Saturday, August 12, 2023

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Friday, August 11, 2023

Media Notebook--8-11-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)



*Chicago Radio Ratings/July

=The new numbers came out this week. The top ten stations overall are…

WLIT (7.0)

WDRV (6.1)

WXRT (5.7)

WBBM-AM (5.0)

WUSN (4.1)

WOJO (3.9)

WVAZ (3.8)

WLS-FM (3.5)

WTMX (3.5)

WGN (3.2)

=That number for WXRT is a huge one. They went up over a full ratings point since last month (from 4.6).  Those numbers might have come from the Drive (WDRV) which was .7 lower than last month. To see all the numbers, click here.



*A New Ratings System is Coming

=Nielsen is going to replace their diaries with a “a modernized method of data collection, optimized for use on mobile phones, as well as usage on tablets and PCs.” It’s not scheduled to take hold until 2025, but in the meantime, media companies are obviously going to have to adjust, like they did when Arbitron’s PPM emerged. Inside Radio has the details.


*US-99’s Scotty Kay Goes Over the Edge for Make-A-Wish

=This is a heartwarming story. I give Scotty lots of credit. Zero chance that I would have the guts to do this.


*Marc Silverman

=Jeff Agrest had a piece in The Sun-Times this week about Marc “Silvy” Silverman, and his return to his Bears roots. Silvy will be a big part of the Bears radio broadcasts beginning this season.



*Congratulations Robert Feder

=Former media columnist Robert Feder had a big weekend. His daughter Emily got married. I only met Emily once, when she was a kid, and she was very kind to my son with special needs. I’ll never forget that. Good people. (Photo from Robert Feder's Facebook page)



*Joe Who’s House

=Do you remember the old AM 1000 radio psychic Joe Who? He passed away a few years ago, but he disappeared off the grid long before that. It turns out that he and his partner lived in this truly odd house in Somonauk, about an hour outside of Chicago. His partner is selling it now. This is the listing. Check it out. It doesn’t look like any house you’ve seen before. List price is $475,000.



*Walgreens Using Classical Music to Scare Away Homeless People

=Not sure how the folks at WFMT feel about this story. Not that Walgreens is blaring WFMT, but they are blaring the same music. I remember being irritated when I heard the US Government was blaring Led Zeppelin music outside of Manuel Noriega’s compound to annoy him. What’s wrong with Zeppelin? 




=I think WBEZ’s Dave Miska says it perfectly. I saw a lot of happy faces last weekend, and I’m a hippy boomer.


*Dick Biondi interview

=Another treasure from the past, posted this week at Chicago Radio Archives and Memories from the Bill Schenold collection. This interview of Dick Biondi goes back to 1985.

=The Dick Biondi movie is getting another screening in Bolingbrook on September 7. For more information, click here.



*Why Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall Never Worked for the Orioles

=This story about Orioles broadcaster Kevin Brown is disturbing. Seems like he was yanked off the Orioles broadcasts because he pointed out how bad they have been the last few years…even though they are one of the best teams in the league currently. (Rumor is he will be re-instated today)


*Podcast Corner

=From the “Everybody-has-a-podcast-now” department. Add Kristin Cavallari to the list. You may remember her from her reality-TV days, and her marriage to Bears QB Jay Cutler. Her podcast is about relationships.


*Bob Pittman Talks about AI

=Pittman is the CEO of iHeartMedia, so when talks about AI (which he did at the morning show boot camp), it might be worth your while to hear (or read) what he has to say. Click here.

*Radio Ink Honors Andy Travis

=Andy Travis is, of course, the fictional program director of WKRP in Cincinnati. Gary Sandy played him, and he will be receiving an award in Cincinnati from the industry trade publication, Radio Ink. More about that story here. 


*Rest in Peace

=Victor Parra was the host of the Mambo Express radio show, which aired over the years at WBEZ and WDCB. The Sun Times obituary is here.




*August 6—Fahey Flynn birthday

=Fahey Flynn was born this week in 1916. He also passed away this week in 1983. Fahey was one of the most popular and successful television news anchors in Chicago history, especially during his time paired with Joel Daly at Channel 7.


 *August 6, 1997.

=Five men in a limo at the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards. This is a legendary video featuring five of the biggest voice over stars of the era.  


*August 6—Elizabeth Hess birthday

=Elizabeth worked at WJMK and WCKG in Chicago, and later co-hosted a show on WDWS-Champaign Urbana.


*August 6—Michelle Jensen birthday

=Michelle was in sales/marketing/promotion at WJMK and WTMX, and at one time was married to former WLUP/WLS jock/production man Scott Dirks.


*August 6—Tom Kent birthday

=Kent is a veteran of the WLS music era. He is now the president of the Tom Kent Radio Network, which syndicates programming to 600 stations nationwide.


*August 6—Lisa Dooley birthday

=Lisa has worked in sales/marketing/promotions in Chicago radio (B-96, WJMK) and television (Comcast, EffectV).


*August 7—Lorna Ozmon birthday

=Lorna was an air personality (WKQX), and program director (WTMX) in Chicago. She is now a very successful radio consultant and has been for decades.


*August 7—Chuck Knapp birthday

=Chuck is another alumni of the WLS-AM music era (1971-1972) and WCFL. The Top 40 jock also snapped this photo of John Landecker and his daughters that John used as the cover for his HOF edition of Records Truly Is My Middle Name.


