Friday, June 22, 2018

CWA Party

This is where I will be tonight...

The Star Plaza is Being Torn Down

The Northwest Indiana Times has the story. It's a bummer.

I not only attended more than a dozen concerts at the Star Plaza (in Merrillville), I was part of two different groups that performed there. It was a great mid-sized concert hall with good accoustics and good sight lines.

I guess time marches on.

Roseanne without Roseanne

ABC has decided to bring back Roseanne's show...without Roseanne.

It will be called The Connors, and it will feature all the characters minus the racist one.

Roseanne actually had a very adult response to this: "I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved."

Melania's Jacket

How believable is it that Melania just accidentally wore the jacket saying "I just don't care, do you?" on her back yesterday? She was on the way to visit some of the kids on the border.

Was this really a Marie Antoinette moment?

The BBC offers five possible explanations for this ridiculous moment.

RIP Charles Krauthammer

I disagreed with him almost all the time, but I always respected his intellectual consistency. He was an eloquent conservative voice. Krauthammer died yesterday at the age of 68.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Great Cover

Seth McFarlane Puts Money Where Mouth Is

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter...

Days after Seth MacFarlane's outrage over Fox News host Tucker Carlson's suggestion that viewers should discount any other media besides Fox News, the creator of Family Guy, American Dad! and The Orville made a $2 million donation to NPR and another $500,000 to KPCC/Pasadena, the top news distribution for NPR content in Southern California. The news was first reported by

In MacFarlane's tweet last Saturday, he criticized Carlson, whose comments he interpreted as telling viewers, "don't think critically, don't consult multiple news sources, and in general, don't use your brain."

To counter that impression and to support NPR's mission to create a more informed public and strengthen democracy, MacFarlane's sizeable donation is designed specifically to support NPR's Collaborative Journalism Network, which was created to better connect NPR's nearly 1,800 journalists embedded around the world by linking newsrooms within geographical regions to better share resources, cover breaking news more efficiently, collaborate on overall coverage and ramp up investigative reporting, hire and deploy more beat reporters and elevate local and regional stories to the national level, eliminating "news deserts" in certain areas of the country.

Amen, Mr. McFarlane. I applaud your efforts.

What happens when you ask your girlfriend for text updates of the game

I thought this was pretty darn funny. It has gone viral in England...

Jerry Springer Signs Off

I honestly didn't know his show was still on the air. Jerry Springer has wrapped up his show. Robert Feder has the details...

There was a time when the end of “The Jerry Springer Show” would have been front-page news in Chicago. But word this week that the syndicated talk show had ceased production after 4,000 episodes and 27 seasons mainly drew shrugs of good riddance. Named the worst TV show all time by TV Guide in 2002, the sleazy slugfest originated for 17 years from Chicago’s NBC Tower before relocating to Connecticut in 2009.

I met Jerry several times while his show was airing in Chicago and found him to be very different off the air. He was thoughtful, intelligent, and very funny. He guested on John Landecker's show a number of times. I always thought he would get back into politics one day. Maybe that day is now.

The Bidding for Fox

I know I've used this space to hammer home my opposition to further media consolidation many times. I wrote a book ($everance) which showed the absurdities caused by the last big era of consolidation, and I've urged many times since then not to make the same mistake again.

Too late. It's happening again, and once again, it will be very bad for consumers and employees of those media giants.

Right now there is a bidding war going on over 21st Century Fox. Both Comcast and Disney are bidding, and bidding such ridiculous price tags that they will be in debt forever. Comcast bid $65 billion (with a B) last week. Disney is now bidding 71.3 billion (with a B)

You've seen what happens when six companies own all the media in this country. We're about to see what happens when only five companies do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Free Kicks, Episode 7

EP7: Adam and Rick go over the first week of the incredible World Cup, and preview what’s to come this week.

Listen to it here.

