Friday, August 04, 2023

Media Notebook--8-4-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)

Happy to be back in the saddle.




*The 2023 inductees to the Radio Hall of Fame are

  • 102.9 WMGK Philadelphia morning host John DeBella
  • Longtime “The Big 98” WSIX Nashville morning host Gerry House
  • WNEW/WCBS-FM and SiriusXM host Pat St. John.
  • Former WAAF Boston, WIYY Baltimore, and KISW/KZOK Seattle morning host Bob Rivers.
  • American Top 40 host Shadoe Stevens
  • NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg.
  • WLIB/WBLS New York and Inner City Broadcasting executive Charles Warfield.
  • RadioInk publisher Deborah Parenti.

=Chicago is shut out this year, unfortunately.

=Quick story about one of the inductees, Bob Rivers. When he was in Baltimore back in 1988, he did that old “stay on the billboard until my team wins” stunt when the Orioles started the season off winless. One of my first jobs as Steve & Garry’s producer was to get a phone number for him so they could make fun of him.



*Illinois Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

=This month’s Illinois Entertainer is out and features my interview with Ron Romero from the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. You can read it here.


*New boss at Hubbard

=While I was on my July hiatus, Hubbard Radio announced the appointment of Keith Lawless as VP/Market Manager for The Drive, the Mix, and WSHE. Lawless comes from Tampa where he had a 25-year run with Cox Media.


*All Access Shuts its Doors

=Another radio/media/music publication is going away. Joel Denver’s All Access is shutting down after 28 years on August 15th. It was purely a financial decision, as Denver said “the money just isn’t there anymore to continue.” These staffers are now available.



=When I was a kid I believed the Beatles all lived in the same house (like in the movie “Help”) and hung around with each other all the time. Turns out that wasn’t true, but you know what is true? All Chicago sportscasters live in the same house and hang out together. Here is the evidence. From left to right. Chuck Swirsky, Mike Monaco, Zach Zaidman, Adam Amin, Jason Benetti, Jon Wiedeman, Darrin Jackson and Jeff Joniak. I wonder where their house is. Looks like it’s near the river.

=Where was Pat Hughes? Oh, no big whoop, he was just being inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

=The Daily Herald interviewed fellow HOFer Bob Costas. He thinks that the late Cubs announcer Jack Quinlan should also be in the hall. 

*Abe Kanan leaves Angi Taylor show

=Abe was a fixture on the Angi Taylor Show at 95.5 FM (Rock 95.5) for nearly three years as the co-host and executive producer of the show. The station and Kanan were unable to agree on a contract, which officially ended his time here. Kanan previously worked at Q-101 and the Loop.


*Lin Brehmer is a finalist for Personality of the Year

=Chicago may have been shut out of the Radio Hall of Fame this year but look who was nominated for the prestigious Marconi Award for Major Market Personality of the Year: the late great Lin Brehmer. 

=August will be Lin Brehmer month in Chicago. You’ve probably heard about the tribute concert to Lin at the Metro, but did you know the Cubs are also joining in the celebration?


 *Cubs Song Emerges

=Speaking of the Cubs, check out this story in the Sun-Times about a recently discovered Cubs song from six decades ago. 



*Chicago Radio Ratings

=It’s almost time for a new batch of ratings information, but in case you missed the June numbers while I was gone, you can find them here. Also, Jeff Agrest of the Sun-Times analyzed the battle of the sports radio outlets.

*Orion Samuelson Being Honored at McHenry County Fair

=The legendary broadcaster was on Lisa Dent's show on WGN this week discussing the honor.

*Johnny B

=Chicago loves Jonathon Brandmeier, and right now we’re rooting for him even more. Johnny announced another health scare involving his vocal cords.

=On the other hand, he sure sounds good. Score listeners were recently treated to a Johnny B appearance on the Parkins & Spiegel show.


*Dave Kerner Health Scare

=The recently retired radio reporter Dave Kerner also has been undergoing some pretty serious health issues these past two weeks. He updated his Facebook friends with this report…

Three days after coming home following the placement of two stents in my heart, I experienced some pain on my right side (near rib cage) to the point of not being able to lie down and sleep.Toughed it out until Monday when I called doctors and they arranged a late Monday afternoon scan. Four hours after the scan, my cardiologist calls me and says he’s concerned enough I should go back to hospital ER. Another two day stay, more tests and the result of a small blood clot and a small amount of fluid in a lung, both treatable without surgery. I’m back home again. Medical people watching my back. And more that has happened to me and my health in the last 11 days than the other 65-plus years put together. But again, VERY GRATEFUL.



