Friday, May 12, 2023

Media Notebook--5-12-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)




*Dave Kerner retires

=The WBBM-AM veteran logged a solid 43 years to his career. He announced the news on his Facebook page this week…



*Suspect Arrested in New Orleans Shooting

=This is a media story because this is the shooting that WXRT disc jockey Terri Hemmert witnessed in New Orleans. The Chicago Tribune has the full story.


*Mitch Rosen/Ryan Porth Promotions

=Jeff Agrest of the Sun Times reported that Mitch Rosen was promoted to VP/Brand Manager at the Score, and Ryan Porth, who came to the Score in 2022 from Nashville, is now going to take over the day-to-day responsibilities of running the station.

*RIP Mike Fowler

=Sad news to report. Former Rock 103.5 GM/Oldies 104.3 WJMK GM/ESPN sales manager Mike Fowler passed away over the weekend in Atlanta. He moved down to Atlanta in 2015 as the Audacy market manager there. Last year his family announced that Mike was suffering from ALS. Deepest condolences to his family: Pam, Jack and Emily.


*More Info on WLS anniversary

=Last week I posted a piece about the history of WLS, and the anniversary of it becoming a rock (Top-40) station. I heard from long-time WGNer Max Armstrong who told me more about that anniversary. I thought this was fascinating. From Max…”Rick, I was in the Prairie Farmer Magazine archives this week, and it was interesting to see how they treated the switch at WLS 63 years ago. And this was the week that paved the way for my long-time colleague Orion Samuelson. Within four months Ward Quaal had brought Orion down to WGN from WBAY in Green Bay to win over the farmers (and their advertisers) lost in the WLS conversion.”



*AI-Generated DJs Hit the Airwaves

=Figures. May I offer my “NO” vote on this development?


*Julie Chronis joins the Rock 95.5 lineup

=Julie is a traffic reporter for iHeart, but recently added another duty. She holds down the rock and roll fort on Saturdays at 95.5 FM from 11am-4pm.



*Eddie V & Hannah B

=Congrats to the Star Network radio duo on their one-year anniversary.  

*Ex-Chicago Radio Update

=Bart Shore, one of the most notable traffic reporters in Chicago radio history, moved to North Carolina last year, but he has managed to keep a toe in the broadcasting waters in Brevard, NC on WSQL AM & FM. This is how Bart described it to me: “It is only fill in work as needed, but it allows me to still be mostly retired and come into the station and play the kind of music I love- they let me do whatever I want- (they also air my Zecom and Time Warp Radio Show and Song of the Day)”

=Jim Johnson update. His daughter Alexis Del Cid has been updating everyone about her father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. It’s obviously a difficult situation, but Alexis’ stories are often heartwarming. This one is a good example of it.

=John Dempsey, former WLS newsman, seems to be enjoying his retirement. He was in Ireland this week attending a Bruce Springsteen concert.


*The Loop Files

=It posts every Tuesday. This week I featured Garry Meier.




*May 7—John “Swany” Swanson birthday

=Swany is the dean of Chicago radio producers. He got his start as a technical producer for Jonathon Brandmeier, but later produced shows by Steve Cochran and Kevin Matthews, and most famously was the executive producer of the long-running Eric and Kathy Show. He still produces the show that emerged from that, the Mix Morning Show. (And, oh yeah, he also co-wrote The Radio Producer’s Handbook with me).


*May 7—Dina Bair birthday

=Dina has been with WGN-TV since the mid-90s. She currently co-hosts the WGN Midday News and serves as the station’s medical reporter.


*May 10—Andy Masur birthday

=WGN Radio sportscaster Andy Masur has been part of the Chicago Cubs broadcasts (I interviewed him about that in 2010), part of the Chicago White Sox broadcasts (I interviewed him about that in 2020), and part of the San Diego Padres broadcasts. He also writes for Barrett Sports Media.


*May 11—Larry Hawley birthday

=Larry is a reporter and producer for, concentrating mostly on sports.


*May 12—George Carlin birthday

=The brilliant comedian would have been 86 years old this week. Sadly, he passed away a long time ago. Shortly before his death, I wrote about my brush with Carlin. The article was written in 2007. It takes place in 2001. 


