Friday, September 08, 2023

Media Notebook--9-8-23


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 August numbers are out. The top ten stations in Chicago for the month are as follows…

WLIT 7.7

WDRV 6.2

WXRT 5.0


WVAZ 4.0

WOJO 3.8

WUSN 3.6

WLS-FM 3.4

WBMX 3.4

WTMX 3.4

=The Score had their best month in a long-time, scoring a 3.0, up .5 from last month. Surely the improved Cubs had some impact on that move. The station that increased the most over the past month was WLIT (+ .7).

=The station with the biggest drop was WXRT (-.7), although it was still a very strong number.  WUSN had the second biggest drop (-.5).

=Although they are no longer in the top ten, WGN (3.0) and WBEZ (3.0) posted relatively strong numbers.



*John Howell Dropped by WLS

=John Howell's last show on WLS was Tuesday night. Chicago has lost another live and local radio show. According to an internal memo, Howell is being replaced by Mark Levin, the nationally syndicated right-wing firebrand. Levin will air from 5-8pm weekdays. Michael Knowles will run from 8-9pm, and a replay of Dan Bongino will be on from 9-Midnight.

=Neil Steinberg reacts to the news.



*Max Armstrong Interview



*Ex-Chicago Radio Corner

= You may remember Dave Benson from his time at WXRT and WLUP. He’s now running three internet radio stations. Full details are here. 

=Scott Miller was the afternoon man at WJMK for more than a decade. Still going strong.

=Ex Loop talker Danny Bonaduce sold his house in Seattle for $1.5 million. According to San Francisco Gate, that move was spurred by his recent diagnosis and mobility issues. 


*NPR Boss to Step Down

=NPR’s CEO & President John Lansing announced this week that he will step down at the end of the year. That announcement came via NPR press release. 



*CMA Award Finalist

=Scotty Kay from US-99 is also nominated in the major market personality of the year category.

*Podcast Corner

=Rich Eisen has created an entire podcast network for Cumulus. 

*A Review of Radio Rewind

=Radio Insight took a closer look at the great classic radio weekend over Labor Day. Read it here.

*We Finally Have a New FCC Commissioner

=The idea of the FCC is that are 5 commissioners, 3 from the president's party, and 2 from the minority. Because the minority in the Senate had refused to confirm Biden's choice, we've had four commissioners for three years. That finally changed yesterday. Your new commissioner is Ana Gomez.

The Mystery of Paul McCartney’s Lost Guitar

=The New York Times has a piece this week about the missing bass guitar from Paul’s Beatle days. They are looking for tips. 


*Rest in Peace

= Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy was 76 years old. He wasn’t from Chicago, but he developed a very strong connection to this town through his good friend Steve Goodman. The Cubs paid tribute to Jimmy on Monday by playing his Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch. Johnny B had Jimmy on his Loop morning show many times, including a truly memorable appearance in 1997, when Jimmy arrived at the live broadcast on his bike.

=Gary Wright

The Dream Weaver was 80 years old. He began his career in the band Spooky Tooth but is best remembered for his hit songs “Dream Weaver” and “Love Alive”. 

=Steve Harwell

The lead singer of Smashmouth (“All Star”) was only 56. He died of acute liver failure.

=Mary Gaffney

The award-winning audio engineer was featured in the Chicago Tribune back in 2015. 





*September 4-- John Howell birthday

= If you’re doing the math here, no, John wasn’t let go on his birthday by WLS. It was the day after. I interviewed John for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2007 when he was co-hosting a morning show with Cisco Cotto at WIND.


*September 4--Chris Base birthday

=The former WVON talker now hosts an internet show called BaseLine Saturdays.


*September 4-- Patrick Kampert birthday

=I like to joke with Patrick that people constantly mistake me for him because of the similarities of our names. He is the far more distinguished of the two of us, a former Chicago Tribune editor and reporter.


* September 4, 2014--Roy Leonard death anniversary

=I was lucky enough to have a lengthy chat with Roy back in 2010  and we covered his entire career. After I posted the interview he e-mailed me and said: “Did you actually post every word of our conversation? Nobody wants to hear that much about me.”


* September 5-- Johnnie Putman birthday

=The better half of WGN’s long-time overnight team Steve & Johnnie (that’s Steve description) talked to me for Illinois Entertainer back in 2016 


* September 6-- WGN-TV Morning Show anniversary

=On September 6, 1994, the WGN-TV morning show as we know it today debuted (with Robin Baumgarten, Larry Potash, and Paul Konrad). I don’t think they could have possibly foreseen the ratings juggernaut it would become. I’ve written about the show a few times, including for Shore Magazine eleven years ago. Here’s a short excerpt from that article…

            Is there anything they’ve ever refused to do?

