Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What? He Needs a Holiday?

I've said it before , I'll say it again, and I"ll probably say it in the future:

When incumbent Barb Smtih is unavailable, there is no reason whatsoever that we should have to listen to anyone other than Doyle King doing the traffic.  I'm sure Jason Walker, or whoever it was this morning, is a decent chap, but if you want credible traffic it has got to be Doyle.

I mean, it's not like the guy needs a vacation.

Frankly, her e-brake value aside, I'm not sure there's a lot of reason for him not to do it when she is available.  I was driving towards a traffic situation she was attempting to describe one morning, and it was so garbled and unpunctuated I couldn't tell if the Tollway was open or closed.  I listened for the next traffic report and she hadn't improved.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Corby Misuses "Meshuggenah"

While the station is on hiatus, here's a throwaway observation:

Corby misuses the Yiddish term "meshuggenah." It is heard most frequently when the group is talking about the ambush of Billy Joel, when Corby referred to "meshuggenah comedian Alan King," or words to that effect.

I think Corby must think that "meshuggenah" means "ethnic Jewish Catskills-type," because "meshuggenah" does not describe Alan King in the slightest. "Meshuggenah" means crazy, real crazy, wildly insane. It is not an adjective one pairs up with "comic" or "comedian." (One also sees it used as a noun, to refer to a person or a quality.) If you Google "meshuggenah comic" or "meshuggenah comedian," you come up with nothing.

Mark Elfenbein uses it in a punning way to refer to Michigan fan Stewart Cedar ("Mr. Meshuggenah"), which is perfectly fine. (My notes on Elfenbein's ethnic approach here.)  But Corby needs to brush up on his Yiddish.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Host Disconnect

Or maybe it’s listener disconnect.

The read of every host I have heard on The Ticket is that the Saints victory made it somewhat less likely that Wade Phillips will be fired. That it saved his bacon, at least temporarily.  The thought seems to be that he might survive if the Cowboys make it to the playoffs and win a game.

They may be right, if they’re talking about what might happen if the Cowboys make it into the playoffs and win a game.

But of the dozen or so people I’ve talked to about the game, the feeling is universal that the Saints game showed why Wade Phillips should not get a new contract.  It's the first thing people talk about:  That game, the thinking goes, shows that this team really does have the talent that (you may recall) that all pundits were lauding as the best in the league over the past couple of years – at the beginning of the seasons.  And its failure to play like that every week, and its tendency to play like slugs against weaker teams, is a Phillips/Garrett problem, not a sign of a brighter future with them remaining at the helm.  I’m not hearing hopefulness from my Cowboy-fan chums. I’m hearing disgust, thinking of what might have been. And dread that Wade might be back.

Interesting that this thought hasn’t found much love on The Ticket. Of course, I’m not hearing it from callers, either, so maybe I just travel with a gloomy anti-Wade crowd.

Rich Phillips Checks In

That was an interesting call to the Musers from Hawaii yesterday morning. I thought they were kidding when they speculated that Phillips might have been out partying.

Oh, dear. Slurring, exaggeratedly chirpy responses (I didn’t think his voice could go that high). I can’t help but wonder if the Musers weren’t deliberately jabbing one of their management overlords. (Did I catch someone saying that they were going to tell Ticket management, “We’re not going to do what this guy says,” or words that effect?)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Ticket's Lousy Signal – And What to Do About It in the Short Run

The Ticket is one of the radio monsters. It is the envy not only of sports radio stations across the country, it is a pearl in the necklace of Cumulus that other radio corporations would love to have.

Michael Rhyner grumbles about Cumulus, and it isn't an act. The failure to nourish the station is a scandal. And it starts with the awful signal. 104.1 is 6200 watt; 1310 is, as nearly as I can tell -- and I'm having some trouble getting info off the the FCC website -- a 5000 watt directional signal. That ain't much. A big FM signal is in the 100-300,000 range, a decent AM signal is at least into five figures. I note that they're now on 1700 AM at times, which I think is 10000 watts during the day and 1000 at night. Now, it is the case that one can't just go to the FCC and say "I want more power." The Ticket is stuck with what they've got on those frequencies.

And it is poor. I travel north and south in Dallas daily, and the signal is dreadful in some of the most desirable North Dallas neighborhoods. AM or FM, doesn't matter -- it sputters and pops and goes in and out. 104.1 is routinely kicked off the air by some East Texas religious talker, I think it's KKUS in Tyler. I can't help but wonder if the Ticket's abysmal coverage had anything to do with the Cowboys taking their act elsewhere. It has to be a problem for their ad sales staff.

