Friday, March 02, 2018

Cara Steps Aside

My old pal Cara Carriveau has stepped down at WSHE-FM. Robert Feder has the details...

Cara Carriveau, who’s been a shining star on Chicago radio since the late 1980s, has resigned as afternoon personality on WSHE FM 100.3. Her last day on the Hubbard Radio adult contemporary station will be today. “I am so appreciative of all of the wonderful opportunities Hubbard Radio Chicago has given me,” Carriveau said in a statement. “To have hosted afternoons on WSHE after hosting middays on WTMX . . . makes me extremely proud of the past decade in my career. I will deeply miss the amazing people I have worked with for so many years.” Program director Cat Thomas said he will name a replacement soon. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WSHE ranked 18th in afternoons with a 2.6 percent audience share.

A Triple Steal

Don't think I've ever seen this before...

iHeart Going Belly Up

Here's the headline in All Access: An iHeart Bankruptcy Is Expected 'As Soon As This Weekend' - Company Confirms No Agreement Has Been Reached With Creditors

This isn't a huge surprise. It's been building for more than a decade.

Hey, let's allow MORE huge mergers and sales to virtual monopolies, FCC (a real policy change made recently). History proves how great they turn out.

Weird Al Meets Hamilton

Tom Leslie

Tom Leslie is a college classmate of mine (he's a few years younger) who worked with me at the radio station in Champaign-Urbana. He wisely left the business, and became an architecture professor at Iowa State University.

This week he was granted a big honor. He was named an American Institute of Architects Fellow.

Congrats Tom. We can all say "we knew you when..."

The Academy Award Swag Bag

Each of the presenters and nominees get a swag bag. Here are a few of the items, according to Fortune Magazine...

12 nights in Tanzania: Single rooms at the Serengeti Migration Camp (one of the top 10 hotels in the world) start at $695 and go up to $1,178. The 12-night stay includes a journey from Arusha to Zanzibar on private air transportation, all private meals, spa services, hot air balloon safari with champagne breakfast, private safari guide and vehicle, chef-guided cooking lessons, wild game drives and walking safaris, horseback riding, and snorkeling. You can say it’s the ultimate bucket list trip.

Rogue Maple Syrup: This is perhaps the weirdest inclusion in the swag bag, along with sweat-absorbing underarm pads. This high-end syrup costs over $100 for a package that contains multiple small bottles.

Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu: This Hawaiian resort goes for about $330 for a single night in a villa. The six-night stay features the added amenities of an on-site spa and numerous excursions.

Avaton Luxury Villas Resort: Staying at this Grecian island resort would typically cost about $450 per night.

Blush and Whimsy Magical Color Changing Lipstick: This product sets you back $22, but nominees won’t have to shell a dime.

23 and Me: A health and ancestry kit goes for $199, while just an ancestry kit costs $99.

Lifetime supply of Oxygenating Foundation and Oxygenating Hydro Matrix: The foundation goes for $66 and the hydro matrix goes for $70.

Epifruit: Nominees get a year’s worth of fruit deliveries.

Proven Cosmetics: This brand uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to create personalized skin care products for consumers, which, in this case, are the world’s best actors.

Reian Williams Fine Art
: A commissioned original painting is available for all nominees.

The entire swag bag is worth more than $100,000. Note: If you are attending the Chicago Writers Association conference next weekend, your swag bag will be worth just slightly less than about a hundred thousand dollars.

Ryan Seacrest

Could be an awkward Red Carpet show for Ryan Seacrest. Tom Taylor's NOW column has the reason why...

