Friday, February 17, 2023

Back in the D.D.R podcast

 Honored to be featured on this podcast for the Military Family Museum discussing my book "Back in the D.D.R"

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Museum of Broadcast Communications to Share Media Notebook

This is excting news. Glad to see people are enjoying the column...


Media Notebook--2-17-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)



*Sports Talk Reunion

=ESPN Radio in Chicago is throwing itself a 25th anniversary party on March 24. (Get tickets here). As part of that extravaganza, take a look at who is reuniting for the show! Looking forward to this one…

=I wrote about Mac, Jurko & Harry at the height of the show’s popularity. It was also the height of the intra-show tension. You can read that piece here.



*National Radio Hall of Fame

=Nominations are being accepted for the National Radio Hall of Fame between now and March 31st. If you want to nominate someone, click here. There are quite a few Chicago greats that aren’t in the Hall of Fame yet. From the 1960s, the great Ron Britain hasn’t gotten the nod. From the 1970s, somehow Fred Winston hasn’t been recognized. From the 80s and 90s, how is it possible that Bob Stroud and Kevin Matthews (both finalists last year) are not in there? I’m a little biased, but I have a few authors in my publishing company stable that should be in there too, including Bobby Skafish and Mitch Michaels. Support your favorite candidates.


*WSHE Valentines Cards

=Wonderful gesture made this week by WSHE radio in Chicago (100.3 FM). They collected and donated thousands of Valentine’s Day cards for La Rabida Children’s hospital. Brenda Wolf, President & CEO of LaRabida Children’s Hospital said: “It’s just so heartwarming and wonderful to know that there’s so many people and organizations in Chicago that would take the time to do something like this. This really means so much to our kids, families, and staff.”

*Tease of Sky Daniels interview

=My next interview for Illinois Entertainer (due March 1) will be with the legendary rock jock Sky Daniels. I have so much material from the interview that I had a hard time keeping it down to 900 words. So…I thought I’d give you a few free bonus stories that didn’t make the final cut. Here’s one about the origins of The Loop…“That station was Lee Abrams’ baby,” Daniels says. “He doesn’t get enough credit for what he meant to that radio station, because it really was his vision. He wasn’t afraid of bandoleros. He wasn’t afraid of really strong personalities. He called me and said ‘I’m going to create the New York Yankees of rock radio here in Chicago. I’m going to handpick every single jock and get the very best there is, with the right personality, and the right character. I want you to do nights, and I want you be music director.’ I’m thinking ‘I’m #1 in Detroit and having a good time here.’ Steve Dahl called me and said, ‘Are you crazy? Do you have any idea how big this is going to be? This is the big time. You gotta take this job, man.’ He talked me into it.”



*First Look for Charity Auto Show 2023

=Before the Auto Show went live to the public, a charity event was staged for Chicago’s glitterati. Lou Manfredini (WGN Radio) and Alex Maragos (Channel 5) were the emcees and auctioneers this year. The event benefited Misericordia, Heart of Mercy.


*Podcast Corner

=New Podcast on WBEZ: Shoes Off: A Sexy Asians Podcast. This sounds like a fun one. Susie An and Esther Yoon-Ji Kang and producer Stephanie Kim put the show together. They interview Asian artists that are sexy. Some examples here. 

=It’s a running joke that everyone in America has a podcast. This week you can add Ice-T to the list. Someday it will be true.  



*The Loop Files

=This week’s trip into my old Loop files is a piece from 1993. My co-writers and I spent a night out on the town with Buzz Kilman. It was an eye-opener.


*Camp Broadcast

=Chicago-area native Sam Alex (a national radio & TV personality) is doing his fourth annual masterclass for high school and college age journalists and broadcasters. This year it’s taking place May 13-14 at Northwestern University. As part of the camp, students are able to interview celebrities and professional athletes for their reels. Click here for more information.


*Former Chicago Radio Update

=Brian Wheeler worked in Chicago radio for a while at WMAQ, WBBM-AM, WGN, and was very highly involved in Loyola Ramblers sports for WLUW. (He was replaced there in ’84/’85 by Lou Canellis). He also worked on Chicago White Sox pre and post game radio shows, and Northwestern University games, but later moved into NBA work, with the Bulls, the Sacramento Kings, the Seattle Supersonics, and for the past 21 years, the Portland Trail Blazers. Unfortunately, Brian isn’t doing well these days. He is facing health and financial difficulties. His friend Rachel Taylor has set up a GoFundMe page for him. It’s here if you’d like to help.





