Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Bloodbath at Channel 2

A lot of good professionals lost their jobs today. Robert Feder has the details...

The legendary Pam Zekman, one of Chicago television’s premier investigative reporters, was among at least a dozen employees at WBBM-Channel 2 who lost their jobs today in sweeping companywide layoffs at CBS, sources said.

Others cut reportedly included morning news anchor Erin Kennedy, sports anchor Megan Mawicke, meteorologist Megan Glaros, and reporters Mike Puccinelli and Mai Martinez, according to insiders.

Sink the Bismarck

Cubs history: On this day in 1941, while the Royal Navy was sinking the legendary German battleship Bismarck, the Cubs were losing in the bottom of the 9th to the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. Jake Mooty took the loss. #Cubs #everycubever

Somehow Jake Mooty didn't get mentioned in Johnny Horton's song, "Sink the Bismarck"...

RIP Matt Keough

Missed this news a few weeks ago. Ex-Cub pitcher Matt Keough (Cubs '86) passed away on May 1st. He was only 65. In his later years he appeared on The Real Housewives of Orange County with his estranged wife. His father also played for the Cubs (in 1966). Marty Keough is 86.

RIP Richard Herd

You probably didn't know his name, but surely you knew his face...RIP.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Cubs history: On the day the novel “Dracula” was published by Irish author Bram Stoker (today in 1897), Hall of Famer Clark Griffith led the Cubs (then known as the Colts) to a 6-2 win over the Giants at West Side Grounds. #Cubs #everycubever

Inside for Indies

I was happy to contribute to this campaign. Please join me in helping Indie book stores...

When you've lost Ann Coulter...

Unmanly man

Tom Nichols is a Never-Trumper. He has previously criticized Trump pretty harshly (deservedly), but this one is going to leave a mark. From the Atlantic over the weekend...

In the end, Trump will continue to act like a little boy, and his base, the voters who will stay with him to the end, will excuse him. When a grown man brags about being brave, it is unmanly and distasteful; when a little boy pulls out a cardboard sword and ties a towel around his neck like a cape, it’s endearing. When a rich and powerful old man whines about how unfairly he is being treated, we scowl and judge; when a little boy snuffles in his tears and says that he was bullied—treated worse than Abraham Lincoln, even—we comfort.

Donald Trump is unmanly because he has never chosen to become a man. He has weathered few trials that create an adult of any kind. He is, instead, working-class America’s dysfunctional son, and his supporters, male and female alike, have become the worried parent explaining what a good boy he is to terrorized teachers even while he continues to set fires in the hallway right outside.

I think that working men, the kind raised as I was, know what kind of “man” Trump is. And still, the gratification they get from seeing Trump enrage the rest of the country is enough to earn their indulgence. I doubt, however, that Trump gives them the same consideration. Perhaps Howard Stern, of all people, said it best: “The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most, love him the most. The people who are voting for Trump for the most part … He’d be disgusted by them.” The tragedy is that they are not disgusted by him in return.

Bob & Doug

Wait a second here. The two astronauts who will be flying that SpaceX spaceship are named Bob & Doug. And that's how SpaceX refers to them.

I'm hoping they discover some back bacon.

Record Ratings

How desperate are we for live sports? The Champions for Charity golf match featuring Phil Mickelson & Tom Brady versus Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning set a record for the most watched cable golf event in history.

Details here.

I watched a few hours of it too. I was really enjoying Tom Brady struggling, until of course, he turned it around. He made a shot from the fairway directly into the hole.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Brooklyn Bridge

On the day the Brooklyn Bridge finally opened (May 24, 1883), connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan for the first time, the 1st place Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) were in Chicago playing the Providence Grays. SP Larry Corcoran won 34 games that year, but lost on this day

What not to do, kids

This moron has been arrested...

Fogerty & Family

John Fogerty has been spending the quarantine singing some of his classic songs with his kids. There are lots of them here. I found this one the most interesting because it isn't his song, and I've never heard him do it. It's a great version of Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans"...

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Bonnie & Clyde

On the day outlaws Bonnie & Clyde were gunned down by lawmen in Louisiana (May 23, 1934), Mel Ott homered in the first for New York, and Guy Bush lost his first game of the year. Final score: Giants 5—Cubs 2.

Frank Costanza Behind the Scenes

Minutia Men--Cubs and Cows

I don't think Dave has ever interviewed anyone with more joy--a Cubs fan who might be a bigger Cubs nerd than me @onemillioncubs #Cubs Fun interview: Listen to it here.

Inclusive Chicago

Friday, May 22, 2020

RIP Jerry Sloan

His number hangs from the rafters of the United Center. Jerry Sloan was the first Bulls star, and later coached against the Jordan Bulls twice in the NBA Finals.

Jerry was 78 years old.

Free Kicks--German Soccer Returns

Adam and Rick analyze the return of professional soccer in Germany. No crowds, No high fives, and no defense. Also a check-in with the Premier League’s Project Restart and see if it’s still on track for a June start. [Ep69]

Listen to it here.

Jerry Lee Lewis

On the day Jerry Lee Lewis announced in London that he had married his 13-year-old cousin Myra, (May 22, 1958), the Cubs beat the Phillies 7-4 at Connie Mack Stadium in Philly, behind the pitching of Moe Drabowsky and the hitting of Ernie Banks (4 RBI).


