Sunday, June 26, 2016

Jack McCall Confesses


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had some personal matters to tend to that were going to make me scarce for a bit.  That will probably continue for another month or so.  So I was very pleased to hear from a confessor who asks to be known as Jack McCall.  He inquired as to whether he could offer pieces for posting.  Seeing as how I've begged for volunteers in the past, I was very pleased to hear from him.

Here is his first offering, and I believe there will be more to come.  You will see that it refers to events that happened a bit ago.  I apologize to Jack and to you for my delay in getting this up.  But its point survives.

Thank You for Continuing to Shop at My Ticket Confession.  

And anyone else who has an essay of any length with a worthwhile Ticket connection, please let me hear from you.  I can't promise I'll post everything, but I'll always give it a respectful and generous read.

       -- Plainsman

*     *     *

 
Monday morning was especially lousy. You woke up to ongoing news from yet another mass shooting, this one barely 24-hours old and somehow even worse in toll than the others. And you woke up knowing you'd be dealing not just with the tragedy itself but the hot takes of others, including the Ticket guys.

Maybe they made you mad. Or maybe you agreed. Likely some combo. But if you're like me, maybe you just needed a damn laugh.

Which brings us to Monday morning's 8:40 guest, Exaggerator.

Gordo as some famous racehorse is always funny. But, folding the character into a Muser playlet that calls back to an absurd question Gordo once posed to baseball-great Gaylord Perry? That's next-level funny.

When George loses it I laugh out loud. Or maybe I'm already laughing because I know Gordo knows he's delivered a line so perfectly that George is about to lose it. Meanwhile, Junior lurks innocently with a can of gasoline.

The Ticket has jokes for all. But the jokes for few are the P1's real payoff. And damn those jokes feel good on an otherwise lousy morning.

Oooo, Plainsman, who's your cute friend?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Do You Like EJs? And a Question


(1)  Yes, I do like me some Eli Jordan.  The Ticket has some fine Tickermen, Ty and Sean and others; even T.C. is, in one sense or another, a must-listen.

But Eli sounds like nothing else on the Ticket -- nothing, that is, since the departure of Ticker God Rich Phillips.  Eli is kind of a cross between a throwback Mr. Broadcast Pipes with the staccato delivery, and a reg'lar Ticket jamoke.  His voice commands attention, which I deliver even though I have almost no interest in any of the results he's discussing.



By the way, have you caught Eli and Ty's "Country Force" fill-in show?  Pretty good little show, pretty darned good little show.  I've always liked Ty as a host and he and Eli make a pretty cool team, I thought.  Good showgram title, too.  I could hear more of that.

(2) This morning the Musers were (unfortunately) reprising the Eighth-Grade-Graduation-Presidential-Candidate-Impressions Kid.  Craig said to Gordon something like (precise recollection dim):  "You should name him as your successor, since your last designated successor was a complete failure."  And they all had a good chortle, and Craig said:  "But at least he ended up leaving and wrecking one of our competitors," OWTTE.

To whom was Craig referring?

[PS:  Any show replaying viral videos = burnt segments.]

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Dilemma of The Ticket and the P1 in Times of Tragedy



A brief and I-hope-not-disrespectful Ticket observation on this sad morning:

With full understanding of how trivial our concerns are here at MTC when something like the Orlando murders dominate the news: 

I think The Ticket shows face a difficult choice in these situations.  I wonder if it's rough on the P1 as well.  Speaking only for myself, it is.

You're a Ticket host, and something like this happens.

On the one hand, you're broadcasting for a sports/guy station, known for a humorous approach. It's what your listeners tune in for.

On the other, if you ignore the event, you would give the impression of being frivolous, disconnected, uncaring.

I feel the same dilemma as a listener.

I would think it odd if The Ticket programs didn't devote segments to something this spectacular in the non-sports news.

But I don't particularly want to listen to those segments.  Confessors have observed, and I agree with them, that Current Events Talk brings the shows to a stop, although some (Musers) handle it better than others (Hardline).  I don't expect Ticket hosts to be particularly well-informed or astute on non-sportsy/guyish things, and they're not.  Not only that, but there are many superior radio sources for breaking news and punditry up and down the dial and now on satellite.

My resolution of the dilemma:  I tune out.  I'm off to CNN, Fox News Channel, Little Steven's Underground Garage or Bluesville on Sirius/XM, or maybe NPR, until I judge the Ticket segment to be concluded, then it's back to Fun With the Ticket.   Sorry.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

FROM THE ARCHIVES: That Musers' Deep Throat Informant and the "Poltergeist" Medium -- Separated at Birth?

 

Confessors:  I have a couple of, whaddya call them, "life events" going on at the same time right now.  Nothing likely to be mortal.  I'll try to get up something fresh but I may have to recycle items for awhile.  This one is from March of 2010.

Yesterday's visit with the Deep Throat Informant reminded me once again of an iconic screen character:

 *     *     *

I've noted this before, but thought I'd re-run it since the Musers' Deep Throat Informant reported on his/her presence at the Ron Washington cocaine ingestion episode.


The Deep Throat Informant -- at least the upper-register part of the fractured voice -- sounds almost exactly like the tiny “Poltergeist” ghost hunter that visited Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as they attempted to rescue Heather O'Rourke from  .  .  .  well from the poltergeist.  

