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, March 04, 2016
Save the Date: May 20
Happy 179th Birthday #chicago! I'm going to dedicate most of the day showing you off. @ChooseChicago @DNAinfoCHI pic.twitter.com/fMfPXQAqIh— Jeff Lewis (@ChicagoPhotoSho) March 4, 2016
Ted Cruz Eats a Booger
Knife Found Buried at OJ's Estate
While the actual trial was going on I was the executive producer of the John Landecker show on WJMK, and we followed this trial incredibly closely. We did four different songs about it. We did untold bits about the news of the day. We created the "Dancing Itos" concept that was later stolen by Jay Leno. I watched the trial daily to get bit ideas. And I remember it incredibly well. So, when I say they are doing a great job recreating it, I know what I'm talking about.
And now, while this series is being shown on television, new evidence has emerged. According to TMZ this morning, a knife has been found buried on the grounds of OJ Simpson's former estate. Remember, the murder weapon was never found. They searched the woods here in Chicago for it (because he flew to Chicago the night of the murders), and they searched his estate, but they never looked to see if it was buried there. And, according to the article, the knife appears to have blood residue on it.
Of course, even if it proves to be the murder weapon, OJ cannot be charged with the crime again. He was acquitted. Double Jeopardy precludes a second trial. But still, wouldn't it be nice to know?
RIP John Rook
We've lost another legend -- longtime programmer, consultant and station owner John Rook, best known for his successful stints at KQV/Pittsburgh, WLS and WCFL/Chicago and KFI and KABC/Los Angeles, died on Tuesday, March 1. Rook, who was 78, had been living in Coeur d'Alene, ID with his sister Dot and his adopted son Jason. Veteran programmer Dennis Constantine was a close friend of Rook, who hired him at Y100/Miami in 1973 and brought him out to do nights at KTLK/Denver six months later. Constantine told RAMP he and Rook had spoken on the phone almost every day over the past few years. "John was most proud of his years at ABC, first at KQV/Pittsburgh, then at WLS/Chicago," he said. "Years later, he competed against WLS when he went to WCFL. He has programmed and consulted many amazing radio stations with a very simple philosophy -- play the hits! He had a great ear for picking hits and he was a great coach for air staff. He was the first who taught me about 'one thought per break.'"
When I interviewed Clark Weber for Chicago Radio Spotlight a few years ago, he mentioned that Rook was the man who replaced him as PD at WLS in 1966...50 years ago.
"I learned I wasn’t prepared to be the program director. I was just lucky that everyone there got along well. It wasn’t really until Lujack arrived that I started to run into problems. That’s when they brought John Rook in to be the PD, and I was the happiest guy in the building."
Donald Trump responding to the blistering Mitt Romney speech yesterday afternoon:
"I don't know what happened to him. You can see how loyal he is. He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees."
Thursday, March 03, 2016
Now that is one gigantic fence
Melissa Forman Interview
You can read it here.
The Who's 50 Greatest Songs
Spring Training "Opening Day" lineup
2. Kris Bryant - 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
4. Jorge Soler - RF
5. Miguel Montero - C
6. Javy Baez - CF
7. Tommy La Stella - 2B
8. Dan Vogelbach - DH
9. Munenori Kawasaki - SS
Travis Wood - P
I am so ready for this season to begin.
Meanwhile, the FBI has offered immunity to the guy who created Hillary's e-mail server, which is surely not a good development for her.
This election in the fall could be amongst the two most hated candidates in history; one who is clearly emotionally unstable and despised by a majority of his own party, against another who could be facing an indictment. Unbelievable.
This is the first presidential election my two oldest sons are eligible to vote. Good luck picking a candidate, boys.
Adweek has the ugly details.
Joe Walsh & Bad Company
This is a heck of a double-headliner show: Joe Walsh and Bad Company.
Details (and tour dates) are available here. They come to Chicago on June 23.
I'm going to try to make it to this one (and as many others as I can). The way these guys have been dropping over the past year or so makes we want to see them all one last time.