February 12—Wendy Snyder birthday

=Wendy has seen it all in Chicago broadcasting at radio stations like the Loop, Q-101, WCKG, WGN, and WLS. I’ve interviewed her many times over the years, including this one in Illinois Entertainer from 2013 when she and Bill Leff first re-started their show together on WGN.


February 12—Allison Rosati birthday

=Allison has been with Channel 5 for more than 30 years now. She initially garnered attention doing First Thing in the Morning with Bob Sirott. Of course, she’s been the main anchor for the 5, 6, and 10 O’Clock news for many years now.


February 12—Alison Payne birthday

=The popular WGN-TV news anchor was only 57 years old when she passed away in 2021.


February 12, 1953—Channel 2 Changes Call Letters to WBBM-TV

=The TV station call letters were changed after CBS acquired it. They already owned AM 780 and FM 96.3 (since 1929!), and both of those stations went by the call letters WBBM (and still do).


February 13—Jim Foster birthday

=Foster has been a jack-of-all-trades for WDRV for the past decade. He also has worked for Steve Dahl, produced a morning show at the Loop, and more.


February 13—Jerry Springer birthday

=Jerry is 79 this year. He will always be remembered for his time in Chicago when his Jerry Springer Show became a national sensation. On the other hand, his stint as a commentator on the Channel 5 News eventually led to the departure of both Carol Marin and Ron Magers, the star anchors at the time.

February 14—Pat O’Brien birthday

=Not many people remember that the former CBS Sports and Access Hollywood host got his big television break here in Chicago at Channel 5. He has since covered six Olympic Games, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and the Final Four. Unfortunately for Pat, he will probably always be remembered for a series of embarrassing voicemails that became public in 2005. (Warning, this is a NSFW recording, to say the least). His career has never really recovered.


February 14—Rick O’Dell birthday

=For years he was the pre-eminent host on WNUA Radio, during their jazz days. He is now the programmer for Me-TV radio, which has become a phenomenon. I interviewed him about that in 2021 for Illinois Entertainer.


February 14—Janet Sutherland birthday

=Sutherland is a former Chicago radio reporter where she was heard covering Supreme Court cases, Illinois legislation, health news and prison stories on WMAQ, WLS, WGN, KMOX, UPI Radio and 75-plus radio stations on the Illinois and Wisconsin Radio Network. In 2004, she suffered a brain aneurysm. Her long and painful recovery is chronicled in the book Nose Over Toes.


February 16—Joy Masada birthday

=Joy is probably best remembered for her days as part of the Danny Bonaduce show (on the Loop) and her stint as the producer of the Murphy in the Morning show on Q-101. She also had a five year run at WCKG.


February 17—Cheryl Raye Stout birthday

=Cheryl has been a sports reporter at WBEZ for more than 25 years now. She previously worked for WMAQ (producer of Chet Coppock’s original sports talk show) and WMVP. Her nephew is a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. I interviewed Cheryl for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2012.


February 17—John Roach birthday

=John Roach was the genius creator of The Sportswriters on TV (with Rick Telander, Bill Jauss, Bill Gleason, and Ben Bentley), which ran in Chicago from 1985-2000. He also wrote a film called The Straight Story which was nominated for an Academy Award. He lives in Madison Wisconsin these days.


February 18, 1998—Harry Caray dies

=A momentous day in Chicago broadcasting history. The Cubs had just signed his grandson Chip to work in the booth alongside Harry, but Harry never made it to Opening Day. Hard to imagine a more beloved announcer in history. Harry’s been gone now for 25 years and he’s still remembered by legions of fans who probably never heard him live.

=I met Harry many times over the years. I wrote about several of those encounters here, if you’re interested.






*The Catchy Comedy Network

=Weigel Broadcasting Co. announced a re-brand of their Decades channel. It will begin on March 27, 2023, with the launch of CATCHY COMEDY. “Catchy Comedy is a celebration of the very best in classic television comedy and will showcase and celebrate a who’s who of funny women and TV legends,” said Neal Sabin, Vice-Chairman of Weigel Broadcasting Co. “We are excited to bring an all-comedy approach with this exciting rebrand of DECADES evolving into Catchy Comedy. Weekdays we will showcase hilarious series with a strong appeal to women, or with female characters that redefined and expanded the role of women in television. Then in primetime we will feature groundbreaking comedy and characters from the legendary Norman Lear, and in late nights we will present some of the smartest and best written comedy series on television. Viewers really will be able to ‘catch all the laughs’ on Catchy Comedy.”


*Andy Shaw and Paul Meincke

=These two guys were synonymous with Channel 7 News for decades. Good to see they are still friends. Andy posted this on his Facebook page this week. He gave me permission to re-print it here…

Paul and Andy back together,

On a night with stormy weather,

Telling tales til’ past eleven,

‘Bout our days at Channel 7.

