Saturday, August 13, 2022

Eckhartz Press on the Radio

Media Notebook mention

 Thanks to The Patch for this nice write up...

Love Chicago Media? Check Out Rick Kaempfer's Media Mashup EVERY Friday!

Love Chicago Media? Check Out Rick Kaempfer's Media Mashup EVERY Friday!

Chicago Media Authority, Rick Kaempfer, Recaps Anything and Everything Related to Chicago Media in His Weekly Media Notebook

By K.P. Lynne 

Check out the weekly media mashup in Rick's Media Notebook!

Friday 8-12-22 Edition: https://rickkaempfer.blogspot....

Rick has filled a void, with a much-needed weekly mashup of media-related tidbits, soundbites, news items, and media personality comings and goings.

Want to know who's hot and who's not?

Rick Kaempfer has a nose for the news-behind-the-news and he's sharing it with everyone every Friday!

Rick Kaempfer is no stranger to Chicagoland media...a #1 podcast star (Minutia Men and Free Kicks), not to mention a lifetime of professional work in the Chicago media scene, as a producer, radio personality, best-selling author, publisher and name it...Rick has done it! 

Rick Kaempfer has racked up countless professional credits working at WLUP AM, WLUP FM, WJMK FM, and WPGU to name a few. He is the best-selling author of Father Knows Nothing, Records Truly is My Middle Name, The Living Wills, $everance, The Radio Producer's Handbook and Grun Weiss Vor!, media critic at Illinois Entertainer, a freelance magazine and newspaper contributor, and the co-owner of the trending Indie Book Publishing House, Eckhartz Press (with David Stern).

Celebrating 40 years of creative content, Rick Kaempfer has always had his finger on the pulse of Chicago media, who's in, who's out, what makes it tick, and everything in between. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Media Notebook--8-12-22


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



*Chicago Radio Ratings

=Inside Radio has the latest Chicago radio ratings. (Click here)

=The Top Five stations currently are The Drive (6.1), Lite-FM (5.4), WBEZ (5.1), WVAZ (5.1) and WBBM-AM (4.6). That’s a big jump for the Lite, which is pulling in these numbers without their annual Christmas music bump. The other four stations have all been in the top spot at least once this year.


*Podcast of the Year award winners

=Adweek’s annual Podcast of the Year award winners were announced this week. (Click here to see the full list)

=Among the winners…Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend (Best Comedy Podcast), The Right Time with Bomani Jones (Best Sports Podcast), Bridgerton: The Official Podcast (Best Television and Streaming Podcast), and The Problem with Jon Stewart (Best Interview Podcast).

*Bears Broadcasts Leaving WBBM-AM

=According to this piece by Jeff Agrest in the Sun Times, Audacy has been losing money on the Bears radio broadcasts, so they are not renewing their deal after this season. Am I the only one who has a hard time believing they are truly losing money? I listen to the games. They have more commercials than action. In any case, this is a seismic change in Chicago. The Bears/WBBM releationship goes back 22 years. Agrest reports that Joniak and Thayer will remain on the broadcasts, but they will be moving to either ESPN (AM 1000), or WCHI (95.5 FM).

=This week Axios Chicago ranked the best sports play-by-play teams currently working in Chicago. Did Joniak and Thayer make the list? See if you agree/disagree with their choices. 


*RIP Ken Draper

=He was the program director of WCFL during the famous 1960s battles between WLS & WCFL. Super CFL was one of the most creative and memorable radio stations in history, and Ken Draper was the man who put it all together. He passed away this week at the age of 89.

=Former colleague Jim Hampton (in Radio Ink):

When he took over, WCFL was owned by its namesake-the Chicago Federation of Labor. He figured if he could just get one half of WLS audience he would be doing incredibly well. So, a lot of the things he pioneered at KYW in Cleveland along with some of the people that were there; he brought them to town. Management gave him carte blanche. He believed in the talent; he wasn’t going to hire somebody and then tell him to shut up. He wanted them to be who they were…he wanted them to perform. To put on a show. You couldn’t just do a record hop…he sent all of the guys out together to the events, to represent the station. He was very, very competitive. He believed that News could be just as exciting as any record that was played, if it was presented properly. They had a huge News Department, it was unionized and paid well. He showcased the News and made it into something really important.”

=Arguably the biggest star at WCFL was Ron Britain. I got a chance to interview the late great jock about ten years ago, and he was quick to give Draper the credit…

So I flew up to Chicago and met with the folks at WCFL. I thought, you know what? This is a great radio town. Maybe this is where I should go. Ken Draper, the guy who hired me, and Jim Runyan drove me into the city. All these lights were lit along Michigan Avenue, and they told me that they decorated the city just for me. I took the job, but I was scared to death. I had never worked at a place that had so much talent. It was just unbelievable—I was intimidated by it. They had guys I really respected like Jim Runyan and Joel Sebastian. I thought, how I can work alongside great talent like this? I was so scared when I went on the air the first time—I didn't know what to do. I thought what I had been doing before wasn’t good enough. My first night on the air, I was using squeaky toys, and I got a note from Ken Draper. The note said "We hired Ron Britain not Pinky Lee." Of course, he was right.”

