Friday, May 26, 2017

Vanity Fair Praises WGN-TV Morning Show

Granted, the writer of this piece James Warren is a Chicagoan. Neverthless, it's startling to see a lengthy discussion of Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten in an article in Vanity Fair.

Check it out here.

It's really more about how little Trump's controversies are covered by local news, compared to the obsessive coverage on cable news. It's an interesting read.

Let's Face It, He's Dreamy

Ranking Sgt. Pepper's Songs

Sgt. Pepper turns 50 on June 1st, and Newsweek has ranked the tracks in order of best to worst.,

You can never please everyone with rankings like this, but I strongly disagree with their list, except for the top 3 ("A Day in the Life", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Sgt Pepper") and the last two ("Mr. Kite", "Within Without You")

The rest of Newsweek's rankings are as follows...
4. She's Leaving Home
5. With a Litte Help From My Friends
6. Getting Better
7. Lovely Rita
8. When I'm 64
9. Fixing a Hole
10. Good Morning
11. Sgt. Pepper Reprise

I personally like the Reprise as much as the first Sgt. Pepper, but I get the difficulty of where to place it with the rankings, so let's just leave that one out. Here are the rest of the rankings as far as I'm concerned...

4. Getting Better
5. Lovely Rita
6. Fixing a Hole
7. With a Little Help From My Friends
8. Good Morning
9. She's Leaving Home
10. When I'm 64

That last one is getting a little too close for comfort.

Garry is Leaving Chicago?

From Robert Feder's column this morning...

After 67 years in and around Chicago, Meier is telling friends he’s moving to Santa Monica, California, where he’ll continue his subscription podcast. Meier’s last on-air radio gig with WGN ended in 2014. In March, the Chicago Tribune reported that Meier and his wife had listed their three-bedroom condo on Chicago’s Near East Side for just under $2.2 million. It’s now listed for $1.9 million.

(Photo: Garry Meier as Cliff on stage at the Chicago Theater in 1989. I was one of the "Cliff Dancers")

Me-TV Radio Goes Nationwide

From this morning's Radio Online...

MeTV FM (87.7 FM) in Chicago has partnered with Envision Networks to syndicate its new radio format with a winning mix of music from the 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond to U.S. markets. MeTV FM is curated for long listening and features a deep playlist from an active library of more than 3,000 songs across nearly four decades, including singer-songwriters, country crossovers, Motown, iconic groups and many other artists. There's a wide diversity of music programming from folk rock to funk, deep tracks to disco favorites, and sixties British Invasion to eighties pop.

"We created MeTV FM as the musical companion to America's #1 all classic TV network, MeTV. Both our television and radio formats present timeless and memorable entertainment that resonates with hipsters, hippies, baby boomers and beyond, as we like to say," said Weigel Broadcasting Co. Vice Chairman Neal Sabin. "MeTV FM's music format has broken many of the radio rules in terms of presentation, depth of playlist and mixing of genres. Using a challenging dial position in one of the most competitive radio markets in the country, we have proven the validity and viability of the format. We look forward to working with Envision to bring MeTV FM to many more places."

The Body Slam Guy Wins Anyway

It's not often that a person who commits a crime the eve of his election gets elected anyway, but it happened in Montana last night.

He did apologize during his acceptance speech to the reporter he body slammed by the neck and punched, however, so it's all good.

Nothing to see here. Just because it happened on the same day the president pushed another NATO head of state out of the way so he could be in the front of a picture, doesn't mean we are turning into a cartoonish caricature of the ugly American before our very eyes.

It depends on your perspective. We could also be Making America Great Again by being assholes. I think that's the other side of the argument, but I can't be sure. I'm not an asshole. I don't speak the language.

Hall of Famer

This is Rudi Mayer, my childhood hero. He was the star player for Green White Soccer Club when I was a kid--the club that my dad co-founded. Rudi went on to play for a National Championship at Michigan State, played for the U.S. Olympic Team in '72, and professionally with the Chicago Sting.