Ryan Seacrest may be sweating on Sunday’s Red Carpet at the Oscars. So may iHeart executives, because the allegations of sexual harassment by Ryan’s onetime E! network stylist haven’t gone away. And iHeart certainly doesn’t want to have the brand of a franchise player like Seacrest be diminished by scandal. Seacrest does mornings on iHeart’s L.A. CHR “Kiss FM” KIIS/102.7, hosts the syndicated “On Air,” and “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest.” He revealed the stylist’s claims last November and said the network was investigating. Last month NBCUniversal-owned E! said it “found insufficient evidence to substantiate” the allegations. But on Monday, Suzie Hardy told Variety about a number of times when she was allegedly groped and harassed by the star. On Wednesday, NBC’s own “Today Show” said a former co-worker of Hardy’s supported her story. That’s all in the lead-up to Hollywood’s biggest night, the live Oscar telecast on Sunday, and the preceding red carpet parade where celebs chat with well-coiffed interlocutors. The New York Post says “Crisis meetings were going on at NBCUniversal over Seacrest, and his ability to seamlessly cover the red carpet.” The paper’s Page 6 has reported that handlers may steer their stars away from Seacrest. E!’s response may be to (as the Post says) “prearrange his interviews with friendly stars who won’t surprise him with uncomfortable comments.” For once, the Oscars may have more drama outside than inside – and Seacrest will be part of the Oscar story.

Seacrest is everywhere. If he is forced out, there will be ramifications throughout radio and television. On the other hand, if the others were forced out for doing the same thing, does E! or iHeart (and the hundreds of radio stations his syndicated show appears) or Live with Kelli and Ryan have a choice?

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Minutia Men, Episode 86

EP86 – Rick and Dave discuss drinking more and exercising less, the most hated man at the local BBQ, a very bad reason to shoot your dog, Pinky Pittenger, and Rick’s brush with Svengoolie.

You can listen to it here.

Not exactly the president of the Robert Redford fan club

One of my favorite TV writers is Ken Levine. His list of credits is astounding. So, when he wrote a blog post saying how much he hated Robert Redford, I had to click on it. Here's a short excerpt...

William Goldman took on the near impossible task of taking the book of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN with its complicated cast of players, and tangled-web of deceits and cover ups and somehow turned it into a cohesive dramatic structure that fit within the time limits of a movie. And he miraculously made it compelling even when everyone in the world already knew the ending.

He did draft after draft, before and during the filming. Ultimately he won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. And yet he still wishes he hadn’t bothered with this assignment. To win an Oscar and still regret taking the project speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

Redford, in his biography and a Vanity Fair article claims that HE along with director Alan J. Pakula booked a room in a hotel and spent a month rewriting Goldman’s “disastrous” screenplay.

Fuck him.

You should read the whole piece. It's awesome.

John Records Landecker

I was there the day John Records Landecker found out he was a college graduate. My full report is this month's media column in the Illinois Entertainer.

You can read it here.

Drunken Spending

Have you ever made an impulse buy that was slightly influenced by the fact that you were under the influence? That's the premise of this article from Australia. I thought it was hilarious.

I'm personally not a big drunk spender myself. I don't really shop online, and I never go shopping when I've had a few. On the other hand, I have made a few "charity auction" purchases that were questionable. I plead "open bar".

PBS Launching Conservative Talk Show

This should be interesting. The show will be hosted former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson and commentator Amy Holmes. Both are conservatives, but neither are the typical fire-breathing Trumpers found nightly on Fox News. Hopefully it will be a more civilized discussion from a conservative point of view.

TV Newser has the details.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It's Rough to be the Goalie

My son Sean played goalie for a few years, and I held my breath for every moment. When a goalkeeper makes a mistake, it's a goal. No one is perfect, so goalies are bound to make blunders. You can only hope they aren't hugely embarrassing. I wish I had this video below to show him back in those days. It would have made him feel better. These are all goalkeepers from Germany's highest division, the Bundesliga...

The Origin of Shouting "Freebird" at a Concert

The Wall Street Journal, of all publications, dipped their toe into the pop culture world. Their goal? To figure out why in the heck people yell "Freebird" at random concerts. Those of us who worked at the Loop in the late 80s/early 90s know who popularlized this strange chant. It was WLUP AM 1000 personality Kevin Matthews.