But Cumulus is a big boy. When WSCR ("The Score") in Chicago started to get huge, its owner moved its signal to another one that they owned that boosted their power immensely. (Moved it twice, as I recall.) Let's take a look at what Cumulus owns in Dallas, in addition to KLIF:

KDBM-FM, 93.3 (The Bone) -- 50,000 watts
KPLX-FM, 99.5 (The Wolf) -- 100,000 watts

Those are decent wattages. If we look at the ratings, we find The Ticket doing pretty well (approximately 13th overall), but doing spectacularly well – like, the best – in the 25-54 male demographic. We find The Wolf at or near No. 1 in the market overall. We don't find the Bone doing that well, 37th or so overall, but there are lots of ties in this list, so it's actually somewhat further down in the public estimation.

What does all this mean? I dunno, but I suspect it means that the Ticket is a helluva lot more valuable than its overall ratings rank would indicate. And yet it's got this crappy pair of cobbled-together signals. It probably also means that The Wolf is bulletproof. And it probably also means that The Bone is . . . nothing special.

So, I propose that Cumulus give The Ticket KDBN's FM signal at 93.3 FM.  No reason it can't keep broadcasting on 1310 AM. You may think that it would be a sacrilege for The Ticket to broadcast on anything other than 1310, but I am here to tell you that people would forget about it in no time. I'm not a radio technician and I don't know how to measure the improvement that putting The Ticket on 93.3 would work, but I'll bet it would be considerable. (The coverage map for KDBN is not available on Radio-Locator for some reason.) And when I say "improvement," I mean (1) better signal in the DFW population areas, and (2) wider coverage for the signal as a whole.

In the meantime, it's amazing that this station with this weak. spotty signal is gaining national attention and honors. Cumulus can milk the poor little Ticket for all it's worth, I suppose, but wouldn't it make more sense to do something to make it a DFW station of the first rank? Wouldn't it be a profit-maximizing decision?

Michael R is right – someone should come in and buy this thing. Or at least Cumulus should throw up a couple of billboards.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's On Norm's Mind?

Can anyone figure out what Norm thinks about the Cowboys? Maybe I need to be listening more carefully. I admit, I'm usually doing something else during the post-game show with Donovan. Great show, they work well together, and Donovan is a favorite of mine.

So it's pretty clear from the Norm/Donovan discussion that Norm has the same feeling any rational observer would have, which is that the Cowboys have some serious, if puzzling, problems. Those problems might include Phillips; might include Garrett; might include Romo; might include Jones (take your pick on which one); might include "heartlessness"; might include "softness"; might include any number of other factors.

Yet it seems to me that when a caller takes a critical position on one of those factors, Norm switches into defense mode. Phillips doesn't drop passes; who you gonna get if you don't have Romo; Garrett's offense works 95% of the time; and the like.

So I dunno what Norm thinks is ailing the Cowboys. Maybe I'm not being fair, or, as I say, not listening carefully enough. If you think you know how Norm would improve the Cowboys, let me know.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Lakeisha, Please

Speaking of The Musers' football picks, I absolutely loved the civilian they were picking against on Friday – Lakeisha.

I wish they had kept her on to chat for a bit; I would like to have heard more from Lakeisha. Is there some way to break down the demographic makeup of the P1 Nation? I suppose it could be roughly extrapolated somehow from overall market ratings, but I would prefer that someone would just tell me. Quite a few callers are black, even though Donovan is the only black host. And, of course, no female hosts. But there seem to be a lot of female listeners who listen for reasons other than having to spend time in the general vicinity of their P1 boyfriends.

Anyway, Lakeisha was a sweetheart – held her own with The Musers, gave Gordon some sass, and not bad radio pipes, either. The Ticket might should bring her in for an air check.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How to Make Money with the Ticket

First thing we need to know is how Junior and George – actually, probably just Junior – do on their football picks if you don't count the high school games. That is, what is their record when the high school games are factored out?

Let's assume their successful picking percentage is at least as good without the high school games as it is with them. Probably a pretty good assumption.

What we know about those picks is that over the course of a season, their winning percentage is noticeably over 50%. My recollection is that Junior usually wins, although I think that as of this week he and George are about even.

So if you just bet Junior's college and pro picks – legally, of course – at the end of the season, you will have made money.

Friday, December 11, 2009

White Elephant Musings

The host exchange days can be very revealing about relationships at the station. I didn't get to hear much of it this year but caught some of every show. It might be a useful thing for the station to do more often, if for no other reason than to keep hosts in line by reminding them that they could be paired with that guy and have to get up/go to bed at that time. Of course, maybe all those guys at the Ticket really, really like one another equally. Mm-hmm.

