The Chicago Radio Wars are back in 2018

I know what you are saying. Nobody listens to the radio anymore with satellite, Spotify, and a host of other music sources where you can hear your favorite tunes at your fingertips.

However if you like current Dance, current Hip-Hop, classic Hip-Hop, or classic House, you are in luck as one of the biggest moves in Chicago radio is already making noise. This ultimately will be beneficial to you the listener.

A little history

Back in the 1980s the big radio war was brewing between WBMX and WGCI for the crown of House music and R&B leader. WBMX was the first station to air a mixshow with the infamous Hot Mix 5. WGCI followed and eventually stole some DJs away from BMX. While BMX won early on, GCI won the war and later forced BMX to change formats to    V 103.

In the 1990s, the next big radio war was between the “Killer Bee B 96” and “Hell” ummm I mean “Z 95.” Those of you locals will know what I mean, just look up Hell 94.7 Chicago on Google or You Tube.

WLS’ (WYTZ at the time) crazy and infamous moves did not end up working and changed formats. Meanwhile B 96 still airs a Top 40 format today.

Those of you who grew up in Chicago know what I am talking about. The Hot Mix 5 and later B 96 Mixmasters were the kind of weekend mix show where you had so much fun listening to it as you did recording it off the radio on tape. Not only were these DJs local but nationally and internationally well known. Still today.

I recorded the mixes too myself. I still have a ton of tapes from the B 96 Street Mix that I need to digitize. Some of it is featured on a Classics B6 page which I definitely recommend checking out.

http://classicb96.com/ 

https://www.youtube.com/user/CLASSICB96 (Where my B 96 mixes I already submitted are- BrianThaB).

Fast Forwarding to November of 2017

As soon as Entercom bought CBS Radio, they made a move that sent shock waves through Chicago radio. 104.3 K-Hits (an 80s gold with some 70s recurrent station) was changed for the Classic Hip-Hop Format called 104.3 Jams.

At first it is a great concept, however the main complaint on their Facebook page is that it is already plays songs by Ja Rule and Jay-Z way too much. (Side Note: Since when did Ja Rule begin the king of Classic Hip-Hop? You also don’t even play his first hit “Holla Holla”).

I listened a week ago and it is about 1-2 Ja Rule and Jay-Z songs per hour like that is all Chicago ever listened to back in the day.

I hope as they get their act together they play deeper music from the 80s to the 2000s and tailor it to hits that was popular in Chicago. They have B 96 as a sister station to lean on. If they don’t, there are plenty of Classic Hip-Hop Stations across cities like Atlanta, San Antonio, and Indianapolis that are already gone within 2 years of the format…

In the meantime, the station needed to make a statement and statement they made, as the legendary Julian Jumpin’ Perez along with DJ Nonstop (formerly from Kiss FM, B96, and recently GCI), DJ Flipside (B96) and DJ Metro (B96) have formed the BMX Four. They will be mixing not only NYE, but every Friday and Saturday night starting January 5th.

This is great and smart news. They hired a DJ that is a legend on the old BMX and B 96. Plus he knows this market working nights and creating his Street Flava show on Sundays that was popular on B 96 in the 90s.

Flipside & Metro will still mix for B 96 as I am assuming their Street Mix will stay unchanged. This does not solve 104.3’s overplay of a very small Classic Hip-Hop playlist, but it this will get people talking until they hire a full DJ staff. I am guessing will happen gradually during the winter if it has not happened already.

Image result for Julian Jumpin Perez BMX Squad

That is not all.

Earlier in the late spring/early summer, 106.3 that is heard in the South Side of Chicago promoted Mike Love to mornings. ( Side note: Mike Love is formerly Fresh G of the old Hot 102 & V 100.7 in Milwaukee. Additionally he was 1/2 of the GCI Mike Love & Diz evening show back in the 90s). He promptly premiered the only station that airs mixes in the mornings. The show is called “Mike Love and the Morning Mixtape.”

Now airing mixes in the morning is not a new concept as 2 Hip-Hop stations in LA air mixes for their morning shows (Real 92 Big Boy’s Neighborhood and Power 106 Jay Cruz Show). This show is a similar concept locally produced for Chicago.

The mixes are everything from 70s, 80s, & 90s R&B, to House music, and yes, Classic    Hip-Hop. Like huge hits and great favorites not necessarily mainstream in the 80s and 90s!! In 20 minutes, this show plays more variety than 104.3’s entire playlist. It is secretly the city’s best morning show if you rather listen to music than talk to get you going in the mornings. If you don’t get the signal on terrestrial radio, you can listen online at http://www.1063chicago.com or phone apps like Tune In or myTunerRadio.

