Friday, September 09, 2022

Free Kicks--Season predictions

 The Premier League has canceled all games this week to honor the Queen's passing. We recorded this episode earlier in the week, but the predictions stand. Free Kicks – Top 4 and Bottom 3 predictions . Listen to it here.

Now that the transfer window has closed, Adam and Rick are prepared to predict which Premier league teams will finish in the Top 4 and go to the Champions League, and which teams will finish in the bottom 3 and be relegated. See if you agree with their choices. God Save The Queen! [Ep161]

Media Notebook--9-9-22


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





*Chicago Radio Ratings

=Radio Insight has the full listings of Chicago radio’s Nielson ratings.  Just to give you a quick update, the Top Five stations (6+) in this past month’s ratings are The Drive & The Lite (tied for first), followed by WBEZ (NPR), WVAZ, and WBBM-AM (NewsRadio).


*Melissa McGurren drops her appeal

=It looks like this is the end of the line for Melissa’s appeal of her defamation lawsuit against her former employer WTMX. Her attorney filed a motion to withdraw the case, and on August 16th, it was officially dismissed. Cynthia DiNicola’s case against the company, however, continues. 


*Audacy has lost a billion dollars since 2018

=When I worked at CBS Radio about 20 years ago, they were so cheap they kept a lid on who could use the good stationery. It inspired an amusing chapter in my novel $everance. Well, that was a company that was making money hand over fist. I can’t even imagine what is happening now. Those same stations that were once owned by CBS Radio are now owned by Audacy, and they are in the midst of an honest to goodness financial crisis. Over the last four years, they’ve lost a billion dollars. That’s billion with a B. The Philadelphia Inquirer did a deep dive on that story this week. 


*Health Updates

Two Chicago treasures are battling pretty serious health issues. In case you missed the updates posted via social media this week, here’s the latest news about Lin Brehmer and Hub Arkush…

=Lin Brehmer posted this on Facebook: Hi there. Remember me? Just taking in a view of the city I love. There are two issues I'm dealing with right now. I am recovering from the surgery to put a rod in my femur after it fractured. Using a walker and wheelchair to get around. By the way, never fracture your femur. It is very painful. And then there's my ongoing treatment for prostate cancer. Rolling with the punches. At least a couple more months of chemotherapy. Putting on a brave face. Miss you all.

=Arthur Arkush posted this on Twitter about Hub: Thank you all for Hub's well wishes. I'm woefully behind in responding to many of them, but please know your support means the world to all of us. It's NFL Week 1, but Hub is in Week 3 of his battle — with incredible strides coming nearly every day. Excited to share more asap.


*Award Winners/Nominees

=The INBA Crystal Mic Award winners were announced this week. Congrats to WBBM NewsRadio for winning Best Large Market Radio Station, and to Lisa Fielding for winning Best Reporter, and Jeff Joniak for winning Best Sports Report. The full list of winners is here. 

=The College Broadcaster Awards were also announced this week, and a few of our local universities were recognized. Glad to see that college radio is still alive and well. Congratulations to ISU’s radio station WZND. They brought home quite a few awards. Eastern Illinois’ station WEIU also snagged an award in the sports reporting category. 

=Sam Alex is a local boy who has made a big name for himself nationally. This week he was nominated for a Country Music Award for the Sam Alex show. Sam grew up in the Chicago area, and still donates a lot of time in the area but is now hosting a national show based out of Nashville.


*RIP Anne Garrels

=The NPR correspondent passed away this week at the age of 71. The New York Times has her obituary


*Podcast Corner

=At one time Call Me Daddy was one of the highest rated podcasts in the world. Then the co-hosts had a feud. It’s a tale as old as time. You can read about here. 

=One of the biggest news stories this week concerned the escape of the conman Fat Leonard. I’m sure you read about it, but did you know that he recently did a podcast

=George Ofman’s podcast features interviews and conversations with Chicago sports media celebrities. This week’s episode is about native Chicagoan Greg Gumbel, from Hyde Park to broadcast fame. Listen to it here.





*Bobby Skafish goes to the Loop (September 1983)

*John Howell’s birthday/September 4

=I interviewed the WLS night talker in 2007 when he was co-hosting a morning show with Cisco Cotto at WIND.


