Chicago Blackhawks

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

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

It’s preseason: you don’t need a lot of build-up. Let’s just delve right in, shall we?

1. Lots of shots, but…

The same Joonas Korpisalo that the Blackhawks’ youngsters scored five goals against on Tuesday was on top of his game on Saturday. The Blackhawks peppered him with 54 shots but only two got through, and the second was a 6-on-4 power-play goal in the final two minutes.

“I thought we could have gotten a little more traffic in front of him," Nick Schmaltz said. "I thought we were playing along the outside. I mean we had some great looks. He made some big saves. Some nights you get the bounces and some nights you don’t.”

2. Bérubé’s Blackhawks debut.

Jean-François Bérubé had a tough sequence early in the second period, when he gave up two goals in a 28-second span. This was against a Columbus team that didn’t send many of their top players. He also didn’t see a ton of action in this one; the Blue Jackets fired just 21 shots his way.

3. Growing pains.

Alex DeBrincat had his up and down moments on Saturday night. His turnover led to Columbus’ first goal, he took a slashing penalty and he fought the puck quite a bit. You still saw glimpses of that skill, though, especially with his quick release. Hey, he’s a 19-year-old guy getting his first taste of the NHL. Nights like this are going to happen.

“We all make mistakes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You gotta be safe in certain areas and you learn from that.”

4. Slash-o-meter.

Four more were called on Saturday night. Don’t be surprised if that number starts dwindling sooner rather than later, though, because the edict has apparently changed already. Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported earlier on Saturday that the league told officials to ease up on slashing and faceoff violations. But we all figure that’s going to happen once the regular season begins anyway, right?

5. Notre Dame bound.

The destination is familiar but the Blackhawks threw it into their second week of camp this season. It’ll be bonding time for the Blackhawks, who will send a smaller group for several practices there this week. Quenneville figures it’ll be a productive time. “We’ll get some bonding in, play golf together, have a nice outing, couple of road games and a nice campus.”

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

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USA TODAY

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

Nick Schmaltz seemed to be everywhere the puck was on Saturday night. Great pursuit of the puck, great passes to Patrick Kane or Alex DeBrincat and an all-around confidence that’s becoming more apparent by the game.

So has coach Joel Quenneville seen what he’s needed to from Schmaltz at second-line center?

“And more.”

It’s been a pretty impressive showing for Schmaltz this month. The 21-year-old has played in all three of the Blackhawks’ preseason games and keeps getting better in each one. The uncertainty Schmaltz understandably showed as a rookie is gone; the NHL game no longer feels uncomfortable.

“I feel like the game’s slowing down for me, just seeing plays,” Schmaltz said. “I know what I’m doing with the puck before I get it. It feels good and just trying to get better every day.”

Schmaltz and his fellow second liners didn’t connect for goals in the Blackhawks 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The three combined for 12 of the Blackhawks’ 54 shots on goal – Kane and DeBrincat each had five – and the chemistry continues to build between the three.

Jonathan Toews talked on Saturday morning of how much more relaxed Schmaltz looks with the puck now, and that was evident again later that night.

“He’s really starting to get comfortable physically at this level,” Toews said. “He thinks the game so well, puts himself in good spots, much like Kaner where he can skate with the puck and use his speed. He has his head up so he backs guys off. Those two were making great plays tonight and Brinksy was fitting in well. They couldn’t buy a goal but Schmaltzy’s getting better and better, and you’re’ seeing that calm poise that he has really come out the more he gets comfortable.”

Schmaltz was likely getting a second-line audition in some capacity this fall; the original thought was at left wing in the wake of Artemi Panarin’s trade. But Schmaltz has always felt at his best at center. He’s showing that. And more.

“It’s always fun to play no matter if it’s preseason or regular season," he said. "I’m always happy to play, especially when you’re playing with great players. I feel like I’m more comfortable in the middle, able to use my speed a little bit more, create more offense that way.

"I think it’s going well. Wherever I end up, I’ll be happy.”