Friday, January 29, 2021

This Week's Birthdays

 Posted today on the Eckhartz Press blog "Studio Walls"

Eckhartz Press co-publisher Rick Kaempfer is a former radio producer and host and still writes about the media regularly as the media columnist for Illinois Entertainer. This is his 30th year as a media writer, so we are featuring excerpts from the more than 200 current and former Chicago radio and television stars he has interviewed, including the following people who are celebrating birthdays this week...

Greg Solk’s birthday is January 24th. He is the program director and operations manager for WXRT Radio. He previously programmed the Loop (WLUP AM/FM) and he created the format at the Drive (WDRV). At the time of this interview (2010), he was the Senior VP of Bonneville International, which owned WDRV, WILV, and WTMX in Chicago. Rick asked Greg about how began his career at the Loop at such a young age…


I interned weekends and summers in 77 and 78, and again, purely by chance one weekend morning in early 1979, I just happened to be at the station when a guy knocked on the door carrying a big box of tapes. He said: “I’m Steve Dahl, and I’m going to be the morning guy starting on Monday.” And I helped him carry his stuff in, and get his tapes ready, and during the process Steve asked if I had any interest to work as a producer on his show. I started right away – and got paid! I was very lucky to work with him. I was still in high school, and here I was working with Steve Dahl. I learned more about radio from him than I learned from anyone, before or since. He taught me the genius of connecting “on an emotional level” with the audience. He’s the smartest radio guy I’ve ever met.

Read the entire Greg Solk interview here.

Eric Ferguson’s birthday is January 27th. He has been the top-rated (or nearly top-rated) morning man in Chicago for more than twenty years. Rick has interviewed Eric a half dozen times during those years. The first time was in 2009. Rick asked Eric how he managed to appeal to a predominantly female audience…


We’re not as different as we seem to be. There’s a lot of topics I bring up that I think will be right down Broadway with females, and then nothing but guys call. We each want to understand the way the other sex thinks. No question that’s one of our main topics of conversation. One of my other big rules is that it’s OK to talk about yourself, but it needs to finish with a way to include the listener. I know that sounds so simple, and it is, but too many people in this business get too consumed in their own egos and lose sight of that. It’s got to be a conversation, not a monologue.

Read the entire Eric Ferguson interview here.

Jack Silver’s birthday is January 28th. At the time of this interview (2009), Jack was with CBS Radio Los Angeles as Director of Integrated Marketing and Promotions for Classic Hits K Earth 101 and Smooth AC 94.7 The Wave. Rick interviewed him about his time in Chicago, most famously as the program director of AM 1000 in the early 1990swhen his on-air talent routinely made fun of him...


One of the things I learned is that the listeners have a boss too, so if you become a boss that can be made fun of, the listeners seem to absolutely love that. I probably met more of the listeners than any other program director, because they knew me. (In LA, they called me Jack-S, or jackass). This whole radio thing is about the listeners, and when you put yourself out there, they go out of their way to meet you. The guys that sit in the offices and don’t get out there are usually the guys who never been on the air, and don’t really understand what a personality is thinking or what they’re dealing with, that moment of panic that can set in when you’re not 100% sure what you’re going to say next. If you haven’t had that, haven’t experienced that, what good are you? Jimmy DeCastro, Larry Wert, and all those guys at the Loop in Chicago, they totally got that.

(Note: Jack was one of only two people who fired Rick in his radio career–canceling his show Ebony & Ivory on AM 1000 in 1992)

Read the entire Jack Silver interview here.

Dane Placko’s birthday is January 29th. Dane is a reporter for WFLD-TV in Chicago, and has been for more than 20 years. Over the years Rick has interviewed him several times, including a piece for Shore Magazine. The most recent interview was in 2018, for the Illinois Entertainer. Dane was experiencing a truly strange vacation in England, and Rick spoke to him there…


“We toured the movie studio where they shot all the Harry Potter movies. We sat in on a Brexit debate in Parliament. We dodged raindrops for an afternoon at the London Zoo. And we enjoyed the cheesy/gory history tour at the London Dungeon. But during the Walking Tour for Muggles on Thursday, I noticed some blurriness at the bottom of the field of vision in my left eye. Friday it was slightly worse. And when I woke up Saturday I knew I was in trouble. A large shadowy disc had robbed me of most of the sight in the affected eye.”

Thus began the actual adventure, which included a trip they hadn’t planned: A trip through the National Health System in Britain. Dane had to have emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina.

Read the entire Dane Placko interview here.

Tony Lossano’s birthday is January 29th. Tony Lossano was the host of the Nude Hippo TV Show, and has worked for many years as a radio producer in Chicago (Melissa Forman, Bob Sirott & Marianne Murciano, and more). He currently produces many podcasts for his company OPPIH Shows that air on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network. Among his current shows is the one hosted by Rick and fellow Eckhartz Press publisher David Stern, Minutia Men. Rick first interviewed Tony in 2008 when he producing Melissa Forman’s show…


I’m used to being the one in charge and in the spotlight with NUDE HIPPO, but my true love is producing and it is so refreshing to get out of the spotlight and have it focus on someone who is so good at what she does. There are very few individuals who I would ever want to work with and I’ve been lucky enough to be in the position to pick and choose…and I’m happy to be with Melissa on such a refreshing, real and fun show. 

Read the entire Tony Lossano interview here.

