Friday, February 10, 2017

Mike Myers as Del Close

By the time I met Del Close he was already very sick, so I never really saw him teaching in his prime. Mike Myers did though, and I'm sure he'll tap into that experience when he portrays Close in an upcoming film.

The AV Club has more details.

Baseball's Most Hated Man

This was written by Yahoo's Jeff Passan about the owner of the Florida Marlins, Jeff Loria, after a rumor emerged that he was looking to sell the Marlins...

Over the past 18 years, as Jeffrey Loria sprayed the stench of his naked greed across baseball like the skunk he is, as he destroyed the sport in one city and bilked another out of billions of dollars, as he tore asunder a championship team and micromanaged countless others and behaved like the lamest sort of wannabe George Steinbrenner possible, all blowhard, zero substance, the aggrieved could take solace in one thing and one alone: Some day, the game would rid itself of him.

Whoa. Don't get me wrong, I can't stand the guy either, but those are some pretty strong words.

A good follow

I've been following Michael McKean on Twitter for a few months now, and he can pick up my mood with an occasional witty tweet. He'll also throw out a few of these occasionally--love me some Spinal Tap.

Sometimes Pandering to the Boss Can Bite Ya

Kellyanne Conway had become so accustomed to defending Donald Trump's ridiculous statements that she got a little too comfy tailoring her message to an audience of one (her mercurial boss). The president may be able to say virtually anything because the constitution assumes we'll never have one who can't be handled by the separation of powers. But it turns out, there are actually some lines that cannot be crossed by his staffers, and Kellyanne crossed one of them yesterday when she boldly told people to buy Ivanka Trump's products...from the White House briefing room.


That's against the law.

There was a rare sniff of contrition when Sean Spicer discussed it in his briefing yesterday ("she's been counseled"), and a rare hint of whoopsie-daisy when Kellyanne was interviewed again later that night by Fox News (she didn't double-down for the first time ever). That should tell you something.

They know she stepped in it this time.

Even the Republican chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee, which has refused to investigate the potential Russian hacking of the election, realized he had to do something. He sent a stern letter to the White House.

An Olympics Without Costas

Bob Costas has stepped down as the host of Olympic coverage for NBC. The newly hired Mike Tirico will be taking his place.

TV Newser has the details.

This certainly explains why Tirico left the comfort of ESPN a few months ago.

What Happens When a Music Artist Also Owns a Radio Station?

It makes them look at the music licensing issue from both sides of the equation, and brings a little sanity to the discussion. From today's Tom Taylor NOW column...

Stevie Wonder “makes the case for independent radio station owners” regarding music licensing fees in a Billboard column. He says “I wear two hats,” as a songwriter and longtime owner of L.A.’s urban AC KJLH/102.3. And says “What is happening to independent station owners is that we are facing higher costs to play the music our audience wants to hear, but with no decent explanation of the how and why these higher costs are justified. We have societies that lose significant artists to other societies but make no adjustment in the fees they charge to stations for their remaining roster.” This could be music to the ears of many members of the Radio Music License Committee. Stevie says with the arrival of a fourth PRO (performing rights organization) named Global Music Rights, you wonder whether there will be “a fifth PRO, or a sixth or a seventh? How many licenses will we need to get?”

He's Baaack!

It's hard to believe that it took this long for someone to hire him, but Greg Solk, former program director at the Loop and VP/Programming for Bonneville & Hubbard broadcasting (and creator of the Drive's format), is coming back to the programming chair in his hometown.

He has been signed to program both WXRT and K-Hits (WJMK).

Just last week CBS announced that Todd Cavanah would be programming all the music stations for CBS--which did seem like too big of a job for any one man. This is definitely a step in the right direction for a company about to be swallowed by another (Entercom).

For those who worry that Greg's personality might be a little too strong for entrenched lineups like the one they have at WXRT, they needn't worry. First of all, the folks at WXRT already know what it's like to work for a strong personality (Norm Winer). Secondly, Greg comes in with a crucial attribute that should garner instant respect there. He really knows the music. He always kept an ear on WXRT--he programmed against them for many years. He also knows the Classic hits format (WJMK), obviously, after his many years in the world of classic rock. In addition to the nuts and bolts of those formats, he won't have a hard time adjusting to a new corporate culture because he has navigated new corporate waters several times already.