In a huge shock to me, the Wall Street Journal, actually does give him partial credit for this. Here's an excerpt from the article...

A harsh reaction to "Freebird" came from the late comedian Bill Hicks during a Chicago gig in the early 1990s. On a bootleg recording of the show, Mr. Hicks at first just sounds irked. "Please stop yelling that," he says. "It's not funny, it's not clever -- it's stupid."

The comic soon works himself into a rage, but the "Freebirds" keep coming. "Freebird," he finally says wearily, then intones: "And in the beginning there was the Word -- 'Freebird.' And 'Freebird' would be yelled throughout the centuries. 'Freebird,' the mantra of the moron."

How did this strange ritual begin? "Freebird" is hardly obscure -- it's a radio staple consistently voted one of rock's greatest songs. One version -- and an important piece of the explanation -- anchors Skynyrd's 1976 live album "One More From the Road." On the record, singer Ronnie Van Zant, who was killed along with two other bandmates in a 1977 plane crash, asks the crowd, "What song is it you want to hear?" That unleashes a deafening call for "Freebird," and Skynyrd obliges with a 14-minute rendition.

To understand the phenomenon, it also helps to be from Chicago. When asked why they continue to request "Freebird," Mr. Hicks's tormentors yell out "Kevin Matthews!"

Kevin Matthews is a Chicago radio personality who has exhorted his fans -- the KevHeads -- to yell "Freebird" for years, and claims to have originated the tradition in the late 1980s, when he says he hit upon it as a way to torment Florence Henderson of "Brady Bunch" fame, who was giving a concert. He figured somebody should yell something at her "to break up the monotony." The longtime Skynyrd fan settled on "Freebird," saying the epic song "just popped into my head."

Mr. Matthews says the call was heeded, inspiring him to go down the listings of coming area shows, looking for entertainers who deserved a "Freebird" and encouraging the KevHeads to make it happen.

But he bemoans the decline of "Freebird" etiquette. "It was never meant to be yelled at a cool concert -- it was meant to be yelled at someone really lame," he says. "If you're going to yell 'Freebird,' yell 'Freebird' at a Jim Nabors concert."

Still, Mr. Matthews treasures his trove of recorded "Freebird" moments -- such as baffled comedian Elayne Boosler wondering why the audience is shouting "reverb." And he argues that good bands simply acknowledge it and move on. "The people who are conceited, the so-called artists who get really offended by it, they deserve it," he says.

Once a Cub...

From this morning's

Matt Szczur might be an outfielder for the Padres now, but he still feels strongly about his connection to his original team, the Cubs. That shouldn't be surprising -- he was drafted by the Cubs in 2010 and debuted with them in 2014, when they were still going through their rebuild.

So, it was all the more gratifying for Szczur when the Cubs ended their 108-year World Series drought in 2016 with a thrilling victory in Game 7 over the Indians. Although he was not on the roster, he traveled with the team during the postseason and celebrated with them on the field and in the clubhouse afterward.

With these memories in mind, Szczur turned to his artistic side again and made a special present for Cubs owner Tom Ricketts:

How nice is the weather in Chicago?

This nice...

An Incredibly Rare Fox News Semi-Retraction

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday that Tucker Carlson of Fox News sort of admitted that he ran a false story. If I call them out for not correcting their mistakes, I should also point it out when they do. Here's what Carlson said about the "CNN scripted a teen's question" story he did two nights in a row last week...

"Colton and his parents sent us their email correspondence with CNN, which seemed to confirm Colton’s claim that his question had been altered by a CNN producer. On Friday, we asked CNN to verify and comment on those emails, because that is our journalistic duty. A short time before air, CNN provided us a different set of emails. We immediately asked the Haabs’ about those. They said they were being slandered by CNN. And that is where it stood. Two sides telling contradictory stories. Without access to their email accounts we can only guess which one was telling the truth and guessing is not enough.