It looks like the Dems are hiring the Republicans to make their ads for them this go-round. Good idea. They don't pull any punches...

Randy Richardson

Eckhartz Press author (and CWA President) Randy Richardson joins the Inside for Indies campaign...

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Made Me Laugh

Lossano and Friends

Tony Lossano is re-running classic Lossano and Friends from the beginning. This week's show features me. I don't remember what I said, but I'm sure it was witty and humble. Others on the show include Ryan Chiaverini (Windy City Live), Jenniffer Weigel (journalist/author/host), Jim Gronemann, Ashley Lobo, Chris Cwiak, Ann Sheehan and Tony Lossano. Enjoy all 5 seasons of Lossano and Friends!

Listen Here:

Cap and the Red Cross

On the day Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross (May 21, 1881), the Cubs (known then as the White Stockings) broke protocol and batted first despite playing in Boston. They won 4-2. Cap Anson was hitting over .400 and ended the season at .399.

Q&A with Eckhartz Press author Ken Korber

Children’s author Ken Korber has been on a bit of a roll. His series of books for very young children has taken off, and he has several very exciting upcoming projects. His latest book for Eckhartz Press is a public service: Grace Fights Covid-19

Rick: Ken, all of your books feature the main character of Grace Note. Tell us about her, where she came from, and who illustrated her.

Ken: Our girl character, “Grace”, did indeed have her origin story as a grace note — that was the magical story line of the Winter book in the Musical Adventures of Grace series.

The creative spark for Grace came from a question I asked my musically-talented son: What’s that little note on the music sheet page? Why is it so small…?

His reply — that’s a grace note; it’s usually insignificant in terms of hearing the music, but sometimes a conductor will have an orchestra play it louder as a way to add “color” to the music… and, as they say, the rest is history.

I, initially, was thinking about an underdog-type story (a small note that became a big note), but that morphed into the development of a story line where an insignificant grace note is changed into a little girl through the magic of a holiday concert…

The first 3 stories in The Musical Adventures of Grace series, sprang from that Winter event and were illustrated by Pam Frazier. But, nowadays, I use Jaime Buckley for most of my new character plots and spin-off stories.

Rick: On our site we switch out some of the Grace books by season. Right now you can find the Spring and Summer books about Grace. There’s also a Fire Prevention book available year round. Can you tell us a little bit about those books?

Ken: The Winter book gave me the opportunity to introduce Grace to the world as a new character; and the follow-up Spring and Summer stories allowed me to expand her world and bring new friends into the story mix. For example, the Spring book has Fortissimo and Harry (two brothers) moving into the house across the street from Grace. Spring also brings Arco the dog into their world, as Grace’s puppy.

The Summer story brings back Maestro Vik (from the Winter book) and has another adult, Curly-the-violin-maker, interacting with Grace & Arco.

As you can see, we try to sneak in some music terms & instruments for younger readers — with the ulterior motive of introducing a variety of music vocabulary into the story lines.

This was deliberate and organic – created from the advice I had received from music educators (who, in their STEAM teaching worlds, are trying to introduce music appreciation concepts earlier than the middle school years…)

The creation and production of the Burn Prevention & Fire Safety book served two purposes (1) a way to create spin-off health-related stories from the original Musical Adventures series, and (2) to begin a formal process that supported aspiring authors and first-time writers – a type of mentorship program.

For this book, my co-author, Paul Possenti, is a classmate of mine who became a Medical Director in a burn center. We developed an alliance over the paucity of patient education materials in the Burn Prevention / Fire Safety arena. We launched the book at the podium of the 2019 American Burn Association conference and presented it as a case study in community engagement.

Some of the testimonials we’ve received say the book will have an immediate impact on the work fire departments are doing…

It was a timely and fulfilling writing alliance, for many at-risk communities, and we have a new edition being produced, now.

Rick: Grace’s latest book about Covid 19 is providing a valuable service for parents with young kids. Tell us a little about what inspired you to write that, and where it is being consumed.

Ken: The upside-down world, resulting from this pandemic, essentially took away some traditional formats for authors to share their work with new readers. We can no longer host or be part of book signing events that allow prospective customers to touch and browse our books, in a live face-to-face environment. So, we have to find other venues or formats that let us be the creative advocates of our stories and characters…

In the case of my COVID book, I found (in communicating with my established customers) that there was some generic anxiety, among young parents, about how to explain our “new normal” and dramatic/mandated social behavior changes to the youngsters in the family.

So, “Grace Fights COVID-19…” and the Bug Squad idea was created, almost as a public service announcement for families with emerging readers.

We now have a tool parents can use to communicate (In kid-friendly terms) and explain what a coronavirus is, why it makes people sick, what we are doing about preventing that from happening to the people we love, etc.

I believe it’s the first kid-centric book that uses my characters to invite the young readers to “join the fight” by washing their hands and adopting socially distancing practices — for a better public health outcome.

We actually got a grant to distribute 185 copies of the Bug Squad book throughout communities.

So, I was part of an industrial Mask Giveaway and Food Drive community event, recently — A new way for an author to meet his reading audience.

I hope we’ll be able to participate in more of these public safety events. It’s a great way to show authors in a health & safety spotlight… one where you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see them.