I may be a little biased because I worked for Greg (twice), but I think this could be a good fit. He's smart enough not to mess with things that are working (note that he didn't meddle with the Eric and Kathy show when he came over to the Mix), and he has a pretty good nose for when things aren't working.

At the very least, it should be interesting.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 38

EP38 – Rick and Dave discuss passive aggressive tips for Trump staffers, Bears Superbowl Minutia, breakfast in bed, a Presidential Cubs fan, and Rick’s brush with Norm Van Lier.

You can listen to it here.

Charles Oakley Arrested at Madison Square Garden

When he was Michael Jordan's enforcer in Chicago, he was a bad hombre. In those days he was wearing a Bulls uniform, and wasn't get arrested. Now he's wearing a bow tie, and getting into fights in the crowd at Madison Square Garden during Knicks games.

Deadspin has the story.

He's Bad, He's Nationwide

Former Congressman and Eagles guitarist namesake Joe Walsh is going nationwide. From Radio Online...

Chicago-based talk host Joe Walsh will join Salem Media Group's network lineup in the 9pm to midnight ET time slot, replacing Steve Deace on February 20. Walsh, a former U.S. Congressman, comes to the network from co-owned News/Talk WIND-AM (560 The Answer), where he holds down the 5-7pm slot. Walsh will continue with the local show, and add the national show later in the evening.

You'll never find a more opinionated and aggressive loudmouth. That made him a horrible Congressman. Apparently, it also makes him a good talk radio host.

Sales Shuffle

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

CBS Radio Chicago has realigned the sales management at its spoken-word and music formats -- Chad Feldman has been appointed of Director of News and Sports Sales and Joe Mackay is the cluster's newly named Director of Music Sales. In his new position, Feldman will oversee sales for WBBM-AM (Newsradio 780/105.9) and WSCR-AM (670 The Score) as well as play-by-play sales for Chicago Cubs and Bears broadcasts. Mackay will be responsible for the sales activities of Top 40 WBBM-FM (B96), Country WUSN (US99), Triple A WXRT and Classic Hits WJMK (104.3 K-Hits).

Of course, all of that is subject to change if the Entercom/CBS merger goes through (it will). Sounds like the Entercom folks will be calling the shots after the merger.

Pizza Wedding Registry?

I had to re-read this headline a few times to make sure I was reading it correctly: Domino’s Now Offers a Pizza-Themed Wedding Registry. From Fortune Magazine...

The fast food chain is now offering a wedding registry "for couples who prefer delicious melty cheese to crystal gravy boats." Gift givers can sponsor anything from the bachelorette party ("Dance like somebody ordered pizza," $60) to the "Post-Honeymoon Adjustment to Real Life" ("Because washing dishes is the worst," $25)."We hear often from customers that Domino's was a part of their big day, from proposals to after-hours meals at their wedding," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We wanted to make it easier for people to ask for and receive something that they'll really use."

Been to hundreds of weddings in my life. Never saw a single Domino's pizza.

Maybe I really don't know America after all. That would help explain a lot of things to me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Spicer's ABCs

Mike Adamle

Incredibly moving piece by Robert Feder yesterday about former Bear Mike Adamle, and the struggles he is going through now. Another ex-football player slowly being destroyed by CTE.

You can read it here.

I don't know Mike well--only met him a few times--but the people I know who do know him well have nothing but good things to say about him. Sad to hear what has happened.

Score Lawsuit Getting Technical

From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW column...

Chicago’s “670 the Score” WSCR is being sued by Elaine Bonin. Her attorney that despite never sharing her TracFone number with CBS, she got texts from a number associated with the Score. The messages were things like Super Bowl scores and updates on the NBA Bulls, and her attorney says they were eating into her limited data plan. Because they were sent via automatic dialing, that could implicate the federal TCPA, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. That’s why the U.S.A. got interested. First there was a mid-December notice of appearance by Bailey Wilson Heaps, representing Uncle Sam. Then Tuesday, there’s a filing by NY-based mega-law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manages on behalf of CBS. It says Bonin didn’t suffer any “concrete” injury. CBS certainly doesn’t want this case to be certified as a class action. And now the feds are asking for an extension of time, and weighing whether to jump in.