*May 13—Ben Ponzio birthday

=Ben was a professional poker player for a while, but his day job has always been radio salesman. Right now he’s the General Sales Manager for Audacy in Chicago.


*May 13—Jim Baumann birthday

=Baumann is the executive editor of The Daily Herald. Last year he also penned a book that collected examples of his popular Grammar Moses column. It’s really quite good, and I don’t just say that because I published it.

*May 13—Mark Giangreco birthday

=The long-time Chicago sportscaster (WMAQ-TV, WLS-TV, ESPN Radio) is no longer on the air in Chicago, but he’s a great follow on Twitter. I was lucky enough to interview him a few times, including once on my podcast, and once for Shore Magazine.



*Chicago Tonight Goes Back to Earlier Timeslot

=WTTW moved the show up against the other 10pm newscasts late last year. Well, now they are moving it to 5:30pm, with a re-broadcast at 10:00pm. The station says they may still go live at 10pm on days when there is a particularly compelling breaking news story.


*Chicago Headline Club’s Lifetime Achievement Awards

=No one knows for sure who will win the Lisagor Awards handed out at the ceremony tonight, but we do know who is getting recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards. The prestigious foursome is Dorothy Tucker, Phil Ponce, Rick Pearson, and Chuck Neubauer. There’s more about all four of them here. Best wishes to all the Lisagor nominees tonight, too.


*The NATAS Silver Circle Inductees

=It’s the second Friday in a row for media awards in Chicago. Last Friday NATAS inducted new members into the Silver Circle. Among the inductees, Josea Sanders from ABC-7. 

=Channel 2 photographer/editor Mike Klingele was inducted by Dave Savini

=NBC-5’s Andy Avalos was introduced by Alex Maragos.

=Also inducted this year, Marlaine Selip, Jay Shefsky, Gail Sikevitz, and posthumous inductees were Vince Lloyd, Bill Hamilton and Donald Farnham. Read more about the awards and the inductees at the Chicago Emmy Online website.

=If you missed it, the entire ceremony will be aired on WCIU-TV on May 21st from 1-2:30pm.



*Fill a Bag, Fill a Bus

=The Steve Wilkos show on CW26 is doing a food drive to help end hunger. On May 17th, they'll be collecting non-perishable food items at the Jewel Osco on 103rd Street in Oak Lawn from 3-8pm. On May 18th, they'll be at Jewel Osco at 7525 W. Lake Street in River Forest from 3-8pm. 

*RIP Newton Minow

=The former FCC Chairman who famously declared television “a vast wasteland” (and that was 60 years ago), passed away this week at the age of 97. He was a champion of public television, a Peabody winner, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.


*Hoover logs 20 years at WGN

=WGN-TV Morning News producer Jeff Hoover showed off his traditional “20-year money clip” on Facebook. Pretty fancy…


*MTV News Shuts Down

=There was a time when MTV News was a very influential part of the music media. Granted, that time was decades ago, but it was still a surprise to read the news this week of it’s ultimate demise. The Washington Post has the story.


*Cable News Corner

=Trump’s CNN Town Hall Turns into a Trump Rally. Tom Jones at Poynter has a pretty scathing criticism of CNN in his Poynter column.

=Fox isn’t in the apology business, and that could cost them tons of money. NPR reports. 

=Tucker Carlson ready to torch Fox News. So says Axios.



*Mark Harper Enjoying Retirement

=The local NW Side newspaper The Sounds featured a piece about 11-time Emmy Winner Mark Harper this week. The article was written by his wife, former B-96 newscaster Karen Hand. I can’t link to it because it isn’t on-line, but this photo of the article is pretty easy to read.


*Writers Strike May Last for Months

=I’m not optimistic after reading this piece in the New York Times



*ESPN Leading Candidate to Sign Pat MacAfee

=The former NFL punter turned podcast star signed a $120 million deal with Fan Duel, but according to this piece in the New York Post, he’s thinking of walking away from that deal, and ESPN is hovering.


*Chicago, Movie Capital of America…at least for one night

=The stars of Sebastian Maniscalco’s new movie were in town over the weekend for the movie premiere. Rick Gieser was there. 





*Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

=Tuesday was the biggest day of the journalism year, the day the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced. Check out the full list here. Among the winners, a father-son team in Alabama. Seriously.