In November he was named to the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame, and last night he was honored at Toyota Park before the Fire game along with the rest of the '16 inductees.

Super proud of him. You'll never meet a nicer man. I couldn't be there last night because of commitments to Green White (ironically), but my sister Cindy was there, and snapped this photo.

John & Bobby

This picture of John Landecker & Bobby Skafish was taken on April Fools Day in 1981. John appeared on WXRT as if he had the gig there. That was part of XRT's annual April Fool's Day stunt.

I heard a portion of that broadcast. I was a senior in high school and a big fan of both guys. If you would have told me that day I'd eventually work with both of them (with Bobby at the Loop for 7 years, and with John at WJMK for ten), I would have been excited beyond words. If you would have told me that I'd also eventually publish both of their books, I never would have believed you.

What a long strange trip its been.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 52

EP52 – Rick and Dave discuss sologamy, German children’s stories, bastard cats, Cubs during historical events, and Rick’s brush with Kerry Wood.

Listen to it here.


Blowback to Hannity

When the bad guys keep making more money and creating more havoc, it can make you wonder if there really is such a thing as karma.

It may take a while to get there (O'Reilly, Ailes), but it eventually does. Right, Sean Hannity? His forays into conspiracy garbage are finally hitting him where it hurts. His advertiers are starting to leave his show.

That's what started the downfall of O'Reilly. It's the only thing that matters to his bosses.

Body Slam

When you're a Republican in Montana running for office and you body slam a "liberal" reporter, you can probably get away with it if it becomes a he said/he said situation. Your voters will probably believe you when you deny it, or claim that the other guy started it or is creating "fake news".

But you can't do that when there's an audio recording.

And you can't do that when a Fox News crew witnesses it, and sides with the "liberal" reporter.


That was my one word reaction to this...

David Ross, What Have You Done?

In the David Ross era, even the Cubs minor leaguers are dancing now...

Feelin' Groovy

WGN Walk of Fame

From Radio Online, big day today for a few WGN legends...

WGN Radio will induct ten honorees into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame on Thursday, May 25. Three sports legends, four renowned traffic reporters, one story chaser and two present-day voices with a combined 63 years behind the microphone at WGN comprise the fourth class of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame.

The 2017 inductees are: Leonard Baldy, Lou Boudreau, Nick Digilio, Lincoln Hampton, Vince Lloyd, Mike Mathis, Anne Maxfield, Judy Pielach, Jack Rosenberg and Larry Schreiner. The ceremony will be open to the public.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Looks like a real picture

Colbert Will Not Be Fined by FCC

The FCC announced yesterday that they will not fine him for his risque Trump/Putin joke.

The agency found it was a pretty standard joke, and there isn't any reason to fine him.

Farneda Removes "Interim" Label

From Radio Online...

CBS Radio Chicago appoints John Farneda as Music Director for AAA WXRT-FM. He's held MD duties on an interim basis since early April. This marks a return to the station for Farneda who previously held the MD post at XRT for more than 13 years from 2001-2014. He was promoted to Assistant Program Director/MD in 2001. He later added Operations Director duties beofre leaving the station in 2014.

Farneda will report to WXRT OM/PD Greg Solk who commented, "Christmas has come early to WXRT. John's rich history here and his unequalled knowledge of the Chicago rock market make him the perfect programming partner. John is WXRT."

"I'm very fortunate to rejoin my beloved colleagues at WXRT," stated Farneda. "I'm extremely excited to finally have the opportunity to work with Greg Solk. He's a proven winner and I'm looking forward to working closely with him to steer WXRT to a new level of programming excellence."

By the way, on a semi-related note, Farneda's name will be cropping up in my next Illinois Entertainer column on June 1st. I interviewed WXRT's Ryan Arnold.

Minutia Men Reviews on iTunes

I didn't even know these reviews existed, but we just recorded our latest episode (which drops tomorrow), and during the podcast Dave told me where to find them. There are 50 reviews at iTunes. This is just since the beginning of May, all five star reviews...

*Austin Colon
"This podcast is awesome. It's funny, witty, and well produced. Keep up the good work!"

