Friday, July 27, 2018

Fair Comparison

Is the Loop coming back?

From this morning's Robert Feder column...

Could The Loop be coming back to Chicago? Lance Venta’s Radio Insight reports a domain registration for “,” which could point to a possible deal here between Univision Radio and Cumulus Media. Univision owns regional Mexican WOJO 105.1-FM, and Cumulus controls the call letters and intellectual property of WLUP, which ceased broadcasting in March when its home at 97.9-FM was sold to Educational Media Foundation. One scenario has WOJO’s highly rated “Que Buena 105.1” shifting to another station owned by Univision. It’s all speculation at this point, but as Radio Insight notes: “There is lots of smoke surrounding t


I thought I had a bad day yesterday. I lost my phone for a few hours. Found it. Pfew.

Mark Zuckerberg's day was a little worse. He lost $15 billion. In one day.

His company lost $120 billion.

If true, game over

Not sure if it is true. This Trump world not exactly brimming with good character. But if it is, say hello to President Pence.

The State of the Union

Real headline today from a real news story about a real court decision: Federal Judge Says Trump Administration May Have Added Citizenship Question to Census out of Racial Animus

Not hyperbole. Real.

That's where we are today.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

FCC Won't Back Down

From Robert Feder's column this morning...

Despite heat from President Donald Trump, FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t backing down from the action that doomed Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media (including WGN-Channel 9 and WGN 720-AM). “I stand by our decision,” Pai told the House Energy and Commerce Committee at a hearing Wednesday. “So long as I have the privilege of serving as the chairman of the FCC, I’m going to find the facts, I’m going to follow the law and I’m going to call them like I see them.” On Tuesday, Trump blasted the Republican-dominated FCC, tweeting: “So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn’t approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune. This would have been a great and much needed Conservative voice for and of the People. Liberal Fake News NBC and Comcast gets approved, much bigger, but not Sinclair. Disgraceful!”

I have to admit, I'm stymied by this FCC decision to block the Tribune/Sinclair merger. I'm happy about it, don't get me wrong, but I can't figure out the angle. Were they really that blatant in trying to break the rules (by "giving" stations to people like car dealers and barbers as long as they could still put their right-wing commentary on them)? That would be enough for me, but this is the FCC that banned Net Neutrality when the entire country disagreed. This is the FCC that encouraged further deregulation despite the fact that previous deregulation nearly crippled the industry. This is the FCC that has been beholdin' to President Trump every step of the way. Maybe I'm just being cynical. But I suspect there's something going on here that is not being said, and I'd love to know what it is.

New Richard Reeder Video

Video for Richard Reeder's book on Eckhartz Press. Video produced by Tommy Kaempfer...

Bret Baier, Stand Up Guy

Yesterday afternoon a CNN reporter was kicked out of the White House for asking questions during a typical photo op press pool event. What she did is exactly what every reporter does in that situation, because the president hasn't had a formal press conference in over a year. She shouted out a question. This time, the president didn't like it (it was about Michael Cohen), so he had a hissy fit and made his press office kick her out.

Amazingly, Fox News anchor Bret Baier came to her defense, ON FOX NEWS! He said the following...

Today CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins was denied access to cover an open press event at the White House. After posing questions to President Trump earlier in the day as the network pool reporter, Collins was told by White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders that her questions were inappropriate. They were not. Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of the day doesn’t mean the question isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be asked. This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better. As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access.

Bret Baier is one of the four actual journalists on that station (I'd include Shep Smith, Chris Wallace, and John Roberts). Of course, in this case he was ripping his former boss Bill Shine--the former president of Fox News. I wonder if he had an axe to grind there.

Whatever the reason, kudos to Bret, who is getting hammered by the people who watch that network. It takes guts to speak the truth to an audience who is only watching that network so they don't have to face the truth.

"Deadwood" is Coming Back

One of my all-time favorite series, Deadwood, is set to return next spring to HBO. The series just ended a few years ago, and story lines were left unresolved.

That situation will be rectified by a new Deadwood movie. It won't be a whole series, but I'll take what I can get.

