Friday, September 23, 2016

Colbert at Wrigley

Patty & the Stump

Currently available at Eckhartz Press...

Steve Clevenger

Until yesterday I only thought of Steve Clevenger as part of the great trade that brought Jake Arietta to Chicago. (It was Scott Feldman and Clevenger for Arietta and Pedro Strop). Turns out there was much more to him than met the eye.

For instance, he's a stone-cold racist. These are his tweets from yesterday...

Debate Fact Check Cheat Sheet

This is good to have with you when you watch the debate on Monday night. It's a cheat sheet with already proven lies (fact-checked by the Washington Post) that the candidates keep shamelessly repeating.

Wouldn't it be nice if Lester Holt kept it by his side during the debate too?

Letter to the Editor

The Sun Times published this letter to the editor this week...

I’m a Cubs fan. Born and bred. Hardwired into my DNA at conception. But I will not spend another penny of my money on anything remotely associated with the Cubs if the Ricketts family is going to spend that money supporting Donald Trump. How arrogant of the Ricketts family to disrespect the fans and assume that they will flock to the altar like docile sheep regardless of their political views. How blind of the family to not see the ramifications of their action, the repercussions that are sure to follow, the anti Trump rallies outside Wrigley Field during the playoffs when the whole country is watching. Sell the team, Ricketts. Cubs fans deserve better.
Tony Galati, Lemont

Look, Tony, I'm a big Cubs fan, and I'm clearly not a Trump fan, but c'mon. The dude's entitled to throw away his money supporting the losing candidate. Now, if it affects our pursuit of a left-handed hitter off the bench, I'm with you.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Minutia Men, Episode 21

EP21 – Rick and Dave discuss happy endings to missing teen stories, things are banned, pee-repellent paint, a moral Cubs dilemma, and Rick’s brush with Michael Jordan.

Listen to it here.

We also discuss the promo picture below. Ah, 1988...

Skunk Free

Today is the first full day of autumn, which makes it official. My dog Ivy just successfully completed her first skunk-free summer ever. And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. (Knocking on wood as I write this)...


Thanks to "DG" for this one...

Between Two Ferns

Cy Young?

Don't look now, but Jon Lester leads the National League in wins (He's 18-4), has an ERA of 2.36, and has struck out 184 batters in 191 innings.

Is that the Cy Young Award his son sees?

Now this is philanthropy

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan are serious about ending or at least preventing and/or managing disease. All disease. By the end of this century.

They are donating $3 billion over the next ten years to work toward that goal.

That's Billion with a B.

I was going to say something snarky and/or point out how inadequate this makes me feel about my own charitable giving, but you know what? I'm not gonna do that. I'm just gonna tip my cap to this incredible gesture and be thankful.

Say what you want about the business practices of people like Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. No one can ever say to them, "put your money where your mouth is".

Hannity in Trouble at Fox News

It's one thing for a cable news host to be a cheerleader for a political figure, like Sean Hannity has been for Donald Trump. It's another thing to appear in a promotional video for a candidate. We all know Hannity isn't exactly a journalist, but when you work for an all-news network there are certain lines that can't be crossed.

Even at Fox News.

Said their spokesperson..."We had no knowledge that Sean Hannity was participating in this, and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election.”

Inside Radio has the full story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Getting Real About Cutler

I have to agree, though I wish I didn't...

Country Medley

I have to say this about the country music industry. They are team players. The biggest stars work with each other, they work with radio, they work with the record companies. They work together to promote their entire genre. Rock and Roll has never had that kind of community spirit. If it did, there's a very good chance it wouldn't be an endangered species today.

Just watch this video. It's amazing...


Skittles Responds

(Not really, but I thought it was funny anyway)

How Big of a Mistake Did WGN Make Getting Rid of Cubs?

Ask the Score.

The radio station that is currently airing Cubs games is having a record-setting year. From this morning's Inside Radio...

Their long-suffering fans are tuning into WSCR broadcasts in droves and it’s a boon for the station’s coffers. WSCR will earn an estimated $10 million in revenue from Cubs’ broadcasts this year, compared to WGN’s $5.5 million two years ago, according to a report in The Chicago Tribune. The station now ranks in the top 10 in the Chicago market, averaging a 3.8 share Apr.-Sept., according to Nielsen and the Tribune. That’s up from a 2.1 share during the same period a year ago.

