Friday, September 16, 2022

Media Notebook--9-16-22


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



*Rest in Peace

Lost a few broadcasting icons this week...

=Ramsey Lewis

The all-time jazz great leaves behind a tremendous legacy. His biggest hit (The “In” Crowd), three Grammys, and 80 albums will always be remembered, but in Chicago we were also lucky enough to have him as a daily companion during his days as the morning host at WNUA. He also hosted a nationally syndicated show called “Legends of Jazz.” Jazz was obviously his life, and Chicago played an important role. This is a quote he gave to Neal Samors in an interview from many years ago…

In Chicago, unlike New York City, a jazz musician could allow himself to be influenced by a wide variety of music and play whatever appealed to him, including gospel music, which has always been important to me. So, growing up in that atmosphere and then, coming from a family that encouraged me to be whoever I was, musically, I enjoyed that freedom as I still do. The environment in Chicago is still one of quite a bit of musical freedom.”

=Jim Russell

Russell was an NPR staple. He created the show MarketplaceTalking Biz News has more information about Russell’s impressive life.

=Lowry Mays

He was definitely a broadcasting pioneer. Radio Ink has a very positive obituary about him.  Inside Radio does as well. Pieces like these focus on him as a “tough competitor” or “shrewd businessman”. He was that. On the other hand, one thing they gloss over, or even put a positive spin on, is something that was definitely not a positive for the radio business. It was Mays who led the consolidation charge after the 1996 telecom deregulation as the CEO of Clear Channel.  Mays was insatiable when it came to acquisitions. He bought Jacor and AMFM, both of whom were big companies who had gobbled up hundreds of radio stations themselves. At one point Clear Channel owned over 1200 radio stations. In some smaller markets, they owned every single station in town. Jobs were cut, formats were genericized, and an unprecedented number of commercials flooded the airwaves. Mays and a handful of others acquired massive personal wealth in the process, but they left wreckage in their wake. The entire industy was hollowed out and hasn't remotely recovered. It wasn't just Lowry Mays. But he was one of the main architects.



*Chicago Rock Radio Documentary

=This film is an interesting find. It’s called “Static” and it tells the tale of rock radio in Chicago, mostly focused on the hard rock world (The old Loop, WMET, Z-Rock, etc). Former Loop jock Pat Capone is one of the people interviewed on camera.


*Rush Limbaugh book

=A new book about Rush is coming out in October. It will be called Radio’s Greatest of All-Time, a title that Rush himself could have proclaimed. It’s a compilation of radio commentary by Rush. His widow and brother are involved in curating the info. .


*Smashing Pumpkins on Q-101

=If you’ve been listening to Q-101 this week you might have noticed a bit of a Smashing Pumpkins motif. The station is all in on a big promotion with Smashing Pumpkins and the Metro, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a live Pumpkins show. The brand new Smashing Pumpkins single will debut on Q-101 the same day. The station will also be selling t-shirts at the event (September 20) which will raise money for Highland Park Community Foundation’s 4th of July Highland Park Shooting Response Fund.


*Podcast Corner

=Edison Research came out with the list of the top ten most listened to podcast networks this week. Not a lot of surprises here: Spotify, SXM Media, iHeartRadio, Audioboom, NPR, New York Times, Audacy, Wondery, Cumulus Podcast Network, and PRX.

=Charlie Meyerson from Chicago Public Square posted a great podcast this week, interviewing Axios Chicago’s Justin Kaufman and Monica Eng. The audio is here. The unedited YouTube video is here. There’s even a transcriptAnd, now Justin and Monica also host their own podcast. You can listen to the latest episode here.

=Anderson Cooper has a new podcast out, and it deals with the subject of grieving. He starts the recording while he is packing up the belongings of his late mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.

=The New York Times posted a recommendation of their Top 6 TV Recap podcasts. These are podcasts that focus on a single television series and hyper analyze the shows.

=Sportswriter Jeff Pearlman has a great podcast called Two Writers Slinging Yang. Pearlman made news this week when he disavowed his book about Bret Favre after hearing the news that Favre knowingly accepted money from a Mississippi welfare fund to help out his daughter’s college volleyball team. Pearlman’s tweet-storm is worth a read.



Lots of them this week…


*Former Chicago radio and television sportscaster Bruce Wolf’s birthday was September 11. I interviewed Bruce for Illinois Entertainerback in 2014.


*Maura Myles’ birthday was also September 11. I chatted with Maura back in 2009 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.


*September 12, 2014, Tommy Edwards announced his retirement from radio. I interviewed Tommy a few times over the years, most recently in 2011.


