Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

OK, shutting down the office for a few days. Son #3 is off from school, and we're going to spend some time together.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! (Look for a new Minutia Men episode to drop on Thanksgiving morning--it features some Thanksgiving minutia)

I'll be back at the blogging desk on Monday.

John's Glasses

From (Thanks BP for the tipoff)

An assortment of items that once belonged to John Lennon have been returned to his widow Yoko Ono after being stolen — and ending up halfway around the world.

The Associated Press reports that roughly 100 of Lennon's belongings were stolen from Ono, including three of the former Beatle's diaries, two pairs of eyeglasses, a cigarette case and a handwritten sheet of music — and in what German police described as "a spectacular, unusual criminal case," the items ended up at a Berlin auction house.

In fact, as the AP's report details, the stolen goods were only discovered after the auction house declared bankruptcy and an administrator was brought in to assess their holdings. After the items turned up in storage, police were alerted, and they set about finding the culprits. One suspect has since been arrested, although the other, who reportedly resides in Turkey, was described as "not available" and the target of an ongoing extradition effort.

Ono was eager to get the stolen property back to the estate. Investigators flew to New York, where they had her verify the items' authenticity; during the meeting, said prosecutor Susan Wettley, "She was very emotional and we noticed clearly how much these things mean to her and how happy she would be to have them back."

Cumulus Dropped by NASDAQ

From Radio Online...

Cumulus Media has received a notification from NASDAQ indicating that, as a result of the company's non-compliance with NASDAQ listing rules, shares of its Class A common stock will be delisted on November 22. This after the bid price closed below $1.00 per share for the last 180 business days without regaining compliance. However, Cumulus has been approved to trade on the OTC market under the same ticker -- CMLS -- beginning November 22.

In an 8K filing with the SEC, "The transition to the quotation of the company's Class A common stock on the OTCQX will have no effect on the company's business or operations. The company will continue to file periodic and other required reports with the SEC."

In Chicago, Cumulus owns the Loop, WLS-AM & FM, and 101.1FM.

Trump's Accusers

The Washington Post has all of the women who accused Trump of sexual harassment in one handy article for you today.

Clip and bring along to Thanksgiving dinner for when the defenders of Trump start spouting. You're welcome. Happy Thanksgiving.

Dann Gire Leaves the Daily Herald

I worked with Dann for several years when he and Landecker did movie reviews together. Always got along well with him. Don't forget the second "N" in Dann, though.

From Robert Feder's column...

The great Dann Gire, award-winning film critic of the Daily Herald, is stepping down today after 42 years as a full-time employee of the newspaper. Gire, 64, was among a reported 17 staffers to accept voluntary buyouts from parent company Paddock Publications. But wait, there’s a sequel: Gire is expected to continue reviewing movies and contributing other features on a freelance basis. Until his new deal is official, Gire declined to comment. He joined the Daily Herald in 1975 as a reporter covering government, crime and courts, and was named film critic in 1978. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University and eight-time winner of the Peter Lisagor Award for arts criticism, Gire also serves as president and founding director of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

More Creeps Revealed

This one is a crusher. Pixar genius John Lasseter.

From the Huffington Post...
Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter said they obtained a memo Lasseter sent to Pixar staff on Tuesday, announcing his decision to step away.

“I’ve recently had a number of difficult conversations that have been very painful for me,” he reportedly wrote in a message that acknowledged a series of “missteps” and apologized for any discomfort he caused his employees.

“That was never my intent,” he wrote, per Variety. “Collectively, you mean the world to me, and I deeply apologize if I have let you down. I especially want to apologize to anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of an unwanted hug or any other gesture they felt crossed the line in any way, shape or form.”

As someone who has been mocked for years because of my reluctance to hug, I'm feeling a little vindicated these days. Turns out, I wasn't being aloof and German. I was being professional.

If you feel like this list is never-ending, you aren't alone. And just wait...the shoes have not yet started dropping in Washington. So far, it's just Al Franken. And now Rep. John Conyers from Michigan.

But trust me, there will be many many more.

An MVP in Lederhosen

Combining two of my favorite things...the Cubs and Austria.

RIP David Cassidy

RIP David Cassidy. Met him once and confided that I knew all the words to “I woke up in love this morning.” He was not impressed. Seriously bummed by the news of his passing. He was a part of my childhood. Cassidy was 67.

Here's another one I liked as a kid...

Of course this one was their big hit...

It was such a part of the popular culture, the title was used in this scene...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Wow, that was fast. Charlie Rose is outta here...

Net Neutrality in Danger

This is not surprising, but it's also a disgrace. From the RAMP Newsletter...

Federal regulators unveiled a plan today that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use. The Washington Post reports this now sets the stage for a crucial vote next month at the FCC that could reshape the entire digital ecosystem. The agency's Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, has made undoing the government's net neutrality rules one of his top priorities, and Tuesday's move hands a win to big broadband companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

In a release, Pai said his proposal would prevent the government from "micromanaging the Internet." In place of the existing rules, he added, the FCC would "simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices." The proposal would also shift some enforcement responsibility to the Federal Trade Commission, which can sue companies whose actions do not reflect the commitments or statements they have made to the public.

