Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bill Cochran, Jason Skaggs, Ken Jennings, Elliot Abrams

Today is International Podcast Day! When I started doing my pod in 2009, there weren't many out there, but now there are a lot!

  • In honor of this day, I will be referring to a few pods in this post (being informative yet self-promotional) starting with the freshest: this week I posted a new interview with Bill Cochran, whose voice you've heard all over the airwaves, for years on WNUA and online Smooth Jazz, and most recently on MeTV-FM. But he also does and talks about a lot more! Very interesting guy. 
  • The major news is Jason Skaggs' (who* I interviewed) departure from Chicago radio to Houston, Host of Hurricane Harvey (deliberate alliteration there). Jason was the Commercial Manager at WGN and is going to be Production Director at Cox Media Group. I often say this in various places online and off, but to reiterate: the best time I've had in radio (not that it's still not fun) was working for and filling in for Jason. Actually, it was one of the best work experiences I've ever had (I described that plus more at my non-media blog). 
  • And another major promotion is Ken Jennings (who was a guest when my pod was in its infancy), who went from mere Studio Crew (like cameraman, cake presenter, etc.) at Big Ten Network to Studio Operations Supervisor. He's also a huge Ohio State fan, so if your Big Ten team is playing the Buckeyes, watch out! 
  • Now you're probably wondering why I'm not mentioning International Translation Day at this point...well here's a media representation to honor it: a reporter and cameraman from Telemundo interviewing someone outside Holy Name Cathedral, where they had a special mass for victims of the earthquake in Mexico.

Telemundo Holy Name Cathedral
I didn't stick around long enough to try to understand what they were saying.

  • And as we're on the brink of October, I have a special essay/reflection written by Accuweather's Elliot Abrams. You've probably heard him for years on WBBM (and throughout the country). Not only is he very knowledgeable about weather, but he's totally into radio (he co-founded Accuweather's radio service) and is a dynamic person with varied interests and a quirky sense of humor. 

October colors scream for attention as summer's emerald draperies are splashed with auburn, set ablaze with firethorn, streaked with burnished copper, then saturated in chocolate just before Halloween. 
If March is the chameleon month, October is its cousin. One day is bright and crisp, brimming with fresh vitality; the next is under a dreary roof of slate framed by steel wool curtains...a lint-filter sky. 
Nature takes its full palette of pastels, earth tones and half shades and thrown them together in a tapestry simultaneously chaotic and yet invitingly familiar. Autumn is our annual sunset, the rich colors and interweaving of light providing our last look at the year, with the winter night temporarily postponed but imminently inevitable. 
October's loud colors are matched by its noisy winds. The brittle leaves crackle in the breeze, a sure giveaway it's autumn on those increasingly rare warm south wind nights.  The leaves lodge in the lawns, shove into shrubs and burrow into the bushes; the nachos style crunchiness amplifies the sound of footsteps. 
Brash noise and sullen solitude. Bold bright colors and dim dreariness. Tossed trees with spiced scenery.  How they match life's many moods and tastes. For here in one month is captured the diversity of the entire annual cycle of earthly life. Yet for all of its richness and variety, few of its scenes and sounds will last out the year.

