Friday, June 02, 2023

Media Notebook--6-2-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)




*Danny Bonaduce Having Brain Surgery After Health Scare reported the news early this morning. Danny is quoted in the article, and explains his diagnosis (hydrocephalus), and prognosis.

*Mary Sandberg Boyle Interview

=The June issue of Illinois Entertainer came out this week and included my interview with WGN GM Mary Sandberg Boyle. Here’s a short excerpt.

“I’m a no-bullshit kind of person,” she says, “and I knew there were some tough decisions to be made. I understood that business decisions wouldn’t always align with my personal feelings, but I also knew I would be able to separate that from what needs to be done. I’m a very clear message person, and I’m able to communicate very directly. My husband always says that I’m really good at delivering bad news. My producer training probably helped with that. Being a producer, especially of a very high-profile show, you have to be tough. You’ve learned to take the shrapnel. You’ve learned personality management. A lot of GMs come from the sales side. Coming from the programming side gave me an advantage. I knew what could work, and what couldn’t work. And I understood the sales side because all high-profile shows deal extensively with client integration. I had to do a lot of that before. My background meant that it wouldn’t be too difficult to absorb that part of the equation, which is obviously an important part of the job too.”

=Read the entire interview here.


 *National Black Radio Hall of Fame

=The National Black Radio Hall of Fame announced their 2023 class this week. Tom Joyner will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. The rest of the inductees are listed here.


*Sherman & Tingle Pitch New Beer

=They call it Driver Nation American Premium Lager.



*Terri Hemmert Update

=It’s been a few weeks now since her traumatic gun incident in New Orleans. This week she updated her friends and fans on Facebook, along with a treatise about how this all ties in to the great Harry Nilsson. 



*The Loop Files

=Tuesday is the day I post another of my Loop interviews. This week it was with former AM Loop Program Director Jack Silver. 



*Leon Colvin Retires

=Leon had an astounding career at WBBM, nearly 53 years in the saddle. His colleagues praised him all over social media. This little note (and photo of Leon & Rob) is courtesy of WBBM NewsRadio’s Rob Hart: September 21, 1970 was a big day in broadcasting. ABC aired the first edition of Monday Night Football and Leon Colvin started at WBBM. Today is Leon’s last day at the midday editor’s desk before retiring. He worked with all the greats at WBBM and he worked with me. Congratulations, Leon! Enjoy retirement and we’ll miss you!”



*Podcast Corner

=Who really broke up the Bulls dynasty? Scottie Pippen’s opinion on the matter is here on Stacey King’s Gimme the Hot Sauce podcast

=Veteran Chicago radio and podcast producer Keith Conrad hangs out his shingle for free-lance podcast producing/editing work. 

=Nearly half of Gen Z members are podcast listeners. 



*Whip Saves a Cat

=WTMX morning show member Brian "Whip" Paruch saved a cat this week. Here's part one of the story. Below is the finale.







*May 29—Felicia Middlebrooks birthday

=The former morning co-anchor at WBBM NewsRadio is also an author and an award-winning filmmaker 


*May 30—Dave Eanet birthday

=Dave is the sports director at WGN and can heard daily on Bob Sirott’s morning show. He has also been the radio play-by-play man for Northwestern University football and basketball for decades. (Photo: Dave on WGN-TV for Cubs World Series postgame. Far left)

*May 31—Jerry Agar birthday

=Jerry had stints at both WLS and WGN in Chicago. I got a chance to interview him during that time. He’s currently working north of the border in his native Canada.

*May 31, 2005—Watergate source Deep Throat revealed

=Have you been watching The Plumbers on HBO? Mark Felt, the deputy director the FBI, is one of the characters. A minor one in the series. A major one in real life. He was 91 when he revealed the news to Vanity Fair.


*June 1, 1974—WCFL Chart

=The Watergate scandal dominated the news. Larry Lujack was the star DJ on the station. And this is the list of songs WCFL was playing (courtesy of Chicago Radio Timeline)


*June 1, 1980—CNN Debuts as First All-News Network

=This was Ted Turner’s brainchild, and it was widely mocked at the time. (Who is going to want news 24 hours a day?). The husband/wife team of Dave Walker and Lois Hart were the first anchors. The headquarters was in Atlanta, but the network also had bureaus in Washington, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.


*June 2—Dave Hoekstra birthday

=Hoekstra is one of Chicago’s most enduring writers, having written extensively for the Chicago Sun-Times over a 30-year period. Dave’s books include “The Supper Club Book,” “The People’s Place (Soul Food Restaurants and Reminiscences from the Civl Rights Era to Today” and “The Camper Book (A Celebration of a Moveable American Dream),” all published by Chicago Review Press. He’s also hosted a show on WGN Radio. This is a photo of Dave (right) with legendary DJ Bobby Skafish (left) after an interview at WGN.


