A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago
(By Rick Kaempfer)
*Dave Kerner retires
=The WBBM-AM veteran logged a solid 43 years to his career. He announced the news on his Facebook page this week…
*Suspect Arrested in New Orleans Shooting
=This is a media story because this is the shooting that WXRT disc jockey Terri Hemmert witnessed in New Orleans. The Chicago Tribune has the full story.
*Mitch Rosen/Ryan Porth Promotions
=Jeff Agrest of the Sun Times reported that Mitch Rosen was promoted to VP/Brand Manager at the Score, and Ryan Porth, who came to the Score in 2022 from Nashville, is now going to take over the day-to-day responsibilities of running the station.
*RIP Mike Fowler
=Sad news to report. Former Rock 103.5 GM/Oldies 104.3 WJMK GM/ESPN sales manager Mike Fowler passed away over the weekend in Atlanta. He moved down to Atlanta in 2015 as the Audacy market manager there. Last year his family announced that Mike was suffering from ALS. Deepest condolences to his family: Pam, Jack and Emily.
*More Info on WLS anniversary
=Last week I posted a piece about the history of WLS, and the anniversary of it becoming a rock (Top-40) station. I heard from long-time WGNer Max Armstrong who told me more about that anniversary. I thought this was fascinating. From Max…”Rick, I was in the Prairie Farmer Magazine archives this week, and it was interesting to see how they treated the switch at WLS 63 years ago. And this was the week that paved the way for my long-time colleague Orion Samuelson. Within four months Ward Quaal had brought Orion down to WGN from WBAY in Green Bay to win over the farmers (and their advertisers) lost in the WLS conversion.”
*AI-Generated DJs Hit the Airwaves
=Figures. May I offer my “NO” vote on this development?
*Julie Chronis joins the Rock 95.5 lineup
=Julie is a traffic reporter for iHeart, but recently added another duty. She holds down the rock and roll fort on Saturdays at 95.5 FM from 11am-4pm.
*Eddie V & Hannah B
=Congrats to the Star Network radio duo on their one-year anniversary.
*Ex-Chicago Radio Update
=Bart Shore, one of the most notable traffic reporters in Chicago radio history, moved to North Carolina last year, but he has managed to keep a toe in the broadcasting waters in Brevard, NC on WSQL AM & FM. This is how Bart described it to me: “It is only fill in work as needed, but it allows me to still be mostly retired and come into the station and play the kind of music I love- they let me do whatever I want- (they also air my Zecom and Time Warp Radio Show and Song of the Day)”
=Jim Johnson update. His daughter Alexis Del Cid has been updating everyone about her father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. It’s obviously a difficult situation, but Alexis’ stories are often heartwarming. This one is a good example of it.
=John Dempsey, former WLS newsman, seems to be enjoying his retirement. He was in Ireland this week attending a Bruce Springsteen concert.
*The Loop Files
=It posts every Tuesday. This week I featured Garry Meier.
*May 7—John “Swany” Swanson birthday
=Swany is the dean of Chicago radio producers. He got his start as a technical producer for Jonathon Brandmeier, but later produced shows by Steve Cochran and Kevin Matthews, and most famously was the executive producer of the long-running Eric and Kathy Show. He still produces the show that emerged from that, the Mix Morning Show. (And, oh yeah, he also co-wrote The Radio Producer’s Handbook with me).
*May 7—Dina Bair birthday
=Dina has been with WGN-TV since the mid-90s. She currently co-hosts the WGN Midday News and serves as the station’s medical reporter.
*May 10—Andy Masur birthday
=WGN Radio sportscaster Andy Masur has been part of the Chicago Cubs broadcasts (I interviewed him about that in 2010), part of the Chicago White Sox broadcasts (I interviewed him about that in 2020), and part of the San Diego Padres broadcasts. He also writes for Barrett Sports Media.
*May 11—Larry Hawley birthday
=Larry is a reporter and producer for WGNTV.com, concentrating mostly on sports.
*May 12—George Carlin birthday
=The brilliant comedian would have been 86 years old this week. Sadly, he passed away a long time ago. Shortly before his death, I wrote about my brush with Carlin. The article was written in 2007. It takes place in 2001.
*May 13—Ben Ponzio birthday
=Ben was a professional poker player for a while, but his day job has always been radio salesman. Right now he’s the General Sales Manager for Audacy in Chicago.
*May 13—Jim Baumann birthday
=Baumann is the executive editor of The Daily Herald. Last year he also penned a book that collected examples of his popular Grammar Moses column. It’s really quite good, and I don’t just say that because I published it.
*May 13—Mark Giangreco birthday
=The long-time Chicago sportscaster (WMAQ-TV, WLS-TV, ESPN Radio) is no longer on the air in Chicago, but he’s a great follow on Twitter. I was lucky enough to interview him a few times, including once on my podcast, and once for Shore Magazine.
