as good as it gets. Roger Ailes hasn't apologized in fifty years. And he has been the biggest bully in the media for the last fifteen years. Seeing him beg and squirm is a sight I thought I'd never see.

Don't get me wrong, I won't vote for Trump, and there was a moment last night where I realized he could actually be the next President...and I got a cold chill up my spine.

But for one night, I was with him.

UPDATE: The ratings are in. It was the second lowest rated debate so far.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New PD at the Drive

Robert Feder has the details. His name is Rob Cressman, and he's coming here from Indianapolis.

No report really what plans he has for The Drive (97.1 FM), or what direction he is being pushed. I suspect it will be evident pretty soon.

RIP Rose L. Shure

This is one for my old radio pals. The headline calls her the Maven of the Microphone. Whenever I walked into a studio outfitted with Shure mics, I knew that I was encountering quality.

She was 95 years old.

Huckabee Ad

He's trying to do his version of the highly acclaimed Bernie Sanders Simon & Garfunkel ad, but wow did he miss the mark on this. The singing isn't bad, but the lyrics are ridiculous. Yikes.

Coming Soon To ESPN

Bring a hankie, Bears fans...

Donald Trump with Quotes from Mr. Burns

These are very funny memes. Pictures of Donald Trump with quotes from Mr. Burns on the Simpsons. Amazing how well they go together. One example below, the rest are here.

What Does Foster Avenue Have to Do With O'Hare?

This is a little bit of Chicago trivia that I never knew. The connection between Foster Avenue and O'Hare airport.

Read about it here at DNAinfo.

Jack Landreth

I worked with Jack at the Loop back in the day. At the time he was the producer of the Kevin Matthews show. He has gone to program a few stations out west. If you know of anyone looking for a talk-radio PD, he's a good one. From Radio Online...

News/Talk veteran Jack Landreth exits Entercom's KMBZ (NewsRadio 98.1/980)/Kansas City as Program Director. "I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last four years as a team. Record ratings in our target demos have shattered all we thought we could do," said Landreth. His previous News/Talk experience spans over 16 years including PD posts at CBS Radio's KXNT and KSFN/Las Vegas and KTSA/San Antonio.

Landreth was also previously Director of AM News/Talk and Sports for Clear Channel/Tucson and Program Director for WWTN/Nashville. Reach him at

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Untouched Since 1972 Condo for Sale in Rogers Park

Dig it baby. And it's only $150,000 or so. This looks like it was a swingin' pad back in the day...(More pictures at the link)

A Simon & Garfunkel Song for All the Candidates

Just a Prospect

On this day in 1982, the Cubs traded their popular shortstop Ivan DeJesus to the Phillies for an older guy (Larry Bowa) and a young prospect. Not sure what happened to that young prospect.

Free Excerpt from "The Daly News": Commentary January 27, 1978


As Robert Feder noted in his review of "The Daly News", one of the joys of Joel Daly's book is when he dips into his archives and shares some of his nightly commentaries. He did them for years and years and received Emmy awards for his work. This one was his commentary on January 27, 1978. His last one...

Georgie Jessel once said of show business: “Nothing is so permanent as change.” And that certainly includes television!

This is my last regularly scheduled commentary on this program.

It is the judgment of management that they are anachronistic, time-consuming and action-stopping; that they do not enhance the tempo of a contemporary news program, or properly utilize the new electronic tools of the trade.

Furthermore, it is their opinion that devoting myself to preparing a daily commentary dissipates energy and experience that might better serve the program in other ways.

So be it?

Ten years, more than 3,000 commentaries. Never sued, never censored. It’s a record of which I am proud.

Never intended to preach or provoke or hurt, the nightly essays into which I poured so much pride and effort were conceived simply to make you think and occasionally to make you smile.

Never a critical success, they didn’t fit the critic’s concept of biting controversy. Too much heart and not enough hardness I fear. But during the incredible decade just passed, they provided a forum for fact and opinion that would otherwise have been ignored.

I have a bookshelf of awards, including three Emmys. The last of which I am most proud: an award for “Best Television Writing.”

In a medium where so often the picture ignores perspective, and motion, becomes meaning, it was a great satisfaction to harvest the riches of language, to write a little poetry, to quote a little Shakespeare. Or e.e. cummings who said: “The reward in a job well done is having done it.” I have done it, and I am richly rewarded.

And, if it’s true, “nothing is so permanent as change,” nothing can change the permanency of the experiences we shared the past 10 years.

But now I look forward to new opportunities—new challenges and projects—that will still in some way say, “I’m Joel Daly.”

Throughout the year Eckhartz Press will be featuring a few more of Joel's commentaries. Not much was going on during his years as a commentator...other than Vietnam, Assassinations, War Protests, and Watergate. With the benefit of time, it's really something to see how prescient Joel really was during that tumultuous era.

Good Day Chicago Weekends

Robert Feder's headline this morning says it all: Half-assed as usual, Fox 32 hoists ‘Good Day Chicago’ on weekends

Seems a bit harsh, doesn't it? Read the article. It's right on the money.

