Thursday, November 24, 2016

Minutia Men, Episode 29

A special Thanksgiving edition of Minutia Men.

EP29 – Rick and Dave discuss ways to change the subject away from politics at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Minutia, a Russian boo-boo, a player that was traded for himself, and Rick’s brush with an 80’s band you’ve never heard of.

You can listen to it here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Who is Mark Gelinas?

He's the author of our latest Eckhartz Press book, Gel Strong.

I've known Mark since 1980. That's the year I moved to Mt. Prospect (from Germany), and Mark was one of my classmates at Prospect High School. We went our seperate ways in college (I went to Illinois, he went to Illinois State), but we remained friends. After we both graduated, we were even roommates for a year in the Depaul area of Chicago. (He has lived in Atlanta for many years now)

But this book didn't get published because Mark and I are old friends. This book got published because it's a hell of a story, and Mark has chronicled every moment of it.

A few years ago Mark was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Everyone close to him realized what that meant. We all knew the odds, and they weren't good. Pancreatic cancer is the single most deadly cancer you can have.

But something incredible happened when Mark shared this news via facebook. A community emerged. A community of friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers. A community of people all rooting for him, all providing their voices, their words, and their prayers.

This community was known as "Gel Strong", because that's Mark's nickname. Friends created a logo, and began to sell shirts and other items with Mark's mug on it. This facebook group grew nearly 1000 strong in a just a few months, and Mark used that communal strength to help him through the horrible process of chemotherapy and surgery.

As a form of therapy, Mark chronicled what was happening to him in real time. He shared some of it with the Gel Strong group, but some of the grittier details were spared.

Earlier this year he contacted me about turning what he had written into a book. Of course I had been following along on the Gel Strong page myself, but it wasn't until I read his dramatic words that I began to realize everything he had been through. He wrote it from the heart, and he wrote it with unflinching honesty.

But he also wrote it with such a joyous and positive spirit that I absolutely had to share it with the world. This book is one of the most inspiring things you'll ever read. It's a testament to the power of community. It's a tribute to the power of postivity. But it's also about a man who handled the worst situation imaginable with dignity and grace.

Gel Strong is available right now on our Eckhartz Press site, but Mark will be in town this coming weekend to host a book launch/signing event as well. (Details in the flyer below).

Hope to see you there!

Both Mark and Eckhartz Press are donating a portion of the proceeds to Winship Cancer Institute of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. GA, to support their ongoing research in an effort to win the battle over cancer, specifically pancreatic cancer.

Eddie V

Eddie Volkman has returned to the radio on a daily basis. From the RAMP newsletter...

For the first time in four years, Chicago radio vet Eddie Volkman will soon be back on the radio fulltime -- he's the new morning host at Matrix Broadcasting's suburban Chicago Classic Rock WFXF (103.9 The Fox), starting Monday, Nov. 28. Volkman (left) is best known for his nearly 30 years in mornings on B96/Chicago as half of the Eddie & Jobo show. Volkman and ex-partner Joe Bohannon most recently did mornings on CBS Radio Classic Hits WJMK (104.3 K-Hits) until they were benched in Dec. 2012. On Monday, Volkman appeared on Pat Capone's afternoon show to re-introduce himself to The Fox audience. Volkman said, "It's great to be here. I'm excited! It's not the confines of corporate radio and it's like family and people seem to like each other... the music selection here is so much broader and unafraid compared to what the corporate people have done to radio. You can listen for three hours and really enjoy it."

I've interviewed Eddie a few times over the years. He's a great guy. One time he even had me on his show (below)...

Life Imitates Art

The top one is Tom Hanks as Forest Gump. The bottom one is Tom Hanks as Tom Hanks. Must have been a really surreal moment for him.