Theo's Temper

ESPN Magazine has a whole issue devoted to the Cubs. Among the stories is this one about Theo Epstein. It goes back to his days in Boston...

When Theo is mad, he likes to break stuff. Back in Boston, they all remember one night after a tough loss when he waved around a driver in the office. He set up a ball with the intention of crushing it down a narrow corridor, either into an empty office door or, better yet, shattering a window. With folks crowded around, he gave it a go, and the ball hit a concrete pole, then caromed at an impossible angle ... straight into the forehead of Ben Cherington, the VP of player personnel. They heard the moans first. Blood gushed from the wound. Minutes later, Theo went outside to meet Ben's irate wife, who'd planned on picking her husband up that evening to move stuff to their new house. "Don't be mad" is how Theo opened the conversation. Later, he signed the golf ball and gave it to Ben as a joke.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

And one of them might not make the postseason roster

Australian Mashup

I think this works remarkably well (somehow). The Bee Gees meet AC/DC...

The Most Common Dream

There's a dream that almost everyone has. I'll admit I've had it more than a few times, although not recently. It goes like this: It's the day of your final exam, and you realize you haven't attended class all semester and you have no idea how to answer any of the questions.

The Washington Post analyzes that common dream today.

My fellow radio folks have a similar dream. Our song is ending, and we have nothing ready to go. No other song. Nothing prepared to say. Nothing within reach to save us. Just had that dream a few weeks ago after not having it for many years. Guess the new podcast is bringing that oldie but goodie back into my bloodstream.

People are not Skittles

I get what Donald Trump Jr. is trying to say with this tweet, but geez. I can tell you who were the second most offended group of people after seeing this tweet (Syrians being first, of course). The makers of Skittles.

Bears Question

Here's the only Bears question that matters the rest of this season: Who should they take with the first pick in next season's draft?

What is your price?

According to this piece in the Chicago Business Journal, the asking price for Cubs World Series tickets will be between $1000 and $2200 on the resale market.

I know I have two kids in college, but that price won't sway me from selling mine.

Although, it did make me do the mental exercise. If, and I know it's still a big if, but if the Cubs really do make it to the World Series, and if I have two tickets, what is my price? $5000 each? $10,000? Would I be a sell out if I sold them? Would I be fool if I didn't?

I think I'm more likely to be a fool.

Let's hope this moral dilemma actually does present itself. It would be a nice problem to have.

Bobby with Roe and Anna

Bobby Skafish made a return trip to WGN radio yesterday to appear on Roe Conn's show. Roe and Anna Devlantas were very kind to him, and Bobby told some great stories from his book.

You can listen to it here.

Next week Bobby makes his television debut on WGN-TV morning news. The book is available for pre-order now, and it officially comes out next week.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Stephen Colbert Goes Incognito at Wrigley

Sean and I were watching the Cubs game on TV on Saturday, and I thought I saw Joe Maddon buying a hotdog during the game. It was true. He did buy one.

He bought one from Stephen Colbert, who was working incognito as a hot dog vendor.

Colbert spent many years working in Chicago at Second City and certainly knows his way around Wrigley. Can't wait to see this segment on his show.

RIP Charmian Carr

So sad to hear this news. Charmian Carr, who played Liesl in The Sound of Music, has passed away at the age of 73. Below is the story of my brush with her. It's one of my favorite moments from radio career.

When I was growing up, the Sound of Music was a very important film in our house. My father came from Austria and he forced us to watch it so many times that we knew the film by heart. After he died, The Sound of Music reminded us of Dad even more.

I made the mistake of telling John Landecker about this, and he thought it was hilarious that a 30-something straight male loved that movie. He brought me along to an interview with Julie Andrews to embarrass me. He thought I was in love with her--but I confessed after the interview that I was actually in love with the girl who played Liesl, Charmian Carr.

As it turns out, telling that to John was an even bigger mistake.

I figured the odds of running into her were minimal, but wouldn't you know it, she came to Chicago just a few years later to promote a sing-a-long version of "The Sound of Music." When John heard she was coming, he insisted that I book her to appear on the show.

I did. But I knew I was in for it.

He wouldn't tell me what was going on in the days before the interview, but I heard a lot of whispering between John and the other members of the show. Whenever I walked into the room, they shut up. Or they laughed. I was bracing for the worst.

