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5 Questions with...FM News 101.1's Ed Curran

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5 Questions with...FM News 101.1's Ed Curran

CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guesta Chicago broadcasting veteran whos been major presence on the local media scene since the late-70s believe it or notthis guy has done just about everything in the biz from hosting radio talk shows to being a TV weatherman (sorrymeteorologist!) but hes probably best known as being one the nations premier technology reportersplus - you can now hear him every weekday afternoon on the new FM News 101.1hes also one of the most likable media personalities aroundlets get to it already, its "5 Questions withED CURRAN!

BIO: Ed Curran has a varied background in broadcasting and is comfortable covering a news story, doing a talk show or forecasting the weather.A native Chicagoan, Eds entire career has been right here in his home town. Although hes done a wide range of stories for radio and TV, Eds specialties are science and technology. A meteorologist, hes been awarded the American Meteorological Societys Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) designation.

Ed is honored to be the afternoon drive news anchor on FM News 101.1, Chicagos exciting new station for news and information. He joined the station in July of 2011. Ed brings his long background of Chicago news and talk experience to WIQI, 101.1 FM, and more than 20 years of experience covering technology along with 15 years of weather expertise.

Eds technology reporting began while he was at WGN Radio, coining and trademarking the term Technogadgets. For more than two decades, hes covered the high-tech lifestyle beat and has been featured on television and radio stations nationwide. Eds humorous approach and unpredictable style make his segments entertaining for techno-wizards and the techno-clueless alike. Among his accomplishments at WGN Radio, Ed Curran was the first host to combine a live radio broadcast with an AOL chatroom. Digital lifestyle author Howard Rheingold, who wrote The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier, called Ed a pioneer on the electronic frontier the hippest guy in radioland!

Along with many successful years in radio at WIND, WGN, WLS and WGCI, Ed has also been a versatile television broadcaster. His high-tech reports were seen on WGN-TVs Morning News, where he also filled in as weather forecaster. He later served as CNNs high-tech correspondent and joined NBC-owned station in Chicago as a meteorologist. In 2002, Ed joined the CBS-owned and operated station in Chicago, WBBM, as a meteorologist and tech reporter.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Ed graduated from Columbia College with a BA in Broadcast Communications. He earned a certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University in 1996 and hes been awarded the American Meteorological Societys Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) seal. To earn the CBM, broadcasters must hold a degree in meteorology or equivalent from an accredited college or university, pass a rigorous written exam and have their on-air work reviewed to assess technical competence, informational value, explanatory value and communication skills.

Ed lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife Monica, daughter Jessica, son Jeff and their dogs, Ricky and Shelby.

1) CSNChicago.com: Ed, your 30 career in the Chicago media landscape and continuous fan following certainly speaks for itselfto use Sally Fields line from the Oscars: they like you, they really like you! Since this summer, fans can now hear you weekday afternoons on the new FM News 101.1. As a primary personality for the new all-news station, did you have to make any adjustments to your on-air style to fit the stations format and, a follow-up questiondo you see FM News 101.1 as a viable competitor to WBBM News Radio or as more of an alternative in your opinion?

Curran: Anyone who's listened in the past few weeks knows that FM News 101.1 is a great way to get a news update. Ten minutes of non-stop news at :00, :20 and :40 really sets us apart. It's a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week, non-stop news station with outstanding local coverage.

When I joined the station in July, they were still building the physical newsroom. I'm surrounded by a group of passionate radio professionals who have literally built this station from the ground up! Chicago is a big place and there's room for more than one excellent all-news radio station. As for your question about adjusting my on-air style, I always say that the best thing you can do in this business is to just "be yourself." That's all I can ever be, a kid from the west side of Chicago who's been lucky to enjoy a broadcasting career right here at home.

2) CSNChicago.com: As everyones favorite Technogadgets guru, youre naturally very familiar with arguably THE hottest item on the market this holiday season: Apples iPhone 4S. To help out those consumers looking to plunk down at least 200 for this latest model of the revolutionary communications tool, give us your reasons why we should buy the 4Sandor your advice on why we should steer clear (at least for now) of this enticing purchase.

Curran: I've been an iPhone user from Day 1. Mine was the third one out the door at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue. I gave CASH to two guys who were first in line. They went in to buy theirs and I nervously waited for them to come out with mine. So, I'm sold on the iPhone. I've covered technology since 1988 and it's one of the finest items I've laid my hands on. As for the iPhone 4S, I think it's a great item that I'd step up to without hesitation. The speed is improved, the antenna technology is better, the camera is improved and the video quality is amazing. But, I expect the iPhone 5 to be a huge step up - if you can wait. I think it'll have a lot of stuff that's on my iPhone wish list and it'll be cosmetically improved as well.