You can watch the whole ceremony here, if you are so inclined. Not sure why, but I found the whole event oddly emotional. Some of my favoirtes were honored (like Michael Jordan and Bruce Springsteen), but it was the Ellen DeGeneres moment that really caused me to choke up. I'm getting soft in my old age.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How To Avoid Sharing Fake News

This is a good primer, provided by the fact checker at the Washington Post.

The article has great tips, like...

*Determine whether the article is from a legitimate website

*Check the ‘contact us’ page (if there's none listed, it's fake)

*Examine the byline of the reporter and see whether it makes sense (fake news reporters have very fake sounding bios)

*Read the article closely (especially the quotes, if there are any)

*Scrutinize the sources (a tweet is not a source)

*Look at the ads (Naughty Walmart pictures?)

*Use search engines to double-check (Google will usually show you a story is nonsense in the few links)

I would add these two rules...

If it sounds to good to be true, it is. If it sounds like it's written by someone who is telling you exactly what you want to hear, it is.

Trump Meets With the Media

Pretty comical how vastly different the versions of how that meeting went yesterday. Here's a little blurb about the meeting, as reported by the New York Post (a conservative publication, by the way)...

“It was like a f−−−ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.

“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.

A second source confirmed the fireworks.

“The meeting took place in a big boardroom and there were about 30 or 40 people, including the big news anchors from all the networks,” the other source said.

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.’

Then Kellyanne Conway came out to talk to the press and described the meeting this way, according to TV Newser...

“Thanks for sharing your bosses with us,” Conway said to the assembled press who are staking out the lobby for transition news.

When asked if the meeting was about mending fences, Conway said, “There’s no need to mend fences. It was an off-the-record meeting. It was very cordial. Very productive. Congenial. But it was also very candid and honest.”

Trump wants adulation without criticism from the press, and their main job is to question him and hold him accountable. He's not dealing with the gossip pages anymore, and the sooner he comes to grip with it, the better. And by the way, getting the election wrong is not the same as lying, Mr. Thin-Skin Elect. Your pollsters got it wrong too.

Cubs Bring Incredible Ratings to the Score

WGN still insists they did the right thing by letting the Cubs go. This story makes me believe maybe they didn't. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

The Cubs lead their radio flagship WSCR to record ratings. Could Hollywood have scripted it any better? Game 7 of the Chicago Cubs-Cleveland Indians World Series was November 2 – literally the last day of Nielsen’s “November-book” PPMs. “Score” programmer Mitch Rosen shares these stats with the NOW Newsletter – “More than a million people listened to WSCR on the day of Game 7. There were times during the game itself that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned in to the Score, to hear the home-town call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer.” Ratings record-keeper Chris Huff says the station’s 6.1 with age 6+ AQH total-week share marks “the largest share for the 670 facility since January/February 1979, when it was WMAQ.” Daypart-wise, in this latest set of PPMs the Score was #1 both nights and weekends, powered by the Cubs. What a sweet season for the champs, with their first World Series rings since 1908, and in their first year of an association with CBS-owned sports “670 the Score.” The team came over from co-owned news WBBM, in a one-time-only window, and the result is what Mitch Rosen calls “an epic season.” As you’ll see in the upcoming analysis of the dozen Day 1 Nielsen PPM markets, there was also some glory for the Score’s format rival, Disney-owned/ESPN-managed WMVP. (It had the national ESPN Radio feed of the Cubs in the Series.)

My Illinois Entertainer column next week will be an interview with one of the men who covered them all season, Josh Liss from WBBM-AM.

Klinsman is out

Not sure how I feel about this. Loved the guy as a player. Appreciated his enthusiam. But results are results...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mary Dixon

Impressive achievement...

Texas Hold 'Em

I went to a charity event on Friday night that helped raise money for our soccer club's upcoming trip to Germany and Holland. We played Texas Hold 'Em. At the beginning of the night, there were 48 players. I somehow made it to the final table. Here's that motley group...

I ended up in 7th place. Not bad considering I've never played it before.

