Friday, November 30, 2018

Hubbard Cuts in St. Louis Too

Looks like the knives are out this holiday season for Hubbard broadcasting. Among the cuts in St. Louis is my former Loop PD Rick Balis. From the RAMP newsletter...

On the heels of yesterday's pre-holiday downsizing at Hubbard Radio Chicago comes word of similar 4th quarter cuts at the company's St. Louis cluster. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 11 employees have been let go -- interestingly, the same number as were cut in Chicago. That list reportedly includes Rick Balis, the longtime PD of Classic Rock KSHE, who had been with the station since 1976. Another notable KSHE departure is Carl "The Intern" Middleman, Executive Producer of the KSHE morning show and a fixture at the station since 1990.

Happy holidays. Balis is a KSHE institution. Middleman is one of the premier producers in the country. It's just a matter of time before that position (producer) no longer exists in radio. By the way, I've been trying to track down the names of who was let go by Hubbard here in Chicago (they oddly won't say it publicly for some reason), and among those let go, is my old WPGU buddy Marc Vernon. Sad to hear it. I enjoyed his work on the Drive.

Alex Burkholder Appearance

Thanks so much to Robert Feder for the mention of our latest book, and our latest author. It was in his column this morning...

Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the infamous fire at Our Lady of the Angels School on the West Side that took the lives of 92 children and three nuns. It’s also the release date of Death of the Angels: The Why of a Tragedy, a new book about the disaster written by Alex Burkholder, a former Chicago television investigative producer who worked closely with the late news anchor John Drury. Published by Rick Kaempfer and David Stern’s Eckhartz Press, it includes the stories of survivors and firemen who fought the blaze. Burkholder will discuss the book at a signing at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy, 558 West DeKoven Street.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The correct music for Amazon

Amazon will destroy us all some day...

RIP Aimee Johnson-Kilman

I thought this Sun-Times obit about Aimee Kilman (Buzz's wife) was beautifully written by Maureen McDonald.

So sad. Only 53 years old.

Too cool for words

Chicago Radio Ratings

From this morning's Tom Taylor NOW newsletter...

Chicago sets another all-time PPM record for Univision’s regional Mexican WOJO (5.0-5.3-5.4, and the PM drive leader). “Que Buena 105.1” is up to second place, not far behind new #1 WBBM/WCFS, the Entercom all-news simulcast (4.8-5.6-5.7). This is the first #1 and largest share for ’BBM since January 2017. In dayparts, it’s #1 on Saturday/Sunday, where the NFL Bears play. A bit softer is iHeart urban AC “V103” WVAZ (5.7-5.7-5.3, and #1 at night with Chris Michaels). Cumulus classic hits WLS-FM stays fourth, but this share looks more like its late-Summer books (5.4-5.0-4.8). It wins from 10am-3pm. Fifth is Hubbard’s hot AC “Mix” WTMX (4.1-4.6-4.5, and #1 mornings with Eric, Melissa & Whip). Sixth is classic rock sister “Drive” WDRV/WWDV (4.4-4.1-4.3). The Drive is third from 7pm-midnight. Then we enter the Land of Many Ties. Tied for seventh are Entercom siblings “US 99.5,” country WUSN, with a third-straight 3.7 share, and adult alternative WXRT (3.6-3.5-3.7). (’XRT’s stream does a 0.5 share.) Tied for ninth are iHeart CHR “Kiss 103.5” WKSC (3.1-3.1-3.3) and WRME-FM, the Weigel-run easy oldies station on the audio channel of a low power channel 6 TV station (3.8-3.4-3.3).

• More ties in Chicago – sharing 11th place are Tribune’s talk WGN (2.8-2.8-3.2) and iHeart AC “Lite FM” WLIT (3.2-3.5-3.2). Splitting 13th place are Entercom’s rhythmic AC WBMX (3.3-3.3-3.1), iHeart’s urban WGCI (3.1-3.1-3.1) and Hubbard’s AC “She 100.3” WSHE (3.1-2.6-3.1). further down, iHeart’s country “Big 95.5” WEBG (1.6-1.5-1.4) is tied for twenty-fourth place with Disney-owned/ESPN-run sports WMVP (1.2-1.4-1.4). The sports leader is Entercom’s “Score” WSCR (4.3-4.2-2.8). Good book for Chicago Public Media’s not-for-profit news/talk WBEZ (2.3-2.3-2.9). The Windy City’s cume leader is top 40 Kiss (1,776,200).

Behind the Scenes with Alex Burkholder at WGN-TV

I spent the day with Alex Burkholder yesterday as he did an interview with Steve Sanders at WGN-TV. Alex was treated like a returning hero. He worked at WGN for more than 20 years as a news writer/reporter/producer for John Drury, and there were still a bunch of people there that knew him.

Alex brought along a survivor of the fire, Richard DeVitto. The two men did a great job explaining the tragedy that took place at Our Lady of the Angels school this week in 1958.

Here are a few photos from the interview. The link to the interview is here.

