Friday, May 05, 2023

Media Notebook--5-5-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)



*Andrea Darlas Interview

=The latest Illinois Entertainer came out this week and featured my interview with brand new Illini Media Hall of Famer Andrea Darlas.

*Close call for Terri Hemmert

=The WXRT Legend found herself in the news this week for a very unexpected reason. The Tribune has the story of her trip to New Orleans, where she was caught in the crossfire of a potential gang dispute. Shots fired. A server killed. Others injured, including a friend of Terri’s, who got a bullet in the back. A harrowing tale for sure. 

=A grateful Terry is back in Chicago among colleagues and friends

*What really happened at Q-101?

=I’ve been spending all week trying to figure out exactly what happened at Q-101 last Friday when Cumulus PD VP/Programming Rock Formats (and VP/Operations manager of Q-101) Troy Hanson left the station abruptly with 2 ½ years remaining on his contract. My sources told me he was fired, but the station has not released a formal statement confirming that. In fact, they didn’t release a statement at all. When I asked a high-level official for comment, I didn’t hear back.

=The radio trade publications treated Hanson’s departure as a simple resignation, or said he “exited” the station, or was “leaving” the station. The only quotes, however, came from Hanson himself. He implied he’s leaving radio altogether. Here’s an example of one quote from the RAMP newsletter. "What a fun ride my radio experience was. It was inspiring to meet so many talented people along the way. Wrapping up the last ten years with the great programmers of the Rock/Classic Rock & Alternative Platform at Cumulus was the chef's kiss."

=I have spoken with staffers and former staffers, and I think it’s safe to say there wasn’t exactly an outpouring of grief about Hanson’s departure. I heard many stories that were hard to believe. At least one of those was confirmed by multiple sources. Six different people sent me a copy of an invitation Hanson sent from his corporate e-mail address inviting people to a party at his house (after the big Q-101 concert at the Salt Shed). I’ve never seen anything like that invitation, and I worked at rock stations during some incredibly politically incorrect times. Let me put it to you this way; I’m not even comfortable sharing it here.

=Is any of this related to the Justin Nettlebeck resignation last week? I’m told the hiring of new co-host Kenzie K had nothing to do with Justin’s resignation. So what did? There’s clearly more to this than has been publicly shared. I reached out to Justin and he declined to comment on the situation.

=I expect more news to emerge. If anyone wants to provide a quote on the record, I’m all ears. In the meantime, James Kurdziel is the interim PD for now.

*Former WTMX Producer Drops Appeal

=After a court dismissed her defamation case against Hubbard Radio in December, former WTMX producer Cynthia DeNicolo filed an appeal. That appeal has now been dropped. Inside Radio has more details on the case, which is now officially over.

*Chicago’s Country and Folk Music History

=Robert Loerzel interviewed Mark Guarino, author of Country and Midwestern: Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival, for  The book came out this week. You might be surprised how important a role Chicago played in that genre’s history. The interview is here.

*The Loop Files

=It posts every Tuesday. This week I featured Eddie Webb.

 *The Fred Show Nabs First Affiliate

=Last week I reported that The Fred Show (which airs in Chicago at Kiss-FM) was going to be offered up for national syndication. This week WDGC-Raleigh became the first official affiliate. Chris "Fred" Frederick, host of The Fred Show said in a release: "We are SO excited to bring The Fred Show to Raleigh and G105! Thanks to Michael BurgerA.J.Trevor Morini, and the iHeartMedia Raleigh team for the opportunity to introduce our show to such a legendary and powerful brand! We can't wait for Raleigh to join our dysfunctional family on May 8!"


*Museum of Broadcast Communications 40th Anniversary Auction

=It’s the 40th anniversary of the museum this year and they have put together a pretty unique auction of various different broadcasting experiences to help raise money. Check out the site here.

=Among the radio items available: virtually co-hosting a podcast with Garry Meier, co-hosting a show on WGN with John Landecker, taking a Chicago architecture tour with WGN’s Lisa Dent, golfing with Steve Cochran at Cantigny, a cake made by Melissa Forman, a tour of the WTMX studios, DJ for a day at Q-101 or WLS-FM, participating in speed jokes with John Williams at WGN, and more.



*Podcast Corner

=From the everybody has a podcast now files, here’s another name to add to the list: Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein.

=7 Findings About Podcast Listeners

=Podcasts claim nearly 50% of all personality/talk listenership.

=Conan O’Brien’s podcast dropping May 17: The Lost Hans & Franz Movie.


*RIP Mike Shannon

=It’s hard to overstate Shannon’s place in the cultural history of St. Louis. He was a former player, the voice of the Cardinals for many years, and a restauranteur.





*April 30—Chet Coppock birthday

=The big Bohunk would have been celebrating his birthday today. Hard to believe he’s been gone four years already. My last official interview with him for Illinois Entertainer goes back to 2014.