*Devious Shadow
"This is what all podcasts should be. High quality production, entertaining and engaging hosts, great flow and subject. This is a can't miss podcast."

"Love this duo from Chicago! They are always entertaining!!! Great to add to your must listen shows!"

"This is what my friends and I would sound like if my friends and I were entertaining and funny! These guys are really entertaining and super funny. I'm going through their entire library to fulfill my itch."

*Mister Pankake
"A podcast that adds the right effects and music with hosts who build very witty conversation. The show itself is filled with great information and fun listening for anyone who tunes in."

*Hysterical and Witty
"These two are great together. I just finished the 50th episode and loved it. They have a great chemistry together. Keep up the good work. Love the accent."

*Justintime Jnt
"You can tell these guys are great friends. Their chemistry is fluent and they create some great laughter."

*Mark Mancaveitch
"I have been listening to Minutia Men for almost a year and it's one of the funniest shows out there today. Rick and Dave play so well off each other, their chemistry is great. Each week I look forward to hearing the new episodes and what they are going to say next. Minutia Men should be sponsored by Depends for Men because they have made me piss my pants more than once."

Aw shucks, guys and gals. Thanks so much for the kind words.

Our 52nd episode will be posted tomorrow.

Fox News Retracts Seth Rich Story

Somebody there has a conscience. That somebody is not Hannity, by the way, who only vows to give up talking about it 'For Now'. Here's the statement from Fox News...

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.

So anyway, sorry for the millions of people who now believe a completely untrue story, and for destroying the reputation of an innocent man who can't defend himself because he's dead, and for putting his family through hell. Our bad. (That last part must have been accidentally lopped off the end of their statement)

Ross' Last Dance

He ended up finishing in second place. Not a bad run for a catcher. This was his final dance...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Perfect Score

I think even David Ross is shocked at how well this DWTS gig is going. This routine got a perfect score.

RIP James Bond

First Bond movie I ever saw was The Spy Who Loved Me. That's probably why I always considered Roger Moore, who passed away today, the legitimate James Bond. I later got to appreciate Sean Connery, but this first scene I ever witnessed remains one of the all-time great Bond scenes...

Infowars Gets White House Press Credentials

The "news" outlet that pushed the bogus Hillary-Clinton-Running-A-Child-Sex-Ring-In-A-Pizza-Joint story, and that still believes the Sandy Hook tragedy was staged to make gun owners look bad, has just been given White House press credentials.

Actual journalists are not happy about this, and for good reason.

Infowars is run by Alex Jones who recently admitted under oath in court that his whole personna is an act. Infowars is part of the Russian investigation because they were peddling stories pushed by fake news sites run by the Kremlin.

Honestly, this is getting into some pretty scary territory.

Fox Ratings

The one upside of the recent conspiracy peddling on Fox News is this headline: For 1st Time in 17 Years, Fox News Was 3rd in Prime Time Demo

Le$ Moonve$

The CEO of CBS might just be the richest executive in media, and now he has a few more years to pour wheelbarrows full of money into his forty car garage with elevators. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

CBS keeps Chairman/CEO Les Moonves around until at least June 2021. Just as with Bob Iger over at Disney, the board sees a strong and experienced executive – and nobody on the scene who might succeed him. (Disney’s board essentially told Iger’s #2 Tom Staggs that he wouldn’t automatically be anointed when Iger retires.) At CBS, Moonves’ annual salary of $3.5 million remains unchanged but it’s the other stuff – stock awards, options – that levitated his 2016 total compensation to $69.6 million. After Moonves finally does depart, he’ll have five years as a “senior advisor,” and CBS would support him in starting his own production company. Most CBS Radio folks probably aren’t thinking much of Moonves or his #2, Joe Ianniello. They’re too busy trying to figure out their future under Entercom, once that merger closes later this year. (CBS Radio just parted company with a top-ten market programmer, as you’ll read in today’s “Transitions.”)

Zorilla Crunch?

