A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago
(By Rick Kaempfer)
*Sky Daniels Interview
=The March issue of Illinois Entertainer is out and includes my interview with the legendary rock jock Sky Daniels. Some truly great stories in this one. My favorite Sky story has to be the one about his first day on the air in Chicago. It involves not just one gun, but two. Worth a read.
*Kenzie K Leaves B-96
=After four years hosting middays at B-96 (WBBM-FM), Kenzie K Kramer has left the station. Regional Audacy president Rachel Williamson put out an internal memo with the news: “Kenzie K is no longer with Audacy. We thank her for the time she spent on our B96 team and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors and upcoming nuptials.”
*Kyle Santillian Joins “The Morning Hustle”
=For seven years Kyle Santillian was part of “The Chicago Morning Takeover” at WGCI, but this week he joined the nationally syndicated show “The Morning Hustle”. More details are here, courtesy of Inside Radio.
*Patrick Kane Leaves Chicago Too
=This was a bigger story on election night in Chicago than the Mayoral race. It’s the end of an era in Chicago. During the Stanley Cup years, Chris Duffy was the production guru at WGN, radio home of the Blackhawks. The day after Kaner was traded, Chris posted this audio clip of Patrick Kane’s greatest (WGN promo) hits. Fun trip down memory lane.
*Margaret Larkin Returns to WGN Radio
=Margaret had been at WBBM NewsRadio but returns to her former radio home. She announced the news via Twitter this week…
Glad to be back at @WGNRadio...got the tour today and chatted with friendly people I haven't seen in several years and met some really cool people as well. When I left in 2014 I was working in programming. Now I'm working in news. pic.twitter.com/wiaYPlvfrS— 𝕄𝕒𝕣𝕘𝕒𝕣𝕖𝕥 𝕃𝕒𝕣𝕜𝕚𝕟 (@metrolingua) March 1, 2023
*Billboard Women in Music 2023
=The Billboard Women in Music 2023 awards were on Wednesday night, and the media portion of this year’s honorees included several radio executives. Among them: Cumulus Media President/CEO Mary Berner. In Chicago, Cumulus owns WLS-AM, WLS-FM, and WKQX-FM.
=From the everybody-has-a-podcast-now department: Add Philadelphia Sixers star Tyrese Maxey.
=Oh, and how about fellow NBA star Paul George. He has one too.
*Former Chicago Radio Corner
=Love this Facebook post from Catherine Johns on Tuesday after she voted in the election: Civic Duty, done. Also it appears that I’m still Catherine Johns. One of the judges told me about a Lujack remote at Ed Debevic’s. And another one broke into the WLS jingle.
*The Loop Files
=My weekly dip into my Loop interview archives is posted every Tuesday. This week I featured Cara Carriveau.
*Lin Brehmer Tributes Continue
=After Lin Brehmer passed, we heard wonderful tributes from some of Lin’s closest friends and colleagues. The radio station itself did a great job of remembering their long-time morning man, which resulted in the best ratings WXRT ever had (a 6.1 share). But Lin’s impact was also felt in ways beyond fandom and fondness. He also had a professional impact on fellow broadcasters he barely knew, like Mike Tomano. Tomano wrote about that on his blog.
=This one is from a fan. He didn't know Lin at all. John Bourjaily from the Hinsdalean. Farewell to my best friend in the world.
=Here’s another upcoming Lin tribute from two guys who knew Brehmer well.Tony Fitzpatrick and Jon Langford are doing this April 21, 22, 23 at The Hideout.
*Missed a birthday last week. Happy belated to WGN-TV’s Sarah Jindra
=Thought this bit she did this week with Paul Konrad was pretty good.
*February 27—Mister Rogers Dies (2003)
=Hard to believe it was 20 years ago already. He was such a good, honest, decent man. My generation and our kids owe him a debt of gratitude forever. What a great role model.
=On the other hand, if you haven’t heard it, this National Lampoon Radio Hour sendup of him from the early 70s is still hilarious. Featuring Christopher Guest as Mr. Rogers.
*February 28—Ben Finfer birthday
=Finfer worked at all three all-talk sports stations in Chicago, the Score, ESPN, and the Game. I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2010. Fellow Ilini.
*February 28—Leslie Keiling birthday
=Leslie may be one of the most famous traffic reporters in Chicago radio history. She was able to deliver more than just the traffic; she always had a sharp wit and contributed effortlessly to a variety of different shows. I interviewed her about her Chicago radio experiences in 2007, and when she joined Garry Meier’s podcast (where she still works) in 2016, I interviewed her again for Illinois Entertainer.
*February 28—Birthday of Bob Collins.
=The late WGN morning man would have been 81 years old this week.
*February 28, 1983—The final episode of M*A*S*H airs
=How big was this final episode of M*A*S*H? Joel Daly was on Channel 7 News, and the final episode of M*A*S*H was on Channel 2, yet he still filed this report on the competitor’s big night.
*February 28—KC White birthday
=KC was part of the WGCI morning show about twenty years ago. When he returned to town as an actor in 2008, I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight. His real name, by the way, is KC Lupp.
*February 29--Chuck Buell
=Technically Chuck didn’t have a birthday this week. He was born on Leap Day, which we leapt over this year. I spoke to the former Big 89 jock back in 2010 for Chicago Radio Spotlight. (I finally met him in person last year when he came to town for the Rock Radio event the Museum of Broadcasting put on at the Des Plaines Theater.)
*March 1—Don Lemon birthday
=He’s currently the morning co-anchor on CNN, but who could forget his time here in Chicago at NBC-5 (2003-2006)?