The actress, Zelda Rubinstein, died earlier this year [2010].

Check it out and see if you think Gordon got any inspiration here:
 

Friday, May 27, 2016

What's Going On with The Diamond Doctor?


Don't worry, Cat, I'm not going to slam the good Doctor.

*     *     *

I wonder if any Confessor was as startled as I was to be traveling on the Dallas North Tollway and suddenly seeing this flash on one of those big digital billboards:


Huh?  The diamond purveyor to everyone on The Ticket?  They all must head over there after they get their foundations tuned up by All-Pro Foundation Repair.

Before I go any further, I should say that there is no original reporting here.  This is all from the ether that is the Internets, including filings in some of the litigation involved.  I don't know The Diamond Doctor -- one David Blank -- and I have never visited his store.

When you go to that website (HERE) -- it looks pretty lurid.  Too lurid, but I'll get to that in a minute.  The website appears to be sponsored by Cumming Manookian.   That is a two-person law firm based in Nashville.  The person of interest here is Brian Manookian.

I'll get back to that "lawsuit" website in a second, but I do want to note at this point that in 2015, Manookian pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act relating to a scheme to distribute an FDA-unapproved substance called Melanotan II, which had been advertised as an injectable tanning product, one that could reduce the risk of skin cancer to boot.  He was sentenced to a year's probation and fined a grand.  

Another thing you need to know early on is that Manookian has not actually filed any lawsuit against The Diamond Doctor on behalf of any client, or his own behalf.  Nor does he or his firm seem ever to have had much genuine interest in doing so, despite all the talk of lawsuits and compensation and similar lawyerly formulations.




What's his beef?  As you can see from the website, he is accusing TDD of overgrading diamonds.  I'm not going to go into detail on this, but the gist of the accusation -- and it is only an accusation -- seems to be that TDD doesn't use the reputable Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to certify his diamonds as of a particular grade for the various qualities one desires in a diamond (clarity, color, etc.), but instead uses certifying organizations that routinely (and, at least by implication, knowingly) overgrade diamonds, and issue certificates that are then shown to consumers. 

Manookian has conducted his campaign against TDD with multiple websites, Facebook and other social media, YouTube, and, of course, that lurid billboard.

Now that website:  It says lots of things, but one thing it doesn't say is that Cummings Manookian wants you as a client or will file a lawsuit on your behalf.  There is also a popup that appears when the website loads -- actually, sometimes the popup appears, and sometimes it doesn't -- that says:  "DIAMOND DOCTOR AND ITS OWNER, DAVID BLANK, WERE SO PANICKED THAT YOU'D SEE THIS SITE  .  .  .  they filed an emergency lawsuit asking a Dallas Court to order it taken down.  The Court not only immediately rejected their lawsuit, it actually ordered Diamond Doctor's lawyers to prove why they themselves shouldn't be reported for professional misconduct!"  Well, that is interesting, so let's click on the link that says "VIEW THE COURT ORDER" -- but no court order appears. 

But Your Plainsman went a-digging, and found the court's order.  The popup is correct.  TDD did sue Manookian in Texas state court to try to enjoin Manookian's harassment, and the state court judge did deny TDD a temporary restraining order.  The judge doubted that he had personal jurisdiction over Manookian and also had First Amendment "prior restraint" concerns.  He also observed that TDD's lawyer had forwarded copies of his complaint to Tennessee bar authorities, which the judge viewed as a possible violation of Texas ethical rules forbidding using accusations under rules like that in order to gain an advantage in a civil matter, and did indeed call TDD's lawyer to account.  Shortly thereafter, TDD voluntarily dismissed the state court lawsuit.  It wasn't a good effort.

Cummings Manookian's "diamond lawsuit" website has other problems.  Near the bottom, it charges that "David Blank buys known inventories of inferior quality EGL-International diamonds [EGL is apparently one of the accused overgrading certification organizations] from regular wholesalers that he then dumps on unsuspecting Texans.   Shocked?  Listen to David Blank admit it in his own words in a long series of audio recordings."  But there is no link to any such recordings -- none that I could find, anyway.




Having struck out in his first effort to use the courts to fight back, TDD has hired some very prominent Dallas trial lawyers -- I mean, a bunch of them, and not cheap -- and has filed suit against Manookian in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Sherman.  (Dallas is in the Northern District.  It would be interesting to know why TDD's lawyers decided to file in that district.)  The voluntary dismissal of the state court suit does not affect the new federal court suit.  The amended complaint in that suit, filed last month, is extremely detailed and its allegations are as lurid as the red on that billboard. (And, in fairness, these are allegations.)  

Boiling TDD's allegations down for the Confessor:    TDD is one of many diamond merchants who has suffered the Manookian accusations of overgrading and harassment campaign.  The most startling part of the story is that TDD, desperate to stop the harassment after the failure of his state court lawsuit, tried to pay Manookian to lay off by attempting to "retain" the Cummings Manookian law firm.  (TDD's pleading actually presents this as TDD's idea, which he seems to have gotten from other diamond merchants who had dealt with Manookian, at least one of whom paid.)  Manookian wanted $5 million; TDD bargained him down to $25.000 a month for ten years -- $3 million.  The idea here was that if TDD "hired" Manookian, the anti-TDD campaign would be a conflict of interest.   However, the deal fell through when, among other things, Manookian allegedly refused to do any actual legal work for TDD.  When those negotiations broke down, Manookian resumed his campaign, and the current federal lawsuit was the result.

