Friday, April 07, 2017

Timing is Everything

Stephen Colbert has become the king of late night by being a blistering Trump critic. Jimmy Fallon brought on Jay Leno last night to do the same to the president (last two minutes)...not knowing it was the night the president would be firing off cruise missiles in Syria.

Timing is everything...

Remembering Rickles

All comics loved him...

Lisagor Award Finalists

Congrats to all the finalists for this year's Lisagor awards, including Eckhartz Press author Bob Herguth (photo). Impressive list of Chicago journalism achievements.

Believe it or not, my Father Knows Nothing column/blog was actually a finalist twice back in the day. Lost to some no-name from the Sun Times (Roger Ebert). Still not sure how we ended up in the same category.

O'Reilly Cuts Commercial Load

If you watched Bill O'Reilly's show last night, you might have noticed there were far fewer commercials. That wasn't your imagination. After the massive advertiser exodus, the show is down to 13:30 of commercials. They used to run 18.

TV Newser has the details.

Trump Sued By Twitter

From Bloomberg this morning...

President Donald Trump wants to know who’s behind the rogue federal employee Twitter accounts slamming his administration’s policies. Twitter Inc.’s suing to keep him from finding out. Twitter alleges that the Trump administration’s subpoena for information to identify the users behind accounts critical of the president would violate their Constitutional rights to free-speech. The social media giant contends users are entitled to their anonymity unless they’ve violated a law that would warrant unmasking and the government has failed to make such a case.

If the government pushes it, this would be an interesting case to take to the Supreme Court. Honestly not sure which way they would go.

Radio Jobs

Any of us who have worked in the business have obviously seen this is true, but the statistics bear out what we've come to believe. There simply are far fewer radio jobs than there used to be...

Number of radio jobs is down 25% since 2001...The really heavy damage began with the Great Recession, and the number of positions has kept falling since then. An industry that employed about 113,533 people in January 2001 is now down to about 86,800 (in September 2016). The number even sank to 84,717 last April before recovering somewhat. The BLS stats about the newspaper industry earn the headlines, as they should. But radio employment in this century shows the toll of the recession. Radio’s topline revenue fell 9% in 2008 and an even more painful 18% in 2009, per the RAB. Check the effect on payrolls – the Bureau of Labor Statistics says January 2008 employment was 108,566. Just a year later, it stood at 100,914, and in February 2009 it fell below 100,000. The January 2010 number was about 92,500. Four years later, it was south of 90,000, and last September, 86,800. What happened? Take your pick of a combination of factors like ownership consolidation, technology, public companies trying to make their quarters and service the debt, private companies trying to maintain their own profit margins.

RIP Paul O'Neill

I'll admit I didn't know his name, but I did know and appreciate his work. From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Many of our radio colleagues are mourning the passing of Paul O'Neill, the producer, songwriter, recording artist and the founder of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who died this week at the age of 61. The news was initially posted on TSO's website in a message that stated, "The entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra family, past and present, is heartbroken to share the devastating news that Paul O'Neill has passed away from chronic illness. He was our friend and our leader -- a truly creative spirit and an altruistic soul. This is a profound and indescribable loss for us all. We ask that you respect Paul’s family’s privacy now. We will make additional announcements shortly." The Tampa Bay Times says O'Neill was found dead Wednesday afternoon in a Tampa hotel. There were no signs of foul play. As Entertainment Weekly reports, "O'Neill got his start co-producing Aerosmith's two Classics live albums in the late '80s and went on to form a relationship with metal band Savatage. He later recruited members from that group, Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli, to help form Trans-Siberian Orchestra in 1996. That year, they released Christmas Eve and Other Stories, a holiday-themed rock record and the first in their Christmas trilogy, which included the seminal classic "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24."

A New Way to Win a Game

I don't think I've ever seen this happen before. When did they start using velcro?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 45

EP45 – Rick and Dave discuss bad Trip Advisor reviews, potholes, the worst movies ever, Tony Larussa on the Cubs, and Rick’s very brief brush with Kevin Costner.

Listen to it here.

RIP Don Rickles

Really bummed by this news. Don Rickles has passed away at the age of 90.

The meanest comic ever...and oh so funny.

Trump and Xi

President Trump is meeting Chinese President Xi this weekend in Florida. I predict Trump will giggle when he learns that Xi is pronounced "She". When he does, someone can slip him these jokes. Trust me, he'll love them.

"Melania, have you met the Chinese president? Xi loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah. Get it?"

"How will we describe our meeting to the press? How about...He said, Xi said? Get it?"

"Can you autograph this for me? Thanks. That's all Xi wrote. Get it?"

I don't need credit, Mr. President. Feel free to use them. People will marvel at your creativity and wit.

