Friday, June 16, 2023

Media Notebook--6-16-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)



*Chicago Radio Ratings

=The May ratings are out, and you’ll notice there aren’t too many changes. The top ten stations in order are…

WLIT (7.3)

WDRV (6.2)

WBBM-AM (4.2)

WXRT (4.1)

WVAZ (4.1)

WOJO (3.8)

WTMX (3.7)

WUSN (3.5)

WLS-FM (3.3)

WGN-AM (3.3)

=Four stations are within sniffing distance of the top ten. Kiss-FM (3.1), WBEZ (3.0), WBMX (2.9) and the Score (2.9)

=The stations with higher numbers over last month are WLIT (+ 0.5), WBMX (+ 0.3), Me-TV FM (+ 0.3) and WGCI-FM (+0.2)

=Stations that went down the most from last month are WXRT (-0.5) and WOJO (- 0.5), but both stations are still performing well.


*The 2023 National Radio Hall of Fame Nominations

=The only Chicago name on the list is Kevin Matthews. He clearly deserves his place in the Hall of Fame. The full list of 24 names is here. Only 6 will be inducted. Voting begins on Friday.


*David Schaper Leaves NPR

=When NPR cut their workforce this year, they offered buyouts to longtime employees. One of the people who took the offer was David Schaper, the Chicago bureau reporter. His last day was June 2. Axios Chicago has more information.

*Mary Sandberg Boyle on Chicago Tonight

=The current WGN GM was on Chicago Tonight this week discussing the future of AM Radio in cars, a subject she and I addressed in my latest column for Illinois Entertainer. 


*Former WGN GM Guest Blog about AM Radio in Cars

=One of her predecessors agrees. Tom Langmyer is the President/CEO of Great Lakes Media, but he spent most of his career working in AM Radio, including as the general manager of WGN Radio. Here’s his take on whether or not automakers should be forced to put AM radio in cars. 



*Wink Martindale

=The show airs in Chicago at the times mentioned below…



*Coming soon to Illinois Entertainer

=I just turned in my column for the July issue of Illinois Entertainer. This month I interviewed former NBC, Tribune, WLS-TV, and WLUP executive Larry Wert.



*Charlie Meyerson Donates a Portion of His Archives to the University of Illinois

=The former WXRT/WNUA/WGN newsman (and current editor-in-chief of Chicago Public Square) has a treasure trove of archives. A portion of those are now in the hands of the University of Illinois, his alma mater. 



*Ex-Chicago Radio Corner

=Get well soon, Danny Bonaduce. (Recovering from surgery)

=Former Score, WLS, and WBBM-AM program director Drew Hayes was ousted in Los Angeles. He had been the VP/Market manager of Cumulus’ KABC-Los Angeles. 



*Canadian Media Giant Slashes Jobs, Closes Radio Stations

=Bell Media is not only eliminating 1300 jobs. They are shutting down radio stations. As in, turning them off. Static. More details are here.

*Podcast Corner

=A profile of the top-ranked podcasts shows that True Crime is the most popular topic. 

=Add The Office star Ellie Kemper to list of celebrities hosting their own podcast. Hers is called Born to Love and it debuted this week. 

=Rachel Maddow is becoming quite the podcaster. Her newest podcast is already doing very well. It’s called Deja News

=Prince Harry & Meghan to part ways with Spotify.


*The Loop Files

=This week I featured former Loop sales manager (and one of the men behind Disco Demolition), Jeff Schwartz. 





*June 11—Carla Leonardo birthday

=The former WDRV/Q-101/Loop jock passed away in November of 2013. I was lucky enough to interview her for Chicago Radio Spotlight in2012.


*June 12—Cara Carriveau birthday

=I think I’ve interviewed Cara a half dozen times over the years. She’s always a great interview. I think this is the most recent one from 2018. 


*June 12—Ken Churilla birthday

=Ken is a former radio guy (the Score) but has gone on to a career in PR, songwriting and writing books. He was the co-author of Mitch Michael’s book Doin the Cruise.


*June 12, 2013—Bill Bailey death

=The former WLS jock passed away this week ten years ago. John Landecker wrote about his time working with Bill in his book Records Truly Is My Middle Name. That portion of his book is presented here as a free excerpt.


*June 12, 2018—Block Club Chicago founded

=This important Chicago news resource has found an audience and provides a valuable service to the city. I interviewed their co-founder and editor Shamus Toomey on my podcast a few years ago. 


*June 13—Max Armstrong birthday

=Max was a longtime reporter at WGN Radio. In 2010 I got a chance to talk to him about his long and impressive career. 


*June 13, 1918—Frazier Thomas birthday

=The former host of Family Classics and Garfield Goose passed away in 1985. For people my age (and older) he was part of our childhood.


*June 13—Bill Turck birthday

=The former WGCO talk show host currently helms the Chicago Writers Association podcast. I interviewed him in 2019 for Illinois Entertainer.


*June 15—Steve Dale birthday

=Steve is a Pet expert, radio host (WGN), former radio producer (WCFL), and former media writer who almost got me fired when he wrote about me back in my Steve & Garry days. I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2009.


