Friday, August 11, 2017

Thank you WLS!

Dave and I had an incredible time hosting a show on WLS AM 890 this morning from 10am to Noon. Thanks to Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano for allowing us to fill in for them, and thanks also to the crew (especially Tony Lossano and Tyler Bravo) for making it easy for us. The highlight of the show for me had to be this interview with Denny Laine (Moody Blues, Wings), Neil Innes (Monty Python), and Mark Hudson (The Hudson Brothers). (Photo: L-R, Mark Hudson, Dave Stern, Denny Laine, Neil Innes, and me)

I was so excited I could barely contain myself. They were gracious and wonderful, and they performed "Cant Buy Me Love".

It wasn't until after the interview was over and the gentlemen had left the building that Dave pointed out to me that my fly was unzipped.

Another fun part of the day was being reunited on the air with our old pal Kathy Voltmer, who was our newscaster when we were on the air in Champaign-Urbana. Thirty years later, here we are again...

What in the world?

You'll never believe what I'm doing this morning.

Dave Stern and I have been asked to fill in for Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano on WLS-AM 890. We'll be on the air from 10am to Noon.

Tune in if you get a chance.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 61

EP61 – Rick and Dave discuss bra-sized discounts, sausage contents, bears driving cars, a Bionic Cub, and Rick’s brush with superjock Larry Lujack.

You can listen to it here.

Doin' the Cruise

"When I think of Lorelei my head turns all around. Gentle as a butterfly, she moves without a sound."
--Styx "Lorelei"

Those are the lyrics by Dennis DeYoung, but when I think of Lorelei, I think of the vintage Loop commercials that stirred a little something inside a certain rock and roll fan.

In his upcoming book "Doin' the Cruise: Memories From A Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll" Mitch Michaels (with Ken Churilla) writes about those incredibly heady days and what was happening behind the scenes, including Mitch's friendship with Lorelei--the face and "pow" of the Loop. The book is available for pre-order now at Eckhartz Press. It ships in September.

Eric Bolling Sues Reporter

Eric Bolling, the Fox News personality who was suspended for allegedly sending unwanted lewd photos to female colleagues, is suing the reporter who broke the story for defamation. How much is he seeking in damages? Oh, only $50 million.

What I think is strange is that he isn't suing the Huffington Post (which printed the story), only the reporter. Sounds like a classic case of trying to intimidate him or scare him because he doesn't have the funds to defend himself in court.

Our justice system has one giant flaming flaw. It doesn't judge right or wrong. That's usually irrelevant. The person with the most money almost always wins just because they can outlast the poorer person. Ask our current president. He used that technique over 3000 times.

Bruce on Broadway

I would LOVE to see this show. The RAMP Newsletter reports on it this morning...

Bruce Springsteen is indeed coming to Broadway this fall for an eight-week residency. In a complete 180 from his massive stadium gigs, these insanely intimate shows will be staged at The Walter Kerr Theater on West 48th Street, a venue that holds less than 1,000 people. "My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music," Springsteen said. "Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work."

In addition to his music, Springsteen will also be reading excerpts from his 2016 autobiography, Born to Run, and performing other spoken reminiscences written for the show. In a statement, Springsteen said, "I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind. In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theater is probably the smallest venue I've played in the last 40 years."

Springsteen on Broadway will run five nights a week, Tuesday to Saturday. The official opening is set for Oct. 12, and the run is planned through Nov. 26. Preview performances begin on Oct. 3. Ticket registration for Springsteen on Broadway is now underway and will close on Aug. 27. Lucky fans will be notified on Aug. 29, and the tickets, priced from $75 to $850, will go on sale the next day.

The groping picture

Yesterday I reported on the court case taking place in Denver. It involves an alleged groping of Taylor Swift which led to her allegedly getting the DJ who did it fired. He says he didn't grope her at all.

TMZ posted this picture of the Denver DJ (David Mueller) and Taylor Swift at their meet and greet photo shoot. Look at where his hand is.

Your honor, no further questions.

Trouble for Sinclair/Tribune merger?

