Friday, March 22, 2019

GlenAllen Hill

My book "everycubever" comes out in April and features a mini-bio of every Cub who ever played, including today's birthday boy...

~Glenallen Hill 1965 (Cubs 1993-1994, 1998-2000)
The bulging biceps and nasty scowl on Hill’s face may have come from artificial sources (as the Mitchell Report intimated in 2007), but he will always be remembered for a home run he hit on May 11, 2000. That day Hill became the only player in history to hit a homer onto the rooftop of the building across the street. It was a momumental blast, estimated at well over 500 feet.

Bill & Ted 3?

For real? Bill and Ted are about to have another excellent adventure.

As 40-somethings.

That could be excellent, and it could be "What in the world?'

Release Date

15 years ago today Janet Sutherland suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. Today the book about her brave and amazing recovery is being shipped to everyone who pre-ordered it at Eckhartz Press. Congrats to Janet! "Nose Over Toes" is available beginning today at Eckhartz Press!


I saw this last night on Facebook and just had to post it. Great memories. It's hard to explain to people today just how big Johnny B was in 1986...

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Oscar Bielaski

My book "everycubever" is coming out in April and will include a mini-bio about every Cub who ever played, including today's birthday boy. He is one of two Cubs players who were also Civil War veterans...

~Oscar Bielaski 1847–1911 (White Stockings 1875-1876)
Oscar was the right fielder of the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) the season before the National League was founded, and also played with them in the National League’s first season (1876). Bielaski’s lifetime batting average was .240. His baseball career might not have amounted to much, but he holds a special distinction among players that have worn the Chicago uniform. A decade before joining the team, Oscar served in the 11th Calvary Regiment of New York in 1864. That’s right, Oscar was a Civil War veteran. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery in Washington. Shortly after he died in 1911, his nephew Alexander was named the director of the FBI. Oscar’s father was also a Captain in the Civil War and died in action.

Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke talks about surviving a brain aneurysm in this New Yorker article. Janet Sutherland Madden is not alone. It's one of the reasons her Eckhartz Press book (officially coming out tomorrow) is so timely and helpful. Get your copy today:


Going out the way he deserves to go out...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Trolley Line Butler

My book "everycubever" comes out in April and features a mini-bio of every Cub who ever played. I spent a good week researching today's birthday boy intrigued by his nickname...

~Johnny Butler 1893–1967 (Cubs 1928)
They called him Trolley Line, and Johnny more than likely acquired his nickname thanks to the town of Butler, Pennsylvania, which featured a well-known Trolley line (the Butler Short Line). Butler didn’t have much power (3 career home runs), and he didn’t hit that well (career .252 hitter), but he was a pretty good glove man in the infield, and he was versatile. Trolley Line Butler played 3B/SS for 1928 Cubs. He stayed in the big leagues for four seasons–two years with Brooklyn before joining the Cubs, and one season with the Cardinals in 1929. By the turn of the decade, the Trolley Line was shut down.

20 Very Bad Chicago Media Gaffes

I can't believe I made it (tangentially) on this list. Chicago Magazine has a piece out naming the top twenty media gaffes in Chicago history.

Steve Dahl's on-air vasectomy in 1989 was one of them.

I produced that show. I thought it was radio gold.

It was around the same time this classy photo was taken.

Woodstock 50

Interesting lineup for the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. From today's RAMP newsletter...

The Woodstock 50 Music and Arts Fair announced the official lineup for its three-day 50th anniversary celebration, which is scheduled on the original festival's 50th anniversary weekend, August 16-18, this time in Watkins Glen, NY. More than 80 acts will perform over the three days, including some original Woodstock '69 icons and legacy acts -- Santana, Dead & Company, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, David Crosby & Friends, John Fogerty, Canned Heat, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian and Melanie.

Here is a preview of just some of the other amazing artists scheduled to perform -- Friday, Aug. 16: The Killers, Miley Cyrus, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, Run The Jewels, The Head and The Heart, Maggie Rogers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Bishop Briggs, Anderson East, Akon, Grandson, Fever 333, Larkin Poe and more.

Saturday, Aug. 17: Chance The Rapper, The Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Portugal. The Man, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Dawes, Margo Price, Nahko And Medicine For The People, India.Arie and more.

Sunday, Aug. 18: Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Cage the Elephant, Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monáe, Young the Giant, Courtney Barnett, Common, Vince Staples, Judah and The Lion, The Zombies, Pussy Riot and more.

