Friday, March 09, 2018

Chicago Writes!

I will be more or less incommunicado this weekend because I'll be at the Chicago Writer's Association writers conference at the Whitehall Hotel. As a member of the board, I'll be there for the entire conference. Looking forward to hanging out with fellow writers all weekend!

The Obama Show

What's the next act for our former president? Would you believe he's in talks with Netflix to do a television show?

The New York Times has the details.

Don't get excited, President Trump. It's not a reality show.

Everybody Loves Minutia Men

Some more iTunes reviews from this past few weeks...

Listen today!
in iTunes by MC Variety Hour from USA on March 7, 2018
MinutiaMen is defiantely worth giving your time to. It is a well produced, fun, light hearted podcast. They give you a little bit of past personal story telling to the present updated information. It is easy to fly through 3 or 4 episodes without even realizing it. Great podcast to pick up today!

The Podcast You Didn't Know You Needed
in iTunes by Samiyyah. S from Canada on March 5, 2018
This podcast is pure brilliance! It feels like I'm sitting with friends, and they keep me laughing for DAYS. Great work, and congrats on a fantastic podcast! - The Rogue Muslim podcast

I'm glad I've found you!
in iTunes by Wining About Crime from Canada on February 25, 2018
I'm only two episodes in ...... thank heaven's! Can you imagine my excitement when I learned that there is over 80 episodes! I'll have my headphones on at work for weeks! What a treat!!!!

Really enjoyed the show!!!
in iTunes by Henri from Fortress On A Hill from USA on February 25, 2018
As a fellow podcaster and avid fan of many podcasts, I really enjoy a good back and forth between hosts. And these guys do not disappoint!!! Keep it up guys!!! Pile on the Minutia!!!! Oh, and I loved the story about the dream and Barbara Feldman!

Great podcast
in iTunes by Derek Dawson from UK on February 25, 2018
Enjoyed my first listen of this today and looking forward to listening to more episodes while traveling into the office each day! Funny and good chat! 👍 From The Waste of Web Space Podcast

These guys are awesome
in iTunes by AverageGuys from USA on February 20, 2018
The Minutia Men are my kinda guys. They're funny and entertaining. A great quality podcast! -The Average Guys

in iTunes by Potentium Podcast from USA on February 20, 2018
Great production and story telling skills. Engaging with good personalities.

in iTunes by View From The Top Rope from USA on February 19, 2018
Great banter between the hosts and had true laugh out loud moments that I absolutely loved. Make sure you check this one out and subscribe. - Chad from View From The Top Rope Podcast

High quality and entertaining
in iTunes by MxPlTx6! from USA on February 11, 2018
This podcast has excellent production values, and the hosts are engaging and entertaining. The material is funny and interesting, and the delivery is top-notch. Highly recommended!

Well done and put together
in iTunes by Porkrindtony from USA on February 11, 2018
From the onset this podcast feels professional. The quality of the podcast sounds fantastic and the intro alone is incredibly well done. It really makes the listener want to continue listening. The conversation is witty and entertaining. This reminds me of good radio shows and thats awesome.

Great show!
in iTunes by PapaD182 from USA on February 3, 2018
Love listening to some fellow midwesterners! Very entertaining, funny, and a great listen. Great chemistry makes for a great show.

Absolute FUN!
in iTunes by Bluefist from USA on February 2, 2018
The camaraderie between the hosts immediately puts the listener at ease. Very easy to listen to. Many funny & creative premises explored (ie. ’The Fonz’ reckoning with Jeffrey Dahmer). Goes by too quickly. Extremely well paced & produced. Highly recommend.

in iTunes by Stmom1 from USA on February 1, 2018
Very witty and smart. I love to listen to these guys on my way to work. Helps me on my commute to just take a deep breath and laugh!

Great Faulkn Podcast
in iTunes by What the Faulk from USA on January 28, 2018
A well balanced and supremely entertaining show, it has something for every listener. I highly reccommend.

Worth a Listen

From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Steve Dahl sends off Chicago’s “Loop” this afternoon. He presided over WLUP’s inglorious “Disco Destruction” stunt at a White Sox game in 1979, and now he’s coming back to 97.9 for its send-off as a classic rock station. Merlin Media’s selling it to “K-Love” parent Educational Media Foundation, which re-directs it tomorrow to its not-for-profit contemporary Christian format. We’d thought that the days before that would be jockless. But heck, Dahl’s in the same building, doing PM drive at Cumulus-owned talk WLS/890. So he’ll apparently do that show on both 890 AM and 97.9 – and the tune-in should be something. As Dahl tweet, he’ll be “on the air before the prayer.”

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Minutia Men, Episode 87

EP87 – Rick and Dave discuss the Bachelor, Jenkins in Utah, condom sizes around the world, Joe Maddon’s endorsement, and Rick’s brush with Mr. T.

You can listen here.

Rick on the Radio

If you are near a radio this morning during the 9am hour, tune in to 91.5 FM.WBEZ (NPR in Chicago). I'll be wearing my media critic hat and discussing the demise of the Loop FM with Tony Sarabia. I should be on between 9:30--10am.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Blues Clues

This show was a mainstay in my household when my two oldest boys were young. They never missed an episode of Blues Clues.

