Friday, April 28, 2023

Media Notebook--4-28-23


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.

*Podcast Corner

=This great piece via 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.

 *April 27—Bill Klaproth birthday

=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)

 *April 28—Dan Fabian birthday

=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—Lisa Kosty birthday
=Lisa is the midday host at WSHE-FM. She previously worked for Total Traffic Network and CBS Radio.


*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.

 *Tucker Carlson out at Fox News

=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.


 *CNN fired Don Lemon too

=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…



*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.


*Rest in Peace

=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.




Print Media



*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. 



Social Media



*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 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: 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.RMilitary Family Museum Podcast

Thursday, April 27, 2023

From the Eckhartz Bookshelf: Doin the Cruise

    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 Doin the Cruise by Mitch Michaels (with Ken Churilla). Mitch is a rock and roll radio icon in Chicago and tells the tales in this engrossing book.

From his youthful beginnings in the suburbs of Cleveland to the top of the radio mountain in Chicago, DOIN’ THE CRUISE: Memories From A Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll is the complete story of Chicago radio disc jockey Mitch Michaels. DOIN’ THE CRUISE details Mitch’s experiences like his backseat limo ride with Rod Stewart that just may have changed rock & roll history, his partnering with The Who on a ground breaking live performance, the infamous Disco Demolition, and more.

Foreigner, Journey, ChicagoFest, it’s all in there. But DOIN’ THE CRUISE isn’t just about radio and rock & roll. A memoir in its truest sense, DOIN’ THE CRUISE also maps out Mitch’s life outside of radio. Mitch gets intimately honest about his family and marriages, the rise and fall of his outside business ventures, and the untimely passing of his son Spencer. DOIN’ THE CRUISE: Memories From A Lifetime in Radio and Rock & Roll is a complete look at the man behind the mic, what put him there, how he managed to stay there for nearly five decades and all the insanity in between.

(Photo L-R Ken Churilla, Mitch Michaels, Dave Stern, Rick Kaempfer. Photo taken by Barry Butler)

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Gerardo

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. Gerardo is famous for his hit "Rico Suave" but also had a film career (films like "Colors") and is currently embarking on a brand new career--he's a preacher. Rick and Dave discuss all of those things with him, and Gerardo has a great attitude and sense of humor about it. 

Listen to it here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

RIP Beth Murphy

The Loop Files: Eddie Schwartz


 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 Eddie Schwartz. Eddie was a surprise hire for the Loop in the early 90s, considering that half of the existing staff made fun of him on a daily basis. Eddie worked the late night shift on the Loop AM 1000 for a few years. I got a chance to interview him in 2007 for Chicago Radio Spotlight, shortly before his death. Eddie passed away in February of 2009.

Rick: For nearly three decades you were the overnight guy at WIND and WGN. I know it's almost impossible to pick out a few examples or highlights, but are there any moments that really make you look back at with pride all these years later?

Actually my on-air years included WIND,WGN and WLUP AM-FM for a total of just about 29 years on the radio every day. There are many moments I fondly recall, but I think the most important was the establishment of the "Good Neighbor" Food Drive. It was a very sincere effort to help those less fortunate. Over the years we raised millions of pounds of foodstuffs and several million dollars.

My other prideful feeling comes from just being there every night and developing a bond with the listeners. I have a very personal style and it works. I worked every holiday to make sure my listeners had something dependable when the rest of the world was off I was there. Every Christmas, New Years Eve and all the others. It was well worth it.

Rick: As a rival producer, I was always amazed at the A-list celebrities that you got to appear on your show, and many of them came on quite often. Did you have any favorites? Were there any that you really felt didn’t click with you?

Ed: I was always prepared for my guests. I did my homework and they appreciated that. I would go over biographies, history, and whatever I could find to help bring more out of the guests. They liked to see an interviewer that didn't do it on the fly like lazy Larry King.

Not only did I have some favorites, but some of them became personal friends and because of that were always available to me. Some of the guests who became friends included: Stan Freberg, Steve Allen, Bill Cosby, Phyllis Diller, Myron Cohen, George Carlin, Dennis Franz, Bobby Vinton, and Mrs. Richard J. Daley. I was the only program Sis Daley would ever go on. She was a special friend.

During the campaign for Rich Daley's first winning term I had him booked one night before the election. His people called in about an hour before show time to say he just couldn't make it. I had promoted the hell out of it and wasn't going to let him welch. He knew his mother and I were buds, so I called his campaign manager and I said "I want him here at 11 o'clock or my next call is to Sis Daley." I hung up. Promptly at 11 he walked in and sat down. He waited until a commercial and then said "I hope you didn't call my mother. She'd kill me if I didn't show up."

