Saturday, October 08, 2022

Minutia Men--Helmut Can You Hear Me?

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

Another example of a German-language translation of a classic musical, plus Happy Meals for Adults, Sleep tips for hotels, the worst political ad of all-time, and a famous jazzman tells us the rules for drinking at a bar. [Ep288]

Free Kicks--Derby after Derby

 This week's episode is available now. Listen to it here.

Three big Derbys are discussed by Adam & Rick, including the not-so-close one in Manchester. [Ep164]

Friday, October 07, 2022

Media Notebook--10-7-22


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



*National Radio Hall of Fame

=The NRHOF announced the latest inductees of legends to the Hall in 2022, and once again, Chicago is represented well. The late Doug Banks (long-time Chicago jock at WGCI), Pervis Spann (WVON), and former Rockline host Bob Coburn (WMET) are among the names this year. The others are James Brown (yes, the Godfather of Soul also owned a radio station in Knoxville), Chick Hearn (Lakers play-by-play man), Bernice Judis (New York), Bobby O’Jay (Memphis), Rosalie Trombley (Detroit), Sid Mark (syndicated Sinatra show host), and James Thompson (Group W Broadcasting).


*2023 Ford Frick Award Nominees

=Both Chicago baseball teams have an announcer nominated for the prestigious Ford Frick Award: Pat Hughes (Cubs) and Steve Stone (White Sox). The winner of the award every year becomes a Baseball Hall of Famer. Both Hughes and Stone are worthy, and eventually, both will be enshrined. This year they are up against a pretty formidable bunch, including Dave CampbellJoe CastiglioneGary CohenJacques DoucetTom HamiltonJerry HowarthErnie Johnson Sr., and Duane Kuiper. 

=For more about the nominees and the Ford Frick Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame is the place to go.

=My Pat Hughes interview (from 2010) can be found here.


*Chicago Radio Ratings

=The top five stations (ages 6+) according to the September Nielson PPM ratings are…WDRV, WLIT, WBBM-AM, WVAZ, and WBEZ. These five stations were all in the top five last month too. The Drive has been at #1 (or tied) now for five straight months.

=The  rest of the top ten: WLS-FM, WOJO, WXRT, WGN and WTMX.


*Janda Lane Named Permanent Midday Host at the Drive

=Janda has been doing the show since Bob Stroud stepped down a few months ago, so it’s probably not a huge surprise that they named her to this slot. The former afternoon co-host (with Steve Seaver) has adapted pretty seamlessly. (I interviewed Janda for Illinois Entertainer this summer).

=In the station’s announcement of the official promotion, Janda says, I am beyond thrilled to move into middays on The Drive and am honored to fill the space around the one and only Bob Stroud’s long-standing Ten at 10 and One 45 at 1:45 features. Life is a winding road and I am so happy that the road has led me here to Chicago, to The Drive, and last and most importantly, to our awesome listeners. Thank you so much for listening!”


*RIP Bob Gelms

=Bob Gelms passed away last weekend. He was 73. You may remember his contributions at WXRT and the Loop, where he wore multiple caps. There has been an outpouring of love expressed by his former colleagues.

=Current WXRT morning man Marty Lennartz had this to say on the radio.

=Here are a few more comments on social media from his old friends and co-workers

Patti Haze: Bob was one of the most charming men I ever met, he loved sharing great music with his audience and he was one hell of a broadcaster.

Charles Jaco: Bob was one of my favorite people at XRT. He was kind, funny, big-hearted, and had an encyclopedic knowledge of music. May the wind be at your back, boy-o.

Bob Stroud: Bob was a good guy who loved the music and the radio that played it.

Johnny Mars: I remember his laugh and big love of blues and new music.

Tom Marker: Bob was well respected by all who knew him. Not surprisingly, I see a lot of comments about his laugh and warmth. He was also highly regarded through his work on air, as a music director and as a Blues program host. RIP.

Charlie Meyerson: Bob was one of the first people I met at WXRT. It’s particularly sad to get this news the day after the station retired a blues show he shepherded during its early days.