[Wait for it, wait for it, the Ticket connection is coming.] 




TDD's position on Manookian's charges, according to the amended complaint, is that there is no single standard for grading diamonds, and that there are many reputable grading organizations, including GIA and EGL.  It concedes variability in diamond grading.     He also asserts that he discloses the variability in grading to his customers and offers a money-back guarantee (25 [?] days).  He vigorously disputes that he has cheated any customers or engaged in criminal activity as repeatedly and loudly charged by Manookian.

And in his allegations that TDD's business has been harmed, we find these passages:

     --   "On March 4, 2016, Manookian unsuccessfully tried to buy advertising on a popular Dallas radio station 1310AM."

     --   "A listener to the above-mentioned radio station, 1310 AM, contacted four hosts of its various radio shows, commenting that the listener 'can't listen to [D]iamond [D]octor [advertising] spots without thinking of fraud charges he's facing.'" 

(Fun fact:  TDD's lead attorney, local powerhouse Don Godwin, used to head up a firm called Godwin Gruber with -- yes, Michael Gruber's father, Michael Gruber.  They have since parted company. [Don and Michael pere, not Michael and Michael.])

The amended complaint candidly describes TDD panicked willingness to pay $3 million to "retain" Cummings Manookian, portraying it as a last resort after the failure of of the Texas state court lawsuit.  Still, it's curious.  Perhaps it is because -- as the amended complaint also seems to suggest -- diamond grading is a somewhat  .  .  .  imperfect science.   Sometimes information of that nature is not comforting to the gem-buying public.

Just two weeks ago, TDD's lawyers filed a second lawsuit -- this one in Texas state court in Dallas County (the court is called "County Court at Law") reviving his request for an injunction.  It's clever:  It argues that the negotiations for Cummings Manookian to represent TDD had created a "fiduciary relationship"  -- a relationship of heightened duties of care and loyalty -- between TDD and Manookian, and that his subsequent actions violated that duty.  

On balance, I would have to say -- advantage, Diamond Doctor.  It is unfortunate that he chose to seek counsel at the outset from his co-victimized industry colleagues rather than sophisticated attorneys and to try to make a deal with Manookian, but he seems to have hove to and triced up, strategy-wise.  I'm sure a campaign like Manookian's was (still is -- it's happening now) terrifying to a merchant who believed himself defenseless against the publicity onslaught.  Just based on what I've seen in the public record and websites, if TDD can get past his own willingness to pay off Manookian -- and assuming there isn't some nod-nod-wink-wink industry scheme to overgrade diamonds as Manookian has charged -- TDD should be able to put this terror campaign in his rear-view mirror with his top-flight new legal team.  

However, Manookian also has very fine Dallas lawyers.  He has filed a motion to dismiss the federal case.  Contrary to Blank's contention (set forth in his letter below and elsewhere), the motion emphasizes the fact admitted in TDD's lawsuit that TDD pursued Manookian to "retain" him to stop the harassment, and not t'other way around.  Nevertheless, I'll predict that Manookian's motion to dismiss will fail.

I think the Rock Doc David Blank should have the last word.  Here is his letter to his customers appearing on The Diamond Doctor website (HERE).


We have significantly grown in that time based on our core values of fairness, honesty and transparency.  We value the solid reputation we have achieved and thank you for your trust in our company.  

That reputation is now being threatened by an aggressive propaganda campaign, led by a Nashville law firm, that is intended to disparage and defame our company.  The lawyers are harassing our company through extensive use of Internet advertising, fake social media accounts and door-to-door flyers to imply, without evidence, that The Diamond Doctor takes advantage of its customers. 
We want to set the record straight. 

What’s behind this campaign of harassment is a law firm whose apparent goal is to extort millions of dollars from us and other retail jewelers. In fact, the law firm offered to stop the harassment campaign against us in exchange for hiring them at a price of $3 million.

The Diamond Doctor refused to fall prey to their scheme and filed a civil RICO lawsuit in Federal court to stop the harassment. In the lawsuit, we detail evidence demonstrating the law firm’s efforts to systematically and relentlessly victimize The Diamond Doctor and other retail jewelers through a pattern of racketeering, including attempted extortion, mail and wire fraud, business disparagement and defamation, among others.

More importantly, their implication that The Diamond Doctor takes advantage of its customers is completely and totally unfounded.  The Diamond Doctor sells only high-quality, certified diamond jewelry at a fair and competitive price.

Our philosophy and practice is to stand behind the products we sell. Our doors are always open to answer and discuss customer concerns, if any. The Diamond Doctor offers each customer a money back guarantee for 25 days or a lifetime right to trade-in for a diamond of equal or greater value.

We will continue to fight the Nashville lawyers’ campaign to prey on a successful, small businesses for their personal gain.  With your support I am confident that we will prevail.   

Thank you for allowing me to share the real story and for continuing to be a valued customer. Should you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 972.342.6663.