*April 30--Scott Miller birthday

=Scott was part of the Pete McMurray show on WGN and the Drive and is now hosting his own show in downstate Illinois. I interviewed him about his new show in 2020 for Illinois Entertainer.


*April 30—Steve Leventhal birthday

=Steve is the founder of InternetFM and Acid Flashback Radio and is currently working on a book about his time in college at North Carolina University in 1982.


*May 1—Mike Murphy birthday

=Murphy is one of the deans of the sports talk world in Chicago, having worked at both sports talk stations in town. He is also one of the original Bleacher Bums from the memorable 1969 Chicago Cubs season. Here’s a little Murphy trivia: He caught the only career home run hit by 1968 Cub Jose Arcia. (That’s in my EveryCubEver book.)


*May 1—Max Robinson birthday

=Max was an ABC network news anchor in the late 70s/early 80s based out of Chicago, part of a three-man anchor team that included Peter Jennings and Frank Reynolds. He was a trailblazer for other African-Americans in the TV news business. Max passed away in 1988, due to complications from AIDS. He was only 49 years old.


*May 1, 1997--Carol Marin resigns from Channel 5

=This was the top story in Chicago when it happened. Marin resigned after Jerry Springer was named to be a commentator on the 10:00 Newscast. Her fellow anchor Ron Magers resigned shortly thereafter.


*May 2, 1960—WLS becomes a rock station

=This was the most momentous event in Chicago radio at the time. It remained one of the city’s powerhouse stations for the next three decades. I’ve been very fortunate over the years to speak with lots of those WLS greats, my childhood heroes. I’ve accumulated highlights of some of themhere, including Clark Weber, Ron Riley, Larry Lujack, Tommy Edwards, Bob Sirott, Fred Winston, John Records Landecker and more.

*May 2—Larry Potash birthday

=The co-anchor of the WGN Morning News and the host of Backstory is one of the biggest stars on the local television scene. I interviewed him on my podcast a few years ago. It’s here if you’d like to listen to it. The interview begins at the 21:40 mark.

*May 2, 2022—Don Beno birthday.

=Don worked in Chicago radio, but the reason I interviewed him last year for Illinois Entertainer is his incredible Facebook page Chicago Radio Archives and Memories. Read all about that here.

*May 2—Wayne Randazzo birthday

=Randazzo got his start here at the Score (670 AM) but turned his Kane County Cougars play-by-play gig into a big-league job. He was the play-by-play man for the New York Mets for a few years before recently taking a similar job with the LA Angels. The St. Charles East (and North Central College) grad is also involved in the Italian Sports Hall of Fame.


*May 2—Donn Pearlman birthday

=The 25-year NewsRadio WBBM man now lives in Vegas. He has been running his own PR firm for decades.


*May 3—Jim Modelski birthday

=For years Jim was Chet Coppock’s right hand man at Coppock on Sports and had a big hand in the formative years of WMVP. He’s a success now in the world of finance, but he also made his mark in radio. (Photo of former "boyquarium" members Mike Davis, Jim Modelski, and Tom Serritella with their old boss Chet Coppock at a 2018 book signing)

*May 3—Greg Gumbel birthday

=The pride of Hyde Park became a WMAQ-TV weekend sports anchor before transforming himself into one of the biggest names in sports broadcasting. Greg is the Sox-fan half of the Gumbel brothers. Bryant is the Cubs fan.


*May 3, 1971—NPR debuts “All Things Considered”

=The man at the microphone for the first show was Robert Conley. He had been a correspondent for The New York Times and The Huntley/Brinkley report on NBC. That first show was inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.


*May 3—Erin Carman Birthday

=Erin hosts the midday show at WLS-FM every weekday. She previously also hosted shows at WLUP, WTMX, and K-Hits.


*May 3—Wes Bleed birthday

=Bleed spent 14 years in the WGN Radio newsroom, including several years as the news director. He is currently the Membership, Marketing, and Communications Director at Water Quality Association.


*May 4—George Will birthday

=George’s only real connection to Chicago is his love of the Cubs. The long time political pundit for ABC News and columnist for the Washington Post is a Pulitzer Prize winner. His connection to the Cubs is from his boyhood years growing up in downstate Illinois. (Photo: George and I displaying our Cubs bonafides)


*May 5—Mark Caro birthday

=The long-time Chicago Tribune writer is now the host of a great podcast called Caro-pop. I wrote about the show for Illinois Entertainer last year.

May 5—Jimmy Caranne birthday

=Jimmy was a contributor at WBEZ for several years but is mainly known as an improv artist/actor/writer/comedian/teacher. Caranne is a Second City veteran.


May 5—Rafer Weigel birthday

=The son of legendary sports anchor Tim Weigel had a run here in Chicago as an anchor at WFLD-TV. He left under bumpy circumstances, but Rafer has recovered nicely. He currently works as a reporter/anchor at San Diego’s top station, KUSI-TV.




*Hollywood Writers Go On Strike

=The threats are over; the strike is here. The writers walked out because they believe they are not being paid fairly during this era of streaming. The vote of the WGA board was unanimous. In a statement released Tuesday, the union said: “The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union work force, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing.”