I was also very close to Prof. J. Allen Hynek the Northwestern Astronomer and UFO expert. I'll tell you a secret that solidifed our friendship and caused him to include me at length in two of his books.

Allen Wrote a fascinating book called "The UFO Experience". It was in this book that he categorized for the first time the important of UFO sightings with the terms: "Close Encounters of the first, second and third kind". You will recall the Steven Spielberg blockbuster 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind".

This is the rest of the story. Shortly after his book came out and long before any such movie was conceived I was in Los Angeles to tape some celebrity interviews. I bought a copy of the Hollywood Reporter to read when In arrived and in it there was a paragraph of just a few dozen words telling of Stephen Spielberg's next movie project. He was about to go into production of a UFO film and the working title was "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind". I was stunned. Dr. Hynek hadn't told me or anyone that he had sold the rights to his book for a movie. I called him from my hotel that night and asked him when he had made such a whopper of a deal? He didn't know ANYTHING about it. No sale was made, no permission obtained. Somehow Spielberg had come up with that title as if it were in the public domain.

Dr. Hynek wrote down the little story as I dictated it and said he was going to call his lawyer a.s.a.p. As a result of my call to him his book was in fact "bought" by Spielberg, as it should have been. Dr. Hynek not only was given credit for the title, but he was hired as the films technical advisor and he even appeared in the movie too.

I have many stories like this. I think I better write a book.

Rick: You left WGN in the early 90s to join the all-star lineup at WLUP. In retrospect, would you make that move again?

Ed: Under exactly the same circumstances, yes. I loved every minute at WGN, make no mistake. It is a very special place to me. Simply put, when my last contract expired the Loop offered me a job. The facts were presented to my bosses. All they had to do to keep me was was offer me 1 dollar more than the LOOP. They refused to let anything or anybody influence their decisions. They didn't take me seriously because NOBODY ever left. I never expected to myself. I could have put 20 or more years in there easily. I was actually very mad at their stupid gamesmanship. But it also gave me a chance to re-energize myself in a new environment and to work with some great people. I can't say enough about the talent of people like Wendy Snyder, Kathy Voltmer, Johnny B, Mitch Rosen who came with me as producer from WGN and a bunch of other folks who made working there a ton of fun. That includes the former GM and my boss Larry Wert.

Rick: What did you think about Kevin Matthews parody band tribute to you, Ed Zeppelin?

Ed: It bugged me at first. I couldn't figure out if it was meant to be funny or something less kind. When I got to know Kevin (shown here) I realized it was just a put-on. He is a unique talent. His voice work is remarkable. He can conduct a conversation with himself and two or three other character voices without stepping on himself. Seamless work like that is brilliant.

Rick: So many of your former co-workers still work in radio today. Do you still follow their careers and stay in touch with them?

I do keep in touch either by phone or e. mail with quite a few people in the broadcasting community. In fact you would be totally shocked if you knew who several of them are, but I won't tell. Sadly there are far more radio people not working than sitting in front of local mic's. That is a crime.

Rick: Since leaving radio you've become a columnist and writer. I know you were joking about it earlier, but you really are writing a book, aren't you? Tell us a little bit about that...

Ed: I was a writer in grammar school and high school. The college years were devoted to radio but I never lost my love of the word. I write all the time. Space is so tight in the local print community that free lance work really has to be top drawer to get considered. I have had good luck in that regard but it's never enough for me. I could write every day if given the opportunity. My computer skills are now very sharp. I spend many hours on the Internet and the computer. It is totally intoxicating. I'm on my third computer. If I had this technology when I was in high school and college I can't imagine where I might have gone. As to my writing a book, I have a way to go, and who knows if anybody will care about it besides myself? But I've got some funny and yet untold stories, so I hope to get it done.

Rick: Last question. You are known as “Chicago Ed” because you championed local issues. What do you think about the job Chicago radio is doing on local issues today, and is there anyone on the dial who you think carries on your legacy?

Ed: The local elements of radio are about gone. With the exception of WGN and NPR, everything else is pretty homogenized. There are few really strong programmers around anymore. This syndication stuff erases the local importance of radio by eliminating the local coverage of almost everything.

Outfits like Shadow and the other traffic joint have aided the broadcasters in destroying the career path of radio. All these underpaid often inexperienced "news and traffic" voices that rotate thru the market are just more platforms for the sales guys to pitch. Everybody sounds the same, uses the same info and makes the same mistakes.

I love radio and I'm sad to hear what's no longer happening on the dial. I can't think of anybody on here today who does what I did. I'd love to go back tomorrow and show them how it's done. This is not ego talking. It's experience.

(Postscript--Eddie never did finish or release his book)

Next week: Eddie Webb