Friday, December 01, 2023

Media Notebook--12-1-23


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



*Chicago Radio Ratings

=The numbers are out for November. The following are the top ten rated radio stations in Chicago for November (6+, Monday-Sunday, 6A-Midnight)

WLIT 7.3

WDRV 6.6


WVAZ 5.0

WTMX 4.7

WOJO 4.6

WUSN 4.3

WXRT 4.0

WLS-FM 3.5

WGN 3.4

=The biggest jumps this month are US-99 (which went up almost a full point, 0.9) and WLIT (which went up 0.7 after switching to Xmas music). Honorable mention to WCHI (classic rock), which went up 0.5 from last month.  


*In Memoriam

=My annual year-end column for Illinois Entertainer is about the Chicago media people we lost. This year's pays tribute to Lin Brehmer, Dick Biondi, and Captain Whammo. You can read it here.

*Terri Hemmert on Channel 11

=She appeared on WTTW last week…


*Ryan Seacrest Signs New Deal

=It’s a four-year deal. Ryan is now locked up through the end of 2027. He’s heard every weekday in Chicago from Noon-3pm on Kiss-FM 103.5FM. 


*Great Moments in Vinyl

=Bill Cochran’s voice is heard every day on Me-TV FM, but he also has a band called Great Moments in Vinyl. They recreate classic albums and artists and tell the stories of the songs. Next up for them is a gig on December 14 at Martyrs, where they will play the music of the Rolling Stones. 


*Cheeze on Squid

=Midge Cheeze Ripoli is the producer of The Sherman and Tingle show, but also…


*Podcast Corner

=The top 5 rated podcasts for 2023 were announced by Apple this week. They are…

Crime Junkie

The Daily

Dateline NBC


This American Life

=New: A Podcast About Chicago

=New: A Podcast About Classic Films


*WLS History

=Next year is the 100th anniversary. If you don’t have it yet, this book is highly recommended.

=If you missed it last weekend, Rewound Radio did a tribute to Larry Lujack. It’s here if you want to check it out. 


*Dolly Debuts at #1

=Maybe she should have turned to rock sooner. This is her biggest hit ever. And to think I was impressed the Beatles debuted at #7 a few weeks ago. 


*Hall & Oates Legal Drama

=Hall sues Oates and gets a restraining order. I guess you can't depend on the old man's money.


*The Loop Files

You may have noticed I've been making the rounds...

=BlockClubChicago wrote a wonderful piece about my new book, The Loop Files 

=Thanks to everyone who came out to my book signing on Black Friday, including (L-R) Mitch Michaels, Leslie Harris, Scott Childers, and Jeff Hoover.

=On Garry Meier’s show 


=Last night's book launch party was a blowout. More than 20 former Loopers attended, and so did other media luminaries, and diehard Loop fans. Thanks to Will Byington for taking this group shot. It only captured a fraction of the people who came out. 

=It's been getting great reviews, but this one meant the most to me. Robert Feder’s Five Star Review: "Hats off to Rick Kaempfer for this authoritative and eminently readable oral history of the Chicago radio juggernaut known as The Loop. It's a masterful account of the magic, mischief, and mayhem that captivated our town for two decades — as told by those who made it all happen. If you loved The Loop, you'll love this book. I highly recommend it."

=And finally, to answer the question I'm getting most often ("What's wrong with your hand?"), I broke my arm badly a few months ago and the nerves in my hand haven't yet recovered. That's why I'm wearing that odd black brace.


*Rest in Peace

=Shane MacGowan, frontman of the Celtic punk band The Pogues. He was 65.





*November 26—Roman Sawczak birthday

=The founder of Steve Dahl’s Teenage Radiation. Later a Steve & Garry producer.  I interviewed Roman about his Steve & Garry years back in 2007. 


*November 27—Christina Filiaggi White birthday

=Former traffic reporter/sidekick on Roe & Roeper at WLS.


*November 28—James VanOsdol birthday

=Most famous for his time at Q-101. He even wrote a book about it. 


*November 28—Bill Holub birthday

=News writer at the Loop for nearly two decades. Collaborated with Buzz Kilman, Carrie Cochran, Maggie Brock, Laura Witek and more.


November 30--Gary Spears Birthday

=Top jock at both B-96 and K-hits before retiring a few years ago. I interviewed him in 2011. 


December 1—Linda Yu birthday

=Legendary Channel 7 anchor. Retired recently after a stellar television career.


December 2-- Garry Meier birthday

=Top-Rated sidekick to both Steve Dahl and Roe Conn. Later had a successful solo show at WGN. In the National Radio Hall of Fame. I interviewed him in 2022 for Illinois Entertainer.

December 2—John Siuntres birthday

=Former Chicago radio producer, currently podcast host of the popular Word Balloon.


December 2—Chris Duffy birthday

=Longtime WGN production director.




*NBC-5’s Evrod Cassimy Sings for Charity

=The man has hidden talents, and a big heart. Proceeds benefit Chicago Housing Authority.


*Sirott back on Channel 5

=At least for one segment as part of the 75th anniversary celebration… 


*Jim Avila Un-retires

=Avila worked in network news after his stint here in Chicago at Channel 5 but retired back in 2020. This week he announced he’s returning to local TV in San Diego. “I want to join the fight for light that disinfects from the front lines. And there is no more advanced position than local news.”


*Tom Fletcher Named to Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame

=Fletcher is a Chicagoan, and has been honored for his contributions to sports broadcasting, especially for his work with the NHL. He created the Fletcher-cam, the robo-camera that tracks the action. The rest of the 2023 class is here, and includes Chris Collinsworth and Ernie Johnson.

*The SAG/AFTRA Agreement

=I know a lot of SAG/AFTRA members read this column. In case you wanted a few more of the details, they were reported this week by Deadline. 


*Meet Flo from Progressive

=Her real name is Stephanie Courtney, and the New York Times profiled her this week. 


*Paramount May Be Selling

=Reading the tea leaves


*Cable News Corner

=Rupert Mudoch Deposed by Smartmatic 

=Sexual harassment allegations at Newsmax

=Fox News Mistakenly Calls Crash a Terrorist Attack  

=MSNBC cancels Hasan


*Job openings

=When I see something in the area, I’ll let you know. This is South Bend. 

*Rest in Peace

=Marty Krofft

The producer of “Land of the Lost”, “H.R Pufnstuff” and “Donnie & Marie”. He was 86 years old. 

=Frances Sternhagen

Actress who appeared in “Sex and the City” and “Cheers” among her many credits. She was 93.


*And the Finalists are…

=TV and print…




*SI Caught Using AI Writers

=Bad enough using AI. Even worse when you come up with fake names, bios and photos. has the details. 

*Forbes Deal is Dead

=The 28-year-old who was going to buy Forbes Magazine, couldn’t come up with the cash after all. 


*The Man Behind the NY Times crossword puzzle

=Only 4 people have held this job. The current editor is Will Shortz, and this is his 30th anniversary. 


*Journalists killed

=It’s still a dangerous job. Five journalists were shot in one day in Mexico. 

=Meanwhile in Gaza…





*Bad Few Weeks for X (Twitter)

=Twitter May Lose $75 Million in Ad Revenue

=Elon Musk sues Media Matters

=Elon Musk Sued by 22-year-old falsely accused of being a fake Neo-Nazi

=How NOT to regain advertisers…

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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