Friday, September 01, 2023

Media Notebook--9-1-23


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

(By Rick Kaempfer)



*Taylor Swift, the Movie

=The most popular recording artist in the world is coming back to Chicago. If you missed her shows here, don't fret. Starting Friday, October 13th, the movie of her tour will hit town.

*The folds of her belly fat

=Peggy Kusinski from ESPN Radio (AM 1000) scored this juicy scoop. The person in question has denied she did this, and so has Jerry Reinsdorf, but it's a visual I've had a hard time shaking this week.

 *The Story of Ed Zeppelin

=Once upon a time there was a radio personality named Kevin Matthews. He was a huge star at AM 1000. Kevin also donned the persona of Ed, a parody of WGN Radio’s overnight man Eddie Schwartz, and fronted a band called Ed Zeppelin. They played to sold out audiences all around Chicagoland. That story is the story of this film, which will debut on October 5th at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles. Kevin will be there in person. Mancow Muller will be there too, as will comedian (and WGN-TV Morning New’s) Mike Toomey. Tickets are available here. 

=I will be there too. Full disclosure: I’m the director of this film, and my son is the editor. It’s really quite good.


 *NAB to honor James Brown

=CBS sportscaster James Brown will be the recipient of the NAB's 2023 Distinguished Service Award (NAB DSA). Brown will be honored during the NAB Marconi Awards Dinner on October 25 at NAB Show New York.

*Rewound Radio

=A special treat for radio geeks like me. is once again doing a flashback weekend featuring classic WLS and WCFL radio shows from their Top-40 heyday. It begins tomorrow morning and runs all weekend long.


*Podcast Corner

=Dr. Seuss Podcasts are coming. Wondery signed a deal this week with Dr. Seuss enterprises. 

=YouTube has surpassed both Spotify and Apple as a destination for podcasts

=Stats on podcast listenership reveals that 56% of Americans listen to at least one. 22% listen to more than 5 hours a week. Inside Radio has more stats. 


*The 2023 Streamy Awards

=Yes, it’s a real thing. Find out who won the awards by clicking here. 


*Rest in Peace

=Tony Roberts

Long time Notre Dame Radio broadcaster Tony Roberts, play by play voice for Notre Dame football from 1980-2006. He was 94.

*Media Golf

=Star studded foursome hit the links this week. Left to right, Bernie Tafoya, David W. Berner, Pat Cassidy, and Mitch Michaels. I asked Bernie who won. If you'd like to know his response, it's at the bottom of this column.*


Media Birthdays/Milestones


*August 26, 1963—"I Have a Dream” speech in Washington.

=It’s not often that a President of the United States writes an op-ed, but President Biden did this week, about the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech

*August 27—Ron Magers birthday

=Magers has been retired for a few years now, but he had a legendary run as a news anchor in Chicago at both NBC-5 and ABC-7.


*August 27—Joe Cicero birthday

=Joe is the morning man at Star 105.5. I interviewed him for Illinois Entertainer a few years ago.

*August 27—Dan McNeil birthday

=I’ve interviewed the former Score, ESPN, Drive, and Loop host many times over the past few decades, but I think this 2004 piece I wrote about him for Lake Magazine is the best.

*August 29—Tom Couch birthday

=Couch is the former creative director for Hubbard Broadcasting in Chicago and WXRT. He is now with Noteworthy Media.


*August 29—Michael Jackson birthday

=Hard to picture, but he would have been 65 years old this week.


*August 30—Mark Zander birthday

=Zander has worked at several stations in Chicago, including the Loop, ESPN, WCKG, and Me-TV FM. I’ve interviewed him a few times, including this one from 2007.


*August 30, 1993

=It’s the 30th anniversary of David Letterman’s first Late Show on CBS. The entire show is on YouTube if you’d like to watch it. The first guest was Bill Murray.


*August 31—Robert Jordan birthday

=Jordan retired a few years ago after a long and productive career on WGN-TV. This photo is from Rich King’s book “Ike & Me” (L-R: King, Ramsey, Bange, and Jordan)


*August 31, 1997--Princess Diana's death

=News that shocked the world. This is how the news was reported in England.

