Friday, January 05, 2018

Michael Wolff on Today

This guy is a little creepy--no question. But what you aren't hearing is anyone denying the main points/gist of the book. Anyone who has watched the president knows in their heart that it's essentially true...

The Fox News/Trump Information Loop

Politico has a great piece examining Trump's tweets, and tying them to what was being said on Fox News at that very moment. Scary.

He's basically just watching this abomination of a television news network, and tweeting what he is seeing on the screen.

For those of you who think the tweets are scary (which is the whole world), what you're really saying is that Fox News is scary. They are. They are a disgrace.

Radio Lunch

This photo was in the RAMP Newsletter this week. Talk about a room full of radio royalty...

Front row, (l-r): Kevin Gershan, Steve Resnik, Jhani Kaye, Art Vuolo, Kevin Carter, Ron Alexenburg and Joey Reynolds.

Back row, (l-r): Shotgun Tom Kelly, John Records Landecker, Lou Simon, Gary Bryan, Mike Sakellarides, Ken Levine, Don Graham, John Leader, Dandy Don Whittemore, Randy West, Don Kelley, Joel Denver, Dan Acree, Bob Hamilton and Al Salci.

For those of you who don't know, Resnik and Carter are the people who run the RAMP newsletter. Art Vuolo is radio's best friend (and the organizer of the event). Joey Reynolds is a legend in Philadelphia and New York. Tom Kelly is a legend in LA, Landecker is a legend in Chicago. Ken Levine is a radio guy turned sitcom writer (Cheers, MASH, Frasier). John Leader is one of the biggest voice over talents in history. Joel Denver is the editor-in-chief of All Access.

Chairman Pai Getting Death Threats

From this morning's NOW column...

Death threats cause FCC Chairman Pai to cancel his trip to next week’s CES. Ajit Pai was supposed to have an on-stage conversation with his counterpart at the Federal Trade Commission – but last night Recode said the reason behind the cancellation reported earlier in the day is death threats. And that those were related to his rollback of Net Neutrality. You’ll remember that the most recent Commission meeting was halted by a security incident inside the its own building. Recode hears that “federal law enforcement intervened” in the Chairman’s planned appearance at CES (the former Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. Now he won’t be in Vegas – although three Commissioners (Mignon Clyburn, Mike O’Rielly, Brendan Carr) will proceed with their travel plans. But it’s Pai who’s the focal point of Net Neutrality protests. (Recode reminds us that previous FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, who instituted the policy that Pai’s repealing, was picketed at his house and couldn’t get out of his own driveway.)

I think Tom Taylor (author of the column) doesn't quite understand the anger here. Pai unilaterally did something that 90% of America didn't want done. I'm not in favor of death threats obviously, but I don't think Pai realized just how much people DID NOT WANT HIM TO DO THIS. He ignored people. He was even a dick about it. Again, death threats are out of line. But you can't possibly be surprised by this.

JRL with Rabbi Doug

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Combover Mechanics

My favorite excerpt from Fire and Fury was about Donald Trump's combover. I find it hard to listen to him sometimes because I stare at it, and try to figure out exactly how he does it. His daughter spilled the beans in the book...

Ivanka maintained a relationship with her father that was in no way conventional. She was a helper not just in his business dealings, but in his marital realignments. If it wasn’t pure opportunism, it was certainly transactional. For Ivanka, it was all business — building the Trump brand, the presidential campaign, and now the White House. She treated her father with a degree of detachment, even irony, going so far as to make fun of his comb-over to others. She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction ­surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray. The color, she would point out to comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men — the longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair color.

It turns out that David Stern got it almost exactly right in his spiritual classic, "The Balding Handbook: Five Stages of Grieving for Your Hair Loss". In Part 1 (Denial), Chapter 2 (Combovers), he names the various different types of combovers. "The Flip" (sported at the time by Rudy Guiliani), "The Frontal Tuft Fluff Up" (sported at the time by Al Gore), "The Taliban or Soft Serve Swirl" (sported at the time by former Illinois basketball coach Lou Henson), and "The Trump" (sported at the time by someone he never imagined would become president). This is how Stern describes "The Trump"...

