Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is Professional Radio Broadcast Management?

We all know that The Ticket is this astounding radio powerhouse.  Dominant in the ratings that matter.  Lousy signal, but obviously doing many, many things right.  So why, so often, does it seem like like it's managed like Chrysler?

It amuses us that The Little One is kind of a ramshackle construction, a bunch of guys just having a good time playing radio grabass, feuding, embracing, launching e-brakes in enormous numbers, generally doing the kind of things that a bunch of smart-but-not-smart-to-a-fault-except-Gordon regular guys would do if they were given a radio station to play with.  For the longest time I thought that was just an illusion, that the casualness was really a reflection of a very unique talent for making the difficult (interesting radio broadcasting) seem effortless.

But a couple of things are causing me to rethink this position.  On April 14 I wrote about The Amazing Ty Walker Final Four Screwup, where The Ticket had major boots on the ground in Atlanta and not a single host had the slightest awareness of it.  Rich Phillips claimed the producers knew about it via email, but the producers weren't talking.  So either no one likes Ty Walker, or there was a complete failure of communicaton.

And then, yesterday, Corby and Mike show up for a remote at American Airlines Center, only to find that it had been cancelled.  No engineers, no nothing, just Corby and Mike phoning in their location to Sturm/McDowell/Lewis.  (By the way, Corby handled that exceptionally well -- he was very funny on the phone.)   The only insight we had on this was that Rich Phillips had told the engineers the remote was off because of the late start of the game.  Corby amusingly suggested that perhaps the show hosts should have been let in on this. 

Rich was not on hand to defend himself.  If he had been there and inclined to disclose what had gone on behind the scene, I suspect he would have said (1) yeah, I mentioned it to the engineers but the show hosts don't report to me and it was someone else's job to give them their broadcast assignments, or (2) I did tell the show hosts, via email, but they don't read their emails carefully. 

Now I'm sure it's the case that remotes are somewhat dicey propositions to begin with, complicated to pull off successfully every time, getting everyone to the right place at the right time, and The Ticket does gobs of remotes.   (Although by this time, you'd think they'd have the remote tech and setup down pat, but there are still many technical glitches with remotes.)  

But, as with the Ty Walker episode, it does seem as though people who need to talk to one another at The Little One just don't do so.  

And what do these episodes have in common?  The Ticket's Own Man of Mystery.  Also observed here.  A broadcaster I admire quite a lot, but there's something up with him at the station that I expect we'll hear about by and by.

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