Hot Air: Wheelin’ & Dealin’

A Three-Way Marriage: How Avant!

Babies, I am thrilled to pieces. I took a meeting with Ron Eid, head honcho of Limestone Post, our town’s fairly new online magazine, at the back office of this global communications colossus (Hopscotch Coffee) today. We shook hands on a deal to bring you weekly print articles on Big Talk guests. Well, alright, not print — they’ll be arrangements of light-emitting diodes on your laptop or mobile device screen but, y’know.

Anyway, both our teams of legal wizzes as well as our respective armies of accountants must pore over the voluminous pact with the fine-, finer-, finest-toothed combs they all keep in their back pockets but, otherwise, we’re good to go. My first Limestone Post Big Talk piece should run in two weeks, so keep a sharp lookout for it.

This’ll be a holy matrimony of Bloomington institutions — several of whose proprietors, I’m certain you’ll agree, belong in institutions. The triad of WFHB, Limestone Post and The Electron Pencil should take the globe by storm. You’d better grab onto us all now while you have the chance before we start charging you huge fees — even as high as the upper-single-figures — for the privilege of consuming our blips, beeps and blather.


The Three Of Us, Sittin’ In A Tree

Kids’ Stuff

Another great reason for living here in Bloomington, as opposed to my beloved hometown Chi., is there’s a hell of a lot less pressure to stand out from the crowd here. That pressure causes way too many folks to be…, well, jerks.

To wit: The other night Patti Vasquez, who hosts overnights on WGN radio, decided it’d be a riot and a real audience-grabber to call Mayor Rahm Emanuel at his home at about two in the morning.



Vasquez had a state senator, a political cartoonist, and a guy from a non-profit, non-partisan political action organization in the studio with her at that ungodly hour. Acc’d’g to media critic Rob Feder, one of those three gave Vasquez Emanuel’s very private cell phone number. She decided to jingle him then and there. For laughs, you see.

A man answered. Vasquez asked him if he were Rahm Emanuel and the man hung up. After batting around whether or not the answerer was really the mayor and everyone eventually agreeing he indeed was, Vasquez dialed the number again.

Here’s how Feder described the second call:

Emanuel: Hello?

Vasquez: Hello, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, this is Patti Vasquez from WGN Radio.

Emanuel: Yeah, but it’s two in the morning.

Vasquez: That’s what time my show is on. I appreciate that you answered the phone. We were honestly expecting to get your voice mail, so I apologize for waking you up. I wanted to say hello and thank you for answering the phone. Now I have to invite you on the show sometime. Apparently… were you awake?

Emanuel: I was sleeping.

Vasquez: I know. Why do you answer the phone? I don’t answer the phone when I don’t recognize the number. So I actually appreciate that you answered.

Emanuel: I’m going to bed.

Vasquez: Okay. Good night, sir. Thank you so much and we hope that you can come on the show sometime. We have a lot to talk about.

Emanuel: Okay.

Vasquez: Thank you.

Emanuel: Okay.

Vasquez: Bye bye.


And that was it. Can you even breathe?

Next day, one of Emanuel’s buttons contacted WGN radio bosses and raised holy hell about the late night call. Vasquez was suspended for one show.

Big deal. She’d take a week’s suspension, I’m sure, in exchange for the buzz about how she hilariously rousted the mayor out of bed. This is what certain media types do in an enormous, oversaturated market like Chicago, just to make names for themselves.

We don’t have to do that here, and that makes me glad. I’d hate to have to ring up Mayor John Hamilton at two in the morning — and I do have his not-so-private cell phone number — and then watch as he storms into the Book Corner the next day, bleary-eyed, so as to blacken one or both of my eyes.

Print Maven

Danielle Urschel, co-founder of the Bloomington Print Collective, joined me on Big Talk yesterday.

Hear the feature here.

Catch the nearly-unedited, almost-full-length interview with her here. Simply scroll down to her name and click on the appropriate Big Track audio file.


Urschel (L), This Week; Leaman-Morris, Next Week

Next week’s guest, Kristin Leaman-Morris, archivist for Indiana University’s Bicentennial bash, taped with me at the WFHB studios this afternoon (that is, before the sky caved in on us here in So. Cent. Ind.) This one — like Danielle’s was — is gonna be a damned good show, if I do say so myself.


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