Friday, March 16, 2018


One of my favorite moments as a publisher...the moment an author gets to hold his or her new book in their hands. Yesterday was the day for Becky Sarwate-Maxwell and Randy Richardson. We gave them each a copy of their new book "Cubsessions". This great little Cubs book is available for pre-order now at eckhartz press ( The launch party will be on April 8th at Murphys Bleachers. It promises to be a star-studded affair.

Ruh Roh

This is merely a general speaking here...

Old Violet Eyes

I love the blog posts of Eckhartz Press writer Lee Kingsmill ("Safe Inside").

Today he posted his tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. He calls it "Old Violet Eyes"

Lee is at his best when he writes about old Hollywood. He has such an obvious passion for the subject.

Set Your DVRs

Who's bending down to give you a rainbow? Everyone knows it's Stormy.

Set your DVR. Stormy Daniels will be on 60 minutes on March 25th.

Seth Rich Lawsuit

Seth Rich's parents are suing Fox News and the other fake news outlets that used their son as part of a conspiracy theory.

Imagine losing your son to a murder in DC. Then imagine unscrupulous nutbags at places like Infowars and Fox News using your son's death to concoct conspiracy theories about the DNC Hacking. That's what happened. Conspiracy nuts say that Hillary had Rich murdered because he was secretly the one who hacked the DNC...even though it was an organizaton he loved and worked for--and Hillary was a candidate he was devoted to promoting.

The whole story was preposterous, but it gained lots of traction in the conservative press in the days when Trump was claiming Russia had nothing to do with the hacking. Since then, of course, we've learned the truth. The Russians have all but admitted it. Every one of our allies confirm it. Rich had nothing to do with it at all. Even Fox News retracted the story. But it lives on. Trust me, I hear from my friends who are Trump apologists and they still believe this wholeheartedly. It makes it easier to forgive their potentially treasonous president.

Hopefully this lawsuit will end this ridiculous story once and for all, and make everyone who spread it accountable.

Another Creep Revealed

When you have 19 different women charging you with inappropriate behavior, odds are pretty good that you've stepped over the line.

The latest is Northwestern University's (Medill School) Professor Alec Klein.

Everything Wrong with Fox News in one video

Q&A with Eckhartz Press Author Beth Jacobellis ("Cameo")

Beth Jacobellis' book "Cameo" is available for pre-order now! It ships on March 23rd. I recently got a chance to pick Beth's brain about her incredible accomplishment.

Rick: The cover of your book says "inspired by a true story". Without giving away too many details of what happens in your novel, can you tell us a little bit about that true story?

Beth: The Chicago radio industry is a central part of the storyline and is where I've spent most of my career for the better part of 20 years! There was a major event that happened within this community in 1994 that altered the lives of many people I know. It was a horrible tragedy that inspired me to write a story about the cycle of life as opposed the finality of it. I wanted to challenge everyone's entire belief system, providing an explanation that gives comfort in knowing that just because someone is gone from your life, does not mean their soul is.

Rick: One of the critical characters in your book is an infamous local psychic. Is that a world that interests you, and do you believe in their powers?

Beth: I do! The spiritual world is THE most fascinating thing to me. I feel as if I'm constantly trying to convince people that there IS more to life that's not so black and white. I believe we all have varying degrees of intuition and we need to pay more attention to it.

Rick: The title comes from an important (to the plot) piece of jewelry. Talk a little about your love of jewelry, and how that influenced you in writing this book.

Beth: I actually started making jewelry after my first daughter was born, as a stress reliever! What I didn't know at the time is my Aunt and my Grandmother had also, made jewelry which kind of explained why it came so naturally to me. I was always very drawn to antique jewelry. Knowing that every piece belonged to someone at another point in time intrigued me and seemed like the perfect tangible thing that COULD connect the past to the present. Hence, Cameo was born.

Rick: Every novelist says that his or her book took years to write--but yours really did take many years. The first draft was written more than a decade ago. What made you take it off the shelf, rework it, and send it off to a publisher all these years later?

Beth: When I originally thought I was finished, I did try to get it published. After at least 30 rejections letters, I took a very long break. When I started wanting to try again, I realized I had lost the entire document on my computer. I did have a printed copy (thank God) and decided to accept the situation as a sign that it wasn't actually done. My life was in chaos at that time and re-typing it in a new computer was the most I could do. Another three years went by and it was actually my daughter who said, "I'm so sick of telling all my friends you wrote a book and you are doing absolutely nothing about it." Here we are.

Rick: You've mostly worked in (radio) sales in your professional career. I know you love your job and what you do, but what does writing give you that you can't really get in your day-to-day job?

Beth: Writing gives me the ability to create something that could change someone's perspective on how they view life. I wanted to make a difference when I set out on this journey. Cameo will hopefully, accomplish this. My job gives me the tools to help my clients business. Writing gives me a chance to help someone heal.