White Elephant Day also spotlights, shall we say, potential weak links. Because I want to keep this blog positive, I'm reluctant to single out the particular individual I have in mind, who was my least favorite Ticket guy even before WED. I'll probably have to name names llater on when I finally get around to my long-promised series on what to do to improve a couple of the shows.

Yeah, I know, how does one improve on perfection, and don't tune in if you don't like it, blah, blah. But that's My Ticket Confession – I do like it, I love it, it makes Dallas tolerable.  But yeah, I'd tinker with it if I were a god living in the Cumulus clouds.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Listening Too Hard

If I've been away from the radio I try to catch the Top Ten with Chris House. (Chris, by the way, does an excellent job with this recycled material. He doesn't have much to do, but he's not just a rah-rah guy and sometimes has some tasty observations. Keep an eye on him for future daytime assignments.)

So I'm listening and I'm thinking – who is this talking? I've heard these words somewhere, but the voice isn't familiar.

Then I realize – it's Mark Followill from his Hardline interview earlier in the day, one of the snippets of live radio I caught. But it's speeded up – speeded up a lot, as to render the speaker almost unrecognizable.  They've compressed it, undoubtedly for time reasons, and it sounds like Mark Followill might have sounded before his voice changed, or maybe the way is sounds when it's not being EQ'd.

Friday, December 4, 2009

That Dunham & Miller Morning Program Theme – Lyrics Please

Next to the Subway "Five Dollar Footlong" ditty, the ditty that's infecting my medulla these days is the Musers' theme played around 6 AM.

After the repeated "Dunham & Miller" refrain (or is it the verse?) there are some additional lyrics, but someone is usually always beginning to speak over them. Who can provide the full lyrics to the D&M theme?

And the artist?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Ticket Confession -- I'm Worried About the Hardline

As any regular reader (?) knows, I've been concerned about the Hardline for awhile. I always issue two preliminary thoughts: (1) I favored Hammer's departure, and (2) Corby does not suck. However, I have come to think over the months, now years, that have followed, that the show has lacked balance. Love Corby, Love Danny, but they're overwhelming Mike, whose show it more or less is. The problem is balance – the show has lost it.

Oh yeah, there's a third thing I usually try to remind myself – why would anyone think that something as wildly successful as the Hardline is – still is – needs to be fixed? Well, good question. But it's My Ticket Confession – I love the damned thing, but I sometimes I wish it were better.

I've been thinking about a solution I've been meaning to post for awhile, but it would be a multi-parter and needs a little context. In the meantime, let me throw this out:

The Hardline has gotten a lot more vulgar in the last few months. I'm not a prude and past levels of profanity and misogyny seemed to me acceptable for afternoon drive radio. Let me put it this way: Used to be, when my wife was in the car, she could enjoy the Hardline with me. Now, I have to quickly turn to something on satellite before the next clinical reference to female genitalia. In general, the references to women have gotten pretty difficult to listen to. The profanity is also out of control -- effective in small doses, it's now Stern Lite.

Yeah, it's successful, but it's starting to sound cheap and lazy. I listen every day, I love it a lot, but I worry about the Hardline. I really do.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Entertainment News (for You) not sponsored all week. 

Holiday week maybe not a big ratings week?  I dunno, lots of people with non-work time to listen to the radio.  Mike made mention of it today.  "A clean sweep," he said.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who Is Rich Phillips?

Of course I know who Rich Phillips is. He does tickers. He does "Race Week." He does SMU Mustangs play-by-play.

He is also in Ticket management. I have forgotten his title, but I remember being startled when Cumulus announced his promotion. I thought the Musers were a little uncertain how to react to that as well. And I haven't heard anything much more about it.

Some on-air guys grow on me. Some decline in my estimation. At first, I didn't care for Phillips. I thought he was kind of a dark presence on the Musers, ill-tempered, sarcastic, antagonistic. Yeah, Gordon needs to be smacked down now and then, but it seemed pretty clear that Phillips just didn't like him and didn't really care to disguise it. (And Gordon doesn't care that some of the Ticket guys don't like him.)

But the more I heard of his work, the better I liked him. I could not care less about NASCAR, but when I'd hit the car radio on Saturdays and the Ticket (of course) would emerge from the speakers, there was "Race Week," and I found myself listening to this stuff in which I had no interest. And I realized it was because Rich Phillips was a pretty good broadcaster.

And I caught a few minutes of something else I don't care about – SMU football – and Phillips was phenomenal. Informative, enthusiastic without being sycophantic. His big-play calls were sensational. Man, he was really, really good.

I heard him on with Bob Sturm on Cowboys pre-game a couple of weeks ago. Now if you're on with Sturm, you're not going to be saying much. But he was pretty good there as well.