But, when winter's scouts retreat north for reinforcements, an eerie still is left behind.  The quiet is punctuated by the quick tick of a bouncing acorn. The scene of vivid crispness is hidden by a haze that smears the colors. The waning sun is too feeble to stir the grimy soup; fog lingers through damp mornings. Later, the haze tints muted sunbeams on bittersweet warm afternoons. You can just barely feel the hint of bygone summer, but the lengthening shadows and eager evening dusk say warm times are headed for history. 
As the sun wearies of its heated climb through summer skies, the woodlands are tossed into an autumn salad bar. The leaner diet of light and the fingers of frost lace the chervil and sage greens of summer with oregano, pumpkin spice and cinnamon. The ocean of summer green now has islands of amber and auburn amidst currents of crimson, the mixing colors changing each day.   
Fall days can bring wondrous variety: 
We can have windy days. In the nooks and crannies around buildings on a dry day you see dust, paper scraps and leaf fragments whipped into whirlpools, the tiny pieces sucked in and thrown out as the vortex vanishes. 
Out in the countryside, cumulus cloud shadows race along the ground, racing along the ridges and vaulting the valleys. The trees, still in leaf. have their twigs twisted and their branches bent. In the fields and weedlots, unseen waves rustle the tassels and taller grass blades, the surface rippling like waves on a lake.  
Other days represent just the opposite: foggy calm mornings and hazy quiet mellow afternoons. Tiny spider mites weave threads and fragile strands that drift in the slightest puff of wind. The leaves detach from their summer homes to form a carpet of brown crinkle on the forest floor. Acorns snap to ground. You can still feel a hint of summer in the afternoon air; the long shadows of late afternoon and the early dusk make us sense somehow the summer party is over.  
Only later do we find ourselves skewered on the rotisseri of reality, sucked in by the shop-vac of autumn's summer remnants, raked over by nature's leaf blower, the rototiller of northerly winds. The annual chilly eraser transforms the artful tapestry of October to the gray canvas of late fall and winter. 

by Elliot Abrams
Sr. VP
AccuWeather Inc 
Twitter: accuelliot

 *I know it's supposed to be "whom" but I want to say "who."

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Doreyde Vazquez, Josh Liss, Karl Clauson, blueberry popsicles

It's interesting how things appear symmetrical, because last week when I posted tidings it was National Cherry Popsicle Day, and today is National Blueberry Popsicle Day. So once again, you have an official reason to eat a popsicle...enjoy!
I have real blueberries in the fridge.

  • Wow, Doreyde Vazquez has come a long way since her early days as a student at Columbia College and intern at Telemundo, CBS Chicago, WLS, WGN Radio, and ABC Chicago (and working at some of those places as well). Since then, she's been working in TV in Los Angeles for a lot of shows and companies, and she's just started a Post Coordinator/Scheduling job at Disney ABC. Way to go! Remember us little folks from your humble beginnings :p
  • Also moving on, literally, is Erik Zachary, who's been on the air at WKSC/Kiss-FM. He's officially moved to New York to host MTV's Total Request Live (which oddly doesn't seem to have its own web page) and do other features there. But he'll still going to be hosting nights on KISS-FM, thanks to the beauty of modern technology. 
  • My current guest is Josh Liss, who's the sports director and reports sports every weekday morning on WBBM. Not only does he have a fantastic job, but he seems to be a really nice, sincere guy, which is not common in sports media IMHO.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Bob Roberts, Alison Moran, Neil Fiorito, just because

Why should you enjoy a cherry popsicle today? Just because. That's my clever way of mentioning two special days within a singularity: today is Cherry Popsicle Day and tomorrow is Just Because Day.

because I want to
Translation: Today I'm happy because I want [to be], because I can, and because I feel like it!

  • But much more importantly, today at 6:00 pm, Bob Roberts (who* I interviewed) will be on the air, but not on WBBM (where he's been a fantastic, hard-working reporter for several years). He will be spinning records (not sure if he's literally doing that, but it's a nice phrase, in addition to hearkening back to yesteryear when jocks such as him+ did that) at Indiana University on his alma mater's radio station, WIUX (which was WIUS when he was there). The question is if he'll go by his then-on-air name "Frankie B. Rhodes." You can find out by listening live at the station's stream link
  • I've been reading and writing blogs for several years (while established media folks were deriding them before they themselves had to jump on the digital bandwagon), and longtime sports radio and writer Alison Moran just shared a new post on her Token Female blog. Her blog about sports and life, and is an example of the quality that's remained as other bloggers have jumped textual and visual ship to social media exclusively.
  • Another radio pro who has on online project is traffic reporter Neil Fiorito, who is also a concierge at the Residence Inn in River North. His "Neil's News" videos cover activities and interests in Chicago, and they demonstrate his talent broadcasting visually as well as audioally (not a word, I know, but I want to be linguistically obnoxious).