The Haab family concedes that they did remove a line from one of their emails in a way that might make some think its meaning had changed.

Colton’s father said it was accidental. We don’t know. We can’t prove or disprove that. But for the sake of honesty and full disclosure–to which we are committed–we have to tell you there is no evidence as of right now that CNN tried to give Colton Haab a scripted question. And we wanted you to know that."

Landecker in Radio Ink

This was in Radio Ink this morning. Thanks to Ed Ryan for publishing it...

This is Hall of Famer John “Records” Landecker back in 1968 at Top 40 WILS in Lansing, Michigan, lighting one up in the studio. Thanks to Rick Kaempfer, Publisher at Eckhartz Press, for sending this classic to us from Landecker’s book Records Truly Is My Middle Name. Send your Blast From The Past to, today.

Most Unpopular Man at the Neighborhood BBQ

From this morning's Business Insider...

When it comes to romantic gestures, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian may have just served up an ace.

Ohanian, husband of 23-time major tennis champion Serena Williams, installed four giant billboards to "welcome" Williams "back to tennis" by claiming she is "the greatest mother of all time."

Williams was due to return to sport at the Australian Open in January, just four months after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

Anticipating a conversation at his next neighborhood BBQ...

Alexis: What do you want fellas, burgers or hot dogs?

Joe: Didn't you see my billboard asking for a burger for my wife?

Alexis: Guys, I was just trying to make her happy...

Bill: Smells good over here. I'll have a big plate of kiss ass.

Alexis: Guys...

Frank: Why don't you let me take over the grill, buddy. I don't want to take you away from your rose petal tossing time.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Inside Cubsessions

Randy Richardson and Becky Sarwate are the authors of the upcoming Eckhartz Press book "Cubsessions", but they also write for the website Wrigleyville Nation. In this piece, they combined the two. They were interviewed for Wrigleyville Nation about "Cubsessions".

Here's an excerpt...(Full article is here)

WN: What was the most memorable experience you encountered while working on the book?

Randy: Well, there were many. Sitting in a coffee shop, talking about the Cubs with one of my literary heroes, Scott Turow, was certainly high on the list. Chatting on the phone with one of my all-time favorite actors, Dennis Franz, was pretty surreal. But I think the one that rises to the top as the most memorable experience has to be the interview with Dave Cihla (aka the Shawon-O-Meter/Schwarb-O-Meter guy). You can read that whole story in a piece I wrote for Wrigleyville Nation, “A Memorable Night with the Schwarb-O-Meter.” What made that so memorable is that it all happened so spontaneously. I was on my way to meet him at a local watering hole, when he texted me: “Wanna do the Meter tonight? My treat.” Because it was a raw, soggy night, he’d found bleachers for $8. Not only did I get a picture with him holding the Schwarb-O-Meter sign, but Kyle Schwarber, who’d been in a deep funk, broke out of his early-season slump with the game-winning homer, which landed not far from where we were seated. It was just perfect.

Becky: The people I have interviewed for this project are some of my literary, comedy, film and journalism heroes. I was given the opportunity to discuss Cubs past and present, as well as Chicago history, with luminaries like Sara Paretsky, Bob Newhart, Nick Offerman, Joe Mantegna and Bill Kurtis. Even if there was no book, how special is that? There have been so many “pinch me” moments throughout this process.

But I think one that stands out in particular is the late afternoon I spent sipping scotch at R.J. Grunts with Adrian Zmed and his older brother Cornel. There I am typing along while Adrian generously shares memories of Chicago and the Cubs in a renowned Windy City watering hole. It felt classic Chicago. I felt like Mike Royko or Irving Kupcinet. I’ll never forget it.

WN: Of the celebrity Cub fans that you interviewed which one do you feel best captured what it truly means to be a Cubs fan? How so?