Resistance to this deal, which is still not officially completed, is coming from some truly unexpected sources. Tom Taylor's NOW column reports...

DOJ issues a “second request” to Sinclair and its target Tribune. That for sure delays the process that would let TV titan Sinclair add 42 television licenses plus Chicago’s talk radio station WGN/720. You wonder if the increasing heat from all corners of the spectrum is being felt at the Department of Justice. Progressives started protesting the deal when it was announced. But now Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze co-signs an objection to the mega-merger along with the One America News Network. Conservative-leaning Newsmax doesn’t like the proposal that would make Baltimore-based Sinclair by far the largest TV station owner... Sinclair would own 220 TV stations and cover 72% of U.S. households – far exceeding the FCC’s historic 39% limit. Meanwhile at WGN radio, they’re prepping to move out of Tribune Tower – something that will happen regardless of who owns WGN.

I almost don't care why the DOJ or FCC is suddenly developing a conscience. If this pause makes people look at the merger more closely, I'm all for it.

Contreras to the DL

My favorite Cub this season, catcher Willson Contreras, pulled up lame trying to beat out an infield single. He did the universal "hamstring grab" about ten paces from first base. The Cubs will announce sometime today how badly he's injured, but it looks like he's out for the rest of this month.

Starting to feel like this whole World Champion thing is not going to be a permanent condition.

Mancow and Cheap Trick

I'm not a Mancow listener, but I am a fan of Cheap Trick...

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Best Way to Deal with Impending Nuclear War

Thanks Ben Finfer. I needed this last night.

Boden Out at CSN

From Robert Feder's column this morning...

In a surprising cutback, veteran Chicago sportscaster Chris Boden is out after 10 years at Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Boden hosted numerous pre/postgame shows, including ones for the Bears and Blackhawks, and served as an anchor/reporter for “SportsNite” and “SportsNet Central.” “We appreciate everything Chris has provided our network over the years and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors,” CSN Chicago said in a statement Tuesday. Boden, who grew up in south suburban Burbank and graduated from Luther South High School and Columbia College, is an award-winning pro whose career has spanned the NFL Network and multiple Chicago television and radio stations.

I hate to see good people lose their gigs. Boden is a pro.

The Taylor Swift Trial

I've been following the trial of the Denver DJ who sued his former company and Taylor Swift after he was fired. Swift had claimed that he groped her butt during a photo session. The photo does look like his hand was rather low, but I was reserving judgement. He claimed to have a tape of the discussion with his bosses and I wanted to hear that. According to Radio Ink, that tape came up in the trial right away...

The trial between Taylor Swift and fired Denver morning man David Mueller officially began Tuesday. Mueller took the stand and was peppered with questions about destroyed evidence, as Swift’s team tried to damage his credibility right off the bat. They also attempted to portray Mueller as an angry man who wasn’t getting enough attention from the superstar singer.

Former KYGO radio host David Mueller testified Tuesday that he didn’t send all of the audio recordings of his meeting with bosses after he was accused of groping pop star Taylor Swift because he spilled coffee on the keyboard of his computer as they were being transmitted to Swift’s legal team.

As the father of teenagers, let's just say its a good thing for the DJ that I'm not on the jury. That sounds like something my boys would say.

A Proper Burial

Last night Bridget was out in the garage when she heard our dog Ivy get into a confrontation with another beast of some kind, and let's just say Ivy was the winner this time.

Bridget came in to get me. There was a large gray furry lump in the middle of our backyard. She wanted me to properly dispose of the body.

I took a close look at the vanquished beast, and it was pretty big. Its head was curled up beneath its body, but it appeared to be either a raccoon or a possum. At first I was just going to shovel it into a garbage bag, but since our garbage had just been picked up that morning, I didn't want a rotting carcass in our can for a whole week.

So I decided to bury it. I found a nice quiet spot on the side of our house and started digging. It was dark, so Bridget held the flashlight while I prepared the beast's final resting place. It had to be a pretty deep hole because it was a pretty big beast, so it took me a good twenty minutes.

