Friday, May 20, 2022

Ike and Me

WGN's 100th birthday

 If you listened to WGN Radio yesterday, you heard a day long celebration of the radio station's 100th birthday. Congrats WGN!

I've appeared as a guest on WGN radio for more than 20 years now on dozens of shows, and met many impressive pros. But I've also been interviewing WGN personalities for more than 30 years as a media writer, and in that time I've written about more than 50 of them. 

Today, as the station starts it's second century, I wanted to post a few highlights from some of my favorites...


I interviewed Roy in 2010, and we spoke at length about his incredible WGN career (1967-1998). I had never heard the story of how he came to Chicago...

In 1967 my station in Boston went rock and roll. They were a WGN-type station before that, #3 in the market, but they wanted to be #1. And that’s what they became. They were #1 in seven months. They asked me to stay on, but I didn’t want to be a rock and roll disc jockey. I liked the music, but I didn’t want to play it on the radio. One of my best friends was Curt Gowdy, he was a neighbor, and I asked him if he knew anyone that would hire me. He called his buddy in New York, and it turned out that he repped WGN.

At the time, WGN had marvelous ratings in the afternoon because of Cubs baseball, but after the season ended, they got no numbers. So, I bought three Chicago newspapers, The Trib, Sun-Times, and The American, went through them, and made a tape of what I thought my show would sound like in Chicago. They liked the tape, and Wally was taking some time off, so they paid me to fill in for him, and that Friday after filling in for a week, they asked me to work for them in the afternoon slot, 1 to 4 PM. I had been getting up at 3 in the morning, so I said, that’s great! But, my family was in Boston, and I have six kids, and I couldn’t just pack up and leave. So they agreed to fly me home to Boston when the Cubs were in town that summer of 1967. That made the move a little easier. We were able to sell our house and move out here before school in the fall.

As for my style of radio, you’re right, nobody is really doing that kind of show right now, but then again they weren’t doing it before I got here either. I listened to Chicago radio as much as I could (Howard Miller, etc.) when I first came to town. I tried to find what nobody was doing, and make that my own. Nobody was talking about theatre or film at the time, and I enjoyed both immensely, so when I first started, that’s what I talked about.

I remember Aaron Gold was representing the Ivanhoe, and he heard me talking about theater, so he asked me to come out and see their latest show. And that’s when I started getting these great guests.

Marcel Marceau (photo) was one of my first guests—and we really hit it off. Ironically, he wouldn’t shut up (laughs). We even had him out to the house. That’s one thing I never really talked about on the air—that I spent a lot of time with some of these people off the air—many of them came out to the house. I remember another time we had Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits over. He ended up in the bedroom upstairs playing guitar with my boys.


On the eve of his 50th anniversary with WGN Radio, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Orion Samuelson. I asked him to tell me about the stories he covered that were most memorable to him...

Well, I’ve also done a television show for many years too, and with my crew we’ve gone to forty three countries. That’s one thing.

I’ve been asked about this a lot in the last few weeks, and I suppose the one that comes to mind is the day that Senator Kennedy came to Green Bay in May of 1960. He held a press conference in the Northland Hotel, and I asked him several questions about farm and dairy issues. After the press conference was over, a gentleman in a suit came over to me and said, “Senator Kennedy would like to speak to you privately.” He wanted to learn more about farm issues. So we sat in the bar of the Northland Hotel and discussed farm issues for about twenty minutes.

Then, on November 22, 1963, I happened to be on the air when the news came over the wire. I was in the middle of a weather forecast, and I remember it was a warm and rainy day in Chicago, when the yellow teletype was handed to me. I thought it was a joke at first, because of course, that’s the sort of gag we liked to pull on each other, but when I saw the faces in the control room I knew it was for real.

You have to remember, this was before we had the internet, and before we had computers—we were totally reliant upon UPI and AP to give us the news. That was all we had. At 12:33, all I had was this one or two sentence bulletin stating that the President had been shot. I didn’t know what to do. The program director was at lunch, so we couldn’t ask him. The record turner was at lunch, so we couldn’t go to music. So I just went back to reading my forecast, then read the bulletin again, then went back to the forecast. Finally, someone found the record turner, and we went back to music. Walter Cronkite announced that Kennedy was dead around 1:00. I’ll certainly never forget that day.