Rick: What do your kids think now that mom is a published author?

Beth: They are very excited. However, they are also, excited about the weekend:-). My kids are the inspiration for everything I do. It's all about their happiness, security and above all, love.

Rick: Tell us all about the book launch party.

Beth: There is a book signing at Teasers Pub in Chicago on March 23rd at 7pm. I have never done this before so, this will be an adventure!

Loyola Madness

It really was a tremendous last few seconds. Go Ramblers!

Trib Layoffs

The layoffs yesterday at the Tribune were pretty painful. People were leaving all day with their boxes of belongings. But this one sounds exceptionally harsh...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today's Batman Advice

Minutia Men, Episode 88

EP88 – Rick and Dave discuss Jewish Disneyland, the end of the Loop FM 97.9, Mothers Day strip shows, Chippy Gaw, and Rick’s brush with John Cusack.

You can listen to it here.

Beware the Ides of March (March 15)

And the friendly neighbor in the black sedan...


Larry Kudlow wasn't just a CNBC host. He also hosted a radio show. What will happen to that? Tom Taylor's NOW column tackles the subject...

Talk radio host Larry Kudlow joins the Trump team as an economic advisor. How about his Saturday syndicated radio show? Westwood One tells this NOW Newsletter that Kudlow will do his show live this weekend - and we'll see what happens after that. The talk community’s been split on whether Trump attorney Jay Sekulow should continue hosting his radio show. (He kept it.) Now Kudlow – an old friend of Trump’s whom he watches on CNBC – faces a similar question. He’s anchored various radio shows for years, including his current one for Westwood. It’s subtitled “Where money meets politics,” and airs 10am-1pm Eastern time. Kudlow’s new title is “Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Director of the National Economic Council.” He succeeds Gary Cohn. Kudlow told CNBC yesterday “I’m honored to take this position” – and does indicate that he’ll leave the talent-roster there.

Trump is also talking about installing a Fox & Friends host as the new VA director (not kidding). You know, as long as he's naming media types to government jobs anyway, let's get Rush and Hannity off the air too. I think Rush would be a great ambassador to Brazil. And Hannity can be our spokesperson to the Far East. America would be a better place overnight. Oh, and put Tucker Carlson in the overhead bin on Hannity's flight to Hong Kong. What's the worst that can happen? (See story below)

United Airline's Very Bad Week

First, a flight attendant made a passenger put her dog in the overhead bin. The dog died.

Then, another dog was accidentally sent to Japan instead of Kansas City.

At least they didn't drag a passenger out of an overbooked flight.

Truffle Hunting

Eckhartz Press author Brent Petersen...

Trump's Biographer

This is the man who co-wrote "The Art of the Deal". He sees it the same way I do...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New Score Lineup

The addition of Dan McNeil to the lineup at the Score has caused a pretty dramatic shuffle. Robert Feder has the details about the new lineup...

Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley 5 to 9 a.m.
Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins 1 to 6 p.m.
Laurence Holmes 6 to 10 p.m.
Les Grobstein overnights

Bummer for Matt Spiegel and Jason Goff (both of whom I actually liked on the air). Very happy they didn't pair Bernstein and McNeil. That would have been a disaster.

How Can Stormy Daniels story get MORE tawdry?

Enter radio's Bubba the Love Sponge. From this morning's Tom Taylor column...

Bubba the Love Sponge plays clips of his 2007 interview with Stormy Daniels. Bubba’s welcomed adult film stars to his show, and that 2007 interview may be “the earliest known instance of Daniels publicly discussing the alleged affair” with a future president. That’s per CNN. Bubba Clem is keeping his head down about this, citing next month’s opening of the Nielsen suit against him for alleged ratings-tampering. But last Friday and then again on Monday, he did play audio from Daniels’ 2007 appearance on his Tampa-based radio show. The actress doesn’t say Trump’s name, but the dates and circumstances she cites “match the description of her alleged affair” with him, says CNN. Bubba does have a statement – “This interview happened in May 2007. I only asked the questions. Stormy answered them. I wish her and our President nothing but the very best. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal…The media and haters need to get over it.”

Another Eckhartz Press Book

This is how I spent my snowy Tuesday afternoon.

Authors Bruce Bohrer and Russ Fahrner signed their Eckhartz Press contract. Their book "Embracing Retirement" will be coming out in June. The man in the middle of the photo is Eckhartz Press co-publisher David Stern.

Congrats to Bruce and Russ.

