Hot Air: Odds & Oddities

Runnin’ Rivals

Here’s how I break down the Democratic primary race for Representative in US Congress from Indiana’s 9th District:

  • Liz Watson‘s the choice of Bloomington women and the majority of the party’s establishment.
  • Dan Canon‘s the choice of whatever remains of the party’s young, idealistic, neo-progressive wing as well as the LGBTQI community.
  • Rob Chatlos would be the choice of a Hollywood movie producer hoping to get a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington bankrolled in 2018.

A poll published this week by south and central Indiana’s News and Tribune shows Watson with a 13-point lead over Canon. Chatlos didn’t even register in the poll.

Canon’s campaign manager Dustin Collins says the N&T‘s poll is all wrong. His polling indicates it’s Canon with a double-digit lead over Watson.

The smart money is on Republican incumbent Trey Hollingsworth winning big in November’s general election, no matter which of the two Dem frontrunners face him. A really outside-the-box bettor, though, could put a spare, modest bundle on long shot Chatlos to beat Indiana’s answer to Monopoly’s Mr. Moneybags. A mainstream Dem can’t win in this district right now but an upstart, a working class candidate (Chatlos is a long-haul trucker), a person courageous enough to proudly proclaim he came out as gay after experiencing domestic abuse in a previous hetero relationship, and guy who says he’s four-square for throwing all the bums out just may be — only maybe, mind you — what today’s topsy-turvy, unpredictable, rock-the-boat-until-it-capsizes electorate looks for.

Hey, that’s why they call ’em long shots. Problem is, even if Chatlos has a daydreamer’s chance of toppling Hollingsworth, he hasn’t got a prayer of beating either Liz or Dan to get a shot at the incumbent.

So, What Is Bloomington?

It’s a place. What’s your sense of it?

That’s what publisher Ron Eid is hoping to answer when he and his gang put out a 100-page print edition magazine called A Sense of Place; Calling Bloomington Home for 200 Years this spring.

Eid and his trusty cohorts, editor Lynae Sowinski and marketing and advertising director Emily Winters, put out Limestone Post, an online mag (for which I do an every-four-weeks column, “Big Mike’s B-town.”) They’ve been itching to put out a hard copy for the longest time and it appears the itch will be scratched around the beginning of June.

(L-R) Sowinski, Winters, editorial ass’t Dason Anderson, & Eid

Honestly, there are some hot talents who’ve been recruited to pen pieces for the special edition, names you know and who’ve been making waves around town since the Chocolate Moose was called the Penguin.

History, y’know?

Eid & Co. will be throwing a release bash at the I Fell Gallery on June 1st at 5:00pm. I’ll be there and if you have any shred of coolness, you’ll be there too.


Did you miss yesterday’s Big Talk? Don’t sweat it. Here’s the podcast of my chat with author, historian, and war correspondent Doug Wissing.

We talked CIA and the culture of class and caste in Washington.

Big Talk airs every Thursday at 5:30pm, immediately following the Daily Local News on WFHB, 91.3 FM. Go here for links to every full-length show as well as all the Big Talk features on the Daily Local News before we went solo in January.

Radio Days

From sports talker extraordinaire Chet Coppock:

End of an era…. Back in the late 80s and early 90s when the Loop was operating on the FM band along with AM1000, home of Coppock on Sports and Kev Head and Steve & Garry, we were the hippest radio operation in Chicago history — bar none.

That’s his eulogy for one of the titans of Chicago — and Midwest — radio over the last half-century. The Loop, with its sister station AM1000, comprised a blockbuster ratings monster in the middle of both radio dials. Between the two, listeners in 38 states and Canada (back before all radio stations could be heard over the internet) caught hard rock, heavy metal, sports, and laugh-out-loud talk 24 hours a day. And now, the Loop has been sold to a Christian broadcasting operation, EMF Broadcasting, a non-profit that runs the K-LOVE and AIR1 radio networks. Company HQ is in Rocklin, California and its charitable arm, Educational Media Foundation, is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

EMF programming is carried mainly on low-power local radio stations but the network is so big — well over 200 stations — that its reach is truly coast to coast. Now it’s got a gigantic, centrally located, max-power airer. Steve Dahl, the Loop’s nonpareil afternoon funnyman, used to call the station’s broadcast tower a “50,000-watt blowtorch.” Acc’d’g to him, anybody who entered the tower blockhouse could actually hear the station in their head as the RF signal penetrated the metal fillings in their teeth. Dahl was part of an all-star lineup that included his partner Garry Meier, newsman/bluesman Buzz Kilman, morning drive superstar Jonathon Brandmeier, multi-voice artist Kevin Mathews, and former Partridge Family star Danny Bonaduce.

Former Indy TV sportscaster Chet Coppock did his signature show, Coppock on Sports, on the Loop in the ’90s. Station funnyman Bruce Wolfe did a takeoff on Coppock, calling himself “Chet Chitchat.” Garry Meier always referred to Coppock’s show as “Coppock on Speed.”

Radio was a riot back then. And, speaking of riots, the Loop’s Steve Dahl made a national name for himself when he emceed the notorious Disco Demolition Night at old Comiskey Park between games of a White Sox-Tigers doubleheader in July, 1979. At a time when the White Sox had trouble drawing flies to their ballpark, owner Bill Veeck and his son Mike, made arrangements with the Loop and Dahl to stage a protest against disco music between games of the doubleheader. Fans who brought disco records to the ballpark could get in for 98 cents (the Loop broadcast on 97.9 FM). The idea was all the records would be blown up in the middle of the field after the first game. Organizers hoped 12,000 or so would show up. By the time the first game had ended, some 50,000 had crammed themselves into the old facility with hundreds — perhaps thousands — more attempting to climb into the place via outside walls. Throughout the later innings of that first game, players dodged vinyl discs flying out of the upper deck. Eventually the crowd spilled onto the field. The records — thousands of them — were blown up, starting a fire in the turf and lifting huge divots of sod into the air. It was chaos, frightening to a lot of players, and umpires and league officials called off the second game, forfeiting it to the Tigers.

Now, the Loop — whatever it’ll be called — will be broadcasting the word of god.

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