*I know it's supposed to be "whom" but I want to say "who." 

+I know it's supposed to be "he" but I want to say "him." 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lefties, Trey Elling, Jeff Burnett, boxers

If you're left-handed, this day is for you; you're part of the worldwide minority that is celebrated on Left-Handers Day! As part of the right-handed majority, I offer you congratulations for making it this far if people have tried to "correct" your natural propensity to do things a different way (according to my left-handed dad, teachers would often switch pencils to his right hand, but that was super old-school style; let's hope that doesn't happen in the 21st century, at least in developed countries).  

left hand
Simple image. Scroll down for more compelling ones.

  • A former Texan-turned-Chicagoan-back-to-Texan has a new gig: Trey Elling, who was a producer at WGN Radio and The Game 87.7 (a former brief offshoot of WGN). He's in Austin, Texas now at 104.9 The Horn (KTXX Radio), where he's on the air every day, in addition to producing.
  • Downstate (at least from a Chicago perspective), Jeff Burnett (an encouraging podcast supporter) has just scored a cool job in Peoria as a news producer at 25 News WEEK-TV. He's already on the air at B104 (WBWN Radio) in Bloomington-Normal, so he seems quite busy in broadcast media at this point.
  • And speaking (or writing) of Peoria, perhaps now is the time I should go public with the comparison I've been sharing with radio folks (and other people who perhaps care) offline: the saying "Will it play in Peoria?" has been connected with Vaudeville. Vaudeville used to be a very popular form of entertainment. But it is no longer, and its decline was known to be caused by the rise of movies. So when I hear people complain about the faltering radio business or personal struggles in the profession, I sometimes tell them, "It's like the last days of Vaudeville." I'm pretty sure I've enlightened a few people because they told me they'd never considered such a similarity before. So if you work in radio (or even TV), the next time you're lamenting lack of opportunities, pay, etc., think about the Last Days of it similar?
  • And for a final segue, this time connected to radio and TV, here's something to appreciate if you're toiling in radio obscurity: what's good is that if you're multitasking (i.e., shopping online, reading something frivolous, or looking at silly pictures) while working, you don't have to worry about TV cameras catching you browsing for boxer shorts or other undergarments.

At least the traffic map is open.

Proof of my boxer reference to substantiate my claim.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Friendship Day, Rebel Force Radio, Tommy Rose

Happy Friendship Day! In case you're wondering if you saw my last post on the International Day of Friendship, this is not a typo. Today is Friendship Day! But what I said last time is worth repeating: thanks to the wonderful people I've met in the biz and to people who I consider friends (and who hopefully reciprocate such a sentiment). My inadvertent celebration of this day will include seeing a friend later at the soon-to-be-no-longer Tribune Tower. Hope you're also seeing friends, especially since we're going to have a sort-of decent day weather-wise.

lamb sheep friends
They seem to be friends.
  • And similar to last week's friendship-day-related segue as well, scores of friends are sharing memories and offering condolences to the family of Joe Collins, who passed away last week. Please watch his FB page to get information on when the memorial service will be "within the next couple of weeks."
  • Over in Princeton (a town I've passed by on the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles), if you look at the on-air page at WZOE Radio, you won't see Tommy Rose's name or picture there anymore. He hosted mornings and was the Program Director there for 14 years.
  • And the latest episode of the excellent Star Wars podcast Rebel Force Radio is out, co-hosted by longtime radio pro Jimmy McInerney (who* I interviewed). They have thousands of listeners, and they started podcasting when podcasts were barely a blip on the digital media radar. Such innovators and early adopters should be acknowledged!

