Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I'm Telling Ya, There Was Something Else on That Phone He Didn't Want the Niffle (or Anyone Else) to See

Surely I'm not the only one that has floated the theory, as I did a few posts ago, that Tom was cheating on Gisele.

If not that, then there was something else on that phone that Tom did not want the Niffle, or any organization that might promise not to leak personal information but might leak it anyway, to see.

If there were incriminating texts on that phone about football deflation, then those texts are also on other phones to which the Niffle undoubtedly had access as part of its investigation.  While it would be sexy to see those texts all laid out on Tom's own phone, his words will also appear on the recipient's phone, and presumably phones of other potential co-conspirators were also collected -- I haven't heard anything about any other Pats employee refusing to turn over a phone (and if the Niffle never tried to collect them, then shame).  So the Niffle could collect exactly the same information from other phones.

So why was Tom so all-fired anxious to destroy his own phone?  Because there is something else on that phone that he cannot afford to let anyone else see contained in communications to persons not associated with the investigation.   He's dallying with some doxy, or texting with some tart, or exchanging johnson selfies with Brett Favre, or swapping inside information on securities with Martha Stewart.

There is counter-evidence to this theory, which I love so much that I'm not abandoning it in the face of this evidence, which is that (I heard) Brady did turn some other phone over to the Niffle.  Which, if he were a chronic philanderer, might be expected to have the same kind of dangerous communications on it.

But if he were only a recent philanderer (recent with respect to the deflation controversy), my theory is still looking good, if only to me.

I hereby grant any Ticket host a royalty-free worldwide license to adopt this theory without attribution.

"So Tom, since you're a serial celebrity chaser, let's you and me get together and discuss things that aren't deflated."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Support This Site with Your Trenchant Contributions

The wet spring

has meant a 24-7 early summer for Your Plainsman.  Working seven days a week and into the evening and that means very little Little One and even less original MTC journalism.

Thanks for keeping the comments coming.

And please, if you're remarking on something specific that you think everyone surely has heard, everyone almost surely has not so don't go easy on the context, thanks.

BREAKING:  from Guys' Night Out

David P sends us his moving compositions --

(1) "Baseball Talk"  (notice Mike R's open mouth and Corby's closed)

(2) "Register to Win" 

My thanks to David P for these works. 

More, please. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saturday with Cirque

I was running some errands in a northerly orientation today and heard that Cirque du Sirois was appearing at a Beazer Homes open house in a new subdivision in Frisco called Miramonte.  I swung up that way and stopped by.

The model home they were broadcasting from (there were two) was packed.  I've never seen a developer's open house so well-attended. It's amazing to me how hosts at remotes can seamlessly broadcast while people are making noise, milling around, gawking at them, yes, taking their picture.  They were broadcasting from a breakfast nook. 

A house-hunting matron  reacts in stunned disbelief upon encountering Cirque du Sirois in her dream house.
On the way out I stopped at the Ticket tent.  It was manned by three very nice and friendly Ticket people, two guys and a Ticket Chick (although I don't recall that they were wearing Ticket gear; should have asked if I could take a snap).  I felt a little bad for them; they had exactly one thing on the table to give away -- a lonely stack of dog-eared Ranger schedules.  But they were happy to chat  You could register for a drawing for a Dirk jersey.  And they offered me two tickets to a Trace Adkins concert at Billy Bob's.  Really nice.   The three of them would leave visitors -- although I was the only one I noticed while I was there -- with a positive impression of The Ticket.  Mrs. Plainsman says we're going to see Trace.

I loved Cash's haiku on the DeAndre Jordan fiasco.  If anyone remembers it or can get it from Cash, send it along.

*     *     *

Speaking of the fiasco, I have a question.  A sincere question, I'm sure it has an answer, I just don't know what it is:

My recollection is that it was never a certainty that Jordan was going to sign with the Mavericks.  They had to court the guy, and, from all accounts, did a really fine job.  But they weren't the only team with an interest, and there was some chance that he would re-sign with the Clips.  So there was a not-negligible chance that Jordan would never have made an oral commitment to join the Mavs. 

But he did, and then reneged.  Not a good thing, but:  How did the Mavs change their position between his oral commitment and his reneging?  That is, how is the Mavericks' position any different than if he had never made the oral commitment to begin with?  Sure, the organization was embarrassed, but the sense of all the outrage about this is that the reneging itself grievously injured the Mavs.  And unless the Mavs somehow changed their position between the oral commitment and the reneging -- I don't understand that reaction.

Anyway, it was fun to see Cirque in action as the Frisco land-hungry milled around noisily before them.  That snap above cracks me up.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

BREAKING BREAKING -- The Ticket Resurgent?

I tell you men and women, I have no way, no way at all of knowing whether this will turn out to be correct, but this is what I am hearing from a local entertainment source of uncertain reliability as to what the next ratings book is going to show for May 21-June 17:

   --  Continued increases in overall ratings for The Ticket.

   --  Last couple of months showing the Ticket's best ratings going back to the fall.

   --  Musers and Hardline the top-rated sports shows in the entire market, with the Musers annihilating Shan/RJ and M/M.

   --  Hardline continuing to show increases for the past several months.

   --  Continuing the earlier-observed trend, numbers overall not as big for The Ticket or the other sports talkers but The Ticket still arguably the overall leader.

   --  Good days for G-Bag and B/S appear to coincide with Ranger days.

If these observations prove correct, it ain't the good old days, but it does tend to support Jeff Catlin's "hang tough" stance in the face of grumbling about content and (especially) Corby.  My correspondent did not offer any news regarding BaD or Norm, nor did it offer numbers so we could see for ourselves.

Nevertheless, I thought I'd take a chance on this source and pass this along.  We'll see if it's supported by reports from official sources.

"That Barry Horn is so HOT, he makes me  .  .  .  no, I can't say it!"

In case you missed it, I tossed up another post earlier today, including an exclusive photograph of Ms. Becca.    The Return of Becca and the Revenge of Mike

The Return of Becca and the Revenge of Mike

Unrelated quick hits:

(1) I have nothing against Christina (sp?) Ray (sp?), but my heart belongs to Becca.  I mean no sarcasm when I say that I don't feel fully awake each day until I hear her first phelgm-piercing utterances on traffic conditions, those delightfully nasal head-tones absolutely searing the latest Tollway transgressions into the living tissue.

Yesterday on the Davey-Rhads-Danny show, they made reference to Becca's deep loathing for Davey.  I wasn't aware of any previous run-ins between them.  Then Davey did a reading of Ariana Grande's "apology" for her donut-shop utterances expressing her loathing for these United States in that semi-Valley-Girl slack-jawed gum-chewing teenage-girl voice.  Funny.  When he was done, the lads once again shook their heads over the awkwardness of Becca and Davey having to be in the same studio.  Sounded like maybe a bit, but maybe not.

Then, at the end of her next scorching traffic report, Becca assumed that same accent -- imitating Davey imitating -- her?   That's what they said on the show, but again, I wasn't aware of any Davey-Becca antecedent bit.  She was funny -- I would love to have heard the entire report done with that accent.

If you know where this Davey-Becca thing came from, let us know.  And if it's real or a bit.  If real, that would make me sad.

Welcome back, Becca.

Not Becca
And by the way -- Davey is going down really well with me on PM Drive.  Not sure that Rhads is the ideal sidekick, but I even kind of like his cornball thing.  Without Corby there, even Danny seems to have elevated his attitude some.

 (2)  Among Mike's frequent HSOs is that the biggest name free-agents will never, ever come to the Mavericks.  When DeAndre Jordan was announced as coming, he resignedly said that yes, he's coming.

And then  .  .  .  .

