Friday, November 17, 2023

200th episode

Media Notebook--11-17-23


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



*Chicago Radio Ratings

=The ratings for October are out, and these are the top ten stations in Chicago (6+, Sunday through Monday, 6AM-Mid)

WDRV (7.0)

WLIT (6.6)

WBBM-AM (5.6)

WVAZ (5.0)

WOJO (4.5)

WTMX (4.4)

WXRT (4.3)

WGN (3.6)

WBMX (3.4)

WUSN (3.4)

=Two stations had big jumps this month. WOJO (+0.9) and WVAZ (+0.8). The biggest drop was by The Score, who fell 0.7, probably helped along by the city’s antipathy toward the lowly Bears.



*John Platt Honored

=John was the program director of WXRT in the 1970s. He has gone on to achieve great heights in the folk music world.


 *The Chuck Swirsky Bobble Head

=Do you have yours yet?


*Building Synergy: Public Radio and Universities

=Interesting report released this week by University of Vermont, showing ways that universities and public radio can team up to create the next generation of radio reporters. Among the universities cited as an example, my Alma Mater, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. 




=Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens are both big stars in the podcasting world. Owens actually works for Shapiro’s Daily Wire. But it appears there is trouble in paradise…

 *Beatles Back in Top Ten

=”Now and Then”, the new Beatles song, becomes their 35th top ten hit. It debuted at #7.



*Rest in Peace

=Dex Carvey

The son of Fly on the Wall podcaster and SNL alum Dana Carvey died of an accidental overdose. He was only 32.

=Ed Doody

Ed was the man who turned WIIL into a rock station, but he was also worked at WLS and WMAQ radio, as well as several TV stations in Chicago, and the Bulls & White Sox. He was 87 years old.

=Orrin Brand

On the radio he was known as Mike Jackson and is remembered for his outdoorsman shows. He was 79.

*The Loop Files

=Thanks to Wendy Snyder for having me on the WGN radio morning show to discuss the book The Loop Files. You can listen to that here.

=Pre-orders ship this week. The kindle version is available now too. 

=Before my next column comes out, I’ll also be appearing on WGN-TV Morning News (November 30 at 8:15am).

=In addition, I’ve got two book signings. On Black Friday (November 24), I’ll be at Blue Village Vinyl in Westmont (1:30-3:30pm). The other one is the official book launch party…



 *November 13--Jimmy Baron birthday

=Baron grew up in the Chicago area, and briefly worked as a producer for Jonathan Brandmeier in the early 90s. Jimmy mainly made his mark in radio in Atlanta as a morning show co-host.

*November 14--Dag Juhlin birthday

=Dag is not only a great guitarist (Poi Dog Pondering, the Slugs, and several other bands), he’s one of the co-hosts of Steve Dahl’s podcast. I got a chance to interview him in 2021.

*November 14--Jimmy Piersall birthday.

=The late White Sox broadcaster is still fondly remembered. It seems everyone who knew him has a story about Jimmy. I’ve been told a few great ones, including Jimmy’s challenge to race former White Sox slugger Eric Soderholm, and a Central Park challenge Jimmy issued to his White Sox radio-booth mate Rich King.


*November 14, 1851

=Moby Dick was released.


*November 15, 1977

=An agreement was reached regarding the classical station WEFM. Lee Abrams had big plans to turn it into a Top 40 Rock station. His story about the greatest station that never was, is a fascinating read. You’ll recognize a few of the names involved. WEFM, by the way, is now US-99 (and has been since 1982).

*November 15—Gary Price birthday

=Former Chicago program director. I worked with Gary during his stint at WJJD/WJMK.


*November 18— Rick Balis birthday

=Former WLUP program director made his mark as a programmer in St. Louis guiding the legendary rock station KSHE for many years.


