Thursday, June 06, 2024

Media Notebook--6-6-24


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



*100 Years of the Big 89

=The June issue of Illinois Entertainer is out and includes my tribute to the Big 89. I featured a few excerpts of interviews from some of the men who helped build it into a powerhouse in the early 1960s, Clark Weber, Ron Riley, and Bob HaleRead it here.

 *Illinois Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

=The Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Joliet (on Route 66) honors not only musical performers, but also the radio personalities and stations that helped put those performers on the map. Last year The Loop (WLUP) was inducted. This year, it’s Super CFL (WCFL). Last year, Bob Sirott was inducted in the radio personality category. This year, they have chosen Bob Stroud.

=As for the musical acts, Illinois’ very own Richard Marx, the Smashing Pumpkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Steve Goodman, Willie Dixon, Susie Bogguss, and Marshall Thompson from the Chi-Lites will be honored. The event will be held on October 20 at the Rialto Square Theater. Bob Sirott will serve as the emcee. Get your tickets at


*Salem Media Apologizes for “2000 Mules”

=The company had been distributing the bogus election interference film by convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza, but after being sued by one of the people D’Souza falsely implicates in the movie, they suddenly saw the light…

“It was never our intent that the publication of the 2000 Mules film and book would harm Mr. Andrews,” Salem said in a statement. “We apologize for the hurt the inclusion of Mr. Andrews’ image in the movie, book, and promotional materials have caused Mr. Andrews and his family. We have removed the film from Salem’s platforms, and there will be no future distribution of the film or the book by Salem.”

=In Chicago, Salem owns WIND Radio (AM 560)


*SAG-AFTRA Files Unfair Labor Practices Charge against WBEZ

=On behalf of the journalists that work at WBEZ…

 *Podcast Corner

=The Rundown podcast is a worth a listen for Chicago music fans. “Spending the Night at Mister Kelly’s with the Newberry Library” Listen here.


*Music News

=ABBA was knighted this week by the King of Sweden. All four members were there, Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni-Frid (ABBA, get it?). The AP Reports.

=Cyndi Lauper announced her farewell tour. More Info at the Hollywood Reporter


*Rest in Peace

=Scott Ginsburg

One-time owner of The Loop in Chicago (Evergreen Media). He would go on to found the highest billing radio group in America with Tom Hicks (Chancellor Media) during the radio-station-buying-frenzy era after the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Ginsburg was 71.

=Brother Marquis

Rapper from the groundbreaking 2 Live Crew. He was 58



*June 2—Dave Hoekstra birthday

=Hoekstra wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades. Dave’s books include “The Supper Club Book,” “The People’s Place (Soul Food Restaurants and Reminiscences from the Civl Rights Era to Today” and “The Camper Book (A Celebration of a Moveable American Dream),” all published by Chicago Review Press. He’s also hosted a show on WGN Radio. This is a photo of Dave (right) with legendary DJ Bobby Skafish (left) after an interview at WGN.

 *June 2—Geoff Buchholz birthday

=Geoff is well-known behind the scenes in Chicago’s radio and television community. His trophy case is bursting with a Peabody, Murrow, and an Emmy award. He is currently a writer/editor at WBBM NewsRadio.


*June 3—Jim Kirk birthday

=Jim is the publisher and executive editor of Crain’s Chicago Business. Before coming to Crain’s, he was the editor-in-chief of the LA Times. He also worked at the Chicago Tribune, covering a beat that I hold near and dear: the media.


*June 3—Dan Deibert birthday

=The former WGN Radio host is working as a comedian specializing in corporate gigs.  


*June 3—Dianne Goldsher Rosen birthday

=Long-time traffic reporter in Chicago (WLS, WLUP, Shadow Traffic)


*June 5, 1968

=Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on live television…

 *June 6, 2016—Dan Sorkin death

=He isn’t remembered by too many people these days, but Dan Sorkin was a superstar of Chicago radio in the late 50s/early 60s. He’s the man responsible for discovering Bob Newhart. I interviewed him back in 2010 and found him to be a delight.


*June 6—Larry Lujack birthday

=There’s an argument to be made that Larry is one of the top five greatest radio performers in Chicago history. He certainly was one of my heroes. I was thrilled to interview him just a few months before he died (in 2013) for Illinois Entertainer.


*June 6—Roe Conn birthday

=Roe made his mark at WLS Radio, co-hosting the popular Roe & Garry show (with Garry Meier). He later co-hosted the show with Bill Leff, and then Richard Roeper, before moving to WGN Radio. He’s out of radio now, working as the director of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. I’ve interviewed Roe a number of times over the years, including this one from 2007.


*June 6—Scott Bertram birthday

=Scott was a former Chicago radio reporter, who is now the GM of the radio station at Hillside College, as well as being a journalism professor at the school.


*June 6, 1944—D-Day

=This is the message Dwight D. Eisenhower sent to his troops, 80 years ago this week…

 *June 7—Alan Rosen birthday

=Al was a production engineer with WLS radio, and then WBBM radio for several decades.