(3) How about let's focus on some positive, or at least constructive, comments for awhile?  I let through lots of negative stuff that doesn't violate the Rules of the Confessional, but really, men and women, some of it is getting pretty tedious.  Let's strive for some originality here, and, jeez, how about stepping back and considering why you do listen to the thing?

(4) BREAKING:  Correspondent Lindsay passes along this photo of the Real Becca pre-enceinte:

I was a little reluctant to publish this since it appears to be a personal snapshot, but since it's so nice and flattering I'm hoping Becca won't mind.  Becca, should you wander this way and you would prefer that this image not appear here, just drop me a line or leave a comment and I will take it down.   And you may want to have a word with Lindsay.

[Comments to this site are moderated. 

Before posting, please read 
 Rules of the Confessional.  Thank you.] 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How We Know Cat Knows

Should I have prefaced the title of this piece with my occasional warning:  "LISTENING TOO HARD"?  Maybe.  Maybe. 

In his Ask Me Anything on My Ticket Confession, the Western Hemispherical Catman reported his opinion that The Hardline was like a stool (not that kind of stool) with three equal legs.

He took some heat for this.

Listeners hear the same evidence that he does.  It is plain that Corby has come to dominate the show, with the aid of Danny.  Not everyone finds this a problem.  While I join those who have wearied of The OverCorby, I also think he's a terrific broadcaster who is very entertaining when taken in the originally prescribed doses.  But yeah, Mike "Short Leg" Rhyner had begun to disappear on the Ticket anchor show he founded.  Come on, now.

Cat knows.

My evidence for this is circumstantial.

It centers on an ad that The Ticket ran for quite awhile.  After I made the observation I'm about to report, I had hoped to hear the ad again so I could get the quote exactly right, but I haven't heard it in awhile.

It's an ad for The Hardline, and at one point, Conrad says something like:

"And you'll get to hear a Texas Radio Hall of Famer -- or not."   (Accompanied, I am dimly recalling, by a sound effect.)

I don't know that Cat approves internal ad copy and final product, but I'm betting he does.

If so, with this phrase he's winking at the P1.

If you tune in to The Hardline, maybe you'll hear Mike, maybe you won't.

There's something else.

My schedule has really cut into my Hardline listening in recent weeks.  I tune in when I can, but recently my PM commute coincides with the waning minutes of the show.  But on those occasions when I'm able to listen to the meat of the presentation, I've heard something I haven't heard in a long time:


Participating in interviews.  Conversing with Corby and Danny. Analyzing Ranger baseball.  Jumping in.  (Or is it "popping on" at this point?)

You all need to tell me -- am I imagining this?  Or has he picked up his game very noticeably in the last month or so?

*     *     *

One of the nice things about having a blog is that I can just dump my utterly unprovable guesses on an unsuspecting congregation.

Here is my theory about when Mike began to check out with greater frequency:

It was when he was introduced to the iPad.

*     *     *

QUICK HIT:  Pet peeve vindicated.

Mike Sirois chastised Mike "The Machine" Marshall today for calling the show "Cirque de Sirois."  The Machine was unfazed.  Made no difference to him.  

Sirois said that it was like George Dunham perpetually mispronouncing Norm's name as "Hitchges," and he sounded pretty disgusted about both.

*     *     *

A Confessor leaving a comment to the last thread noted that the incomparable Sturm and the coming-to-seem-indispensable Mike Sirois had put in an appearance on the Reddit page to clear something up.  He speculated that MTC may have lost some of its "cachet."  

I was flattered to think anyone ever thought it ever had much cachet, but there's probably something to that comment.

MTC will be six years old on Tuesday.  You are reading post number 711.  Hits and pageviews are stronger than ever.   Maybe we should have a party.

But unlike Reddit -- by the way, the guys that run that page do a terrific job and yes, as someone also observed on the last thread, they do appear to clean it up -- the topics here tend to be guided by the posts (although comments have very free reign).  And, this post aside, Your Plainsman hasn't had much original to say lately.

I'm hoping this will change.  It's a time of ferment at The Ticket.  Competition among stations is more vigorous.  The ratings on which broadcast decisions are based are equivocal and may well be faulty.  The JV 43-Man Squamish for attention is heating up.   Contracts will be running out.  Most will probably be renewed, but that day is coming when there will be an organic change in one or more of the shows. 

There's lots to think about, lots to write about.  I'll do my best to continue to find the time.

Thank you for your loyal patronage of My Ticket Confession.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Few Observations on Jeff Catlin's AMA, If You Can Remember Back That Far

Sorry I've been away, men and women.  Couldn't be hep'd.  Next little while I might be scarce again but will try to stay quick on reviewing comments.  Really appreciate your patience.  If, that is, you can even remember what it is I'm supposed to be writing about in the first place.

*      *     *

The one thing I keep coming back to is:  Jeff Catlin is a very smart man.  Yeah, I owe him one for the day he took out of his job to answer our questions, so you are forgiven for thinking I'm kissing his ass.  But I really feel that way, and I feel that it was revealed in his answers.

Various Confessors and other observers have remarked that Cat could hardly expect to agree with all the criticism that The Hardline, T.C. Fleming, Jake, Norm, BaD receive on this site and elsewhere.  Part of what makes any manager effective is the perception by his employees that he can be counted on to be loyal to them beyond the four walls of the workplace, and probably sometimes within.  So I don't begrudge him that, even though we suspect -- I do, anyway -- that he understands why some listeners feel the way they do.  That doesn't make him a hack, cowed by the high-priced talent he's expected to supervise and direct, long-time friends he's fearful of offending.  He spent a couple years down at KCMO (Kansas City, WBAP-type format) as PD, and got the PD job at Cumulus in Dallas after an interview process.   His duties have since expanded in a very competitive market.  This isn't the story of a corporate lackey, whatever we may think of his judgment in particular cases.

So when I mull over the difference between what most (not all) of us are hearing in those particular cases, and what he answered, I keep in mind that this is a knowledgeable media professional whose judgment is respected by the CTO and in the industry.  (See Catlin a Top 20 PD a Top 10 Market, Sez Radio Ink.)

(1) Ratings.

This is the key to all the rest.

Cat could not have been more clear:  It's all about ratings, and it's not about anything else.

The least important upshot of this is that nothing, absolutely nothing, on this site or the comments, or Reddit, or other Tickety boards, or emails to Cumulus, has the slightest influence on what happens at The Ticket as far as CTO decisionmaking is concerned.  So  no point in getting uppity about Cat paying not much attention to third-party criticism of program content.  He doesn't care.  He's not paid to create radio art.  He's paid to deliver ears.

The last half-year or so have seen a change in the relative ratings of the three DFW sports-radio stations, and sometimes even in their order.  While these changes do not portray the utter defeat of the Ticket, and they vary from book to book, it is pretty undeniable that as far as the ratings are concerned, there has been a certain leveling in the positions of The Ticket The Fan, and ESPN.

What follows from this?  And from the fact that Cat is not dumb (see above)?

We'll take a look at a couple of the individual cases below, but I think there are a few things that emerged from the AMA -- and I confess (of course) that I am somewhat reading between the lines here.  (N.B.:  I do not have any secret information from anyone at The Ticket; this is my own -- yes, the old speculation.)

First:  Cat isn't quite sure what's going on.  We can see from the successive books that the ratings are very changeable; other than the leveling trend, the ratings can vary considerably from book to book. 

Second, and related:  He doesn't actually believe the recent ratings dip is real.  That is, he doesn't believe that all of a sudden, the listening habits of Cool Metro have changed to the extent supposedly reflected in the ratings, or vary in the way the dancing ratings seem to suggest from book to book.  So The Hardline sucks one quarter and sucks less to a measurable degree in the next?  Doesn't make sense to him.  Should it?

[NOTE:  While this was in draft, DP and 444 Anonymous picked upon exactly the same things that I was thinking, with some interesting information to boot.  You may want to click back and check out their comments in the last string.]