Q&A with Chet Coppock

Chet Coppock's 5th book is entitled "Your Dime, My Dance Floor: Chet Coppock in Pursuit of Chet Coppock", and it's now available for pre-order at Eckhartz Press. (Release date is August 8th). We got a chance to chat with Chet about his book, which is already garnering great reviews...

Q: Early reviews of your book compliment the way you searched inward for this book. I think they are specifically referring to your descriptions of your complicated relationship with your father. Your dad shows up in several chapters as you recount your childhood sports memories. Talk about the pros and cons of having a father who was so connected to the sports world of your childhood.

Chet: My relationship with my dad was very complex and sadly never resolved. The old man was wired to numerous local and national sports figures. He gave me a big time introduction to sports. By the time I was 11, I had attended three World Series and met a mother lode of sports figures - names like Red Grange, George Halas and Mel Allen. Dad earned high marks for indoctrinating me into sports. Sadly, however, about 95 percent of our relationship was indifference. I never really felt my dad cared about me as a person. I yearned for attention and would find it be defining and redefining the persona of Chet Coppock.

Q: In the book you also talk about connecting with your own children through sports. How was your experience as a dad shaped by the way your father brought you up?

Chet: I had no clue about how to be a father. I mean I was lost, yet there was one move I made that smacked of common sense. I loved sipping Red Label scotch in juke joints. I was never an alcoholic but by my early 30’s I was just slopping up the sauce far too much. So when my daughter Lyndsey arrived I made a pledge: I swore my children would never see me as tanked as I saw my parents virtually every night. I didn’t read any books on parenting I just tried to be responsive and comforting. I am blessed. Lynds and my son Tyler are great kids with big hearts. I chose to raise them in the city for several reasons: I wanted them to know that the white race wasn’t the only race and I felt that growing up in the big town would make them more aggressive. Have I been a good father, a new age Ozzie Nelson? Ask the official scorer. I do know that I feel blue ribbon pride that I never got a call from a cop, a school principal or a ticked off parent screaming that either of my little ones was a danger society. I can never thank Ty and Lyndsey enough. They taught me there was life beyond the red zone and the bullpen. Oh ya, I made good on my pledge, I haven’t drank in 34 years. No kidding.

Q: There are so many great sports stories in this book. Of all the people you've met (and you've met them all), what sports stars impressed you the most--not for what they accomplished on the field, but for the way they carried themselves off of it?

Chet: Along the way I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful people, talented athletes who also were blessed with class.

Bill Walton is a guy I just adore, a standup guy who somehow made the transition from flower power, peace and love and the Grateful Dead to three button suits. I admire Bill's honesty and candor. He never dodges a question.

Bobby Unser, a rogue, a stand-on-it race car driver. A guy who set and defined his own rules while winning Indy three times. Bobby would wrestle a rattle snake if you challenged him. Add 50 pounds to his pencil thin frame and Bobby could have been Dick Butkus.

Oscar Robertson, was like a big brother to 22 year old Chet Coppock when I was producing the Milwaukee Bucks radio network. He fought like hell for loose balls and he put his neck on the line to help pro hoops players gain free agency. "O" is what every man should be: honest with others, honest to himself.

"Macho Man" Randy Savage was a trip to the fun house. Macho was a remarkably intelligent man who understood how to work a crowd better than any other grappler I have ever seen. I treasured our friendship. His untimely death still hurts me. Randy spent far too much time carrying Hulk Hogan, or in plain English making the one dimensional "Hulkster" look good. Trust me, that was hard work.

Joe Theismann is in love with one guy - Joe Theismann. However, when Joe and I met at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway back in 1977, something clicked between the two of us. A BFF moment? Maybe. I just admire Joe because he won’t hesitate to come down on the NFL; he is perfectly willing to bite the hand that has fed him since he left Notre Dame.

Norm Van Lier. Yes, the Dutchman was conflicted and at times flat out mad at the world. But his heart was warm - caring and loving. Dutch and I were got rock 'n roll freaks. He always referred to Led Zepplin as "my boys." Just hanging out with the "Storm" was a guaranteed session of belly laughs. I have NEVER met a greater competitor. Greater players, yes. Guys who would rip out your lungs with a switch blade, no.

