Friday, September 01, 2017

Fred Huebner

This month's Illinois Entertainer is out and features my interview with ESPN Radio's Fred Huebner. The first time I was able to mention soccer in a media column!

You can read it here.

RIP Shelley Berman

The famed comedian passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Berman was a Chicagoan--perhaps the first to come out of the Chicago improv scene.

A MILLION cars and trucks

The chemical explosions are horrible. The loss of human life is heartbreaking. But for some reason this headline made my eyes bulge. This is hard to wrap your head around: Hurricane Harvey May Have Wrecked a MILLION Cars and Trucks.

A million. A million people have lost their mode of transportation. That's unimaginable.

Pete Rose Banned Again

I had lunch at a restaurant yesterday that had an autographed Pete Rose jersey on the wall. It was signed "I'm sorry I bet on baseball--Pete Rose". He's been making those apologies now for a few years and he's still banned from the Hall of Fame.

As of yesterday, he's now also banned from Fox Sports. This time it's because of alleged sexual misconduct. From the Hollywood Reporter...
A sworn statement by the woman, identified as Jane Doe, in a motion filed July 31 by Dowd’s defense attorney, alleges that Rose had a relationship with her for several years, beginning before she turned 16, the age of consent in Ohio, where the woman and Rose lived at the time. Rose acknowledged in court documents that he had sex with the woman but thought she was 16 at the time. Rose would have been 34 then and was married with two children. The statute of limitations means that Rose will not face criminal jeopardy.

The decision to sever ties with Rose comes as 21st Century Fox has been rocked by systemic harassment allegations at Fox News that have resulted in millions of dollars in settlements.

Mitch Michaels Release Party

We had a blast at Mitch Michaels book release party last night at Lloyds Chicago. A who's who of Chicago media was there including John Landecker, Catherine Johns, Pat Cassidy, Bart Shore, Jimmy Mac McInerny, Leslie Harris, Joe Cicero, Bob Malkowski, David Berner, Barry Butler, Bernie Tafoya, Bob Stern, Lisa Greene, John Calhoun, Ray Stevens, Matt Bisbee, and more.

Here are a few photos from the event...

Big Upcoming Week for Eckhartz Press

If you aren't hearing, seeing, or reading about Eckhartz Press authors this week in the Chicago area, you aren't trying very hard. Here's just a sampling...

Robert Feder reported this in his column this morning..."The honors keep piling up for John Records Landecker, the legendary Chicago radio personality and 2017 inductee in the National Radio Hall of Fame. On September 8 it’ll be proclaimed “John Records Landecker Day” in Michigan City, Indiana (where he lives). He’ll also receive the Sagamore of the Wabash Honorary Award, decreed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. Introducing Landecker at the ceremony will be Rick Kaempfer, his longtime radio producer and collaborator on his memoir, Records Truly Is My Middle Name."
Rick's note: The new Hall of Fame limited edition of "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" was completed by John and I this past week, and is now in the hands of talented designers. That will be available by early October.

MITCH MICHAELS/September 6th
Mitch will appearing on WGN Radio with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder (who appears in the book "Doin' the Cruise"). Look for future Mitch appearances on Indiana Public Radio with Tom Lounges (September 15) and on the Car Con Carne podcast with James VanOsdol. Mitch's book "Doin the Cruise: Memories from a Lifetime in Radio and Rock and Roll" has just arrived in our offices and will be shipping next week. Get your copy today.

LEE KINGSMILL/Featured in Madison Cap Times
Dan McGrath has written a wonderful piece about Eckhartz Press author Lee Kingsmill. Before he retired and became a novelist, Lee was an esteemed teacher. McGrath compares and contrasts the behavior of his former colleague Lee during trying, tense, and difficult moments, with the behavior of our current president under similar stress. It really shows what a great human being Lee is. Lee's book "Safe Inside" also arrived in our offices this week. Get your copy today.

BOB SHANNON/September 3rd
The author of "Turn it Up: American Radio Tales 1946-1996" will be appearing on the nationally syndicated (Westwood One) Walter Sterling show at 10:30pm. The show airs here locally on WLS AM 890. The e-book is an Eckhartz Press production and became a best seller on Amazon. You can get your copy right here.

BILL PAIGE/September 3rd
Bill is the writer of "Everything I Know I Learned from Rock Stars" and he and his book will be featured on Rick Kogan's show on WGN Radio Sunday night. The book came out at the end of July is available NOW at Eckhartz Press.

Mitch Michaels and Ken Churilla on WGN-TV

Mitch and Ken arrived around 10:45 to gear up for their segment on WGN-TV news yesterday. They were appearing on the midday show with Steve Sanders, and before the trio went on the air, Sanders chatted with Mitch about his own radio days and how much he missed it. They were breezily chatting while the director counted down the time...3 seconds...2 seconds...1 second.

And then Steve Sanders calmly turned to the camera and knocked this interview out of the park.