*Roy Leonard death anniversary/September 4, 2014

=I was lucky enough to have a lengthy chat with Roy back in 2010  and we covered his entire career. After I posted the interview he e-mailed me and said: “Did you actually post every word of our conversation? Nobody wants to hear that much about me.” I disagreed then, and I’m even more glad I did it now. Here's a little taste...

    Marcel Marceau 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.


*Johnnie Putman birthday/September 5

=The better half of WGN’s long-time overnight team Steve & Johnnie (that’s Steve description) talked to me for Illinois Entertainer back in 2016 


*WGN-TV Morning Show anniversary/September 6

=On September 6, 1994, the WGN-TV morning show as we know it today debuted. I don’t think they could have possibly foreseen the ratings juggernaut it would become. I’ve written about the show a few times, including for Shore Magazine ten years ago. Here’s a short excerpt from that article…

                Of course it’s one thing to have a guest do something crazy, or to have your evil genius segment producer (Hoover) appear on camera and perform his dead-on Jerry Lewis, Christopher Walken or Neil Diamond impersonations, or to have a regular contributor like gifted comedian Mike Toomey do a wacky character on the show, but it’s another thing altogether for the anchors to do something like that themselves.

            Is there anything they’ve ever refused to do?

            “I won’t dress like a woman,” Potash admits, drawing the line.

            “I won’t dance,” Konrad adds.

            “Um,” Robin says, thinking about it. “Wow, well, let’s see. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever said no to anything before. Maybe that’s part of my problem.”


*Jonathan Hood birthday/September 7

=I interviewed the ESPN Radio morning co-host (with David Kaplan) in 2010. 


*Steve Scott birthday/September 7

=The former WLS Newsman is now a radio star in the big Apple (WCBS), but he hasn’t forgotten his Chicago roots. At least he still hadn’t forgotten them when I chatted with him in 2008. 


*Marc Silverman birthday/September 10

=2020 was a rough year for the ESPN radio afternoon co-host (with Tom Waddle). I talked to Silvy in the midst of his medical difficulties.  So happy to see he has recovered since.


*Norman Lear is 100!

=The legendary television producer/writer turned 100 over the summer, and the Hollywood Reporter talked to him about that milestone. Among the topics discussed, his thoughts about the abortion debate, 50 years after the controversial Maude episode.


*RIP Queen Elizabeth

=The Queen made it to 96 years old before passing away yesterday. She famously visited Chicago in 1959. Found this video on YouTube…





*Award Winners

=The INBA Crystal Mic Award winners were announced this week, and a few Chicago TV stations brought home the honors. WGN-TV won for Best Breaking News for covering the Oak Brook Mall Shooting, and WLS-TV won for Best Digital Presence and for Best Weather Operation. The full list of winners is here. 


*YouTube vs. Traditional Television

Anyone with kids knows the power YouTube has over the younger generation. It’s hard to overstate it. Here are a few pieces written this week that further illustrate the current situation.

=8 numbers that show how big YouTube has become for younger viewers (Bloomberg). 

=Why millions are watching YouTube recaps instead of the actual TV shows (Daily Beast


*The Grass is Not Always Greener

=Local and network television is clearly struggling, but would you believe that streaming services are already facing an existential crisis? According to the Washington Post, that’s what’s happening, and the viewers are noticing. 


*RIP Bernard Shaw

=The former CNN Anchor passed away this week at the age of 82. Shaw was the first chief-anchor at the network. The AP has his obituary.  He was known for his stellar work at CNN, but Shaw was a native Chicagoan. He attended University of Illinois Chicago, got his broadcasting start here (at WNUS, which is now WGRB), and in 2002 was awarded the Order of Lincoln (the state’s highest honor) by Governor George Ryan.


*Kyle Long Lands at CBS

=The former Chicago Bears offensive lineman is now a part of the CBS Sports Network. More details on his new gig are here


*Cable News

=Is there a purge going on at CNN? The Washington Post tackled that issue this week

=Is there a smoking gun e-mail at Fox News regarding the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit? NPR reported this week that there was. 


*What Real Censorship Looks Like

=Both sides of the political divide in this country at one time or another are claiming they are being censored. If you’d like to know what real censorship looks like, take a look at this analysis of what China does to the show The Big Bang Theory. It’s fascinating to see what they clip out of the show. 


*New Streaming News Shows

=Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace is going to be part of the HBO Max/Discovery Plus channel (as well as CNN) 

=John Dickerson will be doing a nightly show M-Thursday for CBS News Streaming service. 