Nickelodeon is bringing it back...without the original host Steve.

Not sure it will work. It's like bringing back "Seinfeld" without Seinfeld.

Steve King's Recommendation

Former WGN overnight hosts Steve King and his wife Johnnie have a blog called "Both Sides Now" and the most recent post is about Eckhartz Press author Lee Kingsmill (photo). Steve raves about the book ("Safe Inside") and Lee's blog (which is really excellent).

Couldn't agree with him more.

Rick on WGN Radio

Brian Noonan of WGN Radio called me up last night and asked me to come on the air to talk about the demise of the Loop.

You can listen to it here. (My part starts at the 35 minute mark)

It was fun to remember the good old days.

The Loop is Done

It happened so much faster than we thought it would. From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Loop morning personality Erich "Mancow" Muller was the last personality on the Loop and signed off for the final time yesterday morning. As we speak, the soon-to-be bulldozed Loop is running jockless until EMF takes control of the station on Saturday. As Muller told Feder, "Well, I love Christian music and wish them all the best. The Loop lasted 41 years. I had hoped we'd be on to celebrate her 50th. Lots of great folks will be without a job and that's very sad."

Other Loop staffers who may now be available: midday personality Lyndsey Marie, afternoon driver Tim Virgin, evening entertainer James VanOsdol, weekender Abe Kanan and reigning "Loop Rock Girl" April Rose.

Radio Ink described it this way...

For one of the most iconic radio brands a major market has ever seen, there was no week-long walk down memory lane. There was no reminiscing about how the jocks of old broke barriers and broke rules to produce great content. There were no rock star interviews about how much the station meant to them back in the day. There was just a memo and a flick of the off switch. Poof. Gone.

Seems like a sad way to end such an iconic station.

Stormy Sues

A few weeks ago (or was it a few days ago...they move kind of slowly during this wacky news era) Stormy Daniels was rumored to be considering ignoring her confidentiality agreement with Trump. I figured that was a no-brainer. What was he gonna do? Sue her and risk having to be deposed on the matter?

I didn't realize at the time that the contract also had a provision that she would be liable for $1 million for every time she spoke about the matter. I still think it's unenforcable, but it's not my money.

Yesterday Stormy decided to sue the president just to make sure. It turns out, Trump never signed the contract. Oh, and according to her filing, she has text messages and photos to share with the world.

This story isn't going away.

(Photo: Dan Daniels)

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Congrats to Amy & Bradley

According to People magazine, Amy Landecker & Bradley Whitford are engaged to be married.

We hung out with them when they were in town for John Landecker's induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. Great couple. Very happy for them.

RIP The Loop (1977-2018)

Shocking news. Robert Feder has the details...

Educational Media Foundation has agreed to buy The Loop from Merlin Media for $21.5 million and plans to convert it to a noncommercial contemporary Christian music station under its syndicated K-Love brand. Pending government approval, the deal will mark the end of a legacy that began when owner Phil Chess of Chess Records flipped the call letters from WSDM to WLUP in 1977.

What a bummer. As most of you know, the Loop is an important part of my life story. I worked there for seven years--the formative years of my professional life (late 80s/early 90s). Without my time at the Loop, I wouldn't be where I am today. I learned so much. I had so much fun. And most importantly, I met my wonderful wife there.

Over the years I've interviewed nearly all of my former colleagues. Here's just one quote about the Loop from each of them that worked there during the station's heyday (1979--1995). I'm proud to call all of them my friends...

Artie Kennedy was a technical producer for Johnny B...
Artie: Mickey Rooney was in-studio and Carol Harmon (great executive producer with Johnny and still with him in another capacity) and I were laughing at a funny Mickey story about one of his like 8 wives when he suddenly switched into this sentence: "Of course you know my 5th wife Barbara was murdered." Well Carol and I were still laughing about his other wife story and he looks in and sees us laughing and says, "That's not funny...someone was murdered!!" I mean, I got yelled at by Mickey Rooney…a living legend! When Johnny and I e-mail each other these days, one of us has to mention MY 5th Wife Barbara!

Bill Leff was the co-host of a show with Wendy Snyder on the Loop...
Bill: Whenever Danny Bonaduce came to town to do stand-up, he'd have me open for him. Which was strange because when I was little I used to watch him on television, and tell my parents that some day we'd be friends. Strange, huh? Anyway, Danny got hired to work at The Loop. I had been doing stand-up for ten years and my wife and I wanted to have kids, and I didn't want to travel anymore, so I told Danny that if anything ever opened up, please keep me in mind. He instantly went to his bosses Larry Wert and Matt Bisbee, and they paired me up with Wendy Snyder. BRILLIANT MOVE!!!