Sincerely,
David Blank
Diamond Doctor Owner



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

(1) Crap; (2) Cool; (3) Click


CRAP:  I was waiting for the report on the intra-Ticket contretemps involving shots at George, but as the ads were winding down someone walked into my office and closed the door to solicit my confidential wisdom on proper plains management.  So I missed almost all of it, just picked up a bit near the end.

So Justin M is taking shots at George, I guess.  I've heard some of that banter on the Monty + The Machine showgram, but I always thought it was just a bit, the pygmies nipping at the heels of the giants for laughs.

But perhaps not.  I did hear Sean report that M+M is suspended for this coming weekend.

Can anyone fill in some details?  I guess it has something to do with the e-Brake?  M+M upset about weekend shows not being nominated?  Something like that.

By the way -- Gordon's bits frequently tease Justin, not in a harsh way, but there's clearly some (what I thought was friendly) friction there.

Perhaps Justin will stop by, or maybe I'll hear from one of my network of local industry sources who know some Ticket guys  .  .  .  .


COOL:  I was proud of The Little One in The Musers' and The Hardline's handling of the Odor/Bautista incident.  Balanced, interesting.

Odor's attack was colossally stupid, if emotionally satisfying.  And we didn't get any homerism from either show.  The visceral pleasures of the encounter were honestly acknowledged, but the bad optics and bad strategy were identified with precision (which is to say, I agreed).

I did not hear Norm or Dan/Bob -- can one of you fill us in on how they saw it?  I saw some Bob tweets but I have a hard time deciphering his Twitter attitude sometimes if I'm not following his thread or paying close attention to his Tweet-tormentors.




CLICK:  I've missed me some Ticket lately because I turn off the radio -- not just turn it down, turn it completely off -- within 1.6 seconds of the beginning of that Meador "Hidden Cost Motors" ad. Meador has hugely overestimated its appeal and persuasiveness.  It's running way, way too often on The Ticket.

You hear it once, you've heard all the jokes, unclever to begin with, then you hate it every other time it appears both because it's instant boredom and it goes on for a WHOLE MINUTE and the actor sounds like Gordon after a pack of unfiltered Camels.  It's a yuk-free bit and it goes on and on.

And really, Mr. Meador General Manager Guy who comes on and asks "have you ever had that experience?", no one has sold new cars like that since -- hell, I've never had that experience with any of the many new cars I've bought.  And you telling me Meador won't try to sell you an extended warranty and shine protection? 

And in all that airtime -- even the people who don't shut the damned thing off (1) don't hear the name of the dealership, and (2) don't hear the brand of cars being flogged until Mr. MGMG comes on, by which time people have already decided they will never, ever buy a car from whoever is inflicting this ad on them. The time would be better spent telling people how to spell "Meador".  (I assumed it was Medder or Metter -- never heard of it and thank Jah that Google searches phonetically.)

Meador is spending an enormous amount of money to drive people away from its dealership.

ThePlainsman1310@gmail
@Plainsman1310


Monday, May 16, 2016

Hey, Craig "Junior" Miller -- Do This


There is almost nothing wrong with The Musers.  Let me take that back.  There is nothing wrong with The Musers.  If the show were on a New York station, or syndicated, or even promoted a little, The Musers would be considered a legendary, historically important show.  As it is, it will be remembered forever by those of us fortunate enough to be able to tune in every day.  Talent, prep, pacing, tone, yuks, not afraid to steer from time to time into the mist of intellectual anarchy.  Can't beat it.

But there is something missing.

I rise on the plains at about 5:15, and by the time I feed the dog and find a handful of stale Chili-Cheese Fritos to kill off the overnight hunger, it's time for the epic Ticker by Sean Bass, formerly offered by the legendary Rich Phillips.  Nice intro for a day of sports-related broadcasting, if not actual sports broadcasting.

Some days I shave, some days I don't.  Some days I wear jeans, some days I put on a suit.

But every day, as I apply Jack Black Epic Moisturizing MP10 Nourishing Oil to my leathery puss, I ask myself:

What is the weather going to be today?

And why aren't the Musers telling me?

Why indeed?

So, Junior, here's a suggestion:

Give us some weather in the morning, maybe between 6-7, with one-sentence updates throughout the morning.  It doesn't have to be a composed bit every day.  You don't have to do your (pretty skilled) TV weatherman imitation.  Just a minute, maybe less, maybe more, depending on the circumstances, of what we can expect.  You can crib off Accuweather, Weather.com, Weatherspark, Weatherbug, WeatherUnderground, NOAA forecasts.   You can look at the radar and make your own forecast.  You can accept weather observations from texting, tweeting, emailing, or calling P1s.   You can interview professional meteorologists, academics.  You can do bits; or you don't have to.  You can be as unpredictable as the very weather gods themselves.

And best of all, Cat:  It can be sponsored.



I like Becca and her cut-through-the-phelgm vocals, but Junior, don't let her grab the glory that should be yours when it comes to giving us the weather.

Wow, it's been a long time since I advised The Ticket on how to do radio.  Felt good.

I'll be looking for my commission check.  Still waiting for the one for my advice to put The Ticket on 96.7 in the frequency modulation.