On the other end of the spectrum, another highlight for me was being the announcer on the WGN Barn Dance. I grew up listening to WLS, the Prairie Farmer Station, and the Barn Dance was a regular Saturday night feature, and had been since the 1920s. They held it at the old 8th Street Theatre. Well, on April 30, 1960, WLS signed off as a farm station, and the next day they became a rock and roll station. This infuriated every single farmer in the Midwest. I said to Ward Quaal, that it would be a shame to let the Barn Dance die, and he agreed. We brought it to WGN, and from 1960-1969, I got to meet some of the greats of the business, including Johnny Cash, and boy you name it, they were all on the show.

I still talk to 4-H clubs with some regularity, and I always tell young people, if you don’t remember anything else I’ve said, remember this: You can’t dream big enough. As a kid sitting on a three-legged milking stool in Wisconsin, I never would have believed the life I had in front of me. Thanks to the power and influence of WGN, I’ve met seven presidents. I even went to a dinner at the White House once when Richard Nixon was president. I never would have believed that could happen to me.


Eddie was the overnight man at WGN Radio for many years and became a legend in this town. I interviewed him in 2007, shortly before his death. I asked him how it was he get on WGN Radio in the first place, and was pleasantly surprised by his answer...

During a very long and successful run at WIND 560 Bob Collins from WGN invited me out to dinner. He shared his hopes for the future. The retirement of Wally Phillips was on the horizon and Bob knew the WGN morning show was going to be his biggest challenge. Replacing an icon like Wally was no small assignment.

Uncle Bobby knew how to read a rating book and he realized that WIND was #1 in both male and female demos and had been so for years. He wasn't looking forward to hitting the air every morning with a competeing station having a larger audience. He knew it would take him longer to get each morning off the ground with a 3 or 4 share when WIND had 12's and 14's. So Bob proposed I join him at WGN and work overnight as his lead-in. I was a bit stunned, but it was something I had always hoped for and didn't know how to make happen. WGN was the home of Franklyn Macormick, Jay Andres, Mike Rapchak and the Meister Brau Showcase. My kind of act had never played there at night.

The opportunity Bob presented came at the perfect time. WIND had just welcomed a new G.M. He was a corporate guy from back east. The station was doing well with all time slots well established and this new dude comes in and tells us it's his station now and we all better get used to his ways. He also told us he was looking at the entire schedule with the possibility of juggling some of us around. I knew at that moment I wasn't going to put my future into the hands of a guy with his poor people skills. I had my agent make a deal and a few days after my WIND contract expired without a new deal ready it was the time to jump. I called a friend with a truck and one night after my show I just moved out and never said goodbye. It was a tough but correct decision.

WIND was scrambling to replace me and Larry King's program which had been on for a while at WCFL with no perceptible audience so WIND made him a pitch and his syndicated show moved into my old slot. King, when asked by Irv Kupcinet in the Sun-Times how he intended to procede said that "He wasn't concerned about me and my program. I spent most of my time interviewing the sewer commissioner."

The next day one of his minions called to "apologize" for the unkind remark and said that Kup misquoted King. He said Larry didn't really mean that. I knew from that point my mission was three-fold. 1. Build an audience 2. Support Bob Collins and 3. Kick King's ass bigger than he'd ever been kicked before. And that is just what I did. He was a total failure on WIND. He is the most ill-prepared interviewer I've ever seen or heard.

Eckhartz Everyday


*On this day in 2013, legendary broadcaster and Eckhartz Press author John Records Landecker, made an appearance at the Green White Soccer Clubhouse in Mt. Prospect to promote our book Records Truly Is My Middle Name.

*May 20 is Jim Lyttle's birthday. Jim was an outfielder with the 1972 White Sox, and is featured in the Eckhartz Press book Chili Dog MVP.

*On this day in 2020, longtime Chicago television reporter Nancy Loo announced that she was leaving Chicago and moving to Los Angeles. Before she did, she offered this endorsement of the Eckhartz Press book Life Behind the Camera, by Chuck Quinzio..."Finished it in one sitting while on a flight from San Francisco to Chicago earlier this month! The writing is crisp and I enjoyed every chapter, many of them quite funny." 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2017, Eckhartz Press released our third children's book, I Had a Runny Nose, by Tom Latourette. 

*On this day in 2018, Beth Jacobellis made an appearance in Park Ridge to promote her Eckhartz Press book Cameo. You can see some pictures from that event here.