Patty Martin: There aren’t many people who have claimed the Music Director chair at XRT. I’m grateful to have followed in his footsteps. Gelms is now presiding over the great music meeting in the sky.


*Julian Lennon on College Radio Day

=I feel a weird connection to this announcement because I played Julian Lennon’s debut record on my college radio station (WPGU), but here’s the news: Julian Lennon has been named the official 2022 Ambassador for the 12th Annual World College Radio Day, which is today.

“College radio is a good way to learn about what’s going on in the world, whether it’s locally or worldwide,” says Lennon. “College radio is not like the usual mainstream stuff, and I find that far more intriguing!”


*Nationwide Lover

=Last week I reported Ed Lover was removed from the morning show at WBMX. This week the company (Audacy) officially announced his national syndication deal…in the evening slot. The Ed Lover Experience will be on here in Chicago 8-Midnight at WBMX, but he’ll also be heard in New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Seattle. The show rolls out on October 17.

*Podcast Corner

=The obvious merging has finally happened. Dateline NBC, the show that presents news stories as murder mysteries, is doing a True Crime podcast. It’s a natural. The NewYork Times has more on the story.


*Ex-Chicago Radio Corner

=Former Loop and WKQX staffer Gordon Mays has gotten a big promotion. He was the brand manager of WRTB The Bull in Rockford, but is now director of programming and content for the company’s six-station group in Rockford and Dekalb.




*October 1st was Norm Winer’s birthday. Norm was the driving force behind WXRT for many decades. He’s currently the co-founder and chief content curator at Noteworthy.


*October 2nd was former WBEZ broadcaster Michelle Damico’s birthday.


*October 5, 1947, President Harry Truman gave the first televised address to the nation from the White House. The topic was the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Europe…


*October 7 is US-99’s Melissa McGurren’s birthday. I previously interviewed her for Shore Magazine (2008), when she was still part of the morning show at the Mix.


*John Owens, the Chicago/Midwest chapter President of the The National Academy of Arts and Sciences, is also celebrating a birthday today (October 7). Owens currently works at ABC-7 in Chicago and is the co-author of the book Chili Dog MVP.


*October 8, 1970, WLS Radio announced the arrival of a new night-time disc jockey Kris Erik Stevens. I interviewed him about that and his long career last year for Illinois Entertainer.




*Alan Krashesky Announces Retirement

=He has been the main anchor at 10pm at Channel 7 since Ron Magers retired, and has worked in television for 40 years. This week he announced he will be stepping down on November 22.


*Svengoolie Interview

=On Saturday Illinois Entertainer’s October issue came out, and it features my interview with Rich Koz/Svengoolie

=If you are a Me-TV watcher, you’ll have a hard time avoiding Sven over the next few weeks. It’s a month-long Halloween spectacular. Here's a small taste. I asked him about the differences in the show now that it's national...

    “We still bring up Berwyn,” he points out. “The great thing is there are other Berwyns in America. The people in Pennsylvania think we’re talking about their Berwyn. For the most part, we just dropped some of the local references like local news and weather folks or local sports teams, but that’s basically the only thing that changed. It’s pretty much the same content we’ve always done. Unfortunately, the rubber chickens will never leave. I’m constantly being pelted by them. The office people come in and really get into it, sometimes a little too much.”

=In other WCIU news, the first high school game of the week will air tonight. Brother Rice vs. Joliet Catholic at 7pm. On Wednesday night the station will air the CPS soccer championship game (Teams TBA) at Lane Tech.


*Network TV corner

= Former Today show and Dateline co-host Natalie Morales has been named a CBS News correspondent. She also will continue her role on CBS’s The Talk. Morales joined CBS in 2021 after 22 years at NBC.

=Former Scrubs writer/producer Eric Weinberg is charged with 18 counts of sexual assault.

=Velma from Scooby Doo officially comes out as a lesbian.


*Cable News Corner

=Former President Trump is suing CNN for $475 million. He claims that the network has defamed him. Nobody is taking it seriously, including CNN. Here is how they responded to the letter warning them a lawsuit was coming…

“While we will address the merits of any lawsuit should one be filed, we note that you have not identified a single false or defamatory statement in your letter.”