Bob Stroud was the midday man on the Loop FM for many years...
Bob: It was dangerous. At any given moment anything at all could happen. One day, Tom Thayer and Steve McMichael came into the studio and duct-taped Kevin Matthews to a chair. While Thayer rolled Kevin down Michigan Avenue, McMichael literally took over the show. Stuff like that happened all the time. Remember the time Wiser was sent out to be a rodeo clown by Brandmeier? I can still hear him in that barrel at the rodeo… “Johnny, I’m not kidding around here! This isn’t funny!” The stuff that you producers had to go through was unbelievable.

Bobby Skafish was the afternoon drive disc jockey for ten years...
Bobby: The biggest names always came to the Loop. One of my favorites was the day I talked to Bob Geldof at the Loop the day the Band Aid record, "Do They Know It's Christmas" was released in 1984. That transcended the usual artist-working-his-record conversation.

Brendan Sullivan also worked as a producer for Johnny B...
Brendan: As I recall, we were on the Loop, and one morning the announcement was made that our AM station, which shared our space, WMVP was either going all-sports, or the all-sports concept was being dumped. It's a blur. But people were getting fired that morning and Johnny painted this picture of Nazi Germany with staffers hiding under their desks and stormtroopers marching down the hallways and cleaning out the offices. He told Jeff Hoover and me to 'do something with that.' And so we created Helmut and Wilhelm, who owned the radio stations and ruled with an iron fist. It was really more like Hogan's Heroes. Let me stress that. Helmut and Wilhelm were souless idiots, and that's where the humor came in. For the biggest promotional error I was ever a part of, some beer company sponsor sent us in 'uniform' to some bar in Morton Grove or Skokie. No one there knew that there was a radio promotion going on. They just thought we were Nazis, and they were not happy. We drank heavily and wrapped it up quickly before the riots broke out.

Bruce Wolf was a sportscaster on Brandmeier's and Steve & Garry's show, and for one year co-hosted a show with Steve...
Bruce: It was the second best thing I've ever done in broadcasting. I think I was the only real partner Steve ever had. Granted, I got to be his partner because Garry sacrificed his career and I came in through that little window when Steve was receptive to having someone argue with him on the air. (I mean someone other than Janet.) It was an amazing time. We would sit there for four hours, often with no calls, no guests and, well, nothing to talk about. But it was great. I would throw out all kinds of topics, suggestions, comments. I always felt like we were in Wrigley Field, and I was hitting fungoes out to Steve, who would try to field everything, including foul balls into the grandstand. He'd try to have a comeback for everything and most of the time did. Steve is brilliant. Howard Stern wishes he had Steve's imagination. I think the show was actually better than Steve and Garry...technically, that is. But listening to Steve and Garry was like being around for the invention of the wheel. Nothing will ever compare with that.

Buzz Kilman was the newsman/bluesman for both Steve & Garry and Johnny B...
Buzz: I recognized Johnny was going to be golden the first 30 seconds I heard him. I was walking by Tim Sabean’s or Greg Solk’s office, I can’t remember which, and they were listening to this tape of his show from Phoenix. I’m huge fan of boxing, and this guy on the tape was framing some surprisingly erudite question to Muhammed Ali, and I was impressed at the way he put the question together—and the fact that he had Ali on his show, so I stopped to listen in the hallway. But when the answer came from “Ali,” it sounded like it came from a 12-year-old white kid. That’s what it was—a 12-year-old white kid. This kid knew everything about Ali and was answering the questions totally seriously as if he really was Ali. That Bob & Ray school of comedy is my favorite—and Johnny was like Bob & Ray on crack—especially in those days when he had free reign on the phones. Brandmeier changed the face of radio.

Cara Carriveau started at the Loop on the Kevin Matthews show, but later hosted middays on the Loop FM...
Cara: Dennis DeYoung once sat in on the show with me and I had the most amazing experience of being alone in a room with him while he sang "Come Sail Away" live on the air.

Carla Leonardo worked at the Loop in the late 70s. (Carla sadly passed away a few years ago)...
Carla: The station was one of the coolest places to work at. Patti Haze, Dave Logan, Bill Evans, Tommy O'Toole, and Garry "Mondo" Meier, who was working overnites at the time. All the big bands used to come thru, and those that were definitely on the way up: Van Halen visited on their way to Haymakers! I was morning news/traffic/sidekick to a couple of really great guys: Ken Noble and Les Tracy. I feel lucky to have had a chance to work with them. I also met a young intern there, who later went on to become a brilliant programmer and power in radio, none other than Greg Solk.

Cheryl Raye Stout covered sports for the Loop AM...
Cheryl: I was standing behind the Cubs batting cage and some ladies came up to me. They asked me who I was, and what my job was. They were Hillary Clinton’s assistants. When I told them what I did, they said she would be interested in meeting me. She came to the press box, and I was called over and had a great chat with her.