An all bum's list. We haven't got enough time. Let's just say that Will Clark and Bill Laimbeer are co-captains.

Q: The whole wrestling world influenced you greatly. Talk about how being involved in that world made you into the showman you became.

Chet: Chet Coppock and wrestling were made for each other. The color, the pageantry and boos resonated with me when I was seven or eight years old. On two occasions I almost joined the matworld full time. In 1970, grappling legend Verne Gagne pitched me on becoming a “manager.” The gimmick was simple, marks would be glad to see a guy my size pummeled by a fella seven inches shorter than I am. I looked the other way but in 1988, I damn near hooked up with Vince McMahon on a full time basis. I had been ring announcing for Vince while Mac was looking for a new TV announcer. The two of us began to talk - seriously. The gig would have positioned me as the stable’s number one announcer. I really twisted with the McMahon offer. He was offering tremendous money but I finally said no. One, the Loop AM 1000 was flourishing, and two I just didn’t think I’d find life fulfilling hustling guys like The Iron Sheik or the Ultimate Warrior in my 60’s. Ya, I’ll always wonder...

Q: You actually wrestled a bear once. A real live bear. That's such a great story, and it's in the book. Could you give us the Reader's Digest version of that story?

Chet: Who wouldn’t want to wrestle a bear? When I was sportscasting in Indy in the mid 70’s, the Pacers booked an appearance by Victor the Bear. The club asked if I would trade choke holds with Victor. I leaped at the chance with several hooks: 1, I insisted that I be the last guy to face Victor...2, I wanted to lose within 15 seconds so that I could “complain” about Victor’s illegal tactics. The crowd loved the act as did Julius Erving. The Doc was facing the Pacers that night and was hip enough to see what I was orchestrating. I wrestled Victor three times and would happily do it again - any time, any place.

Q: Any (Chicago) Bears fan will have to get a copy of the book. You have literally had a front row seat to everything that has happened at Soldier Field (and Wrigley before that) for over 50 years, and you tell some memorable tales about those days.

Chet: Yes, I was in the house at Cubs Park December 29, 1963 when the Bears kicked the Giants 14-10 to win an NFL title. Of course I was in the bayou in January, 1986 when the Bears blew out New England 46-10 to gift wrap a title for Michael Kellar Ditka. Great memories? Hell yes but this may throw you a back door curve ball. My memories of attending training camp with the Bears in the mid 50’s seem far more special.

My old man, the Bears largest season ticket holder, used to wheel me down to the cornfields in the mid 1950’s to see the Bears, his club, his passion; my heroes. Dad wasn’t going to attend a Cubs Scout meeting or a recital with me but he did have a game plan in mind for his son. He used his clout with pals like George Halas and Jack Brickhouse to set up a pre-teen to see sports from an angle people could only dream about. How did 10 year old Chet Coppock react to sitting three feet away from THE Mickey Mantle while the Mick was being interviewed by Brick at old Sox Park? Try stunned mixed with bemused. How about dinner with dad, Pete Rozelle and George Halas when I was 14? You’re on to it. Dad wanted his kid to be a sportscaster, a big name. If you know why feel free to write me.

Anyway, this violates the sportscasters code but I do root for the Bears, though assorted cretins like Cade McNown and Jay Cutler can challenge your loyalty to the brand. God, I miss Bears games at Cubs Park. The noise level was overwhelming while the seating proximity to the field made the atmosphere so intimate. Oh what I would give to see Halas on the west side of the field with Vince Lombardi on the east side. I still miss covering the ‘85 Bears. It saddens me that so many guys off that title club wage war with physical trauma and mental deterioration. The bottom line: my old man wanted his kid to be a book of knowledge on sports. School work? That was in the back of the bus.

Q: My personal favorite section of the book is the part about boxing. You've got great stories about Foreman, Frazier, Mike Tyson and more. Who was your boxing hero?

