Friday, March 29, 2024

Media Notebook--3-29-24


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



*WLS 100

=Look who was lured into Steve Cochran’s WLS studios this week. It’s media writer (emeritus) Robert Feder. That’s a rare radio appearance. I unsuccessfully tried to book him for decades. Scott Childers was filling in for news.


*Eddie & Jobo To Reunite

=And not just anywhere…they are reuniting on B-96 on Monday morning. Be sure to tune in. Will it be a permanent thing? I’m guessing not. Check the date on the calendar.


*Lin Brehmer Tribute for Opening Day

=Pete Crozier was Lin's producer. This is what he posted this week on his Facebook page...

Last July, Sara and Lin's brothers asked me to produce a movie about Lin to share with family and a small group of friends and colleagues.
It was truly one of the greatest honors of my life and reminded me of the immeasurable impact he had on me (and, if you're lucky, you).
While the entire movie will never be posted as it was a personal gift to the family, on this, MLB's Opening Day, Sara is giving her permission for me to share the section about Lin's love of the city of Chicago and the Cubs.


*Gracie Award Winners

=The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announced the winners of this year's Gracie Awards this week. The full list is here, and includes WGN Radio's Lisa Dent.

*Bernstein and Holmes Interview Ian Eagle

=The new lead play-by-play man for the NCAA tournament was a recent guest of WSCR’s midday show. A good interview with the man of the hour.

*Maria Pappas on the Radio

=The Cook County treasurer hosts a weekly show on WVON. Among her fans, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg

*Bob Heymann at the NAB

=Chicago’s very own Bob Heymann (Media Services Group Managing Director) has been chosen to moderate a session at this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. M&A’s Outlook on TV/Radio – a Look at the M&A Landscape and How to Prepare for Buying and Selling’s Impact will be presented at 11:30 AM on Monday, April 15, 2024.

“I am truly honored to speak at this years NAB Show,” said Bob. “I hope to impart some of my knowledge of the station marketplace in an informative and engaging manner.” For more information, visit:


*Podcast Corner

=The Bill Maher Podcast Network is coming soon. First hire is Sage Steele.

=The Daily Wire Dismisses Candace Owens. Ben Shapiro (founder of the network) has been arguing on-air with Owens about the Israeli war in Gaza for months. That strong disagreement led to her dismissal. Forbes has more information about it. 


*Music News

=Beyonce's new country album "Cowboy Carter" officially drops today. 27 tracks include a cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and the Beatles "Blackbird". The New York Times review is here.

*Rest in Peace

=Tommy Williams

The voice of Lakeshore Sports in Northwest Indiana, and a ten-year member of the air staff at the Score. He was only 66.



*March 24—Julie Unruh birthday

=Julie was a reporter/anchor at WGN-TV for twenty years. She signed off in 2021 to spend more time with her family.


*March 25—Didi Foley birthday

=You may have heard her on the air at the Mix and WSHE over the years, but for the past 15 years she has also been the Campus Services Manager for Waubonsee Community College in Aurora.


*March 25, 1954—Color TV

=Color TV is 70 years old this week. RCA unveiled the very first one in 1954. It had a 12-inch screen and cost $1000.


*March 26—Ken Cocker birthday

=Ken was a fixture on the Chicago radio dial for years at stations like WMET, WJMK, WUSN, and K-Hits. He was also once a minor league baseball player. I interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight in 2012.


*March 26—Shane Riordan birthday

=Shane is executive producer, and content and operations manager for the Score. He also sports a mighty impressive beard.

*March 26—Bob Woodward birthday

=The Washington Post reporter and editor who broke the Watergate story with Carl Bernstein grew up in Wheaton, Illinois.


*March 27—Quentin Tarantino birthday

=The legendary director may not have any connections to Chicago, but recently he inadvertently propelled a Chicago cab driver’s novel up the charts by recommending it. Block Club Chicago has that story.


*March 28—John Records Landecker birthday

=Why did John Landecker call his memoir Records Truly Is My Middle Name? Because it truly is. Nobody believes this when he tells them, but it’s true. His mother’s maiden name was Records, and she gave it to him as a middle name. His Radio Hall of Fame career was destiny. (He’s also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). I was honored to speak at his ceremony in Indiana a few years ago when the Governor awarded him with the state’s highest honor. Of course, John is still on the air most weeknights on WGN-Radio.

=I posted a free excerpt from his book yesterday. It’s about Martin Short


*March 28—Jimmy “Mac” McInerny birthday

=Jimmy was one of the producers for Jonathon Brandmeier’s show for many years and also worked as a producer and production guru for Kevin Matthews back in the day. His podcast Rebel Force Radio is a huge hit and a must listen for Star Wars fans. Jimmy Mac is married to Wendy Snyder.


