Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentine's Day

The Elephant in the Room

Thanks so much to Dane Placko at Fox 32 for featuring this story last night. It's an important story for all parents, and my heart goes out to my old friend Brendan Sullivan and the entire Sullivan family.

Eckhartz Press Author John Records Landecker Named to National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Looks like I might be going to Vegas in April.


Legendary American Top 40 disc jockey John Records Landecker will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2020 NAB Show.

Landecker is best known for his tenure as the evening personality at WLS-AM Chicago, a 50,000-watt station reaching audiences in some 40 states.

His signature style included incorporating satirical songs and bits based on current events into the program, as well as his trademark saying, “Records truly is my middle name.” Landecker is credited for introducing some of the first interactive phone features on Top 40 radio, a style that is still prevalent today.

His 50-year broadcast career began as a high school student at WOIA-AM in Saline, Michigan. He stayed on the air throughout college in Michigan, working at WTRK-AM Flint, WERX-AM Grand Rapids and WILS-AM Lansing. Landecker later entertained listeners with stints at WIBG-FM Philadelphia; CFTR-AM Toronto; WPHR-FM Cleveland, Ohio; WJMK-FM Chicago; and WGN-AM Chicago.

NAB Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs, Steve Newberry, says, “John Records Landecker has had a profound impact on radio and has inspired generations of new talent. His induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame symbolizes the personal connection between DJs and their audiences and how innovative personalities can influence radio programming.”

Additionally, Landecker has released six albums of his work and written an autobiography titled ‘Records Truly Is My Middle Name’ and he currently hosts a weekly program on his hometown station WEFM-FM Michigan City, Ind.

Landecker was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2017 and was named Billboard Magazine’s Radio Personality of the Year in 1977.

His on-air talent and contributions to the radio industry are memorialized in the radio exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Free Kicks--Postpone a Match?

Adam and Rick discuss the rarity of postponed matches, the history of relegated teams, and more, including the regular feature…Guess the Premier League Star. [Ep60]

Listen to it here.

Mini Loop Reunion

Met up with some old Loop friends last night downtown. First photo is a Ebony & Ivory reunion (with a photobomb from Vince). Second photo is everyone who was there...

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Newsman, Bluesman

From Robert Feder's column this morning...

Newsman, bluesman and longtime Chicago radio raconteur Buzz Kilman will be back on the air Friday when he fills in for David Plier from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Nexstar Media Group news/talk WGN 720-AM. Kilman was last heard on WGN when Jonathon Brandmeier hosted mornings there from 2011 to 2013. He’s been a fixture on Chicago radio since 1980 when he joined the station formerly known as The Loop as Steve Dahl’s morning news anchor.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tommy Kaempfer's Writing Debut

The Sweetest Words

Bill Holub is an old friend and colleague from my days at the Loop. My first year writing this blog (14 years ago!) I asked him to write about a phrase he used to utter every year in the hallways of the Loop when he heard that spring training was beginning. He called it "The Sweetest Words in the English Language." It's become a tradition to repost his piece every year on that momentous day.

Today's the day for the Cubs!

By Bill Holub

“Pitchers and catchers report”.

These are indeed the sweetest words in the English language. Friends have been hearing me recite this every year at this time. I once had an old poker playing friend who used to say the sweetest words have always been “I’ll play these”. This is the same friend who couldn’t win even when dealt a pat hand. That however is a story for another time and place, where an explanation of the relationship between the quantity of beer consumed, what the cards in your hand really look like and the amount of money you bet can be fully explored. It’s really something scientists should be looking at.

In the meantime, I apologize to all those who came here looking for a sentimental dialogue on romance. I’m sorry to say it but the sweetest words in the English language are not “I love you”. Now that I think of it, this may instead be a sentimental dialogue on romance and baseball.

It’s funny how the two always converge around Valentine’s Day. Spring fever is referred to as that time of year when things start to bloom as the weather changes and love is in the air. It is no coincidence that this is the same time the baseball season opens and brings hope to all of us diehard baseball romantics.

My love affair with baseball was re-ignited in 1987-88. There was only one place to catch baseball highlights from all over the major leagues back then. Once a week you could tune in to “This Week In Baseball” with good ol’ Mel Allen. During those two seasons I was hooked into witnessing two West Coast baseball Gods embodied in the forms of a young Mark Mcgwire and Jose Canseco. This is before anyone had ever heard of andro, anabolics and the other chemical cocktails that have since cast a pall over these two. Back then, I was treated week in and week out to mammoth sized home runs flying out of every ballpark in the country. The fact that these home runs were being hit by players wearing what my brother and I had always considered the coolest looking baseball uniforms in the world (the Oakland A’s green and gold) had me embracing the game I grew up on all over again.

By 1989 I was so hooked on this game I even started collecting baseball cards again, although as much as an investor as a fanboy. I also started another nasty habit that impacts my life to this day. That is when I started a fantasy baseball league with a bunch of guys at work. 1989 also happened to be a division winning season for my beloved Cubs, so I was in baseball heaven and haven’t looked back since.


I think we can honestly say that baseball is no longer the national pastime in this country. It has been supplanted by football. I can accept that. Although I would insist the true national pastime is gambling, which is the driving force that makes football the number one spectator sport in America. I suppose I could go off on a George Carlin type of rant here on the differences between football and baseball, but that’s not why I’m writing this piece.