Is there any factual basis for questioning the Nielsen/Arbitron books (Nielsen bought Arbitron in 2013)?   Maybe.  They're certainly having some problems in Los Angeles, where Nielsen withdrew one of the radio books in 2013.  (Nielsen Problems with Los Angeles Radio Ratings Panel.)  The "panel" is the group of citizens selected by the ratings service to be hooked up to PPMs -- personal people meters.  In June 2014, Radio + Television Business Report suggested that Nielsen's PPM problems were potentially nationwide, having to do with how PPMs were delivered to panel members.  (How to Fix Nielsen's PLM Problems Nationwide.)

Anything up in Dallas?  Haven't been able to find anything.  In 2008-09, Arbitron switched to all-PPM from the old hard-copy "diaries," which was a pretty large change in the way ratings were collected and which I believe did result in something of a dip for The Ticket, although nothing like the 2014 decline.  I do recall something -- was it a Confessor? -- about Nielsen representatives having been seen in the Dallas Cumulus Victory offices. [NOTE:  Anonymous mentions this in a comment to the last thread, so I guess I'm not making this up.]

But man, take a look at this, published just within the past couple of weeks on the Radio InSights website in an article titled "Radio Is to Blame for PPM Failures":

"Yes, Steve Morris, Pierre Bouvard, and others at Arbitron did a good job selling PPM insisting that it was more accurate, more precise, and radio’s perfect 21st century ratings solution.  But let’s face it. Radio really really wanted PPM.  Radio wanted to believe it was more accurate. Radio wanted to believe it was more precise. Anyone who expressed doubt was dismissed as a luddite, someone opposed to progress.  Now we know that PPM is far less accurate and far less precise than Arbitron claimed. PPM’s fails to accurately capture radio listening, and quite possibly has done more damage than good to the medium."

So it is quite possible, perhaps even likely, that radio insiders are skeptical that ratings are accurately reflecting listening trends.  This accounts for Cat disbelieving that, for example, Mike's disengagement has materially damaged Hardline listenership.  If ratings are suspect, that causes guys like Cat and the Cumulus sales organization huge problems, because advertisers are still relying on ratings in making their buys. 

Third, I think there is something to what some Confessors have mentioned about changes in the competition and even the local sports scene.  Sure, the Cowboys have been around this whole time, but they had a shocking, newsmaking season last year.  In November of last year, two "classic" hip-hop stations entered the market (Boom 94.5 and Hot 93.3).   The Fan has been building its brand far more assiduously than The Ticket over the past few years, and maybe that is paying off.   This latter is a Cumulus corporate deficiency -- other than remotes, almost no Ticket promotion to the public -- not a Ticket programming problem.

I think some combination of things like this suggests to Cat that this just isn't a problem of program content, even though, as DP pointed out on the last thread, Cat does acknowledge that program content affects ratings.  Can it possibly affect it to account for the swings we're seeing over the last year?  It's hard to blame Cat for being skeptical.    

So no matter what Cat might really think about the shows, to tinker with what has been successful when the ratings were generally regarded as more accurate could be catastrophicAnd if the ratings are unreliable to begin with, how would he know if what he was doing was "working," was accounting for the better (or worse) ratings? 

I offer this as an explanation to Cat's "everything's fine with the shows."   The ratings give him no reason to think otherwise, and no guidance as to what changes are needed to make them better.

Now, let's ask ourselves:  Are the Musers a counterexample to this "the ratings are broken" theory?  They're still pulling strong, but I don't think this is necessarily evidence that declines in the appeal of other programs are real.  The Musers have a broader appeal generally.  Shifts in who's holding those PPMs are less likely to affect them.  For example, Mrs. Plainsman (who does not, to my knowledge, have a PPM) will gladly listen to the Musers with me every morning but will not listen to The Hardline ever.

Conclusion:  Cat must of necessity be guided by ratings, but there is some evidence that they're unreliable, and that this unreliability has either increased recently, or has reached some kind of breaking point since PPMs have taken over.  And he's not going to panic about program content under those circumstances.  The flip side of this is -- he doesn't know exactly what to do, since the sales department, and The Ticket's meal tickets, need to see ratings.

(2) The Hardline.

Cat views The Hardline as a stool perched on three legs of equal length.  Whatever he's hearing, he doesn't view it as associated with the ratings flipflops, as evidence of problems with the show.

Let's grant the latter point for now.

Many readers and Your Plainsman believe that in recent months, perhaps going back more than a year, The Hardline has declined in quality owing to (in order of cause-effect) Mike's too-frequent checking out and Corby's monopolization of the segments.  With the latter being unsatisfying owing to lack of preparation, discovering content on the fly, frequent repetition of a small number of pop-culture themes, low-info commentary on current events, browbeating of Mike, Mike not bothering to defend himself, and middle-school-level hyperbole.

I mean, it's right there.  You can hear it. 

Cat hears it too.  When he listed the items affecting ratings, program content was first on his list.  He doesn't care a lot about it, he doesn't view it as decisive when it comes to the ratings, but he knows the critics have a point, and so do Mike and Danny.   In recent months the show has been tightened up with segments ending when they're supposed to end (I know, it's for the whole station, but The Hardline was by galaxies the prime offender here).  Lately, also, Mike has come noticeably to life -- he's still the short leg on the stool, but the thing is wobbling less than it has been. And even Danny and Mike have been heard putting the kibosh on some of Corby's mic-hogging.

But there's more at work here in Cat's apparent unconcern over the quality of The Hardline.

To some extent, he approves of Corby's role.   The guy's a lightning rod; lightning rods attract lightning, and while no one wants to be struck by lightning, everyone wants to watch it.  In the past, I have likened Corby to Howard Cosell as an -- yes, an abrasive -- personality with an annoying voice people could not stand but whom they also could not stop watching. 

And here's a flash for all of us on MTC:  A lot of people like Corby, and Cat knows it. I am pleased that we've heard from several Confessors lately who are perfectly happy with The Hardline just the way it is. Despite the changes in the shape of the DFW market, The Hardline is still in first place in its market segment or within sniffing distance of it.

Who are these Corby likers?  (Well, I'm one, but we're talking about The OverCorby here.)  I don't have any numbers to back this up, but I'm thinking it's likely listeners who are  .  .  .  younger  .  .  . than the MTC demo.   Corby's not young, but he's younger than Mike, he sounds a lot younger than Mike (who is not that old, but looks and sounds older than he is).  And he's living the affluent kickass life that a lot of younger listeners probably find attractive.  And those young ears are the ones Cat covets for now and for the future.

(That paragraph could just as easily have been written about Jake.)

Cat's commentary has me thinking about the way I listen to The Hardline.  If I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that while there is more Checkout Mike and OverCorby than I would like,  the show is not that much worse than it used to be and I don't enjoy it that much less.  I think I probably am guilty of some good-old-days syndrome.  And I don't mean Hammer time, I mean the years after his departure when Mike and Corby, aided tastefully by Danny, were really working it.  When it wasn't at all clear that the Gregless Hardline was going to work.  While The Musers remain at the top of my list, I laugh out loud more at The Hardline.  I switch over to ESPN's Afternoon Show when I've had enough of what The Hardline's throwing out in a segment (Ben & Skin -- almost never; seems like every time I punch over they're playing one of their awful games, or about to), but The Hardline is still my default drive tunein, and after a little of Tim and MattI usually switch back.  And, as noted, there are listeners out there who find The Hardline's balance entirely acceptable.

So what I'm saying here is that there is a pretty fair chance that Cat does not view MTC, and in particular the commentariat, as representative of the views of the majority of Hardline listeners.  Or, more likely, he views the criticism one sees on this site is overstated.  And he may be right about that, although wrong to dismiss it entirely.

There's something else.