*March 28, 1971—Final Ed Sullivan Show

=Ed Sullivan took the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater for the very last time this week in 1971. The rerun of the show aired in June. The last musical guests to appear were Gladys Knight and the Pips


*March 30—Fred Winston birthday

=Fred is one of the all-time great DJs in Chicago radio history. He worked at WLS, WCFL, WFYR, WJMK, and more. I interviewed Fred several times over the years, most recently in 2018 for Illinois Entertainer.

 =This week in 1976...Fred was the cover boy of the WLS survey.



*Paris Schultz Leaving WTTW

=The co-host of Chicago Tonight and host of Week in Review announced this week that he is leaving Channel 11 in April. Schultz has been at the station for 20 years. His co-host on Chicago Tonight, Brandis Friedman will remain on the show as the solo-host, and the new host of Week in Review will be Amanda Vinicky.

=Mary Ann Ahern offered this clue as to Paris' next destination (h/t Eric Zorn). Could it be Channel 5 (where Mary works)?

 *Rafer Weigel Update

=The son of legendary Chicago sportscaster Tim Weigel is leaving the business. He had recently re-launched his television career in San Diego.


*The Ronna McDaniel Controversy

=The fury amongst the NBC news staff about her hiring reminded me a lot of the fury the local NBC news team exhibited when Jerry Springer was brought aboard to provide political commentary in the 1990s.

=Luckily for NBC, it didn’t end the same way. In Chicago, the top talent quit. At NBC Network, they just reversed their decision and fired McDaniel…before anyone quit. Republicans (who fired McDaniel themselves a few weeks ago) claim to be outraged by this firing.

*Kevin Hart Wins Mark Twain Prize

=The most prestigious award in comedy/humor this year goes to comedian Kevin Hart. NPR has the details.

*Steve Martin

=Richard Roeper’s Sun-Times review of the new Steve Martin documentary on Apple TV.  Count me in.



*One Year Anniversary of Evan Gershkovich's Imprisonment in Russia

=The Wall Street Journal reporter remains detained with little hope on the horizon for his release. The New York Times interviewed his parents about the ordeal.

*Paul Sullivan’s Dave Van Dyck tribute

=I was surprised when I heard last week about Van Dyck’s passing, because I hadn’t seen any tributes to him at his old papers. Paul Sullivan came through this week in the Tribune. Great piece. 


*AP Photographer Snags Classic Pope Francis photo

=Just wait for the Pope to walk outside with his beanie on during a windy day, and voila! 



*Trump Media Trading at Ridiculous Levels

=Super sketchy on the financial details here. From the New York Times

The company took in $3.3 million in the first nine months of 2023 and recorded a loss of $49 million, yet its market value—based on Tuesday’s share price—is nearly 2,000 times its estimated annual revenue . . . Other social media companies trade at far lower price-to-sales ratios than Trump Media’s: Reddit is around 10, Meta is 7 and Snap is 6, according to FactSet. Superstar tech stocks like the chipmakers Nvidia and ARM trade at price-to-sales ratios of about 25.

=And yet, after two days of trading it was worth even more: $9 billion.

=Seth Meyers warning to Trump Media investors last night on his late night NBC show...

    “The only way this business could be any more of a failure is if every time you opened an account, you got a free Zune, a bottle of Crystal Pepsi, a Blockbuster card, a Motorola flip phone that came preloaded with a MySpace account and a round trip next to the door on Alaska Airlines.” 

*Twitter Usage Down 1/5 Since Musk Purchase

=About 20% of previous American Twitter users have fled the former king of social media. The Guardian has the story.

*Florida Bans Social Media for the Under-14 crowd

=I have a hunch this one won’t survive a court challenge, but it’s now the law in Florida. 



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.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

20 Years: Free excerpt from "Records Truly is My Middle Name"


This year marks my 20th year as a professional writer. Over the course of 2024, I'll be sharing a few of those offerings you may have missed along the way.

One of the most memorable guests we ever had on the John Landecker show in the years I produced it was Martin Short. Although, it's not for the reasons you may think.

Since both Martin (March 26) and John (March 28) are celebrating birthdays this week, I thought I'd share that story from the book I co-wrote with John, Records Truly Is My Middle Name...


Rick was such a worry wart, and one day all of his worries came true…”One of the problems we encountered at WJMK was of a technical nature. There were months at a time when we couldn’t do the show we wanted to do because of technical limitations. They had to build a new studio for us twice, once at our original location, and once when the entire station moved to a new location.