Joe Scarborough's Retake

If you watch the Morning Joe show, you know that Joe Scarborough was a frequent critic of President Obama. How bad has Donald Trump been for the country and his party? Here's what Joe wrote in today's Washington Post op-ed...

Americans who still have faith in the upward arc of King’s moral universe should be grateful for Obama’s presidency and the way his election exposed the white racism that is still at large in our land. If changing the Constitution and reelecting Obama two more times would break the fever that now ravages Trump’s Washington, I would cheerfully champion the passage of that constitutional amendment, slap a “Hope and Change” sticker on my shirt, and race to the nearest voting booth to support the man historians will remember as the most significant president since Abraham Lincoln.

Holy crap. Now that's a transformation in thinking.

New WLS Program Director

From this morning's Radio Online...

Cumulus Media News/Talk WLS-AM/Chicago appoints Stephanie Tichenor as its new Program Director, effective immediately. Tichenor joins WLS from Tribune's crosstown News/Talk WGN-AM where she served as Director of News & Operations. She's also held positions including Operations Manager, Assistant Program Director and Executive Producer during her tenure at WGN.

Bob Lawson

My old colleague Bob Lawson has a new gig. Via Robert Feder's column this morning...

WRME 87.7-FM, the Weigel Broadcasting soft-rock oldies and classic hits station known as Me-TV FM, just fortified its ranks with the addition of another Chicago radio veteran. Bob Lawson, best known for his many years as production director at the former WJMK, has been hired as production and programming assistant. He’ll report to program director Rick O’Dell and imaging and production director Bill Cochran. “Bob’s a great addition to the team because his background is a rare combination of production and programming,” O’Dell said. “Weigel likes to hire people whose baseball card would say ‘Infield-Outfield.’ Bob’s versatility is a huge plus for Me.”

Nose Over Toes Book Launch

We had a great time last night at Ditka's restaurant for the launch of Janet Sutherland Madden's book "Nose Over Toes". A few celebs stopped by including WSHE's Susan Wiencek, radio legend and fellow Eckhartz Press author Chet Coppock, fellow Eckhartz Press author Ken Korber, WLS production guru Vince Argento, and even a former professional wrestler the Russian Brute...

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Nose Over Toes

What are you doing tonight? I'll be at Ditka's restaurant downtown from 5-8pm for the book launch of Janet Sutherland Madden's new book "Nose Over Toes". Janet is a brain aneurysm survivor, and her story is incredibly inspiring. Come meet her, buy her book, have some snacks, and if you come up to me and say "You look very young tonight", I will buy you a drink of your choice. (For the record--that would probably work any night--but tonight I'll be listening for it.)

Nothing to See Here

Landecker & Kogan

On this day in 2013, Rick Kogan interviewed John Landecker about his great Eckhartz Press book "Records Truly Is My Middle Name" (one of the best interviews of our long book tour)

Richie Ashburn

My book "everycubever" comes out in April, and will include a mini-bio about every Cub who ever played. Some are really obscure. Others are Hall of Famers like today's birthday boy...

~Richie Ashburn 1927–1997 (Cubs 1960-1961)
While it was great to have the Hall of Famer Ashburn covering centerfield for the 1960 and 1961 Cubs, the lifetime .308 hitter was long past his prime. He put up those Hall of Fame numbers mostly for the Philadelphia Phillies. The stories about Ashburn from his early days are legendary. He loved hitting so much he slept with his Louisville Slugger when he was in slump. He was a speedy singles hitter who won two batting titles, finished second three times, and hit over .300 nine times. By the time he came to the Cubs, unfortunately, his career was declining and he no longer had the speed he exhibited early in his career. Ashburn was a five time All-Star, but none of those appearances came with the Cubs. The Cubs let him go in the expansion draft of 1962, and he finished his career as the only All-Star on the worst team of all-time, the 1962 Mets. After his playing career ended, he became a beloved announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies. He died in 1997, two years after he was elected into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. (Photo: 1961 Topps Baseball Card)

Chicago Radio Ratings

Thanks so much to Robert Feder for posting these. He has the full daypart breakdowns too.

