The Wednesday Rant

April 19, 2017 | Posted in General

The ” too damn early in the morning edition.”

I don’t mind being up at the crack of dawn, but this is ridiculous, but necessary if I am to get any more rest in the next few days.

As I “go to press” its 3:59 am Chicago time, but I have been up for an hour already, looking for the words to untangle the thoughts in my mind. This is what happens to me when I back up against something that will simply not leave me alone until I jackhammer my way though and bust out the foundation of what is chapping my hide.

This morning it’s the realization that I totally messed up my radio career, missing out on millions and millions and millions of dollars by not listening to the advice of insiders that admonished me for taking the “high road” instead of becoming…

“A Performance Artist!”

Over a span of 20 years, (since my first day on the air, August 27th, 1997) I have been told half a dozen times to dump the “inform, entertain and inspire” model that “just won’t sell” and join the ranks of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levine, Michael Savage (real name Michael Weiner) Glenn Beck and the latest yakker to make headlines, Alex Jones and beat the drum of conspiracy, innuendo, conservatism, male superiority and push the envelope of good taste to the point wherein I could finally break through and use “those great pipes” to attract lucrative sponsors thus setting up an ongoing supply and demand parasitic relationship with an insatiable audience that can never get enough fear to feed on.

Nope, I didn’t take their advice. Nor did I take the advice of the agent who told me I would be better off in sports radio, talking about every single, double and triple, over analyzing blocking assignments and digging into the of off field antics of young millionaires who are paid to entertain us.

Missed out on that one too.

Yea, all this “higher ground” stuff for the past two decades has cost me millions of dollars in revenue. The closest platform to the “Big Show” was my time on Oprah Radio listened to by a couple million people which is impressive, but a drop in the bucket compared to the 20 million that devour Limbaugh’s verbal droppings each week.

So, for the record, near as it can be figured, I have hosted over 22,000 hours of radio, produced about 35,000 hours and when you add in the marketing, sales and promotional aspects of my tenure, it’s safe to say that I am an expert in the field. You could drop me off in a studio in Paduach or Pittsburgh or Patagonia, fire up the mic and I am good to go.

So, it is with all that in mind that I was glad to hear the truth come out when it comes to 99.9% of political talk radio hosts and what “insiders” have known for a long time.

It’s all bullshit…and bullshit sells in a big way.

It’s the manure that keeps the paranoia and fear, the division and delusion growing, which keeps an audience tuned in and the biggest part of the equation-the ad revenue-flowing.

This “insider truth” was revealed in court just yesterday as the aforementioned Alex Jones host of ” InfoWars” that reaches millions with the help of his “Info Warriors” that are “breaking down the electronic Berlin Wall of media control from a private bunker in an undisclosed location” is fighting for custody of his kids in divorce proceedings. As his character has been called into question (Sandy Hook was fake, the moon landing was fake, the government has bombs that turn men gay, government was part of the Oklahoma City bombing, Obama wiretapped Trump and that the Syrian gas attack was a hoax just to name a few of his closely guarded truths.)

But when pressed, his lawyer went on record.

“He’s playing a character” and is nothing like his online persona, attorney Randall Wilhite reportedly insisted in a Texas courtroom at a pre-trial hearing ahead of the right-wing radio jock’s custody battle with ex-wife Kelly Jones. Judging Jones by his Infowars performances would be like judging Jack Nicholson by his depiction of “The Joker” on “Batman.”

Jones’ Infowars site was a hub for anti-Clinton conspiracies during the presidential campaign and Trump publicly thanked him for his support. “Your reputation is amazing,” Trump said in December 2015. “I will not let you down.”

A few weeks ago, veteran journalist Ted Koppel was being interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News. Koppel maintained that Hannity and his ilk are “bad for America” because “they are very effective at what they do which has attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.”

Hannity replied that Koppel was “selling the American people short, because they know the difference between opinion driven content and actual news.”

No, they don’t.

If they did, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison wouldn’t have walked into a pizza joint in Washington with an AR-15 to “self-investigate” a false election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton that spread online during her presidential campaign that he heard on “InfoWars.” Edgar fired a warning shot and then went in looking for “the tunnels where Clinton was hiding the children so he could set them free.”

All they have at Comet Ping Pong is pizza…and death threats for their part in “the horrible and despicable child sex slave ring” that only exists in Jones’s mind.

Maddison is awaiting trial.