=Draper was even indirectly responsible for the creation of the incredible Chickenman bit. He hired Dick Orkin to do production. I spoke to Dick in 2012 and he also gave credit to Draper…

            The origin of Chickenman was the direct result of the popularity of the television show "Batman". It was huge. It was camp. It was fun. Draper decided that each of the DJs should choose a campy superhero mascot, and for the Jim Runyon show, we came up with Chickenman. I sort of based the character on the Broderick Crawford sheriff character--that sort of straight, know it all delivery of his. It seemed like a fun thing to parody. It began with that. I wasn't thinking about a chicken.”

=This video was done by Jim Hampton. If you’re interested in the legacy of Draper, you’ll love it.


*Radio formats with most upscale listeners

=The Sound Answers blog from Katz Radio Group did an analysis of the average net worth of radio listeners in every format, and they conclude that 17 different radio formats have listeners with an above average net worth. (Full details are here)

=The five radio formats attracting the most upscale audiences are All News, Classical, Public Radio, News/Talk and Jazz.

=Other music formats classified as having an upscale listenership: AAA, Alternative, Adult Standards, Classic Rock, Classic Hits, Soft AC, and Hot AC.

*Another Big Player Expands Reach in Podcast World

=Apple has signed a deal with Futuro Studios to produce more original podcast content. Bloomberg has the details 


*Rick on the Radio

=Tune in to WGN Radio tonight. I’ll be on the Phil Manicki show talking about this column, my publishing company, and our upcoming books. Plus we’ll get into my radio background a bit and discuss my former roles on the shows hosted by Radio Hall of Famers Steve & Garry, and John Records Landecker.

*Museum of Broadcasting tribute to rock radio

=Don't forget! This Sunday August 14th (3pm) at the Des Plaines Theater, a few local radio legends will be part of a discussion about the heyday of rock radio (including John Landecker, Tommy Edwards, and Bob Stroud). Other rock radio legends from around the country will also be joining via zoom. Wendy Snyder will the host/moderator. Get your tickets here.  All proceeds benefit the Museum of Broadcast Communications. (Photo: WGN-TV's Dean Richards interviews John Landecker & Tommy Edwards)

*Former Chicago Radio Alert

=Sending out positive vibes to Jay Marvin, once a talk show host at WLS in Chicago. Apparently, he is not doing well. This is what he posted on his Facebook page this week...



I’ve interviewed quite a few Chicago media figures who are celebrating birthdays this week. Click on their names to read the interviews. The year I interviewed them is in parenthesis.


*August 9—Bob Sirott (2021) 


*August 9--Fred Weintraub (2020) 


*August 11--Andrea Darlas (2007) 


*August 11—Barry Butler (2019) Audio interview 


*August 12--Marianne Murciano (2014) 

*August 12—(the late) Ron Smith (2011) 

*August 12, Lauren Jiggetts

*August 13--Danny Bonaduce (2021)


*August, 2004—Infamous Dave Matthews Band Poop Incident

=This week in 2004, hundreds of pounds of human waste was dumped out of their tour bus, and splattered all over people on a Chicago River tour. Bobby Skafish was the first one to interview Matthews about that day, and a partial transcript appears in his book We Have Company: Four Decades of Rock and Roll Encounters  Here’s an excerpt from that chapter…

            We had a strict allotment of time for this interview which I’m not proud to say I exceeded, but I wanted to wait for the right opening to broach the Chicago River incident, which of course was nicknamed by some “Poopgate,” and had not been commented on publicly by anyone in or surrounding DMB.

My opening came when I asked about the band’s charitable organization known as Bama Works, which began in 1999 in the band’s ground zero, the Charlotteville, Va. area, but had since spread out nationally and internationally, and supported all sorts of causes including, as Boyd Tinsley reminded me, the Amazon rainforest…

Bobby Skafish: “…which makes this Chicago River incident all the more unexplainable.  Everyone I know has always thought of DMB as being a green band, and then this incident popped up…”

Dave Matthews (cutting in): “Well, certainly if we could turn it around, if we had any control directly over that event…I mean it’s contrary to everything we believe and the thing that kinda kills me about it is if someone else had done it, I’d be furious. And if I was in Chicago, I’d be furious about it. And we’re just so embarrassed and we’re truly, truly sorry about what happened in Chicago, and we will keep doing things to try to keep that river clean, we will keep doing things to try to help out in Chicago until this thing is only remembered for what good came out of it. We want to do our best to turn this thing around because, honestly, I can’t tell you enough how contrary to everything that event was for us, and everything we believe and everything we think about Chicago. Chicago’s been an awesome part of our career, always a place that is sort of a home for this band. It was our first journey west and the first place to embrace us. It’s just horrible and we couldn’t be more sorry.