I like Ben Zobrist. He's a key player for the Cubs. His nickname is apparently Zorilla.

Cool nickname for a ballplayer. Kind of an unappetizing name for a breakfast cereal. Available at your neighborhood Jewel/Osco now.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Israeli Commercial

I've been trying to tell my Republican friends that President Trump is being mocked around the world, but they don't believe me. They think America is now more respected than ever. Mmmm Hmmm.

This ad is running in Israel, the one country that supposedly is always behind us...

Anti-Trump is Good for Ratings

The ratings have turned upside down since President Trump took office. MSNBC shot past Fox News in the money demos--an unheard of phenomenon just a year ago. Stephen Colbert has shot past Jimmy Fallon by going more political and not playing it "fair and balanced".

And the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, which had struggled to replace Jon Stewart, is now nearly back to Jon Stewart's ratings.

He may not be good for the country, but Donald Trump is definitely good for the ratings. Check that...being anti-Trump is good for ratings.

A Harvard study that came out last week says that the coverage of Trump has been overwhelmingly negative. 93% of the coverage has been negative. I'd say that's probably correct.

It's also justified. He's been president for four months and he's already under FBI investigation and the White House lawyers are resarching impeachment. That's not because of the negative coverage. The negative coverage is because of that. The scandal should be that some media outlets are actually 93% positive toward Trump. That's almost the textbook definition of fake news under the circumstances.

Bob Beckel Fired Again By Fox News

Beckel is Fox News version of a Democrat. He's cartoonish, large, and nearly always wrong. He doesn't sound like an actual Democrat at all, but he technically is--he was Walter Mondale's campaign manager in 1984.

He was fired by Fox in 2015 for "personal issues". After a short stint at CNN, he returned to Fox News last year.

This time they fired him for an insensitive remark to an African American staffer.

Good for Fox News for trying to change the culture in the hallways there. They might also want to switch on the Tv and see if they can find an insensitve remark or two about African Americans on the air. It's not an every five seconds occurance now that the black guy isn't president any more, but it's still a regular feature.

Girl Dragged into Water by Sea Lion

This is a scary moment, but the girl is fine. A cautionary tale for parents, who needed one more thing to worry about...

Best Program Directors

Radio Ink Named the 66 Top Program Directors in the country.

Three of them are in Chicago. Mary Ellen Kachinske, WTMX (#7), Ron Gleason, WBBM-AM (#10), and Rob Cressman, WDRV-FM (#41).

The full list is here.

Beat Tom & Bill Golf Outing

I was honored to help out the folks at the Beat Tom & Bill Foundation at their golf outing this year. They raised over $100,000 this weekend to help families struggling with cancer, which took them over the $1 million mark since they started this event in 2002.

It's hard to overstate what an unusual golf outing this is. They do whatever they can to make it fun and entertaining. For instance, how many golf outings have their own opera?

Last year one of the sponsored kids was my cousin's son Caleb. He couldn't be there this year for all the happiest reasons. He was in Disneyworld with his family enjoying their "Make a Wish" trip. Caleb is doing very well!

Caleb's absence didn't stop several other members of our family from going out there. My sister and aunt came out to volunteer. So did my son Sean and my wife Bridget. Bridget got the very glamorous gig of dressing up like a T-rex.

I golfed. One hole had a hydraulic gun that did the drive for you. Another hole you had to drive off a toilet seat. Another one you had to dress like Elvis. Another hole featured the polka stylings of Eddie Korosa.

Motivational speaker Matt Foley (Matt Kissane) was wandering around, and so was a barbershop quartet. Here are a few photos from that nutty day...

At the banquet later that night, Tom Latourette (one of the brothers) unveiled his brand new book which is being sold to help raise money for the foundation. That book is published by Eckhartz Press.

We'll have more information about that soon. It will be on our website probably by the end of the week.

Thanks Tom & Bill for all you do.

John Records at the Record Show

Awesome time Sunday morning at the Chicagoland Record Collector show. Thanks to John Govi for making us feel welcome. We sold out of books! (A few more events will be coming up soon)