WBEZ | radio http://www.wbez.org/tags/radio-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Matters (1999): Doing the Right Thing in Health Care's Brave New World http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-matters-1999-doing-right-thing-health-cares-brave-new-world-113885 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3093950d-c565-40f2-9821-67b56e27ae98.jpg" alt="" /><p><blockquote><div><em>&ldquo;What is a life worth living? When is it time to die?</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>As modern medicine&#39;s tools grow more powerful, these questions are asked each day, in every hospital in the country. This program will profile the people who answer them: clinical medical ethicists.&rdquo;</em></div></blockquote><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In 1999, Alex Blumberg was a fledgling radio producer who was hired by WBEZ to produce his first half-hour audio documentary.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Blumberg later became a producer at <em>This American Life</em> and co-founder of NPR&rsquo;s <em>Planet Money</em> podcast. In recent years he co-founded<a href="https://gimletmedia.com/" target="_blank"> Gimlet Media</a>, a for-profit podcast company that&rsquo;s innovating around the creation of narrative storytelling podcasts.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But back in 1999 when he was hired to produce the half-hour documentary, &ldquo;Doing the Right Thing in Health Care&#39;s Brave New World,&rdquo; he had very little experience.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;This was my third career,&rdquo; Blumberg says. &ldquo;I was 31 or 32-years-old but I was just a beginner. I worked at <em>This American Life </em>as the intern/administrative assistant for six months, and then I quit to freelance.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He was hired for the project by Johanna Zorn, then-Executive Producer of <em>Chicago Matters</em>, a WBEZ collaboration with WTTW Channel 11, the Chicago Public Library and <em>The Chicago Reporter</em>, funded by the Chicago Community Trust. Zorn went on to co-found the <a href="http://thirdcoastfestival.org/" target="_blank">Third Coast Audio Festival</a>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She says digital editing was just coming into vogue and Blumberg had cut down some interviews for the Poetry Foundation that she liked. &ldquo;He seemed like such a natural,&rdquo; she says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Each year the <em>Chicago Matters</em> series focused on a different topic. In 1999, the series was called Examining Health.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Blumberg had heard from some medical residents that end-of-life decisions were becoming so common that hospitals were having to employ medical ethicists.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Blumberg says, &ldquo;I had this vision of families and doctors being like: &lsquo;We don&rsquo;t know what to do. Call the ethicists!&rsquo; But it wasn&rsquo;t like that. There wasn&rsquo;t the ethicists lounge with a big red light going, &lsquo;Somebody needs an ethical decision made!&rsquo;&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;What intrigued me about it was that here was this modern field of medicine calling on this ancient field of philosophy to solve this problem that modern medicine had created. And then it&rsquo;s happening at one of the most intense moments you can imagine.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Blumberg says he got good tape but his original draft was a mess. His editor - Julia McEvoy - made him go back in the writing and identify key turning points in the story. &ldquo;&lsquo;Help us pay attention to this point.&rsquo; I remember her suggesting that. It was a narrative you could follow then.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Zorn, the editor who hired Blumberg, says she&rsquo;s in awe of everything he has gone on to do. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s been such an innovator. It&rsquo;s more than enough to be a fabulous storyteller, but to reinvent radio with a for-profit model is just incredible.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Blumberg says the documentary was an important learning experience for him. &ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t heard it in forever. I would be curious to hear what it sounds like. I was very proud of it at the time.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tell us what you think in the comments.</div></p> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 09:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-matters-1999-doing-right-thing-health-cares-brave-new-world-113885 Your favorite Chicago coffee shops http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-02-26/your-favorite-chicago-coffee-shops-111630 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/coffee.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="responsive-embed-coffeemap">Thirty years ago, most Chicagoans couldn&rsquo;t have imagined paying more than a buck for their cup of daily Joe. Oh, how the times have changed.<p>Call it the Starbucks effect. For better or worse, drinking habits have morphed and a whole gourmet coffee industry has blossomed. Illinois is home to more than 350 official Starbucks cafes and dozens of restaurants and institutions that serve the company&rsquo;s brew.</p>But competitors abound and continue to grow in our coffee-loving town. Last month, Berkeley-based Peet&rsquo;s Coffee &amp; Tea opened a flagship store in the historic Wrigley Building, less than a block away from the busiest Starbucks in the city. And the company has plans for more shops across the city.