Brothers from another Mother

Interesting Idea

I've been on both sides of the fence on this perfomer-royalty issue. Yes it's unfair that performers don't get paid by radio (only songwriters and music publishers do), but it's also true that radio offers free advertising by playing the music. It's how most people have discovered new music for the past 90 years. This is a new approach. From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW Column...

“PROMOTE” bill would let musicians “opt out of airplay.” It’s a fresh take on the performance royalty stalemate, says House Intellectual Property Subcommittee Darrell Issa – The PROMOTE Act (for “Performance Royalty Owners of Music Opportunity to Earn Act of 2017”) “calls the bluff on both sides in the debate over performance rights.” Artists who “feel they’re not being appropriately compensated” could “opt out of allowing broadcasters to play their music.” As it is now, stations have basically everything available for airplay. They pay music publishers and song owners through not-for-profit ASCAP and BMI, and through for-profit SESAC and Global Music Rights. But not performers, as such. The new H.R. 1914, introduced by California Republican Issa and fellow subcommittee member Ted Deutsch (D-FL) would give performers more control. The Tennessean’s Nate Rau says “Hits by Taylor Swift, Drake, Adele or Miranda Lambert would be taken down, if their record labels choose to do so.” Here’s co-sponsor Ted Deutsch - “We have been told for years that AM/FM radio provides valuable promotion to recording artists, but those artists have never been given the opportunity to decide for themselves.” As you can imagine, this isn’t the NAB’s favorite new piece of legislation.

Dahl Out of the Hospital

Robert Feder had the good news yesterday. Steve has been released from the hospital...

An upbeat and energetic Steve Dahl returned to his afternoon show on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890 Wednesday more than a week after he landed in the hospital for treatment of a perforated colon. Broadcasting from his home, the Chicago radio legend said he was diagnosed with diverticulitis. “I’m on some kind of weird diet right now,” Dahl, 62, told listeners. “I really honestly am just so glad to not be in the hospital and not in pain. They can take away whatever they want from me in terms of eating. I can live with it.”

USWNT Agrees to a New Contract

The women's national soccer team was poised to go on strike if necessary to get a more equitable deal, and it looked a little scary for a few months there, but the two sides agreed to a deal yesterday.

The New York Times has the story.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Uh oh, Bill-O

Wainright Pulls A Kaempfer

This is what I would like as a MLB pitcher...

Proud Irishman Joel Daly

Great feature about Eckhartz Press' very own Joel Daly in the Irish American News: Proud Irishman Joel Daly--"Thank You Chicago"

(Photo: Joel is the one on the right. The other isn't Irish. His name is Matt Forte. Maybe French?)

Why Isn't Fox News Disciplining Bill O'Reilly?

When sexual harrassment lawsuits need to be paid off, most employers would discipline the employee causing those lawsuits. Most serial harrassers would probably be fired. But here's the rub for the bosses at Fox News. From today's TV Newser...

This was Fox News’s 13th straight week at No. 1 in total day. The four episodes that Bill O’Reilly hosted were the top 4 cable news shows last week. (He doesn’t host on Fridays.)

If advertisers keep fleeing, those ratings might not matter, but I doubt it. The numbers keep the shows around him up too, which also effects the advertising dollars. Let's see. The bottom line for Rupert Murdoch is always the bottom line. He literally cares about nothing else.

Charity Donates $100 Million To Boost Journalism and Fight Hate Speech

The Charity is called Omidyar Network, and it was established by e-Bay founder Pierre Omidyar. Details are here.

At a time when real journalism is more needed than ever, and the monetary realities of running news organizations are forcing cutbacks, this money is greatly appreciated.

Note that it was awarded to journalists, not Fox News (which suggested last night that there should no more investigation of Russia...despite the news that the FBI said they were creating a special unit to further investigate) or Breitbart (which I won't honor by putting the word "news" after their name). If those are your news sources, you are not consuming actual news.

The Dictionary is Trolling

I didn't follow Merriam Webster dictionary on Twitter until I read this awesome piece by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post: Trump says he has the best words. Merriam Webster disagrees."

It's all about the Merriam Webster Twitter account, which points out words being looked up on their site that coincide with whatever the lastest Trump scandal is spiking in the news. For instance, just in the last few days...

Bryant and Arrieta on the Radio

Bryant and Arrieta join the Bernstein and Goff show. It's good to be the Cubs flagship. From this morning's Radio Online...

MVP Kris Bryant and former Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta join The Score's current roster of Cubs players and team personnel who each add their take on the action on and off the field including Cubs Manager Joe Maddon who joins "Speigel & Parkins" each Tuesday at noon, Pitching Coach Chris Bosio heard on "Mully & Hanley" every Wednesday at 8am and an ongoing rotation of other Cubs players and baseball contributors.

"It's an extreme honor to welcome a league MVP and a recent Cy Young award winner to the Score team, and it's beyond a grand slam for the Score brand," said WSCR Program Director, Mitch Rosen. "The content Kris and Jake will add to the Bernstein and Goff show will bring the audience into the clubhouse, on the field, and other places the average fan can't experience."

