Friday, August 26, 2022

Media Notebook 8-26-22


A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago…



*Changes to the Kiss-FM morning show

=The Fred Show on Kiss-FM (WKSC, 103.5 FM) has two new cast members/contributors. KeKe Hampton and Jason Brown are joining the show. Both of them come from within the iHeart world. KeKe has been the digital content manager for the company in Chicago and had done weekend shifts at sister station WGCI. She was named as 2021 Future African American Radio Leader by Radio Ink. Jason had been the promotion director for the station for the past seven years and had frequently appeared on The Fred Show. He has also appeared on TMZ. Both are Chicago natives.


*Pat Hughes named to Cubs Hall of Fame

=The other two in this Cubs Hall of Fame class include former coach/scout Buck O’Neil (already a baseball HOFer) and Jose Cardenal. But I thought the way the Cubs handled this announcement live on the air was excellent.

 *Jeff Award Nominations for Harry & Spike

=Anyone who saw the excellent play When Harry Met Rehab during it’s run won’t be surprised by this news. Spike Manton and Harry Teinowitz have been nominated for Jeff Awards for New Works. The two collaborated on the script, just as they collaborated for many years behind the microphone at AM 1000 and The Game. The full list of nominees is here. 

=When the play first came out, I interviewed Harry Teinowitz about it for Illinois Entertainer. The play is obviously about Harry’s very public struggle with sobriety.


*Blackhawks Announcers

=WGN announced this week that Joe Brand will continue to do the pre and post-game shows for the Hawks this coming season (which begins at the end of September) and will host the “Blackhawks Live” program on the station. That show airs weekly. Details here. 

=On the TV side, Troy Murray and Patrick Sharp will both join the Blackhawks TV booth in a split role. The Chicago Tribune has the full details on that story. 


*Rewound Radio

=Fans of old school Top 40 radio will want to check out Rewound Radio over Labor Day weekend. They will be featuring entire shows of WLS and WCFL jocks from that era on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend. To find out more about Rewound Radio, click here. 


*Steve Dahl recovering from surgery

=Listeners of the Dahl-cast have been following the saga of Steve Dahl’s surgery. His wife Janet posted an update on Facebook on Tuesday… “Steve is resting and dealing with the surgical pain, but discovered he had a structural anomaly in his knee that probably explained the rapid failure, as well as made it a little more time intensive to fix. But fixed it is, and straight. Steve has wandered around, eaten a meal, amazed and astounded me with his walker skills and is trying to deal with Level 8-9 pain.”

=Hearing about Steve’s surgery is one of the inspirations for my dipping into the writing archives this week for this piece I wrote about my five favorite moments as part of the Steve & Garry show (many, many years ago). 

=Another former Steve & Garry producer, Louisa Chu, has gone on to become a Chicago Tribune food critic. She is interviewed in the latest episode of Chicago Media Talks. 


*Dave Eanet feature in Axios

=Dave is leading the WGN Radio Northwestern broadcasting team over to Dublin Ireland for the football game tomorrow. Axios Chicago talked to him about that, and did a nice little feature-ette about Eanet. Click here to read it.

*NPR teams up with YouTube

=NPR is really going all in on their podcasts, many of which are among the highest rated podcasts in the world. Over 20 NPR podcasts will now also be on YouTube. NPR SVP Anya Grundman said: “It’ll be great to have our public service journalism searchable and accessible in ways it never has been before, and to have a new space to explore content ideas.”

=For more information about the NPR/YouTube connection, check out this piece in Podcast Business Journal

=Here’s a new NPR podcast that has me excited. It’s a soccer podcast coming out in time for the FIFA World Cup (this fall) and will be produced in two different languages.  


*What are the top podcast genres?

=Inside Radio took a deep dive into the genres of the top 200 podcasts in America.  Of the top 200, 55 of them are comedy podcasts. The other genres in the top 5 are (in order), True Crime, News/Politics, Society & Culture, and Sports.


*Kevin Matthews Coming to Town

=Kevin comes to town to promote his Broken Mary book fairly often. Here’s the latest…



The following media figures are celebrating birthdays this week. If you’d like to read my previous interviews with them, click on their names. The year I interviewed them is in parenthesis.


