Saturday, August 25, 2018

50 Years Ago Today

Johnny Conlisk is as “Chicago” as they come. Both his father and grandfather were high ranking members of the Chicago Police Department. Many other family members have been Chicago Police officers as well. His father advised him not to go into “the family business” and Johnny took him at his word.

For many years, Johnny Conlisk was a character actor and model appearing in television commercials and newspaper and magazine ads. In 2004, Johnny and his wife, Janet Treuhaft formed, an eBay Trading Assistant company not far from Wrigley Field. Please click to learn how they can sell for you on eBay.

A few years ago I asked him to blog about the riots between the Chicago Police and the hippies at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was there, and has a unique perspective.

On the 50th anniversary of that incredibly memorable day, I'm reposting his essay here.

The Whole World is Watching

By Johnny Conlisk

In August of 1968, when I was a 16 year-old kid just about to start my senior year in high school, I got to play a small part in the Democratic National Convention.

For months before the big event, city officials planned how to lay out the red carpet for the convention delegates. The first Mayor Daley formed the Chicago Host Committee. Thousands of volunteers were assigned to help the various state delegates find their way around town and stay out of trouble. You had to be connected to get one of these fun jobs and I was connected. My father was the chief of police.

Our first task was to greet delegates at O’Hare. We were issued candy striped vests and Styrofoam straw hats to identify us as Host Committee volunteers.

After that, I had hoped to be with the California or New York delegations where the action was. Instead, I was assigned to the tiny Guam delegation. They were very nice, but they weren’t movie stars or big time politicians.

We helped them find the shops on Michigan avenue and an off duty policeman would drive them out to the International Amphitheater. It was all pretty cool.

We heard about the anti-war protestors, they were on TV every night. But I guess our job was to keep the Guamanians away from all that during our 14-hour days of hosting, so it wasn’t at the top of my consciousness.

The big goal for all the kids volunteering was to get into the convention hall itself. There was little hope of that, however, because the town was full of important people who would get in before high school kids.

Then the word was passed down. Wednesday night, August 28, 1968 was my night to get into the convention hall. My friend, Bill Finucane and I went to the Amphitheater together. We were ushered into the second level gallery. We realized later that the Mayor’s people were packing the galleries. They knew there was going to be trouble that night and they wanted an audience that would be friendly to the Mayor. We listened to the speeches echo through the rafters of the craggy old hall.

Then we heard booing during the speech of Senator Abraham Ribocoff and we heard him say “Storm troopers in Blue”. Bill and I turned to each other. What was he talking about?

After that evening’s session was over, I got a ride back downtown to the Conrad Hilton. I didn’t know that a riot had taken place in front of the Hilton a couple hours earlier. I just knew that the Airport Bus that left from there made a stop near our house.

The bus left from the south side of the Hilton. When I found out I would have to wait a half hour for the next bus, I walked up to the Michigan Avenue side of the hotel. There were thousands of cops on the west side of the street and thousands of hippies on the east side of the street. In the middle were Illinois National Guard Jeeps strung with barbed wire.

The first person I recognized was Jim Rochford, Deputy Chief of Police, my father’s best friend, and the guy in charge of the thousands of cops. “Hi, Mr. Rochford!” I said cheerily to the casually dressed chief.

“What are you doing here?” He asked incredulously.

“I’m waiting for the airport bus.”

“Oh, well, stay out of trouble.”

I wandered over to the hippie’s side of the street.

As I stood on the curb on the edge of the crowd, my powder blue jacket flapped in the light breeze, revealing the candy-striped vest of the Chicago Host Committee. Suddenly, a baseball-sized rock flew just past my ear and landed on the trunk of a parked car with a loud bang.

I looked up and saw Rochford ordering two burly cops to come over and rescue me. The hippies mistook my rescuers for arresting officers. They booed loudly as I was gently dragged across the street.

“I told you to stay out of trouble!” Rochford barked as they put me in a squad car to drive me over to police headquarters, a couple blocks away.

Several hours later, the crisis eased, an officer gave me a lift home and the excitement was all over.

Sometimes you make history, sometimes history makes you and sometimes, history is just something that happens while you are waiting for a bus.

This is Johnny with Deputy Chief Rochford at a wedding in 1977.