Barack Just Wants To Have Fu-un

I thought Seth Meyers had the funniest line about these vacation photos and videos of Barack Obama having a well deserved vacation after a ridiculously stressful eight years in office. Seth said: "Can't you see the Bat Signal? Gotham has been trying to reach you for weeks!"

Colbert Beats Fallon

One person who seems to be benefitting from the Trump presidency is Stephen Colbert. His show has taken on a much more political tone, and he is being rewarded for that in the ratings.

Last week he beat Jimmy Fallon for the first time.

As a former watcher of his Comedy Central show and a non-fan of his current show, I think he had to make that move. He's just funnier in that realm than he was in the kibbutzing Hollywood world. Let Jimmy Fallon have that audience. He's much better at it.

Here's a clip from last night's show...

What Business Conflicts?

The Trumps aren't even trying to hide it anymore. They are looking to cash in on this whole president thing. Even Melania. From this morning's New York Times...

A lawsuit filed by Melania Trump depicts her heightened profile as a “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to make millions of dollars in business, once again raising questions about the relationship between President Trump’s official role and his family’s business interests.

Mrs. Trump’s suit, filed on Monday in a New York State court, accuses The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, of libel for reporting last year on claims that a modeling agency she worked for in the 1990s was also an escort service.

The new complaint does not refer explicitly to the White House or Mr. Trump, or even her status as a candidate’s wife when the article was published and now as first lady. Instead, it refers to opportunities she had “to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multimillion dollar business relationships for a multiyear term during which plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”

Can't you at least fake it? There appears to be nothing anyone can do to stop the Trump family money grab (as long as Republicans don't raise any objections), but common decency at least calls for not rubbing it in the faces of the 54% of the country that didn't vote for Trump.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Closer Look

I've been trying to stay up late enough to catch this every night...

Christie Brinkley Back in Sports Illustrated

Had some very naughty thoughts about her in the 70s when she first appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. She's now 63 years old and she's back again...this time with her daughters.

My attitude has changed a bit since the 70s. I no longer think naughty thoughts (even though she still looks great). Now I just get depressed at how terrible I look...and I'm ten years younger.

Maybe I'll get that bikini bod back in shape ten years from now.

A White House With No Sense of Humor

To be fair, I saw Sean Spicer interviewed about this yesterday and he laughed it off. Apparently his boss did not...

I'm beginning to really like David Frum

Worst Case Scenario

The new FCC Chairman is going to do some very bad things. He's going to relax the ownership rules, which will lead to another media spending frenzy, which will further destroy my former business--radio. But much worse than that--he's going after Net Neutrality. From the New York Times...

In his first days as President Trump’s pick to lead the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai has aggressively moved to roll back consumer protection regulations created during the Obama presidency. Mr. Pai took a first swipe at net neutrality rules designed to ensure equal access to content on the internet. He stopped nine companies from providing discounted high-speed internet service to low-income individuals. He withdrew an effort to keep prison phone rates down, and he scrapped a proposal to break open the cable box market. In total, as the chairman of the F.C.C., Mr. Pai released about a dozen actions in the last week, many buried in the agency’s website and not publicly announced, stunning consumer advocacy groups and telecom analysts.

These are actions that literally NOBODY WANTS except the big telecoms and the lobbyists and pundits paid by them. Drain the swamp, my ass.

This Summer's Wrigley Field Concert Schedule

Another huge name was added to the list this week...

Lady Gaga will make her performance debut at Wrigley Field on Friday, August 25 as part of the Lady Gaga World Tour. Tickets to the concert will go on sale at 10 a.m. CST on Monday, February 13.

The list is getting pretty impressive: Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel, Dead & Company, Green Day, Tom Petty, Zac Brown Band, and James Taylor.

Green Day, Lady Gaga, and Zac Brown will play on consecutive nights August 24, 25, and 26. I think the groundskeeper for the Cubs probably isn't too thrilled about that.