Rick: You are a prolific gentleman. Coming next month you have yet another book coming out. Tell us about that one, and how that came to be.

Ken: I guess the pandemic gives us authors some additional germination time for new ideas…

My unique Musical Adventures model has the characters combine reading skills with the introduction of music vocabulary and uses their stories to promote health & wellness for the next generation of responsible citizens.

So, I wanted to explore other ways to use that musically-themed approach and the Musical Haiku Adventure book became a thing for me.

Now Grace is a poet, I guess. We’ll see if the reading world agrees with that new dimension of her personality…

Rick: And finally, there is a really exciting project on the horizon for you and this series. Tell everyone about who you are teaming up with, and what kind of books we can expect from this team in the near future.

Ken: I am really excited about this project. I have teamed-up with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and their effort. We will be using a new children’s book “Grace’s Rockin’Roll Adventure” as a vehicle to bring the history of rock and roll to younger students. And the unexpected element of this story is that Steven Van Zandt (of Bruce Springsteen’ band fame and a major character in the Sopranos cable TV show) will be the character who gives Grace her first electric guitar— as part of the story!

We are scheduled to be shelf-ready for the Fall of 2020, with this joint-project, and certainly will have it available for this upcoming holiday season…

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

This is going to set off you know who

I like this tweet too...

This day in Cubs history

On the day Charles Lindbergh departed aboard the Spirit of St. Louis from Long Island, New York on the first transatlantic flight, (May 20, 1927), the Cubs were not far away, in Brooklyn, beating the Robins 7-5. The hitting star for the Cubs was pitcher Tony Kaufmann.

May 20, 1935, Babe Ruth came to Chicago for the last time as a player, as a member of the Boston Braves.

Powerless Sears

How odd does this look?

Here's the reason the lights went out, and how it affected Chicago radio and television stations.

Q&A with "Righteous Might" author Keith Conrad

Keith Conrad’s book Righteous Might is available for pre-order now at Eckhartz Press. It will ship in a few weeks. We caught up with Keith and discussed the launch of his book…

Rick: I know the plot of this book is based on the plot of a movie that didn’t satisfy you as a kid. What was it about that original movie that bothered you?

Keith: I think I was seven or eight years old when I first saw the movie The Final Countdown. I always liked the film and I still think it’s a very good and thought-provoking story. However once I saw it again as an adult, a few things really stuck in my mind. First, the story follows a modern aircraft carrier that sails into a storm and suddenly finds itself in between the Americans and Japanese on the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ultimately, that same storm re-appears and sends them back home before they can have a big impact on things. That all seemed a little too random for me and as someone who likes a good “What if?” scenario, I also always wondered what would happen if they actually did successfully enter the fight. I thought just about any way you could come up with for a modern supercarrier to show up in the past, it would be random enough that it should be a one-way trip. My biggest complaint about the story though was the fact that it followed a very small number of characters and as a result virtually none of the story spends any time examining what the crew would be going through in a situation like that. Most of the crew is unaware of what’s happening until very late in the story, but even when they find out what’s going on there is no time at all spent on their reaction in The Final Countdown. When I wrote this story I was excited to come up with a way to get the ship back in time, and I really liked the thought experiment of what impact the people from the future would have the attack on Pearl Harbor and afterwards in WWII and beyond. I was most excited by the idea of following the crews reaction to everything though. Both the people in command, and the people below decks who are in the dark for most of the story but know something is wrong.

Rick: Time travel novels are tricky. There are so many implications you hadn’t considered yet when you began to write. What were a few of the time travel implications that struck you while you were writing, and how did that change the story (without giving too much of it away)?

Keith: I really wanted to take a deep dive into how the crew would react to that situation. I thought the most interesting part of the story was going to be the crew dealing with their sense of loss from being completely cut off from their family and friends and everyone they ever knew. That was more interesting to me then the fight with the attacking Japanese. That’s still the biggest part of the story, but I was really surprised at were the technological implications they would be dealing with right off the bat. I went into writing the story thinking the ships would have such a massive technological advantage over the Japanese from 1941 that it would not turn out to be much of a fight. In reality though, they’d actually be facing some pretty tough odds. It would be very tough for extremely difficult for them to contact the outside world immediately. There’s encryption with just about everything that the people in 1941 wouldn’t be aware of. Even talking on the radio would be a little like trying to run a VR simulation on a Commodore 64. So it’s not like they could easily warn Pearl Harbor as soon as they realized what was happening. Something that really surprised me was how much of an impact being cut off from the GPS network would have on the fleet. They would not be able to use most of their smart weapons without it, and even navigation would be very difficult. I think I came up with a clever, almost MacGuyver-like fix that gets them some of their gadgets back before they have to fight though, and I hope readers like it. It’s a lot for the crew to deal with though. They also have a lot of civilians under foot while all of this is happening. I decided to incorporate the Tiger Cruise element of the story because it really fascinated me to have the overwhelming majority of the crew facing the prospect of never seeing their family again while some of them actually have their family aboard the ship. It makes a complex and strange situation even more interesting. Once they are all aware of the situation, the crew is having to fix some pretty complex problems and invent new ways of going into combat at the same time they are dealing with the fact that most of them will never see their loves ones again. Plus, at the end story I would hope readers are thinking about the implications for the people from 1941. The presence of these people with their knowledge and technology is really going to change things.

