Friday, September 30, 2022

Media Notebook--9-30-22


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



*Chuck Swirsky Releases His Memoir

=He is beginning his 25th year as an NBA announcer and his 15th season with the Bulls, and now Chuck Swirsky is also an author. His book is available for pre-order beginning today via Eckhartz Press. It ships on October 26th. Chuck has some great stories in this book, including about his days at the Loop (with Steve & Garry), WGN Radio (a story you’ll never forget about Milo Hamilton & Harry Caray), University of Michigan (as a one man basketball broadcasting crew), and of course, as the play-by-play man for the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls. Steph Curry, Chris Bosch, Jerry Reinsdorf, and Toronto Raptors owner Larry Tanenbaum all contribute to the book, and there are tons of incredible photographs.


*New Morning Show at WBMX

=The Ed Lover Morning show is no more at Classic Hip Hop WBMX (104.3FM). His former co-host Jen BT (Jennifer Farina) is taking over as the main host. The new name of the morning show is now Jams Throwback Mornings with Jen BT. Lover remains with the company (Audacy) as the night-time jock in New York (WXBK). Radio Insight has more details.



*Blues Breakers Breaks Away from WXRT

=Tom Marker shocked the fans of XRT’s Blues Breakers show, which has aired on 93.1 FM since 1984, when he announced that this Sunday’s show will be the last one on WXRT.

=The show will continue, 2-hours commercial free, as part of the 11-hour block of Blues on WDCB (College of DuPage) every Saturday.

*Jane Clauss Joins Steve Cochran Show

=There’s a new voice on Steve Cochran’s morning show at WLS-AM 890. Jane Clauss has been added to the show. You may remember her from her stint at WLUP (2005-2008), but she has also hosted television shows on Direct-TV and worked as an entertainment reporter for local TV in Phoenix. Jane responded to the news...

    "I'm thrilled to call the 'Big 89' my new radio home. Being a part of the legendary WLS call letters and working alongside Steve Cochran every weekday morning is a true honor."


*iHeart’s Sista Strut

=Tomorrow is the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness month and iHeart Chicago is participating in the Sista Strut Pink Celebration, which is a 3K breast cancer walk sponsored by local Ford dealers to benefit the Sisters Network Chicago, Inc. WGCI’s Kendra G will be there, V103’s Bionce Foxx, 1390s Sonya Blakely, and Steve Harvey’s co-host Carla Ferrell. The stations are partnering with ABC7 Chicago. The event kicks off at 10am at the Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center on the southside.


*Detroit News Anchor Murdered

=This is a horrible story from Detroit. The WWJ news anchor’s name was Jim Matthews. An acquaintance of the family murdered Jim and injured four others including his 10-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. The suspect is in custody and has been arraigned.



*What Does Tom Jones Tell Us About Radio?

=Tom Jones was in town this week performing at the Chicago Theater. Famed radio blogger Dick Taylor wrote a piece last week that was inspired by going to a Tom Jones show. He called it "What I Learned at a Tom Jones Concert." Hint: it has something to do with demographics and radio.



*Podcast Corner

=Here’s a podcast you surely never expected. It’s hosted and produced by the CIA. I’m sure it’s wacky.

=CNN has been a prominent podcaster. It appears that is no longer their model. This week they announced a major reduction in the podcast staff.

=Edison Research reports the differences between podcasts popular with Democratic and Republican listeners. Democrats are more likely to listen to podcasts, but they often choose non-political ones. Republicans are less invested in the podcast world, but are more likely to listen to political podcasts. The weirdest information to come out of this research? The #1 podcast is the same for both sides. Can you guess which one it is? The Joe Rogan Show.

=Another odd tidbit from another research study. The Morning Consult survey says that YouTube is now the top podcast provider choice for both adults and kids.

=Congrats to the Destination Eat Drink podcast (a great pod for traveling foodies) for posting their 200th episode today. That’s an impressive milestone. 






*Kerri Kendall’s birthday was September 25. The former Playboy Playmate was the co-host of Playtime with Bill & Kerri on WGCO for several years. I featured them in my Illinois Entertainer column afew years ago.

*Former Chicago Bear and WBBM-TV sports anchor Johnny Morris celebrated a birthday on September 26th. Johnny has kept a pretty low profile since stepping down at Channel 2, although he did make this appearance at Rich King’s book signing in 2014.


*September 26th was also the birthday of former Chicago Tonight host Phil Ponce. This photo was taken in 2013 when John Records Landecker appeared on the program with Phil.

