Friday, February 26, 2021

30 years of media interviews

 Just posted at the Eckhartz Press Studio Walls blog...

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 on either February 28 or February 29 (which this year doesn’t exist)

Chuck Buell has a February 29th birthday. He was a disc jockey at WLS-AM during the hey-day of the WCFL-WLS battles in the late 60s and early 70s in Chicago. Rick interviewed Chuck in 2010, and asked him about that battle…

(Photo: Back row left to right, Larry Lujack, Chuck Buell, Jerry Kaye, Front row, Art Roberts, Clark Weber,  and Kris Erik Stevens)

 It was a genuine and fierce rivalry. In the late-sixties, the “Big Ten” (WCFL) was definitely challenging “The Big 89” (WLS). WLS still had an “older” sound even though they were playing Top 40 music. ABC felt a younger presentation was needed to match the music and the times. So abandoning their long-time policy of not hiring anyone under the age of 30, they brought in Larry Lujack from ‘CFL’s overnights for afternoons, Lyle Dean to do local news and a promising young 20-something hot shot from Denver by the name of Buell to hit the air in the early evenings. Within the first rating period that followed, the dominance of “LS” was unquestioned. So much so that a few months later, another “young kid,” was brought in to fortify this new nighttime “youth movement,” and (Chuck) Buell and (Kris Eric) Stevens, following the strong lead-in from afternoons, were rockin’ the Windy City back-to-back non-stop for eight big hours every night!

Read the entire interview here.

Leslie Keiling’s birthday is February 28th. She is an institution in Chicago for her years with Steve & Garry (as Lane Closure), John Records Landecker (WJMK) and with John Williams (WGN). She currently co-hosts a podcast with Garry Meier. Rick interviewed Leslie for Illinois Entertainer in 2016, and asked her to describe what kind of a podcast Garry does…


The one hour package of this podcast allows him to follow a thread if he wants to, or pick a story that appeals to him, and do it in a much more compact and coherent way. And it’s much more freeing than the WGN-AM days. He doesn’t have to hit a time clock. He does these longer interviews now without worrying about breaking the mojo. When you’re on a roll, you don’t have to stay, ‘can you hold on – we have to stop for a moment.’ Garry hasn’t forgotten the people who made things fun during his days. He’s done interviews with Joe the Uber Cubs fan, with Jo the lady who called right before her bath every night, and he’s incorporating some of them, while also taking it in a brand new direction. He’s also getting some advice from really smart people like Howard Stern and Adam Carolla. They are two of the guys who made alternative media what it is and what it could be.

Click here to read the entire interview.

Ben Finfer’s birthday is also February 28th. He is a gifted producer and host who has worked at the Score, ESPN AM 1000, and the short-lived The Game. Rick interviewed him in 2010 and wondered why it was that sports radio seems to have so much behind-the-scenes drama.


It’s definitely not the stress. There are several jobs out there that create a lot more stress than sports radio. We’re not putting our lives on the line. We’re just breaking down the Bears offensive line. I think the tense times came from the fact that these are guys paid to have opinions and to express them to others. There’s no switch to flip. Mac doesn’t turn off a microphone and all of sudden go into a shell. He likes to say what’s on his mind. As do Harry and Jurko. And I’m sure that’s the case with a lot of talk show hosts. But anybody who tells you they’re stressed out by talk radio is a drama queen. Passover seders with the family are more stressful. I know there’s always a ratings battle staring us in the face and jobs are always on the line. But the worst case scenario is you get fired.

Click here to read the entire interview.

Free Kicks--Hobson's Choice

The Federal League

 In the years 1914 and 1915 there were three major leagues in baseball. The third one was the Federal League, and the Chicago team played in what is now known as Wrigley Field. In fact, the ballpark was built for them.

I found this interesting article today about the Federal League, and a movie that was recently discovered featuring a scene at a Federal League game. You can read it here.

For geeks only (and I say that with love).

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Happy Birthday George

The youngest Beatle would have turned 78 years old today...

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Adam Bitterman

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Chicago Radio Ratings

 Thanks to Robert Feder for posting these. If you want the full break down of dayparts, click here.

