Friday, March 03, 2017

How Media Works

As someone who studies the way conservative media works in this country, let me just say that this is 100% absolutely true...

Hanks Gifts Espresso Maker

Tom Hanks gave the White House press corp a brand new espresso maker.

Nice gesture.

The way news always seems to break at night time during this presidency, it should help keep them awake.

A Real Women's Strike

New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi has another idea to promote women's rights in this country. Instead of another women's march, she is calling for a sex strike. You read that right...

The good old-fashioned sex strike isn't even as old-fashioned as you think. In this century alone, it's happened nearly a dozen times. In 2001, the women in Siirt, Turkey, pulled a Lysistrata against the unclean water there. It took a month for the pipes to be repaired.

It worked in Liberia in 2002, helping to end the 14-year war, which resulted in the election of the first female head of state. Americans haven't accomplished that either — yet.

Since 2009 women have crossed their legs in Colombia, Kenya, Ukraine, The Philippines, Togo, and yes, Canada, and all worked mostly to good effect.

Unfortunately in Tokyo in 2014, "The association of women who will not have sex with men who vote for Masuzoe" didn't stop sexist Yoichi Masuzoe from being elected governor. But it didn't hurt either. Two years later, the bum resigned in disgrace.

Hit 'em where it hurts — and screw the pink hats.

Uh oh. OK, what do you want and how quickly can we give it to you?

The former comedy writer in me would add--"Many men have already voluntarily participated in a strike like this. It's called marriage." (rimshot)

Vacation Hypocrite

Of all the ridiculous complaints about Obama the last few years, the most ridiculous was the one about his vacations and/or golfing. This was a constant thing on Drudge (CONSTANT!), Hannity mentioned it every single time, and Trump tweeted about it all the time too. Now we hear crickets from Drudge, Hannity and Trump, when Trump is spending much more.

To be clear, I have no problem with him golfing or taking vacations or weekend getaways. I do have a problem with him financially benefitting from it.

Don't Just Let the Dog Out Anymore at Night


It's the stinkiest time of the year for Chicago's skunks.

This month is mating season for skunks, which means the usually solitary mammals will be on the move more looking for a partner

As someone who has scrubbed a skunked dog at least six times, I present this information to you a public service announcement.

Our Kaempfer

My new favorite horse lives in the UK. His name is "Our Kaempfer"

For real. Read about him here.

Minutia Men, Episode 41

EP41 – Rick and Dave discuss a nuclear message mishap, pizza toppings from around the world, a group that shouldn’t be allowed to crowdsource, Harry Caray, and Rick’s brush with Liesl from the Sound of Music.

Listen to it here.

This was put together by a Minutia Man fan. I think it sums us up pretty well...

Thursday, March 02, 2017

For Those of You Keeping Score at Home

WCIU Drops "You and Me" hosts

WCIU let Melissa Forman and Jeanne Sparrow go this morning. Robert Feder has the details. This is a bummer, and not just because Bobby Skafish was scheduled to be on their show on Tuesday. It's a bummer because I thought they did a nice job with the show. My best to Melissa and Jeanne.

In the interim Jon Hansen, who is also very good, will host with rotating guest hosts.

Waiting for Godot's Obamacare Replacement

Jeff Sessions on Lying Under Oath

Of course this was about President Clinton who had lied about sex. Much more serious than lying about meeting with Russian spies. Right?

A Blackhawk on the Radio

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

WGN Radio/Chicago has acquired the services of former NHL player Brent Sopel, who has signed on as a hockey analyst and host on The Beat, the station's weekend sports show. Sopel will sit alongside Mark Carman, Adam Hoge and Jarrett Payton and will also contribute regularly to weekday shows. Sopel spent 12 seasons in the NHL and won the Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. He retired from the NHL in 2015.

