Friday, April 21, 2017


They wanted the Predators in the first round and they got 'em.

Never seen a team get so old so fast. It was like watching yesterday against today. After the second goal last night I turned it off.

Still stunned.

Facebook to Tackle Fake News

It's a little too late, but it's a good idea anyway. Facebook is looking to hire a head of news products to combat fake news...

Facebook is talking to veterans of both the tech and media industries, according to multiple sources, but is having trouble finding someone with both the news and technology chops necessary to fill the role.

The position, which reports up into Fidji Simo, Facebook’s VP in charge of news and video, isn’t listed on the company’s website.

But sources say that whoever takes the job will help Facebook create news products for its media partners, like Instant Articles, as well as exploring ways to curb the spread of misinformation.

FCC Loosens Media Ownership Rules

Once Republicans regained the White House, it was just a matter of time before this happened. Get ready for another media shopping spree, and the first shoe to drop could very well be Tribune Media right here in Chicago.

TV Spy has the details.

We may soon have another right-wing media outlet in Chicago. Sinclair Broadcasting is the potential buyer.

Bears Schedule

To figure out the Bears schedule for 2017, all you need is an encyclopedic knowledge of regional cuisine. C'mon fellas. Would it have killed you to write the actual locations next to the food?

Hollywood's Greatest Yiddish

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 47

EP47 – Rick and Dave discus eight year old drivers, dad jokes, sperm delivery, the first Cubs superstar, and Rick & Dave’s brush with Bill Murray.

Listen to it here.

Colbert's O'Reilly Farewell Tribute

The New Fox News Lineup

From the Hollywood Reporter...

Tucker Carlson will move into the O'Reilly slot on Monday, the day O'Reilly was to return from a pre-planned vacation. The Five, the program hosted by a rotating panel including Dana Perino, Bob Beckel, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld, Juan Williams and O'Reilly Factor contributor Jesse Watters, will move to Carlson's 9 p.m. slot.

Classing Up The Joint

Tee hee, get it? Hillary lost, so the draft dodger, the man arrested for battery at a waffle house, and the governor who quit on her state are taunting her portrait because their friend won instead. Classy.

Serena Williams

The tennis star posted a snapchat photo of herself--showing her growing belly--with the cryptic headline "20 weeks".

If she really is pregnant, and she's really 20 weeks pregnant, that means that she won the Australian Open while pregnant.

No male athlete can ever claim to be gutting it out again.

Prince Turns Into Frog

The other day Rolling Stone magazine reported that a new Prince EP would be released. Turns out, the man who was releasing it, didn't get permission from Prince's estate. Now it's a giant mess. From today's RAMP newsletter...

Last night, TMZ and other sources reported a federal judge had granted the Estate's request for a restraining order -- which means the Deliverance EP will NOT be released tomorrow. George Boxill has been ordered to turn over all recordings to the Estate. The restraining order will expire on May 3, unless the court extends it. There will be a hearing before then to address the matter. However... The order does not address the fact the album had already been pre-ordered by millions of Prince fans. At press time, Deliverance had disappeared from iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon. And the beat goes on...

Hubbard Broadcasting

In Chicago, Hubbard Broadcasting owns the Mix, She-FM, and the Drive. In Minnesota, they now have an even bigger imprint. From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW column...

“The Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication” will be the official name of the University of Minnesota’s specialty department, named after company founder Stanley E. Hubbard. His son Stan (Stanley S.) has been generous to the school, and the family’s given about $25 million to it, says the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The school of journalism and mass communication becomes the first “named school” on campus, according to College of Liberal Arts Dean John Coleman. The Hubbards base their radio/TV operations in the Twin Cities – and probably have more than a few University of Minnesota grads on the payroll. Stan’s daughter Ginny Morris talked at last year’s RAIN Summit in Las Vegas about her grandfather’s hold-on-for-the-ride approach to new technologies – like using a communications satellite, at the dawn of cable TV.

The Cubs

No game today, so thought I'd just relive this moment from yesterday again...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Letter from the Murdochs

Pat Hughes

Sat out on the deck last night on a beautiful spring day and enjoyed the Cubs game on the Score. Pat Hughes was in rare form. At one point he said..."As AC/DC reminds us, it's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll."

Rock on Pat.

5 Years Ago Today

My second novel "The Living Wills" was brand new on this day in 2012 and was reviewed by Windy City Reviews. We didn't realize it at the time, but "The Living Wills" launched our publishing company Eckhartz Press. We have subsequently published 27 books.