<p>Still, these national chains are by no means the hottest cup in town. Chicago has a proud and growing stable of local artisan roasters. And according to our very non-scientific survey, they top the list of favorite coffees among local public radio listeners.</p><p>WBEZ asked its Facebook followers to name their favorite cafes, and the comments came pouring in with Jackalope, Metropolis, Dark Matter, Cafe Jumping Bean and Wormhole topping the list. Below you can find the 11 Chicago cafes they like the most as well as an interactive map listing all the cafes our followers recommended. So if you&rsquo;re looking for someone to gab with about your favorite radio shows over coffee, these may be the best bets in town. Happy sipping!</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Top 11 Chicago cafes for public radio lovers</span></p><ul><li>Jackalope Coffee in Bridgeport (34 mentions)</li><li>Metropolis (33)</li><li>Dark Matter (27)&nbsp;</li><li>Cafe Jumping Bean (18)</li><li>Wormhole (14)</li><li>Gaslight Coffee Roasters (14)</li><li>Perkolator (13)</li><li>Bridgeport Coffee &amp; Tea (13)</li><li>Heritage General Store (13)</li><li>Ipsento (12)</li><li>Intelligentsia (11)</li><li>Big Shoulders (10)&nbsp;</li></ul><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Top 12 most-served gourmet coffees in Chicago</span></p><p>When it comes to choosing coffee beans, Chicagoans have become much more discerning over the last 25 years. But whose beans &mdash; aside from Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts &mdash; are served up in the most restaurants and cafes around Chicago? We recently called top local and national coffee roasters to find out. Here&rsquo;s what they reported.</p><ul><li>Metropolis: 350</li><li>Intelligentsia: 300</li><li>La Colombe: 150</li><li>Dark Matter: 75</li><li>Julius Meinl: 70-75</li><li>Bow Truss: 70</li><li>Big Shoulders: 40</li><li>Alterra/Collectivo: 30-40</li><li>Passion House: 30</li><li>Counter Culture: 17</li><li>Stumptown/Ipsento: 10</li><li>Gaslight: 6<br />&nbsp;</li></ul><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="620" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/coffeemap/" style="float: right; clear: right;" width="620"></iframe></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:02:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2015-02-26/your-favorite-chicago-coffee-shops-111630 Studs Terkel's assistant remembers him fondly http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/studs-terkels-assistant-remembers-him-fondly-111050 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/scorpsss.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;The first time I met him (Studs Terkel) was right after I got to Chicago,&rdquo; Sydney Lewis says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;I was waitressing at a nightclub and Studs was in my section. And it was very busy. It was very crowded and I was trying to get a drink order. And he started asking me questions: Where was I from? How long had I been in Chicago? What did I think of Chicago? And finally I said to him, &lsquo;Mr. Terkel, I read <em>Working</em>. And I loved <em>Working</em>. But I AM WORKING! What do you want to drink?&rsquo; So that was our first interaction and that sort of defines our relationship over the years.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I had that first meeting with him and then I went applying for a job at WFMT and eventually I ended up becoming the program department administrative assistant,&rdquo; she says.&nbsp;</p><p>And over the next 25 years, Lewis got to know Studs and his wife Ida very well.</p><p>Lewis admits to feeling a little lost without him. She looked to Studs to explain the world to her, like a lot of people in Chicago, she says. She relied on him for that because he cut to the human issues involved each and every time.</p><p>&ldquo;When anything&rsquo;s happening on the news, I just long to know what he would say,&rdquo; Lewis says.</p><p>&ldquo;You could hear him coming down the hallway,&rdquo; she recalls of their days together at WFMT. &ldquo;He was always talking. He never shut up. I used to tease him and go, &lsquo;How do you get good interviews?&rsquo; Because I mean, logorrhea, he just would go on and on and on. Raving about some horrible political decision or some war somewhere or joblessness or poverty. Or very excited because he had a guest coming in and he was looking forward to talking to them.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;I always felt like he had kind of a three-tiered mind: One part of it was talking to you, one part of it was working on the program or a book or whatever he was working on. And another part of it was looking at the whole world.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;I jokingly describe myself as his nanny, but that was somewhat my role. I would know who he would want to hear from. And what kind of authors were not up his alley&hellip;So I was good at filtering for him. And grabbing the mail, coffee for the guests.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;But you know there&rsquo;s the immensity of what he brought and there&rsquo;s the human being&hellip;He needed to be reminded that he wasn&rsquo;t the only person on the planet sometimes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We would fight, I would yell at him sometimes. The worst time was when I was quitting smoking and I was really irritable.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He had this habit. He&rsquo;d come down the hallway. Everyday he&rsquo;d say,&lsquo;Whaddya hear? Whaddya say, kid?&rsquo; You know where that&rsquo;s from?&rsquo; I&rsquo;d say, &lsquo;Jimmy Cagney!&rsquo; &lsquo;Yeah!