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…
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 wgn.fm 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.