*Puck Co-Founder and CEO Leaving Company

=It’s odd that Axios reported this before Puck did, but that’s what happened this week. Puck CEO Joe Purzycky sent a note to the staff saying he was leaving the company, and Axios obtained a copy of it.





*Elon Musk Hires Mystery Woman as Twitter CEO

=Who is this woman? 

=The Wall Street Journal speculates the mystery woman is NBC-Universal's Linda Yaccarino.

*Tucker Carlson to Re-Launch Show on Twitter

=He released a video saying he would do it. Variety reported on the news. But there are few things to keep in mind here. First of all, the announcement was very vague. No timetables were given. And there are a lot of legal hurdles that still need to be cleared.

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: Philharmonic Ecstacy

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: Hustling Hitler Author Walter Shapiro

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Paul Michael Glaser

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: The Blonde Assassin

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Lee Kingsmill

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

Thursday, May 11, 2023

From the Eckhartz Bookshelf: EveryCubEver

   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 EveryCubEver by Rick Kaempfer.

The Updated 5th Edition has over 100 new entries, 150 new notations and more. Since the first edition was released in early 2019, there have been an additional 500 entries overall.

What will you find in the pages of everycubever?

*Mini-bios of every player who ever wore the uniform between 1871-2022 plus bonus bios of Cubs managers, owners, broadcasters and more.

*Stories about Cubs who served in every war since the Civil War.

*Notes about players who were wearing the Cubs uniform on days of historical significance.

*Stories of Cubs who achieved greatness and heroism off the field, including those who became movie stars, titans of industry, life savers, and even a few who served in political office.

*Stories of those who received unwanted notoriety, including shooting victims, murderers, kidnappers, racists, burglars, thieves, and political criminals.

*Tragic tales, uplifting tales, and hilarious baseball stories.

*Spotlights on everyone from Hall of Famers to the guys who made it to the big leagues for just one cup of coffee.

Compiled over the last decade and a half by the editor-in-chief of the website Just One Bad Century (, this is the most Cubrehensive look ever at the men who wore Cubbie Blue. Author Rick Kaempfer has been a Cubs fan since 1968 and has seen hundreds of games at Wrigley Field, but has lived an otherwise normal and relatively defensible life.


  • “This book is a fantastic idea. I absolutely love this.”

    Larry Potash, WGN-TV
  • “When people hear the title everyCubever I don’t think it sinks in just what this means. It’s every. single. player. ever. What an undertaking. What a great book. What a great idea.”

    John Records Landecker, WGN Radio
  • “From the immortals to the footnotes, they’re all here. Every player has a story. An enduring fascination for any baseball fan with the curiosity to ask, hey, who were those guys?”

    Lin Brehmer, WXRT Radio
  • “Amazing. That’s the only word for EVERY CUB EVER. Amazing.

    For bar bets, crazy stories, pull-out lists (every Cub born in Hawaii
    or every Cub to serve in the military) and playing “Six Degrees of Fergie Jenkins”, it’s a die-hard’s must-have.

    Its immersive Cubness bound to please both the casual fan and the red-eyed obsessive, not to mention the ghosts of all the Colts, Orphans and White Stockings who can be found whizzing around the warning track, rustling the ivy.”

    James Finn Garner, NY Times Best Selling Author, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
  • “Hey, Hey Holy Mackerel, Cubs fan/researcher extraordinaire Rick Kaempfer has compiled the ultimate resource for fans of Chicago’s North Side baseball team. There’s no doubt about it, Kaempfer’s EveryCubEver is a treasure trove of team trivia that will thrill and delight all fans of the boys in blue. Kaempfer writes with wit, charm, and an encyclopedic knowledge of his favorite baseball team that brings to life every single player that has ever suited up in a Cubs uniform over the last 150 years. EveryCubEver should be on its way to every Cubs fan’s bookshelf.”

    Randy Richardson, President of the Chicago Writers Association

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Paul Michael Glaser


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. A few years ago we interviewed one of the stars of the 1970s classic show Starsky & Hutch. I embarrassed myself by telling him how big of a fan I was of the show. I watched it on German TV. I read the novels (yes, they released novels). We also talked to him about Fiddler on the Roof, and his role in that film. It was a really fun interview.