Free Kicks, Episode 24

EP24: Adam and Rick recap Week 13 of the Premier League, Rick uses the word “audacious” in a sentence, and Adam takes a quiz about Huddersfield Town.

Listen to it here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hubbard Budget Cuts

From this morning's Robert Feder column...

Eleven positions were eliminated Tuesday in year-end budget cuts at Hubbard Radio Chicago, sources said, including the overnight personalities on hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM and adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM.

Jeff England, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago, would not confirm the number of full-time and part-time jobs affected, but acknowledged the shift from live broadcasting to voice-tracking during post-midnight hours to save money.

I've heard from a few of the people cut, and it appears they are also cutting weekend talent, which is unfortunate. Chicago radio already has a short bench. It appears they have zero plans for keeping and training talent.

Leader of the Free World

This is a slightly terrifying quote from his interview in today's Washington Post...

“I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”

Can't argue with that incredible decision making process.

RIP Stephen Hillenburg

You may not know his name, but Hillenburg made an incredible impact on popular culture. He was the creator of Spongebob Squarepants.

Hillenburg was only 57 when he passed away yesterday.

Lou Gehrig's Disease claims another famous victim.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Pick an Event, Any Event

If you live in the Chicagoland area, surely one of these are near you. Come on by!

Alex Burkholder on WGN-TV

You may remember Alex from his days at WGN-TV as a reporter.

Tomorrow during the noon hour he will be appearing there as an Eckhartz Press author--discussing his book "Death of the Angels" with Steve Sanders.

Be sure to tune in. He'll be bringing along one of the kids who survived that fire 60 years ago.

Giving Tuesday

Today is considered "Giving Tuesday", a day to contribute to charitable causes.

When you are considering where to contribute, keep in mind that Eckhartz Press has several titles that donate their proceeds to charity.

These two books donate ALL of their proceeds to charity.

This one is another option. It's also an Eckhartz Press book, but the charitable details are being worked out by the incredible Beat Tom and Bill Foundation.

Most Memorable Events in Illinois History

This year Illinois is celebrating its bicentennial. On-line voting has been going on since February to name the top 200 events in the 200 years of Illinois. Number two on this list still has a special place in my heart. Click here to see all of them. But here are the top ten (as decribed by the State Journal Register)...

1. Mourning Lincoln – Nobody knew Abraham Lincoln better than his fellow Illinoisans. When he was killed, the state went into mourning and then welcomed him back to rest forever in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery.

2. Victorious Cubs – When the Cubs finally managed to win a World Series, much of the state went wild. Millions (just how many millions is a subject of debate) lined the parade route or gathered at Grant Park for the official celebration.

3. Ending Slavery – After months of work, President Lincoln and his congressional allies passed the 13th Amendment on Jan. 31, 1865. The very next day, Illinois became the first state to ratify the amendment, which officially ended slavery.

4. Lewis and Clark – The Lewis and Clark expedition began from a base in Illinois. The explorers spent the winter of 1803-04 near present-day Wood River, where they prepared their troops and equipment. They started west on May 14, 1804.

5. Lincoln-Douglas Debates – When Lincoln faced Stephen Douglas in an 1858 Senate race, they held seven debates around the state. The debates put Lincoln on the path to the White House and set a new standard for political discourse.

6. Women Voting – In 1913 Illinois became the first state east of the Mississippi River to let women vote. But it was a limited right at first. Women could vote for president and for local offices but not for state offices or Congress.

7. Obama Elected – Barack Obama addressed the nation from Grant Park after winning the presidency. Some 240,000 people attended, and millions more watched on TV. For friends and foes alike, it was a remarkable moment.

8. World’s Fair – The World’s Columbian Exposition celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas. It was a huge success, with a profound influence on architecture, the arts and Chicago’s image.

9. The Nuclear Age – Chicago Pile-1, the world’s first nuclear reactor, went into operation on Dec. 2, 1942. It produced about half a watt for less than five minutes but paved the way for the atomic bomb and nuclear power plants.

10 (tie). Blagojevich Arrested – On Dec. 9, 2008, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested for extortion, demanding campaign donations in exchange for state services and trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat. He was removed from office on Jan. 29, 2009.

10 (tie). Native Americans Leave – Unable to stop a flood of settlers, the Ottawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi gave up all their Illinois land in the 1833 Treaty of Chicago. They performed one last war dance two years later, then left for good.

Monday, November 26, 2018


Man of Few Words

Live Action Lion King

This is from this morning's Variety...

The eagerly awaited remake comes from Jon Favreau, who also directed the live-action/CGI remake of The Jungle Book. And while the Lion King, thankfully, has James Earl Jones returning as the iconic Mufasa—its new star-studded cast has fans of the original and new audiences alike excited. Donald Glover, Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner are all set to voice familiar roles, as Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon, respectively. And then there is the woman that has everyone already prepared to throw their money at Disney: BeyoncĂ© as Nala.

The trailer video has gone viral...

Unfortunately the movie isn't coming out until next summer.