Rick: The details about the aircraft carrier and the chain of command were so believable I thought for sure you must have served some time in the Navy. Where did you research that, and how did you create such an authentic military environment?

Keith: Very early on in the process of writing the story I reached out to Captain James McGrath, who was teaching at the US Naval War College at the time. I gave him a rough idea of the story I wanted to tell and asked about what problems the fleet would run into in a situation like that and what their game plan would ultimately be. He gave me a ton of useful information about how things work on the technical side of things. One of the very early inspirations for starting this project was the PBS miniseries Carrier, which gave a lot of insight into what it’s like to serve on an aircraft carrier. It follows the USS Nimitz through an entire deployment, and I think it gave me a pretty solid idea of who all of the players are and how things work. I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol when I was a teenager, and that also probably helped me understand military chains of command. I have also been fortunate enough to cross paths with a few people over the years who have served on carriers and they were kind enough to chat with me pretty in depth about their experiences and what daily life is like on an aircraft carrier.

Rick: Have you ever been to Pearl Harbor?

Keith: I have not actually been to Pearl Harbor personally. My mom and dad took a trip there several years ago however. Afterward when my dad was telling me the story of his visit to the USS Missouri and Arizona Memorial, he brought up the movie The Final Countdown, which got my brain thinking about the changes I thought that story could have used. Ultimately that led to me writing Righteous Might.

Rick: In your day job, you’re a radio producer in Chicago. I recognized a lot of names of people in the Chicago broadcasting world in the character names. Are those characters tributes to the people named or is there another reason you did that?

Keith: There’s a story behind most of the names in the book. A couple of the character names were intended to be a tip of the cap to The Final Countdown and a bit of an Easter Egg for people who are fans of that movie. I also incorporated a few names of people I went to high school and college with who ultimately went on to serve in the military. Although ironically, none of those people actually served in the Navy. So I hope there aren’t any inter-branch rivalries stocked by their names showing up in the story. Matt Stoltz for example is someone I graduated high school with, and he is actually still currently serving in the Army. There are three people: Pete Fanning, Scott Tucker and Ernie Scatton, who served in the Navy and at various times during my writing process allowed me to pick their brains about what daily life is like on a carrier. Ernie and I also worked together in radio, but I added him as a character name because he was nice enough to talk with me about his time serving aboard the USS America. There are also plenty of radio people sprinkled in throughout the story though. Some are people I crossed paths with very early in my career. Darla Taylor was named after Darla Jaye, one of the first radio hosts I worked with when I was still in college. I also tried to throw in people I worked with behind the scenes like Scott Straus and Michael Garay. Mostly because they went above and beyond the call of duty listening to me complain on days when things weren’t working out particularly well.

Rick: I know you are getting married soon. How hard has it been to plan a wedding during the COVID crisis, and how does your bride-to-be feel about her new husband becoming a published author?

Keith: Love in the time of COVID has been an interesting experience. Our wedding date ended up being right in the middle of the stay-at-home order in Illinois. We really wanted to keep that date though, so we just had to get a little creative to make things happen. We both have family and friends all around the country, so streaming the wedding online was always part of the plan anyway. Since the state is still under lockdown, we just canceled the in-person part completely and went with a completely virtual wedding and a party with all of our friends once we’re done dodging COVID and the murder hornets. Originally, we were going to stick with the same venue, but they backed out on us at the last minute causing another brief catastrophe. Luckily though, a hotel in our area was willing to help us out and allow us to do the stream from there and it actually ended up being a pretty swanky backdrop. The situation is not ideal, but we’ve both rolled with it pretty well. Even if we won’t have our family and friends with us there, it will still be an extremely memorable day. As for me becoming a published author, Misty tells me all the time that she’s very proud of me just for finally finishing the book. She is a very talented artist who is working on creating her own indie comic. It’s been a great experience to support her through that process while she supports my writing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Q&A with "The Unplanned Life" author Roger Badesch

Roger Badesch is the author of the latest Eckhartz Press book The Unplanned Life. He has been waiting patiently through this pandemic to finally have his book released. We caught up with him this week to discuss the book and find out how it’s going…

Rick: You’ve been thinking about writing a book for a long time. What was it that finally sent you over the edge and made you say, ‘I’m gonna do it?’

Roger: Four factors pushed me ‘over the edge’: you approached me and convinced me, Rick Kogan was intrigued by my stories during his WGN Radio program and encouraged me, my wife said I should do it, and i had lots of retirement time on my hands.

Rick: Many people know you as a newscaster on WGN Radio. In fact that cover photo was made famous by your live reports during a terrible Chicago snowstorm. You go into this in harrowing detail in the book, but can you give us a Reader’s Digest version of it here?

Roger: I knew the storm was coming and it was going to be bad. But my full time teaching job was my priority. As opposed to some teachers, I stayed at my post all day putting me at risk for the drive home. Once on the road, I had an over-abundance of confidence that I would make it safely home. Then Mother Nature and human nature laughed out loud! A lost car with ice-encased engine found two days later, frostbite and an adventure for a lifetime later and I’m blessed to be here to tell it.