So I'm asking myself – who is Rich Phillips at the Ticket? Is he in line for a host job? Yeah, I know there aren't any obvious vacancies coming up . . . or are there?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Junior's Pun

I loved Junior's pun today after Gordon read the story about the guy who had to go to the emergency room because he had a combination padlock on his johnson. Junior said that he had run into trouble because "he had forgotten the penal (penile) code." George and Gordon moaned and groaned, but this was surely a tribute to its excellence.

It was indeed choice. The dedicated punster, which Junior may well be, will note homonymic associations in phrases and will store them up, hoping for a chance to convert them to puns. Speaking only for myself, I have saved up some howlers for years until the right moment came along.

This one was a jewel. The pun is near-perfect because "penal" and "penile" are so close in pronunciation, and the application to the combination padlock is not at all tortured. Bravo.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mike Checks Out

Sorry I've been away.

Anyone else getting the impression that Mike is losing interest?

Late the week before last, I think it was, the Hardline interviewed Mark Followill, always a good segment.

Except that it wasn't exactly a Hardline interview. It was a Corby interview.

Nothing wrong with that. Corby is knowledgeable about the Mavericks and he did a good job, as he usually does. And I didn't hear every syllable of this interview, but I did not hear Mike utter a single word.

This is symptomatic of the continuing imbalance in the Hardline showgram.   Mike just sort of shows up.  He seems not to be terribly interested in the proceedings.  He seems not to know what segments are coming up.  The guys kid about the lack of preparation for the show, and that's fine, we love them for their informality in conducting something as precisely timed as broadcasting usually is, but when the lack of preparation – and interest -- begin affecting the show, the hand begins to reach for the dial

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Immortalized by The Ticket

Two Fridays ago I sent a collection of Obama jokes I had written to an Obama-jokes website. (http://barackobamajokes.googlepages.com/) Forgot about it.

This morning I heard the repeat of yesterday's 8:40 interview with the fake George Bush, voiced by the chameleonlike Gordon Keith. He announces he's going to tell some Obama jokes, and one of mine was the first one he told. (Why did Obama cross the road? To apologize for his side of the road.) Went back to the website, and there it was in the "Latest Obama Jokes" section.

That was pretty cool.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Junior Listens Carefully

This is why you have got to love The Ticket.

On Friday -- maybe it was Thursday, my drives to work kinda blend together -- Junior Miller played a clip from a Wade Phillips press conference where he ends a sentence with a dismissive reference to criticism of the Cowboys' recent indifferent play.

From what was little more than Phillips's inflection in those few words, Junior perceived a great deal of what is wrong with the Cowboys -- Wade as Dad whose Boys can do no wrong.  It was an elegant, perceptive analysis, and when he replayed it, you sensed that he was exactly right. 

You don't hear or read that kind of analysis anywhere else.  Not in the newspapers, not in the blogs, and certainly not on any other sports-talk channel.  Sweet stroke, Junior.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Hardline on Channel 11

Fun to see Mike and Corby holding forth on the poor Cowboy Stadium acoustics Channel 11 news last night.

It would be interesting to know how those cameras got to that remote.  No, I don't mean what kind of van, I mean why were they there?  Did someone at 11 know of Corby's U2 fanatacism and check to see if the boys would be discussing stadium acoustics?  Or did the station alert Channel 11 that the Hardline would be unloading on the Stadium, and are you looking for some video bites?

Finally, I wonder whether the presence of the cameras prompted an unusually heated reaction from both of them.  When I was listening that afternoon, I was startled by the vitriol issuing from them both, then saw that this was the passage that was broadcast at 10 pm.


Corby Sounds Unwell

Is the night life catching up with him?

Does he have some upper-respiratory problem that he can't shake?

Has he been hanging out with Greggo?

Is his voice finally changing?

In any event, his voice has been lacking its customary boyish chirp for the last few weeks.  Some days he sounds like he just woke up.  Anyway, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

U2 Much

OK:  A segment or two per show on the upcoming or just-past U2 concert.

NOT OK:  Two weeks of all U2 all the time. 

They slip in some sports and pop culture and reg'lar dude commentary from time to time, but the U2 talk is deadly.  It's not that it's not sports.  I don't really care about that.  It's just not interesting and it is very, very repetitive.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Altex May Want to Reconsider Advertising on the Ticket

Have I been hearing correctly on recent ads running on The Ticket for Altex Electronics that this is where Ticket tech guys get their audio equipment?