&rsquo; You know, 325 days a year this would happen. It was his little ritual. And I was really grumpy when I quit smoking. My colleague Lois could see him. He would approach. And I was in a little alcove. And he would peer around it to see what kind of mood I was in. And at one point he went to Lois and said, &lsquo;What happened to her?&rsquo; And Lois said, &lsquo;Oh she&rsquo;s just quitting smoking.&rsquo; And he went, &lsquo;Ohhh! OK!&rsquo; He was used to me playing with him. We were very playful together.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;After his heart surgery&hellip;.This was probably the first heart surgery, so Ida was still alive. The doctor comes out. Looking like hell. He&rsquo;s really tired and he&rsquo;s just, &lsquo;Man, they don&rsquo;t make &lsquo;em like that anymore.&rsquo; When Ida and I came down to see him, he was sitting up in a chair, having a little soup. He thought one of the monitors was a TV screen. So he&rsquo;s saying, &lsquo;Can we get the ball game on? Can we get the ball game on?&rsquo; He offers me soup, &lsquo;Would you like a little soup?&rsquo; I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;No that&rsquo;s OK. You need the soup.&rsquo; And just to tease him I leaned forward and said, &lsquo;Who&rsquo;s the president?&rsquo; And he looked up and he went, &lsquo;Taft?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So here&rsquo;s a guy after like eight hours of open heart surgery and he&rsquo;s offering to share food with you, wanting to see the ball game and making jokes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, like the doctor said, &lsquo;They don&rsquo;t make &lsquo;em like that anymore.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/studs-terkels-assistant-remembers-him-fondly-111050 This American Life to self-distribute program http://www.wbez.org/news/american-life-self-distribute-program-110244 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 11.37.10 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public Media&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/"><em>This American Life</em></a> will start independently distributing the radio show to more than 500 public radio stations, the company, along with show host Ira Glass, announced today.</p><p><em>This American Life</em>, which started in Chicago in 1995, and which went national in 1996, has been distributed by <a href="http://www.pri.org/">Public Radio International</a> since 1997. The radio show will now be delivered to radio stations by <a href="https://www.prx.org/about-us/what-is-prx">Public Radio Exchange</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re excited and proud to be partners now with PRX,&rdquo; Glass said in a statement. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been a huge innovative force in public radio, inventing technologies and projects to get people on the air who&rsquo;d have a much harder time without them. They&rsquo;re mission-driven, they&rsquo;re super-capable and apparently they&rsquo;re pretty good with computers.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>PRX launched in 2003 as an independent nonprofit public media company focused on using technology to bring stories to a wider digital audience. The digital distribution platform operates one of the largest content marketplaces for audio, including <a href="http://themoth.org/radio"><em>The Moth Radio Hour</em></a>, <a href="http://stateofthereunion.com/"><em>State of the Re: Union</em></a>, <a href="http://snapjudgment.org/"><em>Snap Judgment</em></a>, <a href="http://americanroutes.wwno.org/"><em>American Routes</em></a> and <a href="http://www.wtfpod.com/"><em>WTF with Marc Maron</em></a>.</p><p>&ldquo;We are huge fans of <em>This American Life</em> and are thrilled to support their move to self-distribution on our platform,&rdquo; Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX, said in a statement.&nbsp; &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had the privilege of working closely with Ira and team to develop <em>This American Life&rsquo;s</em> <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/listen/mobile">successful mobile apps</a>, and are honored to expand our partnership to the flagship broadcast.&rdquo;</p><p><em>This American Life</em> will take over aspects of self distribution from PRI, including selling underwriting as well as marketing the show to radio stations.</p><p><em>This American Life</em> is produced by Chicago Public Media and hosted by Ira Glass. It has a weekly audience of 2.2 million people on the radio and more than a million downloads per week as one of the most popular podcasts in the country.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/takimoff" rel="author">Tim Akimoff</a> is the Director of Digital Content at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/timakimoff"> Twitter </a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/timakimoff"> Facebook </a></em></p></p> Wed, 28 May 2014 10:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/american-life-self-distribute-program-110244 Can you hear us now? No? Well, here's why http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/can-you-hear-us-now-no-well-heres-why-109727 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/135672786&amp;color=00aabb&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Doug1.JPG" style="height: 300px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Doug Schenkelberg: Astute radio listener (Courtesy of Schenkelberg)" />Doug Schenkelberg listens to radio all the time, but he recently noticed that he gets static at a particular intersection in downtown Chicago. This prompted him to ask Curious City:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em style="text-align: center;">&ldquo;Why does radio reception always go bad at the intersection of Canal and Van Buren Street?