*May 19, 1974 was a momentous day in Chicago Cougars history. Chicago's WHA hockey team played for the league championship in Mt. Prospect, Illinois of all places. Eckhartz Press printed a free excerpt from Chet Coppock's book Your Dime My Dance Floor that beautifully sets the scene of this amazingly strange day in Chicago hockey history.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

From the Writing Archives--Worst Vacation Ever


Today is my good friend Bill Nicholson's birthday. He is the co-star of this column I wrote about ten years ago for SHORE MAGAZINE. I had a regular humor column in the magazine called 'A Fine Mess' and this is one of them. I'm reposting it today in honor of Billy's birthday. Hope you enjoy it...

On paper it sounded like a good idea; four old college buddies canoeing down the Wisconsin River. In reality, it was the worst vacation of my life.

We encountered our first problem the moment we got into the canoes. The two experienced camper/adventurer/outdoorsmen went in the first canoe to show the two inexperienced worthless indoorsmen how to do it. This was incredibly bad planning, because while the first canoe effortlessly made its way down the river, the second canoe was literally paddling itself in circles. Before we could yell out for help, the first canoe was long gone. They figured we would catch up with them soon enough.

They figured wrong.

It was a sweltering hot summer day, the kind of oppressive heat that led to warnings about checking on your elderly relatives. We thought we’d cool off because we were floating down a river, but didn’t factor in the fact that we were traveling in a metal canoe. The roasting sun turned our traveling device into a scorching heat machine. Any slight movement in the canoe was a potential third degree burn situation.

Forearm on metal. Yelp. Thigh on metal. Yelp.

The heat did something else. It dried up parts of the river. The current that was supposed to calmly carry us down the river was non-existent. After we eventually figured out how to paddle, we were exerting a great deal of effort just to keep moving.  In some parts of the river we actually had to pick up our canoe and move it when it got stuck.

Hand on metal. Yelp.

After not seeing any other humans for hours, we thought we saw someone standing on the riverbank in the distance. We figured it had to be one of our buddies thoughtfully waiting for us to catch up so we could switch paddling partners. As we approached we could see it was something very different.

It was a man, but it wasn’t anyone we knew. He was standing there looking at us, and we didn’t want to look back because he was completely nude. He had his hands on his hips, and was thrusting his bottom half proudly into the sun.

“Oh my God!” my buddy Bill said.

“Come on, man, paddle!” I screamed.

“I am!” he said. “I am!”

We made it past him eventually, but with each additional paddle we encountered more people of all shapes and sizes waving to us. Each of them was wearing nothing but a friendly smile.

“Want a beer?” an elderly nude man screamed to us.

 “No thanks,” I replied, maintaining perfect eye contact. I wasn’t quite sure how to have a conversation with an elderly nude man. It was a first for me.

“Have you seen another canoe come by here?” Bill asked.

“Yeah, they were here about thirty minutes ago. Friends of yours?” the elderly nude man asked.

“Not anymore,” Bill replied.

We didn’t run into our ex-friends again until it was time to stop for the night. They had set up a campsite on a sandbar, and had started a fire.

“There they are,” one of them said when they spotted us. “It’s about time.”

“We didn’t know what we were doing!” I screamed.

“I can’t believe you’re making a fire,” Bill said. “It’s 1500 degrees outside.”

They helped us get the canoe ashore (Hand on metal. Yelp.) and asked us to help them set up the tent. When we spread out the tent we discovered another tiny little problem. The entire tent was covered with spiders. Hundreds and hundreds of spiders were crawling all over its hot canvas. My anacrophobic pal was not a happy camper.

“I’m sleeping outside,” Bill said after he saw the spiders.

“There are snakes out here,” one of the adventurers said.

Bill and I looked at each other and laughed. We were sunburned, tired, sore, miserable, and now we weren’t even going to be able sleep.

I extended my hand to him. “Last canoeing trip ever, right?”

“Last canoeing trip ever,” he replied.

That’s a promise that will be easy to keep.

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2018, Eckhartz Press author Randy Richardson had a book signing at the Billy Goat on lower Michigan to celebrate his book Cubsessions.

*Also on this day in 2018, Eckhartz Press author Beth Jacobellis (Cameo) appeared on the show America's Most Haunted to talk about her book. You can listen to that here.

*On this day in 2017, Eckhartz Press author Brent Petersen discovered something called Synthetic Truffles, which he had featured in his novel Truffle Hunt, before they actually existed in the real world. Read his piece about that here.

