Friday, August 25, 2023

Media Notebook--8-25-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)



*Joey Boy Leaves B-96

=He announced the news on his Instagram feed this week:

I’ve decided to take my “talents” back to Phoenix‼️ I have made a personal decision to come back HOME. First to be with ALL my kids and loved ones. And secondly, to focus on my well being, as well as my attention on the Valley. Rockin for you Mornings, on Live 101.5‼️ With that said. The other members of the show decided to still rock for you in Chicago and I wish them nothing but good luck and success.

=The show, which had been simulcasting in Phoenix, will simulcast no more. The rest of the B-96 show is Aneesh Ratan, Jeana Shepard and Karla Hernandez. The station is looking for a replacement for Joey Boy. Click here if you want to know more.


*National Radio Day

=I always look forward to National Radio Day (August 20). It’s a great day to see old pictures from radio’s heyday. This one is my favorite from this year’s batch. Sky Daniels



*ESPN Radio Changing Transmitters

=I’ve actually been out to the old transmitter, which still has the WCFL call letters on it. ESPN 1000 announced this week they have applied to move to a new transmitter, 20 miles south, at the night site of WCPT’s tower in Willow Springs. Good Karma (owner of ESPN 1000) is not selling the old transmitter because they never owned it. It still belongs to Disney. ESPN would still be 50,000kw during the day, and 38,000kw during the night.



*50 Years of Charlie Meyerson

=Charlie’s career has included stops at WXRT, WNUA, and WGN, and he is currently the editor-in-chief of Chicago Public Square, but this week also marks the 50th anniversary of his career launch at the University of Illinois radio station WPGU. Congrats to Charlie.


*Bernie Tafoya Steps Back

=In case you missed it, at the end of June, WBBM morning reporter Bernie Tafoya announced he was stepping back from his full-time reporting job after (only) 37 years at the radio station, and 25 years as the morning reporter. I know what you’re thinking. “But I still hear him on the air!” Well, it’s not a full-fledged retirement. Bernie just cut down to three days a week.

=How tough of a reporter is Bernie? He’s a southside Cubs fan. I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2009. 


*Calling all podcasters!

=This year’s Chicago’s Arts in the Dark parade, a parade of Chicago artists, is also inviting podcasters to participate. If you’re a podcaster and you’d like to participate (there’s no fee), e-mail and ask for all the information. They will send it to you. The parade is on October 21st from 4:30-8pm.


*Podcast Corner

=The 2023 Most Powerful People in Podcasting

=iHeart starting up a True Crime podcast network. 

=White noise podcasts are costing Spotify millions. It’s algorithm related. 

=A podcast about sobriety. 

=NPR’s podcast chief is leaving. 


*Pick the Winner

=These four media pros (Andrea Darlas, Rick DiMaio, Kathy Voltmer, and John Dempsey) golfed together this week. Guess who won? (*The answer at the end of the column)





*August 21—Joel Daly birthday

=The late great newscaster would have been 89 today. My publishing company Eckhartz Press published Joel Daly's book The Daly News in 2014.  My co-publisher David Stern and I had monthly breakfasts with Joel until he got too sick. He was a great storyteller. Joel seemingly met every major historical figure from the second half of the 20th century.

*August 21—Steve Johnson birthday

=The former arts and culture writer for the Chicago Tribune has always been one of my favorite local writers.


*August 21—Joe Strummer birthday

=The late Clash guitarist obviously isn’t a member of the Chicago media world, but I do have this picture of him with former WXRT great Bobby Skafish (from Bobby’s book: We Have Company

 *August 21—Marcella Raymond birthday

=The former WGN-TV reporter (she just stepped down in June ’23) owns her own public relations firm, Marcella Raymond Media.


*August 21—John Filo birthday

=Who is John Filo, you ask? He’s just the guy who won the Pulitzer Prize for taking this photo during the Kent State Massacre. I interviewed him on the 50th anniversary. The story of how he happened to be there to take that photo, and what it took to get it to a newspaper, is a great one. Filo went on to become an executive at CBS.

*August 22—Alison Moran birthday

=Alison is a trailblazer in covering women’s sports. I interviewed her in 2012 for Chicago Radio Spotlight


*August 22—Darrin Jackson birthday

=The White Sox radio analyst.


*August 23, 1991—The World Wide Web

=It’s not that long ago. Think how much it has changed the world. The World Wide Web officially opened to the public this week in 1991.