*I know it's supposed to be "whom" but I want to say "who." 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Joe Collins, Rick O'Dell, Bob Kessler, sports, friends

Sunday is so important, even the United Nations has declared it: the International Day of Friendship! And if I want to get really sappy, I can say that I've met a lot of wonderful people in the radio biz, some of whom have become friends! So thank you to those people and others who should be in the friendship circle...lots of exclamation points here!

danbo friends boxes
These box friends have a lot to talk about...日本語で [in Japanese]
  • Speaking of friends...a friend of former traffic reporter Joe Collins, who was on the air for several years, including at WBBM Newsradio, reported on Fakebook that "Joe is in the ICU at Advocate South Suburban hospital." He's been dealing with health issues for a while. I first met him when he was at Northwestern hospital more than a few years ago. Friends have been leaving prayers and good wishes on his page. 
  • On Monday night, MeTV FM Radio's Rick O'Dell (who* I interviewed) and Bill Cochran will be at the Monday Night Car Shows at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie from 6:00 to 9:00 (I don't know why it would be called "shows" in this case because it's only one show on Monday night, but that's the official name, so I have to go with it). You've probably also heard Bill Cochran's voice on WTTW, WXRT, in commercials, etc. Considering he's so successful, he's a modest guy, and even has an interesting blog called Every Clog Has Its Day. Thus it's a Clog Blog, probably one of the only (or *the* only?) such genre in the world. 
  • You're probably wondering, "She's always mentioning people she's interviewed...isn't there anything new?" Why yes, and my latest pod happens to be with Bill's friend, Bob Kessler, who does news on WGN Radio, produces Green Sense Radio, and does lots of other things in and out of the biz. And, more (or equally) significantly, it's my 150th episode, which means I've interviewed well over 100 people so far. And I started the podcast when there weren't many out there (you can read more of my whining about that subject at my site). 
  • If you prefer sports, there's a fresh Weekend Sports Report for August that's just been posted by Steve Leventhal (who* I also interviewed) and Packer Dave (guess he's not a Bears fan?).
  • And an update from some previous whining I did: I passive-aggressively mentioned how the Writers Guild East, which is based in New York, always sends emails to us Chicago people about New York events. I figured they'd want to share the love in Chicago, so I called to find out the prospects. There are none, and it looks like I can't even organize anything through them because we don't have many members here. So basically, there's nothing to report about WGA-related Chicago events because I guess they figure we're just flyover country, since LA and NYC are the Important Places to be Noticed. So if you're in Chicago, don't expect live humans to present anything; you'll have to watch some of the NYC fun via videos at their YouTube page instead.

*I know it's supposed to be "whom" but I want to say "who."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Leslie Harris update, Fantasia/Brian Tallerico, Tapioca

I have mixed feelings about Saturday because it's National Tapioca Pudding Day, and I'm not really a fan. But somewhere out there, tapioca fans are jubilant as they get to enjoy their special day. I plan on eating some other dessert, though I really do like pudding (usually vanilla and/or chocolate).

delicious pudding
This pudding looks more delicious than tapioca. Plus there's a cookie.
  • In other news, there's an update on the seemingly vague information I reported about Leslie Harris: her first time back on the air will be on Saturday (probably not eating tapioca pudding) at 95.9 The River from 10:00-3:00, and she'll be filling in for Beth Reynolds from 10 to 3 during the entire week of the 24th.
  • The next podcast (yes, I still do them), #150, is going to be with Bob Kessler, who does news at WGN Radio. He recently became ordained as a Lay Buddhist Teacher with the Buddhist Society for Compassionate Wisdom at Zen Buddhist Temple Chicago.

