In the previous post I rambled on about how colorless and uninteresting The Ranch Report has been, whether in the hands of Mickey Spagnola or Todd Archer.
Before throwing out a couple of respectful suggestion, let us consider the possibility that there just isn't enough news coming out of Valley Ranch on a daily basis to make The Ranch Report compelling listening under any circumstances.
OK, I’ve considered it. I don't believe it. My guess is that the Ticket hosts themselves hear an enormous amount of inside Cowboy information that they do not share with the P1 Refugees. (And inside info re the Mavericks, and Rangers, and Stars (but who cares) and FC Dallas (ditto in spades).) Interesting information; information that affects on-field decisions and performance. Who's up, who's down, who's at the clubs late at night, who doesn’t like white (or black) guys, who got chewed out on Monday, who's switched from D&M Auto Leasing to AutoFlex. That would be a Ranch Report worth listening to.
Of course, all of this is complicated by The Ticket's "partnership" with the Dallas Morning News. (I really need to pick up the DMN to see how the partnership is manifested in its pages. I'm guessing that the DMN needs The Ticket more than vice-versa, but that's a topic for another time.) Maybe they have some kind of legal or moral obligation to feature the DMN beat guy on the station.
If not, then I have several modest proposals:
First, safe suggestion: Get an “outside” Michael Lombardi-type or Peter King-type – he (or she) wouldn’t have to be of national renown, just a skilled and knowledgeable pro sports reporter or observer (ex-jock, but not Troy Aikman) – to do a report devoted solely to the team at issue (Cowboys, Rangers, Mavs, Stars) Might be expensive, but remember, we’re putting on a better show here. Advertisers would pay more to be associated with a name commentator.
For an example of this, think about Mark Followill’s calls to the Hardline. Those are terrific segments. Followill is employed by – hell, I don’t know, but if he’s not employed by the Mavericks, then the Mavericks undoubtedly have a voice in his retention. Nevertheless, his commentary on the Mavericks is informed and candid. It is interesting to listen to because we have come to trust him not to pull his punches.
Second, out-there suggestion: Turn The Ranch Report into more of a TMZ-styled segment in which some of the stuff that sports radio guys actually hear about the Cowboys makes it onto the air. I absolutely understand that The Ticket does not want to traffic in naked rumors, in stuff that has no indicia of reliability, or highly personal information that, if disclosed, would threaten reputations and relationships. But O Confessors, you well know that there is a large amount of credible and juicy information that swirls around a team with the high public profile of the Cowboys, and a lot of it leaks out, and a lot of it visible out on the street. Someone knows that information and can make an informed editor's draw between the likely and the unlikely. Where is that knowledgeable person? Who should be doing The Ranch Report? I have no idea. Hey, I'm not paid to provide all the answers. (Hmm, come to think of it, I'm not paid for ANY of these jewels.)
My modest proposal is that The Ranch Report should be ditched and replaced by a segment with news of interest to P1s. Call it . . .
The Death Star Dish
Voice from the Valley
. . . or something less crappy. I think I might use a female reporter, even if she were not the source of the information. There are all kinds of ways this could work without significant risk of liability. The Ticket doesn’t have to worry about a paycheck from the Cowboys. It doesn’t have to worry very much about access – how sad would we be if The Ticket were denied access to Martellus Bennett? A small price to pay for even more startling ratings. Can you imagine the hullabaloo if The Little Ticket broke a story or two?
Third – solely procedural – suggestion: Two, three times a week would be often enough for either of these formats. The Ranch Report itself (with Archer or someone like him) might be better if it appeared less frequently and the host could gin up some tidbits for us.
A pipe dream, I know. (Wait until you hear my suggestions for The Hardline, in an upcoming multi-parter – this one will look positively reasonable.) But whatever you do, Cumulus – don't subject us to another year of the sound-check Ranch Report.