*Cisco Cotto’s new gig

=He’ll still be working at WBBM-AM, but...



*U of C radio station facing trouble

=U of Chicago’s student run radio station has had its budget slashed, and the students and alumni fear for the station’s future. Block Club Chicago has the details.


*Ex-Chicago Radio

=Remember Don Geronimo? The former B-96 and WLS personality has been in Washington DC at WBIG-FM for years now, but this week they showed him the door after an on-air incident involving sexist comments toward a local Washington TV anchor. Details are here.

=Don’s apology was posted yesterday. It’s too late to save him, but it’s still the right thing to do.

=Brad White attended the Illinois Center of Broadcasting and got his career start as a board op at WLIT. Well, talk about working your way up the ladder! Last week iHeartMedia announced that Brad has been named as the Program Director of one of America’s most respected rock stations, KBCO in Boulder-Denver. He has been working at the station and its Denver sister stations since 2003.



*Rest in Peace

We lost a few local legends over the past month. All of them are big losses…

=Dick Biondi was one of the all-time greats.

 =Tom Teuber was a legendary programmer, especially during his time here in Chicago at WMET.

=Charlie Warner was the man who brought Bob Pittman to Chicago when he ran WKQX. This list by Inside Radio mentions some of the others who were mentored by Charlie. Not on the list are some of the people he hired in Chicago, including Mitch Michaels, Lorna Ozmon, and Bob Heymann.

=Frank Cody was the father of the Smooth Jazz format.






*August 1—Joe Collins death

=It would be difficult to find someone more universally loved than former Chicago traffic reporter Joe Collins. I had the chance to interview him for Illinois Entertainer just a few months before he passed away. 


*August 3—Scott Placko birthday

=Channel 2 cameraman/photographer Scott is the younger brother of Fox-32 reporter Dane.


August 3--Jerry G. Bishop birthday

=The anniversary of Chicago broadcasting icon Jerry G. Bishop’s birth was this week. His protégé (as both Svengoolie and in radio) was Rich Koz. When I interviewed Koz in 2009, he went into a little more detail about what Jerry G. meant to him. Worth a read.


*August 4, 1957—Robin Robinson birthday

=For many years Robin anchored the marquee newscast at Fox-32. She retired a few years ago after a distinguished career.


*August 4—Phil Manicki birthday

=Former Loop/Drive jock was a fixture of rock radio in Chicago for decades. My 2019 Illinois Entertainer interview with Phil is here. 


*August 5—Geoff Pinkus birthday

Geoff is a former WIND/WCKG talker. My 2008 Chicago Radio Spotlight interview with Geoff is here. 





*New Role for Sarah Jindra at WGN-TV

=Today was her last day as a traffic reporter on WGN-TV. She begins a new role as the co-host of a new show called Spotlight Chicago in September. (It was air at 3pm on WGN-TV). This is a look back at her traffic reporting career.


*No end in sight for writers/actors strike

=What does our media consumption future hold? The New York Times took a crack at answering the question we’ve all been wondering about. 



*Cable News Corner

=Kirstin Powers Exits CNN

=Ray Epps Sues Fox News


*Dick Vitale has Vocal-Cord Cancer

=The basketball announcing icon shared the bad news with his fans a few weeks ago. ABC-7 has the story.


*Mark Jackson out at ESPN

=You’ve probably heard about the many layoffs at ESPN over the past few weeks. The NBA crew in particular has been shaken up. Jeff Van Gundy was shoved out recently. This week they said farewell to Mark Jackson.


*Vanna White signs partial deal

=When I signed off at the end of June, Vanna was in a holdout with Wheel of Fortune, trying to secure a raise. She got part of what she wanted. If you read between the lines, it doesn’t sound like she’ll get all of it.


*Rest in Peace

We lost a few greats in the television/film world as well.

=Paul Reubens/Pee Wee Herman was 70.

=You may not know the name Jack Reed, but you’ve seen famous actors portray him.

=Katie Spikes






*Twitter is gone

One person who didn’t go on a hiatus in July was Elon Musk. He’s been in the news constantly.

=Elon Musk changes Twitter name and logo

=Elon Musk sued for blowing off severance for workers

=Elon Musk sues not-for-profit that tracks hate speech

I've been working on an exciting book and will have details about that book in the coming weeks. My podcasts and regular blog features will return next week.

As usual, if you have any media news you'd like to share, drop me a line at