            “I won’t dress like a woman,” Potash admits, drawing the line.

            “I won’t dance,” Konrad adds.

            “Um,” Robin says, thinking about it. “Wow, well, let’s see. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever said no to anything before. Maybe that’s part of my problem.”

*September 6-- Nick Friedell birthday

=The former ESPN Chicago reporter is a go-to NBA expert.


*September 7—Jonathan Hood birthday

=I interviewed the ESPN Radio morning co-host (with David Kaplan) in 2010. 


*September 7—Steve Scott birthday

=The former WLS Newsman is now a radio star in the big Apple (WCBS), but he hasn’t forgotten his Chicago roots. At least he still hadn’t forgotten them when I chatted with him in 2008. 


 *September 8—Jeffrey Schwartz birthday

=Schwartz had a very long and successful Chicago radio career, with the likes of the Loop, the Score, and WCKG. I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2008.


*September 9—Jackie Bange birthday

=The WGN-TV news anchor began working at the station 30 years ago.


*September 9—Frank E. Lee birthday

=Supposedly retired, but still on the air regularly on WXRT. One of the best.






*New WGN Show "Spotlight Chicago" Part of Local TV Evolution

=Crain's Chicago has a good piece about the new show debuting on WGN, along with an analysis of the "branded content" that will inevitably be part of that show. It's everywhere these days.

*New Stones Record

=The Rolling Stones managed to capture media attention this week with a worldwide live-streamed event hosted by Jimmy Fallon. The single is pretty good. So is the video. It features Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria). The Stones look amazingly young thanks to archival footage. Works for me.

*Kenny McReynolds Scores Mayor Johnson as Guest

=Mayor Brandon Johnson has been getting heat that he is avoiding the press, so this was a bit of a surprise announcement. He will be appearing as a guest on the U on Sunday at 9:30 am to discuss the Bears and CPS with Kenny McReynolds on Sports Edition.

*Dana Kozlov Moves to Mornings

=She announced the move via her facebook page…



*Svengoolie’s Halloween BOO-nanza Returning

=Sven has the month of October to himself. Once again Me-TV is centering next month’s programming around Chicago’s very own Svengoolie. "We put the BOO! in BOOnanza with our movie line-up of fearsome Svengoolie features on MeTV Saturday nights,” said Rich Koz, aka. Svengoolie. “We have killer clowns, Abbott & Costello and the much-requested original Kolchak movies, plus this year we will treat fans with a double feature of a bonus movie every Saturday night. And be sure to catch Halloween-themed blocks of scary episodes from MeTV's classic TV portfolio all month and all across the schedule, including westerns, comedies and the one where Gilligan turns into a vampire!" 



*Is Jimmy Fallon the New Ellen?

=He seems so happy-go-lucky, but that's not the Jimmy Fallon described in a new expose. The Tonight Show under Fallon is considered a "toxic workplace." Details are here.

*Disney versus Charter

=Hard to pick a side in this battle, the cable giant or the media giant. Right now the battle has led to ABC, ESPN, and the Disney channel being blacked out to nearly 15 million customers in big markets including New York, LA, and Dallas. 

=This group of subscribers has chosen Charter as the bad guy. They filed suit in court yesterday.



*Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel Ending

=The show aired on HBO for 29 seasons, but this is going to be the last. The announcement was made yesterday.

*Chris Mortensen Retires

=Can't really imagine ESPN football coverage without him...


*Danny Masterson Gets 30 Years to Life

=They threw the book at him. That 70s Star is guilty of rape, and he'll be spending the rest of his life in prison.

*Roku Laying Off 10% of Workforce

=Variety has the details. Wall Street loved this announcement, of course. Stock price soared.





*$500 Million Donation to Help Local Media

=The money comes from the Macarthur Foundation. Where that money goes, is described in this article. It's a drop in the bucket, but any help is welcomed.

*Jay Penske’s Hollywood Media Empire Faces a Moment of Truth

=Having all the money in the world sometimes isn’t enough. Semafor reports on Penske.






*Trump’s Trial Will Be Live Streamed on YouTube

=Atlanta News First has the full report. 


Rick on the radio...

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Max Armstrong