*Keenan Thompson Hosting the Emmys

=The longest-running cast member of SNL has been named to host this year’s Emmy Awards broadcast in September. The Associated Presshas the story.


*Chicago TV Job Alert

=Whenever I see job openings like this in Chicago, I'll share them....

*Rachel Maddow’s Next Step

=Vanity Fair has a long piece on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow  It addresses what she is planning on doing next, and also touches on the highly unusual mega-money contract she just signed to do less.


*A Revised/Alternate Plan for CNN Plus

=After CNN+ went belly up, it appeared there wouldn’t be a streaming outlet to watch some of the original programming CNN has aired over the years. That has changed, thanks to Discovery+. Beginning August 19th, there will be a special hub on Discovery+ for CNN Originals. Among the shows you can see there… Anthony Bourdain: Parts UnknownStanley Tucci: Searching for ItalyThe History of the SitcomUnited Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell; and The History of Comedy.

=One of the Discovery+ shows that has my attention is the House of Hammer. Army Hammer comes from the famous Hammer family who created the brand of baking soda you probably have in your refrigerator to keep it smelling nice.  A new television show will soon reveal the dark underbelly of the entire Hammer family. Here’s the trailer…

*TV's Effect on Political Polarization

=Niemann Labs has done a study of political polarization and information silos, particularly regarding television news. Here's a short excerpt from their findings...

    Besides being more politically siloed on average, our research found that TV news consumers are much more likely than web consumers to maintain the same partisan news diets over time: After six months, left-leaning TV audiences are 10 times more likely to remain segregated than left-leaning online audiences, and right-leaning audiences are 4.5 times more likely than their online counterparts. While these figures may seem intimidating, it is important to keep in mind that even among TV viewers, about 70% of right-leaning viewers and about 80% of left-leaning viewers do switch their news diets within six months. To the extent that long-lasting echo chambers do exist, then, they include only about 4% of the population.



*Another media columnist bites the dust

=I’m starting to think the idea of covering the media isn’t such a great idea. The New York Times media writer Ben Smith left at the beginning of this year and hasn’t been replaced. Robert Feder left the Daily Herald and hasn’t been replaced. Here’s yet another example of a media columnist leaving the business, Margaret Sullivan at the Washington Post. She talked to Vanity Fair about why she is leaving. 


*Axios sold for $525 million

=You read that right. Axios just sold to Cox for $525 million. Details are here


*How hot is it?

=The New York Times  has the story about how much the unprecedented heat has affected summer outdoor performances…

Smoke from a raging wildfire in California prompted the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to cancel a recent performance of “The Tempest” at its open-air theater. Record flooding in St. Louis forced the cancellation of an outdoor performance of “Legally Blonde.” And after heat and smoke at an outdoor Pearl Jam concert in France damaged the throat of its lead singer, Eddie Vedder, the band canceled several shows. Around the world, rising temperatures, raging wildfires and extreme weather are imperiling whole communities. This summer, climate change is also endangering a treasured pastime: outdoor performance.


*Chicago Job Alert

=Another media job possibility…

 *RIP David McCullough

=David McCullough has passed away. McCullough won Pulitzer Prizes for two presidential biographies: Truman in 1992 and John Adams in 2001. McCullough is also known for narrating Ken Burns’ 1990 PBS series “The Civil War.” The New York Times has the obituary


*Burt Constable Exit Interview

=Eric Zorn got a chance to interview outgoing Daily Herald columnist Burt Constable. Burt sounds like a man who is definitely ready to hang up his keyboard. (Read it here)

=I was part of Constable’s column exactly twice, twenty years apart. His interview with me in 1999  and in 2019 

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


The Beatles

August 11, 1966, the Beatles were in Chicago. John Lennon apologized for his "more popular than Jesus" remark at the Astor Hotel. The next day, August 12, 1966, 55 years ago today, the band appeared in concert here for the very last time at the International Amphitheater...


Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2014, Joel Daly was interviewed about his book The Daly News by the Bar Association.Why? In addition to being a news anchor, reporter, pilot, and singer, Joel was an attorney. More on that here, if you're interested.

*Today is Mark Knopfler's birthday. The Dire Straits guitarist and frontman is featured in Bill Paige's book Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

*Today is Barry Butler's birthday. The talented photographer took the great photo that we used as a cover for Pat Colander's book Hugh Hefner's First Funeral. He also took the promotional shot to announce the signing of Mitch Michaels and Ken Churilla to write Doin the Cruise. (Photos above)

*Today is also Joe Jackson's birthday. Not the 1919 White Sox player who was banned for life, the musician who had a string of big hits in the late 70s/early 80s. He is featured in Bill Paige's Eckhartz Press book Everything I Know I Learned from Rock Stars.