Todd Manley, WGN VP of Programming and Content remarked, "With Brent Sopel joining our sports conversation, we can ramp up for more expanded Blackhawks coverage. As a mentor to some of today's biggest stars, Brent brings a depth of knowledge in the past, present, and future of this great game." Sopel remarked, "I'm very excited to join the WGN family and look forward to a [Blackhawks] long run in the playoffs." Listen to The Beat Saturdays from 4-7pm and Sundays from 3-6pm.

First Gay Disney Character

The live action version of "Beauty and the Beast" will feature Disney's first gay character. From the Hollywood Reporter...

In the live-action retelling starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens — Gad plays LeFou, the comical sidekick to antagonist Gaston (Luke Evans). Thanks to a subplot alteration, LeFou will be Disney's first-ever LGBTQ character.

“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” director Bill Condon tells Attitude. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."

I personally think this is long overdue. Children will not be damaged by this, believe me. Although, let's be honest about this being Disney's first gay character. Have you seen Peter Pan?

I once played a gay character on stage myself. Behold the Cliff Dancers, circa 1989...

The Hammer Falls

You knew someone would get in trouble for this...

The Godfather of Sports Talk Radio

Check out this great article about my old colleague Chet Coppock written by one of the great Chicago writers, Jim O'Donnell. It's generally positive but Jim doesn't pull any punches. It's really well-written.

You can read it here.

Full disclosure: I am quoted multiple times in the article.

Dodge Baseball

Love the concept behind this. Taking a dangerous sport (dodgeball), and adding an even more dangerous element (a hard ball being hit very hard). Have to admit I would have played it as a kid.

Watch it in action here.

NBC's Rob Stafford is ill

He reported it on the NBC News last night (in Chicago), but earlier in the day he released this message to his fellow Channel 5 staffers.

First the good news. They caught "it" early and my prognosis is very good. "It" is amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder where an abnormal protein (amyloid) is produced in bone marrow and can be deposited in organs. Before you read some scary stuff online, two facts: I'm an early stage 2 out of 4 and so far the effects are confined to my kidneys. I'm very lucky.

My persistent wife, Lisa, gets the credit for the early diagnosis. She pushed me to pursue the cause of a slightly elevated protein level discovered during a physical ("Relax. No big deal," I said. "I feel fine and I don't have time for this.") Lisa found a smart Chicago nephrologist who ordered a kidney biopsy. He sent the sample to the Mayo Clinic, which quickly identified amyloidosis, even though it's a tricky thing to diagnose. Again ... very lucky.

The Mayo hematologists are among the best amyloid experts in the world. They say a bone marrow transplant using my own stem cells and chemotherapy is clearly the best option for me. Two-thirds of amyloid transplant patients go into remission and my doctors are confident I will be one of them.

I head to Minnesota first thing Friday and will be off the anchor desk for several months as I undergo this procedure, live in a sterile environment, rebuild my immune system and recover from the effects of chemo.

For the record, I did not wait for the end of sweeps to schedule this. In fact, Dave [Doebler] and Frank [Whittaker] told me not to wait, but March 3 was the first opening on the Mayo schedule after the required medical tests. I thank the bosses for all their support, Allison for her prayers, Brant for his humor and Dick Johnson for covering while I went back and forth to Mayo.

I consider this early diagnosis a gift that left to my own devices I would not have received. I'm going to take full advantage of my good fortune and hit this head on with the most aggressive and proven treatment available.

I will announce this at the end of the 10 p.m. news tonight and share it on social media. As I go through the process, I will also post updates on Facebook. I can't wait to get ahead of this and back to the desk and all of you. Wish me luck!


I wish him a healthy and speedy recovery.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Len Kasper

This month's IE is out, and features my interview with #Cubs play-by-play man Len Kasper. Great guy.

You can read it here.

I think we might all get new cars!

Obama's Book Deal

Eckhartz Press offered the Obama's a free breakfast at Danny's Egghead Diner in Chicago, but apparently I was slightly outbid. Penguin Random House offered more than $60 million.

