A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago…
*St. Louis Radio Blow Up
=You have to hear this tirade to believe it. A St. Louis morning radio host (Vic Faust) went completely nuts on his female co-host in a profanity laced tirade that even shocked the unshockable me. I’ve been in some toxic radio studios before, but I’ve never heard anything like this.
=I had three thoughts when I first heard the audio. First thought: this dude is not only going to be fired (he eventually was), but his career may never recover from this. Second thought: his co-workers clearly hated him. The fact that this off-air conversation was recorded at all, and then leaked to the press anonymously, means that somebody in that room really wanted him gone. Third thought: If I got this upset when someone mocked my computer skills, I would have had a grabber years ago. (Ask anyone who has had to help me with a computer issue. But at least I can take a joke about my ineptitude).
=I predict this tape will join the profanity-freak-out hall of fame, alongside my all-time favorite, Casey Kasem talking about a dog dying. Is Don on the phone?
*WBBM-AM remains Top 5 radio station in country (in revenue)
=In 2019, they were in 5th place. In 2020, they were in 3rd. The new rankings for 2021 just came out, and WBBM-AM is in 4th place in the country, with a revenue of $34 million in 2021. No other Chicago station shows up in the top ten.
=The top grossing radio station in the country remains WTOP in Washington D.C. They brought in $70 million in 2021.
*Ryan Williams Moves to Milwaukee
=The former staffer at the Score and the Drive, and the former promotions manager at WXRT and B-96, is moving over the northern border to take a gig in Milwaukee. He will be the new director of marketing for Good Karma Milwaukee, which includes WTMJ, WKTI, and WGKB.
*Q-101’s Twisted Christmas Lineup
=The lineup for the annual Christmas concert sponsored by Q-101 has been announced. The Aragon Ballroom will be the location. December 6, 8, and 9th will be the dates. Here’s the lineup: Portugal, the Man, Bob Moses & Beach Bunny (6th), Jack White, Wet Leg and Starcrawler (8th), and the 1975 (9th). Tickets are available through ticketmaster.
*ESPN’s David Kaplan’s Charity Walk
=ESPN Radio and Bernie’s Book Bank staged a walk yesterday for charity. The goal of the organization is to distribute books to underprivileged kids in the Chicago area who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford them. The walk is the brainchild of morning man David Kaplan, who led the 20-mile walk with the CEO of Bernie’s Book Bank.
=Hub Arkush’s son Arthur tweeted another update about his dad’s health this week. It says: After 31 days in ICU, Dad underwent successful surgery Friday and is underway on another long but increasingly hopeful road to recovery. Thank you for all of your support. The only thing more remarkable is our family & dad’s strength & determination. More positive updates soon.
=Former Chicago radio pro (and current Tampa Rays announcer) Dave Wills had a big scare this past week. He was in Toronto when he had a heart issue and had to be taken to the hospital. He is recovering well, and even posted this video explaining what happened.
Just a little update… thanks for all the well wishes. pic.twitter.com/1WDghqrjv8— Dave Wills (@davewills34) September 18, 2022
=Huge week for True Crime podcast fans. Adnan Syad, the subject of the incredibly popular podcast Serial, was released from prison this week when his murder conviction was overturned. Of course, there’s still the little matter of not really knowing if he is guilty or not. Columbia Journalism Review looks at that part of the story.
=Radio Girl interviews former Chicago radio man Sam Panayotovich.
=Chicago historian Shermann Dilla Thomas has a great podcast on the WBEZ site, discussing the names of Chicago’s neighborhoods.
=The Chicago Radio Timeline Facebook page posted another absolute gem from the wayback machine. This is an interview of former WLS jock Bernie Allen. Bernie was huge in the 60s. This interview is from 1985. It was recorded by Bill Schenhold.
=Podcast Multi-Media: A Case Study. Charlie Meyerson breaks down his latest podcast and uses it as a teaching tool for other podcasters.
=For Foodies: The Dining Table is a new podcast from Check Please! creator David Manilow and Crain's Chicago.
*Radio Producer’s Handbook reunion
=I went out to see John “Swany” Swanson’s band play last weekend, and this photo was snapped. The two of us wrote the book The Radio Producer’s Handbook together 18 years ago this month.
*WXRT’s night jock Ryan Arnold celebrated a birthday on September 19th. I had a chance to interview Ryan in 2017 for the Illinois Entertainer. Lots of interesting info in that piece, including how “Take your kids to work” day eventually led to his career.
*Chicago-area broadcasting vet Mike Tomano is another September 19th birthday boy. I interviewed Mike back in 2008 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.
*The Drive’s Jill Egan had a birthday on September 20th. I talked to Jill when I interviewed the hosts of the morning show(Sherman and Tingle) for Illinois Entertainer in 2019.