Not surprisingly, those aforementioned giant Internet providers welcomed the FCC announcement -- in a statement, Verizon said, "We’re very encouraged by Chairman Pai's announcement today that the FCC will move forward next month to restore the successful light-touch regulatory framework for internet services."

Right. "Light-touch regulation" will replace something everyone hates--fairness. Get ready to pay through the nose. Internet innovation, which is a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE portion of our economy, will grind to a halt. The richest companies will have yet another advantage over the little companies, and the barrier for starting a new company will be far greater. This time the consumer loses bigtime. The country loses bigtime. The entire economy loses bigtime.

Only six people are in favor of this--the CEOs of three internet giants and the three Republican members of the FCC who are planning on working for those big three companies (and getting millions for their efforts) as soon as their terms expire. And they are going to pull it off because this will slip under the radar thanks to the 70-headlines-a-day news world we live in today.

This is the sort of issue that should make us all rise up. The FCC just spit in your face. Are you just going to wipe it off and go on your merry way?

(How do you really feel, Rick?)

Patrick Mooney Let Go

This is a bummer. Loved his work covering the Cubs...

Hall of Fame Candidates

There seems to be two automatics in this year's Baseball Hall of Fame class--Chipper Jones and Jim Thome.

If those guys don't get in, I'll be shocked. Kerry Wood is on the list for the first time this year too. I doubt he will get the 5% necessary to stay on it for another year.

Here's an article about some of the other candidates.

What Actual Bias Looks Like

How do you know you're working for a biased news organization? If they won't let you investigate one of the biggest stories of all-time, even if you pay your own way.

Here's the headline in TV Newser: Former Fox Newser Says Network Forbid Her From Traveling to Moscow to Report on Trump-Kremlin Connections.

“You can’t do in-depth reporting if you’re not there,” the former Fox correspondent reportedly told Parliament earlier today. “Fox didn’t let me go to Moscow to dig into Trump’s Russian connections, even when I offered to pay my own way.”

“Fox is just buying what the White House is selling,” she continued.

Why is a former Fox Newser testifying to British Parliament? Because her former Boss Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy the biggest television news organization in Europe. The Parliament doesn't want a repeat of what is happening here in this country. They've already banned Fox News for being too biased. Tney don't want Murdoch to turn Sky News into another 24-hour right-wing grievance festival.

Merger Blocked

The Justice Department has sued to block the ATT/Time Warner merger. If you believe the reason they are giving officially, it sure sounds logical...

“This merger would greatly harm American consumers,” the Justice Department’s antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said in a statement. “It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy.”

A good reason to be suspicious, however, is that the Trump administration seems to be favoring big business and big corporations in every other case. If their reasons are sincere, why aren't they blocking the Sinclair/Tribune merger which gives the merged company a virtual monopoly on local television stations?

This move feels more like the Trump administration is trying to bigfoot CNN, a frequent Trump critic. CNN is part of Time Warner, and Trump has tweeted about them more than anyone else (other than his vanquished opponent). If you think there's something unseemly about a President going after one of his critics using the levers of government, you aren't alone. It was one of the impeachment charges against Nixon.

But by arguing on anti-trust grounds, the Justice Department is on solid legal ground. This proposed merger is three times the size of the Comcast/NBC merger, which I was against at the time on anti-trust grounds.

Keep an eye on this case.

If they later demand that they'll accept the merger only if CNN is spun off and sold to someone else (like Rupert Murdoch for instance who is hovering like a vulture), then we'll know they're full of shit.

A Rose By Any Other Name

They're dropping like flies now. Another creep revealed.

This time it's the genteel gentleman Charlie Rose. "Mr. Rose, why are you taking ALL of your clothes off?"

Bummed, but not totally surprised by this one. I always thought he was a little "touchy" during his interviews.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ernie Banks

Another Creep Revealed

This time it's a newspaper reporter--Glenn Thrush.

Vox has the story about him. Nobody in the story is underage, but it does sound like he took advantage of young female reporters.

Another bummer. I think he's a great reporter.

Below is his response...

Most Popular Surname in Your State

A chart from

Of course one of the top 3 in Illinois is Johnson...

Jeffrey T. Mason

Jeffrey T. Mason was a jock on K-Hits (WJMK), which unceremoniously dropped their classic hits format on Friday. That surprise move resulted in Mason losing his gig.

Today he posted a blog post about his thoughts and feelings about his new reality. I can definitely relate. He's pretty much exactly at the crossroad I faced in 2004, and it looks to me like he's making the same decision. He is staying in Chicago even if there are no radio gigs here. He will do something else if necessary.

I made that leap myself. There was nothing in Chicago radio that interested me, and the only offers I received came from national shows based out of New York. I turned them down, stayed in my home town, and started my second career as a writer.

It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I wish him the same fate.