Randy: They all captured different aspects of just what it means to be a Cubs fan. But, for me, the one that best captured it has to be WXRT radio personality Lin Brehmer. The image of him sitting by himself in his comfy chair, in the early hours after the Cubs won the World Series, and just a few hours before he’d be on the air, with a big smile on his face spooning a celebratory root beer float, I can picture it so clearly. That, to me, captured the childlike joy that I think so many of us experienced when the Cubs finally won it all.

Becky: It’s hard because I had the opportunity to tell so many great stories in the book. But I think Joe Mantegna’s perspective did much to tie the larger narratives together. For example, he’s great friends with Adrian Zmed and Tom Dreesen, who also have stories in the book. It’s the idea of Cubs community on the micro level. But in addition, he is the genius behind Bleacher Bums, the seminal 1970s stage production that has toured the world, been produced for television, and represents the spirit of bleeding Cubbie blue. Fans from all walks of life coming together for a singular passion. Many of the other interviewees in the book had come across Bleacher Bums at some stage of their creative careers as well. Joe Mantegna’s story weaves many elements together – and he did it totally by accident. Just by thoughtfully sharing these memories and ideas that have a universal touch.

WN: Whose story most surprised you? How so?

Randy: That would have to be musician Michael McDermott’s. His story of how the arc of the Cubs’ failures and successes in many ways mirrored his own musical career was so deep and personal…I found it both heartbreaking and inspiring. One could see how he took on this persona of the Lovable Loser and had to find his way out of a really dark place.

Becky: I think Sara Paretsky threw me for a bit of a loop. The accomplished author of the V.I. Warshawski novel series, which was eventually turned into a movie starring Kathleen Turner. She has achieved so much.

Yet she told me with all sincerity that when she ran the bases at Wrigley Field – during a film shooting break in the late 1980s – to the roar of a crowd of extras, it was one of the biggest, most exciting moments of her life. She meant it too. She recalled the smell of the grass and suddenly I was right there with her. It was such a humble and awed admission. It drew me right in.

WN: What was your one greatest takeaway from working on this book?

Randy: The Cubs are more than just a baseball team to their fans. In many ways, they are like family. Because you’ve been through so many highs and lows with them, you feel this deep and personal connection to them. As Dennis Franz noted, even when you’re not following them closely, they’re always a part of you. That really resonated with me.

Becky: I may never have a star on the Walk of Fame like Bob Newhart. It’s unlikely I’ll ever reach the career journalism heights of Bill Kurtis and I think we can rule out my role on a long-running CBS television drama like Joe Mantegna. But we all have one beautiful thing in common. We are all drawn to Wrigley Field to follow the emotional arc of our favorite baseball team. And that shared passion will always unite us all. The idea is so democratic and human. We all follow something bigger and outside of us, no matter our respective livelihoods, families or culture.

Draining the Swamp?

FYI, The Hill is a right-leaning publication, and even they are reporting the news this way. What in the world is going on?

Comcast Offers to Buy Sky

The other day I reported that Rupert Murdoch's attempt to purchase the Sky Network in Europe has hit a snag. That snag is regulators see what he has done to Fox News, and don't want that kind of toxic news in Europe. (Sky News is an impartial news voice in Europe).

Yesterday a surprise bidder emerged to steal the deal--Comcast. Reuters has the details. I'm guessing European regulators won't be thrilled about that either.

Another potential creep revealed

Would you believe it's Ryan Seacrest? From the Skimm...

Last year, his former stylist at E! accused Seacrest of sexual misconduct. Seacrest denied the allegations and said he'd cooperate in the investigation. Earlier this month, E! said after looking into it that there was "insufficient evidence to support the claims." Now, a media report dropped additional info. The woman reportedly alleges she dealt with years of sexual abuse by Seacrest including that he groped her and rubbed against her in his underwear multiple times. Her employment reportedly ended shortly after discussing the situation with HR execs in 2013.

I have to admit, I always assumed Seacrest was gay. Perhaps not.

He would have run into gunfire

Donald Trump said one of the most ridiculous things he's ever said yesterday. He claimed that if he were at the school shooting in Florida, he would have run in to help, even if he didn't have a weapon.

