Friday, December 16, 2022

Media Notebook--12-16-22


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



*Hub Arkush’s Recovery

=Four months after his near fatal heart attack, Hub Arkush is on the mend, and plans on returning to work soon. Sean Hammond at Shaw Local News Network spoke with Hub. This story answers a lot of the questions you’ve been asking me since I first reported his medical situation back in August. Happy to hear he is doing so much better now.


*Lauren O’Neil re-signs with Q-101

=O’Neil has been with the station now for more than 10 years, and now the midday host will be with them for three more. Q-101 announced the news to the staff. O’Neil confirmed it via social media. From her Facebook page: Some personal news to cap off an amazing week, I have re-signed with Q101 Chicago for another three years. Love talking to you every day from the greatest city on the planet XO

=I previously wrote about Lauren for Illinois Entertainer.


*Steve & Johnnie Return to WGN Radio weekend lineup

=After doing the overnight slot for nearly three decades (ending in 2011), Steve & Johnnie are making a triumphant return. WGN has officially added them to their Saturday overnight schedule. From the WGN website: “Returning to the Saturday nighttime slot is a full circle moment for us. Our first regular show as a duo on WGN Radio was in February 1985 – on a Saturday night. Coming back to WGN for version 2.0 seemed like a fun idea,” wrote Steve King and Johnnie Putman.  “Of course, we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular features, but we’re looking forward to seeing where version 2.0 takes us. We’re throwing a Saturday night party for our friends – and there’s no dress code!”

=I’ve interviewed Steve & Johnnie for Illinois Entertainer a few times. This one is from June of 2021.


*Tis the Season for Giving

=All of the iHeart radio stations in Chicago (WLIT, WGCI, WVAZ, WKSC, WCHI, WGRB) teamed up to do a radiothon last week to raise money for the Lurie’s Children Hospital of Chicago. The radiothon lasted for 13-hours and raised more than $735,000.

=Sherman & Tingle, the morning show on the Drive (WDRV) has been doing a live broadcast to raise money and supplies for the Anti-Cruelty society for the past seven years. They did it again this past weekend in Schaumburg and collected over $25,000 in pet supplies and cash.


*City Officials to Block Radio Signals for Police Scanners

=This story is creating a firestorm in newsrooms across Chicagoland. Chicago officials want to install encryption technology that would block non-police from listening to police radio scanners. Those scanners are often used by local media to find and track the news. ABC-7’s report is here.


*Podcast Corner

=Sad news this past week in Qatar, the death of soccer journalist Grant Wahl. His life is discussed at length by people who knew him in The Sports Media Podcast.

=Why is it that podcast listeners don’t seem to mind listening to ads, while radio listeners are becoming increasingly intolerant? There may be a simple reason why. Most podcast ads are read by their hosts, and according to this article, podcast listeners prefer host-read ads.


*What “Hacks” Can Teach Radio Air-Talent

=The critically acclaimed show “Hacks” has a very loyal audience, but I never considered that it also provided lessons for young and old disc jockeys alike. That’s the thesis of this piece by Seth Ressler. He posted it in July, but I just found it this week.

*Chuck Swirsky on Chicago Tonight

=The Bulls Radio Play-by-Play man was on Chicago Tonight last night discussing his new book Always a Pleasure. Watch it here.


*Pete Crozier on Lin Brehmer's Return to Work

=If you haven’t heard it before, Lin’s Bin is an essay written by Lin Brehmer, presented with sound effects, audio clips, and music. Pete Crozier formerly produced Brehmer’s show on WXRT. Even though he has moved out of Chicagoland, he still helps put together Lin’s Bin. Crozier also has a flair with the pen that rivals Brehmer, as this essay about Lin’s return clearly shows…(Click on the facebook link below to read the whole thing. It's worth it)




*December 11—Marcus Leshock birthday (WGN-TV)

=Marcus does some of the more entertaining stories on WGN, including this piece about my co-publisher David Stern, and his wacky Pothole Store website.