*August 25—Ken Zurski birthday

=Ken is a long-time radio traffic reporter (currently working in Peoria), but he’s also an author. His book is called The Wreck of the Columbia

August 26—Ernie Scatton birthday

=Ernie was one of the blade men (old term, look it up) at ESPN Radio in Chicago for many years.

*August 26—Vicki Truax birthday

=Vicki Truax was a traffic reporter and morning co-host at WJMK in the 1990s. She was also married to the late sportscaster Tim Weigel.

*August 26, 1968—The Whole World is Watching

=This is the anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which famously ended with a nasty confrontation between Chicago police and war protestors. A friend of mine, local Chicago actor (and son of the police chief at the time) Johnny Conlisk was there. He wrote about that day for myblog a few years ago. 



*The Air & Water Show

=Barry Butler took the best pictures…

=Christian Piekos Rode with the US Air Force Thunderbirds, as part of Channel 7’s coverage of last weekend’s Air & Water show

=Stephan Holt Rode with the US Army Golden Knights, as part of Channel 5’s coverage of last weekend’s Air & Water show.

=All well and good but check this out.


*Ex-Chicago TV

=Remember Larry Mendte? He was controversial anchor/reporter here in Chicago during his television days at Channel 2 (1991-1995). He is now a conservative talk radio news director. Details are here.


*Strike Update

=The two sides are talking at least, although the latest offer was rejected by the union yesterday.

*ESPN Announces New Monday Night Countdown crew

=Suzy Kolber had been the host of the show in previous seasons. She was let go this summer. The new host is Scott Van Pelt. The rest of the crew is noted here. 


*Guess Who is a Cult Hero Now?

=Would you believe it’s Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company? I definitely didn’t see this one coming. The New York Times has the story. 


*Cable News Corner

=Is Newsmax shaking down non-Trump candidates to appear on their network? 

=CNN considering NYT editor for new boss


*Rest in Peace

=Ron Cephas Jones

The “This Is Us” star was only 66 years old.

=David Jacobs

He was the creator of Dallas and Knot’s Landing




*What happened to theater in Chicago?

=An in-depth piece by Tribune theater critic Chris Jones about an industry devastated by COVID.

*Froomkin vs. Baker

=Dan Froomkin was a reporter for the Washington Post for years and is now a media critic. This piece about New York Times reporter Peter Baker is quite the take-down.

 *Rest in Peace

=John Warnock

Creator of the PDF. He was 82.



*More Twitter Controversies

= Elon Musk to Limit Block Feature. Trolls will now have free reign. Just what everybody wants. 

=Twitter will now also remove news headlines. Forbes has the story. 


*The winner of the golf outing was Kathy Voltmer.

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 Podcast: Spiders, Frogs, and Gorillas

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Podcast: Jim Peterik & Larry Millas from the Ides of March

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: New Season Kickoff

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 24, 2023

From the Eckhartz Bookshelf: Mob Adjacent

  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 Mob Adjacent, by Jeffrey & Michael Gentile.


Mob Adjacent: A Family Memoir takes an acid trip down memory lane as brothers Jeffrey and Michael Gentile, Jr. discover a parallel world hidden behind a suburban façade. For them, The Wonder Years collides with The Sopranos. Mobsters come to dinner, contract hits come with warning notices, and thieves deliver merchandise and people. How does something like that happen to an ordinary family?

Blame it on the company they keep. Friends and acquaintances include legendary crime boss Sam Giancana, Jackie Cerone; and an assortment of hoodlums, gangsters, bone-breakers, and second-story guys, with cameo appearances by Tony Accardo, Frank Sinatra, Leo Durocher, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Joan Collins, Liza Minelli, and Elizabeth Taylor. For the Gentile brothers, life at the intersection of Hoodlum and Gangster yields dividends and teaches lessons. This is their story.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Loop Files


 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. If you want to read them, search under The Loop Files on this blog.

I wrote the first draft of the book during my July sabbatical. Fine tuning it now. It will be available for sale by the end of the year. 

I really think you're going to like this one.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Mitch Michaels

    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. Mitch Michaels wrote a great memoir about his radio days. The book is called "Doin the Cruise"

Mitch Michaels


Mitch Michaels is an American rock and roll radio disc jockey who has helped define the Chicago radio landscape for more than 45 years. Known for his contributions to many spots on the Windy City radio dial, he is most prominently known for helping start WXRT-FM, and for his work at WKQX-FM, “The Loop” WLUP-FM, WCKG-FM and WERV-FM “The River” in Aurora. Mitch has been on the air since his first radio job at WHFS-FM in Bethesda, MD in 1968.