A whole industry of creeps?

This piece in the Washington Post is about the restaurant business. The headline is pretty descriptive: Rape in the storage room. Groping at the bar. Why is the restaurant industry so terrible for women?

Ladies, just so you know, this whole subject matter is topic #1 among men throughout this country these days. Everywhere I go, I hear it being discussed. Most of us are busy re-assessing our entire sexual lives. Others are just worried or think the pendulum is swinging too far too fast. But all of us are talking about it.

This is a real moment.

Manson is Dead

Charles Manson finally died over the weekend. The brutal killer and cult leader with the swastika tattoo on his forehead lived 48 years longer than the innocent people he and his followers murdered.

I'm not a huge believer in the death penalty, but I always felt Manson was the type of person who deserved it.

Maybe I can once again enjoy this rocker by the Beatles. Manson's adoption of Helter Skelter made me think of those murders when I listened to it. Paul performed it on Letterman's show a few years ago...

Another Creep Revealed

This time it's music producer Russell Simmons.

The LA Times has really been on this sexual abuse/harassment story. The allegations against Simmons include forcing himself on a 17-year-old model. Simmons says it was consenual.

The Bright Side of Entercom/CBS Merger

Inside Radio has some information about the change in business practices now that Entercom has taken over CBS Radio. I applaud these moves. Listeners will notice a change right away. CBS radio stations in Chicago were NOTORIOUS for playing waaaaay too many commercials...

Entercom did more than flip formats at a trio of top 10 market stations on opening day of its new chapter as radio’s second largest company. It also said it would implement three new business policies, including an across the board 5% reduction in spotloads throughout its 244-station platform. New policies adopted by COO Weezie Kramer also prohibit cash infusion ad deals and eliminate future ad sales by spot resellers.

Cash infusion ad deals involve an agency allocating a large chunk of dollars up front for a significant number of spots, often in a two-to-one credit for the future. The upside is that a broadcaster gets the billing in advance, sometimes at the expense of its competitors. The downside is that they are often sold at lower rates than the station would normally charge, and can contribute to a so-called “race to the bottom” in ad rates. Cash infusion ad deals are sometimes booked at half cash, half trade. And stations may do more such deals before the agency has used up all of its two-to-one inventory. The station ends up owing the agency, which can go out and do third party deals to sell the time, which the agency bought at a 50% discount. That further floods the market with low rates and abundant inventory.

Tambor Quits Transparent

This is a bummer. The Huffington Post has the news...

Jeffrey Tambor, who won acclaim for his portrayal of a transgender woman on “Transparent,” has exited the Amazon series after a co-star and a former personal assistant separately accused him of sexual misconduct.

The Emmy-winning actor, 73, released a statement Sunday denying the accusations, but said he would not return to “Transparent” for the show’s fifth season.

“Playing Maura Pfefferman on ‘Transparent’ has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life,” Tambor said in the statement, Deadline reports. “What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago.”

He continued, “I’ve already made clear my deep regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive, but the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone is simply and utterly untrue. Given the politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set, I don’t see how I can return to ‘Transparent.’”

I hope they can find a way to continue producing the show without Tambor, but since he really is the star of the show, I'm not optimistic. Bummed for John Landecker's daughter Amy who is a co-star on the show (and plays Tambor's daughter)

When the show first got popular a few years ago, Amy's two dads posed for this picture...

RIP Malcom Young

The AC/DC guitarist passed away over the weekend at the age of 64. He left the band seven years ago because he was beginning to feel the effects of dementia, but it's no exaggeration to say he was a key member of AC/DC along with his brother Angus.

Simple Request

I know we are in a post-sexism era right now, but please don't take away penis jokes from us. I personally guffawed when I saw this...

Mitch & Jim & Rick at the Record Collectors Show

On Sunday morning I was out in Hillside with Mitch Michaels at the Chicagoland Record Collectors Show. We sold a ton of books and had a great time. One of the pleasant surprises was being seated next to Jim Peterik, the great rocker from the Ides of March and Survivor. I knew Jim from my radio days (and so did Mitch) and we reacquainted ourselves. Great seeing and talking to him again. He's obviously the one rocking the purple hair.

Movie Premiere

On Saturday night we went into the city for the premiere of our friend's documentary Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity at the Greenhouse Loft. It's the story of two young men in 1971 who decide that it would be a great adventure to hitchhike across the Sahara Desert.

That's Dave and I with our respective spouses in Row 1 (the gals ware short and didn't want to have to see over a tall person). Eagle eyes may also see Charlie Meyerson in Row 2. It was a pleasant surprise to see him there.

In row 3, my college buddies Mike Medina with his wife Lynee Alves, and Eckhartz Press author Brent Petersen and his girlfriend Karen. Brent's brother Scott was the filmmaker who made this gem.

LATE UPDATE: Brent has written a blog post about his weekend in Chicago, which included a visit to Eataly for a Truffle tasting. Brent is the author of the Eckhartz Press book "Truffle Hunt"