Man, we shared some vintage times,

Doin’ news and slingin’ rhymes,

Paul liked limericks, short and sweet,

I chose couplets, simpler beat.


But that was just a bit of fun,

Our working lives were run and gun.

I chased pols, both good and bad,

He told stories, many sad.


TV news was big in Chi,

We were on an endless high,

But finally we said good-bye,

Adios, a sign-off sigh.


So on this night we toasted life,

Mostly joy but also strife,

Watching offspring grow and bloom,

And hatching grands to fill the room.


Yes we’re geezers, mighty old,

But young at heart and still quite bold.

He’s a craftsman, a woodworking star,

I’m a golfer, miles from par.


Mr. Meincke, Mr. Shaw,

Brothers yes, but not by law,

Ours a bond that’s deep and strong,

Tell me Paul that I ain’t wrong!



*Eddie & Jobo, The Rom-Com

=From the evil geniuses of the WGN-TV morning show, Jeff Hoover and Mike Toomey. They reprise their roles as Eddie & Jobo for Valentine’s Day. Note the cameo appearance at the end of the bit.


*Jack Taylor Tribute

=Nobody writes an obituary like the Chicago Tribune’s Bob Goldsborough. This came out just after my column last week, but I thought it was good enough to feature this week. Among the people quoted in the piece, former Taylor colleagues Steve Ruxton and Linda Marshall.

*Charges Dismissed Against NewsNation Reporter

=Evan Lambert, a correspondent for NewsNation, was arrested for criminal trespass and resisting arrest last week while covering the Ohio train derailment story. His actual crime? Irritating the Governor of Ohio who was trying to hold a press conference at the time of Lambert’s live shot back to the network. It was all on video. After reviewing it, all charges were dropped by the Ohio Attorney General.

*Yamiche Alcindor steps away from PBS

=She announced the news via Twitter


*Cable News Corner

=Jake Tapper’s Executive Producer Frederico Quadrani was fired this week by CNN for sexual improprieties with an underling. According to this piece, Tapper himself was presented with evidence and turned in his producer.

=Fox News anchors never believed election fraud claims. Dominion has their sworn testimony (not one claimed to believe it) and their e-mails and texts while it was happening. It's normally impossible to prove defamation, especially when dealing with a press organization. This time it may actually happen.



*Derek Jeter to join Fox Sports studio team

=After his MLB ownership debacle in Miami, Derek Jeter has opted to give a shot at being in the broadcast studio/booth. I suspect he will be very good at it.



*Super Bowl News

=Huge ratings for this year’s game. Fox drew 113 million viewers for the game, making it the most-watched Super Bowl in six years and the third most-watched TV show ever. (Behind the Super Bowl in 2015 and 2017)

=Much has been made of the fact that Joe Biden opted not to do an interview during the Super Bowl pre-game show on Fox this year. The reason is pretty obvious. The same reason Donald Trump refused to do an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt during the Super Bowl pre-game a few years ago. 



*Ted Lasso finally returning

=It’s about time! I was getting ready to cancel my Apple subscription.





*Sports Illustrated Lays Off 17 Staffers

=Times are rough at traditional publications like Sports Illustrated, especially in the print arena. According to this piece, it sounds like more investments will be made in the digital division.



*New York Times Called Out for Coverage of Transgender Issues

=Over 200 NYT contributors sent a letter to the Times complaining about bias in the coverage of transgender and non-binary individuals and issues. The letter is here, if you’d like to read it. They obviously made it public.





*TikTok CEO Launches Aggressive Push to Fend Off Ban

=When both political parties in the US are against you, it has a tendency to get your attention. TikTok CEO Show Zi Chu sees the writing on the wall and is making a last ditch push with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to save his huge American audience. The Washington Post has an exclusive report.



Why your Twitter feed seems like it’s all about Elon Musk

=This is what happens when an egomaniac gains control of a social media platform. According to Platformer, Elon Musk was so upset that Joe Biden’s Super Bowl tweet got more engagement than his own, he threatened to fire engineers working for him, and had 80 employees work on making sure his tweets are viewed by more users. The Verge has more info.





*Happy birthday Michael Jordan

=Not technically a media story or even part of a media category, but this is still Chicago, so what the heck.



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...

Minutia Men:  The Silly Walk Workout

Minutia Men Celebrity Interivew: The Mad Drummer Steve Moore

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Tommy Chong

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Breaking the Law

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Pat Colander

From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Brandwidth

EveryCubEver: Charlie Grimm

My latest novel: Back in the D.D.R

A free excerpt from the book: Olympic Ski jumping