Saturday, April 22, 2023
Friday, April 21, 2023
A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago
(By Rick Kaempfer)
*Chicago Radio Ratings
=The numbers for March came out on Wednesday. The full list is here.
=The top ten are…
WBEZ (3.4), WGN (3.4), WLS-FM (3.4)
=The station with the biggest jump in ratings over last month is the Score (1.7 to 2.5). WLIT had the biggest drop (8.0 to 6.7), but as you can see above, that still puts them in first place in Chicago.
*Bears Radio lineup
=ESPN Radio in Chicago this week announced who will be part of their Bears broadcasts beginning this fall, their first year as the official Bears radio outlet. The game itself will still be handled by Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer, but the new sideline reporter will be former Bear Jason McKie. The biggest changes are back in the studios. Marc Silverman, Dionne Miller and former Bears All-Pro linebacker Lance Briggs will do the pre-game for the Bears radio network. Silvy has the halftime show to himself, and is promising it will be more fan-centric. John Jurkovic and Peggy Kusinski will be given the mics after the game. It should be a very different presentation from the past 20+ years, but the people in place here are more than capable of handling the challenge.
*Q-101 Names New Morning Co-Host
=The Q-101 Morning Crew co-host chair has been empty since last fall when Ali Mattacola left the show. When I interviewed Brian and Justin in February, they said a search was on to replace her, and this week they announced the newest member of the show. Kenzie K (Kenzie Roman) will begin on May 2. She comes to Q-101 from crosstown B-96 where she had been hosting middays. Inside Radio has more details about the new hire.
*Save AM Radio in Cars
=Left and right are uniting. Left and Right radio, that is. Last week I posted a few pieces from conservative radio stars saying this effort to remove AM radio from cars was a plot to punish conservatives. This week here’s a piece implying the decision to remove AM radio has racial implications, because a lot of Black and Hispanic stations are AM. Suffice it to say, radio is sufficiently freaked out by this move by the automakers.
=He’s a former AM Radio talk show host himself, so it seems only fair that former Vice President Mike Pence has recorded a “Save AM Radio” promo. You can listen to it here.
=And here’s what Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg had to say about the subject: “We certainly recognize the importance and the important role that AM radio has played and continues to play with regard to people getting information that they need for safety, notably but not only when it comes to weather emergencies and one thing we know about these times is that weather emergencies are becoming more frequent and more severe. While I don’t know of a formal legal role that we have with regard to that, it’s certainly something that will be on our mind as we remain in dialogue with the auto industry and with related industries when it comes to transportation.”
*Harry Teinowitz needs a new liver
=Former ESPN Radio host (and Jeff-award nominated playwright) Harry Teinowitz is experiencing a grave medical emergency...
HEALTH UPDATE: Hi everybody. No jokes in this tweet. I need a liver transplant… and I need one ASAP. If you or someone you know might be a match, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. RETWEETS would be appreciated. Trying to get the word out. Thanks! https://t.co/R18mS9dEVo pic.twitter.com/tmhdfttr3m— Harry Teinowitz (@HeyTweetHarry) April 13, 2023
*Sober and Successful in Seattle
=An update on the life and times of Danny Bonaduce, courtesy of the Seattle Times.
*Record Store Excitement
=This is pretty cool. Andy Derer from Blue Village Vinyl (in Westmont) shared this news: WXRT will be placing 20 vintage vinyl records from their radio studios in our racks this Saturday at Blue Village Vinyl! Hunt them down and own a piece of Chicago radio history for a $20 donation to a Foundation To Be Named Later! Doors open at 10am Saturday!
*Dick Biondi movie
=A sneak prevue of The Voice that Rocked America—The Dick Biondi Story will be held at the Des Plaines Theater on May 21 at 2pm. A few of the movie’s participants and creators will be on hand. Tickets available now.
=A must listen for Prince fans. CNN audio is releasing a podcast called The Prince Mixtape.
=The popular "Pod Save America" podcast will now have a sister podcast on the other side of the Atlantic. It will be called "Pod Save the UK"
*A Tribute To Lin
=Axios has the story about Tony Fitzpatrick’s and Jon Langford’s tribute to their old pal Lin Brehmer.
=Greg Kot was there...