*June 17—Tom Weinberg birthday

=Tom started out as a print journalist and went on to become a pioneering television documentary and non-fiction producer for PBS and WTTW. He also established the incredibly valuable video archive MediaBurn. In 2017 he wrote a stunning book about one of his memorable television adventures, Chasing the Lost City: Chronicles of Discovery in Honduras. 


*June 17—Eric Zapchenk birthday

=Eric works at Huntley Community Radio and Salem Media Group. He got his start in radio at WJMK.


*June 17—Kristin Tews birthday

=Kristin is the co-founder of Noteworthy Media Network. For 14 years before that she ran Personal Best Media and Networking.


*June 17—Bridget Kaempfer birthday

=Bridget worked in radio at the Loop AM & FM and later at Sporting News Radio before moving into the private equity world. She is currently married to (and has been for 32 years) the editor-in-chief of this column. Of all the birthday celebrants on this week’s list, she is the only one getting a present from me.






*Dennis Welsh is Retiring

=According to Politico’s Illinois Playbook, the senior VP and general manager of Fox’s WFLD and WPWR, Dennis Welsh, is retiring at the end of June. He has been in this role for the last ten years.



*Merri Dee Honored with Youth Technology Lab

=Dee died last year after a lifetime in television, mostly with WGN-TV. There is now a living memorial to her in Maywood. The Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action has named their youth technology lab after Merri. More details are here.


*Three Sportscasters

*Patrick Sharp Leaves Blackhawks TV Booth for Front Office Job in Philly

=Last week when I reported Darren Pang was coming to Hawks TV Booth, I wondered aloud what that meant for Patrick Sharp. Now we know. He’s going to Philadelphia to join the Flyers front office. 



*Pat Sajak to Retire from Wheel of Fortune

=The Chicago-native and Columbia College grad has been hosting Wheel of Fortune for 41 years. The Hollywood Reporter has the story of his impending retirement. 



*Stephen Colbert Signs for 3 More Years

=He’s not on the air these days because of the writers strike, but CBS made sure that when the writers return, Colbert will too. His contract was set to run out this year. Now he’s signed through 2026.


*The Tony Awards

=The writer’s strike didn’t hamper the Tony Awards, which aired this past weekend. Chicago’s very own Sean Hayes won the Tony for his role in Good Night Oscar, which premiered last year at the Goodman Theater. Hayes also co-hosts the podcast Smartless with Will Arnet and Jason Bateman. A documentary series about their live shows is currently airing on Max.



*Arrested Development star charged in Jan 6 Riot

=His name is Jay Johnston, and he also voiced a character on Bob’s Burgers. A photo of Johnston at the Capitol was finally identified by the FBI. Details are here. 



*Dick Clark Productions Buys the Golden Globes

=Goodbye Hollywood Foreign Press. Hello Dick Clark Productions. 



*The Fall of Lara Logan

=Once a respected 60 Minutes correspondent, Lara Logan now peddles in conspiracy theories considered too “out there” for even Newsmax. How did that happen? The Atlantic digs deep in this current issue trying to answer that question. 



*Cable News Corner

=If Cable News is dying, here are four reasons why.

=Jim Avila: What Former CNN Boss Chris Licht got right and wrong 

=Fox News has sent Tucker Carlson a cease-and-desist letter. They consider his Twitter show a violation of their separation agreement.

=This week Fox News posted a chyron that read: Wanna-Be Dictator Speaks at the White House after having Political Opponent Arrested. As Ron Burgundy would say, “Stay classy, Fox News” 



*Rest in Peace

=Academy Award winner Glenda Jackson was 87. After a short illness.

=Everwood star Treat Williams was 71. Motorcycle accident. This is a great interview with Treat--Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Collosal Podcast.

=U.S. Olympic Ski Jumper Patrick Gasienca was 24. Motorcycle accident. 







*The Daily Herald Brings Home the Hardware

=It was a big week for The Daily Herald. They won prizes in general excellence from the Illinois Press Association and the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors. They also won 11 other first place prizes from the IPA (community service, editorial page, government beat reporting, spot news photo, general news photo, portrait/personality photo, sports photo, single page design, newspaper design, headline writing, and special section). 



*Jay Mariotti Takes Shots at Chicago Sports Press

=In a substack piece the former Sun Times columnist wrote about the problems with the New York Times sports publication The Athletic, Mariotti turned his arrows on Chicago sports media coverage as well. Read it and see if you agree with him or not. 


*US House Votes Unanimously to Demand Release of WSJ Reporter

=It’s good to see the vote total on this. It was 422-0. Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is being held by Russia on incredibly dubious grounds. 



*Illinois Bans Book Banning

=As a publisher, I’m obviously on board with this. The Chicago Sun Times has the full story.

*Washington Post Publisher & CEO Steps Down

=Fred Ryan had been at the helm of the Washington Post for the past nine years. His replacement, at least for now, will be a long-time associate of Jeff Bezos, Amazon board member Patty Stonesifer




*Music Publishers Sue Twitter for $250 Million

=The reason for this lawsuit is that Twitter allows people to post music without a license. More details are here. 



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.

EveryCubEver interview with Garry Meier

EveryCubEver interview with Andrea Darlas

Minutia Men: Breaking Up with Taylor Swift

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: Shatner's Hairpiece

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Classic: Gate Crasher Fred Karger

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Season Finale

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Eric Litt

From the Eckhartz Book Shelf: Grammar Moses

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