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Fox News Receives Its Marching Orders
As predicted, Trump reaching out to make peace with Republican "establishment". If he becomes inevitable party would be mad not to unify.— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) March 2, 2016
"We're finished with Rubio," says Fox News chief Roger Ailes: https://t.co/2bNsx9ayci pic.twitter.com/VUehx0NE5s— New York Magazine (@NYMag) March 2, 2016
The suits are figuring out that the monster they created still needs to be fed. Unfortuately for them, the monster now gets to order whatever it wants from the menu.
Norm Winer Quits WXRT
Robert Feder has the details and the full text of Norm's farewell to his co-workers.
Couldn't help but notice this comment from Norm: "I’ll soon have plenty of time to start writing my memoirs while I can still remember all the names, places, and punchlines that have given me so much pleasure – or at least adrenaline—for so long."
Norm, I know a publisher. Give me a call.
10 Years of Blogging: Bonus Father Knows Nothing "Dad's on TV"
My kids never tire of hearing stories about my childhood, but there is one thing they will never ask me about under any circumstances.
They just don't care. I can understand that on a certain level. My own father was an engineer, and I remember that after I discovered he wasn't a train engineer...he was just a civil engineer...his job didn't interest me in the slightest. Even when I attended a school that he had personally designed (Heidelberg American Middle School), I wasn't impressed. I remember telling him: "The hallways are a little confusing."
So, I suppose it's only fair that my own kids are similarly unimpressed with my career. When they were little, I worked in radio. My two oldest sons Tommy and Johnny were even featured on the show quite a bit. But I remember their reaction one time when a stranger was impressed by meeting them because he had heard them talking on the radio.
They thought the guy was nuts.
When this fan asked Tommy what it was like hanging out with a famous disc jockey like John Records Landecker, he just shrugged his shoulders. So did Johnny. To them, John was just one of Dad's friends. No big deal. And being on the radio was also no big deal. It's just a bunch of people sitting in a room with microphones.
When my first book came out, I gave an autographed copy to my oldest son. He put it in the closet. When my first novel came out two years later, I gave copies to all three boys. Two of them have no idea where their copies are now. When my most recent novel came out, none of the boys wanted a copy. None of them even asked me what it's about.
But there was one time, I did something that I thought might actually interest them: I was interviewed on television.
I mentioned it to the boys at breakfast that morning as I put on my suit.
"Is it going to be on the Internet?" Sean asked.
"I'm not sure," I said. "I hope so. If not, I can probably post it on YouTube."
"Do you know how to do that?" Tommy asked.
"No. Do you?"
He just shook his head and continued eating his waffles. No follow up questions. Not the slightest bit of interest. After they came home from school I asked them if they wanted to watch the interview. All three of them said no. Bridget, to her credit, actually did want to see it when she came home from work. I even heard her guilting the boys into watching it too. Only two of them were moved by her techniques; Tommy and Sean. Johnny still didn't care. He stayed in his room reading Captain Underpants.
The rest of us watched the segment together. After it was over, Tommy said: "That's it?"
"Yup," I replied.
Sean didn't say a word, he just walked away. Bridget said: "That was pretty good, but..."
"You were a little slouchy."
I must say, there's very little chance of getting a big head in this household. I suppose that's probably for the best. But I also have a pretty good idea now how my Dad felt when I told him the hallways in his school were a little confusing.
41 Years of Thunder Road Live
Daniel Day Lewis as...Obama
Steven Spielberg's Obama Trailer
A trailer for Steven Spielberg's Obama starring Daniel Day Lewis and Tracy Morgan.Posted by Consequence of Sound on Saturday, February 27, 2016
How Bad is iHeart's Debt?
Woah. Bain Capital, in case you don't remember, is Mitt Romney's outfit.
His were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back, and then he endorsed the abyss.
It was not a thousand-yard stare. That would understate the vast and impenetrable distance it encompassed.
He looked as if he had seen a ghost and the ghost had made him watch Mufasa die again.
He had the eyes of a man who has looked into the heart of light, the silence. A man who had seen the moment of his greatness flicker, and seen the eternal footman hold his coat, and snicker.
That's just good writing. I can't post the photo, but you can see it at this link. But then again, do you even need to see it? Her words have already shown it to you.