*June 2—Geoff Dankert birthday

=Geoff is well-known behind the scenes in Chicago’s radio and television community. His trophy case is bursting with a Peabody, Murrow, and an Emmy award. Dankert is currently a writer/editor at WBBM NewsRadio.


*June 3—Jim Kirk birthday

=Jim is the publisher and executive editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. Before coming to Crain’s, he was the editor-in-chief of the LA Times. He also worked at the Chicago Tribune, covering a beat that I hold near and dear: the media.


*June 3—Dan Deibert birthday

=The former WGN Radio host is working as a comedian specializing in corporate gigs.  





*Mike Flannery Calls it a Career

=Flannery was a great political reporter for Channel 2 and Channel 32 in Chicago for nearly 50 years. The Sun Times has the story about his retirement.

=My all-time favorite Flannery interview was the one he did with Congressman Gus Savage in 1989. It was a classic audio clip we played on the radio for many years after it happened. I couldn’t find the audio, but I did find this Tribune article describing it perfectly.

*Britain’s TV News Sex Scandal

=It involves the most popular morning show on British TV, and the scandal is almost exactly the same as the fictional scandal on the Apple+ TV show “The Morning Show”. The Washington Post has a pretty good primer on the story. 



*Succession Scores Huge Numbers

=The HBO series finale was the highest rated episode in the entire run of the series. The Hollywood Reporter has the details.


*Danny Masterson Guilty

=A jury of his peers found That 70s Show star Danny Masterson guilty of two counts of rape. He faces up to 30 years in prison.


*Cable News Corner

=There's a new COO at CNN

=Brooke Bower has left CNN, where she had been managing editor of CNN Politics, to become the executive producer of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on ABC.

=Another former CNN contributor, Lisa Ling, was hired by CBS News this week

=The suspected source of Tucker Carlson, Fox News leaks was revealed this week in a bombshell report. Fingers are being pointed at a Tampa Bay area media consultant.

*TV Star Deaths

Both of these 1960s TV stars were in their 90s.

=R.I.P. George Maharis

=R.I.P Ed Ames




*Jim Avila’s 5 Media Sources You Can Trust

=I love this piece by former TV reporter Jim Avila. He spells out the legitimate news sources you can trust and describes how you can use those sources to inform you on what is really going on in the world in less than two hours a day. Consider this a disinformation-avoidance technique.


*Gannett Journalists to go on Strike

=Gannett owns 200 newspapers, and a few dozen of them across seven different states are facing a strike beginning on Monday. More information about that here.

*Journalism’s Essential Value

=New York Times publisher A.G Sulzberger has penned a lengthy piece for Columbia Journalism Review about the value and necessity of objective journalism. 





*Why TikTok Wants Trial To Be Held in Illinois

=Justin Kaufman of Axios explains why the social media giant is making this play in court.


*Twitter Could Soon Be Banned in Europe

=If Twitter doesn’t take steps to curb the flow of disinformation (which has exploded since Elon Musk took over), there’s a very good chance the EU will ban Twitter. More information here at the Wrap.

=This story certainly won’t help the cause.

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: Rudolf the Red Nosed Mayor

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: Mrs. America

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Actress Molly Hagan

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Final Relegation Battle

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Andrew Langert

From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: GelStrong by Mark Gelinas

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, June 01, 2023

From the Eckhartz Bookshelf: GelStrong

 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 GelStrong, written by Mark Gelinas. Mark was a crusader on behalf of Pancreatic Cancer patients before succumbing to the disease himself in 2018. His book is an inspiration.


It started out as a personal journey, but that journey turned into a story, which turned into a book. Mark shares the very open and raw tale of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and the unexpected places that led him, his wife, and their family and friends. Funny, maybe. Emotional, yes. Fulfilling, absolutely.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will go to Winship Cancer Institute of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta. GA, to support their ongoing research in an effort to win the battle over cancer, specifically pancreatic cancer.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Molly Hagan


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. We interviewed Molly Hagan a few months ago and she was a delight. Molly was on Seinfeld, Friends, The Golden Girls, Herman's Head, and is currently in the cast of the show Walker. We talked to her about all of those things, but we spent even more time discussing her midwestern upbringing. She was a delight.

Listen to it here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Loop Files: Jack Silver


 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 Jack Silver. Jack was the program director of the AM Loop during it's craziest time, in the early 1990s. I got a chance to interview him in 2009. At the time he was working as a program director in Los Angeles. We talked about a lot of things going on that time, but we also chatted a bit about his days at the Loop.

Rick: You’ve been out in LA a long time now, but you grew up here in Chicago. I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this before...but who did you listen to as a kid?

Jack: Easy one. I was a big WLS and WCFL fan. I’m 51, so we’re talking about the 60s and early 70s. I loved Kris Erik Stevens (photo), Larry Lujack, Joel Sebastian, really all of the guys at both of those stations. I would hang out and watch them doing their thing. In those days they’d actually let you do that. My buddies and I would watch from the windows at 360 N. Michigan for awhile (WLS), and then we would go over to Marina City (WCFL). I was always more into the jocks than I was into the music. All the big top 40 guys.