*December 11, 1941—Elizabeth Brackett birthday

=Elizabeth was an award-winning journalist at WTTW. She passed away in 2018.


*December 12—Bart Shore birthday

=I checked in the with former king of traffic reports recently. He is retired and lives in North Carolina with his wife, but he still dabbles in the audio world. I still continue with my Time Warp Radio Shows- there are over 50 stations around the world that play my weekly show- and it is on the web at www.BartShore,com  I also produce the Zecom Radio hour- that comes out once a week and is in limited syndication on select stations-  A tribute to the late great Marty Zivin who pretty much invented internet radio.”

=I interviewed Bart for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2008.


*December 14—Antonio Mora birthday

=The former Good Morning America and World News Tonight anchor worked in Chicago television for a few years (2004-2008) at CBS-2. He is currently the editor-in-chief at


*December 15—Rob Stafford birthday

=A few weeks ago I reported that Rob was stepping down from his duties as anchorman at WMAQ-TV (Channel 5). His last newscast is scheduled for December 23.


*December 16—Mike Houlihan birthday

=Mike is a classic Chicago Irishman. His podcast is called Hibernian radio.

*December 16—Greg Brown birthday

=Greg retired not too long ago after a 40+ year run in Chicago radio (Q-101, WJMK, WLS-FM). I interviewed him in 2014 for Illinois Entertainer.


*December 16—Mai Martinez birthday

=Mai is now the morning co-anchor at WBBM-AM with Cisco Cotto. Before taking that gig she worked for years in Chicago television at Channel 2. Robert Feder wrote about her when she mad the switch to radio in 2020.




*RIP Floyd Brown

The Chicago broadcasting icon passed away this week at the age of 92. From 1971-1999, Brown was a staple at WGN-TV and radio. WGN Radio has posted a nice tribute on their website. 


*Jim Williams/20-year anniversary at Channel 2

=Last Friday was Jim Williams’ 20th anniversary at CBS-2 Chicago. They surprised him on the air with a celebration.


*Rafer Weigel’s Comeback

=When Rafer’s time at WFLD-TV (Channel 32) came to end amid scandal, he feared he would never work in television again. 3-years later he has re-emerged, as an anchor at KUSI News in San Diego. Sounds like Rafer is happier than ever. Via his Facebook page: Sometimes it takes years to find the place that fully recognizes your talents and gives you opportunities to thrive that is commensurate with your experience and abilities. After 17 years in the business I’ve found that with KUSI News in #sandiego.


*Svengoolie Expanding Hours in 2023

=Me-TV is giving more airtime to Svengoolie next year. Beginning January 7th, Sven’s time slot will expand to 7pm-9:30pm (CT) to allow for longer movies and more Sven commentary and bits. The first movie he’ll be showing is a doozy, too. “The Raven” starring Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and a young Jack Nicholson.


*GMA3 Workplace Romance Scandal Continues

= ABC still hasn’t allowed Robach and Holmes to come back on the air while they investigate their completely consensual romantic relationship. The Washington Post headline about this story says it all: ABC is Conducting a Master Class in How Not To Handle Workplace Romance.


*Adam Sandler to get Mark Twain Prize

=Sandler becomes the 24th winner of the prize, given out to people who have impacted society in the style and manner of Mark Twain. Previous winners include Bill Murray, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart. The ceremony will be on March 19 at the Kennedy Center in Washington.


*Golden Globe Nominees Announced

=The Golden Globes announced this Oscar-style this week, with a reveal ceremony. Nominations for the 80th Golden Globe Awards show that streaming is still dominating the media landscape. Netflix and HBO/HBO Max tied for the most TV nominations (14 each). The full list is here.




*US Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban TikTok

=Senator Marco Rubio is the ringleader of this bill, which hopes to end all transactions on social media platforms with more than a million users that are based or substantially controlled by countries considered our adversaries. has more information.