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 7.3 (6.8)
2. WVAZ 102.7-FM R&B, 6.8 (8.0)
3. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 6.7 (4.3)
4. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 5.1 (14.3)
5. (tie) WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 4.4 (3.8); WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 4.4 (3.9)
7. WGN 720-AM news talk, 4.1 (3.7)
8. WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 3.5 (3.3)
9. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.4 (2.6)
10. (tie) WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 2.9 (2.9); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.9 (2.4)
12. WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.7 (2.4)
13. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 2.6 (2.5)
14. WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 2.3 (2.0)
15. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip-hop, 2.1 (2.2); WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 2.1 (2.0)
17. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.0 (2.1); WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 2.0 (1.7)
19. (tie) WGCI 107.5-FM hip-hop, 1.9 (1.6); WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.9 (1.7)
21. (tie) WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 1.8 (1.6); WCHI 95.5-FM rock, 1.8 (1.6)
23. WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 1.7 (1.6)
24. WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 1.5 (1.6)
25. WPWX 92.3-FM hip-hop, 1.2 (no previous share)
26. (tie) WCPT 820-AM progressive talk, 1.1 (0.7); WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.1 (no previous share)
28. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.0 (1.2)
29. (tie) WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian music, 0.8 (0.6); WSRB 106.3-FM R&B, 0.8 (no previous share)
31. (tie) WCCQ 98.3-FM country, 0.7 (0.6); WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 0.7 (0.6)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

RIP Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti

He was 101 years old.

10 Years of Eckhartz Press

 2021 marks our tenth year as a publisher, and every month we’ll be dipping into the archives to celebrate that anniversary. February has typically been a busy month at Eckhartz Press. For instance, check out some of these February moments from our authors Rick Kaempfer, Brent Petersen, Pat Colander, Dobie Maxwell, John Landecker, Joel Daly, Roger Badesch, Beth Jacobellis, Chet Coppock, Randy Richardson, Becky Sarwate-Maxwell, and Chuck Quinzio.


This week in 2015, Rick Kaempfer appeared on WBEZ Radio to promote his book Father Knows Nothing. You can listen to that interview here.


Brent Petersen wrote a great novel in 2015 about truffles, and in so doing became an expert on the subject. Just two years after his novel was published (this week in 2017), he discovered a whole new kind of truffle. Would you believe they are radioactive? Read Brent’s radioactive truffle story here.


This week in 2017, Eckhartz Press author Pat Colander was on WGN Radio to promote her award winning book Hugh Hefner’s First Funeral. Dave Hoekstra interviewed Pat. Pat left us in 2019, but you can hear her forever in this interview with Dave. After her death, Dave also did a beautiful tribute to her. You can listen to that here.


This week in 2016, Dobie Maxwell was making the rounds promoting his tremendously exciting memoir Monkey in the Middle. Tom Taylor from NOW did a great write up about this book. Once you read the premise behind Dobie’s book, you will want to get your hands on a copy. You can read Taylor’s article here.

This week in 2016, three Eckhartz Press authors appeared on stage together, performing an old-time radio program…The Lone Ranger! Among the stars of the broadcast…Records Truly Is My Middle Name author John Landecker (as the narrator), The Unplanned Life author Roger Badesch (as Tonto), and The Daly News author Joel Daly (as the yodeling cowboy). It was so much fun watching them perform it live, complete with handmade sound effects, and the original commercials.


This week in 2018, author Beth Jacobellis released her debut novel, Cameo. There’s nothing like that moment, holding your book in your hand for the first time. Beth is shown here moments after Eckhartz Press publisher Rick Kaempfer gave that first copy to her.


One of the strangest stories in Chet Coppock’s book is the tale of the day Chet wrestled a real live bear. This week in 2014, he told that story to Deadspin as part of their expose into the life of Viktor the Bear. You can read that story here. Of course, Chet digs much deeper into that event in his Eckhartz Press book Your Dime, My Dance Floor.


Randy Richardson and Becky Sarwate are the authors of the Eckhartz Press book Cubsessions, but they also write for the website Wrigleyville Nation. This week in 2018, WN did a great interview of the pair about the behind the scenes machinations that led to this memorable book. You can read that here.


Eckhartz Press author Chuck Quinzio is a member of Local 41 of NABET (National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians.) The union publishes a slickly produced quarterly newsletter, and they did an extensive story about Chuck this week in 2014 as Chuck was making the rounds promoting his memoir Life Behind the CameraYou can read it here.

100 Years of Radio

From Robert Feder's column today. (Read the whole thing here)

Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications has been closed to the public due to the pandemic, but behind the scenes they’re working on a major new exhibit to open later this year.

Starting in March the museum will kick off a yearlong celebration marking the 100th anniversary of radio in the United States.

It will begin with a series of panel discussions and related content online to be followed with a full-scale public display planned to open at the end of May, according to Susy Schultz, executive director of the museum.

Guiding the museum’s effort is an advisory board of academics and industry professionals drawn from across the U.S. and Canada, Schultz said.

Monday, February 22, 2021

That's Cold

Minutia Men


 People from outside of Chicago may not get this, but for Chicagoans, this is hilarious.

Judge Rejects Nunes

The court rules in favor of CNN versus the accuser--Rep. Devin Nunes.

We're going to be seeing more and more of these defamation cases to try to curb misinformation in the news. This court reminds people that you have to make that accusation in good faith, in a reasonable amount of time, and that you at least ask for a retraction first before asking for $435 million.

The AP has the details.