I'm still using an iPhone 3GS because it works better than the iPhone 4 with some custom built accessories I use for audio and video recording. I've been recording and editing on the iPhone since January of 2009. However, I'll move up to the 4S this week and the iPhone 5 when it appears.

3) CSNChicago.com: Speaking of Apple, the world lost the face of modern technology with the passing of Steve Jobs this past October. As you well know, Jobs was not only a tech genius, but a marketing genius as well. How much will the loss of his vision for the company affect Apples future in the short and long term?

Curran: I was doing a TV interview in the Apple store one day. I tried to stray a bit from what was planned and the store manager stopped me. They had to call Cupertino to get the OK. I was told by one staffer, "Ed, you have to understand, Apple is one man...and nobody wants to get his attention." Steve Jobs was a smart guy, a marketing whiz, and a genius when it came to knowing what people wanted. He was sick for a long time and I think he put the people and plans in place to carry Apple for quite some time. I've been using Apple machines since 1987. I have both platforms in the house, but I use my MacBook Pro 99.5 of the time.

4) CSNChicago.com: Youve been blogging extensively lately about the growing popularity of electric automobiles. We are a stubborn society that is just so used to filling up our cars at the pump, while maybe not truly knowing the financial benefits of owning an electric vehicle in the long run. Do you think the entire auto industry will realistically head in this direction one day?

Curran: I'm a car enthusiast and an electric car is a great choice for commuting. I recently spent some time driving a Nissan LEAF, which is 100 electric, did a radio piece and wrote about it in my test drive blog at http:fmnewschicago.comtestdrive. I also spent some time with a Chevy Volt and will report on it soon. I was impressed by both cars and look forward to driving the Ford Focus EV. There's something really wonderful about passing by gas stations in a zero emissions vehicle. You can plug into your garage and, while at work, I plug into the 240 volt public charger in the parking garage. The cool thing is that most of these public chargers are currently free because they're new. I even get a text message on my phone that tells me when the car finishes charging. With better battery technology, improved battery management, faster charging, longer range and a decrease in price, electric cars will be a great alternative. I also find natural gas a very interesting alternative as well. We have to embrace these alternates so we're not so dependent on foreign oil.Does this mean gas powered cars will disappear? Not anytime soon.

5) CSNChicago.com: Lets close with a sports-related question hereas a long-time Cubs fan and season ticket holder, are you optimistic about the future of the franchise now that Chairman Tom Ricketts has brought in a brilliant, young baseball mind a la Theo Epstein?

Curran: I started going to Wrigley Field in 1969...and what a year I picked to start. Since then, I've had my heart broken many times. I sat there the night of the Bartman ball and the night after for the Game 7 loss. All Tom Ricketts can do is bring in the best people to make magic happen. He's showing a commitment to that and I'm quite optimistic about the Cubs' future.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything youd like to promote Ed? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it

Curran: It's an exciting time for me. The Consumer Electronics Show is coming up in Las Vegas and I'll be there, for about the 20th year in a row! Follow me on Twitter (@edcurran) to learn about new technology as I roam the floor of CES. I'll be reporting on FM News 101.1 and posting at technogadgets.com as well. I'll begin with pre-CES coverage Jan. 9, 2012, so start following me on Twitter now!

Curran LINKS:

Official Ed Curran website

Ed Currans Technogadgets.com official site

FM News 101.1 Chicago website

Ed Curran on Facebook

Ed Curran on Twitter

Robin Lehner got best of 'reverse psychology' with Blackhawks familiarity in Game 1

Robin Lehner got best of 'reverse psychology' with Blackhawks familiarity in Game 1

On Tuesday, former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner and the Vegas Golden Knights got the better of the Hawks in Game 1 of their Round One Stanley Cup Playoff series, winning 4-1.

Lehner saved 19 of 20 shots from Chicago, but his own equipment made him more uncomfortable in net than his former team.

The 29-year-old goalie had to have a skate blade repaired twice in the second period.

"I was pretty frustrated. It's the first time that's ever happened to me," Lehner said following the game. ... "You kind of get into it and I didn't really know what happened there at first, but you have to battle through it. The rule is when we have possession they can blow it. Kind of tough for a goalie with one skate."

