Friday, January 27, 2017

Chicago in the 1940s

RIP Mike Connors

The star of Mannix has passed away at the age of 91. Didn't love the show, but I always dug the theme song. Makes me want to drink a martini.

Triumph at the Inauguration

It was one week ago today. I missed the coverage from Triumph the Insult Comic...

Don't Take the Bait

Yesterday Donald Trump's senior advisor Stephen Bannon told the media they were the opposition party and that they should keep their mouths shut.

The New York Times has the story here.

Unlike his boss, Bannon never speaks out rashly in public. This is all part of a plan to get the media spinning into a tizzy, and it's working by the way. It's just a matter of time before someone in the media over-reaches or lashes out. When that happens, it will become the story, and the rest of the media will turn on him/her. (Like Buzzfeed after releasing Russian dossier)

That person's name will become shorthand for "hysterical media" or "unfair media" and Trump and his voters will move one step closer to being able to live in hermetically sealed information bubble. And the media will have lost all it's power to pop it.

This is going to be a challenging four years. The media must remain vigilant and disciplined. Just the facts, man. When they say something obviously outrageous and stupid (like the media needs to shut up), just report it, and move on.

It's your job. The rest of us are depending on you.

WGN Traffic App

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

WGN Radio/Chicago just launched its cool new custom traffic app, Traffix Chicago. Designed specifically for Windy City commuters, Traffix Chicago utilizes the cutting-edge traffic technology of TrafficCarma™, developed by TrafficCast Inc. of Madison WI, to synthesize real-time traffic data into personalized commuter information. The app allows users to create their own personalized traffic reports, so they can choose the best route at all times. WGN Radio VP of Programming Todd Manley said, "On-demand is everything and Traffix Chicago gives Chicagoans the data they want at the exact moment they need it." Traffix Chicago users can also share and receive tips with others in the virtual commuting community regarding accidents, construction, weather and other hazards. Traffix Chicago is now available in the Apple and Google Play stores.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Surprising Mary Tyler Moore

I'm so glad that John posted the audio of this today. I've been looking all over for it.

I'll let Landecker do the setup: "Valerie Harper had been a guest on my morning show. Mary Tyler Moore was scheduled for a satellite interview from NY. Valerie agreed to come back and play the role of Vicki Truax who did the show with me."

Roll Tape.

This was one of my all-time favorite moments on the Landecker show at WJMK.

Minutia Men, Episode 36

EP36 – Rick and Dave discuss marriage vs. jail, sympathy for Spicer, Churchill’s brand new tie to the Nazis, Cub announcer trivia, and Rick & Dave’s brush with Joni Mitchell.

Listen to it here.

Still One of My All-Time Favorite Days

Before the Patriots were the Patriots.

They Have Learned Nothing

From Tom Taylor's NOW column today, proof that I have been right about what we're about to face in the radio world...

Hopes are high that Trump and Ajit Pai can deliver deregulation for radio. If you witnessed the furious dealmaking that followed the February 1996 Telecom Act – well, you might see a second (smaller) wave in 2017. That’s the dream of many group heads. One player says “iHeart has been telling bankers and bondholders that ‘The FCC will deregulate radio, and that will be great for our business.’” Specifically, the hope is that Congress and/or the FCC under new Chairman Ajit Pai will eliminate the “sub-caps” that chafe for some of the biggest groups. They’re okay with being limited to eight stations in markets with at least 45 signals. But they want to blast away the sub-cap that restricts you from owning no more than five stations in one service, AM or FM. If a single owner could own six, seven or eight FMs in the same market, that would ignite at least a minor deal-frenzy

No hint of irony. iHeart is still in ridiculous debt from the last buying spree. So much so, they have nearly destroyed the medium. Now they want to do the exact same thing again? Oy.

Here's the problem. The execs who make these deals will get personally rich in the process due to the short-term increase in stock price and their own sweetheart options. They don't care what they do to the medium, the consumers, the listeners, or the employees.

RIP Butch Trucks

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Claude Hudson "Butch" Trucks, one of the Allman Brothers Band's founding drummers, died Tuesday evening in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was 69. Page Stallings, Trucks' booking agent, confirmed the veteran musician's .death to Rolling Stone, but said a cause of death is currently unknown.

Butch is on the drums in this classic Allman Brothers tune...

Crossing the Rubicon

Scary Trump interview last night. He is obsessed with being #1 in everything, even when he clearly isn't. He said things that were absolutely pathetic ("At the CIA, I got the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning at the Super Bowl." Um, no.). He was clinging to Fox News saying nice things about him, and said that's how everyone should talk about him. Then I watched this exchange below and thought "We are doomed. This man is incapable of rational thought."

Watergate super-reporter Carl Bernstein reports that even some Republicans are starting to panic...

And yet, this was the response from someone I actually know. Someone who isn't a moron, but someone who is lapping up Trump's koolaid. This is not ironic. He means it...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

50 Years Ago

50 years ago today...the infamous Blizzard of 1967. That's my sister on the left, my Opa in the middle, and me on the right.

Bad Lip Reading

These bits are always funny. This one seems even funnier...