The New York Times has the details.

All Star Game at Wrigley?

That's the plan...

The Chicago Cubs hope to meet with city officials in the next few months to plan a bid for the 2020 All-Star game.

During a City Club of Chicago luncheon Monday, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts reiterated the team’s desire to host the game at Wrigley Field. He says he’s not sure exactly when discussions with the city will happen.

An All-Star game in 2020 would be a huge showcase after a $600 million transformation to baseball’s second-oldest ballpark and its surroundings.

Wrigley Field has hosted three All-Star games in the past: 1947, 1962 and 1990.

Dancing with the Stars

This years cast of Dancing with the Stars was announced, and see if you can spot the name on this list that will make me actually tune in this year...

Former figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is paired with Artem Chigvintsev.

Major League Baseball player David Ross is matched with Lindsay Arnold.

Normani Kordei from Fifth Harmony is dancing with Val Chmerkovskiy.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Girardi, aka Erika Jayne, is matched with Gleb Savchenko.

Bull rider Bonner Bolton is dancing with Sharna Burgess.

The legendary Mr. T is paired with Kym Johnson this season.

Charo is dancing with pro Keo Motsepe.

Olympian Simone Biles is paired with pro partner Sasha Barber.

SNL‘s Chris Kattan is matched with Witney Carson.

Former Giants’ player Rashad Jennings is paired with Emma Slater.

Former Glee star Heather Morris is matched with pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Can you guess which one? Hint: It's not Charo. It's Grandpa Rossy, former Cub catcher David Ross. That should be entertaining.

National Radio Hall of Fame

From this morning's Radio Ink...

Today through March 31, the National Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee is accepting suggestions for 2017 nominees. This year, people can visit and click on the NOMINATE tab to submit their picks for consideration.

I nominated John Records Landecker, who somehow is not in the official Radio Hall of Fame. If you think John should be in there, please hit the link above and nominate him too.

New Simpsons Opening

WDCB Engineer Going to Jail

His name is John Valenta, and he is going to do some hard time. From Robert Feder's column...

John Valenta, who was employed as the station’s engineer for 30 years, pleaded guilty in DuPage County Circuit Court to felony theft in connection with what investigators said was a 16-year scheme that bilked the station out of more than $400,000. As part of his plea agreement, Valenta faces a minimum of six years in prison. Sentencing will be May 19.

He didn't only work at WDCB. I worked with him in the closing years of my time at WJMK. At that time he was the engineer of all the CBS stations in town--a ridiculous cost-cutting move that wreaked havoc on everyone. I had lost track of him until this news emerged.

Ty Bentli

Remember Ty Bentli? He was a very popular jock at Kiss-FM in Chicago last decade, before he moved on to bigger and better things in LA and New York. He's currently the co-host of the nationally syndicated "America's Morning Show with Ty, Kelli and Chuck"--a country music show. The folks on that show, including Ty, had a near miss yesterday. From the RAMP newsletter...

The cast and crew of the Cumulus Media-syndicated Ty, Kelly & Chuck morning show are fortunate to be alive and relatively unscathed after they were involved in a serious car accident while on their way to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Hosts Ty Bentli, Kelly Ford and Chuck Wicks and Producer Glenn "Qtip" Johnson were driving from Columbus, Mississippi to New Orleans on Monday evening in a severe rainstorm when their car hydroplaned, flipped over and rolled twice.

Everyone is OK, more or less. Chuck has a fractured vertebrea and was kept in the hospital overnight, and everyone else is "banged up and pretty sore", but they got lucky it wasn't worse.

Mel is Still Selling

Gotta get one of these...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How 'Bout This Weather?

Jon Stewart Stops by Colbert

Sausage Fest

Finally, the people who put together the Oxford dictionary have added a phrase we've been using for years. Behold: Sausage fest.

sausage fest

An event or group in which the majority of participants are male.