The Blackhawks hit a post the first time Lehner had blade trouble, but otherwise didn't capitalize on his skate malfunction.

Chicago got away from what worked in the Oilers series against goalies Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen in creating traffic in front of the net to take away the goalie's eyes and trying for deflections. Vegas' D did a good job of pushing the Hawks to the outside and away from the crease.

According to Lehner, when the Blackahwks did have chances, knowing their tendencies from playing with them earlier in the year — before he was traded to Vegas ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline — played to his advantage in Game 1.

"I think I'm foremost a reading goalie. I know a lot of their tendencies, I know what they're trying to do on the power play and etc.," The 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist said. "But it becomes a little bit of reverse psychology. I knew that they know (that) and they were going to mix it up a little bit on me. On all the really in-tight chances today they tried to go five-hole, so I kind of anticipated that before the game and next game they're probably going to try something else."

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Bulls mailbag (once again): What's Jim Boylen's status? Is anyone on roster safe?

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USA Today

Bulls mailbag (once again): What's Jim Boylen's status? Is anyone on roster safe?

It’s August. And we just set a record for most questions asked in a Bulls mailbag. You nutty people.

Christian J.: The front office has had all this time to watch games of Jim Boylen coaching to know deep down that he's not the right coach for this team. Do you think Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley will give pushback to ownership to get a new coach once the guy they want becomes available and do you think AK will question Michael Reinsdorf on agreement of full autonomy during his hire?

Karnisovas does own full autonomy. And the criteria for presenting a coaching change to ownership is the same now as it was when ownership hired Karnisovas. He’s free to make a change if he wishes, but was told to take time to get to know Boylen and evaluate him fully before doing so. That’s what Karnisovas and Eversley are doing. The Bulls may not be playing, but the 2019-20 season isn’t over yet. The Bulls, as of now, aren’t allowed group activities. So what’s the rush?

I feel like there’s this perception of the new management regime already at odds with ownership. That’s simply not accurate. To think the coaching situation wasn’t discussed during the interview process would be naïve, in my estimation. Nothing has changed. The evaluation process is ongoing.

And here’s the thing: This unprecedented offseason affording Karnisovas plenty of time for this critical decision seems consistent with the reputation of his personality anyway. He’s known as a thoughtful, deliberate decision-maker who tries to develop substantive, genuine relationships before holding people accountable. With no known timeline for the 2020-21 season set yet, he has that luxury regarding Boylen and his staff. Yes, Gar Forman was out early in Karnisovas' tenure, and some staff shuffling has occurred in recent months — though most of the latter were based on option deadlines.

This is a longshot hypothetical: But what if the 2020-21 season start date gets pushed to March — because that will allow for a full season of fans in arenas — and a previously unavailable coaching candidate becomes available that Karnisovas loves? Doesn’t it make sense for him to take time on this decision?

It seems fitting that, unless he has a burner account, Karnisovas isn’t on Twitter. In this day and age of immediacy and absolutes, I understand the angst for some fans regarding this decision. But Karnisovas is taking the long view, not the 140-character one. Or is it 280 now?

Austin C.: Do you think Arturas is going to fire Boylen? I’ve seen a lot of rumors going around that we are going to keep him because of financial concerns.

From the start, I’ve taken Karnisovas’ words at face value. He has said he’s going to take time to make this critical decision. Each time I’ve done some reporting on this story, it has appeared to remain in the evaluation stage for him. But there are plenty of signs pointing towards a '20-21 collaboration. Management and the coaching staff have met to discuss player development. They’ve talked draft and free agency. And they’ve had discussions about the offense. 

Since you’re asking for my prediction, my guess is this: With the 2020-21 season so uncertain — when does it start? Will it be 82 games? — and the roster likely to look largely the same, Boylen returns. Karnisovas and Eversley use the 2020-21 season to evaluate the staff and roster during game action. Then, potential big changes arrive during the 2021 offseason. That’s when the deals of Otto Porter Jr. and Cristiano Felício expire and significant salary cap space is possible. The contracts of Thaddeus Young — if he’s not dealt this offseason — and Tomáš Satoranský are easily movable or waivable because of partial guarantees. You have another season of Zach LaVine data to determine if he’s a building block or trade chip. And you solidify the coaching situation long-term.

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The money is only one layer to Karnisovas’ decision on Boylen. Let’s not forget, ownership hired Karnisovas and Eversley during a global pandemic. So it’s not like the financial outlook changed from then to now for ownership. It’s not like ownership has moved the goalposts on management’s autonomy. My sense is, given the daunting, long-term financial ramifications of the pandemic, ownership conveyed during the interview process that any coaching change recommendation would have to be a thoroughly presented one, possibly with a proven candidate.