Walk Off Homer

My sister Cindy and I were there for the Bote walk off yesterday. What a game!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Now that's a homer

Looks like a Dave Kingman blast...

David Pecker

Ironic story all around. Our president thinks the mainstream press in this country is "fake news" because it reports negative stories about him, but his best friend is David Pecker, the sleaziest "press" person in America--the man who runs the National Enquirer.

Well, turns out if you sleep with dogs, you end up with fleas. David Pecker was given immunity to testify against Trump. He kept a safe full of incriminating stories about Trump.

That's a HUGE story, but I must admit, every time I hear someone talking about it, I giggle like an adolescent. It's hard to get past the name David Pecker. I thought Spinal Tap's Michael McKean had the best comment about it yesterday on Twitter...

Best Amount of Alcohol: None

I've always suspected this to be true. This story from the Guardian quotes a very comprehensive study, and me no likey...

Most national guidelines suggest there are health benefits to one or two glasses of wine or beer a day, they say. “Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.”

The study was carried out by researchers at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), who investigated levels of alcohol consumption and health effects in 195 countries between 1990 to 2016. They used data from 694 studies to work out how common drinking was and from 592 studies including 28 million people worldwide to work out the health risks.

Moderate drinking has been condoned for years on the assumption that there are some health benefits. A glass of red wine a day has long been said to be good for the heart. But although the researchers did find low levels of drinking offered some protection from heart disease, and possibly from diabetes and stroke, the benefits were far outweighed by alcohol’s harmful effects, they said.

Drinking alcohol was a big cause of cancer in the over-50s, particularly in women. Previous research has shown that one in 13 breast cancers in the UK were alcohol-related. The study found that globally, 27.1% of cancer deaths in women and 18.9% in men over 50 were linked to their drinking habits.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Book Signing at the Cryotherapy Chamber

That was a rather unusual evening last night, but an eye opener for me. Thanks to everyone who came out (including WGN Radio's Johnnie Putman), and thanks to the nice ladies at Elemental Float and Cryotherapy for giving me a full tour. I'm actually thinking about using the cryotherapy for some inflammation I've been experiencing in my leg...

Casting the Roger Ailes Movie

This is really turning into a star-studded affair. John Lithgow has signed on to play Roger Ailes. Nicole Kidman will be playing Gretchen Carlson. Charlize Theron will play Megyn Kelly. Margo Robbie will play a Fox News producer.

Can't wait.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Can't Stop Watching This


Going to one of the most unusual book signings of my literary career tonight...Eckhartz Press author Beth Jacobellis will be signing and selling copies of her novel "Cameo" at Elemental Float and Cryotherapy in Park Ridge ( 127 N Northwest Hwy) from 7-9pm. Beth will do also do free Tarot card readings. While you're there check out the soothing natural healing power of float and cryotherapy. Have I mentioned...There will be wine?

Amazon Top Ten

Lookee here...

The President is Officially an Unindicted Co-Conspirator

I must be missing something here, but how is the "there's no mention of Russia" defense even a thing here? The president of the United States, according to sworn testimony in a guilty plea of his former personal attorney, directed his attorney to commit a crime.

Cohen is being charged with that crime. He admitted he did it. Trump is not denying he ordered it.

This is it. Even if nothing turns up in the Mueller probe. The president is guilty of a crime.

Rick on the Radio

This is how I spent my afternoon yesterday...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Traffic Changes

In Chicago this affects stations like WGN and WBEZ. From Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Losing Entercom and now Cumulus, USTN winds down radio (but not TV). It’s got 46 TV station clients, and television becomes the sole focus of United States Traffic Network. It suffered public blows from Entercom on two successive quarterly calls, and then yesterday Cumulus revealed it had signed a group deal with another provider – soon identified as iHeart-owned Total Traffic and Weather Network. Cumulus reported $4.8 million in lost second-quarter revenue and bad-debt expense from its USTN deal. (Though Cumulus didn’t employ the harsh words Entercom did.) It’s worth noting that USTN was sold to traffic service veteran Ivan Shulman’s Fair & Equal LLC in mid-March, and the business model was to offer equity stakes to radio groups. Where do things stand? We wait to hear the status of USTN’s breach-of-contract suit against Entercom. It’s delivering the last voiced-and-sponsored reports this Friday. Data delivery to clients will continue until September 6. The Cumulus swing to TTWN is a big deal in this space, making iHeart an even bigger player – and seller of other companies’ precious 10-second and 15-second spot inventory. More from the Cumulus call coming up, but first -

Miss America Drama

Sounds like things are getting a little tense in Miss America-land. Ever since former Miss America (and Fox News anchor) Gretchen Carlson took over the pagaent, other former Miss Americas are up in arms about the way she is running things.