Dad joke

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dave Fogel

UPDATE: There is a correction to add to the story below from yesterday's RAMP Newsletter... Yesterday we reported that Dave Fogel was the new midday personality at Cumulus Classic Hits KCMO-FM/Kansas City. While that fact is indeed true, there are a couple of points that need to be clarified -- 1) As it turns out, Fogel will be voicetracking the KCMO midday show from Chicago, where he will continue to co-host the morning show on Cumulus Classic Hits 94.7 WLS-FM, and 2) Fogel started his radio career in 1982 at the legendary former Top 40 KBEQ (Q104)/Kansas City, not KMXV. The original story is below...

Chicago radio pro Dave Fogel is returning to the market where he began his radio career -- Kansas City -- as the newly named midday personality at Cumulus Classic Hits KCMO-FM.

Fogel, the son of Kansas City radio and television legend Jerry Fogel, began his radio career at KMXV (Mix 93.3)/Kansas City, and went on to work in San Diego, DC and Detroit. From 2010-2013 Fogel co-hosted mornings on Cumulus Classic Hits WLS-FM/Chicago, followed by a five-year run with CBS Radio Classic Hits WJMK (104.3 K-Hits) until the Entercom merger last November and the subsequent flip to Classic Hip Hop WBMX (104.3 Jams). In January Fogel returned to WLS-FM as co-host of The WLS Wake Up Call.

Joe Russo, PD of KCMO-FM, said, "Dave is a superstar and a Kansas City guy through and through. Somebody pinch me -- Kelly Urich mornings and Dave Fogel in the workday on KCMO. What a fantastic lineup for our listeners." Fogel commented, "I'm thrilled to be on KCMO and back on the radio in Kansas City where my career started in the '80s right after MU."

The Return of Dan McNeil?

Robert Feder says Dan McNeil may be returning to the Score. From his column this morning...

Look for Dan McNeil to return to weekday afternoons on WSCR AM 670 as part of a major program realignment to be announced this week at the Entercom sports/talk station. Since January, the Chicago sports radio veteran has been back at The Score hosting a Sunday morning show. He last worked there full-time in 2014 when he chose not to renew his contract. Jason Goff, who has been co-hosting afternoons on The Score with Dan Bernstein, has been sidelined for now. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, The Score tied for 19th in afternoons with a 2.4 percent audience share.

Jake's Farewell Letter to Chicago

This was a nice touch from Jake Arietta who signed a contract yesterday to go to Philadelphia...

Trump licking

This is an incredible quote from Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro (author of the steel tariffs). Are you ready for this? He says his job is to “provide the underlying analytics that confirm his intuition. And his intuition is always right.”

Raise your hand if this raises the hair on the back of your neck.

Hancock Time Capsule

Yesterday employees at 875 N. Michigan Avenue (the former Hancock) opened up the time capsule that was placed there in 1968. What was in the time capsule?

1. Microfilm (they have no idea what’s on it)
2. Letter from Mayor Richard J. Daley
3. Wooden section of John Hancock’s staircase from his home
4. 1968 Chicago Cubs signed baseball (by whole team)
5. Piece of Eiffel Tower
6. Postage stamps from 1968 (value 6 cents)
7. Business Cards – stack of them signed by employees of John Hancock Insurance Co
8. Golden Bull-from Chicago Bulls
9. Roll of film (no idea what is on it)
10. Letter written by John Hancock (dated 1792)
11. Medallion commemorating 150 anniv of state of IL
12. Crystal elephant given by Sen. Everett Dirksen (R)
13. Unmarked Hockey Puck given by Chicago Blackhawks
14. Book written by then IL Gov. Otto Kerner: Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders
15. Rock from original IL state capitol building
16. Microfilm (no one knows what’s on it)
17. Lapel pin and business card from US Senator Charles Percy (R)
18. A conductor’s baton
19. Patch from Eugene Cernan
20. Declaration of Independence replica

It will be on display at the Hancock (I'm still calling it that) beginning Wednesday.

Fired by Tweet

He is probably the first Secretary of State ever fired by tweet. This morning Rex Tillerson was fired by the president, who wants to replace him with current CIA director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is a partisan Trump licker.

Why was he fired? Maybe because he was the only one in the administration who publicly blamed Russia for the attack of the spy and his daughter in England. Nobody else in the administration dared mention Russia.

Buckle up, folks. As the walls close in on the Mueller investigation, things like this are going to happen more and more.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Birth of Johnny Kaempfer

The date was March 12, 1998.

Exactly 20 years ago.

The news media had it's own idea of the biggest story of the day...

The Chicago Sun Times front page: “Cicero deal halts Rally by Klan”
The Chicago Tribune front page: “Clinton plans to join Ulster peace talks”
The Daily Herald front page: “Clinton refuses to say whether he will testify to grand jury”
The New York Times front page: “The World of Paula Jones”

But the biggest story was happening in Mt. Prospect, and only one reporter was on hand to break the story....Me. I called into the John Landecker show that morning to report the news flash. The cast of characters included John Landecker, sidekick Catherine Johns, and newsman Richard Cantu.