Also, as I’ve written this several times, it’s not just Boylen’s contract that ownership would eat. Assistant coaches Chris Fleming — who Karnisovas likes and worked with in Denver — and Roy Rogers just finished the first of three-year deals. This is why, at least for now, Karnisovas and Eversley have worked to empower Boylen and his staff. To me, that’s leadership. Coaching development can be a thing, too.

Timothy G.: If the Bulls keep Boylen, do you think some Bulls players like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen will demand a trade?

And to think: Just a year ago at this time, videos of Boylen cannonballing off a dock into a pristine Finnish lake alongside Markkanen surfaced via social media. And Boylen had crashed LaVine’s vacation, their relationship never better.

Neither player possesses a rock-the-boat personality. But I do think the LaVine situation, in particular, is worth monitoring.

This, to me, is where Karnisovas and Eversley have to do their work if they choose to retain Boylen. They’ve talked about creating a players-first organization. They are also both known for developing strong relationships with players. You can create a positive atmosphere for players even if not all decisions are popular ones.

So far, the Bulls have received strong buy-in for voluntary offseason workouts, including a trip to Chicago from LaVine. Markkanen, who typically spends his offseason in Finland, has been here plenty.

It’s also important to remember that this regime isn’t married to any players. As mentioned above, I see this regime using this season to evaluate the roster more fully in advance of potential significant changes during the 2021 offseason.

Drew S: Do you think the Bulls’ brass believes any player currently on the roster is untradeable?

Not one bit. In fact, very few players currently on the roster fit the description of the type of players that Karnisovas values most, based on his own words. Here’s what he said in April:

“I already had a conversation with Jim kind of talking about what kind of style of play I would like, what kind of players I like. Obviously, I like high pace. Moving the ball. We were able to be a very good passing team in Denver. It’s a very entertaining brand of basketball. I like multi-positional players. I like guys with high basketball IQ that play off each other. But that takes time. Obviously, you’ve got a read-and-react kind of offense, which I like. So in the short term what needs to happen is we begin to establish a culture of who we are as a team.”

In that vein, I’d expect a tweaked offensive system for the 2020-21 season. Conversations between management and the coaching staff along those lines already have taken place. But both Karnisovas and Eversley are also on record as saying they're intrigued by the young talent on the roster — particularly as to why certain players underachieved. So internal improvement, not wholesale changes initially, is likely where the focus rests for now.

Blake C.: If we assume Boylen is the coach for 20-21, what might a successful year look like? Trading emerging stars for draft equity a la the Celtics? Hoping for a big splash in free agency for 2021? Or clear improvement and a possible playoff berth?

I’d say a combination of the latter two. The first scenario involves another total restart. Best case scenario: You get internal improvement from a couple of the intriguing, young pieces on the roster as the new regime determines which players it’s keeping and which it’s not. You compete for a lower-level playoff spot. And you significantly improve the roster through 2021 free agency.

Even more ideally, this all occurs as the new regime adds impactful young pieces via the draft. Look at the Nuggets’ roster. It’s teeming with homegrown players who are making an impact. Karnisovas played a significant role in that.

Alejandro Y.: How can the Reinsdorfs be hurting for money when they own one of the most valuable franchises in the world? I was wondering if you could summarize the Reinsdorfs’ situation. The Lakers are a family-run franchise too, and they never plead money issues. We're not at that monetized level, but it's not far either, right?

The Reinsdorfs run a business and are free to operate it how they see fit. For what it's worth, I’ve heard of no layoffs or furloughs throughout the Bulls. Also: Jerry Reinsdorf is chairman of the organization. He has other investors to consider. As previously mentioned, money is only one layer to the Boylen decision.

As for your other point, I don’t cover the Lakers so I can’t speak to their dynamic. But I will say: To suggest that an organization that applied for, received, and quickly returned a reported $4.6 million "small business" loan during the pandemic never pleads money issues is amusing.

Marcus C.: Hey KC, I know you’re sick and tired of Boylen questions and people flooding your mentions. But rehiring Boylen over a couple million would be the last straw for me and many others. Not only is it a slap in the face to the players, but it’s also a giant middle finger to this fanbase. Are the Reinsdorfs so out of touch that they’re willing to tank all immediate and future goodwill over a few million (dollars)? Millions are unemployed, but Jerry expects us to feel bad for him and continue to support this. Do they really think fans will be understanding and sympathetic to this move? Not only will this hurt the team in the short run, but it’ll be disastrous long-term given the negative stigma that’s already plagued this organization. Why as fans should we care anymore if the owners only view us as potential revenue?