=How does the strike affect your favorite shows? 



*Chicago TV Sports Royalty

=Two former competitors, among the best to ever do what they did, met up this week. Something about this picture is comforting, isn’t it?

*Natalie Bomke Profile

=Natalie is an anchor at WFLD-TV (Channel 32). Illinois Alumni Magazine has a nice profile of her in this month's issue

*Museum of Broadcast Communications 40th Anniversary Auction

=It’s the 40th anniversary of the museum this year and they have put together a pretty unique auction of various different broadcasting experiences to help raise money. Check out the site here.

=Among the TV-related items available…lunch with Henry Winkler, tickets to see a bunch of shows based in New York like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Drew Barrymore show, and Live with Kelly & Mark, or tickets to see a bunch of LA-based programs like The Connors, the Kelly Clarkson Show, and more. Obviously the strike will delay the prize, but all are still incredible opportunities when things return to normal.

=For a more local flavor, how about a behind the scenes tour of WGN-TV and a chance to watch the morning show live in the studio. Or a Chicago pizza tour with NBC-5’s Food Guy Steve Dolinsky? But to me, the coolest auction item available has to be “chicken thrower” on Svengoolie’s show. There are a lot of other options too.



*Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s exit interview with ABC-7

=The Mayor didn’t do a ton of local media interviews, but she did grant one to ABC-7 in Chicago. You can watch it here.

*The White House Correspondent’s Dinner

=Chicagoan Roy Wood had the honor of doing the keynote, and he killed.  

 *Vice Media likely headed for bankruptcy

=Not a surprising development, unfortunately. The New York Times has the details.

*Cable News Corner

=The Tucker Carlson text that alarmed Fox Bosses. “That’s not how white men fight.” Read the whole text here.

=Donald Trump agreed to appear on CNN for a Town Hall in New Hampshire this coming Wednesday. Needless to say, the former president rarely appears on this network. 

*Behind the scenes during James Corden’s final week

=The Hollywood Reporter was there for Corden’s last week and chronicled it... 


 *Kelly O’Donnell Honored with Journalism Award

=NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell was honored this week at the 10th annual Washington Women in Journalism Awards. TV Newser has more informationabout the gala.

*Poll: American Media to Blame for Dividing Americans

=I hate these polls because the term “The Media” doesn’t mean anything to me. You can’t make such a generic pronouncement, as “the media says this” or “the media says that.” Specificity is required. The media outlets that actually do divide us are on the political margins, not in the mainstream. People who are most upset at the mainstream media and who most loudly claim it is polarizing, are the same people who replace it with something much more polarizing—not less.

*Girls Soccer on the U

=The Game of the Week returns to the U (WCIU, WMEU) this coming Wednesday at 6:00. It’s the Chicago Public League Girl’s Soccer Championship live from Lane Tech High School.


*Shaq’s gas

=For my fellow emotional adolescents






*Block Club Chicago Adds Two More Pros

=Block Club Chicago announced the addition of two journalism pros this week. Former Chicago Sun Times food editor Janet Rausa Fuller and Associate Professor of Journalism Curtis Lawrence joined the team, as managing editor and senior editor of investigations.


*RIP Mary Knoblauch

=Mary was a reporter and editor at the Chicago Tribune for many years. Her old paper did a nice tribute to her after she passed away this week at the age of 80.


*Excerpt From Ben Smith’s New Book

=Ben Smith was the media writer for the New York Times, but before that he was the editor of Buzzfeed. His new book is about that era in our media times when the young guns of the internet were challenging the media elite. The book is called Traffic, and Smith posted an excerpt at his new on-line publication Semafor. The headline of this excerpt gives the content away: When the Media Giants Learned to Open Their Doors.

*Charlie Meyerson interview

=The Illini Media Hall of Famer, and founder/editor-in-chief of the excellent Chicago Public Square, gets the feature treatment at It’s a good read. 


*Collier Prize for State Government Accountability

=The Los Angeles Times was the 1st place winner, The Miami Herald finished in second, and a collaboration between The Marshall Project, NBC News, and Pro-Publica finished in third. More information about the specific stories that were recognized, and what the Collier Prize is, can be found here.

 *Requiem for a Newsroom

=Maureen Dowd’s column this weekend lamented the changes that have come to the physical newsrooms of newspapers since COVID. 





*Elon Musk Has Another Hissy-Fit Over NPR’s departure

=Musk is upset that NPR didn’t just forgive and forget being labeled “government sponsored” like the Russian and Chinese propaganda outlets. He thought if he removed the label, everything would return to normal. NPR hasn’t come back yet. So, Musk threatened to let someone else use the @NPRhandle. And he e-mailed a reporter at NPR to say “You Suck”.

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: Who Spilled the Rice?

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: 1883 star Eric Nelsen

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Mark Giangreco

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: The Blonde Assassin

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Rich King

From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Down at the Golden Coin

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