&rdquo;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Embarrassingly, the signal Doug has been having trouble with at that corner is none other than WBEZ&rsquo;s and, it turns out, he&rsquo;s not the only <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/questions/1641">listener experiencing trouble near that area</a>. &nbsp;</div><p>For the record, we didn&rsquo;t know the signal in question was ours until we started finding an answer for Doug, but it turns out that the physics that keep FM radio humming &mdash; and create problems &mdash; are shared by public, commercial, and educational broadcasters alike. And, the exercise of tracking down a cause is a reminder that the technology we care about is not always associated with the Internet.</p><p><strong>Some likely suspects</strong></p><p>WBEZ engineer Peter Femal points out that if radio broadcasting technology never existed today and people heard it was possible to &ldquo;build a signal that covers millions of people 50 to 100 miles from one single point,&rdquo; the response would likely be exuberant.</p><p>But maybe radio&rsquo;s overall reliability is partly responsible for its mystery. To straighten things out for Doug, we spoke with broadcast engineers about the obstacles radio signals encounter in cities. Here, we showcase a few common culprits.</p><p><strong>Distance</strong></p><p>Because radio is usually so reliable, the causes of bad reception can seem mysterious. The only exception, maybe, is distance, which is the most common cause.</p><p>Unlike the Internet, which is connected world-wide, radio broadcasts are limited to the signal coverage of their local transmitters and antennas. You probably know this from road trips, which add miles between your car&rsquo;s receiver and your favorite hometown radio station; the farther you travel, the weaker the signal gets and the more static you hear<a name="distance"></a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="383" scrolling="no" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/radio/distanceSmall/index.html" width="600"></iframe></p><p><em>Turn up your volume and drag in the graphic above (or <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/radio/distance/index.html" target="_blank">open a full-size window</a>) to experience the effect of distance on radio reception. As you get further from a station&rsquo;s broadcast location, the signal will weaken, and you will hear static. If another station is broadcasting on the same frequency in another city, you might begin to pick up their signal as you get close to that city. Note: Interactive graphic works best with <a href="http://https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/" target="_blank">Google Chrome</a> or <a href="http://http://www.apple.com/safari/">Safari</a>.</em></p><p>However Doug&rsquo;s problem area at Van Buren and Canal Street is less than two miles away from WBEZ&rsquo;s broadcast tower at the John Hancock Center. In Doug&rsquo;s case, there are more complex issues than distance at work.</p><p><strong>Shadowing</strong></p><p>The simplest, city-based radio problem is called shadowing, which is basically a fancy term for a big building getting in the way.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re in the right shadow of a certain building, our signal might have a hard time coming down into that valley,&rdquo; WBEZ engineer Peter Femal says.</p><p>In Doug&rsquo;s case, there&rsquo;s a mass of skyscrapers between his particular downtown corner and the transmitter at the John Hancock Center. With so many buildings between the Hancock Center and Van Buren &amp; Canal, the shadowing phenomenon means that WBEZ&rsquo;s signal is off to a rough start, and that&rsquo;s before we factor in multipath interference.</p><p><strong>Multipath</strong></p><p>Multipath interference is a bizarre phenomenon, in that it occurs when a radio signal interferes with itself. When a radio station broadcasts a signal, that signal propagates throughout the city, reflecting off of many of the buildings. Even if a signal has a direct path from your radio to the broadcast tower, that signal is also bouncing off the buildings around you. Sometimes a bounced signal and the direct signal hit your antenna together, but the reflected signal travels farther and is a bit delayed.</p><p>John Boehm, a broadcast engineer for Clear Channel, says that sometimes, the delayed signal will be stronger than the direct one. The delay between signal paths results in interference.</p><p>Doug&rsquo;s trouble spot lies in what you might consider an urban canyon; the corner&rsquo;s next to the Chicago River, which is lined with skyscrapers on either side. Radio signals can bounce back and forth from building to building in this canyon, creating prime conditions for multipath interference.<a name="multipath"></a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="383" scrolling="no" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/radio/shadowSmall/index.html" width="600"></iframe></p><p><em>Turn up your volume and d</em><em>rag around the graphic above (or <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/curiouscity/radio/shadow/index.html" target="_blank">open a full-size window</a>) to experience the effect of shadowing and multipath on radio reception. Shadowing occurs when a building or other obstruction gets between your radio and the signal source. Multipath results when signals reflected off of buildings interfere with the direct signal. Note: Interactive graphic works best with <a href="https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/" target="_blank">Google Chrome</a> or <a href="http://www.apple.com/safari/" target="_blank">Safari</a>.</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WBEZCuriousCityRadio-14.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="We listen carefully at the problematic corner. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" /><strong>Other radio stations</strong></div><p>The last radio problem that&rsquo;s relevant for Doug and other urban radio fans</p><p>comes from all the other high-powered radio stations in the city. Peter Femal says that radio stations on other frequencies can make things difficult for listeners if &ldquo;they&rsquo;re near another very high power RF [radio frequency] installation. &hellip; Swamping their radio full of other stuff.&rdquo;</p><p>Under these circumstances, Femal says, car radios can get confused. If the radio station that you&rsquo;re trying to listen to has weak reception, some radios will look for the next most powerful signal, even if it is from a completely different radio station on another frequency. The resulting effect can sound like the ghost of another radio station haunting the one you are tuned to.</p><p>Many high-powered radio stations broadcast from the Willis Tower&rsquo;s antennas, which is right next to Doug&rsquo;s corner. The tower&rsquo;s radio signals give a confused car radio lots of other options. During a test conducted in a car parked at Doug&rsquo;s corner, a WBEZ engineer and I could hear Queen&rsquo;s &ldquo;Crazy Little Thing Called Love&rdquo; coming in from a music station &mdash; even when the radio was clearly tuned for WBEZ&rsquo;s signal.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/path%20alternate%20%281%29.jpg" title="The WBEZ signal travels a treacherous path to get to Doug’s corner. Shadowing from downtown’s skyscrapers, multipath from the Chicago river, and other radio stations from the Willis tower, all contribute to bad reception at Van Buren &amp; Canal. (Google Earth)" /></div></div><p>So unfortunately, at the corner of Van Buren and Canal street, it seems like static is coming from all of the above: shadowing from downtown skyscrapers, multipath interference occurring within an urban canyon along the Chicago River, and other radio stations from the Willis Tower&rsquo;s broadcast antennas. With all those issues, unfortunately, there&rsquo;s not much that can be done to improve reception at that corner.&nbsp;</p><p>But, in this day and age, many of us have the option of enjoying our favorite radio programs delivered static free, via podcast. Curious City, ahem, is just one of many available in <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/curious-city/id568409161" target="_blank">iTunes </a>and <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CuriousCityPodcast">Feedburner</a>. &nbsp;</p><p><em>Mickey Capper is a Curious City Intern. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/fmcapper">@fmcapper</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 18 Feb 2014 12:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/can-you-hear-us-now-no-well-heres-why-109727 Amos 'n' Andy--controversial Chicago comedy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-03/amos-n-andy-controversial-chicago-comedy-106097 <p><p>On March 19, 1928--85 years ago today--the most popular program of radio&rsquo;s golden age made its debut in Chicago. The show was &ldquo;Amos &lsquo;n&rsquo; Andy.&rdquo; The title characters were two African-American men who had moved from the South to a big city in the North.</p><p>Amos was played by Freeman Gosden, and Andy was played by Charles Correll. Both men were white. They did their show in what they considered Southern black dialect.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/03-19--1929.jpg" title=" Gosden &amp; Correll publicity photo (Library of Congress)" /></div></div><p>Gosden &amp; Correll had been doing a similar program called &ldquo;Sam &lsquo;n&rsquo; Henry&rdquo; on WGN. When they moved to WMAQ on this date, they had to change the names of their characters. Within a year, &ldquo;Amos &lsquo;n&rsquo; Andy&rdquo; went national. Within another year, it was the biggest thing on radio.</p><p>The original show ran six days a week with continuing story lines like a soap opera. Listeners really got involved. The program was so popular that many theaters would halt their movies at &ldquo;Amos &lsquo;n&rsquo; Andy&rdquo; time, and pipe the radio broadcast right into the auditorium.</p><p>As time passed, most episodes revolved around the head of the local lodge. Known as the Kingfish, he was usually involved in some shady scheme that would later backfire. Huey Long, the famous senator, was called the Kingfish by his followers, and considered the nickname a badge of honor.</p><p>What did African-Americans think of &ldquo;Amos &lsquo;n&rsquo; Andy&rdquo;? The answer was unclear. Some black people said they liked the show,&nbsp;some said they did not. The <em>Pittsburgh Courier</em> organized a boycott, but abandoned it after a while.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/03-19--autographs.jpg" title="Gosden &amp; Correll book signing (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>&ldquo;Amos &lsquo;n&rsquo; Andy&rdquo; became a TV show in 1951. During their early days on radio, Gosden &amp; Correll had actually&nbsp;made a&nbsp;feature film&nbsp;in blackface. That was a mistake, and they admitted it. They continued doing&nbsp;the radio show, but now put African-American actors on the tube.</p><p>The TV program ran two years on CBS, then went into syndication. Gosden &amp; Correll ended their radio run in 1960. Pressure from the NAACP convinced the network to pull the TV reruns off the air in 1966.</p><p>&ldquo;Amos &lsquo;n&rsquo; Andy&rdquo; remains controversial. Critics claim it was demeaning and reinforced stereotypes. Others say that the TV show was never as offensive as the radio program, and that it did provide a showcase for many African-American actors.