Watch the video here.

The book "Doin the Cruise: Memories From a Lifetime in Radio and Rock and Roll" ships this coming week. Get your copy today.

Mitch and Ken at WGN 4

Mitch at WGN 2

Mitch and Ken WGN 3

Mitch and Ken WGN 2


Mitch and Ken WGN

Mitch at WGN

Mitch and Ken WGN

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Tune in today to WGN-TV Midday News to see Eckhartz Press authors Mitch Michaels and Ken Churilla talking to Dina Bair about their new book Doin' the Cruise, which is available for pre-order now!

I'll tag along to take some pictures. They expect the boys to be on the air sometime between 11:15--Noon.

Javy Steals Home

The video is here.

Man, he is an exciting player.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana died 20 years ago today.

I was backstage at a Landecker & The Legends concert, waiting to go on stage, when I heard the news. Part of the show was a song about Diana, written in honor of her visit to Chicago in 1996 (to the tune of the Paul Anka song). We obviously opted not to do the song that night, and never did it again. At the time it felt like one of those "you'll never forget where you were" moments.

When Elton John released this version of his song for Diana it became (and remains) the best selling chart single all-time...

ESPN Football Analyst Walks Away, Disturbed by Brain Trauma on the Field

You get the feeling the sport of football could be in trouble. Not yet, but it's on the horizon. This is one of the canaries in the coalmine.

From the New York Times...

If Ed Cunningham had not already seen enough, he would be back in a broadcast booth on Saturday afternoon, serving as the color analyst for another top college football game televised on ABC or ESPN. It is the work he has done each fall for nearly 20 years.

But Cunningham, 48, resigned from one of the top jobs in sports broadcasting because of his growing discomfort with the damage being inflicted on the players he was watching each week. The hits kept coming, right in front of him, until Cunningham said he could not, in good conscience, continue his supporting role in football’s multibillion-dollar apparatus.

“I take full ownership of my alignment with the sport,” he said. “I can just no longer be in that cheerleader’s spot.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

CNN Reporter Saves Man

Drew Griffin, my old classmate from University of Illinois, was doing a live shot in Houston when he had to save a man...

Looks like my old girlfriend Margy made the right call by dumping me and going out with Drew. She later married him. I think they're still married today.

Cartoon Villain

Already hated the guy. Glad to see he grew the mustache to delve more deeply into his cartoony villain role. "Snidely Whiplash drops back to pass..."

Love this story

Ian Happ and Tommy LaStella have been "fake interviewing" their teammates after they hit home runs. Good sign that the boys are having fun again. Details are here.

Trump in Houston

Not exactly winning any empathy awards. Worst president at expressing it since Nixon.

Cable News Ratings

Say what you want about our president, but you can't say he's bad for cable news ratings.

Top 5 Basic Cable Networks of August 2017 (Prime Time)
1. Fox News (2,206,000)
2. MSNBC (1,835,000)
3. USA (1,499,000)
4. HGTV (1,429,000)
5. TBS (1,258,000)

I see that people are tuning in to the most partisan versions of the news too. Fox and MSNBC may both be covering the news, but believe me, other than the constant mentions of Trump, their reports don't even remotely resemble each other. One could change their motto to "Trump Bad" and the other to "Trump Good".

By the way, Fox News does not play well in the UK. Rupert Murdoch has been pushing it through his Sky network there and the British people have roundly rejected it. This week he made the call to pull it off the air there.

Justin Bieber’s testicles spark lawsuit

That's a real headline from the New York Post (Page 6). Here are the details...

Back in May, Justin Bieber made an emergency visit to Northwell Health on Long Island to have his balls examined after he thought a soccer injury might have left one of his testicles twisted.

Fortunately, Bieber’s balls are just fine, but a staffer working at the hospital can’t say the same. A woman named Kelly Lombardo allegedly accessed Bieber’s medical files after hearing rumors he was admitted for an STD instead of a testicle injury and was subsequently fired.

She is suing because she says she never accessed the file. The case will probably be next year's version of the Taylor Swift groping trial (a chance for reporters to constantly mention Justin Bieber's balls), although this time Bieber won't have to testify.

Didn't realize that the Biebs was a soccer fan.

Milwaukee Media Supports Houston

Former WGN-Radio GM Tom Langmyer's the man behind this fundraiser. From the RAMP Newsletter...

Relief efforts for all of those affected by the ongoing damage caused by the former Hurricane Harvey extend far beyond Texas. The fine folks at Scripps Milwaukee organized a fundraiser on Monday afternoon to collect much-needed funds for disaster relief. Staffers from WTMJ-TV (Today's TMJ4), News-Talk WTMJ-AM and WKTI (94.5 KTI Country) manned the phone bank from 4-7pm to collect donations for the American Red Cross.