When I finished, I started walking toward the beast to pick it up with a shovel. I was only about five feet away, when something rather unexpected happened. The beast looked up at me. It was not dead at all. It was a possum.

The possum calmly got up and waddled out of my yard. It had just been playing possum to avoid Ivy's wrath.

And now I've got a big hole in my side yard.

RIP Glen Campbell

There was a load of compromisin, on the road to his horizon. RIP Glen Campbell, one of the all time greats.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Dumbest Baseball Idea of All-Time

Just don't slide, boys!

Turn It Up: Radio Tales 1946-1996

Bob Shannon's book about radio, which comes out on e-book August 16th through Eckhartz Press, features the greatest personalities to ever sit before the microphone. Among those superstars is Dick Biondi.

Bob reviews Dick's entire career, but the highlight for Chicago fans is a pretty great recollection of Dick's first stint at WLS-AM 890 from 1960-1963. During those years Dick was twice named Disc Jockey of the Year.

The book covers what Dick said to a weary Chicago the night it appeared we were headed for nuclear war, and he also explains what really happened when Dick left the station. It has nothing to do with a notorious joke (ask your mom about it...she probably knows the joke Dick supposedly said, even though he never actually did).

This Biondi retrospective is only one of the 58 (!) featured in "Turn it Up: Radio Tales 1946-1996". The e-book will be available for download on August 16.

On this day in 1974

This is an outtake of Nixon rehearsing his resignation speech. Tough to watch.

Inside the Park Homers

Incredible inside-the-park homer by Javy Baez last night in the Cubs game. After that, I saw this on Twitter...

I was almost positive I witnessed Tony Campana hit one in 2011. So I looked for the evidence. Here it is...

(By the way, Scott has corrected his list and posted it on Twitter)

RIP Dick Locher

He was the artist behind Dick Tracy and so much more. Sorry to hear this news...

Bryce Harper to Cubs?

It's a pipe dream, but it's one I enjoy reading about, even in the New York Post...

Bryce Harper and his better half aren’t doing much to defuse those rumors of Cubs interest.

As the Nationals wrapped up their three-game series in Chicago on Sunday, Harper’s wife, Kayla, enjoyed Washington’s 9-4 victory alongside the spouse of Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. In between innings, Kayla and Jess Bryant took to Instagram, teasing a possible reunion between their partners on the field.

“Fans want it … & we are more than good with this idea …,” Jess posted on her Instagram story, which was captured by Busted Coverage. She later shared a selfie with Kayla, along with the hashtag, “#HarperToTheCubs.”

Harper is a free agent after the 2018 season.

Chicago Radio Ratings

From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Chicago witnesses quite a PPM performance from iHeart’s urban AC “V103” WVAZ - #1 overall (5.8-6.1-6.7). And #1 in every daypart except mornings with Steve Harvey. The #1 morning show honors go to the new #2 station overall, Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX (4.6-4.6-4.7). Even with Kathy mysteriously missing from the Eric & Kathy show, the show wins 6am-10am. Third overall (and showing some gradual erosion from the first of the year) is CBS news WBBM/WCFS (4.8-4.7-4.4). It’s #2 in mornings, tied for second middays, but suffering from a seventh-place showing in PM drive. Nice lift to fourth for Hubbard’s classic rock “Drive” WDRV (3.6-3.9-4.2, and tied for third on weekends). That’s the best topline for “Drive” since November 2013. Fifth and pulling its best share since November 2014 is CBS Radio’s country WUSN (2.9-3.4-4.1). “US 99” is tied for second middays and runs second on weekends. While we’re on the subject of country, iHeart’s “Big” WEBG ties for fourteenth place (2.1-2.1-2.8). Speaking of ties, there’s the situation around the #6, #7 and #8 slots. Tied for sixth are CBS rhythmic “B96” WBBM-FM (4.0-3.9-3.8) and iHeart’s top 40 “Kiss” WKSC (3.7-3.8-3.8). Right behind is CBS Radio’s sports/Cubs baseball WSCR (3.7-3.8-3.7). The Score is second at night with baseball. Not a strong book for Tribune’s talk WGN (3.3-3.1-2.8, and tied in fourteenth place with “Big”). Cume lead is held by top 40 Kiss (about 2.15 million).

