Friday, December 22, 2023

Media Notebook--12-22-23


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



*A John Williams Christmas

=Imagine coming to work and encountering this…

 *Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest New Years Eve Radio Simulcast

=Kiss-FM (103.5FM) in Chicago will be simulcasting the annual Dick Clark’s Rockin New Years Eve With Ryan Seacrest special this year beginning at 7pm.  More details are here.

*Barry Butler's New Gig

=Chicago's most popular photographer Barry Butler is leaving his day job at Hubbard Chicago for a new gig. He posted the news on his Facebook page this week: New Year, New Beginnings! Excited to share I am joining Clear Channel Outdoor Chicago as Vice President of Sales. Looking forward to starting this new chapter in early January.

*Chuck Swirsky’s Loss

=Sad news behind the missing voice of Chuck in the Bulls game this week. Deepest condolences to the Swirsky family. He tweeted: Many thanks to @ZachZaidman for filling in tonight . My sister passed away Saturday and family is always first. I'll return Wednesday night. Thank you to the @chicagobulls organization and @MitchRosen670 for their support. I loved my sister very much and we were extremely close

 *Audio Collages

=This is an interesting idea by Lumpen Radio. They are collecting audio collages from the Bronzeville, Little Village and New City neighborhoods. Blockclubchicago has the details. 


*New York Sues Sirius/XM

=If you’ve ever tried to cancel your Sirius/XM, you won’t be surprised by this lawsuit filed by the state of New York. The state alleges “repeated and persistent fraud and illegality” when it comes to tricking people into keeping subscriptions. More info here. 


*The Whamageddon Game

=Can’t say I’ve heard of this game before, but I approve. NPR has the story. 


*Rest in Peace

=Jim Ladd

Legendary LA jock. One of the all-time great rock and roll disc jockeys. The inspiration for the Tom Petty song “The Last DJ”. John Fogerty wrote: "Jim Ladd you were one of a kind. You knew the importance of a well written song and made us all listen. The last DJ and the best one. RIP my friend."

=Robert Feder also posted his year end In Memoriam tweet…

=In case you missed my year end Illinois Entertainer piece, its here. 


*Podcast Corner

=Wondery Green-lights another season of Grinch podcast 

=George Ofman’s last podcast

 *The Loop Files

=Another nice review of the book. 

=Another podcast interview. This one is called Rock Conversations. Thanks to Rob Hahn for asking such good questions. 

=Rabbi Doug interviews me for his television show. 

=A few shots from my event in Blue Island. My last one of the year.

=This is the podcast we recorded in Blue Island.

=One last interview this year. I’ll be in the studio at WLS Radio with Pete McMurray on Wednesday, Dec 27, from 8-8:30AM.



(For the rest of the year)


*December 16, 2013

=The legendary talent at WLS-FM ten years ago this week…


*December 17, 1989--The Simpsons makes its television debut.

=Happy 34th birthday to the longest running scripted television show in history.


*December 18—Susan Wiencek birthday

=Former newscaster and public affairs broadcaster for the likes of WXRT, WTMX, WLIV, WDRV.


*December 18—Phil Inzinga birthday

=Phil worked at WABT and the Loop before going to Kenosha, Charleston, and Miami. He is now entrenched as morning man in Oklahoma City.


*December 18, 2013--Death of Larry Lujack

= During the last few years of his life Larry and I spoke multiple times, swapped books, and developed a friendship. At one point I told him that he actually was charming and delightful. He swore me to secrecy. He told me some great stories about his radio days, but there was one thing he didn’t tell me. I interviewed Larry for Illinois Entertainer just a few months before he passed away and he didn’t even mention he was sick.

=In early 2013, Lujack asked me to send him a copy of John Landecker’s book Records Truly Is My Middle Name in which Larry is mentioned prominently. (You can read those Larry stories here). He sent a note back saying “Tell Decker I loved his book, but I didn’t need to read about his dick!” (John describes a funny emergency room encounter in the book). When Landecker appeared on Windy City Live promoting the book, I convinced Larry to come on the show as a mystery guest to surprise John. Landecker was visibly moved by Lujack’s gesture. Hard to believe he’s already been gone ten years. He was truly one of the all-time greats.


*December 19--Jilly O’Silly birthday

=The former Kiss-FM jock is now in Nashville doing middays at the Rock.


*December 19—Paul Goldsmith birthday

=Goldsmith was formerly marketing director for Salem broadcasting in Chicago and is currently based in Nashville and running his own media company.


*December 20—Steve Ennen birthday

=Ennen was a long-time Chicago radio executive, formerly VP/GM of WUSN/US-99. I first got to know him when he was staff director of WPGU in Champaign-Urbana in the early 80s.