Image result for Mike Love Morning mixtape

What is this 102.3 thing all about?

Also some of you may not know this but before 104.3 ever thought about changing formats, we already have a suburban signal that beat them to a classic hits format.

WCKG 102.3 the Beat (102.3 FM and 1530 AM) has created a partnership with WBMX.com (not affiliated with 104.3 Jams) to re-create not only the Friday Night Jams mixshow (10pm-2am) and Saturday Night Live Ain’t No Jive Chicago Dance Party (6pm-12am), but also a classic hits dance friendly format on Saturdays and Sundays from noon-6 pm. They also have a Great Golden Grooves show every Sunday from 6pm-12am.

The mix shows all have a rotation of guest DJs however the 2 most popular DJs featured every week are Frankie “Hollywood” Rodriguez and his “This is My House” mixshow (heard Friday & Saturday) and Mickey Mixin’ Oliver (heard Saturday night). Both DJs are former members of the Hot Mix 5 and Frankie also mixed & was on-air for B 96, and the short lived i101.

The biggest thing for 2018 is that the suburban station WCKG will get a tower in downtown Chicago where you can hear the station on the radio at 102.3 throughout the entire metro area and not just the suburbs near Elmhurst. Until then you can hear them at http://www.wckg.com , http://www.wbmx.com (where all their mixes are archived to a soon to be new designed site), and on your phone on the I Heart Radio App or WBMX app.

Facebook Live Mixshow?? BOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!

The last thing is not on the radio, but if you like Freestyle music, Tim Spinnin Schommer (formerly of B 96 and the short lived i101) does a Facebook Live Mixshow airing Freestyle (new and old) along with house music occasionally. You can tune in every Sunday at 8 pm. Like his page at https://www.facebook.com/timspinnin/

Image result for tim spinnin schommer b96

Through all the new things happening in Chicago radio, it will be interesting to see if Entercom’s B 96 or I Heart Radio’s V 103, Kiss 103-5, and WGCI stay the course or make counter moves. WGCI already took the first noticeable hit from 104.3 Jams as their ratings dropped in 1 month from 3.3 to 2.7 while WBMX rose from 2.4 to 4.4.

Source: https://ratings.radio-online.com/cgi-bin/rol.exe/arb005

Whatever they do, Chicago radio has just gotten much more interesting. The more choices out there, the better the competition is, and we as listeners all win.

2018 is already shaping up to be a good year!!

 

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2017 Brewers Pennant Race

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This catch on August 30th. One of the best catches to win a game this season.

Rebuilds are odd. Sometimes they can be hard on a team and its fan base and sometimes they can take you on a wild ride.

The latter is the case for the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers.

It is a strange baseball season we are experiencing this season. San Francisco Giants bullpen dumpster fire last year spread to the entire team, the St. Louis Cardinals want the title of most mediocre team in baseball like it is nobody’s business, and the Toronto Blue Jays have all that talent and never been able to show it yet on the W-L record.

And here we have Milwaukee. A team projected to be in year 2 of a rebuild but as of today, own the most days in first in the NL Central (60 days), keep having the Cubs cancel or change the time on their games, and sneak within a shot of not only possibly winning their division but also a Wild Card spot.

They also beat the best team in baseball (LA Dodgers) on their home field 2 out of 3 last weekend. It was their first series loss at the time since the first weekend in June.

This team was supposed to compete maybe 2019 at the earliest. And looking back to 2016, they did show glimpses that they could be where they are on September 1st, 2017 in the middle of a Pennant Race. Here is why:

The Cubs DO NOT want you to know this but, they actually lost the last 2 season series against the Brewers.

 

Today until July 6th will tell much about the NL Central

July 6th will be the makeup game between the First Place Brewers (36-32 as of Friday 6/16) and the Chicago Cubs (32-33 as of Friday 6/16).

The Brewers just completed a very tough schedule by winning 3 out of 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals which historically has been a tough place to play for them.

From now until July 6th, not one team at or above .500 will play Milwaukee. This includes San Diego, Pittsburgh, @ Atlanta, @ Cincinnati, Miami, and Baltimore (19 games).

The Cubs only have one series at home series from now until July 4th (14 games).

The reason why I say this is because there is a pretty eye opening reason why the Cubs are underachieving this year.

