Friday, April 29, 2022

Free Kicks--The Home Stretch

 The latest episode is out now. You can listen to it here.

The Champions League and the Premier League head into the home stretch, and Rick and Adam analyze the chances of the front runners. [Ep153]

Eckhartz Everyday


*On this day in 2013, the Daily Herald wrote an article about the Eckhartz Press book Records Truly Is My Middle Name. You can check it out here.

*On this day in 2016, Eckhartz Press author Dobie Maxwell (Monkey in the Middle) appeared on Mancow's show to promote his book. More about that appearance here.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Chili Dog MVP interview

From the Writing Archives--Ann Margret

Ann Margret is an Academy Award and Emmy nominated actress. I wrote this piece about her more than ten years ago. I'm reposting it today because it's her birthday.

I always knew that Ann Margret was one of John Landecker’s dream guests.

He had a crush on her when he was in his teens, and despite John’s long high-profile radio career, he had never met her, and never interviewed her.

Shortly after I was named John’s producer I began to investigate angles to convince Ann Margret to come on the show, but nothing worked. She really doesn’t like to be interviewed, and no matter what I said or did, her people wouldn’t budge.

The breakthrough came when she was cast in the lead role of “Annie Get Your Gun.”* The show was playing in Chicago for several weeks, and I knew that I would never get a better chance to book her.

Even though we had a host who clearly loved her, an audience which was demographically perfect for her (we were an Oldies station), and I had a great relationship with the publicity department of the show (Broadway in Chicago), the best we could get was a short recorded phone interview.

If it had been anyone else, I would have refused the offer. We almost never did recorded phone interviews during our ten year run on WJMK. Our first choice was always live and in the studio (we accepted less than that only for the biggest celebrities). Our second choice was taped in person, face to face. And our third choice was live on the phone. There was no fourth choice.

Nevertheless, John agreed to return to the radio station in the middle of the afternoon to record this phone conversation with her.

This required technical assistance. Unlike most major market radio stations, we only had one production studio that could record phone calls. Recording a phone call required kicking the commercial production director out of his studio to do it. Luckily for us, Al Urbanski—our commercial production director at the time—was one of the only radio production directors in the country that wasn’t grumpy and bitter. He was always positive, always happy, always had a smile on his face.

In this case, Al was especially excited. He happily turned over his studio for an interview with the great Ann Margret.

The interview itself, unfortunately, wasn’t memorable at all. Ann barely spoke above a whisper, which made it very difficult to record. The content was nothing special either. She wouldn’t speak about Elvis, which was John’s first question. She also didn’t have a great sense of humor, so John’s prepared material didn’t go over so well, and she wasn’t even really that flattered by John’s lavish praise and love.

After we finished editing it together, the interview was no more than five minutes long. We considered not airing it all.

The reason I remember the interview so well, however, really has nothing to do with Ann Margret or John Landecker.

A few hours after the interview was taped, our production director Al Urbanski collapsed at the radio station and had to be taken to the hospital. He died later that night. One of his last acts on this planet was recording that Ann Margret interview for us.

The next morning when we played the interview on the air, the room was somber. To be fair to Ann Margret, the interview might have been much better than we remember, but it will forever be tainted in our minds.

To think of that interview, is to think of Al.

We still miss him.

*The same morning the interview aired, the Chicago Sun-Times reviewed “Annie Get Your Gun.” If I remember correctly, they gave it the worst review in the history of the Broadway in Chicago series. Ann Margret, in particular, was singled out for her weak voice and lack of stage presence.

Eckhartz Everyday

*Today would have been Tony Accardo's birthday. The former Chicago Outfit crime boss is metioned a number of times in the Eckhartz Press book Mob Adjacent by the Gentile brothers.

*On this day in 2020, Eckhartz Press author Bill Paige (Everything I know I learned from rock stars) came to Chicago and announced an event. It was called America's Lost Soul, Unpacking Bob Dylan's Murder Most Foul. It was about the 17 minute song Dylan released during the pandemic about the Kennedy assassination.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview

 Really proud of this interview. I got a chance to speak to one of my musical heroes, the leader of the Rascals, Felix Cavaliere. We talked about their great songs like Good Lovin, People Gotta Be Free, Groovin, It's a Beautiful Morning, and the golden era of rock and roll music.