*March 1—Harry Caray birthday
=This will always be my favorite Harry Caray moment…
*March 3—Ian Punnett birthday
=Ian Punnett grew up in Chicagoland and has had a long and prosperous radio career. Only a brief portion of that was here in Chicago, in the early 90s when WGN decided it needed to go younger. It didn’t work out for Ian in his hometown (although he later appeared on WLS as well), but he had lots of success in Minneapolis. I got a chance to interview him in 2007 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.
*March 4—Jesse Rogers birthday
=Rogers was part of that original crew at the Score as a producer and has gone on to become a respected reporter for ESPN.
*March 4—Laura Witek birthday
=Laura was a radio news anchor in Chicago, first at WMAQ, and later at AM 1000 and WCKG. Not an easy task, by the way, retaining news credibility while also trying to navigate the crazy worlds of Kevin Matthews and Steve and Garry. She’s living out west these days, but fondly remembers her time here in this Chicago Radio Spotlight interview from 2007.
*March 4—Tim Weigel birthday
=Weigel would have been 78 years old this week. I was lucky enough to work with Tim in his Channel 2 days, providing him clips for his Weigel Wieners segment. This photo is from a John Landecker mini-golf tournament in the 1990s. A few others from this picture are gone now too, including Larry Lujack and Minnie Minoso.
*Election Coverage in Chicago
=I was worried that there wouldn’t be good coverage of the Mayoral election after the massive exodus of reporting talent the last few years, but I watched the live coverage of election night on WGN-TV, and also streamed it online, via NBC-5, ABC-7, The Sun Times/WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune. Gave me everything I needed.
*Channel 7 Says Farewell to Phil Schwarz
=His last day was Wednesday, and ABC-7 paid tribute to him before he left.
*Geoffrey Baer is Back With Another Chicago TV Tour
=I live here, and I still can't get enough of Geoffrey's tours. "The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago" premieres on March 7th at 7pm on WTTW-Channel 11. I also like Rick Kogan's opening line about this new special: This being a newspaper, here's some news. The city is still here.
*Semafor Takes a Deep Dive on NewsNation
=Max Tani writes a media column for Semafor, and this is the headline to his latest analysis of NewsNation: This Giant TV Company Is Building A New Cable Network Starring Chris Cuomo And It Doesn’t Care What You Think About That. The tone of the article is pretty consistent with the headline.
*Savannah Guthrie tests positive for COVID
=It wouldn’t ordinarily be a big story, except for the way it happened. She tested positive DURING the show.
*Warner Brothers Wants Out of the Regional Sports Network Business
=Not a good omen for Chicago, even though this doesn’t technically impact our regional sports networks yet. It does feel like a warning of things to come.
BREAKING: Warner Bros Discovery tells teams it wants out of the regional sports network business.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) February 24, 2023
SBJ's story: https://t.co/K0tDFz6zoE
*Cable News Corner
=Fox News is ignoring (on the air) the damning revelations about themselves laid bare in the Dominion lawsuit. The only time it’s been mentioned was on the MediaBuzz program hosted by Howard Kurtz, and he only mentioned it to say he wouldn’t be mentioning it. The exact quote was: “Some of you have been asking why I’m not covering the Dominion voting machines lawsuit against Fox involving the unproven claims of election fraud in 2020, and it’s absolutely a fair question. I believe I should be covering it. It’s a major media story, given my role here at Fox. But the company has decided that as part of the organization being sued, I can’t talk about it or write about it, at least for now.”
=Rupert Murdoch admitted under oath that his personalities endorsed election fraud they knew to be false, and he didn’t stop them for reasons that are baldly financial (“It wasn’t red or blue. It was green”). And yet, Fox News may still win the lawsuit, as the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple points out.
=Puck News did a profile piece this past weekend on CNN’s boss Chris Licht. He clearly has his hands full too.
*SAG award winners
*Succession will end after this season
=One of the best shows on television, HBO’s Succession, is returning for its final season on March 26th. Creator Jesse Armstrong announced this week that he is pulling the plug on the show to avoid “overstaying our welcome.” He did however hint there might be a spin-off show in the future. These characters are marvelously detestable. Any one of them could be an interesting main character for a spinoff. My vote is for Cousin Greg.
*LIV Golf Ratings
=Not an encouraging start for the Saudi-financed golf league…
For context another CW program, World’s Funniest Animals, outdrew LIV Golf https://t.co/txrkMNW1nq— Joel Beall (@JoelMBeall) February 26, 2023
*Chicago Tribune drops Dilbert after Cartoonist’s Racist Remarks
=Along with just about everyone else. T-dog Media has a good recap of the story.
=Of course Elon Musk defended Scott Adams.
*Twitter lays off another 10% of staffers
=Musk has now fired 73% of the workers he inherited.
*TikTok in Trouble
=I've said it before. When both political parties want you out, it doesn't bode well for your organization.
New: The House Foreign Affairs Cmte will mark up a bill tomorrow that would allow the president to ban TikTok in the United States. Bill is being offered by @RepMcCaul, HFAC chair— John Bresnahan (@bresreports) February 27, 2023
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If you're in Chicago media and wondering why I didn't mention your birthday, it's probably because I don't know it. Drop me a line and let me know and I'll put you on my calendar.
If you're interested in some of my other projects from this week...
Minutia Men: The George Harrison Catacombs
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: Comedian Ismo Leikola
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Mark Cuban
Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Rough First Leg
Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Keith Conrad
From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Chasing the Lost City by Tom Weinberg
EveryCubEver: Monte Irvin
My latest novel: Back in the D.D.R
Podcast Interview about Back in the D.D.R: Military Family Museum Podcast