*A Tribute to Gino
=Gino Giovannetti worked for Jonathon Brandmeier here and in LA, and Johnny & Buzz recently dedicated an entire podcast episode to their comrade who recently passed away. (Listen to that here)
=The episode features some of Gino’s highlights on the show, but the truly emotional part comes at the end when Johnny reads the final message from Gino. Very touching.
*The Loop Files
=It posts every Tuesday. This week I featured Ed Tyll. You may not like what he says, but he’ll say it anyway. (I’ve been getting notes all week saying “thanks a lot for putting that theme song back in my head.”)
*April 1975—Talk about an eclectic music selection. This is the WXRT featured artist card from this month 48 years ago. Thanks to Chicago FM Rock Stations of the 70s for posting it.
*April 17, 2019—Chet Coppock’s death
=I got the news via phone call early in the morning that day. We were in the midst of a publicity tour for Chet’s book “Your Dime My Dance Floor” and Chet and I were working on his next book, a collaboration with former Bears receiver Dennis McKinnon. I wrote a tribute to Chet on the EckhartzPress website that morning. Unfortunately, after Chet’s death Dennis took the book and self-published it.
*April 17—Keith Conrad birthday
=Keith is one of the best-known radio producers in Chicago, having worked at WLS, WGN and WIND. He’s also a published novelist. His book “Righteous Might” is still available.
*April 17—Bob Dunsworth birthday
=The talented radio production man (The Loop, AM 1000, Q101, ESPN) is now working full time as a voice over artist.
*April 17, 1967—WPGU radio signs on the air in Champaign-Urbana.
=Scores of WPGU grads eventually worked in Chicago radio
(including me). I wrote about WPGU and their many alumni for Illinois Entertainer a few years ago.
*April 18—Danny Zederman birthday
=Zederman is the content director at ESPN Radio AM 1000 and came up through the ranks as a producer. This photo is from a Randy Merkin book signing in 2022. (L-R...Danny, Randy, Kap)
*April 18—Harry Volkman birthday
=Chicago’s great weatherman Harry Volkman is remembered fondly by Chicago viewers all these years after his death. Son Eddie is still going strong hosting afternoons on the suburban Star network.
*April 19—Dan Michaels birthday
=Dan worked at WLUP, WCKG and WMET in his Chicago radio days, but moved out of the market and established himself as a well-regarded program director in places like Houston, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh (among others).
*April 19—Eliot Ephraim birthday
=One of Chicago media’s big agents. President and Owner of Ephraim and Associates.
*April 19, 1924—WLS debuts “The Barn Dance” radio show, one of the longest running shows in radio history.
*April 21—Rick Camp birthday
=Former long-time Score producer now works for 4for4/Betsperts. For years people asked me if I produced a show on the Score because our names sound similar.
*April 21—Robin Meade birthday
=Robin was a TV fixture here in Chicago before moving down to Atlanta to helm the Headline News Network morning show (Morning Express with Robin Meade). She was one of broadcasters let go in December of ’22 when the network rebranded.
*April 21—David Schuster birthday
=David is one of the longest serving Chicago sports radio reporters. He has covered 12 major Chicago sports championships. His career dates all the way back to Sportsphone. This week his old colleague Fred Huebner posted this article from 1984 (Chicago Sun Times). That’s David in the photo.
*April 21—Bob Hale birthday
=Hale was one of the original WLS rock jocks when the format began in 1960, but he was already well known before that. His claim to fame is that he was the emcee for the very last Buddy Holly concert, the night Buddy, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper passed away in the plane crash. I got a chance to interview Bob about that and his WLS days for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2008.
*April 21—Vince Argento birthday
=Vince is the production director at Cumulus/WLS these days but has also worked with some of the biggest names in Chicago radio history as a producer, including three shows in the Radio Hall of Fame—Steve & Garry, John Records Landecker, and Jonathan Brandmeier. I interviewed my old pal back in 2010 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.
=Ostrowski is heard on the Score as a talk show host. His expertise is gambling. Joe is also a sports betting analyst at the BetQL network.
*April 23—Todd Ganz birthday
=Todd is the co-creator of the “If the Walls Could Talk” podcast and was the content production manager for Hubbard Broadcasting Chicago for more than 12 years before that.