If you had to list the top ten themes on The Ticket, the inferiority of their technical setup (to which any frequent listener can attest) would appear there.  The hosts are constantly complaining about their mics, headphones, and the like.  It may be that the equipment is fine but that abuse, misuse, and Cumulus's failure to keep the harshly-used equipment updated and replaced when necessary is what causes the Ticket's inconsistent and error-filled sound.  But it sounds in the ad like Altex is bragging that The Ticket uses their stuff, and that would have to make any professional purchaser of audio equipment think twice.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Mike and Mark Show Last Friday

I didn't hear the entire Hardline program on Friday (October 2) with Mark Followill filling in for Corby, only a couple of segments. But those segments absolutely rocketed through the car radio. Just Followill and Mike, talking sports and other topics. No Corby overtalking; no Danny needing to step in to keep the show moving (Danny does not overtalk, generally); no self-referential banter about the particular failings of that day's show; no humiliation of Mike; none of the things that can make you cringe about the Hardline.

In fact, Followill's performance left Mike somewhat exposed. It has been some time since the Hardline sounded like a show for which the hosts actually prepare. My sense is that Mike at least, has lost interest in sports and Corby hasn't expanded his sports interests beyond college football, golf, and maybe tennis, to fit his expanded role in the program after Greggo's fadeout. So Mike ended up sounding a little like the junior partner on his own show. But even at that, it was a pleasure to listen to.

I don't advocate Followill as a permanent host on the Hardline. All-show, every day, his metallic baritone (terrific for play-by-play) would tire the ear. (By the way, it sounded like Mark and Mike were broadcasting from different studios altogether, which happens a lot even on Ticket programs with the usual on-air talent – Cumulus needs to invest in some new and matching hardware.) And in general I'm a large Hardline fan with the current format and personnel. But the jolt of energy and expertise that Followill brought to Friday's show suggests that with a little attention to restoring the balance between hosts and actual sports knowledge the Hardline can soar again.

As I have mentioned, I think I have an answer for what disappoints me about the Hardline. I don't mean to be coy, but I want to take the time to introduce it properly, since improving the Hardline is so very important to us all.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Hardline -- The Curtains Part (Slightly)

The Hardline boys made one of their rare forays into commenting on the nature of their partnership today. I forget the context, but Corby had said something naughty, and Mike was complaining that if he had said it, the music would have come down and it would have been dumped. Danny then referred to Mike as the “Patriarch” of the show by way of suggesting that Mike’s role was to “keep the monkeys in line” (and, the implication was, to lend some dignity to the proceedings by virtue of his age and seniority). That is, Danny and Corby were arguing that they were allowed to get away with impish misbehavior that Mike should not be associated with and should be discouraged from pursuing. Mike objected that he wanted to be every bit as disruptive (I forget the actual word he used) as monkeys Corby and Danny.

Corby and Danny were right, and this supports something I have written several times in the past:  The one thing missing from the Hardline program since the departure of Greg Williams (which I favored) is balance. Mike has become infantilized because he can’t compete with the barrage of juvenilia issuing from the Danny-Corby axis in the way he used to, when he had some support, however sporadic, from the Hammer. He can’t beat ‘em, so he’s been trying to join ‘em, and it’s a little sad to hear.

I actually have a solution to what I perceive in this one problem with the Hardline, and I’ll sketch it out sometime in the future. (Would need to stretch over a few posts.)  In the meantime, I thought today’s colloquy showed some interesting program self-awareness.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gordon Keith -- My Ticket Confession

Gordon Keith is one of the most talented creative performers in the metroplex. He can be very, very funny, and he’s rarely dull even when not so funny; he’s an excellent and sometimes an amazing mimic; he can be an appealing performer on television; he’s a musician. And think for a minute the volume of original material he has to turn out – O-Deck, Gordo’s Corner, the 8:40 fake interview – those are every day. Admittedly, they’re not all closely scripted, but they all swallow time to create. And he pulls together the Muse in the News stuff. There’s a Quick column; for awhile there was a weekly TV show to create. A blog to edit. Tweeting. And he does other stuff, including a 4.5 hour radio show five days a week, the odd TV news spot. I mean, he doesn’t always score, but that output is astounding. I am an admirer.

But this is, after all, My Ticket Confession. Today, I am confessing that there is one tic that I would like to see Gordon – the Musers generally – eliminate for all time, never to reappear, and that is: Accusing George Dunham of having said something, or taking some position, off the air that he is not acknowledging on the air. When he starts in on that it brings the Muser show to a screeching halt. It seems to happen a couple of times a show; and simply accusing someone, however lightheartedly, of not telling the truth, day after day, simply isn’t funny. It isn’t witty, and it isn’t interesting. It’s just a tired bit. And Gordon doesn’t just hit the gag and move on – he just keeps at it and at it, seemingly every time. I reach for the dial.

Even 30 seconds of NPR is too much. Please stop this exhausting and tedious bit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Would It Be Like to be George DeJohn's Friend?