*September 1, 1972

=Bobby Fisher wins the Match of the Century and becomes first ever American chess champion.

*September 2--Bill Cochran birthday

=Cochran isn’t just one of the great voice-over guys in radio (WXRT, WNUA, ME-TV), he has a band that recreates classic albums on stage. I got a chance to talk to him about that back in 2017


*September 2—Jim DeRogatis birthday

=Jim is the co-host of Sound Opinions with Greg Kot, which is now a podcast, after a long run on WXRT and WBEZ. The show originally got it’s start on Eddie Schwartz’s overnight show on AM 1000 (with Bill Wyman in place of Kot).  

*September 2—JoBo Colborn birthday

=Jobo was on B-96 for 26 years. An incredible run.





*Jim Rose Retires

=Channel 7 sports anchor Jim Rose announced this week that he will be stepping down. His last show will be September 15.  He told the Tribune: “The quote I like to use is, nobody beats Father Time. Now that said, I turned 70 in July and I’m in excellent health. I get a health checkup every six months just because I want to, and my health is, as pilots say, right on the glide path and glide center. But this seemed like the perfect time to call it a career. I have had more of a career than a man is really entitled to.”



*Univision Crew Robbed While Reporting on Uptick in Robberies

=This story is more than a little disturbing. 



*Jay Cutler is Back

=He has been named to the "Inside the NFL" team. The show airs in Chicago on the CW Network. The first episode will be Tuesday night. The other hosts of the show are Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, Chad Johnson, and Chris Long. I suspect at least one of those other co-hosts will intercept Jay's first topic.

*Steve Sanders Wedding

=Congratulations to former WGN-TV anchorman Steve Sanders…



*Strike Update

=SAG/AFTRA “remains ready at a moment’s notice” to resume talks. 


*New Host Coming to Meet the Press/September 17

=It’s Welker Time.



*Cable News Corner

=CNN names new boss. 

=Geraldo Boats into the Sunset


*Rest In Peace

=Bob Barker

The former Price is Right host (and Adam Sandler fighter) was 99 years old.

=Arlene Sorkin

Emmy-award winning Days of our Lives actress. Voice-over talent from Batman cartoon. Wife of Christopher Lloyd. She was 67 years old.

=Joe the Plumber

He was all over television during the 2008 presidential campaign. His real name was Samuel Wurzelbacher. Pancreatic cancer claimed his life. He was only 49.

=Nicholas Hitchen

He was featured in a series of British documentaries beginning at a young age. He later became a professor at the University of Wisconsin. He was 65.





*The Daily Tar Heel

=The day after the shooting on the North Carolina campus, this was the powerful front page of the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. (Click to enlarge). This is the story of how and why they did it this way.


*Barstool Sports Layoffs

=Dave Portnoy announced the layoffs on Wednesday calling it a "no brainer" because the company has been losing so much money. More information here.

*Wall Street Journal Reporter Detained by Russia for Another 3 Months

=The story of Evan Gershkovich doesn’t seem to be getting better any time soon. 

*Bernie Tafoya's response about who won the golf outing? "We all did, cuz we had a good time." (So, my guess is that Bernie didn't win)

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: New episode coming tomorrow

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Podcast: Blues/Rock Guitar Hero Lance Lopez

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Mo Woes

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 31, 2023

From the Eckhartz Bookshelf: Monkey in the Middle

   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 Monkey in the Middle by Dobie Maxwell.

For years Dobie Maxwell has been told that his incredible life story should be a book. This is it. Dobie was born in Milwaukee, to a biker father and drug abusing mother. When he was only five months old, his mother abandoned him and his two older siblings. Dobie was separated from his siblings and sent to be raised by his paternal grandparents. It was there, in his grandparents’ neighborhood, that Dobie befriended another societal misfit. The two became best friends.

Years later as Dobie pursued his dream as a professional comedian and radio personality, that same “friend” robbed a local bank. He used Dobie as his unknowing getaway driver as they took a cross country trip to Las Vegas in a rental car in Dobie’s name. The same friend robbed the same bank again two years later. This time he did it disguised as a Gorilla Gram–a robbery so audacious it made all the local television news programs. Who would have done such a thing? Law enforcement thought it just might be the work of a comedian, and all trails led to Dobie.