 *June 7—John Fisher birthday

=The former WMET/WCKG/WLUP jock just recently was let go from his morning gig in Seattle. I got a chance to interview him in 2007.


 *June 8, 1966—Bill Kurtis Breaks Out

=On this day in 1966, a twister hit Topeka, Kansas. A young college student named Bill Kurtis was on television that night filling in at the news desk and broke in to alert the viewers of Lost in Space that it was coming. He came on the air and said “For God’s Sake Take Cover.” That was the beginning of a legendary TV-news career. Bill told that story on my podcast a few years ago. You can hear the entire interview here.


*June 8—Byrd birthday

=Byrd is still heard as a weekend and fill-in jock on the Drive. I interviewed him in 2018 for Illinois Entertainer, shortly after he joined the Drive airstaff.



*Chicago Sports Network to Debut in October

=It will be the television home for the Bulls, Blackhawks, and White Sox. Jeff Agrest has more information in the Sun-Times. 



*Chicago Bears on Hard Knocks

=The HBO series about NFL training camps will feature our very own Chicago Bears this year. Axios Chicago has a list of potential topics they should cover. I got a kick out of it.


*Paul Konrad’s Night with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

=Konrad appeared on stage with Robert Smigel’s creation this week, along with former Governor Rod Blagojevich, former Cub Ryan Dempster, and WGN-TV producer Jeff Hoover. Some highlights are here.


*John Cusack’s Screening of High Fidelity

=The well-known Chicago star screened and discussed his well-known Chicago movie High Fidelity this week at the Auditorium theater. Gwen Ihnat with Block Club Chicago was there.



=A documentary about the Brat Pack is debuting at the Tribeca film festival. That led the NY Times to name the five “essential Brat Pack films.” Children of the 80s, these are your movies.


*Paramount and Skydance Agree to a Merger

=Another mega-corporation in the media. Shari Redstone, by the way, will walk away with a cool $2 billion. Full details are here.



*Ratings for the Trump Verdict

=When a former president gets convicted of 34 felonies, people tune in. Over 10 million viewers. The New York Times has the ratings.

=Media critic Margaret Sullivan analyzes the coverage of Trump’s conviction. 



*Cable News Corner

=Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch married for the fifth time. He is 93. She is 57. Together they are 150.

=Eric Bolling Leaves Newsmax. More info here.

=NewsNation Partnering with X for Kennedy & Trump Town Halls. Axios reports.


*Rest in Peace

=Janis Paige

Star of stage and screen. Worked with Fred Astaire and Bob Hope. She was 101 years old.

=Ben White

CNBC contributor and former NY Times reporter.





*Sally Buzbee Steps Down as Executive Editor of Washington Post

=Sounds like the new boss (CEO William Lewis) wasn't happy with the way she handled the phone hacking story...which just happened to involve him. The New York Times has the scoop


*Epoch Times CFO Charged with Money Laundering

=Bill Guan, the CFO of the right-wing news outlet, was indicted as part of a massive money laundering operation. Mediaite has more.




*Trump Joins TikTok

=And he called it an honor. Yes, it’s true, he once tried to ban it. On the other hand, Biden is also on TikTok, and he is trying to ban it too.


 *X Changes Rules to Allow Porn

=Only consensual adult nudity and adult porn, but this is not your mother’s Twitter. (No examples at the link)

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.

20 Years: The Radio Producer's Handbook


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.

The official start of my professional writing career was the publication of my first book, The Radio Producer's Handbook, co-written with John Swanson in 2004. It was a huge hit. At one point it was being used in 65 universities around the country. You'll be hard pressed to find a radio station that doesn't have it in their station's library.

Here are some of the reviews from pros in the media when the book first came out...


JOHN RECORDS LANDECKER, Legendary Radio Personality, (WIBG, WLS, CFTR, WJMK, and many other stations.)
"Rick Kaempfer was my executive producer for ten years. I’ve had marriages that didn’t last that long. By the end of our long run together, if Rick wasn’t with me in the studio, the show didn’t feel right to me. His co-author John Swanson is another producer I’ve gotten to know over the years. I’ve worked him on select occasions and I greatly respect his abilities. Just look at their collective resumes. In addition to working with me, the two of them have produced for the biggest radio stars in Chicago over the past twenty years, including Jonathon Brandmeier, Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, Kevin Matthews, Steve Cochran, and Eric and Kathy (John’s current job). If these guys tell you this is how to produce a radio show, this is how to produce a radio show. It’s as simple as that."

ERIC FERGUSON AND KATHY HART, Co-hosts of the Eric and Kathy Show on WTMX-Chicago.
"Rick and John have put together the 'must-have' producer handbook. Any success we've enjoyed can be directly attributable to guidance given in these pages."

"A must have for anyone in the business or considering the business."