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Another Happy Author
Dobie Maxell with the very first copy of his Eckhartz Press book "Monkey in the Middle". The book ships March 14th, and Dobie is having a book launch party that night at Zanies in Chicago. (A free stand up comedy show/book launch party).
If you pre-order the book at our website, Dobie is adding a lifetime pass to see him perform stand up comedy. For a comedian who still does about 150 gigs a year, that's no small bonus.
Around the Publishing World (March 1)
1. From the Librarian Hall of Fame
No, there isn't actually a librarian hall of fame, but if there were, this 60-year library veteran would be in there.
2. Building your author platform
Great advice in this piece, including this little tidbit: "As old fashioned as email is, it is still by a very long way, the most powerful means of getting your message out. To be really blunt, 100 Facebook posts do not even come close to having the same affect as one well written and targeted email." TRUTH.
3. Diversity in publishing
Hollywood isn't the only place that has an issue here. Good piece by the Creative Penn.
4. Four Mindsets That Could Doom Your Social Media Marketing Efforts
Both ends of the spectrum are tackled here. Don't be an "I'm everywhere" or an "I'm nowhere". You need a good balance.
5. Seven Traits of the Social Writer
We particularly endorse the first one: "Embrace proactivity. If you have never written a blog post, never Tweeted or made a YouTube video, now is the time to learn. Old dogs can learn new tricks. See a post as a short article you have been asked to write, a Tweet as a link to something interesting and a YouTube video as a chance to talk."
6. The "Monkey in the Middle" Book Release Party
Eckhartz Press' very own Dobie Maxwell is hosting a free party at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago (on Wells Street) on March 14th at 8:30pm. Comedy...and a book! You can't beat it.
Joke for a Tuesday Morning
A woman and a man are involved in a car accident; it's a pretty bad one. Both cars are totally demolished but amazingly neither of them are hurt.
They crawl out of their cars, and the woman says, "So you're a man, that's interesting. I'm a woman. Wow, just look at our cars! There's nothing left, but fortunately we are not hurt. This must be a sign from God that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace for the rest of our days."
The man replied, "I agree with you completely we should meet and be friends."
"This must be a sign from God!" The woman continued, "And look at this, here's another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our amazing good fortune."
Then she hands the bottle to the man, The man nods his head in agreement, opens it and drinks half the bottle and then hands it back to the woman.
The woman takes the bottle, immediately puts the cork back in and hands it back to the man.
The man asks, "Aren't you having any?"
The woman replies, "No. I think I'll just wait for the police."
Happy Birthday Harry
Harry was more than just the announcer for the Cubs. He was the symbol of the team during his time on the North Side. He had some great moments in the division winning year of 1984, but Cubs fans truly got a taste of what it would be without him when he had a stroke in 1987 and had to miss some time. When Harry Caray finally returned to the broadcast booth in May of 1987, it was a big deal across the country. He had been out of commission for the first month of the year, and WGN’s Superstation trumpeted his return across the nation. It seemed that every baseball fan in America was tuning in that day Harry returned. It also happened to be in an era when the President of the United States was a big Cubs fan, and he even called into the booth to wish Harry well. Most people would have been thrilled, but Harry took the phone call in stride, even when President Reagan said: “I just wanted to welcome you back. The Cubs need you, the baseball world needs you, and the country needs you. You’re great for baseball.” President Reagan went on to talk about Nancy, and Chicago, and his broadcasting days. Harry didn’t really seem to be paying attention to what the President said. Instead, he cut him off by saying “Mr. President, Bob Denier just singled and I’ve got to let you go.” Then he hung up on the President. How many people can say they have done that? Obviously, Ronald Reagan didn’t take it personally. The following season he came to Wrigley Field and did an inning with Harry in the booth. Harry passed away in February of 1998. He was replaced in the Cubs broadcast booth by his grandson Chip.
(In 1994, Harry also had the first lady of the country in the booth. It didn't turn out so well for her...)
Only 34.3 million tuned in--making it the lowest rated Oscars since 2008 (when Jon Stewart hosted).
I was in the grocery store yesterday and the cashier and bagger were discussing it.
"Too much black/white stuff," the bagger said.