Since I won't be doing a column next week, lets also wish happy birthdays to Mary Dixon & David Kaplan (Nov 19), Steve Dahl & Todd Ronczkowski (Nov 20), Bill Leff & David Berner (Nov 21), Howard Sudberry (Nov 22), Jeffrey Schwartz (Nov 23), Tony Fitzpatrick (Nov 24), Ryan Baker & Pete Crozier (Nov 25)




*White Sox Drama

=Jeff Agrest has a great piece this week about the drama behind the scenes at the White Sox that hastened the departure of Sox TV play-by-play man Jason Benetti.

*NY Knicks Drama

=Chicago is not alone when it comes to behind the scenes sportscasting drama. The reason Mark Jackson was dropped from the Knicks broadcasting team is due to a beef he had with an assistant coach. More details are here.

*Chicago Emmy Winners

=Congrats to Dave Savini at Channel 2 for adding to his Emmy collection, and first time winners like Bill Snyder...

=The full list of winners is here.


 *Disney Expo Hits Chicago

=It’s officially named Disney 100: The Exhibition. Walt Disney is from Chicago, and his career began 100 years ago, which is the reason for the big exhibition. More info about it can be found in this ABC-7 report. 



*Jimmy Kimmel Will Host Oscars

=It’s the 4th time for the late-night host, tying him with Whoopie Goldberg and Jack Lemmon.



*Rafer Weigel Interview

=Margaret Larkin did a Facebook Live interview this week with Rafer Weigel. Rafer was pretty candid in this interview about the difficulties he has overcome.



*Kevin Hart named Mark Twain Recipient

=The most prestigious prize in comedy is going to Kevin Hart this year. Previous winners include David Letterman, Bob Newhart, and Jon Stewart. 



*Tom Barnas Moves to CBS-2 Chicago

=Tom was at WGN for years, but as of as last week he is the new multi-skilled producer at CBS Chicago.



*Matthew Perry Tributes

=His Friends co-stars have now all commented on what he meant to them…

*Dean Martin Roast Marathon

=Here's a fun viewing alternative if you don't want to watch football. The Catchy Comedy Network is showing 21 episodes of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast in a row, from 5am Thanksgiving until 5am Black Friday.

*Sideline reporter admits to making up quotes

=Charissa Thompson was a sideline reporter for Thursday Night Football. This week she casually admitted to occasionally making up quotes from coaches.  Mediaite flagged this one.

*Q&A with Brian Stelter

=Senior media writer Tom Jones of Poynter chatted with Brian Stelter, the author of Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy.”

=Politico also published an excerpt. 



*Fired Fox Reporter Sues

=Jason Donner claims he was fired as retaliation for reporting the truth about January 6th


*Univision Controversy

=The Spanish-speaking network is changing its political stripes. Puck explains they are moving to the right. 

=On the other hand, the anchor who recently conducted a controversial softball interview with Trump, was handed his walking papers. 



*Rest in Peace

=Kevin Turen

He was the producer of Euphoria. Turen was only 44.





*How should press cover Trump?

=Margaret Sullivan, media critic at the Guardian, suggests how journalists should handle reporting on a candidate who is clearly using the rhetoric of autocrats. 



*Rest in Peace

=Thomas Carvlin

He worked at the Tribune from 1954 until 1983.  Carvlin was the Tribune's national news editor from 1972-1974 and then day national news editor at the Tribune from 1975 until his retirement in 1983.  He helped coordinate the coverage of the 1972 Democratic National Convention.





*Elon Musk Endorses Antisemitic post

=This is a bad one. The New York Times has the details about the post, and the potential consequences.

*YouTube Announces AI Policy

=In anticipation of a flood of AI disinformation, YouTube announced this week that AI content will have to be labeled as such, or the uploaders account will be canceled. 



*Nepal Bans TikTok

=They say it disrupts social harmony.


*Truth Social’s Financial Problems

=Accountants say it ‘has suffered negative cash flows and recurring losses from operations that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue.’  The Washington Post has more.


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.


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