Friday, October 27, 2023

Media Notebook--10-27-23


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



*Lin Brehmer Wins the Marconi Award

=One more award for our late “best friend in the whole world.” The Marconi Awards are given out by the NAB every year to reward excellence in broadcasting. Lin was named major market personality of the year. (Photo from WXRT)


Todd Cavanah new PD at WLS-FM

=You may remember Todd from his lengthy stay at B-96, US-99, and  then WJMK (104.3 FM). He certainly knows the market, the personalities, and the music.  Should be interesting to see what he does as the PD at WLS-FM. Here’s what he said in the station’s release:

"It's an honor to program the legendary WLS-FM in the city that I have called home since 1987. When I first spoke to Marv Nyren and Brian Phillips about this job, I knew Cumulus and 94.7 were a perfect fit for me. Their support for this amazing brand is refreshing and I look forward to elevating WLS-FM and taking these call letters to the top of the ratings."



*John Howell op-ed in Sun-Times

=The former conservative-talk radio host has some thoughts on the alleged influence of conservative talk on the hate-crime killing in Plainfield:

I’m a 40-year veteran of the radio business, including the last 17 years as a prime time host on two of Chicago’s most conservative talk stations. I’m intimately familiar with techniques in how to influence an audience. It’s one thing to exaggerate, embellish and utilize satire to make a point about pop culture and politics. It’s entirely different, and far more dangerous, to intentionally mislead and misinform an audience. Over the past few years, I’ve heard far too much of the latter… Radio companies and hosts shouldn’t pander to the under-informed with lies and conspiracy theories. Those who do should be held accountable, and so should their enablers and sponsors.   


*Morning show opening

=Whenever I hear about a Chicago radio opening, I like to share the news. iHeartMedia is looking for a combo Morning Show Producer/Co-Host for The Angi Taylor Show on WCHI (Rock 95.5). Apply online. (Req31840). EOE


*Jennifer Keiper

=A nice writeup about the Midwest correspondent/world news roundup late edition anchor for CBS News Radio, and former WLS  and WBBM news anchor. 


*Layoff at the Drive

=Matt Spaetzel was the marketing and promotions director at the Drive. He posted this news on his Facebook page earlier this week:

Well, after almost 9 years at Hubbard Radio Chicago, I found out today that my position at 97.1 FM The Drive has been eliminated. I've been very blessed to work for almost 25 years in an industry that l loved since I was a kid. To have the last 9 years of it be at the legendary Drive in Chicago has been pretty special. Thanks to all the amazing people I've been honored to work with over the years. I'm not sure what's next, but I know God has a plan for me and my family. He's gotten us through several challenges this past year and a half, and he'll get us through this one as well. Onward and upward!


*Media Mixer

=The Broadcasters Foundation of America is hosting a Media Mixer in Chicago on November 1 from 6-8p. Sherman and Tingle, the morning hosts at The Drive will serve as emcees for the free event at Hulu studios at 190 N. State Street. It’s a great way to mix and mingle with fellow Chicago broadcasters. Registration forthe Media Mixer is here.


*Podcast Corner

=The Grinch (voiced by SNL’s James Austin Johnson) is becoming a podcast. Radio Ink has more information. 



*Audacy Sales Moves

=This week Audacy Chicago announced the promotion of Ryan Lange to Vice President of Client Success and Strategy in its Midwest region.

=Last week Ben Ponzio announced: I am excited to announce that I have changed roles here at Audacy Chicago. I will now be working directly with companies to build their business through strategic marketing and advertising programs.



*The Loop Files

=This is the version for media interviews, which are starting up soon. A few more weeks for those of you who pre-ordered. I’ll be announcing my book launch party and an additional book signing next week.



Media birthdays/milestones


*October 22—Danny Parkins birthday

=Afternoon co-host at the Score


*October 22—John Govi birthday

=The man behind those great Chicagoland record shows


*October 22-- Joe Collins birthday.

=One of Chicago’s best traffic reporters passed in 2017, just a few years after I interviewed him for Illinois Entertainer.


*October 22—Kurt Scholle birthday

=Former WJJD/WJMK/Satellite Music Network jock/newsman Kurt Scholle (air name: Kurt Schafer) is a dead-ringer for Santa during the holiday season.


*October 22—Pam Zekman birthday

=Chicago television’s investigative reporter extraordinaire 


*October 23—Dan Dorfman birthday

=Dan is a reporter for Pioneer Press, who occasionally writes for the Tribune.


October 23—Heidi Stevens birthday

=Heidi is a columnist for Tribune Media Services


*October 23, 1925

=The greatest late-night talk show host of all-time was born, Johnny Carson.


*October 24—Mary June Rose birthday

=The former WGN Radio program director Mary June Rose now lives in North Carolina and works as a photographer (MJ Rose-Photos).


* October 24 Anne-Marie Kennedy birthday

=Former WLUP (and CBS-Boston) promotional guru 


*October 25, 2014

=Nine years ago this week, we lost one of the good ones. Cindy Gatziolis was the promotion director at the Loop during the second Loop hey-day in the 90s, before going on to work for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. I wrote this tribute to her the day she passed away.


*October 25-- Patti Haze birthday

= Chicago rock radio royalty.  I interviewed Patti for Illinois Entertainer in 2016.