Here are Chicago’s top 30 radio stations from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday, as measured by Nielsen Audio from January 31 to February 27, followed by format and average quarter-hour share of listeners age 6 and older (with previous month’s share in parentheses):

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 6.1 (6.2)
2. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 5.5 (5.4)
3. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 5.1 (4.5)
4. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 5.0 (5.5)
5. WVAZ 102.7-FM urban adult contemporary, 4.7 (4.8)
6. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 4.4 (5.0)
7. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 3.9 (3.7)
8. WGN 720-AM news talk, 3.5 (3.0)
9. (tie) WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.3 (3.2); WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 3.3 (3.0)
11. WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 3.2 (3.1)
12. WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 3.1 (3.1)
13. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 3.0 (2.8); WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 3.0 (3.3)
15. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 2.9 (2.9)
16. WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.8 (2.6)
17. WGCI 107.5-FM urban contemporary, 2.7 (2.9)
18. (tie) WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.6 (2.2); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.6 (2.8)
20. WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.2 (2.3)
21. WPWX 92.3-FM urban contemporary, 2.1 (2.0)
22. WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.7 (1.7)
23. (tie) WEBG 95.5-FM country, 1.6 (1.5); WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 1.6 (2.3)
25. WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian, 1.5 (1.3)
26. WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 1.2 (1.1)
27. (tie) WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.0 (1.3); WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.0 (1.2); WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.0 (0.9)
30. WERV 95.9-FM classic hits, 0.7 (1.0)

The CWA Board

Love working with this bunch. It's a big honor to be part of the board of directors for the Chicago Writers Association. Left to Right, back row...Kristin Oakley, Samantha Hoffman, Randy Richardson, Christina Rodriguez, and me. Left to right, front row...Shawn Shiflet, Dan Burns, Charlie Monte Verde, and Marcie Hill. Not pictured: Becky Sarwate-Maxwell and Sandra Colbert.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Minutia Men, Episode 128

EP128: Rick and Dave discuss leaving your children behind, rapping about credit card fraud, testicles in your salsa, Rick’s brushes with celebs in New York, and they interview the photographer who took one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century–the photo at Kent State University in 1970.

Listen to it here.

Hiram Bithorn

My book "everycubever" comes out in April, and yes it will feature a mini-bio of every single player who ever played for the Cubs, including today's birthday boy...

~Hiram Bithorn 1916–1951 (Cubs 1942-1946)
Bithorn was from Puerto Rico, the first Puerto Rican to ever play Major League baseball. Known for his high leg kick, he had one great season with the Cubs in 1943, winning 18 games with seven shutouts, and an ERA of 2.60. Unfortunately, he was drafted into the military during World War II, and after he returned from the Navy he had gained 45 pounds. Bithorn tried to pitch for the Cubs in 1946, but didn’t have anything left in the tank. The two-year layoff was too much to overcome. His life took a tragic turn while he was trying to make a comeback in the Mexican League. On New Year’s Day in 1952, he was shot to death by a policeman in Mexico, in what is still considered a mysterious case. Bithorn is still a hero in Puerto Rico. The baseball stadium in San Juan is named Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Rich King

Happy birthday to Eckhartz Press author Rich King. He's in Arizona with the White Sox these days, enjoying the sun and fun. Have a great birthday Rich!

Book Launch

If you're in the city tomorrow night, swing by. Dave and I will both be there too...

RIP Andre Williams

Who was Andre Williams? The man who co-wrote this song we all know and love...

RIP Dick Dale

From this morning's RAMP newsletter...

Born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston on May 1937, Dale developed his distinctive sound by adding to instrumental rock influences from his Middle Eastern heritage, along with a "wet" reverb sound and his rapid alternative picking style. In a 2011 interview with the Miami New Times, Dale said that the hectic drumming of Gene Krupa, along with the "screams" of wild animals and the sound and sensation of being in the ocean inspired his sound. At the turn of the '60s, Dale was pivotal in the development of the Fender Stratocaster guitar. "Everything that came out of Leo Fender's head, I was his test pilot," Dale told the Miami New Times in that same 2011 article. "He used to say, 'When it can withstand the barrage of punishment from Dick Dale, then it's fit for human consumption.' So I blew up over 50 amplifiers. And that's why they call me the 'Father of Heavy Metal.'"

Dale is survived by his second wife Lana, who served as his manager, and his son James, who worked with him as a drummer.

This is the song that introduced him to a new generation of fans, when Quintin Tarantino used it to kick off his classic film Pulp Fiction...

Writers Conference

Had a great time this weekend at the Let's Just Write writers conference at the Allerton Hotel downtown. There's nothing like talking with a room of 100+ writers about one of my favorite subjects...writing.

This photo is from the Publishers panel I participated in. That's me on the far left, Emily Victorson (Allium Press), moderater (and author/Columbia College professor) Shawn Shiflett, Jerry Brennan (Tortoise Books), and Dennis Foley (Sidestreet press).

I attended at least four other sessions (introduced a few), got a ton of great ideas about writing techniques, and hung out with some great people. If you are a writer, you should do whatever you can to get to next year's session.