*Me-TV’s Neal Sabin’s birthday was September 27. He is featured prominently in this piece I wrote for Illinois Entertainer a few years ago, when Me-TV FM first started making an impact.



*Former Jammin Oldies and WE-FM morning man Doug James celebrated a birthday on September 27. I’ve worked with the talented voice over man in the past. He was kind enough to pen this guest blog for me when I first began blogging back in 2006.



*September 27 is also the birthday of former Brandmeier producer Guy Bauer. I interviewed Guy for Illinois Entertainer after he left Johnny’s show and started up his own video production company.



*September 27, 1992, the Dr. Demento Show featured a song I wrote for the Ebony & Ivory show on AM 1000 (“Okoberfest is Hier!). I still have the record.



*September 28 would have been Ed Sullivan’s birthday. If you’ve ever wondered what the experience of being on the Ed Sullivan show was like, I’ve interviewed a few people who have told their stories about Ed, including former Rascals lead singer Felix Cavaliere, and Buckinghams guitarist Carl Giammarese.



*September 29, 1952, Garfield Goose debuted on Chicago television, WBKB. The host was not Frazier Thomas. It was Bruce Newton. The first puppeteer for Garfield was the station secretary Leann Prineas. The show ran opposite Howdy Doody on NBC.



*September 29 is the birthday of former Channel 2 & 7 anchor Diann Burns. She was an Emmy winner as a newscaster, but I recently also spotted her in the film Richie Rich. Don’t judge. I was babysitting.



*September 30 is former WBBM-AM and WMAQ-AM morning news anchor Pat Cassidy’s birthday. I’ve previously interviewed him a few times, including this one in Illinois Entertainer in 2020.


 *Remember Java Joel Murphy from Kiss-FM. I talked to him during his Chicago heyday back in 2008 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.

*Amy Landecker’s birthday is September 30th. The talented offspring of John Landecker is a successful actress in Hollywood now. She has been in 88 different movies or television series including the Emmy-winning Transparent, and the Academy-Award nominated Coen Brothers film A Serious Man. She’s also been on my podcast.



*Carol Harmon’s birthday is September 30 as well. Carol was Jonathan Brandmeier’s producer for many years and is very highly regarded.



*Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo is also celebrating a birthday on September 30th. Here he is at the most recent Morning Radio Boot Camp in Chicago with the creator of the event, Don Anthony.






*Svengoolie Interview

=The new issue of Illinois Entertainer comes out tomorrow (October 1) and will feature my interview with Rich Koz, the Chicago icon Svengoolie. Be sure to look for it.



*Charlie Schumacher Obituary

=I mentioned Charlie’s passing last week, but I wanted to also pass along this obit about him in the Oak Park/River Forest Journal from this week. I think it captures him well.



*Coming soon to NBC-5 Chicago: Evrod Cassidy

=For the past few years Evrod has been working in the Detroit market, and that’s where he’ll be until November 4th. After that, he’ll be an anchor and reporter at Channel 5 in Chicago. Evrod grew up in Chicago.



*R.I.P. Bill Plante

=The famous newsman passed away this week. Plante was best known for his many years at CBS News, where he worked as a White House correspondent, but Bill got his start right here in his hometown of Chicago. More details are in the Wrap.



*Katie Couric Announces She Has Breast Cancer

=She was filming a feature of herself getting a mammogram to promote the importance of women getting them, when the doctor told her to turn off the camera. They needed to talk in private. Katie has breast cancer. She wrote about that experience on her website.


*Trevor Noah Leaving the Daily Show

=He is in his 7th season as the host of the iconic late night show, but Trevor Noah is ready to spread his wings a little bit. Variety has the story this morning.

*R.I.P. Dale McRaven

=You might not be familiar with McRaven’s name, but you’ve certainly seen his work. McRaven created Mork & Mindy with Garry Marshall and later Perfect Strangers. He also wrote for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Partridge Family. Dale was 83 years old when lung cancer got the best of him. The Hollywood Reporter has a good obit about this interesting man.






*The Robert R. McCormick Foundation Announces $7.5 million in grants

=That money is ticketed for sustainable fact-based reporting. They are investing in the likes of BlockClub Chicago, Capitol News Illinois, Injustice Watch, and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. The announcement came on Tuesday.

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 Eckhartz Press author Richard Reeder's birthday. Happy birthday to Richard! His great book 1001 Train Rides in Chicago was released in 2018 by Eckhartz Press, and is still available today.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is Eckhartz Press author Jeffrey Gentile's birthday. He is the co-author of the book Mob Adjacent, another nominee for CWA book of the year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

National Sons Day

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2018, The Scar Dance was released by Eckhartz Press. It went on to be nominated for Book of the Year by the CWA. The day of the release, I did a Q&A with the author, William Mansfield. You can read that here.