*The Drive’s Janda Lane celebrated a birthday on September 12. The Marconi-nominated broadcaster/podcaster was my featured interview in this summer’s June issue of Illinois Entertainer.


*The great Rick Kogan’s birthday was September 13th. It’s always a pleasure speaking to Mr. Chicago. I last interviewed him for Illinois Entertainer in 2019.


*The legendary Dick Biondi turned 90 years old September 13. I worked with Dick for ten years at WJMK and I’ve done a few radio shows and podcasts with him over the years (the photo here is from 2014—on Lossano & Friends). Nobody in the world has better stories than Dick Biondi.  I have tried many times to talk Dick into writing his memoirs, but I could never convince him.


*Brian “Whip” Paruch shares a birthday with Kogan and Biondi. I interviewed the WTMX morning show team member during the pandemic in 2020. None of the news about Eric had broken yet.


*He may be officially retired these days, but former WLS Newsman John Dempsey is still beloved by his former co-workers in the business. I got a chance to speak with him for Illinois Entertainer in 2015. John’s birthday was September 14.


*September 14, 1993, Steve & Garry broke up. Nobody believed the break up would last, but it obviously did.  Except for one glorious day on the beach more than a decade later when Garry showed up unannounced to a live Steve Dahl remote.


*September 17 is Bobby Skafish’s birthday. Bobby was my very first interview for Illinois Entertainer back in 2013. He later authored a book for my publishing company Eckhartz Press called We Have Company.


*September 17 is also Score co-host Matt Spiegel’s birthday. Spiegel got the Chicago Radio Spotlight treatment back in 2010.


*September 17 is Randy Merkin’s birthday as well. The ESPN producer is also an author now, having published Behind The Glass for Eckhartz Press in 2021.




*Svengoolie Interview Tease

=My next interview for Illinois Entertainer will be posted on October 1st. This month I spoke to Rich Koz, the great Svengoolie. Here’s a little bonus quote from Rich that didn’t make the final cut of the article…

            I went to WCIU when Neal Sabin made Channel 26 a true independent, and then it just progressed from there. They got the national Me-TV network and decided to put me on there, and now it’s become this pretty amazing thing. We basically have our own studio. It’s a permanent set up now. We used to have to fold up the set so that other things could go in front of it, but now we have the lights set up permanently, and our set is there permanently, so every time we need to go in there, everything is ready. For a national show we do have a pretty small staff. There’s me, and I’m writing and playing Sven and helping out with various production elements, and we have Chris Faulkner who is our director and also our chief editor, and Jim Roche is the executive producer and helps out in all sorts of ways, and then there’s our audio guy Chris DeQuick, and that’s our main group. We also have a floor director and somebody to run teleprompter, but other than that, it’s just us. That’s a small number of people to be putting out a national show.


*Sean Compton interview

=The man leading NexStar (owner of WGN in Chicago, among other media outlets) sat down for an interview with Media Village. Among the many topics of conversation, NewsNation.


*Franmil & Whitney

=A fun moment from Sunday night’s Cubs telecast on ESPN-TV. Who knew that Cubs DH Franmil Reyes could sing?


*High School Football Returns to WCIU

=The High School Game of the Week, a staple over the past few years at WCIU, returns Friday September 23rd. "Once again this season, our viewers will get best of prep football, boys soccer and boys and girls basketball on The U and CW26, with the ‘Game of the Week’ and IHSA Championship broadcasts,” said Steven Farber, Weigel Broadcasting Senior Vice President of Operations.


*The Emmy Awards

There are a few stories coming out of Sunday night’s Emmy Awards broadcast.

=The full list of winners.

=The ratings were the lowest of all-time.

=A bit that Jimmy Kimmel did during the broadcast caused him to apologize and invite Quinta Brunson on his show.


*TV Ratings

=Why is the NFL considered a goldmine? In an age when there is no such thing as appointment television, football is the only thing that unites us as a nation. Of the top ten shows in the ratings last week, nine of them were football related.


*Cable-News corner

=A Q&A with the new host of Fox News Sunday, Shannon Bream. Also at Fox News, national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin has been signed to a long-term deal.

=CNN’s new direction continues to get attention and scrutiny. examines “the poisonous side effects of false balance.”

=CNN is moving Don Lemon to the morning show, along with Kaitlin Collins and Poppy Harlow.


*Gayle King

=Oprah’s best friend gets recognized for her journalism…



*Second City Names a New CEO

=And he comes from Sesame Street. Details in the Hollywood Reporter.


*Victory Gardens Theater

=The Chicago institution is no more. They announced this week they will no longer produce shows, and they dismissed their staff. The theater itself will be rented out.


*Was there a Chinese spy working at Twitter?