The Living Wills by Brendan Sullivan and Rick Kaempfer
Reviewed by Megan Renehan, Windy City Reviews

In The Living Wills, Sullivan and Kaempfer tell a story of interconnected lives and the consequences of split-second decisions. The novel follows five main characters: a parking garage attendant, a barista, a toilet salesman, a lawyer, and a corporate executive, ultimately connecting their lives in deep and unexpected ways. The story is structured in short chapters alternating between the main characters' points of view. Rich with emotion and local detail, The Living Wills is a story that stayed with me long after I had closed the book.

In the preface, the authors note the novel's structure is influenced by the Harold, an improvisational theater form created by Del Close. While the novel does not exactly follow the form, the interwoven stories lend themselves to the influence of improv. Sullivan and Kaempfer set themselves up for a challenge by telling the stories of five main characters each through a different point of view, but each of the story lines is unique, all the characters are clearly drawn, and there is no confusion for the reader. Short chapters advance the plot quickly and keep the reader engaged.

What struck me most about this novel was its sweetness. Sullivan and Kaempfer navigate issues of love, loss, and family dynamics with a care that is crucial to the success of the novel. The straightforward, unadorned prose does no work to convey the depth of emotion in the novel; that job is reserved solely for the characters, and they carry the load well. Though each of the characters trend slightly towards the stereotypical, the reader is able to accept them as individuals thanks to Sullivan and Kaempfer's well-placed personal details. Delmar, the toilet salesman, is a salesman to his core, and his application of sales principles to his romantic relationship is at once comic and endearing. Similarly, the scenes in the parking garage with the executive and the attendant are injected with emotion when we learn that “Reed went through the usual charade of offering a smoke to Henry, who always pretended to consider it before declining.” These details elevate the novel from cliché to something much deeper and more satisfying for the reader...

On the whole, The Living Wills was a pleasure to read for Sullivan and Kaempfer's deft characterization and effective structural choices. The rich details about Chicago only add to the novel's appeal, and I find myself thinking of Henry, Reed, and Delmar when I pass Waveland Bowl or a parking area on lower Wacker Drive.

Melissa Etheridge

Haven't heard her name in a while, have you? Well, she's back in the news, and this time it's not about her music. Here's the headline from Melissa Etheridge smokes weed with her adult kids.

"Don't bogart that joint, mom."

Sounds just like my mother Hildegard and me back in the day.*

*If you are reporting this story to my mother, after you explain to her what marijuana is, please note that my comment is obviously a joke. That's why I included her name Hildegard. Nobody has ever gotten stoned with a Hildegard.

O'Reilly is in deep trouble

It's really starting to look like Bill O'Reilly's vacation from Fox News will be a permanent one. From this morning's Washington Post...

The board of Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, will meet Thursday, when O’Reilly’s fate could be determined, according to people close to the situation. Although the board has no direct vote over O’Reilly’s employment status, its members could be influential with the Murdoch family, which controls the company and would have the final say.

CNN reported that exit talks were underway between O’Reilly and Fox, but O’Reilly’s camp said such discussions haven’t taken place.

O’Reilly’s contract — signed in March — has an “opt out” clause that would require Fox to pay him a fixed amount if invoked, making extensive negotiations unlikely and unnecessary.

The fact that Fox is allowing this conversation in the press without strong pushback tells you it's true. Luckily for Fox News they have a whole closet full of blowhards who can slide into that slot. Viewers are not tuning in for O'Reilly, per se. They are tuning in to hear Republican news. Give them only positive spins on their guys and blame everything that goes wrong on the other guys, and don't bother them with anything that doesn't fit that narrative, and everything will be just fine.

UPDATE: Ooh boy, it's worse than I thought. Drudge is already eulogizing O'Reilly...

It's ALL OVER. O'Reilly is a goner...

New Prince Music

Prince is going to be the Tupac of the 10s. When he died he left a treasure trove of unreleased songs. The first batch of those come out on Friday--the anniversary of his death. From Rolling Stone Magazine...

Prince co-wrote and co-produced the six Deliverance songs with frequent collaborator Ian Boxill between 2006 and 2008. Boxill completed and mixed the songs after Prince's death last year. Along with the title song, the EP includes a four-movement medley titled "Man Opera" that comprises the tracks "I Am," "Touch Me," "Sunrise Sunset" and "No One Else." The EP closes with an extended version of "I Am."