Everyone who might know a little about what's going on behind the scenes at The Ticket will swear that Mike will be Hard until they pry his cold, dead claws from his iPad, but he's not going to be broadcasting forever.   It is at least possible that the gradual takeover of the show by Corby and, to a lesser extent, Danny, is deemed preferable to a more abrupt changing of the guard.

And finally:

Mike loves The Snake.

So where does this leave us with Cat's attitude about the show?   He's going to defend his guys, and he did so in these pages.  But he knows; he knows.   To my ears, the show is inching back to some semblance of balance -- not there yet -- and I'm guessing this has more to do with Cat's professional suasion than it does with Mike's pride.

3) T.C. Fleming

There was a lot less T.C. questioning than I expected from Confessors, so Cat didn't have much to say about him.  That suited me.  So this segment won't have a whole lot to do with Cat's view on the lad, other than my guesses.

I don't believe that T.C. has much of anything, and quite possibly has nothing, to do with BaD's ratings.  Yes, Cat acknowledged that he needs some coaching up.  I don't think he's under any illusions about T.C.'s performance.

I personally don't find that performance terrible, but I don't listen to BaD as much as some of y'all.  He's not horrible on the weekend shows he sometimes anchors.  It's not a voice I like a lot, but that's cosmetics.  He's prepared, he doesn't browbeat his co-hosts, he's OK.  Maybe a little talky, a little balky.  But eh, it's the weekend.  He's kind of a guy.

I am very reluctant to doubt the sincerity of Confessors who criticize his performance, but I continue to think that a lot of listeners have simply never forgiven him the manner of his departure from Cool Metro when he decamped to Pensacola.   Which was undeniably graceless, stupefyingly tone-deaf for a guy whose walls display no skins.  That leave-taking makes us think we know what kind of guy he is, and he'll never broadcast himself out of that impression.

Here's T.C.'s problem:  I'll bet almost every Ticket JV has some T.C. in him:   burning to get more air time, resenting adverse listener and colleague criticism, thinking he's better than the other guys, and ambitious.  They all want to get ahead.  T.C.'s problem is that he's terrible at disguising it.   It's obvious to the listener.  It was apparent in the podcasts from Pensacola.   The guy says he has problems with authority, and his self-regard drips from the earbuds.  It's just a quality of his broadcast style, and he can't suppress it.   There are broadcasters who have made successful careers out of public attitudes not that different from T.C.'s.  It's just not what you want to hear from a tyro.

But it is legitimate to ask why he is favored over some of the other JV who don't cough into the mic and stumble memorably over copy.

If we're not prepared to take Cat at his word that of all his choices, T.C. was the most experienced, the logical choice, then I don't know the reason.  My guess is that it has something to do with the fact that hosts get a lot of authority over how their shows are run and probably have a great deal of influence over decisions Cat makes about program staff.  Of all the shows, Bob and Dan seem to require more care and feeding than any of the others, including Norm.  One seldom hears anything about anyone else's interns, but BaD's are the subject of frequent grumbling by other shows.  T.C. wended himself into their affections with his helpfulness long before he was a presence on the air.  Hey -- smart career move, no? Bob and Dan like and support him in the face of listener and colleague disdain.  And let's not forget the intimations that T.C. has some special skills, seeming to relate mostly to the his expertise in operating of electric computers, not a small thing. 

(Speaking of T.C.'s colleagues:  I'd love to know what goes on behind the scenes at The Little One.  I think T.C. may be as divisive there as he is to the P1.   Take Mike S's on-air scolding of T.C. for coughing into the mic:  Mike obviously feared no reprisals for smacking T.C. around pretty severely within the hearing of Cool Metro.  And I get a flavor that he is not a favorite of some of the other hosts.  What impression do you get when George says, attempting to deflect some T.C.-critical vote for the E-Brake:  "Hey, we love T.C."?)

Sometimes I wonder whether Bob and Dan get some, shall we say, special consideration.  They turned down bigger dollars at The Fan to stay with The Ticket.  They did Cumulus and the P1 a true solid by re-upping when they did.  It wouldn't shock me if Cat is sensibly showing some corporate gratitude by supporting their wishes to favor T.C. in Ticker and popping-on and other assignments.  I have no support for this.

And, as I've suggested above with the Corby/Cosell comparison, Cat may well view T.C. as the JV the listeners love to hate.  Cat doesn't care if listeners dislike him -- as long as they keep tuning in to hear his next drop.  Again, not to impugn the sincerity of my precious readers, is it imaginable that all the Confessors who claim they're being driven from BaD by T.C.'s presence aren't still tuning in?

That is not to say that BaD doesn't have its problems, just like we're proceeding from the assumption that The Old Grey Hardline ain't what she used to be.  And even Cat acknowledges that program content affects ratings.  But like Corby's creeping influence hasn't destroyed The Hardline or sent it to the depths of the Nielsen book, T.C.'s and Jake's participation in the middle of the day is, if a factor at all in what's going on with the ratings, a pretty tiny one.

And Cat gives every indication of having the same impression.

*     *     *

(4)  Summing Up.

We were appreciative of Cat taking time out to respond to questions.  His vigorous defense of The Ticket was expected.  A lot of us probably find ourselves either not believing him that he's not hearing any on-air problems that might affect ratings, or just disagreeing with him.

But I have to say that the entire flavor of his responses got me asking myself whether he's right and I'm wrong; whether it's The Ticket that's declined, or instead that after more than ten years of listening to programs that are pretty much unchanged in talent, tone, and content (Greg Williams's absence being an exception, although, after all was said and done, not as big an exception as we might have thought), I've just flat grown bored with it, and I'm nitpicking at the fringes -- and unfairly at that.

The AMA forced me at least to consider that what's grown stale to me may be sounding fresh and appealing to new listeners and younger listeners -- the Ticket's audience for the future and Cat's prey.

CORRECTION, probably the first of many:  Anon 316 notes that in the first edition of this post I misidentified T.C.'s Florida destination as Tallahassee.  I regret the error and thank Anon 316 for the correction.

AS PREDICTED, ANOTHER CORRECTION:  Anon 734 notes that  in the first edition of this post I misidentified Matt Mosley as "Mike."  I regret the error and thank Anon 734 for the correction. 

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Close But No Qatar; or, Yet More Treading-Water Quick Hits

I'm working on my thoughts on Cat's AMA.  I know, I'm really delinquent here.  Don't write me about it.  You try working the plains with all these storms.  I know, I suck and the blog has been boring.  I appreciate your patience.

In the meantime:

(1)  The Kickaround boys on The Hardline today were fantastic.  They explained the FIFA corruption investigation and charges clearly and interestingly, focusing on the award to Qatar of the 2022 World Cup.  I don't care anything about soccer but I was riveted.

(2)  Didn't hear Danny's Soul1310 show but loved the Reader's Digest version on The Hardline today.

(3)  Corby thinks that the people who cheered for Josh Hamilton on his return to The Temple were all "morons." Mike offered a defense that the Rangers were doing what they thought would help the team, and Sean Bass tweeted (or maybe emailed, I don't recall) pointing out what a bargain the guy is.  A better defense is that everyone likes a story of redemption and the return of the prodigal to the scene of his greatest triumphs.  Hell, he knocked in the only run that night.  (And I see he stroked two taters tonight.)

(4) I'm agnostic on the musical value of the new Stick It Up Your Tailpipe Traffic and Ticket Ticker intros and beds, but I will say this:  They shave some seconds off the old break music.  Even though it's not a lot, the difference is noticeable, especially in the move from Traffic to Ticker -- the whole thing just seems tighter, more streamlined, over faster.  A good thing.

(5)  Corby actually said that he didn't realize that biker clubs were, in some cases, criminal enterprises.