*      *     *

ThePlainsman1310@gmail.com
@Plainsman1310

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Campound Postscript


I have visions of hosts and minions from ESPN and The Fan tuning in to the Campound broadcasts, whereupon they immediately plotz.  What must it be like to know that you have to compete with stuff like that?  And can't?

Craig "Junior" Miller combines seamless broadcasting choreography with a totally unhinged perspective on nearly everything. Including, notably this time around, harmless tiny dangling spiders.  As Danny Balis has observed, Junior is the craziest mother on The Ticket.

Dan shines come Campound time. Might be fun to do some ad hoc White Elephants of him on other shows, doing more fill-in for absentees. 

Mike loosens up even before he's likkered up.

And Corby -- sorry, critics, the guy does make me laugh disproportionately to his percentage of time on the air.

Good stuff all around.  Congratulations on another successful extended bit.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

That Amazing Draft Coverage


I think I write a little something about this every year, but it's still true:  The Ticket's draft coverage is just terrific.

It's not so much that it goes wire-to-wire, which is pretty amazing in and of itself.  It's the quality and entertainment value of the commentary.

Norm, who remains very knowledgeable, has more or less settled into the role of an amiable master of ceremonies.  Oh, he offers substantive commentary and seems to know the draft class extremely well, but as the years have gone by, Bob Sturm, David Moore, and David Newbury have taken over more of the heavy lifting as to What It All Means.  At least that's the impression I have from the slices of the coverage I'm able to grab over the multi-day extravaganza. 

I really enjoy listening to Bob and it's great to see his profile in Cool Metro continuing to grow with his Dallas News writing and other coverage.  The best moment I heard from the weekend, though, was from The Boomtown. I think it was Saturday afternoon.  Norm had thrown the show to David & David, who were giving their thoughts on the state of the Cowboys' draft.  They spoke carefully and very persuasively without being bombastic.  I loved Newbury's point that all the best drafting teams "know who they are," and that the Cowboys don't seem to.

I swung by Ben & Skin's coverage and just had to shake my head.  There's an argument to be made that Ezekiel Elliot was the best pick, but B&S's over-the-top jubilation and insistence that it was the most amazing best-ever pick just sounded ridiculous after almost every Texas-based analyst was at best confused, and at worst appalled, by what the Cowboys had wrought.  (Although SI gave Dallas's draft an A-.)  Like their year-end Cowboys coverage last year consisting of how tremendously excited they were about 2016 after 4-12, the homerism seemed pretty apparent.  I don't like to ascribe motives to people I don't know, but man.

Having said that, I do ask myself this question and invite the Confessor to set me straight:  If Elliot really is a can't-miss offensive force that can replicate what DeMarco Murray accomplished a couple years back and more, is it possible to argue that in addition to more reliable scoring, his presence will extend drives both through his own skills and occupying defenders who would otherwise by smothering Dez, and in that way keep our shaky defense off the field?  And thus, with this single pick, the Cowboys have not only increased their offensive potency, they may have reduced the other team's offensive possessions, elevating (if only constructively) the entire Cowboys defense.  Whereas Jaylen Ramsey would only have improved one facet of the defense.

I think it's a dubious theory -- addition to the defense by subtracting defensive draft picks.  But thought I'd toss it out there in fairness to Ben & Skin.

In deference to Confessors who view this site at their workplaces and don't want to see babes pop up on their screen when the site flashes on, today's ginger will appear at the end of this deathless prose.

"Which tent is Mike's?"

I try to cover Campound coverage to the extent possible, but my listening has been spotty the last few weeks and that may continue for a bit.  Please weigh in frequently and in detail reporting on the best of our lads out in the forest primeval.

ThePlainsman1310@gmail
@Plainsman1310

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ask, and Your Plainsman Shall Deliver Sometimes


The Confessor World was rent asunder in the last thread by competing opinions on the narrator on some ads appearing in The Ticket stream, and, I suppose, on the air, although I don't have a list for you.  Confessor Boo! did not much care for it, another found it fetching.  I have since heard from others who very much like the sound of this woman's voice.

AMENDMENT 5-1-16:  At least one of the ads in question is for The Local Ticket with DJ Mark music show.

The talent community must know who's doing what -- and have the occasional cup of coffee at My Ticket Confession -- because it wasn't long before I heard from someone who gave some indication of knowing what he was talking about, and our voice actress was identified.

Her name is J.J. Jurgens.



She has a Masters in Journalism/Sports Broadcasting from the University of Nebraska and played on the Cornhuskers women's basketball team.



She was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Promotional Announcement.  No, really.



Her favorite drink is Widmer Hefeweizen



She played professional football for the L.A. Amazons.  Wide receiver and corner.

[Close as I could come.  LA Amazons didn't leave an extensive photographic footprint on the Internets.  This is from "Tarzan and the Amazons" with Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce.]

So there you have it.  More at her website.  Your Plainsman has a special fondness for her birthplace of Omaha, Nebraska, and My Ticket Confession wishes her the best.