*YouTube Moderation Bots

=If you’ve ever wandered into the comments section of a YouTube video, you know what a cesspool it can be. This week YouTube announced they have created bots to tackle this issue, along with the issue of abusive livestreams. I should note that YouTube’s history of success in this area is pretty shaky. Some great examples of that are in this article.


*Elon Musk Discovers His Sudden Unpopularity

=Musk has been surrounded by “yes, boss, you are a genius” people for years now. So, you could see the surprise on his face when he was booed heartily when Dave Chappelle invited him onstage in San Francisco. At first, he claimed only a small portion of the crowd was booing. He has since deleted that tweet.

=Yesterday Mr. Free Speech suspended the accounts of several journalists who have written negative things about Twitter.


*Former Twitter Employee Getting Violent Threats

=After the “Twitter reveal” that Musk fed to reporters Matt Taibi and Bari Weiss these last two weeks, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety (Musk fired the whole department) has been getting violent threats. He had to flee his own home.



*Washington Post Layoffs Coming

=Last week the New York Times employees walked out for a day, and the Washington Post reported it. This week the Washington Post announced internally that there were layoffs coming, and the New York Times reported it.


*Emma Tucker to the WSJ

=She becomes the first woman head of the Wall Street Journal. Rupert Murdoch brought her over from one of his publications in England. 


*Journalists Killed Covering Stories

=Enemy of the people, my ass. Reporters and journalists literally put their lives on the line to bring us the news. The Washington Post has a story about the journalists that have been killed in Ukraine. 


*Axios Chicago Book Guide

=Axios Chicago lists six books as great Christmas gift ideas, including the latest books from Neil Steinberg and Dave Hoekstra, a couple of food books (one about cheesecake and another about pizza), an architecture book by the Trib’s Blair Kamin, and one novel. Who wrote that novel? Oh, my. That’s me! “Back in the D.D.R” by Rick Kaempfer. Or, as they put it…

🕵️"Back in the D.D.R.": In his eighth book, media writer, Cubs fan and former radio broadcaster Rick Kaempfer offers a Cold War spy thriller informed by his German childhood. $20

=Thank you Axios! I was blown away to be included.


I will be back next week for one last Media Notebook column before shutting ‘er down over the holidays. As always, if you have any media story you’d like to share or think that I might be interested in sharing, drop me a line at or

Eckhartz Everyday

 *On this day in 2018 I got some terrible news. This is what I wrote...

My heart is heavy today. Just got the news that my good friend Mark Gelinas passed away. This photo is from his book launch just two years ago, with his incredible wife Donna Frederick Gelinas. My heart goes out to Donna and the incredible Gelinas family, particularly his son Alexander Briggs Gelinas, and Mark's parents and siblings. Mark was my high school classmate, my roommate for a few years after college, and a friend who I could always count on. I was texting with him up until just a few days ago. When he didn't respond to the last text, I feared this day was near. Miss you, buddy. I'm so happy your pain is gone.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Back in the D.D.R

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Author Will Wagner

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

“Talkin’ Bout My Generation” author Will Wagner talks to Rick and Dave about Pete Townshend, The Who, and Wagner’s great novel about the journey of Pete’s Woodstock special guitar. [Ep113]

Eckhartz Everyday

 *Today is Stan Bahnsen's 77th birthday. Stan was one of the three main starting pitchers for the 1972 White Sox, and is therefore prominently featured in the Book of the Year finalist Chili Dog MVP.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Free Kicks--The Semi-Finals

 Another World Cup Special has dropped. Listen to it here.

Adam and Rick discuss the final four teams in the World Cup, and a few of the teams (including Adam’s England) that didn’t quite make it. [Ep172]

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2019...

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Axios Recommends "Back in the DDR"

 From this morning's edition, see if you recognize a familiar name...