*On this day in 2019, Dave Hoekstra paid tribute to the late Eckhartz Press author Pat Colander (Hugh Hefner's First Funeral) on WGN Radio. You can still find that here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Man with the World's Longest Name

 23 years ago today...

"The Man with the World's Longest Name"

The following AP report announced that I won a national writing contest…


ATLANTA, May 17, 1999 /AP / -- Who says you cant’ break into the publishing world on your first try? Diet Coke is making it possible for one talented writer to do just that. Rick Kaempfer of Mt. Prospect, Illinois has been named the grand prize winner of the “diet Coke Living Life to It’s Fullest” writing contest.

Rick’s story was chosen from more than 400 entries. The selection was made based on the judging of seven best-selling authors including Elmore Leonard, Nora Roberts, Lisa Scottoline, Maeve Binchy, Mark Victor Hansen, Barbara Taylor Bradford, and Mark & Chrissy Donnelly. The entries were judged on originality, creativity, appropriateness to theme, and clarity. Twenty three finalists were also announced today.

Kaempfer, who lives in Mt. Prospect, a suburb of Chicago, with his wife and two young sons, read about the contest in his local newspaper (The Daily Herald) and, despite having never entered a contest before, was inspired to enter because of the title. “When I read about the ‘Living Life to the Fullest’ contest it reminded me of my grandfather,” says Rick. His is a whimsical tale about a man who adds the name of everyone who inspires him throughout his life to his own name.

As the grand prize winner, Rick and his wife will be flown to New York City on May 14th to live the life of a best-selling author during an all-expenses-paid, three-day, two-night trip. Highlights include a VIP tour of prestigious publishing houses HarperCollins Publishers and Penguin Putnam, Inc., as well as meetings with publishing executives to discuss his writing. Rick will also enjoy dining in the company of best-selling authors Mark & Chrissy Donnelly, Mark Victor Hansen, Nora Roberts, Lisa Scottoline and Elmore Leonard. His story will be published as an e-book that will appear on the diet Coke website through the end of this year.

Rick’s Notes:

The e-book has vanished into the nether world since the end of 1999, but the original children’s poem that my essay was based upon still remains. I wrote the following story in 1992 the day I learned my grandfather’s cancer had returned. This story isn’t really about him, although he did like to take me to the park when I was a boy. It’s more about the spirit of him…the way my mind saw him as a child. This is the only children’s story I’ve ever written. My grandfather, Engelbert Ruscheinski, died in 1993. I never showed him this story.

I know it’s corny, but it’s a children’s story, and it did make me feel a lot better at the time. I hope you read this in that spirit.


Rudy liked to play in the park, there were so many things to do,
He could slide down the slide, or play in the sand, or he could swing on a swing or two,
Every day he went to the park, as soon as he finished school,
And he would wait for his mom to pick him up, that was his #1 rule.

One day the sun was shining bright, and he had little time left to play,
He couldn’t stop watching the man on the bench, who came to the park every day,
There was something about that old man there, and Rudy couldn’t help stare,
Birds were flocking and landing on him, and they came from everywhere,

He held a big bag, and fed all the birds, and soon the food was no more,
But they stayed to listen to the old man talk, and Rudy wondered, "What for?"
So he dropped the sand he was playing with, and he walked to the end of the park.
What was the old man saying to them—what were those soothing remarks?

But as he approached, the birds flew away, leaving Rudy alone with the man.
The man looked at Rudy, and Rudy looked back, and he almost turned and ran.
"What is your name?" came a gentle call, and he added, "You look like a Mike."
Rudy shook his head, and the man guessed on, "Are you Charlie, or Kenneth, or Ike?"

"Rudy's my name," he heard himself say, and he wondered about the man's name.
He wondered if he was supposed to guess back, were they playing some sort of game?
"What is your name?" Rudy asked the old man, then guessed "Are you a Joe?"
"Yes, I am," the old man replied, "and a Tom, and a Sean, and a Moe!"

"I'm also a Vince, a Benny, a Pete, a Billy, a Jim, and a Barry,
I'm a Chuck, and a Steve, a John, and a Beav, an Alex, a Mark and a Gary.
All of these names are part of me now, I’m the man with the world’s longest name,"
And he told little Rudy the story about, how he achieved this acclaim,

"I once had three names," the old man said," A first, a middle and last.
But that was many years ago, before my loved ones passed,
When I was a boy, my granddad died; I mourned him and I cried,
My mother tried to comfort me, but I wanted to know why he died."