*I know it's supposed to be "whom" but I want to say "who."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

John Landecker's tattoo, Steve Scott, Pong remembered

Greetings from the Land of Lincoln, where no Boston Tea Party has been planned...yet.
  • I guess I'll jump on the celebratory bandwagon and congratulate John Records Landecker on his forthcoming entry into the National Radio Hall of Fame. I only met him once when I interviewed him (and I really appreciate it because he's well-known and established in Chicago radio). I'd heard good things about him, and he was, indeed, very friendly and positive. It seems like he has a ton of friends and support from Chicago and beyond. You can see a lot of pictures of him online, but here's one that I think no one else has taken: his tattooed arm. He told me that after his German-born father died (he was Jewish), the German government issued a number for a cash payment that was made to him. 
John Landecker's arm
I took this picture of John Landecker's arm...I'm saying this in case anyone wants to use it without attributing it to me, which has happened before, including by a major news outlet...not naming names, at least for now...bwahaha
  • In other more pressing news (pun intended), former WLS newsman Steve Scott (who* I also interviewed) is moderating an event on August 7 at the New York Press Club with Dr. Bennet Omalu, who uncovered football injury-related CTE. (You're probably thinking, "I don't live in NYC, why does this matter?" Now you know how I feel when I get emails announcing glorious events hosted by the Writers Guild, which I must pay into, while never being able to actually go, unless I had a private plane and a pied-à-terre there. So I'm going to try to plan something in Chicago...this is news...stay tuned for updates.) 
  • And finally...even though it's supposed to be a fantastic weather day today, be sure to stay indoors because it's Video Games Day (not to be confused with my birthday, which always falls on National Video Games Day on September 12). Remember Pong? So do I, actually.
pong video game
My friend had this game and we played it. It was considered fun.

*I know it's supposed to be "whom" but I want to say "who."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Roger Badesch, July 4th, Leslie Harris

Thanks to a long non-radio work day, I ended up falling asleep before I could report the latest, breaking news, but it's just as well, because today is WGN's Roger Badesch's birthday! He's very passionate about radio (I've interviewed him) and very friendly, open to talking about anything (i.e., not just superficial topics). 

German birthday cake
This cake looks sad, but it's in German, which is interesting.
  • Here's the newsy bit: Roger is going to be the Parade Reviewing Stand Announcer at the Skokie 4th of July Parade...and that's not all...ESPN's Dave Kaplan (yet another broadcaster I've interviewed) will be the Grand Marshal! The parade seems to be media-oriented because CBS 2's Rob Johnson will be a Special Celebrity Guest, and ESPN's Marc Silverman and WGN's Patti Vasquez are the "next" celebrity guests (I don't know what "next" means in this context).
  • Also what's new: Leslie Harris announced that she's back at The River (WERV-FM) doing weekends and fill-in, but the schedule doesn't have her yet :(
  • And here's something to check out: Shereen Mo, who works at WBBM Newsradio, has an Instagram about food called Devour Chicago. The pictures are good, despite not having a crew of food stylists :p
And make sure you jump in the pool because today is Swim a Lap Day!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ham field day, book tours, vegetable and dad days

Just ahead of Eat Your Vegetables Day and Father's Day (which I won't be celebrating for the first time in my life due to my dad's passing before Thanksgiving, making that holiday and every special day since then difficult), here's some info hot off the summer sidewalks, starting with something nerdy, yet fun:
  • The Chicago Suburban Radio Association is having "their annual Field Day On-Air operation" (quoting from the website so that I don't end up plagiarizing) at Veteran's Park in North Riverside next weekend, June 24 and 25. They claim it's the "most popular on-the-air event" in our fine country and Canada, where thousands of hams broadcast. 

ham and tomatoes
Not this ham (note the tomatoes in honor of Veggie Day)
The pictures capture the festive atmosphere, where you can also see longtime radio pro and historian Scott Childers (who* I interviewed). The CRSA was founded in 1924, two years before my dad was born (thus he lived through much of broadcast history, during the golden age of radio and the birth of TV). More details about the event are at the CRSA website, which you should also explore or even join in you're a suburban radio operator.
So enjoy your vegetables before Father's Day, when you'll probably eat cupcakes, burgers, and other non-healthy food.

happy eggplant
It's his/its day.

*I know it's supposed to be "whom" but I want to say "who."

Latest News

Bill Cochran, Jason Skaggs, Ken Jennings, Elliot Abrams

Today is International Podcast Day! When I started doing my pod in 2009, there weren't many out there, but now there are a lot! In ho...