A curation of news items about the media from this past week, with a particular emphasis on Chicago
(By Rick Kaempfer)
*The Fred Show Goes National
=The morning show airs every weekday on Kiss-FM (103.5 FM) in Chicago. Now it’s going national, via Premiere Networks. “I’m incredibly grateful to introduce our show to cities across the country,” Fred said in a release. “We have built a community in Chicago and are excited to welcome the entire nation to our family.” Kiss-FM is routinely one of the highest rated stations in Chicago in cume. In the most recent ratings (posted last week), only WLIT and WLS-FM had more listeners. (Cume literally means: the total number of listeners who listen to a certain daypart for at least five minutes.)
*Justin Nettlebeck exits Q-101
=Last week I mentioned Kenzie K was joining the morning show at Q-101. This week Justin Nettlebeck departs. He announced that he will no longer be a part of theshow.
=(Late update: The PD Troy Hanson was fired on Friday, and there are a few stories floating around that I haven't yet confirmed. I'll have a full report for next week's column)
*Chicago Fire Games to Air on WLS
=It’s a multi-year deal, regular season and playoff games. PD Stephanie Tichenor said in a release: “Sports are a huge part of the fabric of Chicago and as 890 WLS-AM approaches its centennial anniversary, we are delighted to add Chicago Fire FC to our lineup.”
*B96 moves back to roots
=With longtime programmer Todd Cavanah gone, B-96 is changing it’s on-air approach. The new slogan is “The Music You’ve Always Loved, and the Best of What’s New”. Radio Insight does a deeper dive on the music.
*Barry Butler Book
=The radio world knows Barry Butler as the General Sales Manager at Hubbard Broadcasting in Chicago. To the rest of the world, he’s the greatest living photographer of our fine city. I buy his calendar every year for my out-of-town brother. Barry also has a coffee table book, called “Chicago, A City Above All” which came out in 2020, and this week he announced he is coming out with a follow up book. It’s called “Chicago – Morning, Noon & Night” and it includes 100 beautiful images of Chicago.It’s available for pre-sale now.
*”Fresh Air” Adds a Co-Host
=Terry Gross is still the main host of the NPR show (and co-executive producer), but Tonya Mosely, who has been a contributing interviewer on the show since 2021, will now officially become part of the show as well. NPR announced the news on their website. The show is produced in Philadelphia, but airs here in Chicago on WBEZ.
*CBS News Lays Off Steve Futterman and Steve Dorsey
=Two well-known veteran newsmen were let go this week by CBS Radio. Both of them were top-notch pros. More information on their departures here.
=This great piece via Niemanlab.org explains why news outlets are putting their podcasts on YouTube.
*Ex-Chicago Radio Update
=Ryan McGuire was once the executive producer of the Chicago White Sox Radio Network at WMVP. He has a new gig now. This week he was named Westwood One’s VP of Affiliate Sales for Sports.
*Dave Wills Day in Tampa
=This only seems fitting. On the day the Tampa Rays honored their late broadcaster (and former White Sox broadcaster) Dave Wills, the Rays won the game on a walk-off homer…against the White Sox.
*The Loop Files
=It posts every Tuesday. This week I featured Chicago Ed. Eddie Schwartz.
*April 25—Sherman Kaplan birthday
=Sherman was a mainstay at NewsRadio WBBM for decades. I was lucky enough to talk to him about his great career back in 2010 for Chicago Radio Spotlight.
*April 26—Bill Wennington birthday
=The former Chicago Bulls center is now the color analyst on Bulls radio broadcasts with Chuck Swirsky. This is a photo of the two of them from Chuck’s book “Always a Pleasure”
*April 26—Paul Webber birthday
=Paul has been a key behind the scenes contributor for many years, first at Bonneville, then at Hubbard, and finally as the marketing and creative services director at WXRT.
*April 27—Kathy Voltmer birthday
=Voltmer is one of Chicago’s most respected radio news veterans, having worked at WXRT, WLUP, Q-101, WMAQ, WDRV, and WLS. She probably doesn’t like telling people this, but she was also the newscaster on my radio show on WPGU in Champaign-Urbana when we were in college. I’ve interviewed her several times over the years, most recently in 2015 for Illinois Entertainer.
=Bill was a longtime program director at the Loop during the Bonneville days. He is currently director of marketing for RadioMD. (Photo: Bill Klaproth, Matt Bisbee and Me)
=Fabian served as the VP/General Manager of WGN during some of their most successful years. He left in 1996, 30 years after he started working at the station.
*April 28--Terri Hemmert birthday
=WXRT's all-time favorite. Still going strong at 93.1 FM. I never miss her Breakfast with the Beatles program.
*April 29—Lee Abrams birthday
=Lee is one of the most successful rock radio programmers of all-time. He was the man who created the original Loop in the 1970s. Abrams recounts that experience nicely here.
*April 29—Steve Fisher birthday
=When Steve worked at Q-101 in the early 1990s, he was one of the first people I interviewed. At the time I was writing for Chicago Advertising & Media magazine. The last time I interviewed Fisher, he worked at Nine-FM in 2010. Steve has since left the radio business and is a successful real estate agent.
*April 29, 1983—Lee Elia Day
=This year is the 40th anniversary. It’s the second year we’re celebrating the most memorable rant in history without the only man who recorded it, Les Grobstein. The fully unbleeped tape is here on YouTube. Obviously, I don’t need to remind you this clip is NSFW. Don’t click on it if you are dainty.