Chet Coppock hosted "Coppock on Sports" on the Loop AM for many years...
Chet: Think about what we had in those days. We had Brandmeier and Buzz Kilman, Kevin Matthews, Jim Shorts, and Shemp and those guys, Steve & Garry and you and that crew, and Coppock on Sports after that, with our incredible boy-quarium. I really believe for a four or five year period there we had the best radio station in Chicago radio history. We were cutting edge. Every day was a thrill. We were treated like royalty. When I hired Dan McNeil as my executive producer, I was desperate. We were going to go on the air on Monday, and I needed somebody, so I pitched de Castro and Solk and said, look, “hire this guy, and within a year he’ll be able to fill in on the weekends and knock people’s socks off.” I didn’t actually know whether or not it was true, but I knew he was going to bust his hump, that he had a great desire to succeed. It turned out to be true.

Cindy Gatziolis was the promotion director of the Loop during some it's headiest days. (Cindy unfortunately passed away last year)...
Cindy: It was a challenge to say the least to please all the people all the time. YES! Luckily I didn’t have to work alone. Between Larry Wert, a myriad of program directors, my excellent staff and the hard-working, seldom-appreciated producers, we managed to make things work. I do recall one day that was nearly 24 hours, waking up at 3am to be at Dahl & Meier remote, working on all sorts of details for the Brandmeier 10 year anniversary show during the day, resting a couple hours and going to a Danny Bonaduce event that went until about 2am. What made it possible for me to do the job without going insane, is that I believed in those shows, and that goes for all of them…the FM jocks like Skafish and Stroud, and Wendy Snyder who maybe didn’t have the light shining on them as often. There will never be a more perfect job for me than that one and I truly loved all those people.

Dan McNeil was Chet Coppock's Executive Producer...
Dan: I admired Steve Dahl a lot when I started at the Loop in ’88. From him, I observed many things I should do, and a few things I shouldn’t. Chet Coppock taught me the ropes as I was cutting my teeth.

Danny Bonaduce will forever be Danny Partridge, but he really caught lightning in a bottle when he hosted a show on the Loop AM...
Danny: Car Carioke was my all-time favorite bit. I loved that! That was the very best thing I’ve ever done in entertainment talk radio, and the best I ever will do. The Hancock had this eight story spiral ramp going up to the parking garage, and the bit was that you had to come into the car with me and sing a song all the way down while I drove as fast as I could, and if you could do it without screaming, you’d win. No one could ever do it, because I knew something they didn’t. That garage ramp was engineered in such a way that a car couldn’t flip over. And I didn’t care if I scraped it up or dinged it, so I would hit the sides, and sparks would go flying and everybody, and I mean everybody, screamed. Nobody made it down that ramp without screaming. One day Johnny B told me that he thought he could do it, and so I took him down the ramp too. And I went fast, but not real fast, not as fast as I could have gone, and he was singing Happy Birthday or something like that and was doing great until we got to the bottom of the ramp. When we reached the bottom, he saw a woman standing there with a baby carriage, and it was right in our way. Well, I slammed into that baby carriage at full speed, and it went flying through the air, and Johnny B FLIPPED OUT. I mean flipped out! And then the woman, my ex-wife, got the baby carriage and showed Johnny there was a doll in there.

Dave Benson was the music director of the Loop during it's 80s/90s heyday...
Benson: The list of talented and/or crazy people all under one roof was amazing. Steve & Garry, Johnny B, Kevin Matthews, Bob Stroud, Bobby Skafish, Patti Haze, Chet Coppock, Ed Schwartz, Tony Fitzpatrick, Wendy Snyder, Stan Lawrence, John Fisher, Sandy Stahl, Bill Evans, Buzz Kilman...It was nearly impossible to get in trouble for saying something outrageous at the Loop. My God, Steve Dahl called Wally Phillips an "ass wipe" on the air! Working at the Loop required that you be ready to defend your turf, verbally or otherwise, at any moment.

Eddie Schwartz was a WGN legend (and frequent on-air target of Loop talent) who surprised everyone by signing with the Loop in the early 90s. (Eddie sadly passed away a few years ago)
Eddie: I loved every minute at WGN, make no mistake. It is a very special place to me. Simply put, when my last contract expired the Loop offered me a job. The facts were presented to my bosses. All they had to do to keep me was was offer me 1 dollar more than the LOOP. They refused to let anything or anybody influence their decisions. They didn't take me seriously because NOBODY ever left. I never expected to myself. I could have put 20 or more years in there easily. I was actually very mad at their stupid gamesmanship. But it also gave me a chance to re-energize myself in a new environment and to work with some great people. I can't say enough about the talent of people like Wendy Snyder, Kathy Voltmer, Johnny B, Mitch Rosen who came with me as producer from WGN and a bunch of other folks who made working there a ton of fun. That includes the former GM and my boss Larry Wert.

Ed Tyll had a stint as the late-night man on the Loop AM in the early 90s...
Ed: Chet’s Coppock's intro to my show used to be three minutes long. It was a riot. He would wind up this huge buildup by calling me BIG ED TYLL, and in would walk in this 5’6, 115 pound guy. Working on the Loop was like being on tour with all famous guys, all the time. I do remember one night when all of us got together for an event on the same night, and it was awesome. They did a poster for Budweiser with all of us, and we came out on stage at the same time. That was something.