(6)  Did you see where the Rolling Stones did an AMA on Twitter?  Yeah, here's how they did it:  People tweeted questions one day, and the Stones responded the next.

(7)  Wasn't Larry From Mowry going to give us an essay on his listening to Ben & Skin or something like that?  Larry, come to Your Plainsman.

(8)  My THL listening has been a little spotty lately, but every time I've tuned in I've come away with the distinct impression that we're hearing More Mike.   A little more Mike, even when Corby is present. Result:  A little better segments.

CORRECTION:  Earlier releases of this post erroneously pegged the Qatar-hosted World Cup as 1922.  Reader Cody Patterson noted the error.  Your Plainsman regrets it.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

And Now, Something Nice About The Hardline

I have not forgotten my obligation to muse on Cat's AMA.

*     *    *

I know.

I know.

I know it was kickass.

I know it was a bunch of aging funboys with some disposable income (a couple more than the others enabling them to luxuriate at the First Class CabaƱas -- cue Vivaldi) off on a toot.

But I enjoyed the bejeebers out of Corby, MikenCash, and Jake talking about their weekend at the Hangout Music Festival.

I smiled all the way through it.

And they made me wish I were cool enough -- really -- to have hung out with them there.  I don't have a tiny fraction of their alcohol tolerance, but I can't lie:  It sounded like a lot of fun, I wished I could have been there, and I really, really enjoyed them talking about it.

And looky here, we got to hear some fresh pairings over the weekend.

I know I'll get roasted for this, but that's my report on today's listening.

And:  I wasn't tuned in for Letterman talk.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Quick Hits Before I Forget

Yes, I'll have some thoughts on the AMA, just leave me alone for Chrissakes.  I spent days on that thing, I'm taking a break from long-form think-pieces.  Here are some quick hits.

(1) I could not for the life of me figure out what George's "firearms legal" ads were about.  What is the product?  What service is being offered?  Apparently George uses this service ("like me"). 

I went to  Apparently, this is a pitch for what are essentially prepaid legal services.  You pay a monthly fee and get your attorneys fees paid under the following circumstances, and I'm not kidding you, this is what it says:  "100% payment for attorney fees when a firearm is used lawfully for self-defense in protection of yourself, your family, or your property."

In other words, they will pay the fee only if they defend you successfully, and not if they fail (because your use of a firearm will have been found "unlawful").

Moreover, how often are homeowners prosecuted for shooting an invader?  Almost never.

Moreover, how often do homeowners shoot an invader?  Almost never.

In other words -- what a scam.  George should back away from this nonsense.

(2)  Let's put aside whether David Letterman is a pioneering comedy genius or a cranky, stammering bore.  My objection to the overcoverage of his departure on The Hardline relates not so much to the fact of the overcoverage itself, it's that it is almost free of interesting content.  Corby has absolutely no discernment when it comes to separating entertainment wheat from chaff.  The drumbeat of his worshipful descriptions of Dave (accompanied by his shameful browbeating of Mike for not tuning in at Corby's insistence, and Mike's meek acquiescence in these charges of his viewing shortcomings)  is dull when it occupies a segment, and excruciating when presented as a daily serial leading up to the last show.  It's just plain bad radio.

(3) Here's my extremely unsupported takeaway from Deflategate -- Tom's cheating on Giselle.

(4) Listening to the replay of the T.C./Sirois coughing incident on the E-Brake.  I'd love to know the T.C. behind-the-scenes stuff.  I need to go back and listen to Gordon's feral cat "TomCat Fleming" bit from a couple of days ago.  There's some inside stuff in there.  Anyone got an analysis of that bit?

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Confessors React to the Jeff Catlin AMA

Men and women, it's been quite a couple of days putting this together and getting Cat's answers posted.  I know many of you will have some steaming hot STDs on what he had to say, and this is the place for it.

The RULES OF THE CONFESSIONAL are not suspended.  Use your inside voice for your reactions.

I'm still at work and I've been skating close to the edge in managing this AMA while trying to serve my masters here on the Plains.  Your comment might not show up for awhile.

I can imagine Cat standing in front of an enormous picture of a Marconi and delivering that wonderful line from George C. Scott's opening address to the troops in "Patton":  "All right, now, you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel."

I may come back later and add to this post with my own reactions.  Until then, let's have yours.

Monday, May 11, 2015

EXCLUSIVE -- BREAKING -- The Voice of the Cat

OK, here we go.  

If by any chance this is your first visit to My Ticket Confession, and if so shame on you, this post is dedicated to questions for Ticket Program Manager and Cumulus Media Dallas Operations Manager Jeff ("Cat" "Catman of the Americas") Catlin.  He has consented to sit still for a tsunami of questions from our readers.

I was pretty impressed with the Confessor on this one.  Good coverage, good commentary contextualizing the questions, no death threats.

Most of the people writing in with questions also included their thanks to Cat for participating in this Q&A on My Ticket Confession.  I add my own not only for taking the time to consider our questions, but also for approaching this site to get it going and working with me to figure out how we could make it work.

As Cat said in his final comment to the last post, he has asked me to keep editing to a minimum and I have done that.  However, our loquacious interlocutors sometimes went on at some length, and there was a great deal of repetition.  So have sliced some of the contextual material out, although I believe I have left every question intact. 

I have numbered the questions in case Cat wants a shorthand way of referring to one or another.   As noted, many of them ask the same thing so there are a whole lot fewer unique questions here than meet the eye.  I have grouped them in subject matter areas which I hope will make it easier for Cat to address similar questions in a smaller number of responses.

I have also included almost every question submitted.  I have left the repeated questions in to show the degree of Confessor interest, but please do not expect Cat to answer several identical questions separately.  Remember, he has complete discretion as to how he chooses to respond, and may pass up certain questions entirely.

Please do not submit comments to this post.  The only comments that will  be approved are Cat's answers and any followups that I might toss in.

We will go as long as Cat can stand it.  He has a job to do, so expect some breaks.  I'll try to alert when he's going to bring matters to a close.

Cat, you asked for it, so have at it – and thanks again:


(1)  The Breeze asks:  I've watched the evolution or devolution--depending how you view it -- of Mike Rhyner. Towards the end of Greggo's tenure, he began to take a backseat to Corby (at first), then, at times, even Danny (but in the context of a Corby/Danny tandem). Upon Greggo's departure and for a short while after, he firmly retook control of the helm of the USS Hardline. Soon thereafter, he appeared to hand it over to Corby (and by extension, Danny). The show has never been the same since. It has been for the worse. Indeed, what we mostly get now is the Corby and Danny Show. And of that, it's mostly The Corby Show. He's a very strong personality. He pretty much commandeered both Late Night Ticket evenings at the Campound--with varying degrees of success. Corby truly is, as Mike says, "polarizing." On those rare occasions when Corby is out and Mike is forced to retake the helm, the show is absolutely golden – halcyon day good. But those days are few and far between. Most of the time Mike seems barely engaged. When he attempts to engage (hell, even during his own segment M's Mind) he's often talked over, the segment hijacked by either or both Corby and Danny. Is this a concern for you? If so, has it ever or will it ever be addressed?  

[The Plainsman adds:  I agree with the position expressed here, but I attribute The Hardline's marked decline in quality (forget about the ratings) to Mike's lack of interest, lack of preparation and just plain abandonment of on-air leadership much more than Corby's segment-bogarting.   On numerous occasions Mike will start a segment as though it's "his," get out a sentence or two, then fall completely silent.  If Corby didn't jump in with content there'd be no segment at all.  Having said that -- way too much Corby, and too much "bad" Corby.  Do you perceive what recent Hardline critics perceive?]

