Saturday, August 27, 2022

Free Kicks--Young Americans

 Our latest episode dropped yesterday. You can listen to it here.

The Americans at Leeds United are starting to make an impact in the Premier League. Adam and Rick discuss. [Ep159]

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

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is National Dog Day. A very special dog, Ivy, is one of the stars of my book Father Knows Nothing, which came out in 2014. Here are a few photos of the old gal. She passed away earlier this year.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

From the Archives--Democratic Convention 1968

 When I first started this blog I asked a bunch of my friends to contribute stories that only they could contribute. My friend Johnny Conlisk contributed this story. It goes back to this week in 1968, and it's one the most famous tales in Chicago history. John was there, in the middle of it....

The Whole World is Watching

By Johnny Conlisk

In August of 1968, when I was a 16 year-old kid just about to start my senior year in high school, I got to play a small part in the Democratic National Convention.

For months before the big event, city officials planned how to lay out the red carpet for the convention delegates. The first Mayor Daley formed the Chicago Host Committee. Thousands of volunteers were assigned to help the various state delegates find their way around town and stay out of trouble. You had to be connected to get one of these fun jobs and I was connected. My father was the chief of police.

Our first task was to greet delegates at O’Hare. We were issued candy striped vests and Styrofoam straw hats to identify us as Host Committee volunteers.

After that, I had hoped to be with the California or New York delegations where the action was. Instead, I was assigned to the tiny Guam delegation. They were very nice, but they weren’t movie stars or big time politicians.

We helped them find the shops on Michigan avenue and an off duty policeman would drive them out to the International Amphitheater. It was all pretty cool.

We heard about the anti-war protestors, they were on TV every night. But I guess our job was to keep the Guamanians away from all that during our 14-hour days of hosting, so it wasn’t at the top of my consciousness.

The big goal for all the kids volunteering was to get into the convention hall itself. There was little hope of that, however, because the town was full of important people who would get in before high school kids.

Then the word was passed down. Wednesday night, August 28, 1968 was my night to get into the convention hall. My friend, Bill Finucane and I went to the Amphitheater together. We were ushered into the second level gallery. We realized later that the Mayor’s people were packing the galleries. They knew there was going to be trouble that night and they wanted an audience that would be friendly to the Mayor. We listened to the speeches echo through the rafters of the craggy old hall.

Then we heard booing during the speech of Senator Abraham Ribocoff and we heard him say “Storm troopers in Blue”. Bill and I turned to each other. What was he talking about?

After that evening’s session was over, I got a ride back downtown to the Conrad Hilton. I didn’t know that a riot had taken place in front of the Hilton a couple hours earlier. I just knew that the Airport Bus that left from there made a stop near our house.

The bus left from the south side of the Hilton. When I found out I would have to wait a half hour for the next bus, I walked up to the Michigan Avenue side of the hotel. There were thousands of cops on the west side of the street and thousands of hippies on the east side of the street. In the middle were Illinois National Guard Jeeps strung with barbed wire.

The first person I recognized was Jim Rochford, Deputy Chief of Police, my father’s best friend, and the guy in charge of the thousands of cops. “Hi, Mr. Rochford!” I said cheerily to the casually dressed chief.

“What are you doing here?” He asked incredulously.

“I’m waiting for the airport bus.”

“Oh, well, stay out of trouble.”

I wandered over to the hippie’s side of the street.

As I stood on the curb on the edge of the crowd, my powder blue jacket flapped in the light breeze, revealing the candy-striped vest of the Chicago Host Committee. Suddenly, a baseball-sized rock flew just past my ear and landed on the trunk of a parked car with a loud bang.

I looked up and saw Rochford ordering two burly cops to come over and rescue me. The hippies mistook my rescuers for arresting officers. They booed loudly as I was gently dragged across the street.

“I told you to stay out of trouble!” Rochford barked as they put me in a squad car to drive me over to police headquarters, a couple blocks away.

Several hours later, the crisis eased, an officer gave me a lift home and the excitement was all over.