I am self-editing this as I go along, leaving out major chunks of stuff like the “fire breathing conservative” Tomi Lahren (24 years old, a “rising media star”) who has made a name for herself by reading a teleprompter filled with all the right words that piss of the left, is now suing self-loathing talk host Glenn Beck who hired her to rant on “The Blaze” because she got on “The View” and admitted she was pro-choice when it comes to abortion.

Can’t have that. That doesn’t sell to the advertising base aka “listeners.”

Easy to forget that the grandfather of all this, Rush Limbaugh couldn’t make it as “Rusty Sharpe” or “Jeff Christie” as a DJ so when he got the chance to replace Morton Downey Jr. on the air in San Diego, he became “EL Rushbo” as he would be known to millions, drilled into a previously untapped audience of conservatives and for the past 29 years, he has been feeding them at the trough, while raking in over $500 million…and triple that for Premiere Radio Networks.

He is also a draft evader, recovering drug addict, four times married, kicked off Monday Night Football for racist remarks who “holds the line on morality and American values.” He made the term “Feminazi” part of his show, referring to about two dozen feminists “to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur.”

Reluctant “honorable mention” of Howard Stern, who might be the most proficient “Performance Artist” of all time-even though he isn’t a political yakker, was able to morph himself from an overnight disc jockey to a “wild and funny morning guy” to finding his formula for success, which was talking like a high school kid about all the stuff high school boys talk about and earning millions to get a porn star to stick tampons in their nose.

He became the self-professed “King of All Media” and a judge on “America’s Got Talent.”

Net worth for all that high-minded talent?

Forbes estimates $2.7 billion.

So, Alex Jones (according to his attorney) is a character, like “The Joker” which is about the most truthful thing to be made public in a long time. Not fake news, but a real look at the inside of this business where “characters” are making serious coin, acting like they know everything, about everything but hadn’t done much of anything…except talk.

Or just bullshitting their followers for fun and profit.

The biggest joke is on the people that listen, and pump millions into the pockets of their chosen saviors and don’t realize the joke is really on them.

And even if they do…might not care anyway. Affirmation is more important these days than information.

Maybe it’s time to “re-brand” myself, sell out and cash in.

We’ll see.

Be well.




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The Wednesday Rant

April 12, 2017 | Posted in General


It’s been an interesting week.

So much on my mind, but I am sparing you the “rant” titled “WWJB” that had The Lord being dropped off in the Easter aisle at Wal-Mart and having a conversation with the Easter Bunny about how the impending day of Resurrection ties in with marshmallow “Peeps” and the huge sale on baskets full of diabetes inducing goodies.

“WWJB” translates to “What Would Jesus Buy?”

But I digress…and discernment is often a great, but not easy choice.

So…maybe we can work Jesus in here somewhere, just not battling with a rabbit.

Yesterday I was on the stage with Tom Dreesen, but the interesting thing is that while Dreesen is famous comedian with over 500 appearances on “The Tonight Show” and hung out with “The Chairman of The Board” Francis Albert Sinatra, he wasn’t at all funny yesterday.

He was very serious and so was I, because what we talking about to the gathered Chicago Rotary Club humans is not a laughing matter.

We were talking about dads…actually the absence of them.

A staggering 40 million kids grow up in the USA without a father in the home and that “hole” creates all sorts of ripple effects from drug use, to alcoholism to gang banging to eventual incarceration. We talked about a different time, not that long ago when we had a healthy fear of our dads, that looming figure we had to answer to when we messed up. I shared a story about the time I tried to shoplift a pair of $7 sunglasses and got nabbed, right across the street from the bank my dad worked at. He walked over to the security office, and the look on his face of disappointment was enough to make me leave a life of crime for good.

I was twelve years old.

Later that evening when he got home he talked about honesty and honor and how important those things were…and that I would have plenty of time to think about my actions for the next two weeks while I was grounded except for school.

Dreesen talked about growing up in Harvey, Illinois, back when they preferred the cops instead of having to deal with someone’s dad. That none of the parents in the community would have ever put up with one of them going off the rails even a little, and how in just a couple of generations so much has changed…and not for the better in many ways.

Both of us were invited by David Hirsch, who is the founder of The Illinois Fatherhood Imitative and the guy who for twenty years has been raising the bar for fathers, urging us to not just “be there” for our kids, but for all kids.

I collaborated on the book ” 21st Century Dad’s” and also penned the forward to the volume that came out last Father’s Day and is filled with David’s adventures as he rode a bike from Santa Monica to Chicago, that’s over 2,300 miles…in just 21 days in 2015. Last year in 2016, he rode from Boston to Chicago in 21 days and this year David and a slew of riders will mount up for a 1,000-mile ride around Lake Michigan.