Friday, April 22, 2016

Quick Hits -- Limited Ticket Nexus



(1)  One hundred percent with Craig "Junior" Miller:  The Chuck thread of "Better Call Saul" is a thrashing of a high order.  Show screeches to a complete stop when Michael McKean appears on the screen, not necessarily because of Michael McKean himself, but because the thread is not interesting.  The electromagnetic-sensitivity mental illness element is tacked on, gratuitous, and slows a slow story even more.

In fact  .  .  .  while I love both "Bad" and "Saul," those shows can both be very, very slow.  

(2)  I attended an employer-sponsored seminar on how an optimistic outlook can improve health.  I noted that this popular notion got started with a famous journalist named Norman Cousins, who was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness.  He rented a bunch of Marx Brothers movies and other things he thought would make him laugh, locked himself up somewhere, and laughed himself back to health.  I tried to remember details about this and when I looked it up, I found that the disease from which he suffered was:

Ankylosing spondylitis.

(3)  All hosts on all Ticket shows should immediately and permanently abandon all lines of diarrhea humor.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Brief Plains-itorial


Confessor Boo! writes:

I think it's amazing how deep The Little Ticket's talent well is these days. The Shake Joint fills in for the Musers -- no problem. One of the funniest guys at the ticket is a producer 10-Noon. Need someone to fill in for Gordo for the week? No problem, Donnie and Jake can do that. The weekend is full of talent too:  M+M, Shake Joint (again), The Sirois[es].

Honestly, you may not like certain people on The Little Ticket but it's hard to deny how talented the whole station is. And that doesn't even go into how they can broadcast a 3 hole golf tourney of first time players and make it one of the most entertaining events on the station in a long time.

I think the ratings reflect all this. 


I agree with Mr. Boo!, and I would like to add:

Jeff Catlin deserves a lot of credit for the things Mr. Boo! is talking about.  Talent selection, talent pairing, programming, creating (or perhaps only approving) bits like the golf tournament, getting shows out to the Masters (providing several days of unique and fresh broadcasting), knowing when to pull the plug on stuff that doesn't work as well. 

Yes, it's the front-line talent that brings in the listeners in, but it takes organization, leadership, and judgment -- and, in these days of uncertain ratings technologies and reawakened competition -- patience, to keep quality high and ears tuned.

No, I'm not kissing Catman ass so he'll do another AMA someday.  I don't know the man and have no relationship with him.  But I do have some familiarity with the challenges of managing a group of accomplished, temperamental, ambitious and sometimes high-strung professionals and answering to a larger organization for their performance.  It ain't easy but when it works, it can accomplish great things.   Cliches can be true:  Michael Jordan didn't win a thing as a pro until Phil Jackson showed up with his lunchpail and Zen texts.

"Oh, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff  .  .  .  I love John Fahey, I really do, I mean, he sounds so  .  .  .  so  .  .  .  tasty, and I truly do look forward to replays of BaD interviews with hockey guys -- but please, please, please, bring back weekend-show crosstalk."


ThePlainsman1310@gmail.com
@Plainsman1310

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Boys Drop Some Thoughts on Signing Up with The Little One


This article is going to suck.  No, really, it's not very good.  I've got better topics in the hopper.  But I didn't want to forget these couple of items, and it's Saturday night, and I'm watching a couple of Nirvana performances on one of those Saturday Night Live legacy reruns with Charles Barkley, and they're not very good but I was intrigued by the presence of a second guitarist, who I find through a little Internets stroll is one Pat Smear (Foo Fighters, Germs) -- the Internets also say the rehearsals were better -- and I'm trying to get more stuff up more often, and I just started typing.  And I feel scruddy.  I'm sorry.  I wish it were better and more innarestin.  Couldn't even find a redhead.

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Try to put together items I hear that are at least vaguely related.  Here are a couple that have something, kinda, to do with Ticket host contracts.  Just a couple of remarks in passing, but worth a post, I thought.

(1)  I believe The Hardline was discussing Mike's and Danny's first exposure to August National.  Which, you will have perceived if you listened to the station at the end of this week, was a rousing success, something they enjoyed a lot.  (I thought the Musers' and Hardline's Masters coverage, if it can be called that, was a success.)

Mike said something like -- and I'm not going to get the quote right, but:  "It was one of those magic events that only the Ticket can produce," he said, "and we'll continue to do so for years to come."  I can't remember if he said "Right, Corby?" but in any event Corby chimed in with hearty agreement.

I'm sorry I can't reproduce exactly what was said, much less the tone of the remarks, but I had the distinct impression that Mike and Corby intended to convey the thought that The Hardline -- not just The Ticket but their very team -- was not going to be shuffling off that mortal coil anytime soon.

(2)  Of greater pull-back-the-curtain interest to me was a very brief exchange on the Muser showgram one morning a few weeks ago.

I don't remember how it came up, but one of them -- I think it was George, but any Muser may have made any of these remarks. -- made a passing and fuzzy reference relating to their representation in negotiations with The Ticket.  (I apologize on my vagueness on who was speaking, but I didn't realize what they were referring to  until the moment had passed.)  Or at least that was the context I picked up from the exchange. 

After George made the reference, Craig (I think) made a semi-joking reference to possible disagreement among the Muser team as to the effectiveness of that representation, which was followed by brief snorts of acknowledgment from one or both of the other Musers.   Garsh, I wish I could remember the words that were used.  It was subtle, one of those deep inside references that sometimes pass between hosts when they're on the air that only they understand.  One thing I did take from this brief exchange was that these guys may negotiate as a team, or, if not, at least all have the same representation.  If they have any representation at all.