(2)  Wldcat4 asks:  They say time heals all wounds so I was wondering if there was any chance Greggo would ever be back? Maybe in a fill in position when someone has to be out, or maybe just as a quick ratings boost. I’m sure it wouldn’t work out if he was back full time. I think getting the old Hardline back together occasionally would be huge.   And ed gar in gar land asks:  Has there ever been discussions-past, present-of either giving Greggo another shot or at least as a guest/a couple of segments reunion? Or is anything Greggo a non-starter, both with the station and with Rhyner?

(3)  Feth O'Ril asks:  Who auditioned/tried out for the empty spot left behind by Greg Williams, and why was Corby Davidson chosen over the others who auditioned/tried out?

(4)  mark in richardson asks:  Do you think THL focuses too much on music and TMZ sort of stuff? It seems like they do. Their sports knowledge has not kept up with the listener over the years and now when they do talk sports, they sound a bit behind the curve.

(5)  Jason Becker asks:  I am writing this message to inquire about Corby's role in interviewing special guests. I think the guy does a fantastic job handling interviews (I also enjoy Norm's work). My favorite would have to be the great job he did on the Robert Plant interview. He really knows how to connect with a guest and seems to put them at ease. I hope you'll consider upping his role at handling big-time interview jobs.   Side note: keep the celeb interviews coming. Regarding athletes and coaches, how about we stop having them on? Those people make for awful, boring interviews (there's plenty of station sports talk, already, so no need to interview athletes / coaches).  

[The Plainsman adds:  And this is "good Corby," who, when he's not slumming through The Hardline, can be sensationally good.  Good on other shows, good without Mike, good as a primary host, and the best interviewer on the station.   If Mike does take his leave, will you consider keeping him as the primary host on the PM drive?]


(6)  HopefulP1 asks:   Cat, have been a listener for 10+ years and am squarely in the demographic. I have seen hosts and personalities come and go, but never has one individual gotten me or many others that I know to tune out. Ever. It seems clear from the ratings, that many have stopped listening middays. Is the drop 100% attributable to TC? Of course not. Is it potentially a much bigger impact than you or anyone else involved with the station believes, absolutely. From his constant screwups on prepared tickers, to his self-admitted problems with authority, to his unwillingness to take a joke over his own constant mistakes, he is as bad as I've ever heard on the Ticket. To be on radio, one would assume you must be able to articulate your thoughts without continually messing up. You said on this site before that he's gotten better. Well sir, he could not have gotten any worse so technically you may be right. How could you have let him come back to the Ticket after some of the things said in his AMA on the Reddit site? How come it took Pensacola two months to cut bait on their mistake but a Marconi winner could make the same mistake twice? I love the little Ticket, and wish it nothing but continued success. How can you justify keeping him on? But for the sake of the P1, for the betterment of the station, for the hopeful bounce back in ratings, please Cat, make the right call here.

(7)  Anonymous asks:  I know TC takes a beating on here, but he really isn't a very good ticker dude. Isn't there some way to keep him, promote another person to that position, and save the P1 the ebrake once a week? Just seems foolish to keep letting him do something he's not very good at. I think Eli, Chris, and Montemayor all do superior work. Eli particularly is great. Rarely stumbles, great pipes (sounds a good deal like Rich IMO) and is funny/interactive with the P1 on Twitter. Seems like a much better fit. I understand there's a "skins on the wall" issue, but why hold someone better suited back simply because someone else has been there longer?

(8)  debased asks:  How is it that TC has been able to keep the ticker spot? To put it bluntly, the guy rarely gets through a ticker without some sort of verbal flub. He's nails on a chalkboard. Seems like there's other talent waiting in the wings that could only do better. Also, having 5 people talking over each other during BaDD radio has gotten old. I'm finding myself checked out more and more on what once was my favorite show. 
(9)  N asks:  Did you ever consider giving IJB a timeslot whether weekend or fill in?  If not, why not?

(10)  Anonymous asks:   At what point do you or have you tell/told Jake that he might want to think through some of the things he says before he opens his mouth? For example today he went on about his perception of the asinine and obsolete NATURE (rock me) of weather reports. His argument was that his iPhone tells him all he needs to know. If that's not a case of latent affluenza bubbling below the surface I don't know what is. Does he honestly think the majority of people own, can afford a smart phone? It's so sad to think that a 30 yr old sees the world in such a narrow way that it's almost funny. Funny too is him just now referring to a woman in her 60s with whom he disagrees as "old assed." When you couple a childish (or maybe teenager-ish) view of the world with a smug know it all attitude and a weird faux this-is-what-an-East-Coast-person-sounds-like-to-me accent, you get one annoying on-air personality.

(11)  Anonymous asks:  It seems like Jake is being groomed for a bigger role. Is this true? I for one think he has talent but needs to mature, a lot, before he's ready for anything other than producing, pre/post and weekend specialty shows. He's gotta lose the Dylan the Argumentative Teen that resides inside.

(12)  Anonymous asks:  You once wrote to Pman, which he published with your permission if memory serves, that there's been almost zero interest by the JV vis-a-vis pitching their own show ideas or wanting to fill in. Right after Pman published it, several not so veiled JVers commented that that was totally untrue. So what gives?


(13)  Azzhle in Azle asks:  Can you tell us how you balance (1) ratings, (2) advertising revenue, and (3) listener and social media reactions to Ticket programming (email, Reddit, blogs) in making programming decisions?  If you get more and more email about The Hardline going downhill fast but ad revenue is still strong, do you do anything to address listener concerns?

(14)  The Plainsman asks:   Do you feel that the people you hear from – whether from email or commenters to sites like this and Reddit and others through the years – overrepresent the negative viewpoints among listeners generally?  Do you tend to discount social media as giving too much bandwidth to the naysayers, who tend to speak up more than the people who are happy with the programming in question?  When you're inundated with negative emails (or other social media communications) about a particular topic, do you tend to think it's just a noisy, persistent minority, or at some point does the sheer weight of the communications you receive move the needle on your program evaluation?

(15)  annoyedP1 asks:  Do you have authority to make firings [disrespectful reference to T.C. at this point] or regulate what annoying ads and commercials 1310 airs?

(16)  birq asks:   The main players on the station have been in place for an unusually long time by local broadcast standards. Do you see any complacency, lack of engagement or mailing it in?   What do you do to try to keep shows (or individual hosts) engaged and fresh?  What do your bosses do to encourage, limit or thwart you in these efforts?  Do you think your efforts are working?

(17)  Anonymous asks:   Was anything said to Norm about his unwarranted outburst towards Sirois [relating to the Cowboys Gregory pick]?

(18)  The Plainsman asks:   What is your personal authority – maybe I should say leverage -- for forcing improvements in show presentation?  Let's say – strictly hypothetically -- that you agreed that the Hardline needed better show prep, Mike showing an interest in segments, less showbiz stuff, less Corby, whatever.  Does it do any good to call them into your office and say "I want to see X, Y, and Z changes"?  Other than suspension or the threat of nonrenewal of contracts, is there anything you can do to improve host performance?  There must be something you hold over their heads, because on-time performance has markedly improved.  But really, how difficult are these guys, and are some more insubordinate than others (names if you dare)?


(19)  Jason D asks:  Do you feel there is a lack of diversity of viewpoints with the on air folks?  It seems everyone is in lock step politically, musically, socially and it leads to everyone agreeing with each other in many segments.  It seems like diversity of opinion was greatly reduced when Greggo departed, and a bit of spice was lost. 

(20)  Anonymous asks:   Do you at all monitor the hosts' political views both on air and on social media? As a whole it seems like it's pretty even with left and right views among the hosts, however the left thinking ones are appear to be much more outspoken (See Sean Bass and Jake Kemp). Everyone is entitled to their opinion and free speech, but do you try and limit this at all if it potentially will drive away listeners?  And I'm in the anti TC Fleming camp in case you're keeping tally.