Well, you don’t have to. That’s your choice as a fan. Also, fans may not be allowed into arenas next season. So there’s that.

Your larger point is a valid counterpoint, though. Retaining Boylen would not be welcomed by a loud segment of the fan base. (I covered the player dynamic in a previous answer.) It would affect, at least in the short-term, some of the goodwill created by the managerial changes.

But what if the team stayed healthy and improved? What if Boylen tweaked the offense and, focusing strictly on coaching, showed growth? Winning changes everything. And if he’s retained and it went off the rails, could management make a change then, perhaps on an interim basis?

I disagree retaining Boylen would have disastrous long-term impact, though. I expect a new-look Bulls organization to more fully take shape by the 2021-22 season.  

Oscar, Sydney AUS: Howdy. Firstly, why are fans so fickle? Obviously it’s frustrating when your team has not been successful in recent times. But when you really look at it, the Bulls actually have a decent core of promising young talent that ended up losing a bunch of close games while having key guys out all year. With that said, my actual question is if things get back on track and Markkanen returns to form next season, do you see the Bulls re-signing Wendell Carter Jr. the following year after signing Markkanen to what you would assume would have to be a relatively significant contract?

I think you paint a slightly-too-rosy picture of all things Bulls. They have a long way to go. Yes, injuries hurt them. Yes, they have some intriguing young pieces and were in a ton of close games. But the roster isn’t exactly flush with two-way players. And the intriguing pieces they do have need to show they can thrive together.

I’m less worried about the Carter-Markkanen fit than some. I think they can complement each other well. They both are willing passers with high basketball IQs. Carter may be undersized, but he can be an effective rim protector with his wingspan and instincts. He needs to learn how to avoid foul trouble.

@BullsNationOZ, via Twitter: I’m sick of everyone asking for Jim to go. Steve Kerr would only get five more wins out of this roster. Now, a new coach would be great, but the more pressing issue is this roster.

As I said, a lot of work remains. And actually, that’s another thing to consider regarding the coaching situation: Might management want to wait to bring in its hand-picked choice until the roster is more to its liking? Just a thought.

Shannon R.: Due to financial ramifications of the pandemic and the draft class being considered as weak, it’s been reported/speculated that teams may be willing to sell their first-round picks. Do you think there’s some truth to that?  What do you think would be easier to sell to ownership — firing Boylen or buying an additional pick? If I had to choose, I’d choose an additional pick.

I don’t think it’d be an either/or, but if I had to choose, I’d agree with you.

Wilfred B.: From the very start of when the Bulls hired AK and Marc Eversley we have heard from them and Michael Reinsdorf that they wanted to modernize the front office to get with the times. Apart from the two hires at the very start, we haven't heard much on that front and how they are building out the front office and what hires they are making. Do you have any insight into that process and do you know if they have decided on who's worth keeping and who's not from the past regime?

From what I’ve been told, they plan to build out the player development department. As for the timeline on that, I’m not sure. I do know the coaching staff has been asked for input on player development philosophy.

Karnisovas and Eversley are using holdovers like Brian Hagen and Jim Paxson and Steve Weinman for draft meetings and analytics projects. Karnisovas is on record as saying he plans no additional front-office changes this offseason. They do need to hire an athletic trainer

@thegeorgeyou, via Twitter: There’s no winning in the NBA without a superstar. We can draft well, but the only realistic path to contention is signing Giannis Antetokounmpo or Anthony Davis. Do you think the Bulls will be players this offseason or in 2021?

Is Nikola Jokic a superstar? Karnisovas worked for the Nuggets when that franchise nabbed him in the second round. But your larger point remains: The Bulls need to upgrade the roster. As it stands, it’s filled with intriguing young pieces, but no superstars as of yet. LaVine is the closest to All-Star level.

As for free agency, the Bulls project to have cap space in 2021, not this offseason.

Matt A., Australia: Assuming Otto opts in, which we all agree is pretty much a given, what free agents do you see the Bulls going after this offseason?

Given the injury history of Porter and Chandler Hutchison, I’d guess wing depth will be a focus. Moe Harkless, Wesley Matthews, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III and Jae Crowder are names that make sense at the price point for teams that will be using exceptions, like the Bulls.

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