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.