RIP Mary Tyler Moore

This is a crusher. Mary Tyler Moore has passed away at the age of 80. I met Mary a few times and found her to be every bit as wonderful as she appeared to be on screen.

Seth Meyers

This guy has become must-watch television...

How To Replace ACA?

Prominent Conservative writer Matt Lewis looked at this closely, realized that the ACA does things that all Republican ideas cannot possibly achieve, and came up with a great idea.

Should Republicans actually kick off a new administration by engaging in a fool’s errand that is almost guaranteed to backfire?

Sometimes you have to punt.

Maybe they'll actually work on helping fix it now. It's funny how your perspective changes when you actually have to come up with a solution rather than just blindly criticize.

Chicago Radio Ratings

From today's Tom Taylor NOW column...

Chicago gives its own iHeart Christmas station the same reception enjoyed by Lite in New York and KOST in L.A. - #1 status overall and #1 in every daypart. Hot AC WLIT roars (2.9-6.3-13.7). Second (and steady) is CBS Radio’s news WBBM/WCFS (6.5-6.4-6.1). iHeart’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ ranks third (5.7-6.2-5.9, and second nights and weekends). Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX feels the usual Christmas effect (5.3-5.4-4.4). Fifth overall is Tribune’s talk WGN (4.0-4.2-3.7, and fourth mornings). Wrong direction for iHeart’s ninth-place urban WGCI, which pulled a 4.3 in the August book, but now tracks 3.5-3.1-2.8. Slow going (and maybe some Christmas effect) for Hubbard’s AC WSHE. It moves 2.6-2.7-2.4, and its syndicated Brooke & Jubal morning show is likewise softer. The glow from the Cubs World Series win fades for CBS sports “Score” WSCR (6.1-2.6-2.2). Disney-owned/ESPN-run WMVP is off (2.9-2.0-1.7). In the country wars, it’s CBS “US 99” WUSN (2.2-2.3-1.9) tied with iHeart’s “Big” WEBG (2.0-2.1-1.9). Post-election fatigue for Cumulus talker WLS? (It’s down 2.2-2.1-1.6). The three-month cume trend for Hot AC/Christmas WLIT – 1.8 million to 2.1 million and now nearly 3.39 million.

New Talent at WKQX

From this morning's RAMP newsletter...

Cumulus Media has appointed three talented pros to new positions at Alternative WKQX/Chicago -- Christine "Nicci" Nunez is the new Executive Producer for Brian & Lou in the Morning; Mishell Livio joins for part-time/weekend duties, and writer/comedian Greg Beharrell of sister KLOS/Angeles will host a new Saturday night specialty show on 101WKQX.

We're #3!

And #15. And #27.

That is, we have three of the top thirty worst traffic bottlenecks in America.

#3 is at I-290 and I-90. (I try to avoid this at all costs)
#15 is at I-90 and I-94 North. (This is right by the exit to go to Wrigley Field)
#27 is at I-90 and I-94 South.

The whole list is here. The worst one is in Atlanta and #2 is Fort Lee New Jersey. Remember that one, Chris Christie?

The True Correct Story of the Inauguration

Alexandra Petri writes for the Washington Post, and she has outdone herself with this morning's column. It's a confession of sorts from a member of the dishonest media. A real report from the inauguration. Here's a small portion...

The crowd was magnificent and huge, bigger than any crowd had ever been before! It stretched all the way to the moon. The Pope, who was there, confirmed it.

“Thanks for being here, Pope,” Donald Trump told him.

“Are you kidding? You’re my best friend,” the Pope said. “I wouldn’t miss your big day for anything!” He gave Donald Trump a big high-five.

Everyone in the world had come there at great expense. They sold all their possessions — their homes, their “Hamilton” tickets, which were worthless to them — to raise money to come and see this great sight. They could not believe that a perfect being such as Donald Trump even existed.

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pat Colander Book Signing

Pat Colander, award winning Eckhartz Press author, is having a book signing on Saturday. The details are...

On Jan. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., she will be discussing and signing copies of her book at Miles Books, 2819 Jewett Ave. in Highland. FYI: (219) 838-8700 or

Be there to pick up the Chicago Writer's Association Book of the Year.

Out of Touch

A short film written by Eckhartz Press author ("Recalled to Life") Dan Burns...

Oscar Nominations

They were announced this morning, and here are the big categories...

Best Picture: “La La Land”, “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight”.

Best director: Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”), Mel Gibson (“Hacksaw Ridge”), Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”), Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”).

Best actor: Ryan Gosling ("La La Land"), Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”), Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”), Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”) and Denzel Washington (“Fences”).

Best actress: Emma Stone ("La La Land"), Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”), Ruth Negga (“Loving”), Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) and Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”).

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali ("Moonlight"), Jeff Bridges ("Hell or High Water"), Lucas Hedges ("Manchester by the Sea"), Dev Patel ("Lion"), Michael Shannon ("Nocturnal Animals")

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis ("Fences"), Naomie Harris ("Moonlight"), Nicole Kidman ("Lion"), Octavia Spencer ("Hidden Figures"), Michelle Williams ("Manchester by the Sea").

