Friday, November 18, 2022

Free Kicks--World Cup Preview

 A must-listen before the games begin on Monday. Click here.

Adam and Rick go through all the World Cup teams, assess each team’s chances, and highlight players to watch. [Ep169]

Media Notebook--11-18-22


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




*R.I.P. Jim Bohannan

= Cancer has claimed another victim. For the past few years the nationally syndicated Radio Hall of Famer has been on WGN Radio (from Washington) hosting overnights. The news of his death wasn’t unexpected. Jim stepped down a few weeks ago for health reasons. Jim Bohannan was 78.

=Bohannan was a gifted broadcaster. I once witnessed him do an unexpected live interview with Bradley Whitford (from West Wing). Jim was interviewing John Landecker and had no idea that John’s son-in-law (Bradley) would be there, but he effortlessly brought Whitford into the conversation and had a very entertaining chat with him, despite the differences in their political opinions (Bohannan skews right, Whitford left). I was impressed.

=I should also note that when Landecker and I were working on John’s memoir Records Truly Is My Middle Name, I asked Bohannan to contribute to the book because I knew of his admiration for Landecker. He was gracious and kind and didn’t hesitate.


*Steve Cochran Show celebrates 100th episode at WLS

=Steve has navigated most of the radio dial in Chicago, having worked at WCKG, WPNT, WGN, WLUP, WIND. His latest home is WLS, AM 890. This week the show celebrated its 100th episode.



=If you happen to be in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving, you might want to turn on the radio. Tom Hanks is taking over a radio station (WYEP) and curating their music from 8am—7pm. He has been in Pittsburgh filming the movie “A Man Called Otto.” Hanks is a music lover, particularly rock and roll, and if the film “That Thing You Do” is any indication, he has a great taste in music.

*Podcast Corner

=In Chicago, the Bears are always king (even when they aren’t good). This podcast guest is perfect for the 2022 Bears season. Peggy Kusinski and Jason Kinander (The Sportscaster and Her Son) speak with the last Bears quarterback who ran more than he passed, Bobby Douglass.

=Time Magazine came out with their list of the top ten podcasts.

=Elon Musk has been in the news a lot lately (including further down in this column), but few people have the insight into Elon that journalist Kari Swisher does. Her podcast about him, entitled Elon Musk: Someone I Used To Knowis worth a listen.

=The Divided Dial is a WNYC podcast that covers one of my favorite topics: How did the political media get here? This particular episode is about talk radio and how one party managed to dominate the radio airwaves.

=When a writer has Seinfeld, Cheers, and 3rd Rock from the Sun on his resume, I’m interested in hearing what his podcast is about. The writer is Andy Cowan, and the title of his podcast gives you a good idea: The Neurotic Vaccine.

=I’m a huge soccer fan, so these next few weeks I’ll surely catch World Cup fever. There are several podcasts to check out during the tournament, but one is a little more star-studded than the others. It’s called After the Whistle, and it will be hosted by NBC’s Rebecca Lowe and Ted Lasso’s Brendan Hunt.

=Of course, I also co-host a soccer podcast with the Illinois Youth Soccer Association’s Director of Coaching Adam Howarth called Free Kicks with Adam and Rick. Our World Cup preview special drops today.


*Radio Legends Returning to the Airwaves

=Steve Dale had a great interview with the legendary Fred Winston (WLS, WCFL, WFYR, WJMK, etc) this week. I missed it when it was live, so I’m so happy they posted it on the WGN Radio website.

=Garry Meier also made a few terrestrial radio stops this past week, including a visit with Sherman and Tingle at the Drive, and a return to Garry’s old stomping grounds at WGN (he was on with Dave Plier). I include this photo from Steve Bertrand’s Facebook page, because I’m calling it the Steve & Garry reunion…





*Jimmy Baron’s birthday was November 13. Baron grew up in the Chicago area, and briefly worked as a producer for Jonathan Brandmeier in the early 90s. Jimmy mainly made his mark in radio in Atlanta as a morning show co-host.


*Dag Juhlin’s birthday was November 14. Dag is not only a great guitarist (Poi Dog Pondering, the Slugs, and several other bands), he’s one of the co-hosts of Steve Dahl’s podcast. I got a chance to interview him last year.