On the morning of the interview, I was unbelievably nervous. John had even been warning the audience about my childhood love of Liesl, and that something truly memorable was about to occur.

She arrived at the studio about fifteen minutes early, so I met her at the door and brought her to the green room. I must say, she was still quite beautiful. I know she's easily fifteen years older than me, and I know how ridiculous this sounds, but I couldn't even bring myself to shake her hand. I had sweaty palms.

I tried to warn her that something was going to happen. I told her that John had been teasing me about my love of the movie, and described our Julie Andrews experience to her. She seemed amused by it all, but I must admit...I had a difficult time maintaining eye contact.

Take a look at those eyes.

When I brought her into the studio, John was nearly bouncing off his seat with excitement. Within seconds, he was handing each of us a script, and explaining to the audience what was about to occur.

He had transcribed the love scene between Liesl and Rolf, and wanted to know if Charmian would recreate that scene live on the air, with me playing the part of Rolf. I don't think I've ever been more embarrassed in my life.

She was obviously a little taken aback by this, but after looking at me, shrugged her shoulders and said "Sure, what the heck."

John cued the music, and boom, we were acting out the scene. I was sitting five feet away from the real Liesl, and she was calling me "Rolf" with love in her voice. I stammered through my first line, which sent John into convulsions, and onto the floor, but it didn't stop Charmian. She was such a good sport about it.

We did the entire scene. For those two or three minutes, she was sixteen going on seventeen, and I was the blond-haired Austrian teenager she was in love with.

Can I confess it now?

It was probably one of my all-time favorite moments in my radio career because it was such a unique and personal experience.

Don't tell that to John, though. It would ruin the moment for him.

How many people have both of these autographs on their "Sound of Music" soundtrack?

The Emmy's

Here's a list of all the winners.

Here are some of the highlights...

John & John

The story of this long-time friendship is told in the pages of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name". Another reunion last night at the Emmy Awards...

The Birth of Sean Kaempfer

When Sean was born on September 19, 2002, I was still the executive producer of the John Records Landecker show on WJMK Radio. Like we did with the birth of my two other sons (Tommy and Johnny), the John Landecker show followed the pregnancy on the air. I even recorded the actual birth on digital audio tape as it was happening, and then called into the radio program with a full report live from the hospital.

His brothers were both born early in the morning (Tommy at 4 AM, Johnny at 2 AM), but Bridget was in labor DURING the show for Sean. I called into the show every hour and gave updates, some of which are referenced in the transcript below. Sean was born less than hour after the show ended that day.

This is the transcript of the call the following morning, September 20, 2002. The show members at that time were John Landecker, Leslie Keiling, and Bonnie Greene.

John: Magic 104.3, 8:14, John Records Landecker along with Leslie Keiling, that's Sister Sledge "We are Family". Rick, our producer, are you there?

Rick: I'm here.

John: You're a brand new dad.

Rick: Yes I am.

John: Bridget are you there?

Bridget: Hello. I'm here.

John: Do you have a radio at the hospital?

Bridget: No. We had one down at labor and delivery, and we were listening. The anesthesiologist thought you were really funny.

Leslie: Oh great.

John: You mean when he called him "Shakes"?

Rick: And a heroin addict, I believe.

John: Ha! So, how long do they let you stay in the hospital these days after delivery?

Bridget: 48 hours, and I'm taking every last second of it.

John: Well you sound good.

Rick: She looks good too.

John: Do you feel good too?

Bridget: Yeah. And we got a little trooper here too.

Leslie: Is the trooper in there with you?

John: No hold on a second, we're not giving anything away here. OK, so Rick. So far you have Tommy...

Rick: He'll be seven next month.

John: And Johnny...

Rick: He's 4 1/2.

John: Now people want to know. Hit it, Vinnie.

(Music: Theme song from "My Three Sons")

John: It would be my three...

Rick: Sons.

John: How big was our boy?

Bridget: 7 pounds, 12 ounces.

John: How long was labor?

Bridget: I'm not exactly sure because when we got here I was already in labor.

Leslie: That's the best way isn't it?

Rick: It really wasn't that long. I think she only had to push about ten times.

Leslie: And then went to the prom.

(Everyone laughs)

John: Let's get to the tape. Now Rick, you taped this yourself?

Rick: I did.

John: Any problems?

Rick: None at all this time. I had the surgical gloves on, and was helping the doctor. I had a leg in one hand, and..