Listen to it here.

Cubs Tweet of the Week

Studio Walls

   Every week I send my Minutia Men Co-Host Dave Stern a list from our audio archives for this week's Studio Walls feature. These are the possibilities for this week. Which one will he choose?

April 26 is Melania Trump's birthday. We had the author of Inside Melania, Lauren Logiudice, a real live Melania impersonator on the show. (Listen to that here)

April 27 would have been Casey Kasem's birthday. We have the famous "Dog dying" audio outtake of Casey losing it in the studio. (AUDIO)

April 28, 2007, the upcoming book $everance, by me, is announced with this YouTube ad. 

April 28 is Jay Leno's birthday. We have a clip of Jay coming on to John Landecker's show to deny stealing the Dancing Ito's from John (AUDIO)

April 29 is the famous Lee Elia rave out day. This is the first anniversary of that famous tape since the man who recorded it (Les Grobstein) passed away. (AUDIO)

April 29, 1997, Mike Royko passed away. He considered Rick a genius. He was also a die-hard Cubs fan, and we have audio of him explaining what makes a Cubs fan tick (AUDIO)

April 29 is Richard Epcar's birthday. We had the voice over star on our show discussing his incredible career (You can listen to the entire interview here)

April 29 is also Jerry Seinfeld's birthday. Journalist Jay Shatz was on our show and told us the story about the day he interviewed his double-ganger Jerry Seinfeld. (Entire interview is here)

Eckhartz Everyday


*On this day in 2019, I went down to Orland Park to promote my book EveryCubEver. They wrote a very nice article about me that day. (Among the people who came out to get the book, Cubs pitcher Steve Trout and his grandson)

*On this day in 2018, Beth Jacobellis went on the Patti Vasquez show on WGN to promote her Eckhartz Press book Cameo. You can hear that interview here.

*On this day in 2017, Eckhartz Press author Dobie Maxwell (Monkey in the Middle) got to throw out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewers game. Photos from that event are here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Landecker & King

 From Robert Feder's column today, two Eckhartz Press authors taking center stage...

Radio legend John Records Landecker, who’s currently hosting evenings at Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM, and WXRT 93.1-FM, the Audacy adult album alternative station, are among 2022 inductees to the Hall of Fame of the Illinois Rock and Roll Museum on Route 66. This year’s other honorees are Styx, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Dan Fogelberg, The New Colony Six, Jim Peterik, Dennis DeYoung and Mercury Records. The second annual Hall of Fame ceremony will be June 5 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. (Here is the link for tickets.)

 John asked me to introduce him for his induction speech, but unfortunately I'll be out of the country. I'm bummed out about that. I was honored to be asked.

And this little nugget below is about our latest book. It just went live on the website this morning...

Highly recommended: Ike and Me: What a Time It Was, the insightful memoir of former Chicago sportscaster Rich King, is about to be published by Rick Kaempfer and David Stern’s Chicago-based Eckhartz Press. (Here is the link to pre-order.) It’s more than just an engaging collection of war stories and character vignettes spanning a golden era in sports and TV news. It’s also a remarkably candid reflection on how King overcame the culture of racism that permeated his childhood on Chicago’s South Side and a tribute to the epic friendship he forged with his intrepid cameraman and partner in crime, Richard “Ike” Isaac. After 48 years in the business, King retired from WGN-Channel 9 in 2016 and moved to Phoenix.

Eckhartz Everyday

*Today is Melania Trump's birthday. No-one has ever gotten inside her mind better than Eckhartz Press author Lauren Logiudice, who penned the classic Inside Melania: What I Learned About Melania Trump By Impersonating Her. 

*On this day in 2015, Eckhartz Press author Bruce Bohrer (Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher) bravely appeared on the south side at the Beverly Arts Center promoting his book.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Grew up around this one

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2018, Eckhartz Press author Kipper McGee (Brandwidth) appeared on the Brandstorm podcast. Listen to that interview here.

*On this day in 2016, the Milwaukee Journal reviewed the Eckhartz Press book Monkey in the Middle by Dobie Maxwell. Read that review here.