*Jimmy Piersall was born on November 14. The late White Sox broadcaster is still fondly remembered. It seems everyone who knew him has a story about Jimmy. I’ve been told a few great ones, including Jimmy’s challenge to race former White Sox slugger Eric Soderholm, and a Central Park challenge Jimmy issued to his White Sox radio-booth mate Rich King. My own personal story about Jimmy involves such an over-the-top expletive-filled tirade when I asked him to appear on a show I was producing that it actually made me laugh out loud. (Needless to say, he didn't do the show)


*This week in 1977, an agreement was reached regarding the classical station WEFM. Lee Abrams had big plans to turn it into a Top 40 Rock station. His story about the greatest station that never was, is a fascinating read. You’ll recognize a few of the names involved. WEFM, by the way, is now US-99 (and has been since 1982).

*Former WLUP program director Rick Balis’ birthday is today (November 18). Balis made his mark as a programmer in St. Louis guiding the legendary rock station KSHE for many years.


*WBEZ’s Mary Dixon’s birthday is November 19. I interviewed Mary for Illinois Entertainer back in her WXRT days, when she was the news anchor on Lin Brehmer’s show.


*Radio and Television host David Kaplan (ESPN Radio/See below for his TV news) also has a November 19 birthday. This interview with David for Chicago Radio Spotlight dates back to 2011.


*And finally, the late Larry King was born on November 19. I never had the chance to interview Larry myself, but I do have an entertaining story about my brush with the former CNN host. It involves Ross Perot, Al Gore, and an angry radio general manager.






*David Kaplan leaving NBC Sports Chicago

=He announced the news via YouTube last night...

*WCIU Airing High School Football Championships

= There’s nothing quite like a high school football game. WCIU-TV (Channel 26 in Chicago) has the rights to air the championship games at every level this year. The 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A games will air next Friday (November 25) beginning at 10am. The 5A, 6A, 7A, and 8A games will air on Saturday (November 26), also beginning at 10am.


*Good Morning America in Chicago

=At least for a segment on Thursday. They were doing a contest called “The United States of Pie.” The local Chicago judges for this feature were ABC-7 Chicago meteorologist Greg Dutra, Top Chef winner Joe Flamm, and WGCI’s Kendra G.


*The Last Grown Up in Washington Journalism

=That’s the title that has been bestowed upon Judy Woodruff, who is stepping down at PBS after a distinguished career in television journalism. The New York Times has a nice profile of the PBS Newshour host during her final days on the air. The new hosts, by the way, will be Geoff Bennett and Amna Nawaz.


*Streaming Corner

=The modern-day western, Yellowstone, returned for a 5th season this past week (on Paramount) and scored big numbers. Variety has the full story.

*R.I.P Robert Clary

=The Hogan's Heroes star died this week at the age of 96. Me-TV is going to pay tribute to him by playing some of his classic Hogan's Heroes episodes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week, from 9:00-10pm each night.





*Teen Life on Social Media

=The Pew Research Center just released a survey of teens about their usage of and feelings about social media. The results are here. The majority of teens say that social media strengthens their friendships and offers support. However, they are also very aware of the potential pitfalls. As the parent of three young social media aficionados, I found this survey oddly comforting.


*Elon Musk’s $44 Billion Implosion

=The L.A. Times has this headline: Is the World’s Richest Man the World’s Worst Boss?

=The Washington Post got a copy of his e-mail to employees, and boy oh boy: “We will need to be extremely hardcore…this will mean working long hours under high intensity…only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

=Did you catch the story about him firing his employee on Twitter? NBC News has the details.

=The New York Times has this headline: If you want to understand how dangerous Musk is, look outside of America.

=And all of that was before this news last night...

=And by the end of the night, this was happening. 


*Amazon to lay off 10,000 employees

=The tech sector seems to be alerting us to a coming downturn. This Amazon news is coming on the heels of the layoffs at Meta and Twitter. On the other hand, Jeff Bezos also announced this week that he would give away the bulk of his $100+ billion fortune. (Just not to his employees, apparently.)





*Jonathan Swan Moves to the New York Times

=He’s one of the best interviewers around. Swan moves over from Axios.

*R.I.P Michael Gershon

=This is sad news. Gershon was a Washington Post opinion columnist, and former speechwriter for George W. Bush. As a columnist, he was fair, and consistent. He passed away this week at the way too young age of 58. His colleague Karen Tumulty has written a fitting tribute to him in today’sWashington Post.



*Washington Post Managing Editor Leaves                                                                                 

=Steven Ginsberg has chosen to leave his post at the Washington Post to run the Athletic. The Athletic is a sports-news outlet owned by the New York Times parent company. Ginsberg had recently been passed over for the top job at the Post. 