A Twitter Notification

Not sure how to take this notification I got on Twitter last night...

World Star Content added you to list OG_WorldStar/niggas-who-should-follow

Seriously, I have no idea what that means. I looked on his/her? page and it doesn't seem like a racist list. Is it a compliment? I feel a thousand years old. I guess I'll have to ask my kids.

Trump Says He'll Skip Fox News Debate

He was upset that Megyn Kelly was supposed to be one of the moderators and was hinting that he might skip it because of his feud with her, but he really wasn't going to skip it. He was simply trying to play the refs like any basketball coach complaining about the fouls before the game (think Phil Jackson).

But then Fox News put out an incredibly snarky tweet taunting him. You know, like any professional news organization would do. This was their tweet...

"We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president. A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

After he saw that, Trump told them to stick it. He's not showing up. And you know what, when I heard that, I thought "You get 'em Donald."

Do you honestly think a news organization that puts out a statement like that before a debate they are moderating would have been fair to him? Talk about unprofessional.

I know, I know, I can't believe I'm writing that either. Of course the candidates should be able to handle tough quesitoning, and of course they shouldn't get to pick the moderators (although they successfully kicked off Chris Matthews last time around, remember?). Of course they should have thicker skin, and of course Trump has shown that he can't handle it when he gets criticized. But that move by Fox News was pure bush league; third grade amateur school yard nonsense.

It was Trump-esque.

I can forgive it in a buffoon like Trump. I can't forgive it in a so-called news organization. For the first time since he started his campaign, I'm on Trump's side.

Which probably means he's making a terrible political mistake.

A New Agony of Defeat

Just imagine the Wide World of Sports music under this...

Abe Vigoda Really is Dead Now

This has been a running joke for years. Everyone assumed he was dead years ago. Now he really is.

Always loved Vigoda. He was great in the Godfather, but to me he will always be Fish. First on Barney Miller, then on his own show.

This is his touching farewell from Barney's show...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1967 Snow

I remember it well...

Here's a picture of my sister Cindy and I with our Opa in front of our apartment building on Lawrence Avenue that day...

Around the Publishing World (January 26)

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. The 50 Most Unacceptable Sentences in "City on Fire", In Order
City on Fire was named a Best Book of the Year by: New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Vogue, The Atlantic, and Newsday. Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times calls it: "A novel of head-snapping ambition and heart-stopping power—a novel that attests to its young author’s boundless and unflagging talents.” It was published by a major New York publisher, Knopf. Fellow writers, however, are less than impressed with the actual writing. There are 50 pretty good reasons why in the linked piece above.

2. One star book reviews
Once you publish a book you open yourself up to criticism. Just read the comments section below anything ever written (or, ironically, item #1 on today's list of articles). It's often needlessly harsh, nasty, and/or wrong. Even when you know it's coming, it still hurts when that criticism is directed at something you've worked on for a year or more. The writer of this linked piece has some good advice for how to handle it. It happened to him, and it can and will (probably) happen to you. Learn to embrace it and have fun with it. A little self-deprecating humor goes a long way.

3. The Social Media Skills Gap
Technology is moving at a ridiculous pace, and social media is leading the charge. As writers we need to stay on top of this, or at least make an effort not to turn into dinosaurs. The CEO of Hootsuite talks about the social media gap, and encourages business people to invest time in learning it. (We are, after all, also business people, right?)

4. Some writer humor

5. What do you mean you'll Tweet My Book?
I know that you'll be tweeting all about your book, but did you know there are inexpensive ways to get others to tweet about it too? Some even specialize in reaching book readers. The link above will take you to one of those book tweeters. They call themselves...Booktweeters. Easy to remember.

6. 25 Debut Authors Share Their Advice for Getting Published
This comes from a literary agent's blog, so it features debut authors who have been published by traditional publishers. For those of you who still want to go this route, there is some good advice here.

7. Another Way of Branding Your Podcast
Lots of authors have chosen to promote their works through podcasts. This article examines the effectiveness of the podcasting world in general, and gives tips on other ways you can brand your podcast.

(Dave and I are meeting with a podcasting company on Thursday. Look for news about our upcoming podcast very soon.)

Future Hairstylist

You can question the idea of filming this, but I think it's something she will absolutely love when she grows up. It's also unbelievably cute...

Nearly 3 million views on YouTube.

Tracking Emotional Responses to Ads

I certainly understand advertisers wanting to have better data, but am I alone in thinking this sounds slightly creepy? From today's Variety...
For years, media companies have been trying to assess the reaction to their content and advertising among social-media users in a quantitative way. But they’ve been frustrated with the limited capabilities of “sentiment analysis” tools that capture only general positive or negative attitudes — with questionable accuracy.

Now Viacom thinks it’s finally found a buzz-monitoring tool for social chatter that’s “on fleek.” The media conglomerate’s Velocity integrated marketing and creative content arm has teamed with technology startup Canvs, which categorizes social-media comments into 56 emotional categories and uses a dictionary of 4 million words and phrases keyed into millennial slang and social-media shorthand.
It's like SABR metrics for human emotions.

