Friday, April 19, 2024

Media Notebook--4-19-24


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



*Chicago Radio Ratings

=The numbers for March are out, and these are the top ten stations in Chicago (M-Sun, 6am-Midnight, ages 6+)

WLIT (6.8)

WDRV (6.6)

WVAZ (5.5)

WBBM-AM (5.4)

WXRT (5.0)

WOJO (4.5)

WLS-FM (4.0)

WUSN (3.9)

WGN (3.2)

WTMX (3.0)

=These numbers are very similar to last month’s.  The only stations that jumped a bit were WVAZ (+0.4) and WLS-FM  (+0.5). There were no stations near the top of the ratings that took a significant drop.


*Danny Parkins book

=Score afternoon co-host Danny Parkins has a new book out (written with Ben Kaplan) on Triumph Books. It’s called Pipeline to the Pros: How D3 SmallCollege Nobodies Rose to Rule the NBA.



*Eric Hosmer Wants to be the Pat McAfee of Baseball

=In other words, he wants to be a podcast star. Now retired from baseball, the former Cub has started his own media company called Moonball Media. He talked to Bob Nightengale from USA Today about his media plans.



*WLS 100

=The official celebration was last Friday night. Former WLSers like John Gehron, Catherine Johns, Karen Hand, Turi Ryder, and Roe Conn were there, along with most of the current staff. Author/historian/broadcasting utility-man Scott Childers gave a nice speech about WLS history, as did PD Stephanie Tichenor and GM Marv Nyren, and Steve Cochran identified all of the luminaries in the crowd. Of course, Art Vuolo was there filming it, so if you really want to see it, eventually you’ll be able to do so.

=I was there too. Got a chance to chat with Catherine Johns and Robert Feder.


*Carolina Garibay

=WBBM-AM reporter/anchor Carolina Garibay was interviewed by Margaret Larkin for the Illinois News Broadcaster Association podcast.



*NPR Controversy

=Last week I suggested NPR's Uri Berliner wasn’t exactly being greeted with hugs in the hallway. This week they suspended him, and threatened to fire him if he ever did it again. Details are here.

=He responded this way…

=Media critic Margaret Sullivan’s view of this entire controversy




=Over 200 radio stations around the country are celebrating vinylthon this weekend by going all vinyl. Several of the college radio stations in our area are participating, including Depaul University, Harper College, University of St. Francis, Lewis University, Loyola University, and St. Xavier University.


*Bob Heymann

=A few weeks ago I mentioned that Chicago’s very own Bob Heymann (managing director of Media Services Group) would be speaking in Vegas this year about the outlook for buying and selling radio or television properties. Radio+Television Business Report was there and reported on Heymann’s presentation.


*Yankees Radio Announcer Retires

=This was a bit of a shocker. John Sterling had been doing Yankees games on the radio since 1989. His retirement was effective immediately. Sterling is 85 years old.


*The Loop Files

=Two events coming up. May 1, from 7-8pm at the ELA library in Lake Zurich. Reserve your slot here. Here’s what the program says…

    Author Rick Kaempfer transports you to the good ole days of radio, the 1970s and 1980s, when “The LOOP”  reigned supreme, shaking up the airwaves and grabbing listeners with a unique brand of programming unlike anything heard before. Kaempfer shares stories from his book told through the eyes of those who were actually there.

=Also, May 11 at the Pollyanna Brewing Company in Roselle. I’ll be there along with fellow ex-Loopers (like WGN-TV’s Jeff Hoover) from 3-7pm signing and selling books. If you don’t have a copy of the book yet, or you’d like your copy signed, that will be a great opportunity. We haven’t had an event in that area yet.

*Rest in Peace

=Dickie Betts

The Allman Brothers great was 80 years old.





*April 14--Jack Landreth birthday

=Landreth produced shows for Don & Roma, Paul Harvey, and Kevin Matthews during his time in Chicago. I got a chance to interview him for Chicago Radio Spotlight back in 2008.


*April 17, 2019—Chet Coppock’s death

=I got the news via phone call early in the morning that day. We were in the midst of a publicity tour for Chet’s book “Your Dime My Dance Floor” and Chet and I were working on his next book, a collaboration with former Bears receiver Dennis McKinnonI wrote a tribute to Chet on the Eckhartz Press website that morning. Unfortunately, after Chet’s death Dennis took the book and self-published it.