*August 7—Peter Jennings dies (2005)

=The legendary ABC News anchor had a long and distinguished career, serving first as the London correspondent for ABC, before becoming the main anchor of the network nightly newscast. He passed away after a battle with cancer, this week in 2005.


*August 8, 1958—Deborah Norville birthday

=The host of Inside Edition worked locally here at Channel 5. For one of the greatest stories you’ll ever hear about Deborah, check out cameraman Chuck Quinzio’s book Life Behind the Camera.

*August 9—Bob Sirott birthday

=The WGN Morning man is being inducted into the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in September. Click here to read my most recent profile of Bob from 2021. As you can see, he and his wife Marianne (also celebrating a birthday this week) still hobnob with the glitterati. Recognize anyone in these photos?


*August 9--Fred Weintraub birthday

=Fred is a Renaissance man. He co-hosts a radio show from all over the globe, covers the Royal family, and handles the local high school sports programming for WCIU-TV. I interviewed him in 2020.

* August 1993

=30 years ago this week, Jackie Bange joined WGN-TV as a general assignment reporter, and then was later named co-anchor of the WGN Morning News from January to October 1995 before moving to weekend evenings.


*August 11--Andrea Darlas birthday

 =The former WGN reporter/anchor (both radio and television) now works for her alma mater, the University of Illinois. I interviewed Andrea about that last year for the Illinois Entertainer. Click on her name, and you can also read the first interview I did with her back in 2007.


*August 11—Barry Butler birthday

=The best photographer of all-things Chicago is also a radio man, currently working for Hubbard broadcasting. I interviewed him for my podcast in 2019.

*August 12—Marianne Murciano birthday

=Murciano was the co-host of Fox Thing in the Morning (WFLD-TV) and also co-hosted radio shows on WGN and WLS with her husband Bob Sirott. I interviewed both of them in 2014 for Illinois Entertainer.

*August 12—Ron Smith birthday

=Ron was a well-regarded music programmer (especially in the Oldies genre) and wrote several books about Chicago radio music charts. I interviewed him in 2011 for Chicago Radio Spotlight. He passed away a few years ago.

*August 12--Lauren Jiggetts birthday

=The popular WGN-TV anchor is the daughter of former Chicago Bears lineman (and broadcaster) Dan Jiggetts.






*Still no progress on strike

=But at least they are meeting now to talk about having a meeting. It’s better than nothing. 

=It’s already the third longest strike (over 100 days) in WGA history.

=The Emmy's have been moved to January 15.



*Nexstar Adopting Moneyball Strategy

=That’s their description, not mine. CEO Perry Sook is talking about the way they are approaching programming at the CW, which they own. This is from Variety: “To drive the growth of the network we are making, quote, ‘Moneyball’-inspired investments in content that matters to the broadcast viewer, including live sports, in order to grow our distribution and advertising revenues.”

=If you don’t speak fluent corporate (like me), you’ll probably want to read the article to get a better idea of what that means. 



*Rest in Peace

=Johnny Hardwick

=William Friedkin.

One of the greatest directors of all-time passed away this week. He was 87. Here’s something I didn’t know about Friedkin. “After graduating from Senn High School on Chicago’s North Side in 1953, Mr. Friedkin took a job in the mailroom of the local television station WGN. Within a few years he had worked his way up to director, turning out hundreds of shows, from Bozo’s Circus to live performances of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as documentaries.”   From Bozo’s Circus to The French Connection!

=Mark R. Krueger

Krueger was a highly regarded high school and college sports announcer. Fred Weintraub, Executive Producer of Game of the Week for CW26 & WCIU-TV, said: “I’ve worked with Mark for almost two decades. In addition to his ability to find joy in any situation he was a skilled broadcaster, who was at any stadium hours before a game with his pages of notes. Mark could work any on -air position because he was always prepared and had a deep respect for high school athletes. Saying he will be missed from my broadcast is an understatement." The Sun Times has the story.

=Robert Swan.

He was a Chicagoan, and appeared in some great films, including “Hoosiers”, “Rudy”, “The Babe”, “The Untouchables” and more. 






*Neil Steinberg: What I can’t Say Anymore

=The not-for-profit status of The Sun Times ownership has left Neil Steinberg unable to endorse a particular candidate. He explains. 



*The New York Times Reports Profit

=This is no small matter in the print/digital media world. The New York Times is actually quite profitable these days. $46 million in profit for the second quarter. 






*The Latest on the Musk-Zuckerberg Cage Match

=Musk is now considering changing it to a "noble debate." Oooh. Where do I tune in for that?

*X (Twitter) fined $350,000

=They were subpoenaed for Trump’s Twitter account information and refused to provide it in a timely manner. That was enough to get them fined. A court order is a court order, even if you have $180 billion.


*NAB & CAB Rip Meta for Blocking news

=Instagram and Facebook’s parent company is in trouble with the National Association of Broadcasters and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters for blocking news stories. 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...

Minutia Men returns next week

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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.

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, August 10, 2023

RIP Robbie Robertson

He was 80 years old. This is my favorite song from The Band, and my favorite presentation of it, on the song's 50th anniversary.