Sometimes you make history, sometimes history makes you and sometimes, history is just something that happens while you are waiting for a bus.

Eckhartz Everyday

*Born on this day in 1919, future Alabama Governor George Wallace. Joel Daly interviewed him back in the day, and wrote about him in his Eckhartz Press book The Daly News.

*On this day in 2019, I appeared on Rick Kogan's show on WGN Radio, along with future Eckhartz Press author Roger Badesch. We talked about my book EveryCubEver and Roger's upcoming book The Unplanned Life.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

RadioGirl Interviews Rick

Did this interview Monday...

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Duane Scott Cerny

Our latest episode of Minutia Men Celebrity Interview dropped today. You can listen to it here.

 Duane Scott Cerny has written two great books about his experience at the helm of a vintage store, Selling Dead People’s Things and Vintage Confidential. He has some great stories and shares them with Rick and Dave.  [Ep102]

New Novel on the Way

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is Cal Ripken's birthday. He is featured in Randy Merkin's book Behind the Glass.

*Today is also Michael McDermott's birthday. The Chicago musician rates his own chapter in the Eckhartz Press book Cubsessions.

From the Writing Archives--Steve & Garry Notebook

As every year goes by, I remember less and less about my old radio career. Luckily, I've written a lot of it down, including this piece, 15 years ago today. It's my top 5 memories from being on the Steve & Garry show on the Loop...

I worked for the Steve & Garry show for almost five years (1986-1991), including the last four years as their producer. I've previously chronicled that on this blog a few times
(Loop Photo Album 1986-1993)
, but I haven't really written about it at length.

This seems like a perfect time to do that.

I was running the Steve & Garry fan club and helping out the Loop's promotions department when Steve & Garry's former producer (Roman) quit. That's when they promoted me to producer, and announced my arrival in the Steve & Garry newsletter.

During those years, I had some high highs and some low lows (some of my nicknames included "college boy", "Slow-Mo", and "Rick the German Boy"), but now that so much time has passed I really only think about the highs. Here are my five favorite moments.

#5: The Brian Wilson interview
Brian Wilson emerged from more than a decade of intense psychological treatment to release a solo album in 1988. He still wasn't quite right (and maybe never will be) when he arrived at the station for an in-studio interview. How do I know this? When I offered my hand to him, he jumped backwards like he had just seen a ghost. His "personal advisor" wouldn't let him out of his sight and actually sat on the floor in the studio during the interview. The interview itself was also memorable. At one point Brian started choking, leaving Steve and Garry speechless and completely at a loss for what to do. I've probably heard that 48 seconds of audio a thousand times since then, and it still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

#4 Steve's on-the-air vasectomy
When Steve decided to get it snipped live on the air, the rest of us cringed. Garry actually had to witness it and provide play by play, while I was thankfully running the equipment, a safe distance away from the snipping. This was a big story at the time (I can't remember the year exactly...I want to say it was '89 or '90). The story came full circle for me in 2003 when I was getting my own vasectomy. The doctor who was handling the procedure realized who I was in the middle of the operation, and started asking me questions about Steve & Garry while he was cutting my bits and pieces.

#3: A Christmas Carol
In December of 1988, I tackled my first big production for Steve and Garry, a celebrity reading of the classic "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. I booked dozens of local celebrities to play the parts, and we performed it in front of a live audience at the Museum of Broadcasting. Steve was Scrooge, Garry was Cratchit, Bruce Wolf was Fred, Christmas Past was Roger Ebert, Christmas Present was Buzz Kilman, the late Channel 5 news reporter Paul Hogan was Marley, and other participants included Sports Illustrated writer Rick Telander, Channel 2 anchor Linda McClennan, Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley, West 57th correspondent Bob Sirott, Channel 7 anchor Diann Burns, Channel 5 anchor Joan Esposito, Channel 7 reporter Janet Davies, Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak, Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed, Chicago Bears safety Gary Fencik, artist Tony Fitzpatrick, Kevin Matthews, Bob Stroud, Stan Lawrence, Chicago Bears Guard Tom Thayer, and Channel 7 anchor Mary Ann Childers.