*August 21, legendary news anchor Joel Daly (2014) 

=My publishing company Eckhartz Press published the late Joel Daly's book The Daly News in 2014. I got to know Joel well and really miss him. My co-publisher David Stern and I would have monthly breakfasts with Joel in his neck of the woods until he got too sick, and we would talk about some of the people he met in his life like Martin Luther King, Jr, Mayor Richard J. Daley, and the Beatles. He was a great storyteller. This was the promotional video for his book...


*August 22, trailblazing sportscaster Alison Moran (2012) 


*August 27, Star 105.5 morning man Joe Cicero (2017) 


*August 27, sports-talkhost Dan McNeil (2004) 

=I’ve interviewed the former Score, ESPN, Drive, and Loop host many times over the past few decades, but I think this 2004 piece I wrote about him for Lake Magazine is the best.

=For a more recent profile, how about this one from Barrett Sports Media, which posted just this week. It’s a pretty revealing portrait of McNeil. 





*Neal Sabin Named Broadcaster of the Year in Illinois

=Sabin is Vice Chairman of Weigel Broadcasting, and the man behind Me-TV and, more recently, ME-TV FM. The Illinois Broadcasters Association has named him this year’s winner of the IBA/Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of the Year award. IBA CEO Dennis Lyle had this to say about Neal in the release announcing the award…”Neal Sabin single-handedly changed the landscape of digital television. I’ve long admired his genius, his creativity, and his passion for the industry. He is a true visionary and is more than qualified for selection as IBA’s Vincent T. Wasilewski Broadcaster of Year.”

=By the way, October 1st Svengoolie is getting his own primetime special on Me-TV called Svengoolie Uncrypted (8pm Central), which will be followed the season 2 premiere of Sventoonie (9pm Central). They’ll also be showing Halloween episodes of all the great classic sitcoms including The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Happy Days, My Three Sons, Leave it to Beaver, Green Acres, and Beverly Hillbillies the following night. The channel is calling the entire month Svengoolie’s Halloween BOOnanza.


*Who is this billionaire changing CNN?

=There has been a lot written about the show Reliable Sources being canceled and what that bodes for the future of CNN. It appears that the news channel has made an internal decision to change tactics and be less confrontational with Fox News, but that’s not the whole story here. The man who appears to be calling the shots behind the scenes (although he says he wasn’t directly involved in this decision) is John Malone, an influential member of the Warner Brothers-Discovery board, the parent company of CNN. You may remember him as the former CEO of cable giant TCI. Al Gore nicknamed him Darth Vader in those days. He is also the largest shareholder in Liberty Media, which owns the Atlanta Braves, Formula One, Sirius/XM, and Live Nation Entertainment. He also once owned a 32 percent stake in Fox.

=On the one hand, getting rid of Brian Stelter has made the people at Fox News very happy. Howard Kurtz was dancing on his grave during his show, saying “So now, there’s only one media analysis program on national television, and you’re watching it.” Greg Gutfield reported the news of Stelter’s firing this way: “First of all, we have some sad news for this show. Brian Stelter is leaving CNN. I know. Yes. Apparently he wants to spend more time with his food. I kid.”

=On the other hand, CNN also announced they will be doing a seven-part series on the Murdoch family in the fall. I can’t imagine that’s going to fit into the “less confrontational with Fox News” basket. It will be based on the New Yorker profile of the family from 2019.


*Chris Stirewalt

=You may remember his name. He was the man at Fox News who called Arizona for Joe Biden on election night, and suddenly found himself out of a job. He testified to the January 6th committee in an earlier hearing, and now he’s speaking out against Fox in the New York Times and in a new book. Among the things he said is that the network inspires “black helicopter level paranoia and hatred.” 




*The Twitter Whistle-Blower

=You’re going to be seeing quite a bit of Peiter “Mudge” Zatco over the next few weeks. He came forward as the Twitter whistle-blower this week, and the story he tells about security lapses on the social media giant’s site has ignited a firestorm. He should know, he was once head of security. Congress has already called on him testify. CNN has the story.




*Radio Girl Interviews Me

I’m normally the one conducting the media interviews, but this week Margaret Larkin, aka Radio Girl, turned the tables by interviewing me. That podcast is posted below if you’re interested...

If you have any media stories (Chicago or national) that you think I might like to share in future columns, feel free to drop me a line at or