Greg Solk was the program director of the Loop for many years, but he actually got his start as Steve & Garry's producer in the late 1970s...
Greg: I interned weekends and summers in 77 and 78, and again, purely by chance one weekend morning in early 1979, I just happened to be at the station when a guy knocked on the door carrying a big box of tapes. He said: “I’m Steve Dahl, and I’m going to be the morning guy starting on Monday.” And I helped him carry his stuff in, and get his tapes ready, and during the process Steve asked if I had any interest to work as a producer on his show. I started right away – and got paid! I was very lucky to work with him. I was still in high school, and here I was working with Steve Dahl. I learned more about radio from him than I learned from anyone, before or since. He taught me the genius of connecting “on an emotional level” with the audience. He’s the smartest radio guy I’ve ever met.

Harry Teinowitz was part of several different shows on the Loop AM...
Harry: One night I was doing a stand up gig at The Improv, and the owner told me that Keith Van Horne and Tom Thayer were doing a show on the Loop and that I should stop by. He said—bring a case of beer—they like that. When I got there they already had a case of beer. I was supposed to be on at 1:00 am, and by 2:00 they hadn’t asked me into the studio yet. I was actually just about to leave when they finally came out and got me. Once I got on the air with them, it went great. The next day I got a call saying that Greg Solk liked me on the show very much.

Jack Landreth briefly produced Kevin Matthews show...
Jack: I would come to learn that Matthews, along with Brandmeier, Steve & Garry, and later on, Bonaduce were talents that would help me focus on what mattered the most….entertaining the audience with compelling content. That’s what mattered most. Years later, I talked to Steve, and thanked him for those years. Every now and then I run into Danny, and love to talk those old “Loop” days.

Jack Silver was the program director of the Loop AM during the early 90s...
Jack: One of the things I learned is that the listeners have a boss too, so if you become a boss that can be made fun of, the listeners seem to absolutely love that. I probably met more of the listeners than any other program director, because they knew me. This whole radio thing is about the listeners, and when you put yourself out there, they go out of their way to meet you. The guys that sit in the offices and don’t get out there are usually the guys who never been on the air, and don’t really understand what a personality is thinking or what they’re dealing with, that moment of panic that can set in when you’re not 100% what you’re going to say next. If you haven’t had that, haven’t experienced that, what good are you?

Jeff Hoover is now a producer for the WGN-TV News, but he got his start on Brandmeier's show...
Hoover: I moved to Chicago in 1991 and didn't get the idea to call in to his show until he had a Jerry Lewis impersonation contest in 1993. Johnny had tickets to see Jerry at the Drury Lane in Oakbrook. I was working at a marketing company and heard this and thought this was my chance to play. I asked the HR manager if I could use her office for a minute and closed the door and made the call. I had never tried to say anything more than "LADY" in the Jerry voice so I was nervous and anxious. Luckily, some of the Second City improv training kicked in when it came to my turn. After riffing about my colostomy bag looking like a Steakum, I won the tickets. Now, this is going to sound really dorky, but the greatest feeling during that first call was making Johnny laugh. I still have the tape and it is great to hear Johnny, Buzz and Robin together. And, to this day, the best thing that I can ever hope to do, is to make people laugh. Jesus, I really sound like Jerry Lewis now.

Jeff Schwartz was the sales manager of the Loop back in the Disco Demolition days...
Schwartz: I was the GSM, but I always involved myself in promotions. I realized it even back then that we weren't just selling numbers. I couldn't sell numbers. I never did. I always sold emotion. And those promotions were part of what I did. Dave Logan was the promotion director in those days, and if you look at the Disco Demolition video you can see him running on the field. He got to do the fun stuff. I had to get on a plane the day after Disco Demolition to calm down our biggest client in Detroit who wanted to cancel all of his advertising after witnessing the spectacle.

Jimmy "Mac" McInerney produced for Kevin Matthews & Johnny B...
Jimmy Mac: Something that made The Loop really cool back then was the camaraderie. There was a large group or us working there and we got to know each other really well. We all were working for the biggest names in the biz back then, and we were all very aware of it. I think we were really into what we were doing. It was very creative, and competitive. I worked on just about every show at The Loop during this time. It wasn’t uncommon for me to actually have my pillow with me because I was spending more time at the studio than at home! The demands and deadlines were always really tight, as is the nature of talk radio. It was a crazy time. We would almost come to blows over studio time…Then we would all go out to Flapjaws on Pearson for beer. Talent, management, producers, interns…We all would hang out, and sometimes even travel together. Whenever I see anyone from the old Loop, I feel like it’s a family reunion.

John Swany Swanson is the producer for Eric & Kathy now, but he got his start working for Brandmeier...
Swany: When I worked for Johnny, I once swam in the Chicago River to win a bet with him. While the Michigan Avenue Bridge was under construction, there was a story in the Sun-Times about a guy who sat in a boat all day to retrieve anything that fell into the river. The only way to get him on the air was to swim out to him. Johnny bet me I couldn't get to him. I didn't quite get there, but it was great radio, even though I almost drowned. About a week or two later, a cab crashed onto the sidewalk and knocked somebody into the river. That same guy in the boat had to retrieve him--so Johnny sent me back out there again. The cab was up on the sidewalk against the rail. Johnny told me he would give me $5000 if I got in the cab and drove it off the bridge. I did get in the cab, which could be heard clearly on the air, but I didn't drive it off. I'm crazy, but I'm not stupid. People still talk to me about that bit, though.