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s a thought. A few years ago, Jackie Gleason&rsquo;s old TV show &ldquo;The Honeymooners&rdquo; was made into a movie, but with a black cast. Why not remake &ldquo;Amos &lsquo;n&rsquo; Andy&rdquo; with a white cast?</p><p>Personally, I think Bill Murray would make a dandy Kingfish.</p></p> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-03/amos-n-andy-controversial-chicago-comedy-106097 Hey Mister DJ http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/hey-mister-dj-105323 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/2244920877_0f18299895.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.8780752925811616">I&rsquo;m Facebook friends with a WXRT DJ who happened to be on-air a few weeks ago when my husband and I were enjoying a quiet night to ourselves after the baby had gone to sleep. We were listening to the radio, drinking a bottle of wine and making meatballs when on a whim, I decided to Facebook-message the DJ with a request.</span><br /><br />&ldquo;Can you play some old Cake?&rdquo; I asked, per Steve&rsquo;s request. Steve was titillated; he had never submitted a request to a DJ before much less had it played on-air.<br /><br />Sadly, it was not to be. &ldquo;I&#39;d love to, but Terri played Cake right before I got on the air, which means I am &#39;blocked&#39; from them for the rest of the night,&rdquo; my DJ friend wrote back. &ldquo;Try me another time, for sure.&rdquo;<br /><br />Steve was disappointed, but I know we&rsquo;ll get a request some other time. Of course, getting a radio request isn&rsquo;t the same now as it was back in the old days. There was nothing preventing Steve from getting out his Cake CDs or buying some Cake on iTunes or even just listening to some from Youtube. Not too long ago (gather &lsquo;round, children), getting a DJ to play a song for you was the only way to hear something on-demand, short of going to the music store and buying a CD. &ldquo;Remind me to tell you my good DJ request story,&rdquo; I told my DJ friend, and here it is.<br /><br />It was my junior year of high school and I was in my bedroom at home, filling out one of my ten college applications, which was a tedious process. So, to procrastinate, but also for inspiration, I called up WXRT and placed a request.<br /><br />&ldquo;Can you play Ringo Starr&rsquo;s &lsquo;It Don&rsquo;t Come Easy?&rsquo;&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;I should be able to do that for you. How are you doing today?&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Okay. I&rsquo;m filling out college applications. It&rsquo;s going really slow&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Ooh, where do you want to go?&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;I think Georgetown.&rdquo;<br /><br />Not too much longer later, after a commercial break, the DJ said, &ldquo;This one comes to us from Evanston, from a girl filling out college applications. Cross your fingers, cross your toes, she wants to go to Georgetown.&rdquo;<br /><br />And then, through space and time, I heard this:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/jZfAik7wP8U?rel=0" width="420"></iframe></p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.8780752925811616">That song and that station will always have a special place in my heart thanks to this experience. (Oh, and I got into and graduated from Georgetown, too.) I wish I could remember which DJ this was, since I&rsquo;m pretty certain he&rsquo;s still spinning over at the station, but whomever it was made for a great memory of old school radio. </span><br /><br />Do you have any thrilling memories of a DJ honoring one of your requests?</p></p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 09:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/hey-mister-dj-105323 Memo to Randy Michaels: It's time for Chicago radio to go 'Nostalgic' http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-06-23/memo-randy-michaels-its-time-chicago-radio-go-nostalgic-88271 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-23/Mancow2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/chicago-media-blog/14822651/ready-or-not-it%E2%80%99s-showtime-for-ringmaster-randy-again">Randy Michaels is back, baby</a>.</p><p>The former Clear Channel executive and Tribune CEO has purchased the Chicago radio stations Q101 (101.1FM) and WLUP (97.9FM). And now all eyes will shift to what Michaels will be doing with a new format at Q101.</p><p>Staffers of the alternative rock station will learn their fate within the next month and Michaels has already leaked that the new format will be more of the news and talk variety, possibly even all news.<br> <br> Might I make a suggestion? Chicago has news radio. It has talk radio. We have conservative and liberal formats, and we are deluged with sports. Music channels run the gamut. But you know what we don't have? A one-to-one connection to our radio past.</p><p>Mr. Michaels, I would like to pitch you on a no-risk, guaranteed winner format. I call it "Nostalgic Radio."&nbsp;<br> <br> All too often, the DJs and personalities get older and have to adapt to keep working. This means you get some of the better radio personalities adhering to awkward formats or developing political opinions to stay relevant.</p><p>Chicago radio was built on the backs of the zoo-crew. We bring back oldies and disco music. I implore you to hire all of the out of work Chicago jocks to do their shows once again. And not new shows. The same old shows.<br> <br> Q101 has a great history of morning zoos. Here is what I would do to the new Has-Been radio line-up. Ready?