=That appears to be the testimony from the Twitter whistleblower to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Seems like kind of big deal to me.


*Jan Wenner profile

=This is a pretty great New York Times piece about the founder of Rolling Stone magazine. 


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

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is the anniversary of B.B. King's birth. He is featured in Bill Paige's book Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars.

*Today is also the birthday of former 1972 White Sox player Chuck Brinkman. Chuck is featured in the book Chili Dog MVP

Thursday, September 15, 2022

From the Writing Archives--My House is a Crime Scene

 Agatha Christie was born on this day in 1890. She is probably the best-known mystery writer of all-time, famous her elaborate murder plots. That inspired me to pull out this old Father Knows Nothing column. It didn't quite make the final cut for my Father Knows Nothing book, but I thought you might still get a kick out of it...

I really try my best to keep the house from becoming living-in-squalor-y, but if a team of forensic scientists ever came to my house with swabs, they would find a thousand blood samples. Right now there’s a pool of dried blood on my front steps that I can’t wash away. We’ve got blood stains on nearly every sheet and pillowcase in the house. Blood stains on shirts and pants. Blood stains on gloves (paging OJ). Blood drops on the floor, the walls, and probably the ceiling.

There are days it looks like Freddy Krueger lives here.

But we’re not a family of killers, cutters, or slashers. We’re just a family that gets a ridiculous number of bloody noses. My two oldest boys don’t just get those slow-leaking bloody noses. There are days they walk in the door covered with blood from the waist up.

One day I was in the basement when Tommy came home. I heard the front door open violently, followed by an urgent thump, thump, thump, and another door slamming. When I went to investigate, I saw the trail of blood. It was all over the living room floor, the hallway floor, on two doors, and every wall in between.

I knocked on the bathroom door. “Everything OK in there?” I asked.

“Yup,” he replied. “No problem. Just a bloody nose.”

We’re very ho-hum about those now. We’ve had so many bloody noses, the boys are able to stop the bleeding themselves. Usually the only way I find out they had one is by finding the trail of blood they neglected to clean up. Sometimes I find the trail while it’s still wet. Other times I don’t see it for a few days. Still other days the gigantic pile of bloody Kleenex in the bathroom garbage can is the only clue.

That’s the main reason I can’t invite any cops over to the house.

They know a crime scene when they see one.

Eckhartz Everyday


*On this day in 1964, Joel Daly met and hung out with the Beatles. Here is the excerpt from his book The Daly News...

It was September 15, 1964. I went to Public Square after the 11:00 News, to watch the screaming crowd, awaiting the group’s arrival at the Sheraton Cleveland Hotel. Somehow another reporter and I got swept up by the security detail guarding the rear entrance, and wound up in the Beatles’ suite. I spent most of the night in casual conversation with the Fab Four. I didn’t realize until years later what a big deal it was! The Beatles were on the last stop of a month-long tour and were bone-tired. Acknowledging the “groupies” who besieged them everywhere they went, Ringo complained: “My ‘peter’ hurts”.

While I was there an 11-year old girl arrived with a stolen key for a room; a young boy hid in a packing case being delivered; another tried to get into the Kon Tiki bar, pretending to have a reservation; and another pretended to faint outside, only to request that she be given first aid inside the hotel.

The police asked that the Beatles stay on the same floor where the press conference was held, rather than the Presidential suite, to throw fans off the scent. The press conference provided little news. The Beatles were fidgety, twisting the microphone cords and lighting cigarettes. Someone asked John Lennon: “How did you find America?” He replied “We turned left at Greenland.” It was downhill from there. “How many rings does Ringo wear?” “When was your last haircut?” “Don’t you trust American barbers?”

Later, the Beatles were spirited by the police to the Public Auditorium for their show. During the third song, “All My Loving”, about a hundred fans stormed the stage. Police stopped the show and forced the Beatles to take refuge in their trailer. When peace was restored, it became a “Long Day’s Night.”

 *On this day in 2013, WLS morning host Don Wade passed away. The following stories about Don made it into the final version of Records Truly Is My Middle Name

This first one is about their time together at WIBG in Philadelphia…

“When I worked with John in Philly at WIBG, I was doing mornings and John was doing evenings. Our schedules were opposite, but we saw each other at weekly meetings that were a complete waste of time. We’d eat pizza and try to be serious, but nobody was. Before or after the meetings a bunch of us would go to this par-three golf course and drink beer, and hit balls. We didn’t fit in at all at the golf course — we didn’t know how to golf, we all had long hair, and got dirty looks from the real golfers, the business executives. When we weren’t “golfing,” we were playing softball. Rick Buckley, the son of the owner, would get a keg, and would show up wearing sweats, and we would go out and bat the ball around. We all loved working for Rick. All he wanted to do was have drinks and have a good time. He was one of the guys.”