Every late night comedy show had bits about it--because, well, Trump has already shown how brave he is in stressful situations.

Liberty Media/Sirius/iHeart Media

For the last decade or so radio folks have wondered how iHeart Media (the former Clear Channel) would eventually figure out a way to unbury themselves from a mountain of debt. Everyone knew bankruptcy was part of their future, but what would eventually emerge? This was a surprise story over the weekend. The RAMP newsletter has some of the details...

Liberty Media Corporation has loudly stepped into the conversation regarding the financial future of iHeartMedia -- on Saturday, Feb. 24, Liberty, the majority stockholder of SiriusXM submitted a lengthy term sheet "to certain of [iHeartMedia's] lenders and noteholders" containing an ambitious blueprint to achieve a restructured iHeartMedia, Inc.

Liberty has proposed a $1.159 billion cash investment in a reorganized iHeartMedia, and, in exchange, according to the term sheet, "20% of the New Common Shares shall be held by Sirius and 20% of the New Common Shares shall be held by Liberty Media." The plan also calls for "[Clear Channel] Outdoor shall be spun off in a taxable transaction. Parties to cooperate to ensure transaction is taxable and otherwise done in a tax efficient manner."

Again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this debacle is the result of the last time the FCC changed the ownership rules. It's taken 20 years to get to this point (a very bad point). Doing it all over again (which the FCC is encouraging) seems like complete madness.

Lee Kingsmill's blog

Have you checked out the blog of Eckhartz Press author Lee Kingsmill yet? I wish I could write about the events of the day with the kind of style this man has. Here's a sample from today...

Smack in the middle of this stern winter that brought me frozen pipes and two feet of snow come balmy weather, warm sun and parade worthy bright blue skies. Show-offs stroll by in shorts. I don't join them, but I smile for no reason and can't manage a bad mood despite losing half a tooth when my dentist is down with the flu. If new cars were painted with the vibrant blue that now envelops us, no dealer could keep them in stock.

A perfect time this to find myself at Navy Pier for an afternoon of Schiller, cooked up as tastily as only Chicago Shakespeare can manage at the moment. "Mary Stuart" in the wrong hands could be a snoozer, or worse, a squirmer, but these hands were so right and patted everything into place so smartly that I was on the edge of my seat as these two conniving queens dueled to the death.

I love that space. I love skimming my hand on the broad banister of the gleaming wooden staircase, Halfway up, I have to pause and regard the wall of window looking out on sun flecked waves, Chicago's skyline, and a boat. There's always a boat. This time it was an enormous cruiser, sleek beyond the telling of it, with lines that gave it motion while at rest. What a vista!

Armed copiously with Werther"s succulent caramel coffee candies, I took my seat and hoped for magic. And got it.

Monday, February 26, 2018

"Cubsessions" Available for Pre-order Now!

Really excited about this new book from Becky Sarwate and Randy Richardson. It's called "Cubsesssions" and they spent all of 2017 working on it. It's available for pre-order beginning today! Below is the description from the webpage...

The Cubs are more than just a baseball team to those who root for them. From the heartaches of 1969 and 2003 to the pure joy of 2016, emotional ties bind fans of Chicago’s North Side ball club. Throughout the 2017 season, writers and die-hard Cub fans Becky Sarwate and Randy Richardson interviewed a diverse collection of some of the team’s most famous fans: actors, comedians, broadcasters, musicians, restauranteurs, athletes, journalists. Even those who are ubiquitous precisely because of their fandom. Cubsessions tells the story of divergent life paths – the roads taken, the failures experienced, and the successes reached – and how those paths all come together for a collective passion. Bob Newhart, Pat Brickhouse, Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, Scott Turow, Bill Kurtis, and many others, share just what it means to bleed Cubbie blue.