Bryant and Arrieta will rotate weekly on "Bernstein and Goff" with days and times varying due to game schedule and Arrieta's pitching schedule. Beginning April 10, Kris Bryant will join the show bi-weekly with Jake Arrieta scheduled to join the show on the alternating weeks. During the MLB All-Star Break, both player appearances will be on hiatus. Arrieta will host back-to-back weeks on August 28 and September 4.

P.S. In case Kris or Jake are reading this, that's a photo of a transistor radio. Ask you parents.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Love is Strange

Brown Noser


If you have friends or relatives overseas you already know that the whole world is freaked out by the behavior of our current president. They think he is unstable, ill prepared, and positively clueless--and that's a very bad thing for everyone.

It's good for one group though...ISIS.

They are now recruiting based on his ineptitude. I wish I was kidding.

Jordan Klepper Gets His Own Show

The funniest of the current Daily Show correspondents (in my opinion) has been given his own show. He'll be hosting the timeslot formerly occupied by the Nightly Show, right after the Daily show.

USA Today has the details, although admittedly, I've given you the highlight. The article notes there isn't yet a name for the show.

The Future of Mike & Mike

The morning team of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, heard locally on ESPN Radio in Chicago, is about to break up after two decades together. Inside Radio has the full story. Sounds like a new Golic & Golic radio show and a Greenberg TV show is in their future, but they still haven't fully resolved the situation. My guess is that they are working on clearing the stations nationwide that are willing to air the radio show, and are encountering more opposition than they presumed. That's just a guess, however. This story has been brewing now for many months, so I'm just trying to figure out why it is taking so long.

Another O'Reilly Accuser

Julie Roginsky, another Fox News contributor, has followed up with a harrassment lawsuit against Fox News.

Sponsors are starting to pull out of the show, including Mercedes, BMW and Hyundai.

UPDATE: There are now nine companies that have pulled their ads.

Jeff Kapugi

The Chicago native and former US-99 PD has landed in D.C. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Jeff Kapugi has generally been a lifer at iHeart and its predecessors, having joined Jacor in 1989 (the Randy Michaels days). He’s been a programming executive in Tampa, St. Louis and Washington-Baltimore (hold onto that thought for a moment). Jeff followed Randy Michaels to Chicago and Tribune, as Senior VP/COO of Tribune Interactive, and until last December he was VP/Programming for CBS Radio’s country “US 99.5” WUSN Chicago. Now after being a “free agent at large” (as he says on LinkedIn), he’s coming back to iHeart and the D.C. market. He’ll be the direct PD at country WMZQ and also the “Region Senior VP of Programming” for Washington and Baltimore. Michael Preacher carries the unusual title of iHeart’s President for the Washington Region and also “Government Initiatives.” Meg Stevens is iHeart’s EVP/Programming for the Northeast.

David Ross on DWTS

I love Anthony Rizzo's reaction...

Monday, April 03, 2017

Bill O'Reilly

How would you like to pick up a copy of the New York Times and read this about yourself: "Bill O'Reilly: An Awful, Awful Man"

That's what happened to Angry Bill over the weekend. It's a pretty thorough take down of his very checkered history with sexual harrassment.

RIP Lonnie Brooks

Lonnie Brooks has passed away at the age of 83. From

In a news statement Sunday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Brooks as “a Chicago blues legend with a towering talent and soulful style that won him legions of fans across the country and around the world. His celebrated career inspired generations of music lovers, garnered numerous awards, and brought him from the clubs of Chicago’s West Side to the concert halls of Europe and beyond.”

He was most famous for his version of the classic "Sweet Home Chicago"...

16-year-old on the National Team

The future is always bright for the U.S. Women's National Team. They just brought up a 16-year-old!

Good Year for the Music Biz

From Billboard Magazine...

It looks like happy days are here again: U.S. recorded music sales were up 11.4 percent in 2016. The industry brought in $7.65 billion in revenue, according to the RIAA, up from $6.87 million in 2015. Although the music business showed signs of a recovery at the half-year mark, the 2016 year-end results show more significant growth, led by streaming revenue.

This is the first time since 1998 that the U.S. industry has experienced a double digit increase in overall revenue. Back then, the industry enjoyed revenue of $13.7 billion.

The increase is thanks to streaming increases. The more traditional means of revenues (CDs, Downloads, Vinyl) are all either down or flat. Still, it's good to see the music business has found a way to recoup some of that market share.

They're Baaaack

Yes they lost in the bottom of the 10th, but they made it exciting with a game-tying three run homer in the top of the ninth. So happy the baseball season is back.

Charlie Meyerson

This month's Illinois Entertainer has hit the street. It features my interview with Chicago Public Square's Charlie Meyerson.

You can read it here.