*April 17—Keith Conrad birthday

=Keith is one of the best-known radio producers in Chicago, having worked at WLS, WGN and WIND. He’s also a published novelist. His book “Righteous Might” is still available. 


*April 17—Bob Dunsworth birthday

=The talented radio production man (The Loop, AM 1000, Q101, ESPN) is now working full time as a voice over artist.


*April 17, 1967—WPGU radio signs on the air in Champaign-Urbana.

=Scores of WPGU grads eventually worked in Chicago radio (including me). I wrote about WPGU and their many alumni for Illinois Entertainer a few years ago.


*April 18—Danny Zederman birthday

=Zederman is the content director at ESPN Radio AM 1000 and came up through the ranks as a producer. This photo is from a Randy Merkin book signing in 2022. (L-R...Danny, Randy, Kap)


*April 18—Harry Volkman birthday

=Chicago’s great weatherman Harry Volkman is remembered fondly by Chicago viewers all these years after his death. Son Eddie is still going strong hosting afternoons on the suburban Star network.


*April 18, 1950

*April 19—Dan Michaels birthday

=Dan worked at WLUP, WCKG and WMET in his Chicago radio days, but moved out of the market and established himself as a well-regarded program director in places like Houston, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh (among others).


*April 19—Eliot Ephraim birthday

=One of Chicago media’s big agents. President and Owner of Ephraim and Associates.


*April 19, 1924—WLS debuts “The Barn Dance” radio show, one of the longest running shows in radio history.




*Paris Schultz to Fox-32

=When Schultz left WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, everyone was speculating where he would land. Politico’s Shia Kapos reports…Political reporter Paris Schutz is headed to Fox Chicago, where he’ll be a political correspondent and anchor for a new weekly political talk show. He’ll join Fox 32 in time for the ramp-up of the political season. The station has been short a political reporter since longtime journalist Mike Flannery retired last June.


*Brad Edwards

=Big interview get...

*New TV Home for Bulls, Blackhawks, & White Sox?

=Jeff Agrest (Sun Times) reports the three franchises are likely to soon have a new TV home, a multi-platform network called Stadium. The contract with NBC Sports Chicago runs out in October. 



*Colbert Coming to Chicago for Democratic Convention

=The Northwestern grad and former Second City main-stager is returning to town this summer for the Democratic Convention.



*ABC-7’s Jennifer Graves Retires

=For the last 22 years she has been ABC7’s Vice President of News. She’s been with the station for more than 30 years. Here’s more about her retirement.



*The Masters Says Farewell to Verne Lundquist

=I thought this was a nice touch after 40 years…



*Heidi Part 2

=Because The Masters ran a little long on Sunday, the remaining shows were a few minutes off, which caused CBS (in the Eastern and Central time zones) to clip the last few minutes of their Billy Joel special, right in the middle of “Piano Man”. It’s reminiscent of the day NBC clipped the end of an NFL game to show the movie “Heidi”.  People are still ticked off about that decades later.

=CBS was forced to make amends…



*Cable News Corner

=OAN and Smartmatic settled their lawsuit this week. Terms were not disclosed, but you can bet OAN had to pay a boatload. Several other Smartmatic lawsuits remain unresolved.



*Caitlin Clark Kills on SNL

=Michael Che was the butt of her jokes.


 *Rest in Peace

=Robert MacNeil

The co-founder of the MacNeil-Lehrer report. He was 93 years old.






*Hugh Grant Settles Suit with Rupert Murdoch

=He explained his reasoning in this Twitter thread. He wrote… Murdoch’s settlement money has a stink and I refuse to let this be hush money. Instead, he’s using that money to help fund groups fighting excesses of the press.


*The Daily Beast Names Two New Bosses

=The owner of the Daily Beast, Barry Diller, announced the two new bosses this week. Ben Sherwood (formerly of ABC) and Joanna Coles (formerly of Hearst Publications) will be tasked with revamping the site.






*Truth Social Coming Down to Earth

=It’s down over 60% since its debut.

=It’s also fighting a legal battle against itself.