Dobie was dragged into the story against his will, and eventually had to make the excruciating choice of either testifying against his life-long friend in court or going to prison for crimes he did not commit.

Monkey in the Middle is hilarious, tragic, joyous, dark, and smart. In short, it’s just like the real life narrator of the story; Dobie Maxwell himself.


  • “If you grew up in Milwaukee in the 1970s or ’80s, you knew about Samson – the huge, famous and hugely famous gorilla that resided at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Samson, who now resides in that “jungle in the sky,” thrilled generations of visitors, even when he was eating and sleeping. Dobie Maxwell’s book, Monkey in the Middle, tells the tale of a much lesser-known gorilla / bank robber in our shared hometown. Once you start reading this story, you might not feel like eating or sleeping until you’ve finished. It’s a story of friendship, loyalty, betrayal and conscience told by a comedian with a knack for pointing out absurdly funny moments during a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride.”

    Drew Olson | On-air host/ESPN Wisconsin
  • “It is a sad fact of the human condition that we are entertained by the misfortune of others. That is why Dobie Maxwell calls himself “Mr. Lucky.” He takes the body blows that life has dealt him and makes them into stories for your amusement. None is better than the story told here of two life-long friends – guys who counted on one another – gone wrong with bank robberies, the FBI, police lineups and all the intrigue of crime story fiction which became all too real for Maxwell. If your best friend’s actions had you in the crosshairs of the FBI, what would you do? Read the story, for Dobie’s answer.”

    Jerry Agar/Talk show host/News Talk 1010—CFRB Toronto
  • “Dickens may have created characters as tragic as Dobie but he could have never written one as funny. I’ve never met anyone who can take pain and heartache and turn it into humor like he can. This book will make you learn how to be more grateful and that you too can learn to roll with the punches.”

    -Ted Perry, Long Time Milwaukee TV News Anchor

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Our Latest Book



  • Maggie-Smith-87x150

    Maggie Smith

    Maggie Smith is the managing editor of this Write City Review collection. She is a Chicago Writers Association board member, the managing editor of The Write City Magazine, and the author of the 2022 novel Truth and Other Lies Read More


The Write City Review – Volume 4 is an anthology of poetry, short stories, essays, and book excerpts drawn from the Chicago Writers Association’s online publication, The Write City Magazine.

Contributors include: Jake Ashland, Jennifer Brown Banks, H. Bolton, Tiffany Brenneman, Warren Brown, Sarah Clements, Elaine Crauder, Ashwini Gangal, Brittany Garrett, Amina Gautier, Amran Gowani, Emma Grace, Dave Gregory, James Hall, Paul Holler, TB Jardinier, Peycho Kanev, Gavin Kayner, Kara Lark, Susan L. Lin, Richard Luftig, Geralyn Hesslau Magrady, Devin Mainville, Diarmuid o Maolalai, Alison McBain, Elizabeth Moore, Seema Muniz, Dr. Tabitha N. Munyoki, Lekha Murali, Teresa Burns Murphy Maureen, Sauvain O’Connor, Thom Pharmakis, Rita Plush, Patrick T. Reardon, Cheryl L. Reed, Rebekah Rossman, Purbasha Roy, Wayne Scheer, Catherine Shields, Shoshauna Shy, J. Snodgrass, Judy SooHoo, Bryan Starchman, Demi Utley, Ami Watanabe, Mary Wisniewski, Jennifer Worrell, Joyce Burns Zeiss

Get your copy here.

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 28, 2023

Meet the Eckhartz Press Author: Michael Frank Miles

     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. Michael Frank Miles has written two books for us now.

Michael Frank Miles


Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Michael Frank Miles received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Michigan State University. He lives in Evanston, Illinois. Since retiring as a teacher at Evanston Township High School, he has written several books, Perspectives in Black and White being his first, originally published in 2008. A year later came the follow-up, Perspectives in Black and White Book Two: Connecting White Culture with the Black Experience. His third book is a collection of short biographies called The Music That Defined A Century. He has two adult children and three granddaughters.