The second time it took several months to build the new studios, and while they did so, they took bits and pieces out of the old studio until we were working with just enough equipment to keep us on the air. Needless to say, this limited what we could do on the show.

So, with great fanfare, we finally moved into our new studios in 2003, and we wanted to celebrate our first day in the studio by having celebrity guests to help us christen it. After months of doing a bare-bones show, we were excited to be doing a full-fledged morning show again. I booked comic actor Martin Short to appear on that first show.

But the first thing we discovered when we showed up that first morning was that the production studio was not done. Therefore we couldn’t do any produced bits, or play any new audio, including the audio we had for the Martin Short interview. Secondly we discovered that they had forgotten to set up the choke lines for listener calls…so that wasn’t going to be ready either (listener phone calls were a crucial ingredient of the show). After seeing that everything else wasn’t working right, I decided to double check the hotline. When I called the hotline from my cell phone, it lit up. Good first step. Next, I asked our technical producer Vince to see if it would come up through console.


We had no way of broadcasting anything through the phone lines, and Martin Short—who we had been promoting all morning—was about to call.

And call he did—right on time. I asked Martin if he would mind calling twenty minutes later, hoping we could resolve our issues in that time, but he told me he had another interview scheduled—if we wanted to talk to him, it was now or never.

“Give him my cell number,” John said.

When the commercial ended, John conducted the entire interview on his cell-phone. He asked the questions into a combination of the microphone and the cellular phone, so Short and the listeners could hear, then he held the cellular phone up to the microphone for Short’s answers.

I don’t remember what they talked about in the interview except for the first few seconds, when John explained the situation to him. Short thought it was a bit because the concept of a major radio station in Chicago holding a cell-phone to the microphone was so ridiculous.

“Are you serious?” Martin finally asked.

“Totally serious.”

“Who owns you guys?” Martin asked.

“CBS, the second biggest radio company in America.”

“And you guys are in Chicago?” he asked.

“Yup. Third biggest media market in America.”

“And I thought I had seen it all,” he replied.

It was actually a pretty funny interview, considering. I gained even more respect for John Landecker that day. He took a potential disaster and turned into a memorable radio moment. I bet Martin Short remembers that very bizarre interview to this day.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Studio Walls--March 27, 2024


A weekly update/preview of my latest podcasts, and a look back at some of my previous audio work from this week in history over the past 40+ years.

This week's Free Kicks is a preview of the FA Cup Semi-Finals, and the Europa and Champions League quarter-finals. It's called "Cup Previews"

This week's Minutia Men Celebrity Interview is with Chip Monck, the Emcee and Lighting Director at Woodstock.

This week's Minutia Men episode is called "Paging Dr. Freud".

Some other audio moments from the archives...

March 24--Lara Flynn Boyle birthday. I told the story of my brush with her on this episode of Minutia Men.  

March 24, 1975--Grand Funk Railroad released "Bad Time". Mark Farner told us the sad story behind the lyrics to that song in this interview.

March 25—Elton John birthday. Jim Peterik told us the story of the first time he heard Elton on the radio and how it changed his life. May Pang told us about Elton & John Lennon appearing together at Madison Square Garden.

March 25--Paul Michael Glaser birthday. We had the original Starsky on the show and geeked out on our adolescent love of his show. 

March 25, 1976—Tubes released “Don’t Touch Me There”. Fee Waybill told us the story behind that naughty song.  

March 27, 1973—Fred Karger crashes the Oscars…again! He told us how he pulled it off.

March 27, 1987--The Bold & the Beautiful debuted. Maitland Ward, now an adult film star, got her acting start on the soap opera. Dave and I have never researched an interview more than this one with Maitland. 

March 28--John Landecker birthday. He's been on our show at least three times. Part One. Part Two. Part Three

March 28, 1971—Final Ed Sullivan show airs. Carl Giammarese’s Ed Sullivan story

March 29, 1996—Debut of “Baby Boomer”. I wrote this song for Landecker & the Legends the day John Landecker received his first AARP card. Will we play it on this week's show?

March 30, 2023—Cubs Flicks debuts on Marquee. It was opening day, and "Writer Rick Kaempfer" was introduced by Pat Hughes in this documentary to tell stories about Cubs history.  

March 30--Fred Winston birthday. We had the WLS great on the show to talk about his impressive career.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Publishing Portal--March 26, 2024

The latest news from Eckhartz Press, and a chance to peek into some of the great previous offerings from our humble little publishing company.

Happy Birthday!