*X to Charge New Accounts for Posting

=This is part of their effort to control bots. Forbes has more information.

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, April 18, 2024

20 Years: 50 Things I've Learned


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.

When I turned 50 a few (cough) years ago, I was asked to write a piece for Shore Magazine about what I'd learned in those 50 years.

I just re-read this piece and I stand by all of it.

50 Things I have learned in 50 years

1. The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but everyone still hates the squeaky wheel.  Everyone.

2. Never trust a grown man who doesn’t cry at the end of “Field of Dreams”

3. When your kids ask for your permission, they’ve almost certainly already asked and received a “no” from your spouse.

4. People who claim they don’t lie, are in fact, lying.

5. The whole town is NOT talking about the Webb boys.

6. If you use the word “sincere”, you aren’t.

7. If someone says “that’s a fact” it means “I hope you don’t look it up”.

8. A mechanic’s eyes turn into cartoon cash registers when you try to explain a knock in the engine.

9. Sedentary people may not be as healthy as exercise junkies, but they almost never need knee replacements.

10. Never trust anyone older than thirty…to fix your computer.

11. If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, don’t ever buy a house with a long driveway.

12. Make friends with the high school mathletes. They will eventually be hiring.

13. If you roll your eyes when your spouse tells a joke or story, you are ruining the moment for everyone in the room. 

14. “Self-Help Seminar” is an oxymoron.

15. When someone tells you to do things that scare you, they don’t mean do EVERYTHING that scares you. There is no good reason to wing-walk.

16. Punching the car radio when you hear the “Kars for Kids” commercial may turn off the jingle momentarily, but it cannot kill it.

17. “Oh Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind” is impossible to read without singing.

18. He who laughs at himself gets the most laughs.

19. The Do-It-Yourself crowd always eventually creates more business for the Do-it-For-You occupations.

20. Remember that even though the person tailgating you is enraged, you are giving the people he or she is rushing to meet five or six extra seconds to relax.

21. NEVER use the word “fetch” when asking your spouse to get you something.

22. No man has ever satisfactorily loaded a dishwasher.

23. If you think of a joke about someone’s name, resist the temptation. They have heard that joke a thousand times.

24. Never trust a man who calls you either “Sport” or “Chief”.

25. “High Maintenance” is never worth it.

26. People who wear sunglasses indoors should be avoided at all costs.

27. Basketball coaches are ten times more likely to have a combover than any other profession.

28. The only place to find someone without mother or father issues is Madame Tussaud’s.

29. You know who never runs out of small talk? A weatherman.

30. The most oft-repeated lie of all time is “I’m happy for you.”

31. A person who isn’t bothered by bad reviews is someone who has never gotten one.

32. Instant messaging someone is like jumping in front of them and screaming: “ANSWER ME NOW!”

33. “Stop and smell the roses” is great advice even if you take it literally.

34. If you need to talk to a musician, don’t do it before noon.

35. Pabst earned their blue ribbon 120 years ago. Look for a more recent winner.

36. If being an outdoorsman was so great, they wouldn’t have invented houses, furnaces, or air conditioning.

37. Every time your child says “I’m bored” you are justified in deducting the cost of their toys from their college fund.

38. The deliciousness of a meal is directly proportional to how bad your breath smells after eating it.

39. Telemarketers will never answer “yes” to the question “Can I call you right back?”

40. Your elected officials may be pathetic, but they were elected by you.

41. The person who tells you the best gossip is also telling your secrets to everyone they know.

42. No one has ever listened to the phrase immediately following…”When I was a kid…”

43. “Undetectable Plastic Surgery” is an oxymoron.

44. Little Tykes is the most ironically named company of all-time. They make toys the size of my house.

45. The only way to avoid naming a child something that doesn’t rhyme with a dirty word is to name them “Orange”.

46. Paul Anka was only 27 when he wrote “My Way”. His regrets are no longer “too few to mention”.

47. 100% of people working on your house will tell you the last person who did work there clearly didn’t know what he was doing.