*April 23—Scott Straus birthday
=The former radio producer/production man is now in the real estate business. I got a chance to interview him and his brother J.R. for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2008.
*April 23, 1914—Wrigley Field birthday
=I’ve written about that first game at what was then known as Weeghman Park many times, most recently in my book EveryCubEver.
*Chicago’s Crazy Weekend
=Chicago police weren’t the only ones tested by the big downtown protests/riots over the weekend. TV News was too. I caught quite a few excellent reports. Here’s one from NBC-5.
*The Fox-Dominion Settlement
=This is obviously a big deal. (Full details here) Fox clearly thought they were going to lose this case in court, and instead of undergoing weeks of humiliation during a trial and the ignominy of their big stars and executives testifying under oath that they knowingly lied on the air to their viewers (which the court ruled they did), they opened the checkbook and wrote a very big check. $787.5 million to be exact. In exchange, Fox doesn’t have to apologize for their behavior or actions on the air. They merely agree to this statement: “the court found that certain claims about Dominion were false.”
=Remember, this is just the first of these lawsuits against Fox News. There’s another voting machine company, Smartmatic, that has a pending lawsuit as well. That one is even bigger—they are suing for $2.7 billion. And they were certainly paying attention to this case. Their attorney said: “Dominion’s litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox’s disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest.”
=Also, Dominion is still suing others including the My Pillow Guy (who was ordered to pay $5 million yesterday to a man who proved his election claims were bunk), Sidney Powell, Rudy Giulliani, and the Overstock.com guy.
=Stephen Colbert was one of the people upset that Fox News didn’t have to admit on air what they had done. So he did it for them…
The Fox News apology we deserve.— Jack E. Smith ⚖️ (@7Veritas4) April 20, 2023
*Disney “Bloodbath” Coming on Monday
=Those aren’t my words, they are the words of Deadline Hollywood. The big layoffs are coming early next week.
*Writers vote yes to strike
=The signs were there that this was on the way. This week the WGA made it official.
*Washington Post Contributor (and Kremlin Critic) Gets 25-year Sentence
=Putin isn’t a fan of criticism. The gruesome details are here.
*The End of Computer Magazines (in Print)
=The last two computer magazines stopped printing hard copies and went to on-line only. Technologizer has the eulogy.
*Chris Jones honored by Columbia College
=Long-time Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones is being honored by Columbia College, along with jazz legend Bobbi Wilsyn, with honorary degrees at the upcoming commencement ceremonies. More details are here.
*Facebook Users Could Receive Settlement Payment
=Facebook’s corporate owner Meta lost a big lawsuit about selling private information, and because it was a class action suit, any Facebook user can file a claim for a portion of the $725 million settlement. Via the Washington Post: Claims can be filed on the settlement website or by mail. The deadline to file a claim is Aug. 25, and the deadline to opt out or object to the settlement is July 26. It’s hard to say exactly how much money users will receive; it will depend on a variety of factors, including legal and administrative fees, how many claims Meta receives and how long a particular user was on Facebook during the class period. Each of the eight named plaintiffs could receive up to $15,000, and a maximum of 25 percent of the $725 million fund could also go toward legal fees, according to the settlement papers. What is left will be divided among potentially tens of millions of users.
*More broadcast outlets leave Twitter
=The Canadian Broadcasting Company followed suit. Like NPR, the CBC also chafed at the new government funded label because it implies they are somehow controlled by the government, which of course they aren’t.
*Twitter Permanently Suspends Writer from Wired
=This seems like an odd choice for a permanent ban. The writer interviewed someone who had hacked the Twitter account of Matt Walsh. The full story is here.
*13-year-old boy dies after TikTok Challenge
=It’s called the “Benadryl Challenge” which supposedly brings on hallucinations when you take lots of Benadryl. For Jacob Stevens in Ohio, it resulted in death.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: Mfing snakes on a MF plane
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: 1883 star Eric Nelsen
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: NY Times Best Selling Author James Finn Garner
Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: The Race is On
Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Judy Ann Jamerson
From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Death of the Angels
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
Thursday, April 20, 2023
With over 80 books in our library, this year we're taking some time every week to highlight one of the books on the Eckhartz bookshelf. This week's book is Death of the Angels by Alex Burkholder. We released this book on the 60th anniversary of the tragic fire the book is about.