<br> &nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/Mancow2.jpg" style="width: 177px; height: 177px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title="">M-F 6am-10am: <strong>Mancow's Morning Madhouse</strong></p><p>Mancow was at his best when he was running amok weekday mornings on Q101. His brand of free speech radio included stunts, fake callers, a hot weather girl and the infamous Turd (sidekick). Bring him back and let him do the same shtick again. He was a controversial hire when he was brought into Q101 back in the day, so bringing him back to helm mornings would controversial all over again. But as we all know, Michaels thrives on controversy.</p><p>Bring Mancow back and break the chains, Randy!<br> &nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/kevin matthews 2.jpg" style="width: 175px; height: 263px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>10-2pm: <strong>Kevin Matthews</strong> <strong>Show</strong></p><p>Return of the Kev-Heads! Free Bird!</p><p>Kevin Matthews was arguably the best mid-day show in Chicago radio history. His assembled crew included his own brand of characters, including Jim Shorts. Even his famous sidekick sports announcer Bruce Wolf had an alter-ego. This show has to come back. And so does Shorts and Chet Chit-chat.&nbsp;<br> &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/brandmeier.jpg" style="width: 177px; height: 207px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title=""></p><p>2pm-6pm: <strong>Johnny B. on the Loose!!!!</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.johnnybontv.com/">Johnny B</a> has been rumored to be back on the airwaves soon. But let's be honest - they would be putting him in some slot to talk about the Middle East and why Obama is ruining this country. No. That's not the Johnny B Chicago is nostalgic for. Bring back Brandmeier, Buzz and the rest of this famed zoo-crew. Randy, hire away Jimmy "Bud" Wiser from WGN and invest in a horn section. We want more "<a href="http://www.lucidsound.com/jb/audio/13%20We%27re%20All%20Crazy%20in%20Chicago.mp3">We're All Crazy in Chicago</a>."</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/Steve-Dahl_thumb.png" style="width: 181px; height: 171px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title=""></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>6pm-10pm <strong>Steve &amp; Garry</strong></p><p>Dahl. Meier. Everyone else. This would be a no-brainer. Randy, you have to pay these guys. Everyone in radio management has tried to reunite these two pioneers. Can you do it? Throw some of that Trib-like money at them and see what happens. If they aren't avail, I guess you could get Bonaduce.<br> &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/howard_photo.jpg" style="width: 178px; height: 187px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title=""><br> 10pm-2am: <strong>Crazy Howard McGee</strong></p><p>Let's mix it up: Go ahead and bring back <a href="http://chicagoradioandmedia.com/news/143-former-wgci-star-qcrazyq-howard-mcgee-breaks-his-silence">Crazy Howard McGee</a>. Howard was a mainstay morning voice at WGCI-FM. He is probably best known for his morning show, but he might find a space to flourish in the nighttime hours. McGee never really did zoo-crews, but that form of African-American radio (there's a party in the studio!!!!) is as nostalgic as they come. Give Crazy Howard the microphone and let him invite three or four friends in studio. Best party in Chicago radio.&nbsp;<br> &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/Eddie-Jobo.jpg" style="width: 173px; height: 173px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title="">2am-6am: <strong>Eddie &amp; Jobo </strong></p><p>Best overnight? Hmmm, this is tough. But I gotta go with my guys Eddie &amp; Jobo. Eddie &amp; Jobo are probably the most notorious morning radio music team in Chicago history. They did talk radio, but they did it interspersed with top 40 hits. And I figure they could have the overnight spot so if they slip up and talk about Joan Esposito or Horace Grant, it will be at an hour where the FCC will not be listening.&nbsp;Now, they are already back on commercial radio (104.3FM), but you are Randy Michaels! Steal these guys away.<br> &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-23/Z-95 logo.gif" style="width: 177px; height: 126px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title="">Weekends: <strong>Barsky!</strong></p><p>Weekends are usually a dead time for commercial radio, but this might be a great opportunity for you to bring out the best zoo-crew to have ever roamed the Chicago market. Z95's <a href="http://chicagoradiospotlight.blogspot.com/2011/02/paul-barsky.html">Paul Barsky should be brought back to the area</a>. His zoo-crew was very popular and it also gave rise to some of Chicago's biggest radio names: Eric Ferguson was a producer and Wayne Messmer was the news guy.<br> &nbsp;</p><p>Now I'm sure I have omitted some great names and you have your own opinions of who should be featured on "nostalgia radio," but in the end it's not our call. It's Randy's call and Chicago is listening.</p><p>And whatever you do, please bring back the radio commercial. We need to see more of this on Chicago television:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2P31qhcndAM" frameborder="0" height="349" width="425"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 23 Jun 2011 19:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-06-23/memo-randy-michaels-its-time-chicago-radio-go-nostalgic-88271 Former Tribune exec Randy Michaels back in the Chicago radio game http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-22/former-tribune-exec-randy-michaels-back-chicago-radio-game-88184 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-22/Q101.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Those in Chicago should be prepared for some changes to local radio in the coming months. Former<em> </em>Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels is part of a new group that is buying both WLUP and WKQX, also known as <a href="http://www.wlup.com/" target="_blank">The Loop</a> and <a href="http://www.q101.com/" target="_blank">Q101</a>, respectively.