Kevin Matthews was the midday man on the Loop AM and was right in the middle of all the mayhem, but he says it's only the second craziest station he ever worked for, believe it or not...
Kevin: I started at a college station and we were wild too. Our advisor dropped acid and would do two days shows—I swear that station was like the Manson Ranch. But it was so much fun. I learned about music there—everything from John Coltrane to the Sex Pistols. My roommate and I did a show we called the Dos Equis hour. We brought in a case of Dos Equis, drank it live on the air, and played Spanish songs. It was so much fun—probably too much fun. We lost our license when we said that President Lubbers (the President of the University) had been mutilated and killed. They came in like Animal House, took away the license, and turned it into a hair salon. That’s where it started for me. My first station--and we lost our license.

Laura Witek worked as a news anchor for both Kevin Matthews and Steve & Garry...
Laura: I will never forget my very first newscast on the LOOP….Kevin’s show. I hadn’t really listened to him before, (too busy watching/listening to the news!) but I did my homework in the few days I had before I started. Of course, as I listened to his show I thought he had to have some guests…SOME help. He couldn’t really be all those characters, right? When I got to the studio that first day, I was surprised to find only Kevin. So, I start to read the news and proceed to get interrupted by Jimmy, Devon, Bill Cartwright and Raymond Burr. I remember thinking: I’m not in Kansas anymore.

Les Grobstein did sports at the Loop in the early 90s, but he also very very briefly worked there in the late 70s...
Les: I was called in by (news director at the time) Reed Pence at the Loop and a couple of other people over there, and they were interested in having a sportscaster too. That chance died when they put together their deal for Disco Demolition. Part of the deal was Mike Veeck would come in and do what was basically nothing more than a promotional announcement for the White Sox. He did that for about a week and a half before the actual event. Obviously after it blew up in their faces, they dumped the idea. Mike Veeck was out.

Leslie Keiling did traffic on several Loop shows...
Leslie: I was on with Steve and Garry around the time I was getting married. They told everybody I would be wearing red. They also taught me exactly what an on-air team should sound like. Johnny B. = fun. If he was a dog, he'd be a Jack Russell terrier. I'd get within 5 feet of him, and get scared that he'd steal my life force to keep it all going.

Lisa Dominique did traffic on Brandmeier's show for a few years in the early 90s...
Lisa: I have nothing but memories of that time of smiling, giggling, and laughing until my guts ached. What a fabulous and golden time in broadcasting that it was for all of us. Those 'wacky weenies' that listeners would create for Johnny's show and send in for Johnny, Buzz and me were amazingly creative and it was most flattering to have somebody take the time to do something like that for the show with you, in particular, in mind. I still have a cassette tape of about 20 of them about me that Wiser kindly ran off and gave to me. I came across it in 2008 in a shoebox of tapes that I thought had been drowned in a basement flood several years ago. After listening to them (after spending about a week trying to locate a cassette player!), I was flooded with the warm feelings of the good times that we all had together on the Loop and AM 1000.

Matt Bisbee worked at the Loop for the entire hey-day run. He was a jock, production director, and even briefely the program director...
Matt: The fun days were probably the 80s. It seemed like everyone we added to the puzzle made us better and better. Bob Stroud, Bobby Skafish and Patti Haze! Some of the best jocks of all-time. Brandmeier, Dahl & Meier, Kevin Matthews—man, what talent. It was a special moment in time that you couldn't recreate if you tried…although I guess they're trying now. It's hard to restart that fire, though, because it wasn't just the great on-air talent. With Decastro walking the hallway, and Greg Solk, and then later Larry Wert, even the management was well-known, entertaining, and special. It was an unbelievable collection of people, between the AM and the FM. People are what make a radio station great, and we had great people.

Mitch Michaels did the afternoon cruise on the Loop in the late 70s/early 80s...
Mitch: It is hard to describe how big the Loop was in those days. It seemed like it was everywhere. I had worked at some big stations, but nothing like this. I think the marketing plan, the music, the air-talent, everything was just perfect for that time and place. The t-shirts, the Lorelei commercials, obviously Dahl & Meier, and that whole Coho Lips thing, it was just all over the place. I actually found one of those old coho lips buttons in my basement the other day. I distinctly remember one time I was driving in to work. I was living in Oak Park at the time, and it was this time of year. Everyone had the windows in their cars rolled down. At every single stoplight I pulled up alongside another car that was listening to the Loop. One after the other. It was amazing. Everyone was listening.