"People in Wisconsin are looking for a way that they can help the victims of the hurricane," said Tom Langmyer, VP/GM for Scripps Radio in Milwaukee and VP of News/Talk/Sports for E.W. Scripps. "Using the power of local media we can combine our efforts to enable giving on a large scale and truly make a difference to support the American Red Cross." And make a difference they did.

People helping people. This is the best of America in action.

Chicago Radio Supports Houston

Another unified gesture from Chicago's radio stations, this time in support of Houston's flood victims. From Radio Ink...

Over 30 Chicago stations will simultaneously air a :60 second spot to support the Red Cross as they work to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and across the Gulf Coast. The spot will air Wednesday at 4:29 p.m.

Illinois Broadcasters Association Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland Committee Chairman Matt Scarano said, “The Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland are proud to unite as a group to help the people of Houston impacted by the devastating floods. We urge all Chicagoans to contribute to the relief efforts that are so desperately needed. We are using the power of radio in both English and Spanish, to help out those in need. In a time of crisis, Chicago radio is willing to help in any way we can.”

“What a great idea for the Radio Broadcasters of Chicagoland to apply their winning roadblock formula in building instantaneous public awareness to the immediate needs of the Red Cross in helping victims of Hurricane Harvey,” said Dennis Lyle, president and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association. “Doing so is yet another reflection of the care and concern local broadcasters have for their community and communities beyond.”

Great gesture. I have no snarky comments.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Everything that is wrong with this country in two sentences

When I find myself beginning to feel hopeful about our community spirit (like I've been seeing in Houston), I get reminded that Ann Coulter still exists and continues to pollute America.

The Cubs

Bridget and I went to the Cubs game last night and enjoyed a big Cubs win. We also got to see Gary Pressey's big night. They even let him sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

Mitch Michaels

Thanks to Robert Feder for this shout out this morning...

Mitch Michaels will be toasted Thursday at a gathering to honor the release of his new memoir, Doin’ the Cruise: Memories From A Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll. Written with Ken Churilla and published by Eckhartz Press, it’s a straightforward account of the ups and downs of a Chicago radio career spanning nearly five decades and encompassing such iconic call letters as WXRT, WDAI, WKQX, WLUP and WCKG. Most interesting are insights Michaels shares about his personal life, including growing up as an only child of adoptive parents in a Cleveland suburb, and coping with the death of a 21-year-old son, who fell victim to drug addiction. Still rocking at 69, Michaels now hosts afternoons at Alpha Media classic hits WERV FM 95.9.

Trump Welcomes New Network

In his press conference yesterday, one of the three questions was taken from a brand new television network. From TV Newser...

Typically, these news conferences include two journalists from each country. But this afternoon, three journalists from each were called on. The third U.S. reporter was Trey Yingst from One America News, who asked about what cutting FEMA’s budget might mean to the recovery efforts in Texas. In his answer, Trump gave a shout-out to the nascent right-leaning TV news network: “Right now we have the money necessary for Texas and Louisiana if we need, but the real number, which will be many billions of dollars, will go through congress. I think it will happen very quickly. And I want to congratulate you on the network of the. It’s a great network.”

We know one thing about this network. If Trump likes it, they never criticize him. No need to watch it.

Monday, August 28, 2017

City Underwater

This is worse than I thought...

Houston Media

During tough times our local media often perform their best work...

Nielsen To Reissue Chicago’s July Book After Ratings Snafu

From Inside Radio...

Nielsen will reissue the July 2017 ratings for Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at noon Central, after it left out listening data from one of a pair of Univision Radio FMs that simulcast and qualify for Total Line Reporting (TLR). The company says audience shares for other stations may be “slightly affected.”

In a notice to clients on Friday, Nielsen said that in the July numbers (released Aug. 7), audience estimates for the TLR combo of Univision’s Spanish urban “Latino Mix 93.5 & 103.1” WVIV and WVIX-FM did not reflect combined listening to both stations. The ratings reflected listening to only one of the stations.

The original ratings, reported with the call letters WVIV-FM, showed it had a 0.6 share of listeners aged 6+, down from a 1.0 share in June and a 1.3 share in May.

In the new numbers coming out Tuesday, listening data from both simulcast partners will be combined and reported with the call letters of the “primary” station, Nielsen said.

“Audience shares for other stations may be slightly affected, as the under-reported listening to the WVIV-FM/WVIX-FM combo was not included in Market totals in the originally released report,” the company explained.

It probably won't make too big of a difference, but it's a big deal when the ratings need to be re-released. Stations have been selling those numbers for the last month.

Art Vuolo's Tribute to Jay Thomas

Art Vuolo is radio's best friend. He goes around the country and records radio personalities on video, and has amassed a treasure trove of material. He dipped into that treasure trove to create this tribute to the recently departed Jay Thomas...

Ken Levine was one of the writers of Cheers, and he writes one of my favorite blogs. About ten years ago he told the tale of how Jay Thomas' big mouth got him fired from Cheers. Great story.