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
We have now done over 200 interviews on our various Minutia Men podcasts, and this year we're going to revisit some of the best. James Finn Garner is a NY Times Best Selling author. His book "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories" has sold millions of copies. And he has appeared on our podcast. We talked to him about fairy tales, his Rex Koko book series, and we had a spirited Beatles vs. Stones debate. He also told me what a moron I am for liking Roxy Music's "Love is hte Drug". Definitely worth a re-listen.
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
I'm working on a special project this year about a certain radio station, so I've been going back into my files and pulling out some old interviews with former Loop colleagues and pals. I'll feature one a week here on the blog. This week, it's Ed Tyll. Ed has interviewed me a few times on his show in other markets (New York, Orlando), but I have only interviewed him once. It was in 2010, and here it is...
Ed: Oh God, I do. Working at the Loop was like working on radio's Mt. Rushmore. I even got to interact with Johnny B, because I stayed late after my show working on stuff, and so I was still there when the caravan would arrive. Johnny B introduced me to Gary Busey once. After my first show on the air at the Loop, Steve and Garry crank-called me out of bed the following morning—they got a big kick out of that. I was in the station during the day for meetings and what have you, and would run into Kevin Matthews. He and Shemp and Jim Shorts, that show was just magical.
These are the flashbacks, and positive ones too. What about Chet Coppock! (Photo) Chet’s intro to my show used to be three minutes long. It was a riot. He would wind up this huge buildup by calling me BIG ED TYLL, and in would walk in this 5’6, 115 pound guy.
Working on the Loop was like being on tour with all famous guys, all the time. I do remember one night when all of us got together for an event on the same night, and it was awesome. They did a poster for Budweiser with all of us, and we came out on stage at the same time. That was something.
Rick: When you were doing overnights on the AM, I had my fair share of overnight shifts on the FM, and heard quite a few of your shows. I remember being amazed that you would just sort of crack the microphone, and pontificate without notes for like 45 minutes. I’m guessing you did your fair share of preparation before you came into the station, but how in the world did you manage to do that?
Ed: (laughs) Yeah, I still do that. I still don’t use notes. Whenever I do the stand up show and I have the right audience, and they’ve let me run over, I’ve been known to do as much as two hours and 45 minutes with a live audience. The best radio comes without notes, channeling what is going on in your head, and from your heart--just spilling it on the air.
Rick: Do I remember also, and forgive me if my memory is hazy here, but didn’t you also briefly work at another station in Chicago?
Ed: At the end, after the Loop gig ended, in the summer of 1993, I was surveying what was next, and I had become close to Scott Loftus, and he said I could come on his station, and so I did. I got in like four or five months there. That was fun too. It was out in the suburbs somewhere.
Rick: You’ve worked everywhere now. Probably more places than anyone else I’ve ever interviewed. I think you have a pretty unique perspective on Chicago. What are the pros and cons of working in this city?
Ed: The cons are minimal because I’m biased to big sprawling cities. I love clean, and Chicago is clean. I love polite, and Chicago is polite. I love well read, and Chicago is well read. I love people that are protective of their identity and culture, I’m very pro-provincial, and I love that about Chicago. I still get excited every time I see the city on TV-- the Water Tower, the Wrigley building, the Hancock (Hey I worked there!), the Drake. I lived on Wabash.
Best of all, Chicago has small town values in a big city. I hope to come out there shortly after the new year with the comedy show, and don’t be surprised if I pop up on an affiliate there in the near future too.
Ed: Here’s a confession. I’m still excited about that crazy little girl from Alaska. I was thrilled that she excited all these woman last year at the convention. Now I know she’s crazy, but I do sense that she’s authentic, and the support for her is real. I’m not sure where exactly you’d place me on the left-right paradigm. I suppose conservative would be accurate, but Republican definitely wouldn’t be.
As for Reason Magazine, I don’t know where they came up with that, other than the fact that on any given day they might have tuned in to something that didn’t fit the exact dogma. For instance, I’ll do a tirade on the scandal of America’s homeless, which certainly isn’t the typical conservative topic. I was raised Catholic. That’s part of who I am.