Rick: The people that follow your broadcasting career probably have no idea that you also spent time working for Chicago’s first female mayor and first African American mayor. Tell us a story about each of them.

Roger: Wow, so many . . . I’m not sure what about me Mayor Byrne found so favorable but it resulted in having more-than-usual access to getting her reaction to news events while I was a reporter for WKQX-FM, including being able to call her early in the morning at her home for interviews. Mayor Washington reminded me of my Uncle Harvey – my dad’s brother – friendly, supportive, accepting, gregarious, a belief in the common good. This was especially evident when I went to his apartment to install the stereo system that his staff had bought him one Christmas.

Rick: Your broadcasting stories and brushes with greatness are fascinating, but to me, the most inspiring part of the book covers your years as a teacher. That wasn’t just a temporary diversion for you. You taught for decades. I know you go into some of those stories, but what part of your teaching career gives you the most pride?

Roger: I think it’s something about my nature – something I still search for and puzzle about every day. I love helping people, yet I feel so woefully inadequate at it. There’ve been a couple ‘watchwords’, I guess, that helped guide me as a teacher, a parent and a friend – that I’ve tried to pass on: 1) you won’t know until you try, even if it doesn’t work out; 2) never take no for an answer – time will let you know if you should move on; 3) it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them; 4) when you’re successful, I’ll be successful (so many of my former students say they remember that the most).

Rick: Now that family, friends, and colleagues are starting to read the book, what kind of reactions are you getting?

Roger: Well, my wife says I was a royal troublemaker as a kid – and she’s already known most of my exploits from back then. A few readers have commented that they feel like I’m right there sharing stories with them – and I’ve heard that before when I’d tell stories during my air shifts on WGN Radio with Rick Kogan, Brian Noonan, Matt Bubala and Dave Plier, amongst others. One close friend, whom I’ve known for about 30 years, called me an ‘f-ing dork’ when she read how Bridget and I first met in Bloomington/Normal IL. And she meant that in the most loving way possible. That was awesome!

Monday, May 18, 2020

We win!

Who are the real winners in America right now?

Love Ruth Buzzi.

Journalism Stats

For those people who say the press is pushing this virus to further an agenda, think again. (Or think for the first time). This pandemic is hurting the journalism profession as much or more than any other industry...

RIP Eddie Haskell

Wally's best friend has passed. RIP Ken Osmond (Eddie Haskell). He was 76 years old.

This interview with Bill O'Reilly from a few years ago is actually pretty good.

South of Kankakee, Illinois is Alabama

Saturday, May 16, 2020

RIP Mike McCaskey

This is getting ridiculous

Lost another one. Phylis George is gone at age 70.

He's Mad as Hell

I suspect he's not the only one who feels this way...

RIP Fred Willard

Lost another one. Comedy great Fred Willard passed away at the age of 86. I loved him in just about everything, but my favorite has to be his performance in "Best in Show". Here's a little taste...

Friday, May 15, 2020

Hey, that's me!

My contribution to the Inside for Indies program, helping to raise money for independent book stores trying to survive this crisis...

RIP Astrid

And yet another one. Sheesh.

60 years ago today

In his first start as a Cub, Don Cardwell throws a no-hitter...

RIP Bob Watson

Lost another one...

I have a bunch of Bob's cards including these...

KIng of *arts

I wrote this song with Hall of Famer John Records Landecker back in our WJMK days. The video was created this week by my son Tommy. It's his favorite of the Landecker & the Legends songs. It's one of the two songs the station banned us from playing on the air. (The other was about Jeffrey Dahmer).

Hall of Famer

So yesterday John Landecker was officially inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. (Read the full All Access article here)

The second day of sessions streaming at the NAB SHOW EXPRESS included an opening event celebrating "Achievement in Broadcasting," with a highlight being the induction of legendary radio personality JOHN RECORDS LANDECKER into the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS Hall of Fame.

LANDECKER's career took him to ANN ARBOR, GRAND RAPIDS, LANSING, and a stint at WIBG-A (WIBBAGE)/PHILADELPHIA before his long stint at WLS-A/CHICAGO, where he became a dominant talent in the market for many years; he later hosted at CFTR-A/TORONTO, WLUP, WAGO/WCKG, WLS again, WJMK, and WZZN/WLS-F in CHICAGO, and WIMS-A/MICHIGAN CITY, IN. His induction was preceded by a tribute video including his daughter, actress AMY LANDECKER, her husband actor BRADLEY WHITFORD, his WLS PD JOHN GEHRON, comedian GREG ECKLER, and iHEARTMEDIA AC KOST/LOS ANGELES morning host ELLEN K, and clips from his WLS days, including his "Boogie Check" bit. In accepting the award, LANDECKER said he would say something no other award recipient would say -- "I'm not wearing any pants" -- before closing with his signature line, "RECORDS truly is my middle name."

The Lisagor Awards

This year's Peter Lisagor Awards were handed out virtually, depriving the winners the joy of picking it up on stage in front of their peers. Nevertheless, it's a great honor. I was honored twice during my "Father Knows Nothing" days, which I consider the highlight of "journalism" career.

This year's winners are listed here.

Among the winners is my old pal Charlie Meyerson for his excellent blog Chicago Public Square.