Minutia Men, Episode 99

EP99: Rick and Dave discuss heads in tailpipes, killing bobcats with grandma’s bare hands, meth morons, Every Cub Ever beginning with the letter L, and Rick’s brush with Tom Cruise.

Listen to it here.

Rachel Maddow Breaks Down

Rachel Maddow broke down last night reporting the news of the baby camps--and today conservatives are mocking her. That's about as low as it gets.

I see like this guy does...

Stick To Your Guns

This sickening little piece of information comes from the Washington Post...

There are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, or enough for every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over.

Those numbers come from the latest edition of the global Small Arms Survey, a project of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

The report, which draws on official data, survey data and other measures for 230 countries, finds that global firearm ownership is heavily concentrated in the United States. In 2017, for instance, Americans made up 4 percent of the world's population but owned about 46 percent of the entire global stock of 857 million civilian firearms.

I still love my country, but I don't love this shameful part of it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Steve & Johnnie

From this morning's Robert Feder column...

Steve King and Johnnie Putman have been tapped to host the inaugural broadcast Wednesday of “WGN Nightside,” the new late-night show on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. Airing from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., it’s the bridge between evening co-hosts Patti Vasquez and Andrea Darlas and overnight host Nick Digilio. King and Putman, who drew top ratings for WGN on overnights for more than 26 years, were inducted in the WGN Walk of Fame in 2015. Could this lead to more for the husband-and-wife team? “If, now and then, the planets align and WGN and the two of us feel like revisiting this kind of occasional slide back inside your radio speaker, it might be fun,” King said. “WGN Nightside” will air on nights without live sports broadcasts.

Bye Bye Tronc

I love this headline in the New York Post: Tronc finally realizes it has a stupid name.

Now that the genius who named them that is out of the company, they are going back to Tribune Publishing.

Jeff Zucker's Job Appears Safe

Now that AT&T and Time Warner have officially merged, the new boss of AT&T was asked if any changes were coming to CNN (part of Time Warner).

Here's what he said: "First of all, Jeff [Zucker] needs to continues to do what he does, which is continue to run the organization incredibly well, and that first and foremost will continue and as you know he is here for the ride going forward and I’m really pleased and excited about it. He’s a very talented indivdiual and that will obviously be the first driver."

(Full article is here)

As a veteran of at least five corporate media mergers, all I have to say is, watch your back Jeff Zucker.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Another Potential Creep Revealed

Et tu, Chris Hardwick?

Are even the nerds going to be implicated in the #Metoo movement.

Sounds like it, courtesy of Variety.

Lou Manfredini vs. Dean Richards

Robert Feder's column today features internal e-mails from WGN insiders about the big move out of their incredible showcase studio into new digs.

Not sure why everyone was e-mailing each other, but Lou Manfredini let loose with a critique of the on-air product, suggesting they return to less politics and a friendlier, less polarizing approach. Dean Richards responded with a counterargument--suggesting they have no choice but to point out what is going on while the world is burning.

Interesting stuff. Worth a read.

My two cents: Lou is probably correct. I've heard that from many older former die-hard WGN fans, many of whom are Republican. They don't like having the person they voted for in the White House rubbed in their faces. It's impolite.

That said, I don't know how you can report the news these days without pointing out the constant lying and norm-breaking. It seems like that's a pretty big part of the story.

Germany in the World Cup pick to win it all lost to Mexico 1-0 yesterday. That's right, the Fatherland let me down on Father's Day.

I'm sure this will come up on this week's episode of Free Kicks. We tape it later this afternoon.

My Kind of Town

Went down to the lakefront with Bridget and sons 1 & 3 over the weekend just because...sometimes we take for granted what a great city this is.

Green White U18 Girls

Congratualtions to Green White Soccer Club's U18 Girls team. They went to the regionals of a national tournament (The President's Cup) in Cincinnati representing the state of Illinois, and they won it!

Next stop: The Nationals in Indianapolis!

Very impressive. So proud of these girls. (Not technically my girls--but my club--and I've known all these girls since they were little).