Lisa Dent’s birthday is January 30th. Lisa was an air-personality on Big Country 95.5 before that station changed formats in September of last year. Rick interviewed her during her long stint at the other big country radio station in town, US99, in 2016, just days after she learned she was going to be inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame.


“I found out from (co-host) Ray (Stevens). Ray told me before the holidays but said, ‘When they call you, you better act surprised and fake it.’ When he told me I cried. Although I wasn’t sure he was telling me the truth—so I said ‘You better be telling me the truth!’ It would have been doubly embarrassing to be crying if it wasn’t true. With Ray, you never know for sure.”

Read the entire Lisa Dent interview here.


I've never seen color footage of this before. The league was founded by Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley because most men were going to World War II. The story of "A League of Their Own"...

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Free Kicks

Eric Bolling

 Eric Bolling is a former Fox News personality (famously let go for allegedly sending lewd photos and texts), who has been working for Sinclair Broadcasting (another conservative outlet). Well, apparently that is ending this week. My first reaction was to applaud. Then I read the second paragraph of the article in Deadline...

Sinclair Broadcast Group said that it is ending Eric Bolling’s Sunday morning talk show America This Week, as the conservative commentator has announced plans to launch a podcast with Brett Favre.

 Eric Bolling AND Brett Favre on the same show? Yowza. Does this mean I'll get to hear Bolling's views on sports AND Favre's view on politics? Or will it all be about dick pics?

Excuse me, can I borrow that fork you're using? I want to stab it into both of my ears.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

RIP Cloris Leachman

Very sad to hear of her passing. She was 94 years old. To me, she will always be Frau Blucher...

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Rich King

A Free Excerpt: Joel Daly's Final Commentary


As Robert Feder noted in his review of “The Daly News”, one of the joys of Joel Daly’s book is when he dips into his archives and shares some of his nightly commentaries. He did them for years and years and received Emmy awards for his work. This one was his commentary on January 27, 1978. His last one…

Georgie Jessel once said of show business: “Nothing is so permanent as change.” And that certainly includes television!

This is my last regularly scheduled commentary on this program.

It is the judgment of management that they are anachronistic, time-consuming and action-stopping; that they do not enhance the tempo of a contemporary news program, or properly utilize the new electronic tools of the trade.

Furthermore, it is their opinion that devoting myself to preparing a daily commentary dissipates energy and experience that might better serve the program in other ways.

So be it?

Ten years, more than 3,000 commentaries. Never sued, never censored. It’s a record of which I am proud.

Never intended to preach or provoke or hurt, the nightly essays into which I poured so much pride and effort were conceived simply to make you think and occasionally to make you smile.

Never a critical success, they didn’t fit the critic’s concept of biting controversy. Too much heart and not enough hardness I fear. But during the incredible decade just passed, they provided a forum for fact and opinion that would otherwise have been ignored.

I have a bookshelf of awards, including three Emmys. The last of which I am most proud: an award for “Best Television Writing.”

In a medium where so often the picture ignores perspective, and motion, becomes meaning, it was a great satisfaction to harvest the riches of language, to write a little poetry, to quote a little Shakespeare. Or e.e. cummings who said: “The reward in a job well done is having done it.” I have done it, and I am richly rewarded.

And, if it’s true, “nothing is so permanent as change,” nothing can change the permanency of the experiences we shared the past 10 years.

But now I look forward to new opportunities—new challenges and projects—that will still in some way say, “I’m Joel Daly.”

Joel passed away in 2020, but his book will live on forever in the Eckhartz Press catalog.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Chicago Radio Ratings

 Robert Feder printed these today. If you want to see a breakdown of dayparts, click here.

1. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 14.3 (9.5)
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM R&B, 8.0 (8.4)
3. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 6.8 (6.8)
4. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 4.3 (4.4)
5. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 3.9 (4.1)
6. WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 3.8 (4.4)
7. WGN 720-AM news talk, 3.7 (2.8)
8. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 3.3 (3.9)
9. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 2.9 (3.9)
10. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 2.6 (3.5)
11. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 2.5 (2.5)
12. (tie) WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.4 (2.1); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.4 (2.9)
14. WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip hop, 2.2 (2.3)
15. WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.1 (2.6)
16. (tie) WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 2.0 (1.7); WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.0 (2.2)
18. (tie) WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.7 (2.2); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 1.7 (1.9)
20. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 1.6 (2.1); WCHI 95.5-FM rock, 1.6 (1.7); WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 1.6 (1.2); WGCI 107.5-FM hip-hop, 1.6 (1.8); WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 1.6 (1.8)
25. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.2 (1.0)
26. WCPT 820-AM progressive talk, 0.7 (0.9)
27. (tie) WCCQ 98.3-FM country, 0.6 (0.6); WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian music, 0.6 (0.6); WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 0.6 (0.7)
30. WERV 95.9-FM classic hits, 0.5 (0.4); WGRB 1390-AM gospel, 0.5 (0.5)

Monday, January 25, 2021

NBC Sports Network is Shutting Down

 By the end of the year, it will be no more. According to this article in the New York Times, that means things like the NHL and the English Premier League will move to USA Network and the Peacock streaming service. Ugh. That was one of my favorite channels.


 The final total of certifyable, verifyable, fact-checked lies told by Donald Trump during his presidency: 30, 573.

The Washington Post has been keeping track.

That's an average of 20 a day or so, and Republicans had zero problems with that. They will be disregarded forever about any future claims of dishonesty. Just zip it.

Minutia Men

Frank Lampard sacked

 This one's a shocker, although Chelsea has been struggling...