48. Your family may love you, but your dog is the only one truly happy to see you when you come home.

49. There hasn’t been a “Caddyshack-quote-free” round of golf played in America in more than three decades.

50. All of your life accomplishments will be forgotten immediately if you die an embarrassing death.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Studio Walls--April 17, 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 Minutia Men is called "Shut Your Swinepipe" and it's our 350th episode. You can listen to it here. The Minutia Men Celebrity Interview this week is one of our most entertaining. We talked to 1970s teen heart-throb, Tony DeFranco. And if you're a Premier League fan you know the title race is nuts this year. Adam and I discuss it in this week's episode.

Here's a few more gems from the past...

April 14--Janene Carleton birthday

=She's a stuntwoman and has some great stories about doing stunts in the movies. : 

April 14—Summer Crockett Moore birthday

=An actress/movie mogul told us about her experiences as a producer.

April 15, 2014--David Stern’s “Pothole Song” debuts on YouTube.

April 15, 2014—The Pothole Store publicity tour 

April 15, 1864—Abraham Lincoln is assassinated

=Have we ever mentioned Dave wrote a poem about Honest Abe?

April 15, 1912--The Titanic Sinks

=I wrote a song about that. "Sink the Titanic" was a hit for Landecker & the Legends

April 16--Gerardo birthday

=We interviewed Rico Suave himself, and he was really entertaining

April 16, 1996—Debut of Dere Da Bulls 

=The day that Bulls won their 70th game, Landecker & the Legends debuted this song.

April 17--Skip Griparis

=Skip is a stand up comic who does musical comedy. He was once a member of the New Colony Six. Fun interview.

April 17, 2018--Chet Coppock passed away

=His old friend Mark Giangreco told us some great stories about Chet

April 18, 1938—First Superman comic book released. 

=We talked to a guy who actually owns a copy of that comic, Gary Moondog Colabuona 

April 19—National Poker Day 

=We interviewed professional poker player Tristin Wade, who has also has the thankless task of being Dave's poker coach.

April 19, 1982—"Caught up in You" released

=Rick and Jim Peterik jammed to that song on this episode

April 20—Hitler’s birthday

=We talked to the author of "Hustling Hitler" Walter Shapiro about his uncle who hustled the Fuehrer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Publishing Portal--April 16, 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.

New Book Release!

Storytelling is part of the fabric of our daily lives. Stories create opportunities to debate, question, inspire, wonder and relate. Meta-Stories I is a series of 18 allegories about life experiences, challenges and human resilience. The main characters include humans, animals and natural objects. Readers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in each story, reflect on inner meanings, and ponder how these stories resonate with them and their own life journey. The 18 stories are meant for all ages, and the author JJ Novak encourages the reader to share the stories with friends, family members, and those they connect with.

Happy Birthday!

=Eckhartz Press author Keith Conrad (Righteous Might) is celebrating a birthday this week (April 17). Keith had the misfortune of coming out with his inventive novel during the COVID crisis, so he wasn't able to do any events or in-person media interviews. He did do this Q&A, which will give you an idea of how interesting his novel is.

The Loop Files

=Rick appears on another podcast. This is a really fun conversation with Vicki & Wynne, talking mostly about The Loop Files, but also about some of Rick's other books.

=Coming soon, The Loop goes somewhere it's never been before! A public library. Rick Kaempfer will be appearing at the Ela Public Library in Lake Zurich on May 1 from 7-8pm. Find out more information about it here.

=Then one last one. May 11. Another one that is destined to bring out the fellow Loopers. Jeff Hoover from the WGN-TV morning news (a former Looper himself) is helping to host this party.

=Two people who contributed to the Loop Files are celebrating birthdays this week, Jack Landreth (April 14) and Seka (April 15). Jack told stories about his days working as Kevin Matthews' producer. Seka was one of the stars of the photo section (shown below with co-host Stan Lawrence).

*Inside Melania

=Eckhartz Press author Lauren LoGuidice was in town this week performing her variety show/stand-up special.. We were there and took a photo...

Rest in Peace

=Sad news this week in 2019 (April 17). We lost Eckhartz Press author Chet Coppock. He was only 71 years old when he perished as the result of injuries sustained in a car accident. Eckhartz Press publisher Rick Kaempfer was dispatched to radio and television stations to eulogize Chet. A few weeks later friends gathered for Chet's memorial service and paid tribute to one of the all-time greats.