*December 21—Tom Serritella birthday

=Tom began his radio career at the Loop as part of Chet Coppock’s boyquarium (the nickname Steve & Garry gave to the studio Coppock’s producers worked prepping for his show). Serritella later worked at Sporting News Radio and ESPN.


*December 22—Greg Jarrett birthday

=The former WGN morning man was an interview subject of mine back in 2009 (for Chicago Radio Spotlight). I also ran into him once on an airplane. We were both coming back from South Africa after the 2010 World Cup, and we both got stranded in Amsterdam on the way home when our flights got canceled. Let’s just say that the buttoned-up newsman has another side to his personality. We had a great time in Amsterdam. 


*December 22—Diane Sawyer birthday.

=Sawyer did it all in her stellar TV news career. World News TonightGood Morning America60 Minutes. She also co-hosted CBS Mornings. I spoke with her co-host Bill Kurtis for my podcast once, and he told me what it was like working with her.


*December 22—Neil Sant birthday

=Neil is a former WLUP producer on the Danny Bonaduce show. In the politically incorrect 90s, Danny referred to him on the air as Haji. 

*December 23, 1924—Floyd Kalber birthday

=Floyd would have been 99 years old today. He wasn’t just a famous anchorman in Chicago (at WMAQ-Channel 5, and later at WLS-TV Channel 7), he also anchored network newscasts for NBC, and mentored a young Tom Brokaw. Floyd passed away in 2004.

*December 24—Dave McBride birthday

=McBride was a huge part of the Murphy in the Morning crew at Q-101 during Murphy’s straight jacket days. The veteran newsman later had another good run as part of Steve Dahl’s show on WCKG. I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2010.


*December 24—Rana Tufail birthday

=You may not recognize his name, but you probably remember his many radio contributions as Piranha Man from Jonathon Brandmeier’s show.

*December 24, 2017—Death of Dick Orkin

=The legendary voice-over artist (Chickenman on WCFL, the First American Bank commercials, and so much more) was kind enough to chat with me for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2012.


*December 25—Cheryl Burton birthday

=Channel 7’s news anchor has been the subject of controversy over the past few years (especially around the firing of Mark Giangreco), but she is still going strong at WLS-TV.


*December 27—Dana Kozlov birthday

=The Channel 2 anchor/reporter was featured last year in my Illinois Entertainer column


*December 28—George Ofman birthday

=George has worked at the Score and WBBM News Radio, but he now hosts a podcast about sports broadcasting (see story above) and has written a book. I featured him in the Illinois Entertainer in 2021


*December 28, 2021—Death of Jeff Dickerson

=ESPN’s Dickerson was beloved by his co-workers. Rarely has there been an outpouring of affection for someone like there was after Dickerson’s death. The fact that his wife had recently passed, and they left behind a young son, just made the story even more tragic. I spoke with his colleague and friend Randy Merkin about him for my podcast


*December 30—Kris Erik Stevens birthday

=Stevens is a major voiceover star based in Hollywood now, but in the early 70s he helmed the night shift at the Big 89, WLS. I interviewed him for the Illinois Entertainer in 2021. 


*December 31—Paul Natkin birthday

=The great rock and roll photographer was also Chicago radio and TV’s go-to photographer for decades.




*Channel 7’s New Years Eve

=It’s not easy to top their former NYE team of Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies, but Channel 7 is giving it a shot. According to Axios: Cheryl Scott and Terrell Brown forgo the goofy hats and balloons and instead perform an elaborate dance routine for Countdown Chicago 2024…The anchors will be playing "secret agents on a mission to thwart an impending A.I. robot takeover of Chicago with some celebrity help."


*Channel 2 Reunion

=Two former colleagues


*The End of Curb Your Enthusiasm

=This week Larry David announced that the 12th season will be its last.

*The End of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

=Last episode aired this weekend.


*Mayim Bialik Dropped as Jeopardy host

=Ken Jennings will remain, but he has the job to himself now.

*The Daytime Emmy Awards

=Among the winners this year: Susan Lucci. They gave her their lifetime achievement award.



*The New York Times Embraces Gaming

=I love this line in the Vanity Fair piece about The New York Times’ embrace ofgames like Wordle: “The New York Times is a gaming company that happens to also offer news.” 


*AI sparking Fake News Explosion

=Totally disconcerting piece in the Washington Post



*John Oliver Takes On Elon Musk

=Needless to say, NSFW.


Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Media Notebook returns on 1/5/24.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A few more Loop Files segments