Listen to it here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

The Loop Files: Garry Meier


 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 Garry Meier. Garry spanned both of the legendary Loop eras (late 70s, late 80s/early 90s), first as Matthew Meier, the overnight jock. Later under his real name Garry (with two Rs) as the co-host of the Steve & Garry show. Steve & Garry were a team for nearly 15 years before breaking up in the fall of 1993, shortly after Garry's wedding. As a team they were inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2013. Garry is still active in the business. Garry's podcast is called The Garry Meier Show.  For years Garry didn't want to talk about those Steve & Garry days publicly, but I recently coaxed a few tidbits out of him when I wrote about him in Illinois Entertainer last year...

“I look back fondly on them now,” he says. “They may have ended badly, but I’ve taken all the good parts, and remember those. I can’t control everything.”

His thoughts on his Steve & Garry years: “I see these wedding announcements and the officiator has a Universal Life Church certificate, and I remember that we were doing that 40+ years ago at our (Steve & Garry) Breakfast Clubs. Broadcasting from the Princess cruises is commonplace now, but we were the first to do it. We were live from the red carpet at the Academy Awards. The Rose Bowl parade. Those great trips to Hawaii. Those are some of the things that stand out to me.”

And now Garry is a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame.

“I’m still trying to digest it,” he admits. “When I was on the stage being inducted into the Hall of Fame, it was almost an out of body experience. I never thought it would come to this. I just liked doing it. I thought it was a fun way to make a living. It’s weird that I ended up with this access to people I never would have dreamed of meeting.”

(The first great Loop era. From left to right Garry Meier, Steve Dahl, Bruce Carry, Mitch Michaels, Sky Daniels, Mark McEwen, Laura Wilkinson Sinton)

I was Steve & Garry's producer during their second stint there in the late 80s and early 90s. After I left the show in 1992, I was still working at the radio station as a disc jockey on the Loop FM, and as a co-host of the show Ebony & Ivory (with Stan Lawrence) on AM 1000, and as a writer for LoopScoop magazine. The magazine asked me to interview Garry. Garry didn't want to do the interview. Instead, he told me that Cliff (a character he portrayed on the show, a parody of WGN-TV announcer Cliff Mercer) would do it.

I know how odd this sounds, but Steve and Garry & I hadn't spoken to each other for a year (we were estranged because I left the show), but Cliff and I had done "crosstalk" on the air many times when I was hosting the overnight show and Steve & Garry were hosting mornings. Cliff began the show every day while waiting for Steve to arrrive, which was usually about 15 minutes late. Garry didn't  speak as himself until Steve was in the studio in person. This interview was conducted during one of those "crosstalk" sessions live on the air around 5:30 in the morning. Cliff told me I could ask him five questions. 


Summer 1993 issue

"The Cliff Interview"

Rick: How long have you been with Steve & Garry?

Cliff: 6 foot 2, but I've been longer some mornings.

Rick: Cliff, you have a unique perspective of the guys. Tell us something we don't know about them. What are they really like?

Cliff: They paste Princess Di's and Fergie's heads on naked animal bodies during commercial breaks.

Rick: Steve & Garry's cast of characters has constantly changed over the years. With all the different newscasters, sportscasters, producers, and contributors that have come and gone, how is it that you are still aboard? What's the secret to your longevity?

Cliff: I eat healthy, and let's face it, I'm pretty darn good in the broadcasting saddle.

Rick: Mark Twain once said, "The most priceless gift of all is waking up one more day." Now that you are entrusted with being the first thing people hear when they wake up, do you feel an extra responsibility?

Cliff: Oh sure. I think it's better to hear about school lunches from me than on the street, and who else gives the temperature at Peotone International?

Rick: Garry Meier finally decided to get hitched recently. Any chance of a double wedding with Garry?

 I was married back in the 50s, when gas was twenty cents a gallon and they pumped it for you. I lost my toupee in that divorce. My best to Garry and Cindy.

(Note: Steve & Garry broke up after Garry returned from his honeymoon)

Cliff was also part of the Steve & Garry live shows. Here he is at the 1989 Decade of Service show with the Cliff Dancers...

Cliff also showed up as part of the impromptu Steve & Garry reunion on the beach about 15 years ago. If you want to see him in action, you can see it here: VIDEO: The Steve & Garry Reunion Show

Next week: Greg Solk