"God called for him," she said to me, "He also loves your granddad.
And he touched our lives, like no one else; be thankful for the years that we had.
What one thing will you miss the most, what made you love him so much?"
I said, “I loved the way he made me laugh, with a face, or a smile, or a touch."

"Do you think that you could do that, son, to people that you meet?"
I just nodded and looked at her, and I slowly got up to my feet.
"That way he still lives with us," I said, as the idea came.
"And since he is now part of me, I shall add his name to my name."

"I added his name to my other three, to make the total four.
And many years have passed since then, and I've added many more.
My father was great, and he loved to sing, and though he’ll never have fame,
When he died, I learned his songs, and I added his name to my name."

"My mother was kind and loved animals, she soothed them with her sweet words.
And when she died, I added her name, and I came to talk to her birds."
Rudy was quiet, but then he asked, "Have all of those people died?"
"Oh, no!" said the man, and he smiled at Rudy. "Inside me they're quite alive!"

"If you wanted to add my name," Rudy asked, "would you put it right after Mark?"
"If I added your name, I'd put it first, and I'd love to play in the park."
Rudy smiled and said “My mom’s coming soon, I better get back to the sand,”
And though he never saw him again, Rudy never forgot that old man.

Rick’s Notes:
My sister-in-law Kelly drew some beautiful pictures to accompany this story back in 1992, and I did try to sell it to a few publishers, but I didn't really know what I was doing in those days. In 1999 I was reading the Daily Herald, and saw the article about this contest. Something about that title "Living Life to It's Fullest" made me think of my grandfather, which made me think of this story. I dug it out of the closet, converted it to an essay, and sent it in. When they called a few months later to tell me I had won, I was taking a nap. Bridget didn't wake me up--she took a message. I always thought that was funny.

The pictures below were taken in late May 1999, when we arrived in New York to accept the prize.

The top photo shows the television cameras that followed us around (my wife Bridget accompanied me). Stories about this contest, and my winning the grand prize, appeared on dozens of television stations in the country, including WLS-TV (Channel 7) here in Chicago. (In later editions of “From the Archives” I’ll be showcasing some of the press stories/interviews that came out after I won the prize.)

The bottom photo was taken at lunch at the famous round table in the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel where Dorothy Parker and her vicious circle used to dine every day in the 1920s. Chicken Soup for the Soul author Mark Victor Hansen and romance novelist Nora Roberts are having lunch with Bridget and me.

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2021, Eckhartz Press author Bob Boone submitted to this Q&A, about his new book CityU. It was rough putting out a book during the pandemic, but Bob was a trooper.

*On this day in 2013, one of the people featured in John Records Landecker's book, radio programmer Paul Drew, and Eckhartz Press published a free excerpt from the book about him.

*Today is Jim Nantz's birthday. He was featured in Randy Merkin's Eckhartz Press book Behind the Glass.

*Today is also a very famous birthday in baseball. It's the birthday of the only man in history to wear his birthday (Month & Day) on his uniform, Carlos May. He's also featured in the new Eckhartz Press book Chili Dog MVP, and will be appearing with the authors of that book this coming weekend.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Chili Dog MVP on WGN Radio

Dr. David Fletcher, co-author of the Eckhartz Press book Chili Dog MVP, appeared on WGN Radio Friday night with host Phil Manicki. 

They posted the interview on the WGN website here.

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2019, I met fellow Cub fan George Will and gave him a copy of my newly released book "EveryCubEver". He was very appreciative.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Minutia Men--A Rick and Dave Primer

 Our latest episode is out. You can listen to it here.

Nazi jokes. Million Dollar ideas. A huge TV sitcom star. And a peek into the actual emotions of Rick and Dave. [Ep271]

Nice Piece about Eckhartz Press

 From the Orland Park Patch. Thanks so much to the writer of the piece, K.P. Lynne...

Illinois-Based Eckhartz Press Delivers Locally Made Best-Sellers, One Page at a Time

By K.P. Lynne 

Calling all bookworms, book lovers and future authors...Eckhartz Press is the hottest little publishing house in town!

Whether you are an avid reader or an aspiring author, Eckhartz Press is the place for you!

Eckhartz Press books provide pure magic between two covers!