Obviously a big day for "La La Land", but also of note--the return of Mel Gibson, and no-one will be able to make jokes about the whiteness of the nominees this year. In one category (Best Supporting Actress), only two of the five nominees are white.

It's gonna be a bumpy ride

Sean Spicer whined that the negative press reports (accurately quoting him and his boss) were demoralizing. It definitely came off a little whiny.

The New York Daily News is going to crucify Mr. Trump the next four years if he doesn't get a thicker skin.

Even the urbane New York Times is now taking off the gloves. Here's the headline: The Lies Trump Told

You can blame the press for everything and score some short-term points with your followers, but that only works if you can take the heat when they return fire. This guy clearly cannot take the heat. I'm sure leaders around the world are taking note.

"We Have Company" Review

Steve Leventhal wrote this for

I’m supremely jealous.

Bobby Skafish had the ultimate gig. Interview some of the biggest rock stars on the planet at the behest of Chicago’s prominent rock stations.


And now he’s recounting his experiences as interviewer, emcee, and observer.

The book is called “We Have Company: Four Decades of Rock and Roll Encounters.”

Rock music on the radio in the Windy City is synonyous with WXRT, WLUP, Q101, and WDRV. Skafish had stints at all of these outlets.

Beginning with an attempt to sneak into a Todd Rundgren show, and including such rock royalty as Jimmy Page and David Bowie, Skafish engages the reader as he chronicles encounters with everyone from The Ramones to Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen. The late keyboardist Ray Manzarek tells him some Jim Morrison stories during an interview.

Bobby does admit to a minor faux pas as he honed his craft, on his way to becoming the go-to interviewer, when touring acts came to Chi-town. He also describes a few times when he interacted with these starts as he emceed their concerts, including a few at now defunct venues.

As someone who attended several of the concerts described in the book, it really resonated with me. However, even if you’ve never set foot in the Midwest, you will delight at hearing stories about Debbie Harry, David Lee Roth, David Gilmour, Dave Matthews, Ron Wood, and more.

Johnny Lydon, Tom Waits, Lenny Kravitz, Bruce Hornsby, Suzanne Vega, John Mayer, Nancy Wilson (Heart) are among the icons sharing a microphone with Skafish.

Bobby joined me on Acid Flashback radio. We played music from the artists and bands covered in the book, and he recounted a few of these stories.

To listen to the interview, click here.

How the Rest of the World Sees us Now

This is pretty damn funny. Topical, Satirical, and spot on. And written and performed by people in the Netherlands.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Colbert Says Goodbye to Obama

Colbert brought out his old character to say goodbye to the former president...

New FCC Chairman

His name is Ajit Pai, and here's the way the Radio Ink publication explains who he is...

Pai is a great friend of the radio industry, so this will be very positive news to radio executives all across the country. Pai, a Republican, will initially lead an FCC with a 2-to-1 Republican majority. The President can name a Republican and another person to fill the two open seats with nominees who will need Senate approval.

NAB CEO Gordon Smith issued the following statement after hearing the news that Commissioner Ajit Pai would be nominated to chair the FCC. “Without qualification, NAB supports President Trump’s selection of Ajit Pai to the position of FCC chairman. Ajit Pai is a known quantity who brings integrity, good humor, and a fierce intellect to the Commission. We look forward to working with him and his colleagues on a pro-growth FCC agenda that benefits tens of millions of Americans who rely on free broadcast radio and TV for the most popular content, credible news, and lifeline local emergency alerts.”

When they say it is good news for radio executives AND the American public, one of those things has to be untrue. I'll let you guess which one it is. Oh, and by the way, Pai is also a devoted enemy of Net Neutrality. Look for your connection to get slower and more expensive while the telecoms pad their wallets and internet innovation slows to a crawl. This will laughingly be called "pro growth".

Not a Good First Press Briefing

I like the gentle way the ladies at the Skimm explained what happened with Sean Spicer this weekend...

On Saturday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer took the podium for the first time. He falsely claimed that the turnout at Trump’s inauguration was the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Later, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway explained that Spicer’s comment was based on “alternative facts.” These were some of Spicer’s first official remarks to reporters, and they were incorrect.

Yes, incorrect. And it was the way he did it too...with such anger and vitriol. And he was wrong. Way wrong. Alternative facts. Buckle up. This is going to be a very bumpy ride.

LATE UPDATE: Even the very conservative Weekly Standard is taking a shot at Spicer today: “Rule #1 for press relations is that you can obfuscate, you can misrepresent, you can shade the truth to a ridiculous degree, or play dumb and pretend not to know things you absolutely do know. But you can’t peddle affirmative, provable falsehoods. And it’s not because there’s some code of honor among press secretaries, but because once you’re a proven liar in public, you can’t adequately serve your principal. Every principal needs a spokesman who has the ability, in a crunch, to tell the press something important and know that they’ll be believed 100 percent, without reservation.”

The Single Biggest One Day Protest in American History

Millions marched around the country and around the globe. Sometimes it's just important to show that you exist.

And it was done in a completely peaceful way. High praise all around.