*The Creative Arts Emmys

=The full list of winners is here, and it’s a star-studded list, including the Beatles, Barack Obama, Adele, RuPaul, and Chadwick Boseman.






*The Salt Shed is a Hit but Nearby Businesses are not Happy

=The Salt Shed has become a very popular concert destination in Chicago, but for everything good it seems there is an unintended consequence. Two local recording studios are nearby, and they can no longer operate during the hours concerts are taking place because of the noise level. Block Club Chicago has the story

*Politico’s New German Owner

=Sounds like a real peach. Read this recent profile and see if you agree.


*Social Media Corner

=Instagram is being punished for the way they handled teen users information in Ireland. The fine is a measely $400 million. Read more about that here. 

=Truth Social is on the verge of collapse. The Washington Post headline describes the situation pretty well: Truth Social in Limbo as Merger Partner Grapples with Another Failed Vote.


*Photography Corner

=Paul Natkin is not only the go-to-photographer for every media person in Chicago, he’s also one of the greatest rock photographers of all time. Now he has a book out. Find out more about that here. 

=Everyone is a photographer these days thanks to the phone in our pocket, but some people are better than others at creating memorable iPhone photographs. Take a look at these 20 photos that are winners of the 2022 iPhone photography awards.


*Printer’s Row Litfest

=Chicago’s premiere literary festival is taking place this weekend in Printer’s Row. Hundreds of authors will be out there, including me, and about a dozen authors from my company Eckhartz Press. It runs on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm. My co-publisher David Stern will be there with Randy Merkin (Behind the Glass) and Paul M. Banks (Transatlantic Passage) on Saturday. I’ll be there on Sunday along with fellow authors John Owens (Chili Dog MVP), William Wagner (Talking Bout My Generation), Margaret Larkin (Wicker Park Wishes), and Ken Korber (the Grace book series). Come on out and say hello!


I have moved all of the previous Media Notebook columns to it's own site, and will continue to post each of them here. If you'd like to bookmark this page, you can find them all in one place. 

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

From the Writing Archives--Christmas 1975

Today is my sister Cindy's birthday. That inspired me to dip into the writing archives, and pull out this piece I wrote in 2010 for the Shore Magazine Christmas issue. It's my recollections of Christmas 1975. I think you may get a kick out of it...

My sister and I are only a year apart, and we were sworn enemies.


We competed against each other for every conceivable thing with a knock-down drag-out winner-take-all mentality that was nothing short of blood sport; the winner taunting over the lifeless body of the vanquished opponent until he or she yelled “Mooooom!”

Now that I’m a dad myself, of course, I’m being given my karmic rewards. My two youngest sons fight every day. And listening to that constant bickering is like being stabbed in the ears repeatedly. I can only imagine what my mother went through in the 1970s. My fights with my sister weren’t as physical, but they were certainly as loud. And they were probably even more emotionally vicious.

I’ll give you an example that has become family lore.


It was Christmas Eve 1975. That Christmas season my mother came up with a great idea to help end the fighting. Cindy and I were to give each other Christmas presents for the very first time. We were told to give from the heart.


As a parent, I can see the logic. The mere act of thinking about what the other sibling wanted, then spending our own money to make that sibling happy, combined with the overall festiveness of the Holiday season HAD TO tone down the viciousness.


That moment is captured forever on film. My dad had one of those Super-8 home movie cameras and was eagerly filming every second of that Christmas. My little brother was only five, so most of the silent film focuses on him playing with his forts and cars, but then you can see my mom step in front of the camera and point to my sister.


Cindy, age 11, was getting ready to open the present from Ricky, age 12.


She smiles from ear-to-ear as she unwraps the present with anticipatory glee. You can’t hear what she’s saying, but it looks like she’s asking me if I wrapped the present myself. My dad pans over to my smiling nodding face, before returning to focus on the lucky girl and her Christmas gift from brother.


The box is oddly shaped and unlabeled.

“What is it?” you can see her mouthing.

She opens the box, and stops cold. She glares at me, then at the camera. It doesn’t take a lip reader to see what she says next.




Just in case you couldn’t read her lips, the baby bottle emerged, and Cindy stood up and fired that bottle at me—hitting me in the midsection—which was no easy task because I was laughing so hard.


Then the camera pans to my glaring mother, none too pleased at the development.


