Friday, September 02, 2016

True Class

One day I hope to be as classy as Jay Mariotti...

Kevin Matthews

My September column in the Illinois Entertainer is about the great Kevin friend of nearly 30 years.

You can read it here.

Last Night's Book Signing

Had a great time at Jeanne Bellezzo's book signing last night at Lone Star on Harlem. Great turnout. Good friends. Lots of books. Plus the Cubs on TV. What more can you ask for on a Thursday night?

Mick & Bowie without music

This is hilarious...

Ringo Breaks a Record

He sold his original pressing of The Beatles White Album...which he had never opened, and was stamped with 0000001 for $790,000. It's the most money for one record in history, beating the previous record by nearly $400,000.

And Ringo donated the money to charity (The Lotus Foundation, which raises funds for “advancing social welfare")

What a mensch.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Minutia Men, Episode 18

EP18 – Rick and Dave discuss spoiled YouTube stars, take an Anthony Weiner trivia quiz, help out a 12-year-old taxidermist, and Rick shares his brush with Bob Newhart.

Listen to it here.

Includes a surprise ending.

Jeanne Bellezzo Book Signing

This is where I will be tonight...


I was there at the game last night. (I know...where else, right?) When Chapman came in the crowd went nuts. But I could see in the eyes of the guys on deck that they wanted no part of him. Even though Pittsburgh scratched out a run, those batters were shaking in their boots last night. Not only was Chapman throwing over 100 miles an hour. He was completely wild. Two of his pitches went all the way back to the backstop.

Imagine stepping in against that. He could kill you with a pitch, and he has no idea where it's going.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016


I wrote something similar when the FCC announced they would NOT be further deregulating the radio business, but I don't have the gravitas or credentials of this man. From today's RAMP Newsletter...

Saul Levine, longtime President of family-owned Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters' KKGO (Go Country 105) and KMZT-AM/Los Angeles took a stand for that vanishing breed known as independent owners when he penned an open letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in support of the Commission's decision to retain existing ownership caps. "Thank you for the courage you have shown in your decision limiting further consolidation of the broadcast industry," Levine wrote. "You have done the right thing in preserving the existing restrictions on multiple ownership of broadcast radio facilities."

Levine continued, "Prior to the Telecommunications Act in 1996, local radio was a creative and community-oriented service. Competing with many other operators, each with no more than an AM/FM combo, fostered a vibrant creative process. The public benefited from the competition, and young people could apply for jobs in broadcasting. Now, two decades after the Telecommunications Act of 1996, what is the state of local radio? Has there been a benefit to the public? Definitely not, in my opinion. Tens of thousands of radio station employees have been fired, while programming has become dull and of limited local public appeal. There are few locally owned, family operated stations in the market competing against goliaths. Young people rarely apply for a position with a local station because there are hardly any jobs. Competing in the advertising market place is so much more difficult. Due to consolidation, radio advertising is now sold in clusters. Buy the eight-station cluster and there are special deals, bonuses, and discounts. This is anti-competitive, in my opinion. To make matters worse, these groups actually wanted to compound this untenable environment by increasing the caps in Los Angeles to 12 stations."

In conclusion, Levine wrote, "Radio as a competitive, creative medium is worse off today. The broadcast industry would face extinction as a local service to allow additional consolidation. What the radio industry really needs is to roll back ownership caps. That would open competition to multiple operators, increase viewpoint diversity, boost local employment, and inspire creative solutions to stand out among the competition. Because of my passion for radio and serving the public, I have operated niche formats (Jazz, Classical, and yes, Country in L.A.) because there was a need in the community for these formats despite limited revenue. The industry would be well served by more owners with a passion for radio and public service."

Here's the way I responded when they tried to do it a decade ago. Only an outraged public prevented it from happening...

Tribune Media Sells Tribune Tower

Nothing lasts forever, but I never thought I'd see the day the Tribune sold it's iconic tower. Details are here.

For decades this was the most significant structure on Chicago's skyline. I've written about it before. A portion of that longer piece is featured on Just One Bad Century today...

On May 24, 1923, Colonel Robert McCormick broke ground on the Tribune Tower. Sixty years later the Cubs would be run by the men in that tower, but in 1923, they were still run by William Wrigley. Wrigley had commissioned the building of his own magnificent structure across the street from McCormick's Michigan Avenue location just a few years earlier.

In 1923 it was the crown jewel of Chicago's skyline.

The Tribune Tower (photo) opened to rave reviews in 1925. The statue of Nathan Hale still greets people, as do the carved images of Robin Hood (representing the architect Hood) and a howling dog (representing the architect Howells) above the entrance. Also, parts of important historical sites (brought back to Chicago by Tribune correspondents) still grace the base of the structure, including stones from such sites as the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, and the Palace of Westminster, petrified wood from the Redwood National and State Parks, and pieces from the Great Pyramid, The Alamo, Notre-Dame, Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb, the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, and most recently, the World Trade Center in New York.

Pat Colander book signing

My friend Barry Butler is one of the most gifted photographers in Chicago, even though it's really just a hobby for him. Yesterday in 2013, he took this storm photo of Chicago...

When Pat Colander came to me with the book "Hugh Hefner's First Funeral and Other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago", I suggested she take a look at Barry's photographs to see if any of them matched the tone of her book. This is the one she chose, and she chose well! Thanks so much to Barry for allowing us to use it for the cover.