I wouldn't be sharing this (rather defective) recollection with you if it didn't have something to do with the subject we're always interested in -- how these guys do their deals with The Ticket, how much swag they take home.

I have no idea how much Ticket hosts make.  Big-time hosts in big-time markets on shows that are less successful in those markets than The Ticket is in this very large market make mid-six and more.   The syndicated guys do gobs better, 'course.   The thing that struck me about this brief back-and-forth was that it touched on the topic of whether these guys were represented at all and, if so, if they had the kind of bomber agents that would get these guys salaries commensurate with the profits they accounted for.

I gather the answer is no.

We have some fairly recent evidence that our hosts could make more money elsewhere -- the near-defection of Bob and Dan.  I heard from one fairly well-placed Cumulus-connected source at one point that after all was said and done, the Ticket deal beat The Fan's.  But a more authoritative source -- Bob -- contacted me to suggest (in a very nice email) that this was not the case.  No dollars and cents attached to any of these communications, unforch.  (Wild guess:  Yearly dollars less at The Ticket, but possibly longer-term or other benefits could boost overall value.) 

By the way, if you care deeply about income inequality (I don't), radio provides an interesting example in all markets.  I think we all know from joshing remarks made on the various showgrams that if you're not a big-time host, you make borscht -- even if you have some on-air opportunities and perhaps even a weekend show.  And you have to become fairly well-known and a ratings monster before the really big money comes in.  I'd love to know the role that agents and lawyers play in that process, and whether these guys ever get counseled to jump ship, or withhold their services come contract-renewal time if they don't get a wage that reflects the value they represent to Cumulus shareholders.  (I wonder if they get stock options.)  

Although, as we know, Cumulus shares remain in the tank, so perhaps management doesn't feel that losing a host or two, or even a show or two, at The Ticket would mean much of anything to shareholders.  ($0.39/share at this writing.) 

Too bad for our heroes.



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Off-topic.  On Monty + The Machine today, Justin and Machine had an argument.  Machine took the position that the fact that he was willing to travel across country to see a particular musical act meant that Justin should at least check out that act (not by traveling, just by listening to some of it).   In other words, his argument was that his personal discretionary investment in seeing this act required Justin to take a listen.  He got rather exercised about it.

Advantage:  Justin.   But pretty fun slacker radio as the insults flew.

*     *     *

Well, this has not been premium content tonight, but I thank you for sticking with me.  

Pleasant dreams and chocolate creams.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Can We All Agree on This?


I'm glad to see that "Not a Podcast," starring Justin Montemayor and Mike Marshall, seems to have found favor among Confessors.  It's a pretty slick listen on a Saturday morning:   a little slacker, a little millennial, a little snotty, a little hip -- but well-prepared, good chemistry, some interesting takes, some interesting use of language.  The two very different voices and energy levels attract the ear.    Sometimes -- OK, a lot -- the show is Machine-heavy, but they're working on it, you can tell.  I tune in.  (Interesting dynamic emerging between NaP and Cirque, by the way.)

In an earlier post, I threw out the idea that "Not a Podcast" is not an attractive name for the show.  Despite Justin's denial in these very pages, seems like a jab at Jake and T.C.   Its phrasing is negative, almost apologetic, a downer.  And it's not descriptive of what the show is.  Bad name.

To my surprise, this drew quite a few comments.

To my further surprise, there seemed to be a gathering consensus that the name of the show should be "Monty + The Machine," pronounced "Monty and The Machine."

It's their show.  They can call it what they want, or what the Western Hemispherical Catman wants.

But for now, I'm going to call the show "Monty + The Machine," unless Justin advises that he prefers "Monte" as the short form of his name.

You have my permission to shorten this to "M+M" in the comments.  

I will also entertain other names for the show, perhaps something a little less quotidian, a little more clever. 

And no, "The Show That Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hand" will not be acceptable.  Although  .  .  .  .

But for now it's "Monty + The Machine."

"Plainsman, you are so wrong.  More Machine." 

I'll be out of town for a week.  Keep things light, Confessors.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Data Dump


I've been terribly delinquent in getting up new blasts, but I do have an excuse:  Last Tuesday's storms were unkind to our shack out on the plains, and after a couple of visits from contractors and adjusters, the fine folks at Amica have offered to replace our sod roofing.  Those interruptions mean longer work hours and fewer MTC hours.  

I keep notes on things to write about.  I look at them and think yeah, that would work for a short piece, and then they get stale and I don't do it.  So to atone for my lack of output recently, I'm going to unload a ton of stuff on you in the hope that it will provoke a rainbow of well-considered reactions in the thread to follow.  Numbered for your convenience.

[By the way:  The guy who comments three or four times per thread making obvious reference to T.C. (and sometimes Jake) without naming him (them) – I'm going to start deleting you.  You got something specific, let's have it.]

*     *     *

            (1)   Let's say that Craig "Junior" Miller decided to go on the bicycle racing tour, whatever it's called, for a couple years.  Let's further say – and this may be more far-fetched – that Gordon could be persuaded to stop baiting Mike Doocy.  Would you listen to the George-Mike-Gordon Musers with regularity?  I would.