Chet: Boxers are the most underfed and maligned athletes in the world. I love the sport. When two great fighters meet they wanna kill each other’s but they share a bond, an unspoken bond that says, “The audience thinks they know boxing but the fact is very few people know the heart, guts and tolerance the ring requires." Joe Frazier will always be my boxing hero. Joe never took a step back. He was more than willing to absorb three punches to land his patented left hook. Muhammad Ali was cruel to Joe. The taunts declaring Frazier ugly and a gorilla hurt. You must realize that Muhammad’s legacy was primarily due to his brutal three fight series with Smokin’ Joe. Joe, I love you...always will.

Q: I think it's arguable that you are a misunderstood sports figure. People who read your book might be surprised to see the words don't really match their image of who you are.

Chet: I have always felt that Chet Coppock was misunderstood, much of that by my own design. My broadcast heros were all conventional story tellers and great ad libbers. Jack Brickhouse, Blackhawks voice Lloyd Petit and Bruce Roberts. (Photo: Chet with Kup and Brickhouse) I worshipped them. Jack was like a second father. However, I knew by age 13 or 14 that I was going to be a peck’s bad boy - a guy you love to hate. Certainly, having no siblings and two parents who were terrible drinkers enhanced my craving for attention. My days as a roller derby announcer further cemented my role as a villain. However, I take pride in my work as a journalist, work that earned me the Jack Brickhouse lifetime achievement award. As I grew I morphed into a guy who was basically teasing the audience. The bodacious sound bites, the outrageous many regards I’ve been an act, a guy who between the lines has told his viewers/listeners cheer me or jeer me but understand I hope you know that half the time I’m kidding you. I can live with myself...that’s really all that matters, right?

Q: You aren't currently working full time in the media these days. Do you consider yourself retired, or would you like one more crack behind the mic on a regular basis? If so, what kind of show would you like to do?

Chet: The word “Retirement” scares me. I just don’t want to wear white shoes with a white belt and build my day around the early bird at a family restaurant. I hav done a great deal of writing the past five years. Additionally, I have a wonderful gig with the Blackhawks emceeing corporate banquets. Every time I work with Bobby Hull my brain does a crisp 180. Bobby was my idol in 1960, now 58 years later we swap ad libs at banquets. I also do a fair share of speaking engagements. Somehow, my calendar is always busy. Would I like to swing the bat one more time as a sports talk host? Damn right. I’ve never worked with a partner but if I did I’d like to work with a crusty female willing to tell me I’m nuts. The lights are dim but not dark. I will be back. Bet the rent.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Happy Birthday Caddyshack

Released 38 years ago today...

Georgia Lawmaker Quits After Appearing on Showtime show

I can't decide how I feel about Sacha Baron Cohen and the way he is making a mockery of America. Last episode I saw he was getting Republican lawmakers to say positive things about toddlers playing with guns.

This episode he got a Georgia lawmaker to hurl slurs and expose his butt. The lawmaker had to resign after it came out. On the one hand, you hate to see people lose their jobs. On the other hand, what in the world was he thinking when he agreed to this...

Beach Boys Reunite

From this morning's RAMP Newsletter. The original Beach Boys (or let's say the most famous lineup--the two younger Wilson brothers are dead) are getting together again for the first time since 2012...

SiriusXM announced that The Beach Boys would appear for an intimate Q&A session with a select group of listeners at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood on Monday, July 30, part of the SiriusXM "Town Hall" series. The session will be moderated by Emmy award-winning actor, director, producer and writer Rob Reiner and will air on August 10 at 5pm ET/PT on Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Channel (4).

In a rare live group appearance, founding members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and David Marks, along with long time Beach Boy, Bruce Johnston, will chat with Reiner and answer questions from fans about their SiriusXM channel, their new album, The Beach Boys with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and their celebrated career. Fittingly, the Town Hall will take place at the Capitol Records Tower, the home of the band's first major label affiliation and the legendary studio where they recorded some of their early material.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

One of the all-time greats

Classy farewell...

Baseball Movies

Michael Cerami from Bleacher Nation watched all of the most popular baseball movies and clocked exactly how much time is spent playing baseball in all of them.