"Too much Mad Max," the cashier replied. "I saw that movie. My son made me watch it. Steaming pile of crap."
The people have spoken.
Everything Must Go!
Now mind you, this is the part of the Tribune company that was supposed to be healthy--the part that was split off from the "dying" Tribune publishing. From the Variety article...
Tribune Media said it had no definitive timetable to complete its strategic review, and would not comment on the process “until such time as any definitive agreements may be entered into in the process or as otherwise appropriate or required.”
The company will continue its efforts to gain financial reward from its real-estate holdings, which include the Tribune Tower located in Chicago and the north block of the Los Angeles Times Square property located in Los Angeles.
Tribune also said it had secured agreements with top executives that will have them continue their employment. Liguori signed entered into a new two-year employment agreement, while Chandler Bigelow was named executive vice president and chief financial officer. Tribune Media’s general counsel, Eddie Lazarus, was named chief strategy officer.
Pfew. The executives are still being paid millions. Thankfully their payday will be unaffected as they hack and cut their way to solvency. Everyone else? Watch your back.
RIP Charlie Tuna
Charlie Tuna never worked in Chicago, but he was a radio legend in Los Angeles, one of the all-time great Top-40 jocks. Sad to hear the news. I listened to his show on Armed Forces Radio when we lived in Germany.
From All Access...
TUNA was honored with a star on the HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME in 1990.
In 1997, CHARLIE was voted one of the Top 10 L.A. Radio Personalities Of All Time by readers of the LOS ANGELES RADIO PEOPLE.
He was heard around the world daily on the ARMED FORCES RADIO NETWORK for a 25-year 6,000-show run from 1971 to 1996, as well as on numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, since the early '70s.
He could also be heard across the U.S., CANADA and internationally on his syndicated five-hour daily and weekend shows, plus a daily HOLLYWOOD MINUTE entertainment feature.
TUNA was the announcer for the television game show "Scrabble," which ran for seven years on NBC, and a dozen other TV shows ranging from "THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW" and "THICKE Of The Night," to "AMERICA'S TOP 10 WITH CASEY KASEM." He hosted "Cinema, Cinema, Cinema" for 30 years, an internationally syndicated TV show featuring the top movies in the U.S. each week, with clips from the films. He also hosted the international TV show "Inside HOLLYWOOD" for three years.
Monday, February 29, 2016
The Ultimate Trump Takedown
Leap Day Birthday
How Low Can You Go?
In response to the property mogul calling him "little Rubio," Rubio conceded that Trump was taller than him. However, the Florida senator suggested Trump had small hands for his height. "And you know what they say about guys with small hands," Rubio said with a smile, prompting stunned laughter from the crowd.
Seriously? You're going after the size of little Trump?
Without question, this is the lowest point in American political history.
Leap Day Grand Opening
DNAinfo has the details (and pictures)
Leap Day #1s
2/29/1948 - I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover-Art Mooney
2/29/1952 - Blue Tango-Leroy Anderson
2/29/1956 - Poor People Of Paris-Les Baxter
2/29/1960 - The Theme From "A Summer Place"-Percy Faith
2/29/1964 - I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You Beatles
2/29/1968 - Love Is Blue-Paul Mauriat
2/29/1972 - Without You-Nilsson
2/29/1976 - December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)-Four Seasons
2/29/1980 - Rock With You-Michael Jackson
2/29/1984 - 99 Red Balloons/99 Luftballons-Nena
2/29/1988 - Pump Up The Volume-M/A/R/R/S
This has to be the last #1 song in America sung in German...
I thought Chris Rock did a good job. His best joke: "Jada boycotting the Oscars this year is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited."
Biggest oversight: Abe Vigoda. How dare they forget Salvatore Tessio?
By the three hour mark, I thought, "Point made. We get it. Not enough diversity."
By the four hour mark, I thought, "I don't care if it wins 12 Oscars, I'm still not going to see that Mad Max movie."
Finally, in the last few moments, Leo DiCaprio won his Oscar. Finally, that poor guy can get laid.
In case you were wondering, for this year's Oscars I wore my favorite designer: Adi Das...sweatpants.