Would you be able to figure out whether the doctors you were hanging out with were medical doctors, or, you know, those other kinds of doctors he has on his show?

Would you wonder how he knows all those amazing things, such as that taking vitamin C tablets actually decreases the amount of vitamin C in your body?

Would you be dreading the 22nd day of your friendship, fearing that he would say "See, if you'd started on my plan 21 days ago  .  .  .  ."?

Would he introduce you to people as "My good friend, Mr. X"?

Would you be uneasy about the number of times he uses the word "cleanse"?


Hey, I listen almost every week.  Wish I looked like George D.  Wish I were George D.

Latest Turn-the-Channel Commercial

The Texas Lottery "I think the elephant is trying to tell us something" ad.  One joke, and it's a witless and unfunny one.   And yet another ad where the product is associated with unappealing, stupid people.

It won't stop me from committing the unappealing, stupid act of laying out money for lottery tickets, but it comes pretty close.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Followers, You Do Exist

Google Blogger is experiencing difficulty displaying followers on the blog page.  I understand that numerous users are experiencing this problem.  I have temporarily removed the "Follower" gadget from the page while Google tries to fix it.  I can see in my "Dashboard" (settings) page that you're still there -- you're just anonymous. 

Thanks for following.  If it isn't too much trouble, I would be grateful if you would go through the "become a follower" routine again and, if you are able to do so, select "public" rather than "anonymous," and that may solve my problem.  Of course, it's my problem and not yours -- so whatever you do, keep following.  If there's one thing this country needs, given its near 100% unsatisfactory leaders (both sides), it's more followers.

Again, many thanks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mark Elfenbein -- A Very Unique Broadcaster

I'll have more to say about Mark Elfenbein in the future. In general, I think he has a terrific show.

Something occurred to me the other day as I was listening to the program: He is the most explicitly Jewish program host on any station I can recall in the past several decades in the several markets I'm familiar with. There may be programs and even entire stations dedicated to subjects of interest to members of the Tribe -- I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about a general-interest talk-show host. His inflections, his insertions of Yiddish phrases and words -- that just isn't something you hear a lot in these times of homogenized talk radio.

I find it refreshing and charming, although from time to time the Tribal references are a bit . . . inside and forced. But it's a really unique cadence for a radio host -- especially a sports radio host -- and The Ticket deserves some credit for programming a host of his particular flavor for local programming on a Sunday morning, when they could be running some of the unbearable syndicated stuff.

Overall, a well-done, aurally distinctive program.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Plural of P1

No one cares about this except me. I think. That's OK.

The plural of "P1" is "P1's"; it is NOT "P1s."

Plurals of words ending in numbers are formed by adding 's.

Now -- what is the plural possessive of "P1"?

If one wanted to write about the passion of more than one P1, I would think it would go:
"the P1's' passion."

But I dunno.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Internal Clock of the P1

I'd be interested to know if other P1's have developed the ability to sense when a block of advertisements + traffic + TicketTicker are about to end, even if they're not listening throughout the break. (Maybe a lot of P1's find the Tickers interesting and wouldnt' miss them. I could do without.) I have found that I can switch to another station, or turn the sound down if an ad is particularly annoying, and know within a few seconds when to turn back to the station or restore the volume when the hosts are about to return.

I've thought about actually timing the ad blocks for the different shows to eliminate all the filler with greater precision, but that would bespeak a level of anality to which even I would not confess.

Apologies to My Followers . . .

. . . all three of you, for my failure to offer any new tidbits for awhile. I've been studying up on how to use Blogger and saving up some tasty topics for this intimate group. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for recommending this site to other Ticket listeners.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fight Night -- Ticket Risk

I've never been to a Ticket Fight Night. Got nothing against the Sweet Science, just never been to Fight Night. (Only fight I ever attended was the third Ali-Norton fight in Yankee Stadium -- close, and I would have given it to Norton.)

Isn't The Ticket taking a big risk with stuff like this? I'm sure they make everyone use appropriate gloves and headgear, but isn't it inevitable that when you get amateurs of varying degrees of skill biffing it out with one another, someone is really going to get seriously hurt?

Try to imagine what would happen to The Ticket if someone died as a result of a fight that it sponsored. It wouldn't kill the station, but that shadow would hang over the yucks and frathouse good times for months.

I guess the good news is that Fight Night means that lawyers aren't running The Ticket.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tiger = "Boy"?

On the Teebox this morning, the guest co-host, who is director of instruction at Las Colinas, referred to 33-year-old Tiger Woods as "that boy."

It was an obvious misstatement -- sometimes, stuff just comes out, I oughta know -- but can you imagine anyone referring to a white golfer of Tiger's stature (and age) as "that boy"?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Corby + Shaq Show?