(21)  egg or walrus koo koo ka choo asks:   Do you ever take issue or have a sit-down regarding show content? More to the point, show content that has to do with current events and hot button socio-political issues?  I ask because as much as I love The Ticket and all the shows, I find myself turning it off more and more due to the hosts tackling issues and topics that they seem to have zero knowledge about other than their own opinion based on nothing but "gut" feeling. Many times it's as if the host(s) has/have never read a thing on a subject. That's how ignorant they can come off. Sometimes it's about common historical facts, too. It's maddening.

(22)  ed gar in gar land asks:  Does it ever make you and-or Dan B[ennett]. cringe when Jake, Corby, Danny, and at times, Dan make utterly wrong assertions about political or social or current event topics with supreme confidence? I know it bothers many a P1 when they do. If it does, is it ever brought up?

(23)  BuffaloPrinter asks:  Have you ever mandated changes if a show has "too many voices"?  Example:  BaD Radio has more on-air comments from their producer and Ticker guy than the Musers or the Hardline.   Do the hosts themselves ask for less involvement?  Rich Phillips was more inclined to pop on than Sean is.


(24)  Anonymous asks:  Over the past few years rumors have been rampant about a Cumulus/CBS merger that would in effect make The Ticket and The FAN sister stations. Is there any truth to this?

(25)  Anonymous asks:   Even Mike has said that your industry is a dying one. Indeed, in his opinion, management is its demise. Do you agree with this? If so, why? If not, why? And in conjunction with this, are you worried about terrestrial radio's future in general? I am around late teens and early 20 somethings on a daily basis. None of them listen to the radio. They pod, listen to some satellite, but no am/fm radio. In fact, the overwhelming majority have little idea of fm radio and no idea whatsoever about am. Thus it might be said you have a limited, dying audience. Would you agree with this to any degree?

(26)  iphongmoney asks:    If someone wanted to buy the Ticket as Mike so often suggests, could you place a value on the station alone?

(27)  The Plainsman asks:  What was The Ticket's sales revenue last fiscal year?

(27.1)  The Plainsman asks:  Has the local operating agreement by which Cumulus has programming responsibility for KESN (ESPN) caused any difficulty for you with your Ticket colleagues (assuming you have some programming responsibility for KESN, which may not be a correct assumption)?  At a minimum, it would appear to require Cumulus, if not you personally, to counterprogram The Ticket.


(28)  Brad Calhoun asks:  Just want to say I've been Ticket listener for a long time and I will continue to be a big P1.  I had a question concerning what is working with The Fan. We can be dismissive with what they do but they are doing some things right. They are branching out with social media and getting in with younger listeners and now even getting in with the big 25-52.  I understand branding yourself as the "originator" and not wanting to "copy" The Fan but you have to give credit to the work they have done to build their brand regardless with what you think of their content.   I feel like the downfall of The Ticket could be relying on longtime listeners and few young listeners like me.  I see in a few years The Fan taking overall number [one] for years to come. Do you agree? 

(29)  Wldcat4 asks:   Do the streaming listeners contribute any to the ratings?  I am out of state and moved away from where I could pick up the signal a few years back so I am a P1 streamer all day everyday actually as I have a tablet dedicated to iheart and the Ticket on at all times in my house.  And Susan Ellis (who describes herself as "a Ticket Chick for about four years") asks:  Cat, I listen to the ticket at work every day on one of two apps on my iPhone.  DFW Tuner or SportsDay.  I am curious if the Ratings Book includes apps?

(30)  The Breeze asks:    I'm not sure how the ratings work, but it seems like they are not anywhere near what they used to be. The Hardline is no longer the juggernaut it once was. As Mike used to say, and rightly so IMO, "Your, his, her, this station's way is through The Hardline." If that's so, and I think it is, and the ratings are dipping, is that problematic not only for The Hardline, but also for the station as a whole (sans The Musers)? When Cheers's ratings began to falter, so did the lead in shows and the one's that followed it. Is the same thing happening here? Because, again, aside from DnM, the ratings are down across the board. They have been for an extended period. If so, what if any measures might we see to remedy this in the future – besides clock mgmt and a "Tickerless Society"?

(31)  Anonymous asks:  What do you account for the now sustained drop or evening out in the ratings? It seems that it wasn't merely a Cowboys thing. Nor does it seem to be Rangers or Mavs related.

(32)  Anonymous asks:  Does it piss you off the way Gavin Spittle and many of The FAN personnel have totally appropriated patented Ticket lingo and much so that listeners new to the area think they came up with them and that The Ticket is ripping them off? This happens, often, by the way.
(33)  P1 Dan asks:  It seems that the other stations, especially the FAN, regularly take shots at The Little Ticket and with the current ratings as they are and their ever-changing numbers, here's my question:  How closely, and be specific, do you monitor what the "other guys" are doing? Are you in contact with former Ticket ex-pats like B&S, KT who jumped ship?  I guess my overall general question if you can't answer any of those with clarity is, are you guys aware of what other stations do and how does it affect your day-to-day and year-to-year programming?  Stay Hard!

(34)  birq asks:  How do you view the current apparent ratings shift from all shows on The Ticket as the undisputed winner in every timeslot to The Fan and ESPN nipping at your heels, and in some cases, sneaking by?   Is this something cyclical on the large scale or indicative of The Ticket losing steam?   Is Cumulus brass freaking out or do they even notice or care? 


(35)  Anonymous asks:  Has there been any listener feedback, or push back, since reducing the number of Tickers? Would you ever consider going down to one ticker per hour or eliminating them altogether? I know I personally would rather have the hosts have more time per segment.   In my opinion, they are mostly an outdated tradition at this point. There are so many other ways to get sports scores and news and rarely do you get anything breaking from them. I feel that valuable airtime could be better spent elsewhere.

(36)  Anonymous asks:   Are you aware of the complaints about the length of time between segments? I understand that ultimately the station is a business and ads are a necessary evil, but there are plenty of times where I'll get in my car to run errands and never actually hear the hosts. I can say there are plenty of times where I've tuned out completely due to the length of commercial breaks.

(37)  mark in richardson asks:  Is there anything in the works about getting regular local weeknight programming up and running? Intentional Grounding is nice and all, but it's only during Cowboys season and for one hour per week. I mean regular, daily shows. I think the station sorely needs it. Farrell is OK for a laugh (at) or two, but only for about 10 minutes, maybe once a week or so. I know you have Cumulus/CBS obligations, but can't local programming go on until 10 or 11, then switch to the national feed?

(38)  Anonymous asks:  Given the success of The Kickaround, Four Pointer, and Stars Sunday, have you given any thought to another niche Saturday or Sunday show? I'm a big MMA fan and wouldn't mind hearing an hour show about that once a week.

(39)  Anonymous asks:  Would you be open to more specialized shows?  I'm not a wrestling fan but what I heard of Jer/Ty's Wrestlemania show was pretty solid. I know I would much rather listen to something like that than national generic sports talk. Same goes with the Local Ticket.   ESPN2 broadcast a video game tournament on TV recently. For example, could you envision the station allowing an hour show based on video games? I feel like more unique content is something that the station desperately needs. Not Ferrall talking about how good he is at betting the odds or how awesome his life is. 

(40)  kmclain3 asks:  Would be interested to hear your thoughts on the dynamics of being a pro teams flagship station from both a product/ratings perspective and profitability. As it pertains to the Tickets relationship with the Stars and the division realignments in 2013 causing more lost air time for the Hardline – how much does something like that go into the decision to renew? This is also something your main competitor recently had to make a decision on with the Rangers cutting into their late night live programming. They obviously felt it was worth it, but they won't be losing a tremendous amount of 7a-7p programming and I would have to assume the Rangers typically outdraw the Stars.

(41)  Anonymous asks:   Cat, what were you thinking with Laydeez B Trippin'? I hope you at least got a li'l somethin' somethin' out of it.