*Streaming Corner

=Just in case you were wondering about the pace of unplugging: Peacock now reaches 15 million paid customers.




*Elon Musk Whiplash

=He’s buying Twitter. He’s not buying Twitter. He’s suing Twitter. Twitter is suing him. Where does this whole back and forth stand this week? Now he’s buying Twitter again, at the original asking price. Oh, and this morning, the Twitter lawsuit was halted. Where does this finally end? Your guess is as good as mine.


*Sun Times is Dropping their Paywall

=This was a big announcement yesterday from the Sun-Times, and a welcome one. The headline says it all: The Sun Times’ New Chapter: Our Digital Content is Now Free for Everyone


*The Onion Files Supreme Court Brief

=Because it’s the Onion, it’s a little more irreverent than a typical legal brief, but they are tackling a serious subject: defense of parody and satire.

*RIP Judy Tenuta

=The Oak Park native was a regular on the comedy circuit for years and made countless appearances on Chicago’s comedy stages before breaking big nationally. Sad to hear about the passing of Judy Tenuta. She was 72 years old. Ovarian cancer. The New York Times has her obit.



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

 *On this day in 2016, Eckhartz Press author Bobby Skafish appeared on the Steve Dahl Show on WLS 890AM. It just happened to be the same day the Donald Trump Access Hollywood tape came out.

*On this day in 2020, Eckhartz Press co-author Paul Possenti (Grace & Friends Fire Safety Workbook) was recognized for his work by Drexel University.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Eckhartz Everyday


*On this day in 2015, Pat Colander's book Hugh Hefner's First Funeral was announced (and offered up for pre-sale) by Eckhartz Press. The book eventually was named CWA Book of the Year. The blurbs on the back cover gave a hint of things to come....

“As Paul Simon bookended..."Time it was, and what a time it was....A time of innocence. A time of confidences." Chicago in the '70's was surreal, scary and freaking hilarious. My Second City kith and kin may have found brighter lights in N.Y. and L.A. -- but we were spawned and fermented at North and Wells. Good thing Pat Colander thought to take notes and chronicle everything."
-Tim Kazurinsky,
Actor, screenwriter, television and movie star, Saturday Night LivePolice Academy, Neighbors

“Pat Colander toiled with me in the belly of the Chicago journalism beast in the 1970s and 1980s. When major stories were reported, she asked questions. When the questions were poorly answered or evaded, she asked even more questions of even more people. Then in a clear, true voice, she wrote it all down. She found the real stories behind the stories and this collection of her work is just great. She ought to be long-listed for the Man Booker prize, If I can figure out how to do it I will."
-Denise DeClue
Writer of films including About Last Night, teleplays, documentaries, journalism, humor columns and a great deal of other funny stuff

"Reading Pat Colander’s wonderful collection, Hugh Hefner’s First Funeral and Other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago, is like visiting your old neighborhood. Most of the old folks are gone, either dead or moved on, but there are a few old-timers left. And eventually you get around to talking about things like, “Hey, remember the poet who committed suicide?” Or, “Did they ever figure out how that guy killed his wife?” Or, “Do you think that guy actually poisoned all those people?” There are seven tales of Love and Death in Colander’s book, which is chock-full of details about specific Chicago crimes, deaths, and personalities, including the death of Hugh Hefner’s executive secretary, Bobbie Arnstein, who basically ran the business of Playboy. She weaves the stories of their demise through a definite Chicago lens, where gritty bits of key information flesh out the headlines. Much of this material originally appeared in The Reader, and this volume is an upgrade on an earlier 1985 publishing under the same title. This is a book you devour because it has all the courses of a good meal. It’s meaty and satisfying, like a visit to that old neighborhood."
--Vicki Quade
Playwright, Late Night Catechism

“Pat is a very talented writer. Unfortunately she cut back on her serious writing to run magazines. She was a girl-wonder when she worked at the Chicago Tribune in the late seventies. The veteran male reporters hated her because she could out-write and out produce them with one hand tied behind her back and her eyes closed. She did feature articles, reviews and celebrity interviews. Now she has put together a collection of her very best work from the 1970s and early 1980s. The stories age well."
-Bruce Elliott
Geriatric Genius blogger and author of Last Night at the Old Town Ale House.

