Friday, May 26, 2023

Media Notebook--5-26-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)




*Ford Agrees to Keep AM Radio in Cars

=The first automaker to buckle is Ford. The pressure campaign appears to be working. Inside Radio has the full story.


*Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for Radio

=What are the Edward R. Murrow Awards? They recognize local and national news stories that uphold the RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the public. Chicago is in Region 7. Full list of our regional winners are here. 

=Two Chicago radio stations were recognized, NewsRadio WBBM and WBEZ. WBBM brought home awards for Breaking News Coverage and Overall Excellence. WBEZ was recognized for Excellence in Innovation, Excellence in Sound, Feature Reporting and Investigative reporting. Congratulations to both stations.



*Kendra G Leaves WGCI

=She had been part of the WGCI morning show since 2015, but it appears that Chicago is now in her rearview mirror. This is her farewell message.

An interview with John Gehron

=The legendary radio programmer did an interview with Loyd Ford that’s definitely worth a listen. You can find it here.


*Next Generation Radio


*Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

=The Illinois Rock and Roll Museum on Route 66 will hold their 3rd Annual Hall of Fame Induction Award Ceremony on Sunday, September 17th, 2023 at the Rialto Square Theatre in downtown Joliet. In a release, the museum’s Chairman Ron Romero said: “This year’s exceptional list of inductees showcases the depth of home-grown talent Illinois has provided to all genres of music. It will be another incredible star-studded evening for all music lovers.”

=The Class of 2023 Hall of Fame

Band or Solo Artists: Earth, Wind & Fire, The Cryan’ Shames, The Shadows of Knight, Nat King Cole and Miles Davis.

Songwriter: John Prine

DJ: Bob Sirott (Sirott will also serve as emcee of the event).

Radio Station: WLUP-FM “The Loop”



*iHeart Access Day

=On June 1, all the iHeart stations across America will be having what the company is calling Access Day. 700+ prizes will be given out to things like concert events and celebrity meet and greets. Radio Ink has more. The iHeart stations in Chicago are Lite-FM, Kiss-FM, V103, WGCI, Rock 95.5, Inspiration 1390, and BIN 640.

*Priscilla Presley Interview

=I'd have to say this is a great "get" for Lisa Dent at WGN. I haven't heard too many Priscilla radio interviews. Lisa got one this week.

*Voice of America Abuses

=An inquiry into the Trump administration’s Voice of America CEO has found multiple instances of abuse of power and violations of federal civil service law. Michael Peck removed employees for not being Republican or not being loyal enough to Trump. None of them had done anything wrong in their jobs. Full details are here. 



*Who Killed George Polk?

=If you haven’t heard this story about a giant in radio history, it’s a wild one. Polk was murdered covering the Greek Civil War for CBS News in 1948. The Polk Awards in Journalism are named after George.



*Podcast Corner

=Edison Research has the ratings for the top podcasts in the country.  The Top Ten are…

Joe Rogan Show

Crime Junkie

The Daily (New York Times)

This American Life

Morbid: A True Crime Story

Stuff You Should Know

Call Her Daddy

Ben Shapiro Show

Dateline NBC


=From the “Everybody Has a Podcast” department, add another name. Would you believe Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon?


*The Loop Files

=This week profile is with former Kevin Matthews producer Jack Landreth.






*May 20—Lorelei Shark birthday

=Who is Lorelei, you ask? This young lady…


*May 21—Spike O’Dell birthday

=Spike had an incredible career in Chicago at WGN Radio, holding down the afternoon and morning shifts for years. I interviewed him about that in 2008He posted this poem on his Facebook page to commemorate this most recent birthday, and is allowing me to reprint it here…

I woke up today,

Six decades completed

Still feel pretty well,

Grim reaper defeated!

I’m 70 now,

and officially old!

I checked while I showered

For moss and for mold.

My long blonde hair

Has long gone away,

And now what is left

Is thinner and gray.

I can’t run as fast

with the aches and pain.

And I’m driving much slower too,

In the left lane.

I don’t hit the the golf balls

as far as I could.

They all now go left

and deep in the woods.

It’s hard to believe

How fast my life goes.

My brain feels much younger,

But my body knows.

Statistics will show

I don’t have many years.

But I’m not losing sleep

controlled by those fears.

So please, if you’re young,

or now in your prime,

Live life to your fullest

‘Cause you’ll never stop time.

Thanks for the wishes, the cards

And the rest.

It touches my heart.

You guys are the best!


*May 21, 2008—WNUA Signs Off


*May 22—Leslie Harris birthday

=Leslie does middays at The River in Aurora these days, but she has also worked at the Blaze, Rock 103.5, WCKG, and CD 94.7. I interviewed her for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2011. 


*May 22, 1846—Associated Press founded

=Perhaps the last source of news that everyone considers to be factual and unbiased, the Associated Press, was founded this week 177 years ago.


*May 23--Tom Ricketts birthday

=Say what you will about Mr. Ricketts, but he did bring us a World Series, and he does have great taste in literature. 


*May 24, 1844--Samuel Morse sends first commercial telegraph message

=That’s how it all began. Just two years later the AP was founded, (Item above) and made extensive use of the new technology to deliver news to newspapers around the country.


*May 24—Mike Toomey birthday

=Toomey is the booth announcer for the 9am hour of the WGN-TV Morning News, but he also writes and participates in many of the bits in the other hours of the show. A great standup comedian. I interviewed him on my podcast a few years ago. 


*May 25—Linda MacLennan birthday

=Linda was the co-anchor of the 10:00 News on Channel 2 for years during the Lester Holt era.


