Friday, November 10, 2023

Media Notebook--11-10-23


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



*Christmas Past

=Jim Benes has been retired from WBBM for a few years now, but he has continued to produce his acclaimed Christmas Past programs for them every year. That streak has now officially ended. Jim was informed by the station that they won’t be airing it this year. I contacted Jim for a comment.

I am disappointed, of course. I've been doing Christmas Past since 1980 and it's become a yearly happy habit. Two books came out of the series, and the reception they received was gratifying. I am thinking about continuing the programs as podcasts. We'll have to see how that goes.”

*Rest in Peace

=Captain Whammo

Sad to hear the news on Tuesday night that Jim Channell, known in Chicago at WMET as Captain Whammo, has passed away. In his later years he became a born again Christian but remained a broadcaster. I only interviewed Jim once (in 2012) but he was quite a character. One of my most entertaining interviews ever. You can read it here. 

=Mike Shuster

He was an NPR foreign correspondent for 30 years. 

 =Jenette Kerr

Formerly with WNUA news

=Denise Jordan Walker

I mentioned her passing a few weeks ago, but her celebration of life is coming up soon...

*Rob Hart interviews Terri Hemmert

=The Audacy colleagues (WBBM/WXRT) have a great chat about Terri’s 50 years at WXRT. 

=More Terri: Block Club Chicago profiles her

*Cubs shocker

=I think most Cubs fans were in shock this week over the firing of David Ross and the hiring of Craig Counsell. This is a pretty illuminating interview that may help explain it…


*An evening with Jeff Tweedy

=This week Jeff Tweedy appeared on stage at the Athanaem Theater with WBEZ’s Peter Sagal to discuss his book World Within a Song. Block Club Chicago was there to report. 


*Men of the Mix

=They did it again this year. Mix Morning host Chris Petlak, Mix newsman Brian "Whip" Paruch, and Mix afternoon co-host Casey McCabe, spent the month of October raising money during breast cancer awareness month. The Men of The Mix helped raise over $480,000 for the American Cancer Society of Greater Chicagoland. A tremendous achievement.


*Rare Chicago Radio Job Opportunities

=I’ve always got my eye out for potential media jobs, knowing they are rare, and that my readers will likely be interested.

=Hubbard media (WTMX,WDRV,WSHE) posted an opening this week for a social media manager. 

=Audacy is still looking for a morning co-host in Chicago


*The windfall that transformed NPR

=I had never heard this story before. The Washington Post has a story about the day Joan Kroc passed away and left NPR over $200 million.  


*Radio Reporter Receives $700,000 Settlement

=Josie Huang was arrested covering a story about a police shooting three years ago. LA County admitted their error with a big fat check. 


*Radio’s the last thing we talk about

=Pretty unwelcome piece in the current Billboard magazine about new music strategies 


*How AI could change radio

=This one is even worse. 


*Radio Forecast 2024

=A big radio conference is taking place on November 15th in New York City to discuss radio’s and television’s future, sponsored by Radio Ink and Radio & Television News Report.  I’m sure stories like the two above will be discussed, but this is more of a conference for the muckity mucks to discuss financial trends and prospects. Among the speakers: Chicago’s own Bob Heymann, the director of Media Services Group.  


*The Loop Files

=More info…

Media birthdays/milestones


*November 6--Herb Lawrence birthday

=You may know Herb as the host of White Sox podcasts, or for his work on the Score. He’s also a great follow on Twitter.


*November 7—Robin Baumgarten birthday

=She is one of the biggest television stars in Chicago. The WGN-TV Morning News co-anchor. I’ve interviewed her a few times, including this one going all the way back to 2009. 


*November 8--Louisa Chu birthday

=Louisa is a food critic for the Chicago Tribune, and former WLUP/WBEZ contributor.


*November 8, 1957

=WGN Television started broadcasting select shows in color for the first time (mainly just the syndicated programs that were available in color)


*November 9, 1967

=The first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was released


*November 9, 2013

=Former Q-101, Loop, and Drive jock Carla Leonardo died. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years. I was lucky enough to interview her the year before she passed away. 


*November 9--Tony Frothingham birthday

=The former Vince & Stony co-host (WLUP) also worked as a radio producer but has since returned to his native Massachusetts and now works in the wine business.


*November 9—Al Yellon birthday

=The man behind Bleed Cubbie Blue. He has a book coming out soon.


*November 10-- Ric Federighi’s birthday

=Ric enjoyed a long and successful career as a traffic reporter in Chicago before entering the world of radio ownership in Michigan City, Indiana. I interviewed Ric back in 2008 for Shore Magazine. 


*November 10--Lou Brutus birthday

=The former afternoon man on Rock 103.5 is currently a nationally syndicated host.


*November 10--Ron Riley birthday

=The former WLS Big 89 star was huge in the 1960s. I got a chance to interview him in 2011. He has some great stories.

*November 11--Amy Jacobson birthday

=Current morning show co-host at AM 560 WIND, and former Channel 5 reporter.





*Jason Benetti Sign with the Tigers

=As if White Sox fans haven’t had enough bad news lately, this one really hurts. Benetti is one of the best play-by-play announcers in the biz and his chemistry with Steve Stone was incredible.  He announced yesterday that he is taking his microphone to Detroit. The Sox say they are looking for a replacement, but that Len Kasper will remain on the radio side. 



*SAG/AFTRA strike is over

=The news broke Wednesday night…


 *The Chicago Emmy Awards on TV

=It’s this weekend on NBC Sports Chicago, November 11 beginning at 7pm. The 65th annual awards will be hosted by the comedian Godfrey, and will feature presenters like Geoffrey Baer, Chuck Garfien, Ozzie Guillen, Alex Maragos, Sylvia Perez, and more.



*Lead Sports Anchor at ABC7

=The former co-host of Windy City Live...

*Fox Business Hires Chicago Correspondent

=Her name is Kelli Saberi and she comes from the local Fox affiliate in Austin. 


*The rare follow up question

=George Stephanopoulos interviewed Congressman Steve Scalise last weekend and asked him a simple question about whether the last election was stolen or not. When the congressman tried to weasel out of answering this simple yes/no question, George asked it again, and again, and again. In this piece, he explains why. 


*CBS News launches fact-checking unit

=They will focus on disinformation, deepfakes, and AI.


*Rest in Peace

=Taraja Ramsess

The stuntman for Marvel films was only 41. Three of his children also died in the car crash. 

=Evan Ellingson

The former child actor was only 35. 






*Citations dropped against Daily Southtown reporter

=This happened in Calumet City. A pretty amazing story about a reporter essentially being cited for doing his job, before officials finally came to their senses. 



*Google Revelations

=This anti-trust suit against Google has been revealing a few very interesting tidbits.

=Did you know that Google spent $26 billion to hide a phone setting from you?

=You can now see which search queries were the most profitable for Google. 



Social Media


*Elon Musk to incorporate AI startup into Twitter

=It’s called Grok. People are not thrilled.

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...


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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

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