The Trump is probably the most recent combover innovation. Trumpers grow their hair really long in the back and sides, flip it toward the front, and keep it in place with ozone-layer-killing-industrial-strength hairspray. There's no need to see the certificate of the bozo who "birthed" this movement, but suffice it to say that baldologists everywhere get a certain glee when they tell their clients combovers--"You're Fired!"


This is my #metoo movement...

Fire & Fury Sourcing

You'll be hearing a lot about the "fast and loose" method writer Michael Wolff used and has used in the past, but before you go assuming he made up quotes, consider this report from Axios...Wolff taped interviews with Bannon and other top officials.

Ruh oh.

Also, from the Axios article...

*Although the White House yesterday portrayed Wolff as a poseur, he spent hours at a time in private areas of the West Wing, including the office of Reince Priebus when he was chief of staff.

*The White House says Wolff was cleared for access to the West Wing fewer than 20 times. But Wolff, a New Yorker, stayed at the Hay Adams Hotel when he came down to D.C., and White House sources frequently crossed Lafayette Park to meet him there.

*How could Wolff possibly know for sure what Steve Bannon and the late Roger Ailes said at a private dinner? It turns out Wolff hosted the dinner for six at his Manhattan townhouse.

The dude had access, and the people in this White House didn't know better. Also, Trump himself approved of his presence.

Mancow Drops Lawsuit

The lawsuit was filed against his boss, and let's be honest, it had virtually no chance of succeeding in the courts, but it did succeed in the hallways of WLUP.

From Robert Feder's column this morning...

The latest suit was intended to “prevent the pattern of retaliation that has occurred in the past from continuing in the future,” according to Muller’s attorney. But now it’s just a memory.

On Wednesday Nyren said he was “glad to be working with Mancow again and appreciating his talents and all he means to Cumulus Chicago without any distractions,” adding: “No one is a bigger fan of his show today more than me.”

Muller described Nyren as “very gracious” in their meeting, saying: “I was brought up to believe that when somebody says they’re sorry, that’s it. He said we’d had a bad relationship before, and if I’d give him a chance he’d be my biggest advocate. We’re all a little bit wiser hopefully. I shook his hand and said, ‘Let’s go to work.’

“To me it’s a very beautiful story,” Muller added. “I get very choked up by it.”

Tim Sabean

The former Loop and WCKG programmer has re-emerged. Via Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Tim Sabean (pronounced “SAY-bee-un”) had programmed terrestrial rock-formatted stations in markets like Philadelphia (WYSP), Boston (WBCN), Pittsburgh (WRKZ), Columbus (WAZU), Portland (KUFO) and New York (WXRK). Then he latched on at the pre-merger Sirius Satellite Radio as Senior Vice President for the two Howard Stern talk channels. (Tim worked with Stern at both NYC's K-Rock and Philly’s then-WYSP.) He spent a decade at that, before returning to Philadelphia. His reappearance at terrestrial radio comes at Westwood One, in the brand-new role of Senior Vice President of Digital Content. Tim reports to Suzanne Grimes, who holds dual titles as EVP/Corporate Marketing for Cumulus and President of Westwood One. Sabean will be based in New York.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Fire and Fury

This excerpt from the Michael wolffe book is absolutely terrifying. You cannot read it without deeply fearing for the future of our country. The focus will be on quotes like the ones below, but I recommend reading the whole thing.

Uh oh...

Class act...

WKQX Breaks Up Morning Team

From this morning's Robert Feder column...