Mitch Rosen now runs WXRT and the Score, but he came to the Loop with Eddie Schwartz in the early 90s...
Mitch: At that time the Loop was the coolest station in America, and I was thrilled that Eddie asked me to go along for the ride. The truth is I didn't know it was the Loop until the day before he announced he was going there. I really thought we were going to WLS. I never imagined for a second that The Loop was the next stop on The Eddie Tour. I can still remember his call to me when it was close to being official. (Now try to imagine this in Eddie's high pitched voice). He said: “Kid, were going to the LOOP!!” I said "Really?" He said it was going to be fun and all the big boy personalities were on board. Larry Wert did something that I will never forget. He sent Eddie a box of hats; one for Brandmeier, Dahl and Meier, and Kevin Matthews, and a note that said throw your hat in the ring. Eddie never forgot that. We went in open minded about the personalities and their treatment of Eddie over the years, but the guys really treated him great. He felt cool. One of the funniest nights was the night that Kevin and Dahl sent a stripper to the studio to surprise big Ed. Ed quickly put on one of his 15 minutes jazz instrumentals.

Pugs Moran worked on several Loop shows, most notably Kevin Matthews...
Pugs: I was kept sequestered from Kevin for the first month or so. Then one day while working in the green room, the one with the great window view on 37, Kev walks in eating a homemade sandwich from a brown paper bag. He just stood over me staring for what felt like hours but was probably as long as it took him to chew. I was frozen at the idea that the most creatively gifted guy I had ever heard was looming over me. I expected his first words to be something hysterical, something that would come from way out in left field. He finally said, “Hey bud, you want half of my sandwich”? That was first contact, then the next morning while listening from the office I remember hearing Jim say “hey Kev, who is that fat kid that’s always hanging around?” I became the fat kid that would do “anything for the show”. I was pure slapstick and I don’t know if any of it was funny but I know one thing, I made Kevin laugh and to me that was the golden wonka ticket. If we all have a radio family we spring from then mine is, Kev, Mitch, Geli, Peggy, Swanny, Dorothy and my big brother always the late and loved Doc.

Robin Baumgarten is the morning anchor on WGN-TV News now, but she got her start on Brandmeier's show...
Robin: I have such fond memories of that show – Johnny is the best. I was new to the business, and Johnny, Buzz Kilman, and Bruce Wolf were all so accommodating about making me part of the team. It was a blast going to work every day. One of my favorite memories is of the Donny Osmond/Danny Bonaduce fight that Johnny organized at the old China Club. He brought in the late, great Jack Brickhouse as an analyst. As Jack was waiting to go onstage, and I was waiting a few feet behind him, he turned his head and “hocked a lugey” over his shoulder and it landed right on my shoe. No matter what else I do in this business, I'll forever be known as the girl that got “lugeyed” by Jack Brickhouse. A true honor.

Roman Sawczak was Steve & Garry's producer in the mid-80s...
Roman: A lot of celebrities came through the studio but I will never forget Warren Zevon. He was the only person ever allowed by Steve and Garry to smoke in the studio. That's how much they respected and were in awe of his visit. I had the honor of co-hosting when the boys were on hiatus with people like Joe Walsh, Richard Belzer, Richard Lewis and many others. Of course there's the time Janet was out of town and entrusted me to stay at the house with Steve. We ended up staying out all night and Steve could not make it to the station for the show. He called Garry and did segments over the phone. Garry was not a happy man.

Scott Dirks was the overnight guy at the Loop FM for many years, beginning in the late 70s...
Scott: When I started out at the college station I became friends with another one of the jocks there, and we followed almost identical paths for a while – he ended up working weekend overnights at WMET, when I was doing the same shifts at the Loop. The Loop and WMET were bitter rivals in a legendary rock radio war, but he and I were friends, and lived not too far from each other. We’d carpool to work together, or meet after we got off in the air in the morning and go have breakfast somewhere. While we were on the air we’d usually get each other on the phone and have these epic all-night conversations to keep each other awake and on our toes through the overnight shift. One New Years Eve we were both scheduled to start work at midnight, so we met up a little earlier, toasted the New Year with a drink or two, and then went to work. For me it was just a slightly sloppier than usual airshift, but when he got to work, he kept drinking, and eventually decided it would be a good idea to throw the ‘more rock and less talk’ format out the window, and do very lengthy on-air commentary about the state of the radio business, share his thoughts on various other people on the air, his bosses, etc. I’d made plans to drive him home that morning. When I get there, and there are listeners wandering up and down the halls of the radio station, the studio door was propped open and people were just walking in and out, and the unscheduled talk show has taken a somewhat less than G-rated turn. I stood in the studio and basically watched this guy commit career suicide for the last hour of what, as you might imagine, was his last shift in Chicago.

Stan Lawrence was a regular contributor to the Steve & Garry show, and later co-hosted the Best of Steve & Garry (with me) and Ebony & Ivory...
Stan: When Steve went to the Loop (in 1979) and starting doing the show with Garry, they had a contributor named “The Prince” who called in pretty regularly. Well, apparently he became a bit of a nuisance, and they were looking for somebody else. One day Steve was talking about the boat people living in the Orange Bowl in Miami. He said that he wanted to get one of them to be his housekeeper. I called in to say “Yeah, I bet you do. You want to get between those golden arches, don’t you?” He had never heard that term before, thought it was funny, and gave me the coveted hotline number. I’ve been a contributor to the show ever since.