‘the show was a total sausage fest’

Early 20th century (in the sense ‘event at which sausages are served’): from sausage + fest, with allusion to the supposedly phallic shape of a sausage.

Monday, February 27, 2017

My favorite story of the weekend

Sean Spicer ambushed his staff on Friday, summoning them to a meeting, and then confiscating their phones when they arrived--trying to figure out who is doing the leaking.

How do I know this?

Somebody leaked it to Politico.

That's just flat out funny.

Sirott & Landecker

Don't forget...these two guys are on the air again together today (Monday) from 10am to noon on WLS-AM 890.

What Fake News Actually Looks Like


A great explanation of the current state of Obamacare via John Oliver. You might have missed this last night (like I did) because you were watching the Oscars. By the way, there's an example in here about a baby being denied care (in pre-Obamacare world) for being too fat. My son was denied for going to a psychologist for educational support--because his IQ was too high. True story. It was considered a pre-existing condition...

Crystal Radio Award Nominees

From this morning's Robert Feder column...

Four Chicago radio stations are up for top honors for community service from the National Association of Broadcasters. Among 50 finalists announced last week for the 30th annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards are CBS Radio classic hits WJMK FM 104.3 and country WUSN FM 99.5, and Hubbard Radio adult contemporary WSHE FM 100.3 and hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9. Winner will be announced April 25 at the NAB Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas.

Cumulus in Trouble

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter. The news wasn't good for Cumulus on Friday...

On Friday, A U.S. District Court judge rejected the refinancing plan Cumulus hoped would help reduce its $2.4 billion debt load. Cumulus filed suit in December, accusing lender JPMorgan Chase & Co of withholding consent to part of the plan. Cumulus had said that JPMorgan’s actions threatened a deal with bondholders that could reduce its debt by more than $300 million.

Here’s a statement from Cumulus after the ruling. “While we are certainly disappointed by the court’s decision, we will continue to review all available options to address our balance sheet issues. We are making solid progress in our turnaround, and remain focused on exploring strategies that would give us the runway needed to fully execute our plan.”

RIP Bill Paxton

Sad to hear he passed away over the weekend. He was only 61 years old. Lots of talk about his best roles, but to me, this will always be my favorite...

Trump Skipping White House Correspondent's Dinner

Donald Trump announced he won't be attending the White House Correspondent's Dinner this year.

It's probably for the best. The thin-skinned one can't handle the heat anyway. Last time he attended, Obama torched him. Some say it was the moment that made him want to run for president--just to stick it to Obama.

If true, it might be best to end the tradition completely. Who knows what other sort of collatoral damage will be caused.

The Oscars

What a crazy ending to last night's Academy Awards broadcast. (The Hollywood Reporter has more details) So, here's the scoop, after all the chips have fallen. It wasn't Warren Beatty's fault that the wrong name ("La La Land") was read. He really did get the wrong card that said "Emma Stone, La La Land". The Academy accidentally created two of those cards (Emma had the other). When the producer made a mad scramble to get the correct envelope (as a producer...I feel for him. He's going to be destroyed), he handed it to Warren Beatty to explain what happened. But then the producer of "La La Land" grabbed the card out of Warren's hand and delivered it to the people from "Moonlight". Meanwhile, in the press room, Emma Stone was telling everyone that Warren wasn't telling the truth because she had her card the whole time. She just didn't know that there were two (Why were there two? Who knows?).

Follow all of that? Sheesh.

Anyway, it's a bummer for both the "La La Land" folks and the "Moonlight" folks. "Moonlight" in particular got a raw deal because they were essentially deprived of their big moment--it had a bit of a stink on it.

It's also a bummer for Jimmy Kimmel if you ask me. I thought he was absolutely terrific as the host of the show. Totally nailed it. He looked calm and collected, breezy and hilarious.