Bobby Skafish in Indiana

Awesome event Saturday night at the Wild Rose Brewing Company in Griffith Indiana. Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks to great staff at Wild Rose for making us feel so welcome!

A $112 Million Truffle

A white truffle (one giant truffle) was sold at auction in Philadelphia this weekend for $112 million. You can check it out here.

The whole Truffle-world is really fascinating. I went on a Truffle hunt when I was in Italy in 2011.

That's a picture of me (left) with famed truffle dog Cicca. Good dog. Good girl. She is considered the best in Italy. Her trainer actually took us out and demonstrated her skills. Very impressive.

After the hunt we had a meal with fresh truffles. I guess I don't quite have the palate to properly appreciate them.

Tasted a bit earthy to me.

Truffles, of course, are also the subject of a great novel we released last year. It's called, appropriately enough, "Truffle Hunt". Author Brent Petersen did a tremendous job of making the whole Truffle world come alive. I highly recommend it.

Check it out here.

Chicago Town Hall

According to Radio Ink, Chicago radio stations were critical in making the recent Chicago Town Hall with Rahm Emmanuel a big hit...

According to Nielsen, seven out of ten adults were aware of the Chicago Town Hall meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The meeting was organized by radio stations in the city of Chicago and all of them broke format to broadcast the 30 minute interview conducted by Bill Kurtis.

Good to see that radio can still make an impact.

James VanOsdol

From the RAMP Newsletter...

Cumulus Media Chicago has promoted market vet James VanOsdol to the newly created position of Programming Content Specialist for Classic Rock WLUP (97.9 The Loop) and Alternative WKQX. In his newly enhanced capacity, VanOsdol will "produce content that increases interaction with the social media channels for WLUP and WKQX." VanOsdol will continue to produce and host Demo 312, the weekly Chicago music show on 101 WKQX and do part-time on-air on The Loop. VanOsdol's many years of Chicago radio experience date back to the '90s -- both on-air and behind the scenes on WKQX, WGN, WXRT, WZZN and WTMX. "JVO" is also a published author of two books and is a successful podcaster. Wade Linder, Operations Manager of Cumulus Media Chicago said, "James is a well-regarded Chicago radio vet and a perfect fit with our all-star team." VanOsdol commented, "Like any Chicago kid, I grew up listening to the Loop. It's an honor to be part of Chicago's most legendary rock station and I'm honored to serve the station and WKQX in this expanded capacity to create exciting content that listeners will enjoy across the stations’ social platform, as well as on-air."

2 guys in an apartment

I must admit I didn't understand the whole "fake news" phenomenon that was spreading on facebook during the election. I saw the occasional easy-to-disprove story, but I never really thought about where those stories were coming from. I tracked down the most recent bogus story--the one about Hillary supposedly going bonkers after she lost--which is totally untrue, but was sent to me more than a dozen times. Where did it come from?

Two guys in an apartment.

I'm constantly hearing that you can't trust the mainstream media because they are so slanted and biased. And I hear it from people who believe stuff written by two guys in an apartment who are literally making stuff up.

Trump Whine, Part 2

After the cast members of "Hamilton" addressed VP Mike Pence from the stage after the show this weekend, this is how our thin-skinned commander-in-chief-to-be responded...

Want to hear the "very rude" comments?

Why, I declare, my dear, I think I'm getting the vapors.

A man that has never apologized in his life, believes that the statement above deserves an apology. If you think this is bad, Mr. President-to-be, just wait. The three quarters of the country that didn't vote for you promises to treat you exactly as respectfully as you have treated our current president.

Trump Whine

The president-elect was not happy about this skit...

He tweeted this...

First of all, on it's merits, it was a pretty damn funny bit. Secondly, there was an equal time bit right after this--about liberals who are still living in their little bubbles. And finally, our enemies have to be licking their chops about how easy it is to get this guy worked up. Most sensitive, thin-skinned man on the planet.