So what did my sister get me that Christmas? I honestly don’t remember, but it was a normal gift.


I do remember what she got me the next year though: Pampers. The year after that I bought her baby powder, and she gave me a pacifier. Another year we exchanged baby wipes and Gerber baby food. The battle lasted for the rest of the decade.


But you know what the story of my sibling rivalry with my sister represents most to me? Hope. That’s right, hope. Hope that my boys will eventually snap out of it the way Cindy and I did.

For us the thawing began thanks to my girlfriends in high school and college, and eventually my wife, all of whom pointed out that I was being a jerk. It thawed out forever when my kids were born. My sister turned out to be the most caring and loving aunt imaginable to those boys. She lives just a few miles away from us and spends time with them whenever she can. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that they love her more than they love me—and I think that’s wonderful.


Cindy and I actually get along great now. I probably see her or talk to her on the phone four or five times a week.

And when I tell my boys that she and I used to fight, they don’t even believe me. When they’re old enough not to copy their dad, I’ll prove it to them.


I’ll show them the film in the box labeled: “Christmas 1975.”

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2017, Mitch Michaels sold his book Doin The Cruise at an event staged by his radio station The River. The event was adult prom. A fun time was had by all...

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Walking to Wrigley Field, 1999

 My favorite picture of all time. These boys are 26 (almost 27) and 24...

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2017, the state of Indiana declared it John Records Landecker Day for his achievements in radio. A ceremony was held in Michigan City, and they asked me to come give a speech for John. It was my honor...

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Jim McMahon

 This week's interview has dropped. It's a great one. Listen to it here.

The Punky QB talks to Rick and Dave about the perks of being an ’85 Bear, plus some of his exploits on and off the field. Plus, as a special bonus, he describes the best concession stand in the NFL. [Ep104]

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today would have been Al McGuire's birthday. The former Marquette coach is featured in Randy Merkin's book Behind the Glass.

*Today is Chrissie Hynde's birthday. Chrissie is featured in Bill Paige's book Everyhing I Know I Learned from Rock Stars.

*On this in 2018, we posted a Q&A with Eckhartz Press author Judge Michael Ian Bender. You can read that here.

*On this day in 2019, Bobby Skafish appeared at Blue Village Vinyl to promote his book We Have Company. A couple of old pals (Wendy Snyder & Jimmy Mac) showed up to support him.

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?

*September 6, 1994, WGN Morning News debuts with Larry Potash. We interviewed Larry a few years ago and he talked about the longevity of that show. (Listen to the interview here)

*September 8, 1960, the film Psycho premieres. But have you ever heard "Psycho on Ice" (we have the audio)

*September 8, 1908, Lane Tech High School opened its doors for the very first time. Dave later attended there and was forced to swim nude in gym class. We have talked to two our guests about that nude swimming, Buckinghams lead singer Carl Giammarese, and Men in Blazers Roger Bennett. (Carl's interview is here, Roger's is here)

*September 9, 1993, I signed on to join the John Records Landecker show on WJMK radio. I worked with John on that show for the next ten years. (AUDIO: Lots)

*September 9 is author Antony Penrose's birthday. We interviewed the famous photographer about several things, including his childhood brush with Pablo Picasso. (Listen to the interview here)

*September 9, 2021, the movie The Beatles in India was released. We talked to the writer of that film (and the accompanying book) Paul Salzman. (Full interview here)

*September 10, 2011, the film Hick was released. We talked to the star of that movie, Dave Vescio. (Listen to the interview here)

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2014, these four knuckleheads attended a Cubs game together in the midst of a monsoon. From L-R, Randy Richardson, Don Evans, me, and James Finn Garner. Randy has written three books for Eckhartz Press (Lost in the Ivy, Cheeseland, and Cubsessions), Don has written one (An Off-White Christmas), and Jim has contributed to one as well. 

But on that one day, we got soaked.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today would have been Freddy Mercury's birthday. In addition to being the lead singer for Queen, Mercury is featured in the Eckhartz Press book, Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars

*Today is Bob Newhart's birthday. Bob is featured in the Eckhartz Press book Cubsessions.

Minutia Men--Almost Meeting Elvis

 The latest episode is available now. Listen to it here.

Polish reparations, skunk rescue, air-dropped nudes, James Finn Garner’s fire breathers, the best multi-tasker, and a great story about almost meeting Elvis. [Ep283]