Bigger is NOT always better!

Smaller by design...Eckhartz Press makes a big splash with the intense level of professionalism, warmth and sincerity put into every book they release.

Eckhartz Press is a family-owned and operated hybrid publishing house located in Chicago, Illinois.

When you buy a book or publish a book with Eckhartz Press you can rest assured you are buying books from a family-owned and operated publishing house, providing work for local neighbors, and receiving a high-quality book, printed in the USA, designed by seasoned professionals who genuinely care about the products they produce.

Eckhartz Press is the literary "Home Sweet Home" for many celebrities including John Records Landecker, Rich King, Mitch Michaels, the late Joel Daly and the late Chet Coppock to name a few.

Rick Kaempfer and David Stern, the publishing house owners, are stars in their own right, and bring a wealth of knowledge and professional experience to every facet of Eckhartz Press. The dynamic duo presently performs as podcast stars on the #1 ranked "Minutia Men" and possess mile-long resumes of TV, radio and print media experience.

A recent Eckhartz Press title, Chili Dog MVP, Dick Allen, The 1972 White Sox and A Transforming Chicago, debuted as a #1 Best Seller in Baseball History Books and #1 New Release in Baseball Books on Amazon and received radio and television coverage. 

If you are a reader looking to support literary works made right here in America, an aspiring author looking to publish adult fiction or non-fiction, or think you may have a children's book in you...check out what Eckhartz Press and Eckhartz Kids has to offer.

Book Worm? SHOP HERE!

Aspiring Author? Start Your Career Right Here!


Today is officially the 15th anniversary of my first novel's release. It was called $everance. It's still available at ENC Press.

Not to be confused with the recent series on Apple TV. This was the story of the original $everance...

Tom Zagorski was one of the most popular morning radio personalities in Chicago for nearly twenty years, but the financial realities of the new corporate-owned media world make him obsolete. His boss is doing whatever he can (including public and private humiliation) to make Zagorski quit so he doesn’t have to pay the severance. Zagorski pushes back by passive-aggressively needling his boss into firing him — without ever crossing the line that could get him fired for cause.

When neither side budges after six months of battle, an exasperated Zagorski sends an e-mail to the CEO of the corporation, sarcastically suggesting a massive firing of anyone who doesn’t actually bring in money. Instead of firing Zagorski in a rage, CEO takes the e-mail at face value, eliminating thousands of jobs and sending the stock price soaring. To reward the genius who came up with the idea, the CEO makes Zagorski his new COO.

Getting fired suddenly becomes a monumental task: Zagorski has become the darling of Wall Street. In order to get fired, he has to get the stock price to go down and/or irritate his mercurial boss so much that he can’t take him any longer. Zagorski takes great glee in pursuing both of these options, and, along with his on-air partner Richard Lawrence, plunges headlong into the world of media finance, politics, and personalities.

Still very proud of this one. 

It got great reviews. 

It was particularly appreciated by people in the media who knew what I was writing about...

"Rick cuts the modern media conglomerates to the quick in his alternately hilarious and disturbing Severance. Some readers will think his moguls and media personalities are exagerrated. I'm here to tell you they're pretty dead-on."
--Roe Conn, WLS Radio

"It's about time somebody told this story. $everance certainly captured the world of radio, warts and all."
--Legendary broadcaster Clark Weber

Severance is a black comedy that would be funnier if its darkness weren’t so true. And it crackles with the insights and cynicism that made Network and Broadcast News the seminal cinematic treatments of today’s dumbed-down news business. Move over Christopher Buckley----Rick Kaempfer is in town!”
--ABC-TV News Reporter Andy Shaw

"Other than 'love', 'Severance' is the sweetest word in the English language. This really made me laugh."
--WGN Radio's Steve Cochran

"Told with the keen insight of a veteran insider, it's a humorous indictment of an industry that has lost all sense of purpose -- except for making money, of course."
--Former Chicago Sun Times media columnist Robert Feder

"A hysterical critique of corporate morality"
--Chicago Tribune's RedEye Columnist and WGN-TV Morning News Anchor Larry Potash

"I was with it the whole way, and I love the appended real life figures at the end. I enjoyed the hell out of $everance."
--The Beachwood Reporter's Steve Rhodes

"Brilliant satire! I got a paper cut from the sarcasm. I wish I could say it was great fiction, but having worked in radio, I think it’s just really funny non-fiction. The reality in between the laughs will scare the hell out of you."
--Longtime radio personality and playwright Spike Manton