A needed change of pace

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Hall of Famer

Free Kicks--Soccer is Back-ish

Soccer is back! Well, at least it is in Germany. In this week's episode, we'll break down the Bundesliga for you and tell you all the latest details about the re-opening of the Premier League.

Listen to it here.

Donald G. Evans

This week's Minutia Men celebrity interview features a chat with the director of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame (and Eckhartz Press author) Donald G. Evans. He has some great stories.

Listen to it here.

Mitch Michaels

Got this e-mail today from Bob Zak, a former colleague of Eckhartz Press author Mitch Michaels. We support this movement...

To Fellow Broadcasters and Radio Fans,

Please take a moment to nominate radio legend Mitch Michaels to the Radio Hall of Fame. His time has come to be recognized for his countless contributions to our industry.

Click this link:

Mitch Michaels has a long record as a personality, innovator & communicator, with more than 45 years in Chicago radio at WGLD, WXRT, WDAI, WKQX, WLUP, WBBM-FM, WCKG, WLS, WXCD, 9FM and WRXQ. Mitch currently hosts afternoon drive on 95.9 The River.

Thank you!
Bob Zak

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Liz Cheney

I'm fairly sure I've never agreed with anything this woman has said since she entered public life...until now.

Lindsay Eanet

Felicia Signs Off

A day after the morning drive ratings in Chicago cemented her WBBM show (co-hosted with Pat Cassidy) in first place, Felicia Middlebrooks has announced she's leaving the station. Her last day will be May 29th. She's leaving radio like Michael Jordan left the Bulls...right after hitting the game-winning shot.

Robert Feder has the details about Felicia's next project.

Happy Birthday Stevie!

Lately it seems I'm writing an RIP post every day. This is not one of those. It's a happy birthday post. Stevie Wonder is 70 years old today. One of the all-time greats. In my book, one of the five best songwriters of my lifetime.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Chicago Radio Ratings

Robert Feder posted these figures today. Click here if you want the daypart breakdown...

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 8.4 (7.7)
2. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 6.4 (5.1)
3. WGN 720-AM news talk, 5.6 (4.5)
4. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 5.4 (4.3)
5. WVAZ 102.7-FM urban adult contemporary, 5.0 (5.3)
6. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 4.4 (5.2)
7. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 4.0 (4.3)
8. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.9 (3.8)
9. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 3.7 (4.3)
10. WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 3.1 (2.4)
11. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 3.0 (3.3)
12. (tie) WGCI 107.5-FM urban contemporary, 2.8 (2.3); WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 2.8 (3.1)
14. WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 2.6 (3.1)
15. (tie) WLS 890-AM news talk, 2.4 (2.1); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.4 (2.4)
17. WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 2.2 (2.5)
18. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.1 (2.7); WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.1 (2.8)
20. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 2.0 (2.4); WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.0 (2.4)
22. WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 1.8 (1.8)
23. (tie) WEBG 95.5-FM country, 1.5 (1.2); WFMT 98.7-FM classical 1.5 (1.1); WPWX 92.3-FM urban contemporary, 1.5 (1.4); WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.5 (1.3)
27. WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian, 1.3 (1.3)
28. (tie) WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.2 (1.0); WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 1.2 (1.2)
30. WIIL 95.1-FM album-oriented rock, 0.8 (no previous share)

50 years ago today

Ernie's 500th homer. I remember it vividly...

RIP Zay Smith

So sorry to hear this news. I followed him in the Sun Times. He followed me on social media and we engaged in spirited banter.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Longest Home Run I've Ever Seen

Exactly 20 years ago today...

Misinformation really can kill

Not Exactly a Partisan

The US is becoming an embarrassment. This is the guy who killed Bin Laden. Listen to his point of view on the subject...


I think we all feel this way. Hoping it can happen safely and soon.

RIP Jerry Stiller

Another great is gone. He will always be Frank Costanza to me.

This is a hilarious blooper from the DVD collection. RIP Frank.

What is the latest science on this virus?

The Washington Post has a great piece explaining all the unexpected ways COVID-19 damages and attacks the body. It's not just a respiratory virus, it's a cardiological virus--and that's the part that is killing so many people. (It also may be why finding a vaccine will be very difficult)

John Hopkins Corona Virus Resource Center felt it was necessary to release this paper, explaining why it's a bad idea to shoot for herd immunity. Bottom line: We still haven't seen any evidence that people become immune to this virus. That seems like a pretty important point.

Look, I understand why you want to get back out there. I do too. I saw my mom over the weekend for the first time in almost two months. But we wore masks and kept our distance. This is just too friggin dangerous.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

RIP Betty Wright

Lost another one. R&B singer Betty Wright has passed away at the age of 66. Wow has this been a bad year...

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Minutia Men--Grocery Bags & Body Bags

Rick and Dave discuss the lighter side of the virus with stories about Dave’s senior advantage, a woman who doesn’t quite get the concept of the mask, the best place in the world to be quarantined, and a government employee who just made one heck of a goof. Also, two interviews–recently inducted HOFer John Records Landecker, and Emmy-award winning comedian Dwayne Kennedy. [Ep179]

Listen to it here.


2020 will definitely be the year of the celebrity death. RIP Roy. A tiger couldn't kill you, but this virus was too much.