STEVE COCHRAN, Mid-day host on WGN Radio

"Read, learn, and do what's in this book and you will be prepared to do a great show everyday. You also will be able to take care of any lazy, no-good talent in the biz--not that I know anyone like that."

SPIKE MANTON, Radio personality, Playwright, and Comedian

"The first training manual for radio producers from someone who has done the job. Rick Kaempfer is the best producer in America. You can guess how to do the job, or you can read the book.”

DOBIE MAXWELL, Comedian and radio personality in four time zones

"This book is so dead on and packed with useful information that I think they ought to be made required reading by the FCC for anyone who buys a radio station. It's a great resource to have for anyone who is serious about winning in the radio game."

BOB DEARBORN, Legendary radio personality and programmer
"You're way too modest. This is no mere handbook. This is the Radio Producer's BIBLE! And it's not just for the novice producer. The book is an invaluable read for ANYone in radio who wants a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in today's highly competitive marketplace. Even old dogs like me who've been kickin' around this business for more than 40 years can learn new tricks from this excellent book."


TED COX, TV & Radio critic, The Daily Herald

"Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the industry."

ROBERT FEDER, TV & Radio Critic, The Chicago Sun-Times

"The definitive guide. The perfect primer."

PAIGE WISER, Columnist, The Chicago Sun-Times
"This book proves that there's no such thing as 'easy listening' on the radio -- at least not behind the scenes. But the authors show how this tricky business can be navigated with a minimum of difficulty (and a sense of humor)."


BOB SIROTT, Anchor, WMAQ-TV, Channel 5 in Chicago.
"The complete and definitive manual on how to produce today's radio shows. In fact, radio and TV on-air personalities could learn a thing or two here as well. And I'm giving each of the producers of our television program this book too."

ANDY SHAW, News Reporter WLS-Television, Chicago
"A wonderful book by a couple of well respected Chicago radio producers. I've gotta tell you, it's the most interesting and best written technical manual you're likely to come across. "

RABBI DOUG of Chicagoland TV's: "TAPED with... Rabbi Doug"
"A clear explanation of the the radio industry behind the scenes, by two true professionals who really know the business!"


, Executive Producer of the Spike O'Dell Show, WGN Radio
"This is a book that should've been written years ago. It was well worth the wait."

JIMMY "Mac" McINERNEY, Production Director, 105.9 WCKG FM (Former producer of Kevin Matthews & Jonathon Brandmeier)
"After 16 straight years in 'The Biz,' I still actually find the info in the handbook indispensable. Real advice and scenarios from real radio professionals. If you are just entering the radio business, read this book. I teach broadcast students on the side and I make the book required reading. Many have used the information to propel themselves into a full time radio career...And then they recommend the book to their peers! Even if radio is not your desired profession, the stories and situations presented in this book make for interesting reading. A no-nonsense 'Behind the scenes' look at the radio business and a valuable source of education."

, Long-time sports producer and programmer, WLUP, ESPN
"This is a true-to-life book written by a true-to-life producer(s). The ups and downs of producing radio are covered by two producers I'm proud to say taught me the meaning of work ethic, 100% accuracy and tolerance."

"The most comprehensive book about how to become a successful producer in a major radio market. If you follow the advice in the book, success will follow you."


GREG SOLK, VP of Programming for Bonneville Broadcasting
"Rick Kaempfer and John Swanson are at the top of a very short list of 'difference making' radio producers. In this book they give us the secrets to their considerable success, and it's my hope that it helps a whole new generation of radio producers create the kind of quality radio that Rick and John have been producing for the past twenty years."

DAN KELLY, Operations/Program Director, WMMQ-FM/WJIM-FM, Citadel/Lansing, MI
"I passed the book along to one of my “I’ve been through it all and know it all” morning air talents. After getting a cold stare from him he came back after a few days (just this last week) and thought it was one of the best morning show books ever written – and not only suggested additional copies for the other members of his show – but also copies for every air talent on the station. So this morning, I ordered another ten from Amazon – and when they arrive I’ll pass them out at an airstaff meeting - with the suggestion that if reading this book bores you, you ought to find a new line of work. Thanks for putting a great book together."

KIPPER McGEE, Program Director, WLS-Radio
"To have so much solid, useable info and helpful 'how-to' tips in one handy resource is invaluable. All the great war stories and examples by experience are an added plus. This book should be in every producer's arsenal."

LISA PIOVOSI, Marketing Director
"The Radio Producer's Handbook is fabulous! So informative, interesting, funny and easy to read. The book is of course great for people just starting to embark on their careers in radio, as they will learn a ton from the experience of the authors. But it's also great for those of us in the radio industry as well... I was in radio for five years and was completely entertained with the book.. and even learned some interesting tidbits along the way. A must read!"


"I've recommended the book to students I've worked with. It gives a very realistic picture of the radio industry - warts and all. There's valuable insight in it for seasoned pros as well."



"I haven't read it."

"I really should read that some time."

"Rick? Doesn't ring a bell."