*Chicago Tonight Goes Back to Earlier Timeslot
=WTTW moved the show up against the other 10pm newscasts late last year. Well, now they are moving it to 5:30pm, with a re-broadcast at 10:00pm. The station says they may still go live at 10pm on days when there is a particularly compelling breaking news story.
*Chicago Headline Club’s Lifetime Achievement Awards
=No one knows for sure who will win the Lisagor Awards handed out at the ceremony tonight, but we do know who is getting recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards. The prestigious foursome is Dorothy Tucker, Phil Ponce, Rick Pearson, and Chuck Neubauer. There’s more about all four of them here. Best wishes to all the Lisagor nominees tonight, too.
*The NATAS Silver Circle Inductees
=It’s the second Friday in a row for media awards in Chicago. Last Friday NATAS inducted new members into the Silver Circle. Among the inductees, Josea Sanders from ABC-7.
=NBC-5’s Andy Avalos was introduced by Alex Maragos.
=Also inducted this year, Marlaine Selip, Jay Shefsky, Gail Sikevitz, and posthumous inductees were Vince Lloyd, Bill Hamilton and Donald Farnham. Read more about the awards and the inductees at the Chicago Emmy Online website.
=If you missed it, the entire ceremony will be aired on WCIU-TV on May 21st from 1-2:30pm.
*Fill a Bag, Fill a Bus
=The Steve Wilkos show on CW26 is doing a food drive to help end hunger. On May 17th, they'll be collecting non-perishable food items at the Jewel Osco on 103rd Street in Oak Lawn from 3-8pm. On May 18th, they'll be at Jewel Osco at 7525 W. Lake Street in River Forest from 3-8pm.
*RIP Newton Minow
=The former FCC Chairman who famously declared television “a vast wasteland” (and that was 60 years ago), passed away this week at the age of 97. He was a champion of public television, a Peabody winner, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
*Hoover logs 20 years at WGN
=WGN-TV Morning News producer Jeff Hoover showed off his traditional “20-year money clip” on Facebook. Pretty fancy…
*MTV News Shuts Down
=There was a time when MTV News was a very influential part of the music media. Granted, that time was decades ago, but it was still a surprise to read the news this week of it’s ultimate demise. The Washington Post has the story.
*Cable News Corner
=Trump’s CNN Town Hall Turns into a Trump Rally. Tom Jones at Poynter has a pretty scathing criticism of CNN in his Poynter column.
=Fox isn’t in the apology business, and that could cost them tons of money. NPR reports.
=Tucker Carlson ready to torch Fox News. So says Axios.
*Mark Harper Enjoying Retirement
=The local NW Side newspaper The Sounds featured a piece about 11-time Emmy Winner Mark Harper this week. The article was written by his wife, former B-96 newscaster Karen Hand. I can’t link to it because it isn’t on-line, but this photo of the article is pretty easy to read.
*Writers Strike May Last for Months
=I’m not optimistic after reading this piece in the New York Times.
*ESPN Leading Candidate to Sign Pat MacAfee
=The former NFL punter turned podcast star signed a $120 million deal with Fan Duel, but according to this piece in the New York Post, he’s thinking of walking away from that deal, and ESPN is hovering.
*Chicago, Movie Capital of America…at least for one night
=The stars of Sebastian Maniscalco’s new movie were in town over the weekend for the movie premiere. Rick Gieser was there.
*Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced
=Tuesday was the biggest day of the journalism year, the day the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced. Check out the full list here. Among the winners, a father-son team in Alabama. Seriously.
*Puck Co-Founder and CEO Leaving Company
=It’s odd that Axios reported this before Puck did, but that’s what happened this week. Puck CEO Joe Purzycky sent a note to the staff saying he was leaving the company, and Axios obtained a copy of it.
*Elon Musk Hires Mystery Woman as Twitter CEO
=Who is this woman?
Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2023
My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.
=The Wall Street Journal speculates the mystery woman is NBC-Universal's Linda Yaccarino.
*Tucker Carlson to Re-Launch Show on Twitter
=He released a video saying he would do it. Variety reported on the news. But there are few things to keep in mind here. First of all, the announcement was very vague. No timetables were given. And there are a lot of legal hurdles that still need to be cleared.
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...
The Fifth Edition (2023) of EveryCubEver is out now! Buy your copy today
The Fifth Edition (2023) of EveryCubEver is also on amazon. Buy your copy today.
Minutia Men: Philharmonic Ecstacy
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: Hustling Hitler Author Walter Shapiro
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Paul Michael Glaser
Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: The Blonde Assassin
Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Lee Kingsmill
From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Down at the Golden Coin
My latest novel: Back in the D.D.R
Windy City Reviews Back in the D.D.R.
Podcast Interview about Back in the D.D.R: Military Family Museum Podcast