 *Leaving Glory For Greatness

 =LaMarr Thomas passed away on the same day as Chet Coppock. He became the subject of one our best selling books of 2023, Leaving Glory for Greatness. Author Lou Macaluso highlighted the great achievements of Thomas in life in the pages of this book, and in death the proceeds of this book go to benefit something that meant a lot to LaMarr, his old school Thornton Township High School. Lou explained the significance in this interview.

*The Unplanned Life

=This week in 2020 Roger Badesch got the first copy of his memoir The Unplanned Life (photo). It came just one day after what would have been former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's birthday (April 15). Part of Roger's unplanned life was working for Mayor Washington for a time. There's a memorable story in the book about the time Roger had to set up the stereo equipment at Harold's house. 

=This week in 2021 Roger was interviewed by Steve Dale on WGN Radio. 

*Surviving Sue

=An upcoming appearance by Surviving Sue author Vicki Atkinson. Don't miss it!

*Behind the Glass

 =Hall of Famers abound in the pages of Randy Merkin's memoir Behind the Glass. Ironically, this week's birthday boy Pete Rose (April 14) isn't one of them because he's banned from the Hall of Fame. We wonder what goes through his mind these days when he  sees the betting windows at the ballpark.

*The Living Wills

=This week in 2012, Windy City Reviews posted their review of the first ever Eckhartz Press release, The Living Wills. Here's a portion of what they said...

    In the preface, the authors note the novel's structure is influenced by the Harold, an improvisational theater form created by Del Close.  While the novel does not exactly follow the form, the interwoven stories lend themselves to the influence of improv.  Sullivan and Kaempfer set themselves up for a challenge by telling the stories of five main characters each through a different point of view, but each of the story lines is unique, all the characters are clearly drawn, and there is no confusion for the reader.  Short chapters advance the plot quickly and keep the reader engaged. 

What struck me most about this novel was its sweetness.

    What struck me most about this novel was its sweetness.  Sullivan and Kaempfer navigate issues of love, loss, and family dynamics with a care that is crucial to the success of the novel.  The straightforward, unadorned prose does no work to convey the depth of emotion in the novel; that job is reserved solely for the characters, and they carry the load well.  Though each of the characters trend slightly towards the stereotypical, the reader is able to accept them as individuals thanks to Sullivan and Kaempfer's well-placed personal details.  Delmar, the toilet salesman, is a salesman to his core, and his application of sales principles to his romantic relationship is at once comic and endearing.  Similarly, the scenes in the parking garage with the executive and the attendant are injected with emotion when we learn that “Reed went through the usual charade of offering a smoke to Henry, who always pretended to consider it before declining.”  These details elevate the novel from cliché to something much deeper and more satisfying for the reader. 

    As difficult as it is to wrap up intricately woven narratives, Sullivan and Kaempfer succeed there, as well. On the whole, The Living Wills was a pleasure to read for Sullivan and Kaempfer's deft characterization and effective structural choices.  The rich details about Chicago only add to the novel's appeal, and I find myself thinking of Henry, Reed, and Delmar when I pass Waveland Bowl or a parking area on lower Wacker Drive.


=This week's birthday boy Kareem Abdul Jabbar (April 16) appears in three different Eckhartz Press books, Chet Coppock's Your Dime My Dance Floor, Chuck Swirsky's Always a Pleasure, and Ryan Trembath's Signature Shoes. 


=One of the biggest stars in Cubs history, Cap Anson, was born this week in 1852 (April 17) during the Millard Filmore administration. Anson still holds many Cubs records, and was the only player in MLB to collect over 3000 hits in the 19th century. Unfortunately, he also contributed something dark to the game. It was at Anson's insistence that the color line was enforced, prohibiting Black players from playing. That story is told in EveryCubEver.

*Life Behind the Camera

=One of the many celebrity fans of Chuck Quinzio's book Life Behind the Camera is this fellow who spent many years in front of the camera, the great George Takei. George is celebrating a birthday this week (April 20).

*Grace's Rockin Roll Adventure

=This week in 2021, Eckhartz Press author Ken Korber got a shout out on Bruce Springsteen's website Backstreets. Ken's book is about a young girl getting to meet her hero, Springsteen sideman Little Stevie Van Zandt. 

*420, man

=We got you covered.