*April 29, 1997—Mike Royko death
=The greatest Chicago newspaper columnist of all-time died on this day in 1997. Royko was only 65 years old. The Pulitzer Prize winner wrote for all three major Chicago dailies, The Daily News, The Sun Times, and The Chicago Tribune. One of his favorite topics of discussion was the Cubs. I wrote about that for my Cubs website JustOne Bad Century.
*Ravi Baichwal Interview
=Margaret Larkin did a great interview with ABC-7 news anchor Ravi Baichwal for the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. You can listen to that here.
*Local-TV 25-year anniversary
=Congrats to Mike Lorber…
*Elizabeth Vargas Interview
=John Landecker had the new lead anchor of NewsNation on his radio show at WGN this week. Worth a listen.
*Chicago Red Stars on the U
=For the second season in a row, Chicago’s female professional soccer team the Red Stars will be seen on the U, WCIU-TV & WMEU-TV. The first game is this Saturday (April 29th) at 7pm. The U will broadcast six games in all.
*James Corden Signs Off
=Last night was the final episode of James Corden’s late night show on CBS. Among the guests who appeared, Harry Styles.
=By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard this news. There are a ton of theories about why Fox fired him (Dominion Lawsuit, Producer Lawsuit, Ripping his Bosses, Too big for his britches, Common use of the C-word), but no-one really knows for sure. Whatever the reason, you can always tell what kind of a person someone is by the way they treat those lower on the totem poll. With that in mind, this headline should tell you all you need to know about Tucker. Fox News Staffers Celebrate Tucker Carlson’s Departure: ‘Pure Joy’
=How ugly can this get? Check out this little tidbit.
Exclusive: If Carlson attempts to torch the network he’s leaving, Fox News is prepared to release an "oppo file" of dirt on the former network star https://t.co/QkUBJwMZxU— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) April 26, 2023
=To me this one wasn’t surprising at all. The ratings of the morning show were terrible, Lemon had stepped in it a few times recently, and the chemistry with his co-hosts wasn’t good. I honestly don’t see a conspiracy here. Although it looks like Lemon does…
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) April 24, 2023
*NBC Chief Executive Also Ousted
=For the trifecta, NBC also had a major firing the beginning of this week. Jeff Shell, the chief executive of NBCUniversal, left the company because of an inappropriate workplace relationship. In Comcast’s statement, Shell admitted to “an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company.” According to the Wall Street Journal, CNBC International anchor Hadley Gamble accused him of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
*ESPN Reporter Fired
=Awful Announcing has the video of the infraction. It's a female reporter (Marly Rivera) calling another female reporter (Ivon Gaete) the word that Tucker Carlson apparently uses regularly. Rivera was fired by ESPN.
*Disney Layoffs Hit 538
=Nate Silver announced the news.
Disney layoffs have substantially impacted FiveThirtyEight. I am sad and disappointed to a degree that’s kind of hard to express right now. We’ve been at Disney almost 10 years. My contract is up soon and I expect that I’ll be leaving at the end of it.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 25, 2023
=Jerry Springer, who taped his talk show in Chicago for many years, passed away yesterday at the age of 79. The controversial TV host was also once the Mayor of Cincinnati. He died peacefully in his home in suburban Chicago after a brief illness.
=Harry Belafonte was 96 years old when he passed away this week. No-one can doubt the impact he had in his 60-plus years in the limelight. The New York Times ranked his best screen appearances.
=Dancing with the Stars judge Len Goodman was 78 years old. He had been in hospice care.
*Changes at CNN
=CNN boss Chris Licht promised to deliver some outside-the-box programming for the network. This one sure seems to fit the bill. Beginning this fall, NBA great Charles Barkley is getting his own weekly show, co-hosting it with CBS Mornings host Gayle King. No official start date has been announced yet.
=John King is leaving the show Inside Politics, and he is being replaced by his ex-wife, Dana Bash. Despite that odd coincidence, Bash is the obvious choice to replace King. King is not leaving CNN. He's creating a new show.
*Richard Lewis updates his fans
=His fans know he hasn’t been doing well the past few years, but until this week Richard Lewis hadn’t fully explained his health situation.
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) April 24, 2023
*A New Book About Trailblazing Sportswriter Wendell Smith
=If you saw the movie “42” you know about Smith’s importance in the Jackie Robinson story. Rick Kogan highlights a new book about Smith, which delves deeper into Smith’s personal story, including his time writing for the Herald-American (in Chicago). He was the first African-American sportwriter at a so-called “white” newspaper in Chicago.
*German editor fired over an AI interview with Michael Schumacher
=You can’t use AI to create quotes from celebrities, and then try to pass it off as real. The New York Times has all the details.
*Twitter Has Another Bad Week
=After making a huge deal out of labeling NPR “Government-Funded” and NPR’s departure from the platform because of that, Twitter reversed course this week and removed the label. The question is: Will NPR return?
=More importantly, why did Twitter also remove that label from Chinese and Russian government-funded sources? That can’t possibly be a good idea.
=Twitter also gave a fake Disney account verification status. The account, called @DisneyJuniorUK, managed to be verified with a gold tick before being suspended.
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: Mother of the Year
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: 1883 star Eric Nelsen
Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Rico Suave Singer Gerardo
Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: And then there were four
Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Dr. David Fletcher
From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Doin the Cruise by Mitch Michaels
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