Yesterday, Corby reported that while on vacation he had received a call from someone purporting to be a representative either of Shaquille O'Neal or Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The caller stated that Shaq was slated to do a radio show for the network and had suggested Corby as a possible co-host. Corby was modest and claimed not to be interested; Mike urged him to follow-up on it.

This would be an extremely cool call to get. And the whole Corby/Shaq friendship arising out of Corby's radio-bit approaches to him, seems genuine and is makes for great radio when Shaq's around. What I found interesting, though, is that Corby, scammer extraordinnaire, did not betray the slightest suspicion that maybe, just maybe, he was being set up.

Chances are, he wasn't. Chances are, the guy on the phone gave sufficient evidence of his bona fides that Corby concluded it was the real thing. Still . . . prolific scammers really need to be alert for their victims looking for opportunities for vengeance. Could even be Shaq setting him up . . . .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Current Worst Switch-Channels Ads

These ads run on other stations, but since I don't listen to other stations, I'm stuck with turning off The Ticket when they come on:

(1) The "kidnaping the mannikin in order to get back at department stores" series of ads. I can't even remember the sponsor, some discount clothing chain. First, who harbors deep-seated feelings of resentment towards high-price department stores at which they shop voluntarily? Second, there is nothing amusing about kidnaping and altered-voice ransom demands.

(2) The Orbitz "wake-up" call series of ads. Putting aside its overall obnoxiousness, what was the purpose of getting them to sort of sound like they're candid, real-time phone calls to regular folks, but producing and writing them in a way that makes it perfectly obvious that they're scripted on both ends?

I note that both are phone-call ads, which harkens back to the all-time most loathesome series of radio ads -- the gravel-voiced guy calling people to harrangue them about Mitsubishi automobiles.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Junior Miller Looks Back

Being a sports talk-show guy has got to be harder than it looks, or require more charm, or skill, or something, than we lesser mortals think. After all, aside from The Ticket, other stations throughout the country are constantly shuffling their guys, firing guys, changing formats, to achieve a fraction of the The Ticket's share. (And failing.)

But one thing a talk show guy doesn't have to be is right. He can crticitze, predict, and analyze all he wants, and unless he's an obvious buffoon, being wrong about matters of substance isn't likely to come back to haunt him in the ratings.

So it is always nice to hear a Ticket host recall a wrong opinion from the past. Junior Miller did so on Friday's Musers. I don't have any statistics to back me up, but I've always thought Junior was one of the more astute analysts on the station. (He usually wins the season contest to pick the weekly high school/college/NFL winners.) On Friday he confessed error as to his earlier criticism of the Rangers for asking Michael Young to move to third in order to install Elvis Andrus at short. Startling but refreshing.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rhadigan and Bacsik

Listening to John Rhadigan and Mike Bacsik filling in for the Hardline. It was OK, for a drydock show. I don't watch a lot of local news and wasn't familiar with Rhadigan. He was knowledgeable and kept the show moving. (I'll have more to say about Bacsik in an upcoming post.)

I got to thinking about why the Hardline is so much more enjoyable than this show. Sure, part of it is that we're familiar with the Hardline team, and we know all the inside jokes, and there is more nonsports fratboy content that is of interest.

But there was something else, and here's what I think it is: Between Rhadigan and Bacsik, there were no quiet spots. Someone was always talking. No pauses. The show was dense with sound, and Rhadigan was projecting into the mic. It was loud, it was nonstop. It did not have the same coversational quality as the Hardline. It did not have any periods. It sounded like the moment one guy had to take a breath, the other guy was ready to jump in.

As I say, it was OK. Pretty informative, actually. No objections to the show. But when you're used to the more comfortable, natural quality of the typical Ticket show, it was hard to listen to.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Listening Too Hard -- (2)

Why are there so many edits in those Bob Tomes Ford (in McKinney) commercials? There was one sentence in today's ad where there were at least three or four obvious edits. It is hard to imagine that just speaking the sentence could have sounded any worse. Sometimes ads get edited for length, small pauses being eliminated to cram everything into the spot, but this didn't sound like that. Or maybe it's just that his voice, which is very sing-songy, doesn't lend itself to smooth edits.

Listening Too Hard -- (1)

Noticed something odd during the Junior-for-Mike wife-swap yesterday:

When Mike became the "main host" --when he would bring them back from a commercial, for example -- it sounded odd, like he was a guest on the show acting like it was his show. Nothing wrong with it, but it made me sit up and take notice. (Part of this might have had to do with the murky levels they had on his mic.)

When Junior did the same thing on the afternoon show, it seemed like it was his show, no big deal.