The six Deliverance tracks were also written while Prince was working as an independent artist and fittingly the EP will be released via the Vancouver-based indie label, RMA. In a statement, Boxill said, "Prince once told me that he would go to bed every night thinking of ways to bypass major labels and get his music directly to the public. When considering how to release this important work, we decided to go independent because that's what Prince would have wanted."

You can get a sneak peek/listen by clicking on the Rolling Stone link above.

Chicago Radio Ratings

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

Chicago gives iHeart’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ its second win (5.8-6.0-5.6). It’s tied for the lead in middays and wins nights and weekends. Second overall is CBS Radio’s news WBBM/WCFS (6.5-5.4-5.4). It’s strong in all three daytime dayparts - #1 mornings, tied for first in middays, first place in PM drive. Third for the week (as usual) is Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX (5.3-4.9-4.8, and second mornings with Eric & Kathy). Fourth place is co-held by Tribune’s talk WGN (4.0-4.2-4.2) and iHeart’s top 40 “Kiss 103.5” WKSC (3.7-3.9-4.2). WGN’s Steve Cochran is third in mornings, while Kiss is second in afternoons and tied for second on Saturday/Sunday. iHeart’s hot AC WLIT is over that 13.7 all-Christmas Holiday book, but holding on (3.5-3.6-3.7). WLIT’s third middays. Hubbard’s AC WSHE edges up (2.8-3.1-3.2, with Brooke & Jubal now twelfth). Total-week, WSHE’s tied with CBS Radio’s rhythmic “B96” WBBM-FM (3.5-3.5-3.2) in eighth place. The country race is between CBS Radio’s “US 99” WUSN (2.2-2.7-2.6) and iHeart’s “Big” WEBG with a third monthly 2.2 share. This time the clear cume leader is top 40 Kiss (2,125,700).

Podcasting Keeps Growing

Edison Research is one of the top research firms in the country, and they've just come out with a report about the status of podcasting nationwide. From Inside Radio this morning...

Edison Research VP of Strategy and Marketing Tom Webster hosted a Tuesday webinar—with partner Triton Digital—that dug in deep to define the ever-expanding U.S. podcast audience and their listening habits..

“Content is not king; the consumer and the audience are king. There are huge potential audiences for new forms of spoken media—so let’s not rely on received wisdom too much,” Webster said. “There is so much room for mainstream content and new forms of content, with tremendous range and a variety of forms for this powerful medium to reach average Americans.”

From there, it was a numbers game, showcasing how podcasting continues to grow, while also showing just who is listening—and how much. Awareness of the term continues to spike after being fairly flat for the previous five-plus years. In 2017, 60% of those 12+ knew “podcasting.” And 40% of respondents have tuned in to a podcast—up from 36% in 2016 and 11% in 2006. Today, that equates to 112 million consumers.

In addition, 24% say they tune in to podcasts on a monthly basis. That is up 3 percentage points from 2016, up 7% since 2015, up 10% since 2012 and up 15% since 2008. “Podcasting has never been a hockey stick growth medium—but we are seeing a lot of [steady] growth now,” Webster noted.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Alex Jones admits it's all an act

The founder and host of Infowars is named Alex Jones. You may know him as a conspiracy-theory peddler, an angry gun-toting maniac, a temple-throbbing screaming nutjob, or a friend of Donald Trump. He is all those things.

But he's also just acting. He said so himself in court. He's trying to win custody of his children, so he admitted that he is a "performance artist" and just "playing an entertaining character."

Of course his viewers and listeners never knew that, and they've been taking him seriously. Just ask the fellow nutbag who went with a gun to the pizza place in Washington because he believed Hillary was running a child-sex ring out of it. He got that info from Alex Jones. Or ask the parents of the Sandy Hook massacre. They've been dealing with nutpots who think they staged the whole thing to get people upset about guns...because the performance artist told them so. Our president even took him seriously. He called into the show and told him that he did a great show.

We are living in the snake oil era, and yet, half the country thinks the legitimate press is fake. Snake oil cannot win.

Dickey Family Goes Full Luxury

The Dickey family was once one of the most powerful radio owners in America. They ran Cumulus broadcasting (into the ground, some would say) for many years, until they were forced out a few years ago.

What are they up to now? They are trying to create another monopoly, and this time it's a monopoly for people who own monopolies. They just purchased virtually every luxury magazine in the country, including Chicago's very own "Michigan Avenue".

Inside Radio has the details.

Beck Countersues

Remember last week when former The Blaze star Tomi Lahren sued Glenn Beck for wrongful termination after she revealed she was pro-choice?