"Can't believe that got a 56 OMG."

"I know, but it's also only a 37 LOL."


New York's Snow Storm

Love this video...

Throwback Tuesday

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Bears winning the Super Bowl. The Sun Times remembers that day with a throwback front page...

Some Intellectual Humor

Thanks so much to "DM" for this one. It's for the high-brow among you...

Planned Parenthood Case

I'm surprised this didn't get more coverage on the news yesterday. The Grand Jury investigating Planned Parenthood in Houston Texas (because of those videos), cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, and indicted the people who made the video instead. From this morning's Washington Post...
“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
These are the videos that inspired the Republicans to attempt to shut down the government in order to de-fund Planned Parenthood. They insipred a man in Colorado to murder three people at the Planned Parenthood office there. Ted Cruz still says defunding Planned Parenthood is the first thing he'll do when he takes office. Carly Fiorina famously recited portions of the video that didn't exist.

And now, a grand jury (in Texas, no less) that was brought in specifically to look into this, indicted the videomakers and not the subject of the video.

That seems like a pretty big story to me.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ten Years of Blogging: My Brush With Ernie

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 about the day I met my childhood hero: Ernie Banks. This seems like an appropriate week to feature it. Ernie passed away this week last year, and he would have celebrated his birthday this week as well. The story takes place in 1994. I originally posted it here on this blog back in 2007.

Michael Jordan and Ernie Banks are probably the two most famous and popular athletes to ever play in Chicago. Through a very odd twist of fate, I met both of them on the same day.

By Rick Kaempfer

In the early days of the John Landecker show on WJMK, I was often sent out in the field to cover big events and/or interview celebrities. Nobody was bigger in Chicago than Michael Jordan. When he retired from basketball the city was in collective shock.

When he announced that he had signed with the White Sox and was going to play baseball, we were even more shocked.

On February 7, 1994, I went to the press conference announcing Michael’s baseball contract. There was a media throng there unlike any I’d encountered before. So many credentialed members of the press were there, they had to set up bleachers for us.

This was the only time in my career that I had a chance to speak with Michael Jordan. I wish I could report to you what I asked or what he answered, but to be completely honest with you, I don’t remember. That wasn’t the most memorable moment of the day for me.

It also wasn’t watching Michael hit the ball in a batting cage, although I did take pictures of that for posterity. (That’s him in the White Sox uniform above.)

For me, the memorable moment occurred while the press was cataloguing every moment of Michael’s batting practice. I got bored after about five pitches, and looked around the room. I thought I was seeing things when I saw a familiar face about ten feet away from me. Since I already had the camera in my hand, I snapped a photo. (Yes, I know. I'll never be a professional photographer)

I must have been mistaken.

Was that my childhood hero Ernie Banks standing there? What would he be doing at a White Sox press conference?

I walked over and introduced myself. It really was him. He was wearing his “Mr. Cub—Ernie Banks” hat, and was watching the press reaction to Michael.

“What are you doing here?” I asked after I shook his hand.

“The Sox asked me to stop by,” he said.

“Do they usually ask you to stop by?” I asked.

“No, they don’t,” Ernie said. “But Michael is a friend, and I wish him the best.”

When other members of the press heard Ernie’s voice and saw that I was interviewing him, they all started to mosey over for a quote. I knew I wouldn’t have much more time to talk to him, and I had a million questions to ask him, but I was in professional mode—trying to get something for us to use on the air the next morning.

“So, how do you think he’ll do in baseball?” I asked.

“I think he’s going to be one of the all-time greats,” Ernie said.

With that, the press surrounded him, and I was slowly pushed aside. I never got a chance to talk to him about those incredible Cubs teams of the late 60s; my childhood heroes. I never got a chance to tell him how his upbeat and rosy outlook in the face of adversity was a lesson for us all.

On the other hand, I did discover why the White Sox asked him to come to the press conference. He was the only "expert" there who thought Michael was going to be a great baseball player.

Even the White Sox need that kind of optimism once in a while.

As the Sumner Turns

The LA Times headline says: Sumner Redstone to be examined by psychiatrist

The text of the article asks the question: Can Sumner Redstone pass a one-hour mental competency test?

Too easy. Even for me.

The bottom line here is that the judge finally agrees that it would be only fair to see just what kind of shape Redstone is in, instead of relying solely on his own doctors and his 'guardian' CEO Phillippe Daumann. Seems fair to me.

Telly Channels Bread

Will we ever be able to explain the 1970s to future generations?

An Idea

The National Review went to extreme measures last week trying to get conservatives to abandon Trump. They put out a special issue featuring 22 conservative pundits explaining why Trump is poison for their movement and the country.

Naturally, Trump's numbers went up. He's so cocky now, he said that he could shoot someone and still not lose voters. And that may very well be true.

So what can be done? This is very simple, if you ask me. I have a way that will make Trump's fans abandon him overnight. All it will take is one person saying three simple words.

The person is President Obama, and the words are: "I endorse Trump"

He'll be out of the race by the end of the week.