14 years ago

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Dobie Maxwell

 The latest Minutia Men Celebrity Interview dropped today. Listen to it here.

Dobie Maxwell has performed comedy in 49 states, and has some great road stories. He shares them with Rick and Dave. [Ep107]

October in Wrigley

 The Cubs season is over (and whoo boy, it wasn't good), but in the past there have been some big moments in Wrigley Field in October. From Just One Bad Century...


 OCT 1ST, 2022

October 1, 1932

The most famous moment in Wrigley Field history occurred. Or did it?

It was Game 3 of the World Series. The Yankees had won the first two at Yankee Stadium. Soon-to-be President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (sitting next to Chicago mayor Anton Cermak) threw out the first pitch. In the stands; a young boy named John Paul Stevens, who would go on to become a Supreme Court Justice.

The 1932 Yankees were a riled up team who hated the Cubs for dissing one of their former teammates. Mark Koenig had replaced Cubs shortstop Billy Jurges during the season after Jurges was shot by a fan. Despite hitting .353 during the season and saving the hides of the Cubs, the players voted not to give him a full World Series share. This really angered the Yankees, especially their emotional leader Babe Ruth.

He was ticked off and let the Cubs know it in no uncertain terms.

Did Babe Ruth really call the shot? Almost certainly not. The writers said he did, and he played along with it, but he also privately acknowledged that he never would have done that to Charlie Root who was known as a ruthless headhunter. Charlie swore to his dying day that Babe did not call the shot.

According to the Cubs players, Ruth was being taunted by the Cubs dugout (who should have had their heads examined after they already ticked off the Babe). Ruth was more than likely pointing at the dugout, gesturing that he still had one strike left. That may have looked to the writers like he was calling his shot. Plus, the writers said he pointing to left–but he hit nearly all of his homers to right, and the actual homer went to deep centerfield…an unusual location for a homer by the Babe. The called shot is probably nothing more than a legend.

Nevertheless, part of the legend is true. He did homer. And Gehrig homered right after that. And they both homered again later in the game.

The 1932 World Series was a 4-game pummeling. But as famous as that supposed “called shot” was, Babe Ruth was not even the player of the series. Lou Gehrig hit .529, and would have been named the MVP if they had such an honor in those days.

October 1, 1950

Andy PafkoAndy Pafko puts the finishing touches on a great season. Joe DiMaggio is probably known as the greatest player in baseball history to possess both power and patience at the plate. In four different seasons he actually had more homers than strikeouts. His final career numbers are absolutely jaw dropping: 361 homers, and only 369 Ks.

One Cubs player also had that same combination of power and patience, and his 1950 season in particular can only be described as “DiMaggio-esque”.

That year Andy Pafko knocked the ball out of National League ballparks 36 times while only striking out 32 times. Only 14 players have ever accomplished that feat: Ken Williams (1922), Lefty O’Doul (1929), Mel Ott (1929), Al Simmons (1930), Lou Gehrig (1934, 1936), Joe DiMaggio (1937, 1938, 1939, 1940), Ted Williams (1941), Willard Marshall (1947), Johnny Mize (1947, 1948), Stan Musial (1948), Yogi Berra (1952, 1956), Ted Kluszewki (1953, 1954, 1955, 1956), and Barry Bonds (2004).

Pafko’s 1950 season was so impressive that Reds’ president Warren Giles said if he could choose any player in the National League to help improve his team, he would choose Pafko.

Naturally, Handy Andy was rewarded for that incredible season in true Cubs fashion. He was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers.

October 1: In 2008 Ryan Dempster walks the bases loaded then gives up a grand slam to James Loney as the Dodgers beat the Cubs in Game 1 of the playoffs.


October 2, 1984.

The Cubs played their first playoff game in 39 years.