I just want to point out there is one major difference between the two and that is commitment. I’m talking about the commitment between baseball fans and football fans. Football is a four month season requiring your undivided attention one day a week, or two if you’re both a college and pro fan. Baseball is a six month season requiring your undivided attention throughout with your favorite team(s) playing as many as five or more games a week.

Baseball is a commitment. I believe it carries as much of a commitment as love. They both require dedication and attention. They can both go awry despite the best laid plans. An early swan dive in the standings in May that ends a team’s season before it even had a chance can be just as painful as not having your phone calls returned after the second or third date. Meanwhile an October champagne shower celebrating a pennant or World Series championship is as sweet and memorable as a ‘yes’ to a question posed on one knee.


Once that warm baseball is back feeling starts sinking in every year, I like to get fully immersed by throwing myself into my favorite baseball movies before the games actually begin. This is my form of spring training.

You’ve got your “Bull Durham”, “Field Of Dreams”, “Major League” (only the first one, please), but there is one movie that hits me in the right spot. “City Slickers” is not a real baseball movie per se, but there’s one scene that remains among my all-time favorites. It’s where the three friends (Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby) are on the cattle drive and passing the time by discussing their favorite baseball memories. Billy Crystal remembers the first time his father took him to Yankee Stadium as a kid and how he had never seen grass that green before. Mickey Mantle even hit a home run that day. Daniel Stern recalls how growing up he and his father never saw eye to eye, but they could always talk about baseball with each other. “We always had baseball” he says.

As for me, one of my earliest baseball memories was getting to take the day off of school with my brother because my Dad got opening day tickets to Wrigley Field. I still remember wearing our warmest winter coats and knit hats, waiting to sit down while the Andy Frain usher brushed the snow off our seats. They don’t make Aprils in Chicago like that any more.


There is a sound that accompanies the words “pitchers and catchers report”. It is the sound of a ball popping into a mitt. The sound of a simple game of catch. It is more than the crack of a bat sound. The sound of a mitt popping brings the memories and feelings of a lifetime of baseball flooding your senses all at once. It happens every time, whether it’s major leaguers or just a game of catch with your dad or your kid. The week pitchers and catchers report there are no cracking bats, only popping mitts. The sweetest sound in the world. “Pitchers and catchers report”. The sweetest words in the English language.

Monday, February 10, 2020

RIP Angel

Angel Echevarria has passed away at the way too young age of 48. This is his EveryCubEver write-up...

~Angel Echevarria 1971--2020 (Cubs 2002)
By the time Angel arrived in Chicago, the first baseman was already 31 years old. He had a few cups of coffee with Colorado and Milwaukee before playing for the Cubs. Angel hit pretty well (a career-high .306) and drove in some big runs (21 RBI), but was never given another shot at the big-time.

Congrats to JRL

The Mooch on Minutia Men

Anthony Scaramucci worked in the White House for eleven days as the White House Communications Director. He has since turned on his former boss, and done so in a big way. First via Twitter, when Trump went after his wife. Now via our podcast, Minutia Men.

You have to hear this. It's brutal. And prety funny.

Listen to it here.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The Elephant in the Room by Brendan Sullivan

Brendan Sullivan is the co-author of the first book ever released by Eckhartz Press, The Living Wills. On Saturday February 1st, 2020, he suffered a terrible loss. His son Charlie passed away unexpectedly at the age of 24. Brendan penned the following piece, which was passed out at Charlie’s wake and funeral. The Sullivan family hopes it can help others avoid Charlie’s fate.

The Elephant in the Room

Perhaps these facts can help save one person’s life, and save one other family from this unfathomable pain.

Our son, we have learned in the last few days, occasionally used cocaine ‘recreationally.’ Cocaine is more popular today than we naive parents realized, readily available and more common than we ever expected. Perhaps you have used cocaine? Perhaps your child has? Perhaps your child has and you don’t know? Talk to them.

Our son was trusting of other people, and always saw the best in everyone. We know that he could not imagine that someone out there would knowingly hand him a drug that might kill him.

Fentanyl is an opiod pain medication, a narcotic that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is prescribed for late stage cancer patients experiencing extreme pain. Misuse of fentanyl can cause death, especially when used without a prescription or when combined with other drugs including alcohol.

Street fentanyl, primarily manufactured illegally in Mexico, is added to cocaine and heroin by drug dealers to increase its potency, to ‘enhance your high.’ However, most users have no idea that they are using fentanyl, often resulting in overdose deaths. You only have to use it once.

In 2019, more people in Cook County, Illinois died of a fentanyl overdose (789) than were killed by guns (580). This is a cruel epidemic which we fear does not get the attention and outrage it deserves because its victims were using an illegal drug so ‘they should have known better.’

Our son did not take his own life deliberately, and he was not an addict. He was a young man who made one bad decision last week. If you or your family are dealing with suicide or addiction, our hearts go out to you. Our prayers are with you. These are also huge problems in our community that should be given more attention.

Talk to your children. Listen to your children. Hug them, and tell them you love them. And feel free to share this message with the world.

Charlie Sullivan 1996-2020

Hollywood & the Cubs

There have been a ton of Hollywood connections featuring the Cubs.

On this Oscar night, read all about them at Just One Bad Century.