RIP Little Richard

Sad to hear this news, although it's been expected for a while. Little Richard, the king AND queen of rock and roll, has passed away at the age of 87. I met Richard once at an outdoor Oldies concert in the 1990s. He has the biggest head I've ever seen, and there must have been five inches of pancake makeup on it. But once the show started, he lit up and rocked.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Video proof

I agree with the assessment of this former George Bush speechwriter...

Shelter in Place Schedule

Got a kick out of this, written by one of my friends, author Christine Sneed.

Brian May

I can think of a few fat bottomed and Freddy Mercury jokes, but I choose to take the high ground. Hope he recovers fully. Great guitarist.

Robbie Rist

This week's Minutia Men celebrity interview is with the man who played Cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch, Robbie Rist. His take on his place in Brady history..."If you think a nine year old can destroy a show, your show might have bigger problems."

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Pick Your Bundesliga Team

The German Bundesliga will be the first to return. They begin play next weekend. For those of you who don't follow the league, here's a handy guide for picking a team...

John Landecker

Robert Feder has a few more details about Landecker's induction into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame...

Good news for fans of John Records Landecker: When the legendary Chicago radio personality is inducted in the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame next week, we’ll all be able to watch it live. The ceremony had been set for April 20, but the coronavirus shutdown canceled the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. So now it’s happening online at noon May 14 on Registration is free. (Here is the link.) Previous NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductees from Chicago include Larry Lujack, Dick Orkin, Tom Joyner, Wally Phillips, Harry Caray and Paul Harvey.

Look at that group he's joining. Talk about the elite of Chicago broadcasting elite.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The First One to Return

Count me in! Going through withdrawal here.

NAB Hall of Fame

John Landecker was scheduled to be inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame in April but it was postponed because of the virus. Now they are going to do it virtually. He forwarded me this info, if you'd like to watch it live...

John, I want to make sure you know that we are airing your induction at NAB Show Express during our Achievement in Broadcasting session on May 14 beginning at 12noon EST. Registration for the event is free and is now open at

I'll be watching!

Obscure Stat

Here's the Willie Mays baseball card my mom threw out during one of her "pick up your baseball cards or I'll throw them out" tantrums. I bought it back as an adult. It remains my only Willie Mays...

RIP Florian

Very sad news. Another great has fallen. Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider has died at the age of 73.

The German electronic band Kraftwerk was an innovator and one of the most influential bands in electronic music history. It's also the band that my son Tommy and I bonded over...we both loved them. They were scheduled to do a rare world tour and we were going to see them, but it was canceled because of the virus.

RIP Florian!

My two favorites...

20 strikeouts

May 6, 1998

I was there, sitting in my regular seats, freezing my butt off that day. I must confess, I didn’t recognize at first the magnitude of what I was watching. I remember thinking, “boy he’s got a lot of strikeouts,” but I had no idea he had as many as he did.

At one point I leaned forward and tapped the shoulder of the guy sitting in front of me. He was listening to the game on the radio.

“How many strikeouts does Wood have?” I asked him.

“12,” he answered.

That’s when I really started paying attention. The Astros, it should be noted, were in first place, and had a very formidable lineup that day including Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Derek Bell, and Moises Alou.

You could almost feel the ballpark catching on to what was happening, slowly but surely. With each successive strikeout, the cheers got louder and louder. This might have been the most dominating performance in baseball history. The Astros only managed to hit it out of the infield twice, two weak fly balls. Wood only allowed two runners, a squib infield hit by Ricky Gutierez, and a hit-by-pitch to Craig Biggio.

In the ninth, the few thousand of us who braved the really horrible weather conditions to stay, all rose to our feet as Wood struck out pinch hitter Billy Spiers for his 19th strikeout. We applauded when Biggio grounded out.

And we roared when Wood struck out Derek Bell to end the game.

20 strikeouts.

A game I’ll never forge

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

RIP Salty Saltwell

Here's his write-up in EveryCubEver...

~Salty Saltwell 1924--2020 (Cubs GM 1976)
His actual name was E.R. Saltwell, but everyone called him Salty. In 1975, after the long reign of General Manager John Holland ended, P.K. Wrigley replaced Holland with the only logical choice on the payroll: the team’s former concessions manager E.R. “Salty” Saltwell. P.K. was no longer just thinking outside of the box; he didn’t even know where the box was anymore. Salty was the GM of the Cubs for only one season (1976) but he made his mark. Who could forget his fleecing the Cardinals of Mick Kelleher? Or his stealing of Rick Stelmaszek from the Yankees? He also acquired big names like Mike Garman, Ramon Hernandez, Tim Ireland, Tom DeTorre, and reacquired the incredibly washed-up Randy Hundley. Salty’s deft touch in the draft was something to behold as well. In 1976, the Cubs had two first round draft choices. They selected Herman Segelke with the 7th overall pick, and Karl Pagel with the 20th pick. Salty knew better than to waste his time with the other future stars selected in that same first round: Steve Trout (White Sox), Mike Scoscia (Dodgers), Leon Durham (Cardinals), and Bruce Hurst (Red Sox). Salty’s crowning moment as general manager, however, had to be when he unloaded future slugging All-Star Andre Thornton for reserve outfielder Larry Biittner (and Steve Renko). Renko won 10 games in his Cubs career, Biittner hit 12 homers in his Cubs career, and Andre Thornton hit more than 30 homers three times. In September 1976, Steve Stone informed Saltwell of his impending free agency and attempted to get a contract. Salty responded by telling Stone that Mr. Wrigley was in the middle of a divorce and he would have to get back to him. Salty was demoted shortly after that. To this day, Salty Saltwell remains the only general manager in baseball history to rise from concessions manager to general manager and then back again to Director of Park Operations.