(42)  BuffaloPrinter asks:  Can you give an example of a recent segment that you thought "didn't work"?  Or perhaps an example of a weekly segment you forced into early retirement?

(43)  BuffaloPrinter asks:   Line 4 Guy.  Sometimes he has gold, sometimes he's a superfluous voice calling for drops.  Is his presence grandfathered in, or have you tried to change the WTDS format and remove him?

(44)  Boo! asks:    I would pay many pieces of money to have some sort of unfiltered stream a la the webcam during Superbowl week. P1 premium!

(45)  Jim Cusey asks:  Has the station’s decision to acquire Stars flagship rights worked out well, or has it not?  From a listener’s perspective I would claim that it has not, but I get that there are surely business considerations of which a listener would be unaware that might change that answer when it’s considered from the station’s perspective.  Here’s my motivation for the question:   The hours between 6PM and 8PM are prime listening time for me (and, I suspect, many others).  My work schedule is such that I often don’t get to listen much during the day, especially to Norm and BaD, so between 6 and 8 I enjoy listening to the Hardline live and to the Top Ten to catch up on the highlights of the day.  Being the Stars’ flagship means that about 40-50 times per year the last half-hour or hour of the Hardline and all of the Top Ten are interrupted by the Stars pre-game show and game.  I place very little value as a radio listener on live-action NHL hockey, especially when the audio is generated for TV and merely simulcast on the radio, especially when the team is as poor as the Stars have been since the Ticket has been their flagship, and especially when there is locally-produced sports talk on the air at the same time on a competing station.  I would guess there are many more people like me – who listen regularly to the last hour of the Hardline and the first hour of the Top Ten but who punch out when that’s pre-empted by the Stars – than there are people who are the opposite of me – who don’t tune into the HL and T10 but do tune in to listen to the Stars.  If I’m right, carrying the Stars has got to be a net ratings loss for the station.  So, it must be the case that either:  (a) I’m wrong, and carrying the Stars really is a net ratings gain for the station, or (b) I’m right, but it doesn’t matter, because carrying the Stars brings in other revenue streams that more than offset the ratings loss, or (c) I’m right, but at the time the station acquired the Stars flagship rights you thought it would work out differently – i.e. that Stars broadcasts would turn out to be a net ratings gain.  I’m curious which it is, because I would sure like to see the station walk away from Stars flagship rights whenever the contract expires.

(46)  Lindsay asks:  What ever happened to Ticket Sports Saturday & Sunday?   This was a stop down for me since Day 1 it came on air.  It was informative and kept me up to date with scores and commentary from the hosts.  I remember the day when the Sunday version had the big clock:  11:00 am-6:00 pm.   It was a show where the JV could polish their on air skills (except TC who needs to move into an off air role).  I feel sure that JV members would welcome the chance to be on air and polish their formatics and leading in and out of breaks.  It certainly is better than anything on whatever the network flavor of the day is.  Perhaps a programming idea would be to move Race Week to the 10:00 am slot on Saturday, move Cirque and Kickaround up 1 hour and then have 3 hours set aside for Ticket Sports Saturday.  After the Hockey Show, have the Sunday version there for special Sundays-Nelson, Colonial and the other golf majors.


(47)  Brad Calhoun asks:  Can the Ticket make full rebroadcasts of shows available?  And Cody Patterson asks:  Some radio broadcasts release their entire radio show on a 24 hour delay, commercial free, as a podcast. Will The Ticket look at doing that as well instead of partial segments for those can't listen to an entire show? If not, could The Ticket look at including the whole segment, instead of part of a segment in the current podcast format?   And Colorado P1 asks:  Why doesn't the station put up full-show podcasts, like some of your competitors do? If Lincoln Financial Media (104.3 The Fan in Denver) can post commercial-free podcasts of each hour of each of their shows, it seems like Cumulus should be able to do the same thing. Even posting them with the ads would be better than the few snippets we get now.

(48)  Cody Patterson asks:   Is someone going to fix the SportsDay DFW app so that it will actually show the ticket show rather than "Scott Ferrall On the Bench" all day? This has to be really confusing to new comers to the station.

(49)  Boo!  asks:   As a remote P1 are there any plans to make sure that the stream is more reliable? Any future app plans?

(50)  Colorado P1 asks:  Is the station aware of the constant problems with the stream, and does it have any plans to make improvements? By far the worst problem is that ads just randomly cut in to the middle of show content; it is incredibly frustrating to the listener whenever that happens.


(51)  Charles Golden asks:  I was kind of struck by Mike and Norm's campout conversation when Mike mentioned how this type of media is dying and how he'd wouldn't recommend a youngster to pursue this line of work. How does the Ticket plan to stay ahead of the technology curve to avoid what so many radio lifers seem to think is the inevitable?

(53)  Bayern Munich asks:  You have at least two hosts who are getting close to the edge of retirement: Mike R. and Norm. Norm is 70 and is audibly losing steps. Mike is more disengaged than not. At least that's how he comes off to every listener I know, to a person. (He also disclosed that he tried to get a tryout for a position on the Mets broadcast, which means his feet aren't as firmly planted as we might think.) There is also the morning show that, has three hosts who all seem to have very strong pulls in other directions. Gordon is going through a lot right now, obviously; regardless, he seems ripe for a more "seriously minded" career change--his "torn" attitude between being a funny man and a straight writer appears to be coming to a head. For the last few years, and especially now since his youngest is about to fly the coop, I've gotten the feeling George is man ready for a life change. And Joonz, well, he's admitted that this isn't what he wants to do forever. I wouldn't be surprised if he wants to move on while he's still able to do all the physical/athletic stuff he so much loves.   All that for this: Are there contingency plans for replacements where the "Varsity" is concerned (Especially the "Musketeers")? Moreover, if so, are there any "JV" players that have the inside track?


(54)  Anonymous asks:   Do sites like MTC have any influence at the station? From the word "go" Grubes to the Siroises to Sea Bass to Jake to yourself to Jer to Justin M to ex-KT to nearly every JV player to several hosts have chimed in. As well the site has been mentioned directly or obliquely on several occasions throughout the years. I also heard Dan and George mention the Reddit fan site. So it seems like many if not most employees of all levels stop by.  Your doing this AMA I think attests to the "power" of MTC. What makes such a blog important to you guys?

(55)  The Plainsman asks:  How many emails do you get from listeners each day?

(56)  The Plainsman asks:  If you swim by the site from time to time you will notice that people claiming to be Ticket or industry insiders will offer rumors and opinions about what's up The Ticket or Cumulus.   Are they ever credible?

(57)  blergoyen asks:  How many times has a Cumulus Media executive "higher-up" contacted you in regard to on-air comments?  Which hosts were involved and what were the specific comments in questions? 

(58)  Anonymous asks:   What is or was the general feeling toward Richie Whitt? He was once a friend of THL, even did a plus one gig. Then he wrote "The Hard Lie" which basically said yeah, Greggo's a flawed guy, but his coworkers and employer are in many ways equally at fault if not to blame. Then a year later he's cohosting a show with him on a competing station. The whole thing seemed fishy.

(59)   Anonymous asks:  What do you think your greatest accomplishment at the station is? How about your biggest failure? Is there a decision that you regret?

(60)   gopher asks:   I would like to hear Cat give us the lowdown on his radio career.  I remember him as Ron Engleman's producer at KGBS 1190 AM in the 90's.  A little history, his first job, stations he has worked at, and how he became management at KTCK.


(60)  The Plainsman asks:  Is there anything else you want to get off your chest that the foregoing questions haven't given you an opportunity to communicate?

(61)  The Plainsman asks:   Is there anything going on – or coming up -- that you can give us a scoop about?  Teases accepted.


Thanks, Confessors.

Thanks, Cat.