The 1984 Cubs won the division going away with the most wins in the National League (96). They had the most exciting young player in the league (MVP Ryne Sandberg). They had a team of veterans (Cey, Moreland, Bowa, Sutcliffe) that had won championships before. With that entertaining cast of cast of characters, and Harry Caray at the microphone broadcasting every single game on a Superstation (WGN), the 1984 Cubs were America’s darlings.

The first game went exactly as planned. Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe shut down the Padres on the mound, and Cubs batters immediately took it to San Diego. In the bottom of the first inning lead off man Bob Dernier cracked a homer, and two batters later Gary Mathews did the same. He later hit another one, as did Ron Cey, and even the pitcher Rick Sutcliffe joined in on the fireworks display.

At the end of the game the scoreboard said: Cubs 13–Padres 0.

America’s darlings were well on their way to the title.


October 2: In 1932, the Yankees sweep the 1932 World Series with a crushing 13-6 victory. Future Cub Tony Lazzeri hits 2 homers for the Yanks. In 2001, Sammy hits his 60th homer in a 5-4 loss. In 2008, every single Cubs infielder commits an error and the Dodgers take a commanding 2-0 lead in the five game series.


October 3, 1976

Ken Griffey’s final game of the 1976 season is a cautionary tale for anyone who tries to take the conservative way out to win the batting title. He was leading the league in hitting on the second to last day of the season, and when someone did the math, it looked like there was no way he could lose it. The second leading hitter, Bill Madlock of the Cubs, would have to go 3 for 3 or better to steal it away. Going with the odds, Griffey was rested on that last day to secure the title.

bill mad dog madlockUnfortunately for him, Bill Madlock decided not to follow the script. He got hits in his first three at-bats of the Cubs game, and word reached Griffey in the Cincinnati dugout that his batting title was at stake. So, he came into the game as a pinch hitter and made an out. Madlock, on the other hand, got another hit, ending his day 4 for 4.

The batting title went to Bill Madlock, his second batting title during his Cubs career.

The 1976 Reds went on to win the World Series that year, while the Cubs finished in the cellar. And, after the season ended, Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley authorized the team to trade Madlock so that he wouldn’t have to meet his salary demands. (The Cubs traded him to the Giants for Bobby Murcer.) But Ken Griffey Sr. played another fifteen big league seasons and never won the batting title.

October 3: In 1930 the Cubs win a rare game in the City Series against the White Sox.7. In 1998, Kerry Wood faces Greg Maddux in the playoffs, and Maddux comes out on top to sweep the Cubs out of the playoffs. Wood will miss the entire 1999 season because of an injury. In 2000, Jon Lieber wins his 20th game of the season, 13-7 over the Reds.


October 4, 1989

Greg Maddux 6If you look at the roster of the 1989 Cubs, you realize that they had no business making the playoffs that year. Even manager Don Zimmer and general manager Jim Frey thought they would win about 70 games. Two thirds of the starting outfield were rookies–Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith. Rookie catchers Damon Berryhill, Joe Girardi, and Rick Wrona split time behind the plate. The third basemen were Vance Law and Luis Salazar. But somehow, with this group of players and the veteran presence of Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, and Mark Grace (who was actually quite young too), the Cubs caught lightning in a bottle.

This motley group became known as the Boys of Zimmer. Don Zimmer’s unorthodox managing style confounded his opponents all year, and with smoke and mirrors the Cubs won the division. Mark Grace led the team with a whopping 79 RBI. The rookies played way above their heads. Jerome Walton was the rookie of the year and had a 30-game hitting streak. Dwight Smith hit .323 in left field sharing time with converted catcher Lloyd McClendon. Shawon Dunston became a sensation with his frightening arm at shortstop, and the entire city followed his batting average thanks to the Shawon-O-Meter; maintained by a bleacher fan. A crazy kid reliever named Mitch Williams had the most terrifying saves imaginable–yet he pulled it off time and time again. And a young pitcher emerged to lead the starting rotation…his name was Greg Maddux.

Still, this team had no business being in the playoffs and they discovered that pretty quickly. The Cubs were clearly overmatched by the Giants, who sported a lineup featuring the likes of Will Clark, Matt Williams, and the MVP of the league–Kevin Mitchell. They say that good pitching always beats good hitting, which can mean only one thing. The Cubs didn’t have good pitching.