*As the Rupert Turns

=Major slam of Donald Trump sent out this week by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post. Check out the ‘bottom of the front-page afterthought’ the morning after Trump’s presidential announcement. It says “Florida Man Makes Announcement” and directs readers to page 26. Isn’t it something when a media mogul billionaire acts like a kid on a playground because he knows it will tick off the other billionaire kid on the playground?




*2022 Grammy Nominees Announced

=Got a few Chicago names in this batch, including J. Ivey, Justin Roberts, and the immortal Buddy Guy.


*Salt Shed Lineup for 2023

=The new local concert venue has announced their schedule for next year. Some big names on this list like Iggy Pop, the Roots, and Third Eye Blind.

FYI: There will be no media notebook next week. I'll be back on December 2.

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

Back in the D.D.R

Eckhartz Everyday

 Two Eckhartz Press books held star studded book launch parties on this day. 

*In 2013, it was Chuck Quinzio, and his book Life Behind the Camera. Here are a photos from that day...

“Life Behind the Camera” is available right here at Eckhartz Press.

*On this day in 2021, Randy Merkin had his book launch party for Behind the Glass. Here are a few photos...

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Maitland Ward

 Our latest episode just dropped. You can listen to it here.

Maitland Ward was a soap opera star (Bold & the Beautiful), a wholesome family sitcom star (Boy Meets World), and is now an adult film actress. Rick and Dave talk to Ward about that transition and the reasons for it. 

Back in the D.D.R

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2021, Robert Feder reported the following news in the Daily Herald...

A new book about the late Chicago White Sox legend Dick Allen has just been optioned for a documentary film. Chili Dog MVP: Dick Allen, The 1972 White Sox and a Transforming Chicago, soon to be published by Chicago-based Eckhartz Press, was written by John Owens and Dr. David Fletcher and edited by veteran sportswriter, baseball historian and author George Castle. (Here is the link to order.) “We look back at this unique time in Chicago history, when the arrival of a controversial slugger lifted the Sox out of a daunting hole and united a fractious fan base during a time when Chicago was going through tremendous changes,” said Owens, a longtime producer and president of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Allen, who missed induction to Cooperstown by one vote in 2014, is on the 10-person National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Golden Days Era Committee ballot. Andy Billman, the former ESPN producer who directed episodes of the “30 For 30” series, optioned the book and will be with Allen’s family in Orlando for the Hall of Fame vote December 5. A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Gilda’s Club Chicago. 

 *On this day in 2016, Bobby Skafish appeared at Lone Star Steak House to promote his book We Have Company.

*On this day in 2018, I attended the gut-wrenching farewell party to my long time friend and Eckhartz Press author, Mark Gelinas. You can see some photos and read the piece I wrote about the party, right here.

*Today is author Robert Walker's birthday. Walker is not an Eckhartz Press author, but he is an Eckhartz Press blurber. Here's what he said about Randy Richardson's first book with us, Cheeseland...
  • Cheeseland’ is a novel that touches the reader; a novel about life, death, and how we choose to live our lives…how we want the dash between the dates on our tombstone to resonate.

    --Robert Walker, author of "Titanic 2012", "Bismark 2013", and "Children of Salem"

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Renewing My Vows

 Today is my anniversary. My 31st anniversary. Back in 2001, on my 10th anniversary, we renewed our vows. I wrote about this in my book The Radio Producer's Handbook....

Renewing My Vows

November 16, 2001, Bridget and I renewed our wedding vows live on the air. I described it in this short section of my book..."The Radio Producer's Handbook." The photos are a bonus for the blog readers.

The John Landecker show did a week of live broadcasts from the Dominican Republic. Every morning there were huge technical issues to overcome, but the shows were quite memorable. Rick Kaempfer and his wife renewed their vows live on the air (for their tenth anniversary). The ceremony was perfect for the radio. It was a surprise for Rick’s wife, but every element of it was pre-approved by Rick and John.

There were visual elements (the bride arrived on horseback, the groom arrived on burro) and audio elements (music, crowd reaction, and an audio play by play provided by John), plus it was all captured by the digital camera and instantaneously placed on the station’s Web site.

The live audience felt like they were involved in something special. The show ended with Rick and Bridget, each holding one of their young sons, slow dancing to their wedding song. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience, and the listeners at home got to listen to the song, and see the pictures on the Web site—a truly multi-media experience.

The only problem with this wonderful moment, of course, is that anything I do for our anniversaries now pales in comparison.

I usually just get her a card.