<br> <br> Michaels has a long history in the radio business. But he may be most familiar to Chicagoans for his recent, rather controversial run with the Tribune. His often scandalous behavior and wild antics were widely reported.<br> <br> To learn what’s in store for Michaels’ new employees and the future of Chicago’s media landscape, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to Tom Taylor. He watches the radio industry as news editor for <a href="http://www.radio-info.com/" target="_blank">Radio-Info.com</a>.</p><p><em>Music Button: Robert Miles, "Black Rubber", from the CD Thirteen, (Salt)</em></p></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 13:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-22/former-tribune-exec-randy-michaels-back-chicago-radio-game-88184 Latino youths organize for control of Radio Arte http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/Zavala1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some young radio producers are organizing for control of the Chicago area’s only noncommercial Latino broadcast outlet.</p><p>They’re upset about plans by the National Museum of Mexican Art to sell the building and license of WRTE-FM Chicago (90.5), a youth-run station known as Radio Arte that airs music and public affairs content in English and Spanish.</p><p>Transmitting at 73 watts from Little Village, Radio Arte reaches several other Latino neighborhoods of the city’s Southwest Side and some nearby suburbs.</p><p>The station also trains hundreds of volunteers a year and puts dozens on the air each week. Some have formed a group to try to keep the station in their community’s hands.</p><p>Many of these volunteers share a bond: They don’t have papers to be living in the United States.</p><p>“Radio Arte helped me learn to fight back,” said volunteer Adriana Velázquez, 20, who arrived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood from Mexico at age 11.</p><p>Velázquez graduated from Benito Juárez Community Academy in nearby Pilsen and dreamed of going to college. But her immigration status disqualified her from most financing.</p><p>“So I felt like all I had done all these years in high school — being a good student, a good member of the community — was not worth [anything] to people,” she said Thursday.</p><p>Velázquez said her life changed in 2008, when she started working on a Radio Arte show, <em>Salud: Healing Through the Arts</em>. “That summer was when I started really talking about my status and sharing that with other students who were also going through my situation,” she said.</p><p>“It was kind of a relief to feel [at] home somewhere, not feeling ashamed that I was undocumented,” said Velázquez, now a music-performance student at Northeastern Illinois University.</p><p>Velázquez and the other volunteers want control of Radio Arte’s name, license and transmitter. But they haven’t won over museum officials.</p><p>President Carlos Tortolero said the volunteers were making too much of the museum’s plans. “Radio, to a lot of funders, is old school,” he said. “And we can still do radio classes without a radio station. A lot of people are streaming now online and podcasting.”</p><p>Tortolero said selling the building and radio license would free up resources for projects in other media such as video and computer graphics.</p><p>The Radio Arte volunteers counter that terrestrial radio signals still reach much bigger audiences than web streaming and podcasting do. “That’s especially true in immigrant and low-income communities,” Velázquez said.</p><p>The license’s market value is not clear. Radio Arte staffers say the museum paid $12,000 for it in 1996.</p><p>Tortolero said the museum hasn’t received any offers yet but adds he’s talking with potential buyers, including DePaul University and California-based Radio Bilingüe. He has also met twice with Torey Malatia, chief of Chicago Public Media, the parent of WBEZ.</p><p>Interviewed Wednesday, Malatia said his organization would not have cash for the license at this point. But Chicago Public Media is preparing a proposal to “help with operations and costs,” he said.</p><p>“We deeply respect Radio Arte’s mission,” Malatia said. “If we get involved, we would keep the tradition alive.”</p><p>Malatia said Chicago Public Media would connect Radio Arte to WBEW-FM (89.5), a youth-oriented station known as Vocalo that transmits from Chesterton, Indiana. Vocalo Managing Director Silvia Rivera worked at Radio Arte for more than a decade, including three years as general manager.</p><p>If the Chicago Public Media proposal were accepted, Radio Arte likely would continue broadcasting student- and volunteer-run shows, while “primetime blocks would be simulcast” with Vocalo, according to Malatia.</p><p>“As this story gets out,” Malatia added, “it puts pressure on DePaul and [Radio Bilingüe] to close the deal, and probably will pull some religious buyers into the mix.”</p><p>The building, 1401 W. 18th St., houses Radio Arte’s offices and studios as well as Yollocalli Arts Reach, another youth program of the museum. The wedge-shaped structure has two stories and a partly finished basement. Tortolero said the space totals about 11,000 square feet.</p><p>The museum had a real-estate appraiser look over the building this month but Tortolero said his team has not yet set the asking price.</p><p>The building stands on the corner of Blue Island Avenue and 18th Street. The intersection includes a Mexican-themed plaza that serves as a cultural anchor of Pilsen, a neighborhood whose Latino population has been shrinking.</p><p>The volunteers say they won’t try to buy the building.</p></p> Fri, 20 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/latino-youths-organize-control-radio-arte-86809