Steve Cochran worked at the Loop in the mid-90s...
Steve: The Loop was probably the most fun of any station I worked at because of the incredible line up. I was there at the tail end of it, but at one point it was Johnny, Kevin, Danny and me during the day, and just to be a part of that was great. To work with Jimmy de Castro, who really is a genius, and Larry Wert, that was a heck of an experience.

Terry Gibson was the overnight jock on the Loop-FM in the late 80s...
Terry: Steve & Garry were celebrating their 10-year anniversary together. I had the bright idea of writing a parody song about their ten years together, and I dragged Wendy into it with me. After I got off the air one morning, and turned it over to Johnny B, Wendy, Mike Davis (known on the air as “Igor”), and me went into the production studio to record the song. We’re not exactly great singers, but that didn’t matter to us. It was really more about the lyrics—a tribute to Steve & Garry. Well, somehow Johnny B (photo) got wind of us doing this, and put our studio on the air while we were singing. We had no idea we were on the air. Johnny thought it was hysterical, so he called Steve up on the phone. Mind you, this was 6:15 in the morning. Steve was out cold when Johnny called, and he wasn’t happy about being awakened. I heard the tape later, he said: “Johnny, I don’t do mornings anymore, babe.” Anyway, it took Steve a long time to figure out that the song was about him, but he wasn’t quite getting the concept because he was so groggy. After he hung up, Johnny called into the production room and Wendy answered. He told her that the entire thing had been live on the air. We were mortified. I could feel the red in my cheeks. By then though, we had finished the song. I was listening that afternoon when Steve & Garry played it on the air, and all the embarrassment we felt that morning was worth it.

Vince Argento is the production director of the Loop today, but he got his start on Steve & Garry's show. He was their producer the day they broke up...
Vince: After Garry’s wedding he was gone for two weeks and we all assumed he was going to be back that next Monday. That morning Steve called me on the producer’s line, and I told him “Garry must be late. He’s not even here yet,” and Steve said “I don’t think he’s coming Vinnie.” I’ll be honest with you; I don’t really remember what we did on the show that day. We were in all in a fog. At some point, they pulled Steve off the air, because they were worried that he was going to say something that would mess up the chances of getting them back together—so Stony and I hosted the Best of Steve & Garry while they negotiated behind the scenes. Every single local news outlet was reporting that they broke up—there were reporters in the lobby, in the hallway, and here’s me and Stony on the air...we had no idea what to do. When they finally decided what to do, Garry got his own show mid-days on the Loop FM, and Steve was put on mornings on the AM along with Leslie (Keiling), Laura Witek (photo), and I believe Les Grobstein. I stayed with Steve.

Wendy Snyder got her start at the Loop as an FM jock. She later worked with Kevin Matthews, Brandmeier, and both Steve & Garry...
Wendy: Here I was, 23 years old and working at the same station as Jonathon Brandmeier, Buzz Kilman, Steve and Garry, Kevin Matthews, Bob Stroud, Bobby Skafish, Patti Haze--I grew up listening to many of these people and now I was working with them. Too cool. Later on, throw in a Danny Bonaduce, Chet Coppock, Eddie Schwartz, ’85 Bears Tom Thayer and Keith Van Horne, Artist Tony Fitzpatrick, Stan Lawrence, and Rick Kaempfer. It really was a blast back then….one big happy family. And, of course, the Loop is where I met my future husband, Jimmy “Mac” McInerney.

Volunteer of the Year

Thanks so much to the Illinois Youth Soccer Association for honoring me and Steve Samuelson Friday night at their annual dinner. We were named Volunteers of the Year for our work with Green White Soccer Club. That was very nice of them to recognize us...

Monday, March 05, 2018

Christopher Steele

Who is this increasingly famous spy who composed the Russia dossier?

This is a pretty fair deep-look at him in the New Yorker.

He basically bears very little resemblance to the man being portrayed in conservative media.

Cara Update

It was announced on Friday that Cara Carriveau had stepped down at WSHE. She posted on facebook over the weekend what might be happening next...
"I've been on the air in the Chicago market for 29 years, almost exactly to the day, fortunate to work at the finest stations including WRCX, WLUP, WTMX, WILV, WSHE, WABT & WIIL. To be clear, I am NOT retiring! I'll have a series of announcements over the next few months as I'm working on a few projects. I'll let you know where you will be able hear me on the radio in just a couple of weeks..."

Stay tuned!

Colbert on Nunes

Advertisers Finally Flee Toxic Infowars

The ridiculous Youtube channel that brought you the "Sandy Hook parents are faking it" conspiracy is finally losing advertisers--and a lot of them. The final straw was the fake conspiracy theory that the kids in the Florida shooting school were actors.

Mashable has the details.

Don't forget, our president takes the guy who runs this vile site seriously. He calls him. He listens to him. He referred to him as an advisor.