The second story is about the final days of the music format on WLS in the late 1980s…

“In those days we were only playing about four records an hour because John Gehron, who was running the place — and really is a radio genius, recognized that the future of music on AM radio was pretty grim. It was great working with John again. I’ve always considered him to be a great guy — always smiling and always positive. He was genuinely supportive of everyone else on the air. He would go out of his way to let you know when he heard things that he liked on the air. The other thing I’ve always admired about him is that he really works at his craft. He may come off like he’s goofing off, but trust me, he really works at it. He takes it very seriously.”

This is the way John recalled Don during the writing of the book…

Although there weren’t many highlights from that second WLS era, I did get to work with my old friend Don Wade, who I had worked with in Philadelphia at WIBG. He’s known as Mr. Conservative now, but when we worked together at WIBG he was a long haired hippie with bellbottoms. He did a scripted bit show there, the same kind of show he was doing at WLS in the 80s in the midday slot. When WLS changed formats to news/talk a few years later, Don was the one they asked to stay. 



Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Cubs Tweet of the Week

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2017, Joel Daly made his final public appearance at Frisbie Senior Center in Mt. Prospect. I interviewed him on stage, and Joel took questions from the audience. He was already in deteriorating health, but when he told those old stories he lit up.

*Today is famous baskeball coach Larry Brown's birthday. He is featured in the pages of Randy Merkin's book Behind the Glass.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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 12, 1927, the Cubs broke the 1-million mark in attendance the first time. We had a man on our show who is attempting to collect one million baseball cards. (Full interview here)

*September 12, 1969, the Plastic Ono Band performed their first concert. Yes drummer Alan White was part of that band, and he told us the story of how that came to be. (Listen to it here)

*September 12, 1981, the Smurfs debuted on American television. We talked to the world's biggest smurf collector last year. For real. (Full interview here)

*September 13, 2016, my Cubs parody song collaborator Tom Latourette debuted his parody song about the eventual World Champion Cubs. The song is I'm Not Betting Against My Cubs. (Video is here)

*September 13 is Roger Bennett's birthday. We talked to the Men in Blazers star last year in one of our most popular episodes of the show. (Full interview here)

*September 14, 1949, the Lone Ranger debuted on television. Of course, it inspired the Rick and Dave written bit, The Lone Rogainger, which was played on the John Landecker show. (AUDIO)

*September 15 is Oliver Stone's birthday. We talked to the author of Midnight Express Billy Hayes about how crazy it was working with Stone on the screenplay for the Midnight Express movie. (Listen to it here)

*September 16, 1857, the song Jingle Bells was published. Johnny Kaempfer performed a ridiculously cute version of that song on the John Landecker show (AUDIO)

*September 16, 1993, the show Frasier debuted on NBC. We had one of the stars of the show, Dan Butler (Bulldog) on our show, and he told us all about it. (Full interview here)

*September 17 is Fee Waybill's birthday. The lead singer of the Tubes appeared on Minutia Men Celebrity Interview during the pandemic. (Listen to it here)

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2014 we released I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie by Lori Oster (photo). The book is used as a textbook at Oakton College.

*Dick Biondi is 90 years old today. The Wild Itralian is featured in the pages of Bob Shannon's book Turn it Up.

*Today is also Chicago Tribune columnist/WGN Radio host Rick Kogan's birthday. Rick has been kind enough to blurb a few of our books. Here are a few of his obversations...

  • Rollicking and real on so many levels, The Living Wills is a captivating collaboration by two immensely talented writers. I hope this team keeps at it for keeps.

  • Records Truly Is My Middle Name is terribly astonishingly honest! A story of a generation.
  • You may think you know Roger Badesch if you have listened over the years to his exact and artful news reports on radio, but between the covers of this book (The Unplanned Life) you will find so much more–a man of great depth, many passions and skills. His is a wonderful life that you can now share.
  • A fascinating book…a fascinating read. Mob Adjacent will open your eyes. The stories are true and genuine and heartfelt, and there’s a real honesty in this book.

Monday, September 12, 2022


Minutia Men--Kids Love Poop

 This is a pretty good episode of Minutia Men. Available now! Listen to it here.

The rudest cities in America, a news anchor who swallowed a fly, a chat about prison with a famous ex-con, an earthquake meeting, and a fun celebrity story from a listener. [Ep284]

Eckhartz Everyday


*Happy birthday to Eckhartz Press co-publisher David Stern. He's 70 years old today.

*Wicker Park Wishes author Margaret Larkin is also celebrating a birthday today. Happy birthday Margaret!