My brother and his friends would listen to WXRT and WVVX, which I think was out of Highland Park, but I never really liked that. They were into the music, and they would give me a hard time about listening to those “bubble gum tunes.” But it wasn’t about the music for me. It was those guys on the air. I’ve been real fortunate over time to get to know a lot of them. Kris Stevens, for instance, lives near me out here in LA, and we’ve become friends.

Rick: People in Chicago obviously remember you from your time at AM 1000. You were the program director of the station during its personality talk era, and you were on the air all the time with Kevin Matthews, Steve & Garry, et al. I know that’s a role you’re comfortable with because you’ve done it your whole career—including most recently with the Adam Carolla show. What do you think are the pros and cons of being such a public program director?

Jack: No cons. Zero cons. One of the things I learned is that the listeners have a boss too, so if you become a boss that can be made fun of, the listeners seem to absolutely love that. I probably met more of the listeners than any other program director, because they knew me. (In LA, they called me Jack-S, or jackass). This whole radio thing is about the listeners, and when you put yourself out there, they go out of their way to meet you. The guys that sit in the offices and don’t get out there are usually the guys who never been on the air, and don’t really understand what a personality is thinking or what they’re dealing with, that moment of panic that can set in when you’re not 100% what you’re going to say next. If you haven’t had that, haven’t experienced that, what good are you?

Jimmy DeCastro (photo), Larry Wert, and all those guys at the Loop in Chicago, they totally got that. There was no con in it. If you’ve ever spent any time in public with Danny Bonaduce, he’s a perfect example of the right mindset. I hired Danny in Chicago and LA, and now he’s in Philly, but going to an airport with Danny is an experience. It takes him a half hour just to get to his car because people stop him every few seconds. When you ask him about it, he always says: “These people pay my salary. I will take all day talking to them if necessary.” He means it too. Some of those other guys who don’t want to be bothered might be missing the big picture there.

Rick: You were the producer of the Rick Dees show in LA before you came back home to work at the Loop. I remember you used to tell the producers here in Chicago a few stories about your days with that show, just to make them feel better about the daily humiliations they had to endure. Is there any way I can convince you to share one of those publicly?

Jack: The one I always tell was the one that made me change my career trajectory. Rick Dees (photo) and I were in Florida at Disney World doing a live broadcast. The sun was rising in the sky and barreling onto Rick’s back and at one point, he looked at me and asked if I would mind standing behind him to block the sun. That was an eye-opening moment for me. I didn’t want to be a 31-year-old sun shield.

I actually went home after that broadcast and called Jimmy (DeCastro) and Larry (Wert). They had told me that if I ever wanted to join them in Chicago to let them know—and that was the moment I decided I wanted to pursue it. This isn’t a slam on Rick. Rick is actually a great guy. They all have their quirks—it’s what makes them the guys in the spotlight and us the guys in the background—but I decided that wasn’t the way I wanted to go anymore.

Next week: Jeff Hoover

Monday, May 29, 2023

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Andrew C. Langert

  Now that we have such a big stable of talented authors, we're going to take some time this year to re-introduce them to you. This week it's Andrew C. Langert, who wrote the book A Man, A Mission, A Miracle: Brother James Gaffney F.S.C, and the Transformation of Lewis Univerity just as the pandemic hit in 2020.

Andrew C. Langert


Andrew C. Langert is a financial executive in Chicago. He has been associated with Lewis University and Brother James Gaffney ever since he was a student at Lewis in the 1970s. This is his debut as an author.

Brother James Gaffney, F.S.C., was the President of Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, from 1988 until his retirement in 2016. This 28- year period is the longest tenure ever of any President at any Lasallian Christian Brothers college or university in the United States. Guided by the Mission of the Lasallian Christian Brothers and supported by an outstanding group of men and women, Lewis University has become one of the top Catholic universities in the Midwest. When Brother James first became associated with Lewis in the mid-1970s, the University was struggling in many ways. From that shaky foundation, some have said that what Lewis has become is a miracle. This is the story of what happened to transform Lewis University and how Brother James Gaffney led the way.

  • The book resonated with me very much. I attended a Lasallian Christian Brothers high school in Detroit. While I had a general understanding of the education mission, I found the deeper information here added color to my own experience.

    Brother James is certainly a fascinating leader and role model. Even your listing of his personal interests was insightful. I have never experienced someone that would list prayer, meditation and reflection as a personal interest (more often someone states it as “their practice”). It is also telling about someone that states building a friend and relationship network as a personal interest too. How human, and essential for a quality life.

    In all, it is clear in the text this was a labor of love for you. I admire the manner in which you integrated the Lewis University information and story with the biographical aspects of Brother James.

    Very readable all the way though.

    Scott Mordell, Chief Executive Officer of Young Presidents’ Organization.