The great Axios Chicago gift guide: Books
Pizza for Everyone book

You can find "Pizza For Everyone" at the Buddy Store in the Cultural Center as pictured here. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

If you haven't shopped for your favorite Chicagophiles yet, we've got you covered.

  • This week we'll be rolling out some top picks for locally themed gifts in different categories, starting today with the Chicago bookworm on your list.

🍕 "Pizza For Everyone": Organized like a church cookbook for tavern pizza lovers, this brainchild of Crust Fund Pizza founder John Carruthers includes essays and recipes by local luminaries on all things Chicago pizza. $35 at the Buddy Store and online.

🏛 "Who is the City For?" by former Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin with photographs by current Sun-Times architecture critic Lee Bey. This collection of Kamin's columns of the last decade takes on Trump, Lincoln Yards, inequity and more. $29

🕵️"Back in the D.D.R.": In his eighth book, media writer, Cubs fan and former radio broadcaster Rick Kaempfer offers a Cold War spy thriller informed by his German childhood. $20

📆 "Every Goddamn Day" compiles essays by Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg pegged to each day of the year, offering a perfect New Year's gift. $25

🕯 "Beacons in the Darkness": Longtime Sun-Times writer Dave Hoekstra profiles small-town papers in Illinois and around the country that are working to save local journalism with innovative community building ideas. $17.26

🍰 "The Eli's Cheesecake Cookbook": This new updated edition includes 100 recipes and variations on the classic Chicago cheesecake. $30

Another Back in the DDR Review

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? It's the last show of the year, so lots to choose from...

December 12, 2012--A concert for Sandy relief.  Loren Gold (The Who) was there.

December 12—Frank Sinatra birthday. Tom Dreesen story about Frank

December 12—Rentahitman saves a life:  Rentahitman interview.

December 13—National Horse Day (stuntwoman Janene Carleton story about horses)

December 13--National Horse Day (DB Sweeney story about horses)

December 13, 1996—LANDECKER AUDIO—McCaskey the Greedy Owner song

December 14, 1970—Stop action Santa Claus is Coming to Town released. AUDIO—Tommy sings the song.

December 16---Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) birthday. Doug Johnson of Loverboytells story about him. 

December 18—Keith Richards birthday. Bill Kurtis story about being backstage at Stones show.

December 19—Birthday of Doug Johnson from Loverboy 

December 19—Tim Reid birthday: Tom Dreesen story about Tim.

December 20, 1995—Tommy Kaempfer at the Live show in Oak Lawn—Landecker audio

December 20—Chris Robinson birthday. Bob Stroud story about Robinson

December 22—Diane Sawyer birthday (Bill Kurtis story about working with her)

December 23--Twas the Night before Parents Christmas/video

December 26--Bill Paige birthday. 

December 26—Carlton Fisk birthday (Jack McDowell story)

December 26, 1973—The Exorcist debuts (Larry Potash story)

December 28, 2021—Jeff Dickerson dies (Randy Merkin tells story about him)

Eckhartz Everyday

*On this day in 2014, Eckhartz Press author Chuck Quinzio did this interview about his book Life Behind the Camera... 

*Today is also the birthday of Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. Fergie was at one of our book launch parties (Cubsessions in 2018), and is featured in EveryCubEver with his own entry (obviously), and also the photo below with my son Sean.

Minutia Men--See Ya Later, Ventilator

 Our latest episdode has dropped. You can listen to it here.

Grumpy Old German women, traumatic book signings, a tribute to Neil Innes, the world’s oldest living creature, Rick’s next job, and a celebrity story from a waitress in Chicago. [Ep295]

Monday, December 12, 2022

Back in the D.D.R. Book Signing

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday to my book signing for "Back in the D.D.R." Sold and signed a bunch of books, saw a lot of friendly faces (including a half-dozen or so fellow Eckhartz Press authors), and had a wonderful time. If you missed it, the book is still available at Eckhartz Press ( Order it this week to ensure you get it before Christmas!