*May 25—Steve Seaver birthday

=Seaver signed off at the Drive last year after a long and fruitful run at the station. Back in 2018 I interviewed him for Illinois Entertainer.  This photo was taken at the station. (L-R: Bob Stroud, Fina Rodriguez, me, Steve Seaver)


*May 26—Brent Musburger birthday

=Brent has had one of the most successful sports television careers of all-time, and it all began right here in Chicago. Brent turns 84 years old this week.


*May 26—Candace Jordan birthday

=The former Playboy model writes the weekly “Candid Candace” column in the Chicago Tribune.


*May 27—Misty Callahan birthday

=Misty is a radio producer in Chicago (Salem Media) and is married to fellow radio producer (and Eckhartz Press author) Keith Conrad.


*May 27—George Castle birthday

=For decades George covered the Chicago Cubs for the Northwest Indiana Times. He has also written quite a few Cubs books, and last year contributed to the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year finalist “Chili Dog MVP” (about Dick Allen)

*May 27—Pat Hughes birthday

=The baseball Hall of Famer is the reason I still listen to the Cubs on the radio whenever I can. I got a chance to interview him for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2010. 






*Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for Television

=What are the Edward R. Murrow Awards? They recognize local and national news stories that uphold the RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association) Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the public. Chicago is in Region 7. Full list of our regional winners are here.

=The big winner was WBBM-Channel 2. They won for Hard News, Investigative Reporting, News Series, Newscast, and Overall Excellence. Congratulations to the WBBM news team.

=WGN-TV also brought home a regional Murrow award for News Documentary.



*The Story of Jeff Hoover

=This is the latest episode of Tom Barnas’ Stories from the 78. He interviews his former WGN-TV colleague, Jeff Hoover



*44th Annual Sports Emmy Awards

=Bryant Gumbel was awarded a lifetime achievement award. As for this year’s awards, the various different arms of ESPN brought home 13 awards. The Fox networks won 9. NBC-affiliated networks and streamers won 8.  The full list is here. 



*A’s Announcer Fired After Racial Slur

=It happened a few weeks ago, but he wasn’t fired until this week.  As soon as I saw the video, I knew this day was inevitable. The Washington Post has the full story if you’d like to get caught up on the details.


*Warner Brothers CEO Booed at Boston University Commencement Address

=The kids were chanting “Pay your writers”

*Game Show Corner

=He was a Family Feud contestant from Illinois who made a joke on the show about wishing he had never married his wife. Then she turned up dead. His trial is an obvious made-for-local-TV moment.

=9-game Jeopardy winning streak ends because champ misspelled a name from a Shakespeare play in Final Jeopardy. He spelled it Benedict. It was actually spelled Benedick. Not good enough.  Details here.



*Streaming Corner

=The Netflix Crackdown officially began this week. Netflix is coming after people sharing their accounts with others. College students across the country are bracing for more study time in the fall. (That’s a shot at my youngest son.) 

=HBO Max became Max this week, and immediately ran into a problem with writers, directors, and producers.



*Cable News Corner

=The Looming Existential Crisis for Cable News

The numbers are declining at an alarming rate as cord-cutters all over the country make that move away from cable. The Washington Post analyzes what’s in store for Cable News future. 

=Fox News aired another completely fabricated story

Remember the scandal about migrants replacing homeless veterans in New York? It was in the New York Post and reported on Fox News (and Newsmax) incessantly for days. Turns out, it wasn’t true. It was a made-up story. Laura Ingraham even had to issue an on-air apology. 

=Fox News also staged a story in Naperville

This one was on Fox & Friends and it was about new Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. 

=Meanwhile, that much maligned CNN Town Hall with Donald Trump may actually bring more money to E. Jean Carroll. Just hours after the jury said Trump maligned her and awarded her $5 million, Trump maligned her again…using almost the exact same words. Now Carroll is asking for an additional $10 million. 

=And finally, another CNN Town Hall was announced this week. Nikki Haley will be on with moderator Jake Tapper on June 4. This one will take place in Iowa.


*Tucker Starts Over






*Update on Wall Street Journal Reporter Detained by Russians

=Reuters: U.S. Calls For Immediate Release of Gershkovich After Russia Seeks Extended Detention.



*New York Times Reaches Agreement with Newsroom Union

=This negotiation has been contentious and lasted a long time, but it appears the two sides have come to an agreement. More information is available here.

*R.I.P. Rick Hummel


*The Latest on Book Banning

=This is how ridiculous book-banning has gotten in Florida. After only one parent complained that the poem "contained indirect hate messages" and would "indoctrinate students," this happened...

=Even my little publishing company has a book considered “inappropriate” by three school districts in Florida because they fear it teaches CRT. It’s a biography about football star/civil rights leader (and prominent Thornton HS alum) LaMarr Thomas.

=There may be a flood of objections about books with LGBTQ content, but according to this report in the Washington Post, a large number of those objections were made by the same 11 people. 






*DeSantis Announces Presidential Campaign on Twitter

=He became the first presidential candidate to ever announce his candidacy on Twitter Spaces via an audio-only livestream. It didn’t exactly go as planned. You can listen to it here.


*Instagram Readies Twitter Competitor for Summer Release

=I agree Twitter needs a competitor. We’ll see if Instagram is the right one to do it. Bloomberg has the details.

 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 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: Rudolf the Red Nosed Mayor

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: Mrs. America

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Midnight Express author Billy Hayes

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Winding Down the Season

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: John Landecker

From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Father Knows Nothing by Rick Kaempfer

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.RMilitary Family Museum Podcast