The Cubs before Friday’s game have a road record of 13-18. It seems like every time they turn a corner and look to go on a run, they negate it with a loss. They have NOT won a road series since April 24-26 at Pittsburgh.

The Brewers on the other had have the 3rd best road record in the NL at 19-13.

What these two teams do before July 6th might be telling. Hopefully for the Brewers, they can begin to separate themselves from the pack of the NL Central.

The kids from AAA (Brett Phillips, Lewis Brinson, and Josh Hader) have arrived already.

People say it’s still early but July 6th won’t be so early anymore. The Brewers have the best of both worlds. First place during a rebuild season. This has been the most fun I have had watching this baseball team since 2011.

Sit back and enjoy the ride!!

What rebuild!?!? This Brewers team could be for real… Right NOW

I had a chance on a rare Sunday to watch the entire Brewers game. When I woke up that morning, I was surprised to see this article from ESPN:

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19378480/pay-attention-brewers-offense

Getting Brewers pitcher wrong (his name is Zach Davies ESPN editors), the article does make some good points about how good and a pleasant surprise, the Brewers offense has been this year.

However, there was one stat that you can’t measure which I noticed seeing Keon Broxton’s quote:

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“Seeing the guys that hit before me and seeing the success that they have, I feed off of that,” Broxton said. “It gets my energy up. We’re low-key competitive with each other, and when we see a guy have success, we want to do just as good or better. That motivates the rest of the lineup. From top to bottom, we’re in there grinding.”

And what do you know, SI wrote a article about Broxton and his approach to hitting recently:

https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/05/11/milwaukee-brewers-keon-broxton-hitting-offense

Back to this quote. Chemistry. This team battles together, fights together, and celebrates together. I have not seen so much togetherness in a Brewers team since 2011. And Mother’s Day vs the Mets was a perfect example of why Chemistry is a underrated stat.

Against the Mets Jacob deGrom the Brewers were down 7-1. You thought perhaps they won’t have it today, the sweep is not in the cards. And the Brewers continued to battle and battle back chipping away.

BREWERS 6TH
JACOB DEGROM PITCHING:
Travis Shaw: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Shaw grounded out to pitcher.
Manny Pina: Foul, Pina doubled to deep left.
Jhan Marinez: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Marinez grounded out to first, Pina to third.
Keon Broxton: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Broxton homered to left center, Pina scored.
Orlando Arcia: Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Arcia struck out looking.
End of Inning (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)

Mets 7 Brewers 3

BREWERS 7TH
JACOB DEGROM PITCHING:
Domingo Santana: Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Santana singled to center.
JERRY BLEVINS RELIEVED JACOB DEGROM.
Jonathan Villar: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Villar homered to left center, Santana scored.
Eric Thames: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Thames walked.
FERNANDO SALAS RELIEVED CURTIS GRANDERSON.
Hernan Perez: Ball, Ball, Ball, Perez walked, Thames to second
WILMER FLORES AT THIRD.
Jesus Aguilar: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Aguilar doubled to deep center, Thames scored, Perez to third.
Manny Pina: Foul, Strike looking, Foul, Pina grounded out to pitcher
JETT BANDY HIT FOR JHAN MARINEZ.
Jett Bandy: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Bandy struck out swinging.
Keon Broxton: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Broxton struck out swinging.
End of Inning (3 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)

Mets 8 Brewers 6

And then this happened in the 8th.

BREWERS 8TH
FERNANDO SALAS PITCHING:
Orlando Arcia: Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Arcia walked.
Domingo Santana: Ball, Strike swinging, Santana flied out to deep center.
Jonathan Villar: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Villar singled to deep right, Arcia to third.
JOSH EDGIN RELIEVED FERNANDO SALAS.
Eric Thames: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Thames hit by pitch, Villar to second.
ADDISON REED RELIEVED T.J. RIVERA.
Hernan Perez: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Perez singled to right, Arcia and Villar scored, Thames to second.
Jesus Aguilar: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Aguilar struck out swinging.
Manny Pina: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Pina homered to left center, Thames and Perez scored
ERIC SOGARD HIT FOR NEFTALI FELIZ.
Eric Sogard: Ball, Strike looking, Sogard grounded out to third.
End of Inning (5 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)

Brewers 11 Mets 9 which was the final.

When Manny Pina came up to bat battling and battling foul ball after fall ball, he finally came up with the biggest hit of the season so far.

