Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can We Get a Little Love for Cumulus, Please?

Cumulus takes something of a beating from the P1 Nation.  This site has taken its shots, as have other sites and commenters.

Lately, I've been lecturing Cumlus on the need to give The Little One a better signal -- in particular, I've urged that it simply deliver up to The Ticket the 93.3 frequency.  (I haven't found jobs yet for the i93hits folks.)  Or, at a minimum, we'd like The Boys to have some better in-studio hardware.   We'd welcome a billboard or two along the Tollway.

But this site is dedicated to fairness and The Larger View.  The Larger View is that The Ticket is still a terrific radio product.  We know that not only because we like to listen to it, but because we have some pretty persuasive evidence that we are not alone.  The ratings are through the roof, even though the Arbitron measurement methodology has changed. 

I will ask fellow Confessors to take my word for it:  When a new corporate owner comes in in any industry, the temptation is almost overwhelming for various persons regarding themselves as experts -- not to mention the Rhyner-reviled consultants they trail along with them -- to tinker with the  merged entity's existing formats and formulas. 

Cumulus did not do that.  Not in any way that is visible to the Nation, that is.    While Cumulus may not be nuturing the goose that continues to lay those golden shares with improved studio toys, neither has it tinkered overmuch with The Little One.  The result is that we continue to enjoy that distinctive combination of guy talk, sports, stammering, inside lingo, close-to-the-edge naughtiness, bits, and charming self-consciousness.  

Radio is a tough biz.  A radio station, I gather, is something like a restaurant.  If it's a gigantic hit, it throws off cash like crazy.  If it's OK, it operates on a razor-thin margin.  If it's average, it's probably a cash-flow loser.  The big winners are rare and the stress of maintaining their success as they age is enormous.  The temptation to fine-tune what's already working must be almost overwhelming.

So consider what Cumulus has done with The Ticket. 

Nothing, pretty much.

Yeah, Cumulus should pop for some big-boy promotion and some improved infrastructure.  But if we can't have that, at least we still have The Ticket in its more-or-less classic format.  That it has survived some high-profile ownership changes suggests that Cumulus may, just may, know what it's doing.  That it has exercised, shall we say, creative restraint in its dealings with the touchy talent at The Ticket. 

Corporate management with a sense of what keeps it afloat -- far out.


P1 Steven said...

I have a feeling that Cumulus drops a pretty penny on On-Air talent. After reading "The Hard Lie" in the Observer, the on-air talents makes REALLY good money. (compared to my 30K a year w/ 2 jobs)I would think that is where a MAJOR investment goes . I have NO idea what they make, but the above mentioned article said "mid-six digit salary". I would think Ryner,Corby,Bob,Dan, Norm, Craig, George,& Gordo are all at least 6 digits. Obviously Cumulus sees a return in their investment.

Tim said...

I think Danny saying he makes 30k a year last week was a little bit of a lie, maybe a joke?

Tim said...

I think The Ticket might have mentioned this in the last couple of months, but I'll touch on it also. It's a marvel that a radio station can still garner a ratings winner after so long in the industry. The only one I know in the last 20 years is KISS FM and KSCS. Most others have either changed formats or moved all together. I've got to hand it to The Ticket for keeping a good product and the hosts together when they see a good thing. Think how long these guys have been with with The Ticket, much less still working the same shifts (Musers). Good Job!

The Plainsman said...

Tim, I agree entirely. Although I'll bet Danny wasn't joking. I'll bet he and Grubes are not on contract and do not make that much money. Could be way wrong, since they're becoming popular personalities in their own right, and Danny does The Orphanage. I'll bet the major on-air guys are in the mid-six-figure range, although I'll bet there's a lot of variability. I'll have more to write about that later. Thanks for writing.