Roger Badesch

Can you tell that Roger is getting a little impatient about his book not being out yet? :)

Cinco De Mayo

On this Cinco de Mayo we celebrate all of the Mexican-born players who have played for the Cubs. All of them are featured in EveryCubEver…

~Jesse Flores (Cubs 1942)
The first Mexican-born pitcher in big league history made his debut with the Cubs during the war. He only pitched in four games and posted an ERA of 3.38 before the Cubs sent him down for more seasoning. He later pitched for the A’s and the Indians. After his playing career, Jesse became one of the best scouts in baseball. His signings for the Minnesota Twins included Bert Blyleven, Lyman Bostock, Bill Campbell, Rick Dempsey, and Jesse Orosco.

~Hector Torres (Cubs 1971)
The Cubs aquired Torres in a straight shortstop for shortstop swap with the Houston Astros. The Astros got Roger Metzger in return. Torres hit .224 backing up Don Kessinger and Glenn Beckert in 1971. It was the Mexico native’s only season with the Cubs. Metzger, meanwhile, was the Astros starting shortstop for the next seven years, and won a Gold Glove. Torres was nicknamed “La Malita”.

~Horacio Pina (Cubs 1974)
The Mexican-born Pina was acquired from the Oakland A’s for Bob Locker in November of 1973. He was only two years removed from his most productive season in the big leagues, when he saved 15 games for the Rangers, and a month removed from contributing to the 1973 World Series Champion Oakland A’s, but he was a total bust for the Cubs. In 59 innings pitched, he allowed an astounding 89 baserunners. Not the kind of numbers you need from someone you expect to be a key member of your late inning bullpen. The Cubs traded him to the Angels by the end of July. After the season, Horacio went back to his native Mexioo. He pitched a no-hitter there in 1975, and a perfect game in 1978.

~Daniel Garibay (Cubs 2000)
Garibay was born and raised in Mexico, and didn’t get his first shot at Major League Baseball until he was 27 years old. The Cubs used him as a spot starter and a reliever, and he didn’t do well in either role. He went 2-8 with an ERA over 6.

~Ismael Valdez (Cubs 2000)
The Cubs acquired the former 15-game winner along with Eric Young, and immediately placed him in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Valdez developed blister problems and had a hard time staying healthy. He won a grand total of two games in Chicago. Before the season was over, they traded him back to the Dodgers. He later pitched for the Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Padres and Marlins. He won 104 big league games, but he also lost 105. He was known as “The Rocket”.

~Rodrigo Lopez (Cubs 2011-2012)
The Mexican-born Lopez was a two-time 15-game winner for the Orioles, but by the time he came to the Cubs, he was getting by on fumes. In 30 appearances over two seasons his ERA was over 6, and he allowed 18 homers. Chicago was the last stop of his big league career.


I'm really starting to worry about this country...

Just Sign This, And I'm On Board

Monday, May 04, 2020

Kent State


This is really well done.

Family Guy - Griffin vs. Trump fight from Cody Stumma on Vimeo.

The Last Kick

After the Last Dance series ends in a few weeks, look for the 10-part series about the glorious run to the quarterfinals (or was it the semi-finals?) of the 1980-1981 Prospect High School varsity soccer team. Never-before-told stories of practice skirmishes which led to running laps with "that Swedish kid". The unforgettable advice the assistant coach, "you know the guy I mean--the biology teacher" gave to the boys right before that big game against "that orange team". Vague memories. Gripping drama. Bad Haircuts. Don't miss it.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Phil & Greg

Last night news came out that Hubbard Broadcasting in Chicago had fired a dozen staffers, including some people I know and respect. Among them, WDRV (The Drive) jocks Phil Manicki and Greg Easterling.

Both are fellow former WPGUers (University of Illinois) and both are consummate pros.

I interviewed Greg back in 2009 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.

I interviewed Phil just last year for Illinois Entertainer.

Minutia Men--Michael Jordan & Josh Gondelman

Rick and Dave discuss the most unusual smoothies ever, the fact that Michael Jordan can do absolutely anything he wants, Rick’s brush with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young, and they interview writer/comedian/producer/author Josh Gondelman. [Ep178]

Listen to it here.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Black Water (Live in Isolation)

RIP Bart & Bob

You are the Champions

Queen is revisiting a classic to salute health workers...


The May issue of Illinois Entertainer is out and features my interview with Brian Paruch, aka Whip, from the Mix Morning show (WTMX)

Read it here.

Is Premier League coming back?

Players are beginning to train, but oh boy, has the world changed.

*Players must arrive at training grounds in kit and wear masks at all times.

*They must not shower or eat on the premises. If clubs want to provide players with food, it must be delivered as a takeaway to players' cars.

*Only essential medical treatment would be allowed, with all medical staff in full PPE.

*All meetings and reviews must take place virtually and off-site.

More information is here.