 

http://www.foxsports.com/wisconsin/video/943725635737

Unbelievable. I immediately thought this shared similarities with the Easter 1987 comeback.

IF and that is a big IF this rebuild team ends up making a run at the playoffs, we will look back to May 14, 2017 as a game that defined the season. Again, the Brewers are not supposed to make a playoff run. Saying that, it is clearly obvious the rebuild is going much quicker than anyone thought, me included.

The season is still a long ways to go. In any case, I absolutely love the way this team is playing now. They are fun to watch!! What an amazing day!!

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Snoop Dogg Wellness Tour Seattle 4/13/17

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In mid-April I spent 4 days in the Pacific Northwest visiting Seattle. This was my second time there and it is easily my 2nd favorite city (Chicago being #1). There is just something breathtaking about all of the nature surrounding the city and when the sun is out, it is one of the most picturesque cities in the country.

On Thursday of that week, I saw Snoop Dogg in concert. It was part of the Mount Kushmore Wellness Retreat Tour. In addition to Snoop, there were other 90s hip-hop greats like Method Man/Redman, and Cyprus Hill. Below are samples of the video I took. It was an awesome memory back to the 90s. Also these are the explicit lyrics so the videos are NSFW.

Method Man & Redman

Cypress Hill

Snoop Dogg

The start of another baseball season!

It’s been awhile since I did a blog. Sometimes other things in life took me away from doing this. Since my favorite sport officially started April 2nd, I thought the time would be perfect to start posting regularly again.

Baseball has always been about connections. The connection of your hometown. The connection of your youth and where you grew up. The connection of your favorite player growing up and your favorite player now. And the connection of a family member (in this case my grandfather) who while in heaven, I will never forget the bond we shared and how I grew to love the game just like seeing him on a summer evening with a game on the radio and a game on television.

Miller Park History

This picture is great. It shows my connection to why I love baseball. And the memories of the day I noticed my Grandfather spending his summers watching Cubs Home games in the afternoon on WGN, Brewers road games on Super 18/Fox 24, or Braves games on TBS at night. If the Brewers weren’t televised, he would have his transistor radio on WTMJ AM for a Brewers game with the TV on another game. Warm summer evenings watching the sun set on another day with the Brewers game by his side was his idea of relaxing.

One day my curious mind asked him what he was watching. He told me a little about the sport and I instantly became hooked. Heck we could clear a room of family with our long conversations about the sport. 🙂

Dodgers fans or not, we all have been connected to the game by Vin Scully for the last 67 years. It may have been a summer night in Southern California, a NBC Saturday Game of the Week, or The memorable calls of the 1986 and 1988 World Series.

Vin Scully connected us to baseball unlike any broadcaster. While I think we will really start to miss him now, here is a reminder of how great he his during Jackie Robinson day Saturday 4/15.

 

Hope everyone is having a good Passover and Easter weekend!

 

Sunday Perspectives

I have not posted a blog in months but felt I needed to today.

It is strange how the world works and how a something makes you stop and put life in perspective.

I have worked pretty much every hour I was not sleeping this weekend. I am cranky, irritable, and tired as I write this.

This morning at the school nearby my place, I was awoken to the 5k run that they are hosting. There is a DJ outside, I can hear him loud and clear and all I want to do is go back to sleep and not get ready for work.

I finally wake up and read the news of Jose Fernandez’ unfortunate passing on my phone.

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/203268704/jose-fernandez-killed-in-boating-accident/

Suddenly, I feel guilty. Like my crankiness, irritability, and being tired does not matter anymore. Indeed it is strange how you feel several things in life and all it takes is one thing to put life back in perspective for you.

I also was surprise and upset to see someone who I have known for years have the audacity to make light of what happened. It makes me pause and revisit who I should share my energy with going forward. Too much negativity in the world to be associated with people who make light out of situations like this.

A promising career and you could argue the start of a Hall of Fame pitching career has now ended too soon. You can’t help but feel for the Marlins, their players, their employees, their fans, and all fans of baseball. One thing great about this sport is that when something unfortunate happens, everyone comes together like a family, and this won’t be any different.

Below is a video that I watched this morning which gives some insight on who the person Jose Fernandez was that some may not know. And it will make you understand why so many are struggling to cope with the news this morning. I want to warn you that it may cause some tears to flow.

Jose’s bond with his grandmother reminds me of the bond for this game I shared with my grandfather growing up. Most importantly it is a reminder that tomorrow is never promise to us and that we should live everyday of our lives to the fullest.

jose-fernandez-marlins