It was a huge success, got a big write-up in the Chicago Tribune, and my boss at the time, future gazillionaire Jimmy de Castro wrote a memo to us saying how great he thought the show was (above on the left).

I've previously written about how this chance meeting with Mary Ann Childers had a big impact on my life. You can read that story here:Thank you Mary Ann Childers

#2 The Ringo Starr Interview
Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh was in the studio promoting his appearance with Ringo's All-Star Band. Steve asked Joe if he could get Ringo on the air, and Joe handed me the number to Ringo's hotel room. As a fanatic Beatle-maniac, I was stricken with fear. After a mild panic attack in the producer's room, I made the call. He was actually very nice to me on the phone, and agreed to come on the show. My conversation couldn't have lasted more than thirty seconds, but I remember every word of it. When he finally got on the air, he noticed he was on delay. He told Steve & Garry that it hurt him that they didn't trust him and demanded that they take the delay off before he continued the interview. When they followed his orders dutifully, he made sure he was on the air live, before blurting out: "SHIT!" Today that would have cost the station $325,000. In 1989, it was hilarious.

Ringo later showed up at the station for a nationwide interview (for a show called "Rockline"), and I got his autograph. It's something I will treasure forever.

#1 Meeting Bridget

A year or so after I became the producer, a young intern from the news department came into the producer's booth to retrieve the news wire copy for Steve & Garry news anchor Carrie Cochran. I struck up a conversation with her like I did with all of the news interns (I was friendly in those days), and discovered quickly that the two of us had a lot in common.

Unfortunately, the producer of the Kevin Matthews Show  also liked her and asked her out on a date. She took the unusual step of asking me to accompany them, which I did. By the end of the night, I was volunteering to drive her home all the way to Wheaton. I broke up with my girlfriend shortly thereafter, and Bridget and I started dating.

That was in 1988 and we're still together. We got married in 1991, and we have three boys now (Tommy, Johnny & Sean).

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is Rick Springfield's birthday. Rick is featured in the pages of Bill Paige's Eckhartz Press book Everything I Know I Learned from Rock Stars.

*Kobe Bryant would have celebrated a birthday today. Randy Merkin wrote about Kobe in his Eckhartz Press book Behind the Glass.

*On this day in 2018, Richard Reeder held an event in Skokie (photo below) to promote his book 1001 Train Rides in Chicago.

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?

*August 21 would have been Joel Daly's birthday. We talked to the late-great newscaster on one of our earlier shows. (Listen to interview here)

*August 21 is Carl Giamarese's birthday. The Buckinghams lead singer was on the show a few years ago. (Listen to the interview here)

*August 22, 1995, Congressman Mel Reynolds was convicted and sentenced to prison. I wrote a song about him for the John Landecker show on WJMK. (Listen to the song here)

*August 23 is Mark Hudson's birthday. We interviewed Mark when we filled in on WLS Radio. (Audio)

*August 23, 1992, I made my debut on the Dr. Demento show with "The Hayfever Song" (Audio)

*August 23, 1998, That 70s Show debut. We had one of the stars of that show, Tommy Chong, on the show and he told us several tales about his time on the show (Listen to that interview here)

*August 25 is Gene Simmons birthday. We interviewed Doug Johnson from Loverboy, who told us about their first gig ever...opening for Kiss. (Full interview here)

*August 26, 1972, the Munich Olympics began. We talked to one of the American Olympians from that year, Dwight Stones, and he told us all about it. (Listen to the interview here)

*August 27 is Dave Sinker's birthday. We talked to the former Second City star about his unlucky experience as a Michael Dukakis impersonator. (Full interview here)

Monday, August 22, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is Bill Parcell's birthday. The legendary coach receives his own chapter in Randy Merkin's book Behind the Glass.

*This is also the anniversary of the first Mariano's opening. Vicki Quade's book Close Encounters of a Chicago Kind has a whole chapter about her encounters in the supermarket.