Monday, August 07, 2017

Doin' The Cruise

When Mitch Michaels was a disc jockey in Cleveland, he and Rod Stewart took a limo together. The conversation the two men had in that limo may have changed the trajectory of rock and roll history. What did they discuss? Find out in the upcoming book "Doin’ the Cruise: Memories From A Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll" by Mitch Michaels (with Ken Churilla). The book is available for pre order now!

Pre-order your copy today.

RIP Don Baylor

Former Cubs manager Don Baylor passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 68 years old.

We had Baylor on the John Landecker show when he was the Cubs manager. Baylor was not exactly known for his great interviews, but he did light up when we talked about 60s and 70s soul music.

This is the write up from our Every Cub Ever feature at Just One Bad Century...

~Don Baylor 1949 (Cubs manager 2000-2002)
Baylor was a great player for the Orioles, A’s, Angels, Yankees, and Twins during his playing career—an all-star, MVP, and World Series champ, but never played for the Cubs.He was also previously NL manager of the year with the Rockies, but he only had one winning season (2001) in Chicago, and was fired with the Cubs mired in fifth place in 2002. He coached with several other teams after that, but never managed again.

Kayleigh McEnany Jumps From CNN to Trump

For the past two years she has seemingly been on every panel discussion on CNN. You'll remember her. She was the blond lady who believed that everything Trump said or did was fine, and that surely Hillary has done worse.

Well, Kayleigh has decided to eliminate the icky criticism part of her job, and just directly report the "real news" for the Trump organization. She will be producing "news reports" for Donald Trump's facebook channel that is 100% Pro-Trump all the time.

On the one hand I'd like to point out that Trump really is jumping the shark by doing this, but on the other hand, I'm so happy I'll never see her on CNN again, I think I'll just enjoy it.

Fox News Suspends Eric Bolling

You think there might be issues at Fox News? One of their prime time hosts, Eric Bolling, was suspended over the weekend for allegedly sending unsolicited texts of male genatalia to female colleagues. His lawyer's response was that Bolling (a Chicagoan, by the way) "doesn't believe he sent those". Not exactly a hard denial. (No pun intended)

You can read the accusations here.

Don't worry. There are no pictures at the link. Luckily it was reported by Huffington Post and not Deadspin. I clicked on Deadspin's Brett Favre article about the same subject a few years ago expecting to read what happened, and was blindsided by a sight I couldn't unsee.

Shkreli is Guilty!

In case you missed it over the weekend, on Friday a jury of his peers (which could not have been easy to find) convicted the most hated man in America Martin Shkrili of securities fraud.

Remember Martin? He's the smug little turd who raised the prices of AIDS drugs from $13.50 a pill to $750, and then was a dick about it when everyone revolted.

I'm guessing he'll be very popular in prison.

Say it ain't so, Hawk

White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson is in his final tour of some ballparks this season because he is retiring at the end of next year. He doesn't plan on ever going back to some of those ballparks. From the Sun Times...

But he won’t — and make sure you get this on your calendar, Jason Benetti — go back to Wrigley Field.

‘‘Ever,’’ Harrelson said Sunday. ‘‘Fenway is just a special place. Look at this ballpark. The only [visiting clubhouse] worse is Wrigley Field — the two worst clubhouses in baseball for visiting players. I’ll tell you this much: I’ll never go back to Wrigley Field again.’’

‘‘We’ve got three games over at their place [next season], and I told [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] before we came on this trip, ‘I’m not going back to Wrigley Field,’’’ Harrelson said. ‘‘He said, ‘Well, you’ve got three games there next year.’ I said, ‘Well, we’re going to get rid of those.’

‘‘Worst press box, worst booths for television. It’s a joke; it really is. And so Jason is getting ready for those three at Wrigley. I will never step foot in that ballpark again. Ever.’’

Oh no! Whatever are we to do?