Are These Guys White American Males?

Mike Doocy fits in nicely with the Musers, even though hearing those TV/radio pipes next to the average-guy tones of George and Junior is a little, uh, jarring.

But how could any white American guys think that "Curly of the Three Stooges" died in 1993? Curly Joe DeRita died in 1993, but the "great" Curly they were thinking of -- Curly Howard -- died in 1952.

Still, nice work.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Today's Wife Swap

I thought it was refreshing to hear Mike on the Musers and Junior with the Hardline. Both shows were good, with an exception.

Mike's level needed some brightening. Sounded like he was in a different studio in a different state.

Exception: The "Corby and Danny Speak Their True Minds During Junior's Bicycle Hero Story" bit was so stagey, so written (not that they were trying to conceal it), and so annoying, that it wins the Most Failed Bit of 2009 award and the year is only half over. I was listening to the show on a good stereo and the thing was incoherent and, when audible, a one-joke bit that went on and on. (And the underlying Bicycle Hero story was kind of interesting.) Other than that, a pretty good show. Junior holds his own with those two scamps.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Where's Doyle?

Why should we ever have to listen to anyone but Doyle King when Barb Smith is absent (as she ever more frequently is)?

Where's Greggo? How's Greggo?

I'm surprised at how little comment there has been in the blogosphere about the abrupt departure of Greggo from the ESPN evening show. I tuned in a couple of times in mid-run, didn't hear much of anything that made me want to keep listening, although he seemed coherent at the time. I was glad that he was trying to make a comeback, we all root for those American second acts. It wasn't beyond imagining that if he cleaned up his act he might one day rejoin the Hardline. Stranger reconciliations have happened in show biz.

But now -- gone, and nothing much I can find on what's up with him.

I was one of those who thought that Corby and Mike (and the rest of the staff) behaved about as well as one can behave when confronted with the unreliability of the addict. There were a lot of folks out there, though, who carried some special reserve of bile for Corby, blaming his opportunism for the Hardline's problems. Given Hammer's repeat performance at ESPN, that position is pretty difficult to maintain.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Corby Question

In general, Corby does not suck. He has his broadcasting weaknesses. Too many things are the best or worst of whatever category is up for discussion. Too many "no way"s. Other things we can get into. But he's reliably listenable.

When Greg Williams left the Hardline, we all waited with bated breath to see if Michael and Corby could keep the high-wire act going. In a way, it seems almost impertinent to comment on it, because their amazing success has continued and, if anything, they're doing better than ever. So, you know, who needs any critique of the show? Even Corby's detractors really have to admit that his elevated profile has not wrecked the show for most of its audience. Personallly, I thought the decline of the show in general was becoming pretty apparent in the better part of a year before Hammer's bailout, and I'm one who was glad to see him go. Know that not everyone shares that opinion, but his misogyny, gratuitous vulgarity and obvious lack of show preparation was detracting from my enjoyment of the ride home. So the Corby & Michael show, for me, was an automatic improvement.

But this begs the question as to whether it could be better, and now, more than a year-and-a-half after Greggo's departure, I think the answer is yes. As I say, it's a confession -- I like the two Michaels and Corby and Danny a lot, but I gotta say: The show is overweighted to Corby and Danny, aided and abetted by Gruber. The post-Greggo makeup of the show entirely changed not only Mike's role, but his personality. Whereas he was the appealing Old Grey Wolf before, now he's on the defensive against the onslaught of the youngsters (who aren't all that young). For lack of a better word, he needs an ally to free him to reassert some adult control over the program and restore the appeal of his Greggo-era persona. He needs his own sidekick.

Preliminary Considerations

Like hundreds of thousands of other persons living in the DFW metro area, I spend a lot of time with The Ticket. Like most of them, I defend it vigorously against its detractors; and, like most of them, I suffer through those cringe-inducing moments and from time to time wish that they would make a policy change here or there.

Back when Greggo departed the station, I went in search of blogs where contributors and commenters stretch a bit -- perhaps think before they type, try to introduce some strong original thinking beyond the "CORBY SUXX!!!!" or "STAY HARD GREGO!!!" The contributors to Richie Whitt's blog were pretty solid, I thought, but Richie isn't writing about the Ticket every week, and after awhile it petered out and got stale. Thought I'd try to start a little something permanent along those lines.

As I say, there are those moments, those shows, and sometimes . . . sometimes, those hosts that drive you nuts and you want to reach out to management and say -- this could be better.  But the moment passes, pretty soon you're chuckling absent-mindedly about something someone says, and you realize that it's like a family.  More than that -- it is family.

And that -- the affection behind the agitation -- is My Ticket Confession.