MusiCares Person of the Year

Every year the Grammy Awards honor an artist with the title Person of the Year, and they stage a big concert for that honoree. This year it's going to honor Tom Petty. Here are the details...

Gary Clark Jr., Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, and Kings Of Leon also among performers added to star-studded tribute to 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year Tom Petty. GRAMMY winners Gary Clark Jr., Foo Fighters, Don Henley, Norah Jones, Kings Of Leon, Jeff Lynne, Randy Newman, Stevie Nicks, George Strait, and Lucinda Williams; GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriters Jackson Browne, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, Elle King, and Regina Spektor; and rock band the Bangles have been added to the performance lineup for the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute concert honoring Tom Petty on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers will close the evening's performances, and multi-GRAMMY-winning artist and producer T Bone Burnett will serve as musical director.

OK, you got me. I'll be checking this out.

Monday, February 06, 2017

My Favorite Super Bowl Commercial

RIP Armin Homann

Sad news in Chicago's German community over the weekend. The longtime radio voice of "Deutschland Echo" Armin Homann passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I heard his show at my mother's house many many times, but I really got to know him the past few years. He appears in my book "Gruen Weiss Vor!" (He was a great soccer player back in the day)

Last year he contacted me about doing English-language commercials for him on his radio show, and I've been doing those for him ever since. He paid me with Schnitzel sandwiches at the Edelweiss restaurant. (Best Schnitzel sandwich in the area).

Really nice guy. Last time we talked he mentioned to me that he had seen the graves of my ancestors during his last trip to Europe. Several of my mom's relatives were buried just a few feet away from his own relatives in Straubing, Germany.

Hard to believe he is gone.

The wake will be held on Wednesday from 3-8 at Colonial Funeral Home in Niles, IL. The funeral will be held on Thursday at St. Andrews Lutheran Church at 10:00AM in Park Ridge.


Someone told me at a meeting on Friday night that they noticed the reviews for my books are really strong on amazon. I make a point of not reading them because one bad review can send even the strongest psyche reeling. (That's advice I give to all my authors too, by the way). But tragedy plus time equals comedy, which makes it a little easier, so I decided to check out the reviews for a few of my oldest books. The lady at the meeting was right...

The Living Wills came out in 2011, and here are a few of the most recent reviews...

5.0 out of 5 stars
Riviting Storytelling
By Garrett Terhune
I always have many books going at the same time. That being the case, it usually takes me a long time to finish a book. Not so with this one. I could not put this book down. Fabulous! I was sorry when it ended. True entertainment! It was a book where I truly cared for all of the main characters. There were parts of the book that made me laugh out loud. There were other parts that choked me up. A wonderful story where in the beginning you've wondering how it's going to all tie together. Don't worry, it all comes together beautifully. This one would make a terrific movie! Great job Rick and Brendan!

5.0 out of 5 stars
Fresh look at life's interconnectivity...
By Raymond J. Kopcinski, Sr.
Extremely CREATIVE story line generation tool that yielded a very plausible plot and sympathetic and believable characters. Human lives truly are interconnected in ways we may not even imagine, as the book described. The "2 Second Decision" concept was truly eye opening and hard to disprove and goes a long way in explaining how complicated results are often caused by very simple initial decisions that totally change the trajectory of our lives. The ending tugged on the emotions in an honest and non-manipulative way. Thoroughly enjoyed the journey and hope a second book is in the offing.

5.0 out of 5 stars
An awesome journey
By Albert P. Hammanon
Take this adventure! Based in improv technique, this is an exploration of all the good and bad that people and life have to offer. Every page is a discovery, with rich layer upon rich layer in character, and story line. And you'll be blown away at how all the threads of this intricate fabric come together. Don't peek ahead!

The Radio Producer's Handbook came out twelve years ago! Haven't looked at these reviews in many years.