The authors have partnered with and are donating 100 percent of their proceeds from book sales to a collection of three charities: Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities (CBCC), Scoreboard Charities (SC), and the Chicago Baseball Museum (CBM). CBCC and SC help fund cancer research and patient care programs at Chicago-area hospitals, and supporting services to empower kids with cancer. CBM’s mission is to collect, preserve, document, research, and interpret artifacts and events which are associated with the legacy, evolution and contemporary life of Chicago baseball. All three are federally-registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charitable organizations.

Tuppence a Bag

This could be my favorite GIF of all time...

Yoko's Excuse

This is a free one for all the kids out there who are a day or two late turning in an assignment. I'm sure the teacher will buy Yoko's explanation...

The Simpsons Predicts the Future Again

Fans of The Simpsons know this already, but you may not. The show has a knack for predicting the future. Of course, this usually means that the future has turned into a bit of a joke (like Trump being elected president--which was predicted in 2001 by the Simpsons), but it is still a bit amazing.

The latest example is the United States winning the gold medal in Curling.

They might not have been led by Homer Simpson, but c'mon. Who else predicted this in 2010?


I CAN NOT WAIT for baseball season to begin...

The Request Line

Thanks so much to Tom Taylor for printing this in his newsletter this morning...

Urgent call on the request line – John Records Landecker wasn’t always in Chicago, you know – here’s a story from the new Hall of Fame edition of his book “Records Truly Is My Middle Name,” cherry-picked by Eckhartz Press publisher Rick Kaempfer in an email to this NOW Newsletter. Here’s Landecker (somewhat edited here) – “I was working nights at WIBG in Philadelphia, when I received a message from a 19-year-old kid working at WWDB, then a jazz station. He was interested in the top 40 format and wanted to know if he could come in and watch the show. I’ll pick up the story in his words from Facebook – ‘You were doing your show, making jokes and taking requests on a speakerphone. All of a sudden, a woman called. She said she loved you and your show. She wanted you to know she was very upset and was going to kill herself. You told her to hold on. You talked to an engineer or somebody and told them to get the police and trace the call. Meanwhile every time a record played you went back on the speaker phone and spoke very softly and kindly to her. You tried to find out her location. She wouldn't tell you anything. It was nerve-wracking for me, and I still don't know how you managed to do the show and keep her on the line...Finally she said, ‘That’s it. I’m done. I’m going to take the rest of these pills and kill myself.’ A loud crashing sound came over the speaker phone, and lots of chatter and mayhem. Moments later a man’s voice came through the phone. ‘Mr. Landecker, this is Sergeant (something or other). We have her. She is going to be okay.’ I never saw a happier face before or since as the look on your face. And then boom, you were back on the as though nothing had happened.” Landecker says “That’s pretty much how I remembered it too, but who would believe it? And what about that 19-year-old? His name is Bobby Backman, better known to his listeners as Cool Bobby B, the host of the Doo Wop Shop on Sirius/XM.” Ready to share your own favorite story about the request line, or meeting a listener at a remote? Email “You Can’t Make This Up” –

No, CNN didn't script the questions

Sean Hannity, quickly becoming a parody of himself, went nuts with a report on Thursday night claiming that a student dropped out of a CNN Town Hall about guns because CNN was scripting his questions and forcing him to avoid asking about teachers being armed. The teen's father provided Hannity with e-mails proving this was true.

Unfortunately for Hannity (and the truth), the father edited those e-mails. Even Rupert Murcoch's New York Post is reporting that the dad did this.

Hannity still hasn't let his viewers know.

Again, I will point out one of the main differences between the mainstream press and the conservative press. When the mainstream press gets something wrong, they print or announce a retraction. If it's particularly eggregious, people get suspended or fired. They may lean liberal, but they actually are interested in reporting the truth. This is even true of "personalities" on mainstream cable news outlets like CNN or MSNBC, and even the network newscasters. Ask Dan Rather or Brian Williams.

Let's see if Fox News clarifies this report. Want to take any bets?