My Brave Face Demo

Paul McCartney is re-releasing his 1989 album "Flowers in the Dirt" with a few extras. One of them is this little video. The demo of the song "My Brace Face" featuring Elvis Costello. Great stuff...

AM 1000 Ad

I worked at the station when this ad ran in 1989. Just found it on YouTube. Thanks to Lee Payne for pointing it out to me...

Sox Deportation

Love this piece in The Heckler, tongue obviously planted firmly in cheek...

A mass deportation of White Sox fans from Wrigleyville is set to begin this week after Cubs owner Tom Ricketts signed a controversial executive order to send them back to the South Side of Chicago.

When asked how White Sox fans will be singled out, Ricketts said there will be an array of extreme vetting processes and ideological tests.

“Before fans enter any local bars, and especially Wrigley Field, they will be asked to accurately recite the entirety of ‘Go Cubs, Go.’ If a person can do so without projectile vomiting, then he or she is clearly a Cubs fan and is welcome in,” said Ricketts.

Ricketts also hopes this vetting process will help weed out all of the bandwagon Cubs fans, whose “definition of getting to second base strongly differs from that of a real Cubs fan.”

Cubs loyalists have mixed emotions about the new “fan ban,” as it has come to be known.

“[Sox fans] aren’t all bad. Sure, some of them can get rowdy and start fights on the field,” said Blake Benton, a die-hard Cubs fan. “But maybe we should be a little more tolerant and not just stereotype an entire 30 or 40 people, which is how many Sox fans I assume there are in the city.”

The deportation will begin immediately, and White Sox fans are encouraged to enjoy the overpriced drinks and sweaty frat bros that Wrigleyville has to offer while they can.

Press for Eckhartz Press in "Our Village"

Thanks Mike Kessler for this piece he wrote about a recent Bobby Skafish book signing. It appeared in a newspaper on the Northwest Side of Chicago.."Our Village"

Chicago radio DJ Bobby Skafish (WDRV-WKQXWLUP-WXRT) just released his first book and suddenly there was a reunion of radio royalty.
Left-to-right you can see radio executive Greg Solk, Bobby, radio producer Rick Kaempfer, and radio DJ Johnny Mars - and their combined radio experience is probably more than 150 years.

The book is titled: “We Have Company: Four Decades of Rock and Roll Encounters” and Johnny Mars says: “With over four decades as a silver-tongued D.J., Bobby Skafish turns his numerous interview moments into a can’t-stop reading adventure. Partly his thoughts on the interview process but mainly a memoir about his lifelong passion for music and those that make it. Highly recommended!” Jim Skafish (his punk rock star cousin) says: “I wanted to let everyone know that my cousin Bobby Skafish’s first book is coming out! It spans four decades of fantastic interviews Bobby conducted with legendary rockers to memorable life-changing events that Bobby covered and more.”

Other radio guests at this book-release party were: Cara Carriveau, Stan Lawrence, Patty Martin, Brendan Sullivan, Paul Webber, plus radio-TV star Amy Jacobson and TV star Dane Placko. The aforementioned Rick Kaempfer is also publishing the book, and more details - including a list of who’s interviewed - can be found at

Pat Colander on WGN

Had a good time Friday night on WGN Radio. Dave Hoekstra was interviewing a few authors including Eckhartz Press' very own Pat Colander, and cab driver/author Jack Clark. Thanks to Dave for inviting me to sit in and join the conversation. I was really only there to take pictures.

You and Me & R-O-B on MeTV

The morning show at WCIU-TV ("You & Me") will be giving away copies of Bobby Skafish's excellent book "We Have Company: Four Decades of Rock and Roll Encounters". Every morning from Tues-Friday (Feb 28--March 3), lucky viewers will get their chance to win an autographed copy.

And then, next week, everyone will get a chance to hear some of the great stories in that book directly from the author's mouth. Bobby will be on the show March 7th at 7:45am.

Be sure to tune in!

skafish without blurb