5.0 out of 5 stars
No radio station should be without it.
By Arnold Kelly
Someone called it "the Radio Producer's Bible" I think I now understand why. Not just for producers but for on-air talent.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Outstanding How-To book for anyone interested in Radio as a career
My organization was given the opportunity to buy a full hour of every Saturday afternoon time on a powerful and highly regarded radio station. My personal experience in talk radio programming was 15 years ago. So, I searched for books on talk radio program production and found nothing interesting but this book. Perhaps it sits alone on the shelf because present day producers are not interested in spreading the word and the resulting competition.THIS BOOK IS OUTSTANDING! The authors have more than two decades of experience as producers of talk and phone-in programs. It was a fabulous way for me to update my experience (even though the book is a few years old, the information is very timely). I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning how producers help to keep show hosts in the-know and out of trouble and anyone interested in a career in radio.

The Radio Producer's Handbook, by the way, is still my best selling book by far. At one time it was being used in 65 colleges and universities. I still get royalty checks every six months. Hard to believe.

Overtime Means $$$ For Fox

The network had negotiated with several clients previous to the game, anticipating a potential overtime game.

Because of that, they brought in an extra $20 million from the spots aired during overtime.

Not too shabby, considering the overtime didn't last too long.

Super Bowl Droughts

Got this in my e-mail box this morning...

Guilty as charged, your honor. The Bears drought now stands at 31 years and counting. But there are quite a few teams that have gone longer. The way I figure it, 17 teams are more pathetic than the Bears. 13 teams have never won it, and four more have gone longer than the Bears since they did. Here's the full list...

Drought/Seasons (first Super Bowl was in 1966)

51 Arizona Cardinals (Never)
— 1947 NFL Championship 69 years
51 Detroit Lions (Never)
— 1957 NFL Championship 59 years
51 Philadelphia Eagles (Never)
— 1960 NFL Championship 56 years
51 Tennessee Titans (Never)
— 1961 AFL Championship (as Oilers) 55 years
51 Los Angeles Chargers (Never)
— 1963 AFL Championship 53 years
51 Buffalo Bills (Never)
— 1965 AFL Championship 51 years
51 Cleveland Browns (Never)
— 1964 NFL Championship 49 years
51 Minnesota Vikings (Never)
51 Atlanta Falcons (Never) (enfranchised 1966)
49 Cincinnati Bengals (Never) (enfranchised 1968)
48 New York Jets Super Bowl III 1968
47 Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl IV 1969
43 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl VIII 1973
33 Oakland Raiders Super Bowl XVIII 1983
31 Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX 1985
22 Jacksonville Jaguars (Never) (enfranchised 1995)
22 Carolina Panthers (Never) (enfranchised 1995)
15 Houston Texans (Never) (enfranchised 2002)

Four of those teams have never even been in a Super Bowl (Lions, Browns, Jags, Texans).

Only 11 teams have more Super Bowl wins than the Bears (Steelers 6, Pats 5, 49ers 5, Giants 4, Packers 4, Broncos 3, Raiders 3, Redskins 3, Ravens 2, Dolphins 2).

Somehow that doesn't make me feel any better.

Obviously Putin Has Got Something on Him

A man who has no trouble ripping judges, entire races, entire religions, and people with impeccable integrity (like the Pope) absolutely refuses to say anything bad about a former KGB agent killer who is currently going around jailing and murdering the opposition in his country, including the spies who revealed to us that Putin himself ordered the hacking of our election.

Something is really, really, really wrong here. Watch it in context. He seriously says we are just as bad as Putin.

He is either completely delusional (which I suppose is possible), or Putin has something on him. Either possibility is terrifying.

Several other scary parts of this interview...

*He thinks Muslim ban went beautifully. No problems of any kind.
*He still believes there were 3 million illegal votes ("Many people say I'm right"). Even O'Reilly thinks he nuts there.
*Now he's saying health care will take more than a year. It will still be terrific, of course.

Super Bowl Musings

A few of my social media postings during the game last night...

*I pointed out to my kids when Gaga said "hi dad, hi mom" that this proves it's not illegal to mention Dad first.

*Before this is declared final don't you think we should check the inflation of the footballs?

And a Retweet...

Best SNL Bit in Years

Melissa McCarthy was absolutely hilarious in this bit. Man, she's good. So was her material.