All of his efforts come from the fact that David grew up without his father, and was fearful about imposing the same future on his own children.

As with so many things in life, we are either breaking chains of the past or forging new links in the present that will have to be dealt with by our children.

Over the years, I have done the “Big Brother” program and mentored kids at the high school I attended and later taught at, sought to use every opportunity to connect with young people in search of themselves and a direction in life, many of them growing up without that “rudder” called dad, or a father that had more interest in a bottle than in their kids’ lives.

While the headlines seem to be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the loss of young life at the hands of another “not even old enough to vote” kid, I am heartened by the fact that there are so many lives that are saved because someone stepped up and smack dab in the middle of this event yesterday, a name floated into my head.

Derek Brown…

Derek runs a boxing program out of his garage in North Lawndale, and was profiled by Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune last September.

Brown was a gang member at twelve…the same age I was stealing sunglasses…and the same age as the two boys that were shot in a drive by in Old Town two days ago.

Brown eventually became a drug dealer with the nickname of “Shotgun” and did time in prison.

Mary shared in her column… “ Took me 30 years to realize Shotgun was just misguided.” The story continued. “He is 40 now. His boxing program, called Boxing Out Negativity, is his restitution for the kids who followed in his misguided footsteps, who wound up dead or, like his brother, in prison. ‘I helped destroy my little brother,’ he said.”

It was one of the most powerful pieces I have ever read about what is possible when a life is transformed, and the ripple effect for the better begins.

I have spoken in well over two dozen prisons in the past couple of decades, and ran into hundreds of Derek Brown’s but only a few who came out and got out of the drug business and instead was about the business of breaking chains of the past.

I went back and read Mary’s column again just now…I needed something to offset the erosion that takes place every time I hear about another shooting in Chicago, the inevitable prayer vigil and words of “never again.”

As Tom and I were about to close the event, I remembered the words of our mutual friend, the late, great John Powers who shared with me what his grandfather had said to him as a young man, and a message so needed today.

And I passed those words on to our audience and now to you.

” You are truly never an adult until you consider all of the children of the world…yours.”

You know…kinda like Jesus.

Or Derek Brown…or David Hirsch…or John Powers…or Tom Dreesen.

One person can make a world of difference.

Just have to decide that it’s you.

Be The Change…”peeps.”

Huh…worked that in after all.




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The Wednesday Rant

April 6, 2017 | Posted in General

Due to tech difficulties it’s the Thursday Edition of “The Wednesday Rant.”