Well, this week Beck countersued claiming...

"TheBlaze has had employment issues with Lahren for well over a year," and that as a result of those issues the company had not intended to extend her contract after it expires in September. Those "issues," according to the claim, included mistreatment of the crew on her show, on-air language that bordered "on profanity," a propensity for conflict with other media personalities at The Blaze and purported ignorance in her analysis.

Well, well, well. Give me some popcorn.

By the way, anyone who has ever dealt with a lawsuit knows that in the end it doesn't really matter who is right and who is wrong. It only matters who has the money to outlast the other side. They will settle. Guaranteed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Green White Soccer Club

Best soccer club in the northwest suburbs...

Green White Soccer Club Travel Tryouts for 2017/2018 season. May 7 & 8 for high school girls, May 22, 23 & 24 for kids 8-15. Join a program representing 60 years of excellence. Click here for tryout times and locations, and to pre-register at no charge.

I'm calling it the Grassy Knoll

This is a photo of the lad (son #3) and I at the Cubs game on Friday. I like the new plaza with the grass field right outside the ballpark. I'm dubbing this area "The Grassy Knoll". The Cubs are free to use this as well...

Alternate Information Land

I enjoy going to parties because I often run into people who live in Alternate Information Land.

This weekend in Alternative Information Land I learned the Wikileaks dump that revealed CIA collection techniques proves the CIA actually is behind this whole Russian hacking story. You see, the CIA has a way of making it look like the Russians are a source of information.

So naturally, the CIA created the hack of our election. It's now proven.

Not following me?

Obviously the CIA hacked into the DNC, released Hillary's and John Podesta's e-mails to make Hillary look bad, which they knew would bring suspicion onto Donald Trump, who they wanted to discredit before the election so he would lose to the person who looked so bad because of those leaked e-mails. Diabolical. They must have figured that even if Hillary somehow lost because she was made to look so bad by these CIA-stolen e-mails, that the backup plan would be to get Trump in trouble later by having all these CIA-created fake Russian contacts.

It's the only possible explanation. It's proven.

It's the incredibly diabolically efficient deep-state within the can't-get-anything-right government doing what it does best: Targeting virtuous Republicans who want to do nothing more than fix this broken country.

(And scene.)

That's this week's trip into Alternate Information Land. Note: The above logic was presented to me with the utmost confidence by a college educated intelligent person who really believes this because he or she has heard it in "the media". Sources not provided to me.

Dad Jokes

The headline for this piece at is: "10 Ultimate Dad Jokes That Will Make You Roll Your Eyes"

I would rewrite that headline slightly. I would say: 10 Funny Jokes

But then again, I'm a dad. I think Dad jokes are hilarious.

Sports prediction

I predicted that this weekend the Hawks would go down 0-2 at home to the Predators, that the Cubs would get swept by the Pirates at Wrigley, and that the one ray of sunshine would be the Chicago Bulls beating the #1 seed Celtics in Boston.

Didn't you?

Maybe Nigerian Prince Was Real

You've all gotten the scam e-mails from the Nigerian prince who has boatloads of money he wants to deliver to you. All he needs is your personal banking information. Right?

Well, what if you heard that there's an empty apartment in Nigeria that has $43 million in cash?

That's an actual, true story. Details here at C-TV news.

P.S. This doesn't mean you should give out your banking information. That's still always a bad idea.

Melissa Spicer Returns

Another day, another O'Reilly story

This is the New York Times headline: O’Reilly’s Behavior Said to Have Helped Drive Megyn Kelly Out at Fox

Here's a small excerpt from the piece...

“Look, it’s open season,” he said, visibly irritated, when asked about a recently published book by Megyn Kelly, his colleague at the time. In the book, Ms. Kelly provided an account of being sexually harassed by Roger Ailes, the network’s former chairman. Later Mr. O’Reilly added, “Let’s whack the Fox News Channel. I’ve had enough of it. It’s a good place to work. All right?”

The comments set off a media firestorm and frustrated Ms. Kelly, who sent an email to Fox News executives complaining about his behavior and the chilling effect it could have on women at the company and beyond, according to four people with knowledge of the email who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

In addition to that story, advertisers did not come back to Fox News in O'Reilly's timeslot during his vacation, at least not so far. I'm always convinced that the money factor is the only thing that really moves the needle for Rupert Murdoch. Should be interesting to see if this vacation is a permament one.

Another United PR Nightmare

This time they booted off a couple on the way to their destination wedding.

The full story is here at Daily Magazine.