Tuesday, September 27, 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 25--Michael Douglas birthday. He was a great guest on Landecker show when I was producer and we created a little game for him.  (Landecker audio)

September 25--Donald G. Evans birthday. The president of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame (and Eckhartz Press author) was a guest on our Minutia Men Celebrity Interview.

September 25, 2021—Arlington Park closes forever, permanently retiring a video bit that Dave & I did for the racetrack.

September 26, 1969—Brady Bunch debut. Cousin Oliver was a guest on our show. 

September 26, 1965—Gilligan Island debuts. I wrote a parody song about the Landecker show to the tune of the Gilligan theme. (AUDIO)

September 26—George Gerschwin birthday. Dave and I wrote a funny ad for Biasco Music featuring Gerschwin bitching about the deli spread backstage. (AUDIO) 

September 26, 1975—Rocky Horror Picture Show released. Fee Waybill starred as Frank N. Furter on stage many times, and told us all about it.  

September 27, 1992—Dr. Demento plays Ebony & Ivory song “Oktoberfest ist here” . It was my second ever parody song. I sing this one.

September 27—Debi Derryberry birthday. The voice of Jimmy Neutron was on our show.

September 27—Wilford Brimley birthday. Mark Giangreco told us a very funny story about how Wilford Brimley once got him in trouble on the air.

September 29—The Forgotten 1908 Cub Harry Steinfeldt would be celebrating a birthday today. I have written a poem about Harry, and performed it live on the radio and on the podcast. (AUDIO)

September 29—Grand Funk Railroad's Mark Farner's birthday. We chatted with him on the show a few years ago.

September 29—Jeffrey Gentile birthday. Jeff wrote Mob Adjacent for Eckhartz Press, but he also was a great guest on Minutia Men Celebrity Interview. 

September 30--Amy Landecker's birthday. Amy was a great guest on our show a few years ago. Her husband Bradley Whitford even hopped on the air and did a few segments with us.

September 30—Famed astronomer Dr. Phil Plait's birthday. He appeared on MMCI just before the 2020 election. 

October 1, 1999—Elmo in Grouchland released. Little Tommy Kaempfer reviews it. (AUDIO)

October 1—Bullying Awareness month. We interviewed two anti-bullying activists Mark Pellegrino and Andrew Rossow.

October 1, 1962—Tonight Show with Johnny Carson debuts. Former Cub Carmen Fanzone told us a few great stories about the musicians on Johnny's show

October 1—Rod Carew birthday. Eric Soderholm was his teammate in Minnesota, and told us a great story about Rod.  

October 1, 1996—House of Blues opens in Chicago. Tours with Mike likes to feature it as Chicago's ugliest building. Mike talked to us about that. 

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2017, two great reviews came in for Eckhartz Press books. Tom Lounges wrote a great review for Mitch Michael's book Doin the Cruise, while Mike Donahue gave a thumbs up to Bill Paige's book Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars.

*On this day in 2021, Paul M. Banks held court at Fado's while selling his book Transatlantic Passage.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Duane Scott Cerny Joins Eckhartz Roster

We met Duane Scott Cerny by interviewing him for our Minutia Men Celebrity Interview. We really hit it off with the author, and before we knew it, we had agreed to sell his great books on our site. These are both gems. You can buy Selling Dead People's Things and Vintage Confidential right now!

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2016, Bobby Skafish began his book tour promoting We Have Company. The first stop was at WGN-TV's morning show. He stayed for two full segments, the first one was about his book. The second one they asked him to identify mullets and tattoos.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Minutia Men--Spongebob Schwammkopf

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

Non-meat nose-biting, German TV themes, Partridge Family stories, 53 wives, a job doing nothing, and a political celebrity story are among the minutiae discussed by Rick and Dave. [Ep286]

Free Kicks--Highest Paid Players in the World

 The latest Free Kicks is available now. Listen to it here.

Adam and Rick discuss the highest-paid players in the world in a very special edition of Guess-The-Premier-League-Star. [Ep163]

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Vision Quest star Frank Jasper

 The newest Minutia Men Celebrity Interview is available now. Listen to it here.

Frank Jasper is a cult hero in the wrestling world. He played Shute in the film Vision Quest, and has some great stories for Rick and Dave.  [Ep106]