*September 21st is Bill Kurtis’ birthday. I’ve never had the opportunity to write about Bill, but I did interview him recently on my Minutia Men Celebrity Interview podcast. We covered a lot of ground, including his time at Channel 2, his work on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and his early days in radio when he went by the name Tony Kurtis.
*Captain Whammo was the wild-man morning host at WMET in the late 70s. When I tracked him down for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2012, I was shocked to discover he has gone a very different direction since he left Chicago. His birthday is September 22nd.
*WBBM-AM’s morning co-host Cisco Cotto is the birthday boy today (September 23). He was with WIND-AM 560 when I chatted with him back in 2008, and then at WLS-AM 890 when I interviewed him in 2010. Both interviews can be accessed here.
*Fellow Audacy morning man Marty Lennartz also has a birthday today. I interviewed Marty for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2010.
*September 24, 1970, the Partridge Family debuted on NBC. Former Chicago radio talker Danny Bonaduce had a starring role on that show. He told a few entertaining stories about those days when I interviewed him for my Minutia Men Celebrity Interview a few years ago.
*R.I.P Charlie Schumacher
=I met Charlie Schumacher 40 years ago, my first day on the air at WPGU in Champaign-Urbana. So sad to hear he passed away this week after a long bout with cancer. In July he announced via his Facebook page that his doctors had advised him there was nothing more they could do for him, and he asked for people to send him stories about old times. I sent him a few of the more colorful stories from our college days. I hope he got a chance to read them. Charlie worked in Chicago media as the senior news director at Comcast Sportsnet, the assistant news director at WGN-TV, and as executive producer at WFLD-TV. He also worked for RivetRadio. Before he came to Chicago, Charlie was a photographer for CNN. Among his most memorable assignments was filming the protest in Tiananmen Square in China.
*Erin Ivory Returns to WGN-TV
=Ivory has been off the air at WGN for about 18 months dealing with a medical issue. She returned triumphantly on Tuesday, and talked about what she has been going through.
*Can TV stations reject political ads?
=We’re lucky in Illinois that there aren’t really any close races in the midterm elections. The political ads haven’t been too numerous or painful. Other states, like Pennsylvania, are getting buried with local political ads. TribLive media writer Rob Owens answers a question from a reader about whether or not a station has the right to simply say no to those ads.
=TikTok is going to ban political ads. The Verge has more on that story.
*Weatherman Fired for Nude Pics on the Internet
=His name is Erick Adame and he was a meteorologist on local New York television. Turns out, taking off your clothes on a webcam, can come back to haunt you. I’ve seen Erick interviewed a few times since this happened, and he seems to think it’s a generational thing. The older generation doesn’t “get” how things are these days on the internet. Perhaps.
=Streaming is breaking records. Adweek explains.
=Apple TV is stuck with a high budget Will Smith Civil War movie. Not sure what is more toxic these days, the Civil War or Will Smith. The New York Times explains Apple’s dilemma.
*Cable News Corner
=Fox News anchor Bret Baier’s credibility took a big hit this week when e-mails and texts he wrote during the 2020 election coverage became public thanks to Peter Baker and Susan Glasser’s new book, The Divider. Behind the scenes Baier was urging the network to change their Arizona announcement and put the state into the Trump totals. Trump was never in the lead in Arizona, and although it got close in the end, the original call by the Fox News election desk was the right one.
=More changes at CNN. The new primetime lineup was announced today, and features Jake Tapper in a more prominent role. This week An Phung, the deputy editor of media and entertainment tweeted that she was leaving the company. The managing editor for CNN Business (who also covered the media) Don Koppelman announced he was leaving too. Seems like being part of the media coverage isn’t a great place to be during this new reign. Although, CNN did announce the return of the Reliable Sources newsletter. It will be scaled back, but they haven’t axed it completely. Yet.
=What is one possible reason cable news ratings are going down? People are avoiding it because it causes them to suffer from anxiety. There’s a deep dive into this phenomenon here.
=Pew Research Center has done a study on social media's impact on news consumption. You can find that here.
=Pew Research Center has done a study on social media's impact on news consumption. You can find that here.
*Network TV Corner
=Chicagoan Chris Redd is leaving SNL
=The Golden Globes are returning to TV
=Can the Sunday Morning Talk Show be saved?
=Melissa Stark is back on the NFL Sidelines
OTHER MEDIA NEWS
*The Ferris Bueller tour of Chicago
=It takes the Washington Post to come up with this very Chicago story.
*Eric Idle’s Recovery from Pancreatic Cancer
=The former Monty Python man manages to find humor in his battle with pancreatic cancer. Time Magazine has the story.
*MEDIA NOTEBOOK site
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org