John: Now wait a second here. What leg were you hanging on to?

Rick: I was hanging on to one of Bridget's legs.

John: Oh. So let me get this straight. You're hanging on to Bridget's leg with one hand, and the microphone in the other hand?

Rick: No, I set the microphone down on the table.

John: Oh geez. I had an image in my head here...

Rick: I'm very talented.

(Everyone laughs)

Rick: I did test levels.

(Everyone laughs)

John: The first time you didn't even know the microphone was on, the third time you're testing levels.

Rick: Exactly.

John: OK, roll the tape.

Dr. Sabbagha: Hi, hi, there it is. Can you push a little more?

Bridget: Ugh

Dr. Sabbagha: Hi there. Push push.

Nurse: Hi pumpkin.

Dr. Sabbagha: God, you're beautiful. Say something, precious.

Rick: It's a purple baby. That's Johnny's favorite color.

Baby cries.

Dr. Sabbagha: There he goes.

Rick: It's a boy!

Bridget: It's a boy?!

Rick: My three sons. Good work!

John: Rick. Guess whose crying in the studio? Oh, look, I got two of 'em crying.

Leslie: That's so beautiful.

Rick: It was soooo cool. I really got to enjoy it this time.

John: (sarcastically) Oh, and I know how hard the whole birthing process is for you.

Bridget: I actually thought he was funny this time. He made me laugh.

Bonnie: Because you hated him the other two times, right?

Rick: She kicked me in the knutchkies the first time she was so mad at me.

Bridget: I did not.

You did too.

Oh come on now, you two. You just had a baby.

Rick: I'm actually really proud of her. You should see her. You'd never believe she just had a baby.

Leslie: How are the boys. Are they excited?

Rick: (long pause)

(Everyone laughs)

Bridget: Tommy was so excited for about ten seconds. He came running into the room, held the baby, and then...hey what's in this cabinet?

Rick: And Johnny didn't even want to hold the baby.

John: Oooooooh.

Bonnie: Johnny's the middle child now.

Rick: Yup. My mom asked Johnny yesterday how his day went, and he said...Um, let's see...I went to school...I played in the asked, 'Did anything special happen?' and he answered..."No."

John: Oh well, that will be an on-going story.

Rick: We're going to all go to a White Sox game tonight and beat up a coach. (This was the day after the William Ligue story)

John: You were gloating all morning, weren't you?

Rick: Yes I was.

John: I told you! Cubs fans are gloating all over the city. So...the name of the child is...

Sean Harrison Kaempfer

(Baby noises in the background)

John: Is that him?

Bridget: Yup. I'll put the phone up to him.

(More baby noises)

Bonnie: He sounds like a puppy.

John: OK, Sean. That's Irish for John, right?

Bridget: Yes, technically it is. S-E-A-N.

John: Harrison, I've got to guess, is...

Rick: Let's just say it's not for Harrison Ford.

John: It's for George Harrison, isn't it?

Rick: Yes it is.

John: I knew it!

Rick: But I didn't pick Sean. That was Tommy's idea.

John: And Johnny wanted to name it...

Rick: Johnny abstained.

(Everyone laughs)

John: Johnny threw his headphones down and walked out of the Security Council meeting!

Rick: That's right.

John: Well congratulations everybody. We now have Sean's first on-air performance on tape too.

Bonnie: Are his eyes open yet?

Leslie: He's not a kitten for Pete's sake.

Rick: Blue eyes.

Bridget: He's kind of dozing right now.

Poke him. Wake him up.

Leslie: Isn't it good that Bonnie doesn't have children? Have you taken him out for a walk yet?

Rick: We've got newspaper all over the floor...

Bonnie, it's a baby.

Bonnie: Sorry...

John: Well thanks for procreating.

Rick: My pleasure.

John: I'll bet it was. And now we have the vasectomy next.

Yes we do.

Leslie: And then we'll hear Rick making baby noises.

(everyone laughs)

Sean Harrison Kaempfer. That's a cool name. You'll have to change your answering machine message you know.

Rick: I'll do that today.

John: Cause it says, Rick, Bridget, Tommy & Johnny can't come to the phone. Well thanks guys, and congratulations.

Rick: Bye.

Bridget: Bye.

Bonnie: Of course, it will be awhile before Sean can come to the phone.

Leslie: Whoa.

John: The next time we do anything with children, you don't talk.

Bonnie laughs.