It’s splitsville for Brian Phillips and Lou Lombardo as the morning duo at WKQX FM 101.1. In a realignment at the Cumulus Media alternative rock station, Lombardo has moved to evenings, replacing Josh Marconi, who was cut two weeks ago. Lombardo also assumes Marconi’s former duties as digital content captain. Phillips now hosts mornings solo. Walter Flakus has been renewed as afternoon host, assistant program director and music director. Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago, said the moves were intended “to make us more efficient and effective to maximize our skill sets at each position.”

John Dean

John Dean must be having daily flashbacks these days. When he speaks on this subject, I listen to him...

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


The latest issue of Illinois Entertainer is out and features my interview with WDRV (The Drive) afternoon man Steve Seaver.

You can read it here.

Terminal 4 at O'Hare

For years I've wondered why there was no Terminal 4 at O'Hare. My kids ask me every time we go there, and I am always unable to answer them. Even though, it turns out, I was around when they made this decision.

WGN-TV answered it over the holidays in case you missed it. The decision was made in the 80s.

What He Said

Dave Fogel

From this morning's RAMP newsletter...

Chicago radio fixture Dave Fogel certainly wasn't on the beach for long... Cumulus excitedly announced that Fogel is returning to Classic Hits WLS-FM as co-host of The WLS Wake Up Call, plugging in across from Kim Berk. Concurrent with Fogel's arrival this week, Berk's former co-host Brant Miller, a local TV weatherman, will anchor weather on WLS-FM and WLS-AM.

Fogel already knows his way around the WLS hallways, having previously co-hosted mornings there from 2010 through 2013. He spent the past five years at former CBS Radio Classic Hits WJMK (104.3 K-Hits), which in November flipped to Classic Hip Hop as WBMX (104.3 JAMS) under new owner Entercom. Fogel started his radio career in Kansas City and has also worked in San Diego, DC and Detroit.

Marv Nyren, VP/Market Manager of Cumulus Media Chicago, said, "We welcome Dave to our Cumulus Chicago team and know that he and co-host Kim Berk will kick off the New Year in a big way on 94.7 WLS. We couldn't be more excited about the energy and fun this dynamic duo will bring to mornings on 94.7 WLS, and know our listeners and advertisers will actually look forward to their morning Wake Up Call in 2018!"

Brian Thomas, who doubles as PD of 94.7 WLS-FM and Cumulus VP of Classic Hits Programming, said, "Dave has a great history of Classic Hits success in Chicago and will be an incredible addition to The WLS Wake Up Call. I look forward to the great pleasure of working with him again and think our listeners will love what they hear!"

When Dave started at WLS the first time (2010), I interviewed him at Chicago Radio Spotlight. You can read that here if you're interested.

Chicago Radio Ratings

From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Chicago helps iHeart’s AC/Christmas WLIT blow way past last year’s 6.3 share and second-place finish. This time WLIT really scales the Christmas tree, 2.2-2.8-8.5. It’s #1 in all dayparts except mornings, where it’s second. Total-week, the second-place finisher is iHeart’s very consistent urban AC “V103” WVAZ (5.6-5.9-5.7), followed by Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX (5.8-6.3-5.5, but still #1 mornings). Fourth is Entercom’s news WBBM/WCFS (5.0-5.0-4.7) and fifth is another Entercom with a real story to tell. It’s former classic hits WJMK, now turned into classic hip-hop/throwbacks “104.3 Jams” WBMX (2.4-2.4-4.4). What did that do for the surviving classic hits station, Cumulus-owned WLS-FM? It’s up 2.8-2.7-3.0. Some classical Christmas-time pop for Window to the World not-for-profit WFMT (1.0-1.3-1.4). No question about the cume leader – AC/Christmas WLIT at nearly 2.4 million, up from about 1.52 million.

Hallway Wall

Beginning 2018 with Brendan Sullivan, David Mosele, and Swany John Swanson on my hallway wall. Bridget found these old book signing posters, framed them, and gave them to me for Christmas. I will see all three of you every day from now on.