Here are his results...

Major League II (1994) – 45 minutes 14 seconds
Rookie of the Year (1993) – 44 minutes 4 seconds
Major League (1989) – 40 minutes 11 seconds
The Bad News Bears (1976) – 40 minutes 0 seconds
The Natural (1984) – 36 minutes 0 seconds
For the Love of the Game (1999) – 35 minutes 15 seconds
The Rookie (2001) – 33 minutes 52 seconds
42 (2013) – 30 minutes and 54 seconds
A League of Their Own (1992) – 28 minutes 30 seconds
Eight Men Out (1988) – 28 minutes 30 seconds
Angels in the Outfield (1994) – 28 minutes 3 seconds
Bull Durham (1988) – 26 minutes 30 seconds
61* (2001) – 25 minutes 0 seconds
Hardball (2001) – 22 minutes 30 seconds
Moneyball (2011) – 21 minutes 43 seconds
The Sandlot (1993) – 14 minutes 50 seconds
Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) – 14 minutes 45 seconds
Field of Dreams (1989) – 10 minutes 20 seconds
Fever Pitch (2005) – 7 minutes 56 seconds

I'm apparently a sucker for a baseball flick, because I've seen all of them. This list also proves that the amount of baseball doesn't equate with the amount of cool.

I highlighted my favorites in bold. My all-time favorite is in second-to-last on this list.

Gotta Love Rizzo

He just seems like such a happy guy. Love that he got to pitch last night, even though the Cubs lost.

This is why I no longer give elephants baths in my house

A Producer's Worst Nightmare

Fox News booked a Democrat to talk about the migrant/child removal issue yesterday. They thought they were booking a Democrat who supported President Trump's ICE department. Her name is Ann Kirkpatrick.

Instead, they somehow booked a woman named Barbara L'Italian. She is also a Democrat, but whoo boy does she disagree with the president on this same issue. “I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump,” she said during the broadcast. “I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong.”

Fox News viewers across the nation probably passed out or were overcome with the vapors. Such a thing has never been said over their airwaves. The President himself probably threw his egg mcmuffin at the set.

Here's how it happened...

Desiree Dunne, executive producer for “Fox & Friends First,” said in a statement to The Washington Post the spokesman on file for Kirkpatrick had accepted the invitation for the candidate.

“This morning, we invited Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick to appear on ‘Fox & Friends First’ through her press contact on file, Joe Katz, who accepted the invitation on Kirkpatrick’s behalf,” Dunne said. “Katz followed with an email confirming the segment, which also included background information and a campaign logo for Ann Kirkpatrick. During the actual segment, Barbara L’Italien, appeared on camera instead of Kirkpatrick.

“Despite speaking to producers prior to the interview, L’Italien did not identify herself as anything other than Kirkpatrick until she was live on air, at which point we ended the interview.”

When asked whether he had sent Kirkpatrick’s background information and campaign logo to the network, Katz said in an email: “I showed the exact same commitment to the truth and accuracy that Fox News always has.”

Ah Karma. How you doin? Haven't seen you around for a while.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Minutia Men, Episode 101

EP101: Rick and Dave discuss Florida loopholes, Not viva-viagra-ing, Coin flip arrests, Baseball’s Sad Lexicon, Rick’s brush with Don Zimmer, and reunite Ebony & Ivory with a visit from Stan Lawrence.

Listen to it here.

Coppock in Arlington Heights

In this morning's Robert Feder column...

People who have read Chet Coppock’s fifth and latest book say it’s his most thoughtful and introspective yet. Your Dime, My Dance Floor: Chet Coppock in Pursuit of Chet Coppock, published by Rick Kaempfer and David Stern’s Eckhartz Press, features numerous stories about the sportscaster’s athletic heroes. But it also includes reflections on life decisions he has made, career bridges he has burned, and the difficulties he has encountered as a father and husband. It will be released August 8 with a signing that night as part of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library’s Books and Brews series at Eddie’s Restaurant, 10 Northwest Highway, Arlington Heights.

Thanks so much, Mr. Feder.