If you are prone to counting your blessings, among them might be the fact you won the lottery by being born into the USA and not…Syria.
(For the record Twitter comments excerpted from the NY Times.)
Dateline 2013 -The Obama administration concluded that the government of Syria’s president, Mr. Assad, had used chemical weapons in an attack that killed hundreds of people on the outskirts of Damascus. At the time, critics noted that Mr. Obama was stepping back from his own “red line” threat to punish Mr. Assad for deploying chemical weapons.
A future president weighed in, a man who had run for the office in 2000 as a “Reform Party” candidate.
He used his favorite joystick…”Twitter.”
” The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria,fix U.S.A. “
6:13 AM – 5 Sep 2013
590 people put a nice “heart” symbol up and 1,025 retweeted it.
That was followed by this…
9/11/13 Obama must now start focusing on OUR COUNTRY, jobs, healthcare and all of our many problems. Forget Syria and make America great again! 254 replies 1,065 retweets 499 likes
825 replies 7,827 retweets 7,408 likes
4 Sep 2014 Any American who fights w/ ISIS in Iraq or Syria should have their passport revoked. If they try to come back in, send them to Gitmo.
24 Nov 2013 How much longer are we expected to put up with the world’s most incompetent leader – ObamaCare, Iran, Syria, bads deals. JUST NEVER ENDS
12 Sept. 2013 We should stop talking, stay out of Syria and other countries that hate us, rebuild our own country and make it strong and great again-USA!
10 Sept. 2013 The Russians are playing a very smart game. In the meantime they are buying lots of time for Syria and making U.S. look foolish. Dangerous!
7 Sept. 2013 Syria has been given so much time that much of the things we were going to bomb have been moved into civilian areas! A polititian’s war.
I guess everyone is allowed a spelling error now and then. It’s not mine however just for the record.
3 Sept. 2013-For all of those fools that want to attack Syria, the U.S.has lost the vital element of surprise-so stupid-could be a disaster!
Later that same day… 3 Sep 2013 What I am saying is stay out of Syria!
Hundreds of men women and children died on August 21st, 2013 from chemical weapons.
The response from Mr. Trump during that time was clear.
Syria is not our problem, let them figure it out.
April 4th, 2017,  70 men, women and children died from chemical weapons on the orders from Assad, same man who murdered hundreds in 2013.
Part of the statement today from DJT included this.
“I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me – big impact,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. “My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much … You’re now talking about a whole different level.”
So the hundreds that were gassed in 2013 didn’t count? The 100,000 that have been eradicated in Syria wasn’t a big enough “level?” The men, women and children that were horribly murdered by Assad, that choked to death in their own vomit yesterday died the same way hundreds did just four years ago.
But now…” You’re talking about a whole different level?”
Then in another attempt at making him “One of the most presidential of all presidents except for maybe the great Abe Lincoln” he stepped up to the plate and…did what all great men do.
Blamed the Syria problem on the same guy that was “wiretapping” his campaign offices. The guy that never had a real birth certificate and wasn’t a Christian. The guy who he insisted had it all wrong on Syria 48 months ago.
It’s easy to be a “Twitter Warrior” and toss out 140 characters of woulda, coulda and shoulda when you are not sitting in the Oval Office. Easier still to have all the answers sitting from the outside looking in.
But now the man who made it known how he felt about Syria…and was building his base in 2013 for another run in 2016…is in the Big Chair…what will he do as CIC?
Will his military school background training, all those days of marching up and down with rifles with their firing pins taken out and his ability to “know more than most people who have served in the military for years know” finally come into play?
DJT is now in a position to make sure that the horrors in Syria never happen again…after crossing “many, many lines.” Will his response be swift, terrible and bring down the might of the US military on the ” Satan of Syria.”
We’ll see.
And while he was at he made sure we all knew how he felt about Bill O’Reilly…cause you know, a sitting president should be weighing in on such things, especially in the same conference regarding “atrocities on humanity.”
“I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump told the New York Times on Wednesday. “Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” he said.
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” Trump said. You know, the same Bill O. who declared that Rep. Maxine Walters looked like “she was wearing a James Brown wig” and considered Roger Ailes, head of Fox News who was removed from office because of the same allegations O’Reilly is accused of as “As a visionary man of great  character.”
Yep, stand up fella.
The comments came days after the president proclaimed this month as “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month” where he said “we must develop meaningful strategies to eliminate these crimes” and “protect vulnerable groups.”
After two months of false claims to errant texting to a former general requesting immunity to gutting of programs, an investigation into Russian involvement in the last election and gawking a the breasts of the translator of the Japanese Prime Minister, replacing the ACA, immigration… I have only one question.
Exactly how many days does it take for America to be “great” again?
Be well.


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“Earth Matters” Event Chicago.

April 3, 2017 | Posted in General

You’ve seen him as the host of “Cold Case Files” “American Justice” & “Investigative Reports.” He has anchored The CBS Evening News and to Chicagoan’s he is revered as one half of the greatest news tag-team in television history along with Walter Jacobson and it was his investigative efforts the broke the story of “Agent Orange.” You’ve heard him as the voice of “Anchorman” and now as the announcer for “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” on NPR.

He has an armful of Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards and perhaps the most distinctive voice in journalism. His reputation as a reporter, producer and documentary is legendary in our business. He is also a rancher and founder Tallgrass Beef, that raises grass-fed, hormone free organic beef.

I have known Bill Kurtis since we sat next to each other at the Chicago Theater back in 1989 when John Denver presented his “Higher Ground” event, a look at the ways human impact the planet and each other, and most importantly what can be done to help create a sustainable future.

When I created the “Earth Matters” concept, a short form radio program designed to inform, entertain and inspire listeners to learn more about the planet we live on and the challenges we face from climate change, loss of species and habitat, there was only one voice that could deliver that message.

Join us tomorrow evening April 4th @ 5:30pm Northeastern Illinois University 5500 N. St. Louis Ave in Chicago. Keynote is sponsored by the Green Business Conference-admission is free.

We look forward to seeing you. #earthmatters



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Wednesday Rant-Cast

March 23, 2017 | Posted in General

If you would like to hear the audio version of “The Wednesday Rant” just click the link and scroll down to the clip to listen…and thanks. JSA


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