"I thought this novel was just going to be an amusing story about radio. But the way Kaempfer has woven in elements of all media and politics is masterful, to say nothing of insightful, and frequently laugh-out-loud funny! It’s a brilliant first entry. I can't wait for his next page-turner!"
--Legendary broadcaster and programmer Bob Dearborn

"$everance is a comical, suspenseful, thought-provoking novel about the frightening realities of corporate media in America. Kaempfer writes with ease, quickly drawing the reader in to the satirical-yet oddly realistic-world he's created. This one is tough to put down-a delightful page-turner!"
--Julia Perla, Managing Editor, Shore Magazine

"Too bad Zagorski (the main character) is fictional. Today's media could use someone like him to shake things up. He's the personification of fairness with just enough wicked cynicism to make him completely irresistible. The thought that a team like Zagorski and Lawrence might actually exist should make some big bosses more than a little uneasy."
--Leslie Keiling, WGN Radio

"Rick Kaempfer’s “$everence” is whiplash-fast, choke-on-your-coffee funny, and ultimately frightening. Kaempfer has seen it all in the radio business, and has some dire predictions for the rest of the media, too. It’s the summer’s must-discuss beach read – and probably a sign of the apocalypse."
--Paige Wiser, Chicago Sun-Times columnist

"I laughed out loud many times while reading it - yeah, it's that funny! If you work in the radio business you'll love the inside view of the industry and if you're not in the media you will certainly learn a lot of eye-opening trade secrets."
--Cara Carriveau

"I began laughing almost immediately! The first paragraph alone made me feel like I was back at my first radio job trying to avoid doing anything remotely near the station’s break room! I absolutely LOVE the book! The plot twists and turns were totally unpredictable!"
--Darren Marlar, "Marlar in the Morning", 101-QFL

"As funny as this book is, $everance is a must read for anyone who cares about the state of radio and the media in general. The more ridiculous the plot gets, the more one realizes that it's probably the closest to the truth about what comes out of our radios, tvs and newspapers every day! Kaempfer has done his homework and manages to weave a delightful tale questioning the terrifying possibilities of truth for sale."
---Jeanne Ashley, Star 102 KCKC, Kansas City

"Richard Kaempfer has peeled the lid off your favorite radio station and shown what's inside. $everance turns the radio business on its head and makes you laugh out loud, but it also asks some tough questions. A great read!"
--Reed Pence, Media Tracks

"Got this book and read it in one sitting. Fantastic. I'm realizing that I worked with - and for - most of the characters in this book!"
--Len O'Kelly, WFGR Morning Host

"It's a ripe satire that rips the media giants a new one. Kaempfer throws his rocks with a keen insight."
--Jeff Hoover, WGN-TV Morning News

"Rick Kaempfer's novel Severance reveals the scary truth about the state of our media industry today. In a country where the First Amendment and the Fourth Estate were created specifically to keep our government in check, Severance is a must read for anyone who listens to the radio, watches TV or reads the newspaper—and who cares about the information they’re being fed. This is an extremely important book, one the mainstream media doesn’t want you to know about!"
--Kim Strickland, author of "Wish Club"

"A fast moving read that gives the reader insight into the fast moving radio industry; Kaempfer folds the reality of the business with the ridiculous...which is more often than not, the reality of the business!"
--Andi Kuhn, longtime radio personality

"Severance may be a novel – but the storyline it presents is a very realistic – albeit extreme look at the corporate media world – written as only an industry insider could do."
--Dan Kelley, longtime radio programmer

Here are several more from regular readers

Here's another. 

When it first came out, John Records Landecker even interviewed me about it in the pages of Shore Magazine. You can read that interview here.

I wrote about it for the Illinois Enterainter on the 10th anniversary.

Sadly, most of the things I predicted would happen (as satire) have happened. Even more sadly, in the case of political media, I wasn't savage enough. Reality has gone beyond satire. I still think it's the best thing I've ever written. But that's just my opinion.

I wish it had gained a bigger audience, but after my round of local media appearances (who embraced it), I realized that the national media would never give me a platform to point out how corrupt they were. At the time, my family was also struggling financially (I had recently left the business permanently, and was working as a free-lance writer), so this was the extent of my advertising budget. It was highly mobile, but it turns out, it wasn't too effective...