*October 26-- Jasmine Cooper birthday

=The TV/radio producer was kind enough to appear at the Chicago Writers Association conference (Let’s Just Write!) for a panel discussion I moderated last year. 

*October 27-- Liz Wilde birthday

=She worked at the Loop in Chicago in the mid-90s, but has also been on the air in Miami, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas and more. She is going through some medical challenges now, and we wish her well.


*October 28--Bill Zehme birthday

=The great media writer passed away in March of 2023.


(Kennedy, Gatziolis, Haze, and Wilde all appear in my upcoming book The Loop Files)






=Axios Chicago asked their readers to name the greatest Chicago news anchor of all-time. The finalists were Bill Kurtis and Carol Marin. In this morning's edition Axios revealed the winner: Carol Marin.

*Coming next week: The Last Beatles Song

=I'm a little excited...

*New Svengoolie cast members

= If you’ve been watching Me-TV lately, you know it’s Svengoolie Month. This year there’s a twist. After a year of casting, there are three new Svengoolie sidekicks, known collectively as the Sven crowd. SARAH PALMER plays the ghoul Gwengoolie, an old-time movie diva. She's known for her Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Bride of Frankenstein. SCOTT GRYDER is IMP (Ignatius Malvolio Prankenstein), the trickster who keeps claiming Svengoolie is his uncle. BILL LEFF is Nostalgiaferatoo, an 800 year-old vampire. Photo of the new crew courtesy of Me-TV.



*Harry Porterfield (1928-2023)

=His obituary in the Chicago Sun Times. 



*The War on Disco

=Rick Kogan reviews and endorses the PBS special The War on Disco.  I'm sure it's well done, but I fear the special is another attempt to portray Disco Demolition as racist and homophobic. As a former “Disco sucks” chanter, I have to once again disagree. That’s not how I remember it at all. If there were racist or homophobic elements, they weren’t coming from the organizers (all of whom I know) or anyone I knew at that time (and the disco sucks crowd were my people). Neither race nor sexual identity ever came up in our discussions about why we hated disco. To us it was about cool versus uncool. Jimi Hendrix  and Phil Lynott were cool because they rocked. David Bowie, Elton John, and Freddie Mercury were cool because they rocked. If they were black or gay it didn’t matter to us. We were just passionately on the side of rock and roll. I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s how I remember it. 

=Here’s how Lee Abrams (father of the graffiti-logo era Loop) remembers it in my upcoming book, The Loop Files… 

It’s disturbing to hear folks refer to this as racist. That was completely off the radar. That’s not how our rock fans looked at it.

Rock was about power guitars and real drummers

Disco was about electronics.

Rock was about sweaty live stadium events with festival seating

Disco was about slick clubs with a bouncer in case you didn’t look hot enough

Rock was long hair

Disco was about respectable nicely coiffed hair.

Rock was about listening

Disco was about dancing.

Rock was about smoking dope and groovin’

Disco was about cocaine and champagne.

Rock was about dressing down

Disco was about dressing up

Rock was for the regular guy

Disco was about the fashion focused.

The ironic thing is that exactly the same time of Disco Demolition, my partner Kent Burkhart created the disco format at New York’s WKTU which was #1. Same time... same office.

=On the disco side it’s obviously remembered differently. The show airs Monday night on WTTW.


*Bryesha Adams Says Farewell

=Bryesha was the traffic reporter on Fox-32's morning show. At the end of the show this morning she said her farewells. She's not leaving the market, she will continue to appear on radio for Total Traffic Network. Fox-32 will no longer have a live traffic reporter on the morning show.

*Fantasy Costumes

=I second the sentiments expressed here by WGN-TV producer Jeff Hoover. During my wacky morning show days (1987-2005), I probably went to Fantasy costumes a hundred times. 


*Biden’s Ratings

=His rare TV address to the nation last week garnered over 22 million viewers. Only 4% of those viewers were between the ages of 18-34. 


*Alex Jones can’t use bankruptcy to avoid paying

=He owes the Sandy Hook families more than a billion. He tried to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying. This week a judge said he couldn’t do that. 


*Rest in Peace

=Bill Crane

45 years of service at WGN-TV.

=Richard Roundtree

That Shaft was one bad mother…(shut your mouth)  

=Haydn Gwynn

From The Crown 





*New York Times Admits Error in Gaza Hospital Story

=It turns out it was a big mistake because it inflamed tensions in the region, but the New York Times has admitted their error in using Hamas information in their headline. Politico has more on the story. 

=The mainstream media, of which The New York Times is definitely a part, does occasionally make mistakes like this, but what continues to set them apart from the fire-breathing alternatives is their ability to admit to and correct their mistakes. It’s one of the reasons I continue to defend them.



Social Media


*How Elon Musk Has Made X (Twitter) a Sea of Misinformation

=Fact-checkers do an analysis. 


=I mean, seriously...


*Lawsuit against Meta

=42 states are involved in lawsuits claiming the product is harmful to kids. Reuters has the details.

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: The Animal Kingdom

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview Podcast: Apple Co-Founder Ronald Wayne

Free Kicks with Adam & Rick: Not so Spursy

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, October 26, 2023

Shoeless Joe

Segment will air on Monday

Lookee here