The following is a transcript of that important phone call.

John: Oldies 104.3, John Records Landecker, it’s 8:27, and joining us on the phone from the maternity ward is the producer of the program, Rick the German Boy Kaempfer. Good morning, Rick.

Rick: Good morning.

John: Rick, tell us what’s going on.

Rick: Well as long as we’re plugging our kids (John had just plugged his daughter’s play), I’ve got a new one to plug.

John: Aaaawwwwright!

Rick: Last night around eleven thirty Bridget’s water broke and we didn’t even have time to make it to the hospital downtown, so we went to the one out here.

Catherine: Oh, is that right?

Rick: And we have a new baby boy!

(Cheering and clapping in the studio)

Richard: Whoo Hooo! Congratulations. Two knucklehead boys!

Rick: And it’s a big one too.

Catherine: How big?

Rick: 8 pounds, 6 ounces.

Catherine: That is pretty big. How’s Bridget doing?

Rick: She’s doing real well. I’m at home now. I came home to check on Tommy...

John: Wait a doggone minute! You went home to check on your other child before you called the show? Where are your priorities?

Rick: Sorry, forgive me. I’m hopelessly out of whack.

John: OK, 8 pounds. How long was it?

Rick: 21 inches...if you know what I’m saying.

Catherine: We know what you’re saying.

John: No, how long was the baby?

Rick: Oh, the baby?

Richard: Once more into the gutter.

John: So what time was this kid born?

Rick: Two o’clock in the morning. They kicked me out of the hospital at 4:00, because Bridget has to share a room, and I came home and got a little sleep, and Tommy just woke me up, so I’m calling you right away.

John: So you’ve called all your family I hope.

Rick: Bridget called them.

John: But she had the baby.

Rick: Yeah, she had the baby in about two hours. It wasn’t that bad, although that’s easy for me to say. She was fine, what a trooper.

Catherine: And she wanted to chat, right?

Rick: Exactly.

Catherine: Now I want to know something. Does this child have a name?

Rick: Oh yes he does. His name is John Richard Kaempfer.

John: Wow.

Richard: You honor us, Sir.

John: Was he named after anyone?

Rick: Well, my favorite Beatle is John.

John: John Lennon.

Rick: And of course, my favorite DJ....

John: Really?

Rick: Yup. John Brandmeier.

(Everyone laughs)

John: OK, you got me.

(Call waiting clicks)

Rick: And actually John is also a name in Bridget’s family. Her grandfather was named John. And so is her brother.

(Call waiting clicks again)

John: I see you got baby waiting there.

Rick: Yeah, I think I may be popular today.

John: Well, we’ll let you go. Congratulations on the big news! So you’ll be back to work tomorrow, right?

Rick: Uh...well...

Catherine: John!

John: Just kidding, just kidding.

Rick: See you later.

John: There he goes. Proud papa.


John: Oh wait! Darnit! I forgot to ask him if he taped it.

Richard: Are you kidding? Of course he did.

John: Because if there was ever a disc jockey who knows how to exploit a child, it’s....

2 year old Tommy Kaempfer singing the jingle: John Records Landecker, Oldies 104.3.

Of course, I did tape it, by the way. It aired the next day. Friday the 13th. By the time Johnny was three he was doing movie reviews and jokes on the radio. He also accompanied the show to the Dominican Republic for a live broadcast.

Johnny today...

CWA Conference

The first writer's conference staged by the CWA was a huge success. The keynote speaker was Fred Mitchell (formerly of the Tribune) and there were nearly a hundred authors in attendance from around the country.

I was there for the entire thing--mostly introducing panelists. I learned so much from writers who are so much better at writing than I am. Great stuff. Looking forward to next year...

From left to right...Fred Mitchell, CWA Board Member (and the real brains behind this conference) Samantha Hoffman, CWA president Randy Richardson, and me.

From L-R...CWA board members George Rawlinson, me, Randy Richardson

Fun with Headlines

The Loop's Final Show

Everyone was talking about that final Loop show over the weekend. Steve Dahl presided over a star-studded send off that included Johnny B, Buzz Kilman, Bruce Wolf, Kevin Matthews, Joe Walsh, Sky Daniels, Mitch Michaels, Stan Lawrence, Patti Haze, and Danny Bonaduce.

Steve did a great job presiding over the mayhem.

So happy they posted the audio for those of you who missed it. It's here if you want to listen.

A few others chimed in about the Loop...

Richard Roeper in the Sun Times

Steve Johnson in the Tribune...

Robert Feder in the Daily Herald (on the missing Garry Meier)

My personal story (and tribute) will be in the next issue of the Illinois Entertainer.