Pat's still out promoting her incredible work. She has a book signing this weekend. Here are a few of the details...

It's at 5-9pm
Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Lake Street Gallery
613 S. Lake St., Gary, Indiana 46403

Part of First Friday Celebration on Lake St. in Miller Beach. Gallery is conveniently located between 18th Street Brewery and Miller Bakery Cafe.

A compliment?

After I made a crack about half-assing something I was sent this...(Thanks so much "EH")

Recognize the Voice Actor?

An Alka Seltzer ad from the 1960s featuring the great Gene Wilder...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chicago Radio Ratings

From Tom Taylor's column this morning...

Chicago keeps all-news WBBM/WCFS and urban AC “V103” in a tight tango at #1-#2. CBS-owned WBBM moves 5.8-5.8-6.1 and iHeart’s WVAZ shows 6.1-5.6-6.0. ’BBM is #1 mornings and middays, while V103 is #1 afternoons and weekends, and second middays and nights. Third place total-week is Hubbard hot AC “Mix” WTMX (5.0-4.9-5.5, and second in mornings with Eric & Kathy). Fourth is iHeart CHR “Kiss” WKSC (4.4-4.6-4.5), just ahead of urban sister WGCI (3.5-4.0-4.3). According to Chris Huff, the 4.3 share is WGCI’s best since February 2014. One reason why – WGCI’s #1 at night (though tied for eleventh in morning drive). Tribune’s talk WGN is #6 (3.6-3.9-3.8, and third in mornings). CBS sports “Score” WSCR has the Cubs (4.1-4.0-3.7). The country field is CBS Radio’s “US99” WUSN (reimaged after this book ended, and moving 2.6-3.0-2.9) versus iHeart’s “Big” WEBG (2.3-2.4-2.4). CHR “Kiss” pulls the highest cume at 2,421,000.

U of I Slips to Third Place in Best Party School

Kids these days, I tell ya. There was a time when we took a little pride in our partying. Last year Illinois was declared the #1 party school in the country.

Now we're #3.

And Wisconsin is #1.


RIP Gene Wilder

Loved Gene Wilder. Here are my favorite moments from his career. Just imagine...he was in all four of these movies, and that's just a sliver of his incredible time here on earth.

His greatest role...

My all-time favorite movie...

My childhood favorite...

My old boss John Landecker's all-time favorite movie...

And that doesn't even take into account his incredible films with Richard Pryor like Stir Crazy and Silver Streak...

If he wasn't one of the all-time greats, there's no such thing.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Charles Osgood Stepping Down

He's been doing his CBS show for 22 years, but in about a month he will sign off for good. From this morning's NOW column...

Charles Osgood soon won’t be saying “See you on the radio,” as he cheerily signs off his weekly “Sunday Morning” show” on CBS-TV. The New York Post says the perennially bow-tied and witty Mr. Osgood will host his final “Sunday Morning” TV show on September 25. He’s 83 and says it’s time to let the weekend gig go, though he says “it’s been such a joy doing it” for the past 22 years. Osgood succeeded “Sunday Morning” originator Charles Kuralt – and CBS isn’t saying who might succeed Charles. He continues to contribute the morning drive “Osgood File” to radio’s morning drive via CBS Radio Network, and yesterday Westwood EVP Bart Tessler said “We congratulate Charlie on his amazing career at CBS News and Sunday Morning, and couldn’t be more honored that he will continue The Osgood File on [CBS Radio Network distributor] Westwood One.” Charles first joined CBS in 1967, and among his output are books like “How to Think on Your Feet Without Falling on Your Face.”

The Beatles said to hell with touring exactly 50 years ago today

The audio and the story is here at the AV Club.

Guess Who is Sexting Again?

Apparently when your name is Weiner, you have no choice.

The New York Post has the photos and the story.

No offense, Anthony, but you sir are a moron.

LATE UPDATE: The inevitable (and correct) reaction...

Fox News Oppo Research

This is a crazy story. Roger Ailes apparently kept opposition research files on people he considered to be his enemies. Can you tell he got his political start with Richard Nixon?

The file on journalist Gabriel Sherman is 400 pages long.

That's really incredible, if you think about it. Not at all normal business practices for an alleged journalistic enterprise.

Vin Scully

What a treat it was to hear Vin Scully broadcasting the third inning of yesterday's Cubs/Dodgers game. The man was so smooth and classy.

Listen to a bit of it here.

Truly one of the all-time greats. He will missed when he retires at the end of this season.


Watched the Sunday morning shows yesterday and got a big kick out of the Trump surrogates (including his VP choice) pretending they were shocked (shocked!) at the language Hillary used to prove Trump has been delivering racist dog whistles (by using his own words against him). All of them said some variation of this: "Mr. Trump would never engage in personal attacks like that".

I give the interviewers credit for not laughing out loud.

Here's a list of 258 people Trump has personally attacked (including the attacks themselves)...and that's just on Twitter. Take away personal attacks from Trump and he literally has nothing at all. It's what he does all day and night. It's part of his DNA. And these are not policy attacks. They are fourth grade playground "I know you are but what am I" attacks.

It's got to be tough to be a Trump surrogate. You can almost see them thinking "Why did I agree to do this?"