Greg Maddux was torched in Game 1. The Cubs lost 11-3. The worst moment of the game occurred when Don Zimmer came out to talk to Maddux just before Will Clark came up to bat. The first pitch after the mound visit was crushed for a home run. Clark later said he read Maddux’s lips and knew which pitch was coming. That moment sparked the trend of pitchers and catchers covering up their mouths with their gloves when they talk.

October 4: In 1935, the Cubs lose Game 3 of the World Series to the Tigers, 6-5 in 11 innings. The Tigers have a 2-1 lead in the series. In 1992, Andre Dawson hits his last homer as a Cub, and the 399th of his career.


October 5, 2003
The Cubs won their first playoff series since 1908. Kerry Wood was on the mound in Atlanta, facing off against Mike Hampton.

Cubs leadoff man Kenny Lofton got the ball rolling immediately, scoring in the top of the first on a Moises Alou single. The Cubs added a second run in the top of the second on an Alex Gonzalez home run, and then padded the lead in the sixth on a two-run homer by Aramis Ramirez.

Kerry Wood did the rest. He struck out seven, allowed only one run, and was named the MVP of the series. (He had also won Game 1 in Atlanta).

The Cubs didn’t win another playoff series until 2015.

October 5: In 1935, the Cubs fall behind 3 games to 1 in the World Series after the Tigers beat them 2-1 at Wrigley. In 1938, Cubs ace Bill Lee loses Game 1 of the World Series to the Yankees, 3-1. In 1980, Bill Buckner wins the batting title. In 1989, the Cubs beat former Cub Rick Reuschel 9-5 to even up the NLCS at 1 game apiece. Mark Grace is on fire.


October 6, 1938
The Cubs were playing in the World Series against the New York Yankees at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had dropped the first game of the series, but for Game 2 they had their old warrior Dizzy Dean (photo) on the mound.

The Cubs actually had the lead going into the 8th inning. Somehow, the cocky Dean was getting them out with nothing more than guts and guile. It really looked like he may have one more miracle left in that bag of tricks. Then the Yankees came to bat in the top of the eighth. Leadoff man Frankie Crosetti knocked a ball out of the park, and the Yanks took a slim lead. The score was 4-3 in the ninth, and ol’ Diz took the mound one last time.

Tommy Heinrich led off the inning with a single, and Joe DiMaggio came to the plate. DiMaggio was the most feared hitter in baseball that year, and it didn’t take Dizzy Dean too long to figure out why. He easily cleared the left field wall with a mammoth shot, and the Yanks sealed the win. Dizzy was yanked from the game, never to return to the big stage again.

After losing those first two games in Chicago, the series was essentially over. The Yankees beat Clay Bryant 5-2 in Game 3, and then clobbered the Cubs in Game 4 for an easy four game sweep.

October 6: In 1935, the Cubs win Game 5 of the World Series against the Tigers, 3-1. Cubs ace Lon Warneke gets the win. In 1945, the Tigers tie up the series by beating the Cubs 4-1. Dizzy Trout (father of Steve) wins the game. In 1963, the Bears beat the Colts 10-3 on their way to the NFL Championship. In 2007, the Diamondbacks sweep the Cubs out of the playoffs.


October 7: In 1945, the Tigers go up 3 games to 2, by beating the Cubs 8-4. In 2001, Sammy Sosa hits his 64th homer of the season in a 4-3 loss to the Pirates. In 2016, Jon Lester outduels Johnny Cueto and Cubs beat the Giants 1-0 to take a 1-0 lead in the NLDS. Javy Baez hits a homer for the only run of the game.

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2018, two Eckhartz Press books were named finalists for CWA Book of the Year, Mitch Michaels' book Doin the Cruise, and Lee Kingsmill's novel Safe Inside.

*On this day in 2017, Eckhartz Press author Randy Richardson won a national award for writing.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022


The latest @ie_entertainer came out this past weekend and features my interview with Rich Koz @Svengoolie. Fun interview with a Chicago icon.