Deadline has a pretty good rundown of the drama.

Judge Bender on the Radio

Eckhartz Press author Judge Michael Ian Bender appeared on Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall. Listen to it at the link below. It starts around the 14 minute mark.

Listen here.

Thanks so much to Bill and Kerri for having him on the show.

John & Amy

This should be a fun listen. John & Amy have an incredible chemistry together. From this morning's Robert Feder column...

It’s a first for Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker and his famed actress daughter Amy Landecker. Starting at 11 p.m. Thursday, the two Landeckers will turn up as co-hosts on Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. The two-hour father-and-daughter stint was the idea of Todd Manley, station manager and vice president of content at WGN. “Amy and I have appeared as guests together on numerous radio and television broadcasts but never as co-hosts on our own,” said the Radio Hall of Famer. “At the very least it should be nerve-racking.”

Monday, August 20, 2018

Lee Kingsmill on the radio

WGN has posted the podcast of Lee Kingsmill on the air on with Rick Kogan.

You can listen to it here.

Rockin' For You

What he old WPGU pal Mike Bramel.

Cubs, Pearl Jam, David Bote, and David Bowie

All of them come together in this clip from Saturday night's Pearl Jam show at Wrigley...

Never Too Old

Eckhartz Press author Lee Kingsmill appeared on Rick Kogan's show last night to discuss his debut book "Safe Inside". Lee became a first time author at the age of 80.

You are never too old to become a first time author. Take a look at this tweet...

I know a guy. Me.

Uh oh

Starting to get a little worried about the Cubs...

Box Office Poison

How far has Kevin Spacey fallen? His latest film "Billionaire Boys Club" opened over the weekend, and grossed a grand total of $287. Not $287 thousand. Not $287 million.


The Hollywood Reporter has the details.

Truth isn't Truth

Amazing comment by Rudy Giuliani on "Meet the Press" yesterday.

Looked it up. Turns out, truth is truth. Merriam Webster does not lie.

Another Reason to go to Vegas

From this morning's RAMP newsletter...

Following in the footsteps of Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Cher and Celine Dion (to name a few), Aerosmith announced their own headlining residency in Las Vegas -- the show, aptly dubbed "Deuces Are Wild" is tied to the band's 50th anniversary and launches on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the Park Theater at the new Park MGM on the Vegas strip. So far, 18 shows are scheduled through July 9, 2019.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, frontman Steven Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer made the official announcement (and performed live) last Wednesday on NBC's Today show. As frontman Steven Tyler explained to Today's Hoda Kotb, "First we’re gonna move there... then, we're gonna shop there."

Taking One for the Team

Pretty soon radio broadcasters will start collecting hazard pay for doing live remotes. This story comes out of Wisconsin via Radio Ink...

Wisconsin sports talker Bill Michaels was hit by lightning last Thursday in Eau Claire while hosting his show from a golf club. Michaels told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he was sitting at a metal-mesh table when he was hit. He said it burned his arms and fingers and blew out his shoe. He left for the hospital without finishing his show (he hosts 10A-1P on 105.7 The Fan). After 4 hours Michaels was released with a bad headache and numbness in his extremeties.

Chet & Lee

Two Eckhartz Press authors graced the Chicago radio airwaves over the weekend.

On Friday morning Chet Coppock appeared on the John Howell show on WLS.

Last night Lee Kingsmill (left) appeared on Rick Kogan's show on WGN.

Both of them knocked it out of the park. Both of their books are available at Eckhartz Press, here and here. If their interviews are ever posted as podcasts on the respective station websites, I will post links.

Family Wedding

My wife Bridget’s beautiful family. Siblings, spouses and kids all gathered for a family wedding in Wisconsin. Congratulations to niece Bridget and her new husband Will. There will be a quiz for Will next summer when we gather for another wedding. Can he name everyone in this picture?