*On this day in 2013, John Records Landecker appeared at the Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago to promote his book Records Truly Is My Middle Name. I was there and snapped the photo of John (below) with his old WLS colleagues who also appeared there. Exactly one year later, on this day in 2014, John was in Georgetown, Illinois (outside of Danville) to promote his book. Dave and I were there for that too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


 August 10: On this day in 1941, the Cubs stage Charlie Root Day at Wrigley Field to thank their all-time winningest pitcher for his great career. The club gives him many gifts including a live pig and a station wagon. They lose a heartbreaker in ten innings to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Two Eckhartz Press books staged their launch parties on this day. In 2016 Ann Wilson launched her memoir/novel In Small Boxes. In 2018, Chet Coppock launched his book Your Dime My Dance Floor. Naturally Dave and I were there for both events...

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

RIP Lamont Dozier

 Lamont was part of the Motown writing team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. The New York Times has his obituary. That song-writing team had 15 #1 hits and 80 Top 40 hits. That's just hard to grasp. Some of the best songs from the 4 Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, and the Supremes were written by this trio. This one is probably my favorite...

RIP Olivia Newton John

Olivia Newton John passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. NBC News has the obit. She is undoubtedly best remembered for her role in Grease, but she also had the top selling song of 1982. It was considered very risque for the squeaky clean Olivia...

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?

*One August 8, 2019, we had a very special podcast at the Museum of Broadcasting with special guests Dane Placko and Jay Shatz. (Photo below) (Full show is here)

*August 8, 1977, Ernie Banks was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame. We have the audio (AUDIO)

*August 10 is Justin Thereaux's birthday. Gene Silver, one of the stars of the Mosquito Coast, written/directed by Justin, was on our podcast a few years ago, and talked about working on that famous streaming classic (Full interview is here)

*August 11, 2017, Rick and Dave fill in on WLS Radio for Bob Sirott. Among our guests that day, Denny Laine, Neil Innes, and Mark Hudson. (Photo below) (Audio is here)

*August 11 is Chris Hemsworth's birthday. We had his stunt double on the show, and he had some great stories about working with Chris and some of the stunts he has performed for him. (Full interview is here)

*August 11 is also Barry Butler's birthday. The best photographer of Chicago was on our podcast a few years ago to talk about the lengths he goes to snap his memorable photographs (Full interview is here)

*August 12, 1994, baseball went on strike. I wrote a song about that incredibly unpopular strike for John Landecker & the Legends (AUDIO)

Eckhartz Everyday

*Today is Rod Laver's birthday. The former tennis great is also legendary in the history of signature shoes. That's why he is featured prominently in Ryan Trembath's book Signature Shoes.

 *Today is Bob Sirott's birthday. The WGN morning man has contributed to two Eckhartz Press books, Cubsessions and Records Truly Is My Middle Name.

Monday, August 08, 2022

You Really Got Me

Burt Constable

 At the end of last week columnist Burt Constable announced that he was leaving the Daily Herald. He will be missed from the paper. I'd like to wish him a happy and relaxing retirment.

Burt featured me in his column twice, twenty years apart.

The last time was actually on this day in 2019. It was an article about the worst jobs in the world. He talked to me about the job that was considered the absolute worst: Radio Producer. You can read that here.

The first time he wrote about me goes all the back to 1999. At that time, I was actually still a radio producer. It was about the national writing contest I won. You can read that here.

Eckhartz Everyday

*Happy birthday to Eckhartz Press author Becky Sarwate Maxwell, co-author of the book Cubsessions.

*On this day in 2004, the Dave Matthews Band tour bus dumped about 800 pounds of human waste out of the bus's septic tank and onto a passenger sight-seeing boat on the Chicago River below. Bobby Skafish talked to Dave Matthews about that, and it's part of his Eckhartz Press book We Have Company.

*On this day in 1977, the great Ernie Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Naturally, Ernie is prominently featured in our book EveryCubEver. On this day in 1988, the Cubs played their first night game (8/8/88). It was rained out...of course.

*On this day in 1978, ChicagoFest began at Navy Pier in Chicago. Eckhartz Press author Mitch Michaels (Doin the Cruise) was there. The picture on the cover of his book was taken at ChicagoFest...

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Minutia Men--Execution Dress Codes

 Our latest episode is one of our best, in my opinion. You can listen to it here.

Dress code violation at an execution, the most unusual last request ever, when tracking numbers aren’t enough, golf cart drunk driving, and short interviews with Mark Cuban and Anthony Scaramucci. [Ep279]