            (2)  I'm going to lose what modest credibility I have with some of you, but I am listening to those Reagor-Dykes ads with greater respect these days.  There may be some genius going on there.  That crappy production, the corny "keeping it real" theme, and Bart's non-sequitur giving-it-to-you-on-the-level ad copy ("I've never found Amelia Earhart, I've never published a paper on quantum loop gravity, but I'll make you a deal on a great car") – awful.  But he kind of won me over when he started pleading.  "Hey," he says, "don't hate me before you get to know me."  I don't like leasing my Conestogas (sorry, AutoFlex and D&M) and am unlikely to buy a used model, but if I did I might give old Bart a whirl.

            (3)  Over Drydock (I told you some of this stuff was stale), I heard Jake talking about someone, didn't catch the first part of his discussion so I don't know who he was talking about.  But the words out of his mouth made me laugh:   "The biggest thing for me was I learned about ego.  I couldn't believe anyone could be that brash that early in their career."  I didn't detect an ironic inflection in his remark.

            (4)  Why can't we have Intentional Grounding all year long?

            (5)  Award for Brain-Freeze Commercial Koan/Tautological Phrase of the Year goes to the following utterance from one of the blind pitch-guys on a Non-24 ad:  "If you're like me, you're not alone."



 
(6)  I do wonder about The Fan sometimes.  It was near the end of the Niffle year (at least for the Cowboys), I was switching back and forth between Norm/Donnie and the Fan post-game.   In contrast to Ticket callers, they took call after call from fans who were positively thrilled about the Cowboys' prospects for 2016.  Gavin shared their optimism.  When Jesse Holley tried to make a point about the Pokes' uncreative play-calling, Brad Sham (who joins the show for a segment) shot him down.  Aside from what seems like unsupportable Cowboys boosterism, however, it's not a bad show.   I've always thought Holley was quite good on it.

(7)  Is "Not a Podcast" a dig at "It's Just Banter?"   Let's help Justin and Machine think of a better name for what's a pretty good weekend show.

(8)  The muddy signal stayed muddy for a long time.  I don't know if I've just gotten used to it, but has it gotten a little sharper lately?   Someone dropped a comment not long ago, perhaps copied from Reddit, about some repairs being made.

(9)  Yes, I do like Not a Podcast.  Like it quite a lot.  And while I'm usually hands-off with the JV as they work to make names for themselves, I must say this – less Machine.  A couple of weeks ago I had to punch out when Justin was doing some news or something – in any event, it was a Justin segment – and the poor guy couldn't get a single sentence out without Machine derailing the point.

(10)  Corby did a story on 69 yo CBS newsman Steve Kroft's extramarital romps with the (rather attractive, and also married) Harvard Law School-educated NYC attorney Lisan Goines, dramatically illustrated with texts, in one of which he advised her, J-J Taylor-style, that instead of working he would "rather be eating your pudding."  What was strange about Corby's report is that this all took place a year ago, and there was nothing new on the story.  I wouldn't be mentioning this, except for Corby's closing remark, which made me laugh out loud on my drive home:  "I hope that when I'm 69 I'm not involved in a pudding scandal."

Lisan Goines, Esq.
            (11)  Did I hear George Dunham say that if you buy two PowerBall tickets instead of one, you do not double your chances of winning?  Yes, I did.  

*     *     *
 
Thanks for staying strong with MTC.  Hits still solid despite my recent neglect.  Will try to do better.  

@Plainsman1310

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

SLIGHTLY BREAKING: Sources, I've Got Sources


A radio-industry source who has a cup of coffee on this site from time to time emails Your Plainsman to state:

(1)    Barry Horn is not always careful about the way he interprets and describes data.

(2)    ALL radio stations report streaming listeners.

(3)    Streaming accounts for a very tiny percentage of ratings points.   The ratings effect is probably minimally visible for the Ticket -- maybe a half-point -- and at or near zero for the other sports talkers.

If this is correct, it looks like those ratings are probably apples-to-apples.

No, my source is not the Pan-American Catman.  But a bit of digging suggests that the source probably knows whereof it speaks.

Everyone having fun at TicketStock?  I haven't even been able to tune in.

=======================

Here are those ratings one more time:

The Musers (Ticket), 6-10 a.m. - 11.5
BaD Radio (Ticket), noon-3 p.m. - 6.9
The Hardline (Ticket), 3-7 p.m. - 6.5
Norm & Donovan (Ticket), 10 a.m.-noon - 6.3
Ben & Skin (Fan), 3-7 p.m. - 4.4
Mike & Mike (KESN), 5-9 a.m. - 4.1
G-Bag Nation (Fan), 10 a.m.-3 p.m. - 3.9
Shan & R.J. (Fan), 6-10 a.m. - 3.9
Cowlishaw & Mosley (KESN), 3-6 p.m. - 2.2
Dennis & Friedo (KESN) 11 a.m.-3 p.m. - 2.1
Dan Le Batard (KESN), 9-11 a.m. - 1.5 

Back off, Ty!


ThePlainsman1310@gmail.com
@Plainsman1310