=Eckhartz Press author John Records Landecker is celebrating a birthday this week (March 28). We released his memoir Records Truly Is His Middle Name on his birthday in 2013.  John certainly had a memorable birthday that year. He appeared on Johnny B's show on WGN Radio in the morning, then on the WGN-TV Morning show, then on the afternoon show on WBEZ.

=Fellow Eckhartz Press author Tom Latourette (I Had a Runny Nose, et al) is also celebrating a birthday this week (March 28). Tom's children's books are sold to benefit the Beat Tom and Bill Foundation, which helps raise funds for cancer patients.

 Happy Anniversary!

=This week in 2012, Kim Strickland held the book release party for her second novel Down at the Golden Coin. She actually handed out golden coins to everyone who bought the book. (Yes, they were chocolate.)

=This week in 2014, we also released Randy Richardson's murder mystery, Lost in the Ivy.

Inside Melania

=Eckhartz Press author Lauren LoGiudice is coming to town to do a variety show on April 11th. We've got our tickets. Do you have yours?

*Oscars Biggest Mistakes

=This week in 2022, Eric Litt appeared on WGN-TV to talk about the slap heard round the world. 


*Mob Adjacent

=This week in 2018, the Gentile brothers (Jeffrey & Michael) appeared on Rick Kogan's show on WGN Radio to talk about their book Mob Adjacent.  A hard-cover version of the book is in the works and will be coming out soon.


*Back in the DDR

=This week in 2023, acclaimed author David Berner reviewed Rick Kaempfer's novel, Back in the DDR....

    "Matching history with Rudi’s awakening to the times makes Back in the D.D.R. a compelling story, giving the tale deep roots both emotionally and culturally. Rudi’s maturation comes alongside striking events in the world and reminds the reader how global history can impact a singular life, especially that of a 13-year-old boy."

*Chili Dog MVP

=This week in 2022, Kurt Begland reviewed Chili Dog MVP

=The next day, Chili Dog MVP authors Dr. Fletcher and John Owens appeared in Orland Park Card show 



=This week in 2018 Windy City Reviews released their assessment of the book Cubsessions.

    "Famous people fascinate all of us. Don’t try to deny it. And there’s no shortage of famous people among the millions who follow the Chicago Cubs. That’s the premise of Cubsessions, a series of interviews with passionate fans who have achieved various levels of fame. The anthology is an obvious labor of love for the co-authors, Becky Sarwate and Randy Richardson. The result is a start-of-the-season gift for every diehard Cubs fan."

*The Daly News

=One of the great things about Joel Daly's book The Daly News is that he shares several examples of his famous television news commentary. Here's an example of that from this week in 1977, free of charge. 


*The Loop Files

=One of the contributors to The Loop Files is Jimmy Mac McInerney. Jimmy is celebrating a birthday this week (March 28). This photo (with John "Swany" Swanson) is in the book.


*Surviving Sue

=This week's Peek Inside Vicki Atkinson's book includes a fun word-cloud analysis.

*Everything I Know I Learned from Rock Stars

=Bill Paige doesn't only write books about rock stars, he also writes songs. This one was inspired by the COVID pandemic.

*Signature Shoes

=This week is the birthday of Walt "Clyde" Frazier (March 29). Not only a great basketball player for the New York Knicks, but also a pioneer in the world of Signature Shoes. Author Ryan Trembath wrote all about that part of Frazier in his book.

 *Always a Pleasure

=Chuck Swirsky's biggest fan, NBA star Chris Bosh, is celebrating a birthday this week. Here's what he said about Chuck for book's back cover...

  • Basketball is about more than the players on the court or the fans in the stands. It’s also about the voices who add color to the game—play-by-play, night after night. And Chuck Swirsky is one of the legends responsible for the soundtrack of basketball. With passion that is always palpable, Chuck brings excitement every time he picks up a mic. Over the years, millions of fans have hung onto his every word, but what’s even more special about him is who he is when the mic is off. In my years in Toronto with Chuck, I never received a greeting from him that didn’t include an ear-to-ear grin. I feel lucky to have seen him continue to grow as a broadcaster when he and his family moved to Chicago. Chuck showed me that a team is only as strong as the environment surrounding it — a community that extends beyond the clubhouse. So thank you, Chuck—for your enthusiasm on great days and positivity on the rough ones. You made Toronto a great place to be in a great place to play. Oh, and thanks to your kids for always keeping those cookies around. Those were no joke.

    Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat. 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 2 time NBA Champion.


=Opening day of 2023 was on March 30. CBS-TV asked Rick Kaempfer, author of EveryCubEver to come on their morning show and predict what their record would be. Rick guessed 81 wins. Actual win total? 83 games. 

=The updated version of EveryCubEver (6th edition) comes out on Opening Day.