Sunday, June 27, 2010


Mrs. Plainsman and I are on vacation.  I could listen to The Ticket online, but she would object that we should be out seeing the sights and doing stuff.  It's hard to argue with that.

But I'd rather be listening to The Ticket, which, as you know, It's Great to Do.

So until I return, I'll just note that in a couple of days this site will have its first anniversary.  After posting in obscurity for awhile, I began to pick up more and more readers until now I have quite a number of returning Confessors checking in.  Gotta thank Barb Smith for giving our profile a jump-start with her couple of emails letting us know she was doing OK.  To the best of my knowledge that was about the extent of her public statements on the departure, but I'm sure I've missed other communications.  In any case, thanks to Barb.

But mainly I want to thank each of you for -- perhaps "supporting" is too strong a word -- I think "checking in" puts it about right.   I'd been considering the idea of this site for a long time before I finally got it going.  I had thought that the P1 Nation probably contained a number of people like me who loved The Little One but didn't feel at home at some of the rowdier, inside-joke message boards and blogs, and who were tired of the negativity and flame wars, especially in the wake of Greggo the Hammer's separation from the station.  Who would be interested in something a little more expansive, and which would fearlessly note what KTCK was doing especially well, and not just what drives some of us goofy.

The growing readership -- it's not immense, but it's respectable and increasing -- suggests I may have been right.  In fact, the most gratifying thing about maintaining this site is that those who leave comments and send me email almost unanimously do so respectfully and thoughtfully.  I am hoping we're cultivating that kind of community here.

"The Plainsman" by John Steuart Curry

I've got a pokeful of topics waiting for my time to worry and noodge and tease into articles, but I could could always use more, so keep those comments and emails coming.  Seriously, what do you want to talk about?     Sometimes topics suggest themselves naturally from listening to the station on a day-to-day basis, which tend to shove the Big Picture pieces back in time, sometimes to their detriment.  Since I do have a day job and maintain a more popular general-interest blog in addition to this one, it's sometimes hard to get to this one in time to cover all topics of interest.  Recently, for example, I started (but didn't finish) a pretty incendiary piece on some recent Hardlines, but since I didn't complete it in a timely fashion it's starting to look a little stale.

There may be some changes in the coming year.  I'm at the point where it may make sense to start accepting advertising, and I hope to expand my coverage of the showgrams and sports topics covered.  (It would be helpful if I knew something about sports instead of just sports radio -- and some would say I don't know much about the latter, either.)

In any event, many thanks for clicking over now and then, and I'll try to continue to offer some thoughts you will find of interest from time to time.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Error Message

As several Confessors have pointed out, and as I myself have experienced, one of the reasons it is Great to Listen to The Ticket is because most communications to station management are graciously answered by Station Manager Jeff Catlin.

I got an email from him the other day saying that I "lose credibility" when I refer to the station as "WTCK."  This was nice from a couple of standpoints.  First, I like it when my mistakes are pointed out.  Second, he could have done it as a comment to a post, but instead he sent it to me privately.   Classy.

And he's right about the credibility.  I did a search and found four places where I'd made that mistake.  Now corrected.

I spent most of my life in Chicago, New York, and parts of the midwest where  most TV and radio stations call letters begin with "W."  (Starting in 1923, stations east of the Mississippi were designated with "W," and those west with "K," but stations that already had nonconformng call letters were allowed to keep them -- for example, WRR here in Dallas.)

Now that my credibility is beyond question, I'll have more priceless advice for The Little One in the near future. 

Going on vacation starting tomorrow, so posts may be a bit sporadic. 

Try to be brave.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The TeeBox Seems to Have Solved Its Sound Probems

Rick and Craig, sounding smooth this morning on their remote.

I will say that they've got those mics EQ'd very hot, especially Rick's.  Gives their voices kind of an overlying sizzle.

But at least it doesn't sound like they're broadcasting from a quarry.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Seriously -- Why Can't We Have Doyle King for Traffic Every Day? And I'm Putting Barb Smith and Alexis Smith in This Title So Google Searchers Will Find This Site, Even if They're Only Looking for Photos

Alexis Smith, Dallas Radio Traffic Twist, is a beautiful young woman.  And I like beautiful women of all ages.  In fact, a significant portion of traffic to this website consists of people looking for information on the Smiths, Alexis and Barb.  It only hurts my feelings a little bit.

And Barb is also a beautiful woman, in my judgment.  And she was very sweet to check in with My Ticket Confession following her departure from KTCK and let us know she was doing OK.  She is most welcome any time.  (Barb, how the blazes are you?  I'm here to tell you there are many listeners eager for news of you, so let the Confessor Nation hear from you.)

Actually, I think the Tickheads and Confessors who are seeking Barb Smith and Alexis Smith information  are actually looking for pictures.

And I like to drive traffic to this site, so I'm going to copy some pictures here, although I only know of one recent unadulterated picture of Barb, that is:

There are a couple of more purporting to be Alexis, whose image is apparently also a favored destination of Dallas radio aficionados, so they can enjoy this one:

Alexis does an admirable job delivering the mostly-irrelevant traffic.  In fact, she does such a good job that one tends not to pay the slightest attention to her, just as one does with most traffic reports.  Whenever I hear Alexis's voice, I turn my head toward it and see -- my radio.  Which looks nothing like her.  (Alexis, Confessors await your instructions, which I would be pleased to convey via the Comments section.)

But I come today in praise of Doyle King.  A Confessor must confess that, to the mainstream Tickhead, he is not as cute as Barb or Alexis:

But even when all he is doing is delivering the traffic -- no schtick, no call-outs for a Dallas sports team, no telling stories about his wild past -- he is still very entertaining to listen to.  There's just something about the music of that voice, slick and radio-polished though it may be.

So my question is:  Why can't we have Doyle every single day?  What does he do when he's not filling in?  Wikipedia reports:  "He currently serves as a traffic producer for, a Navteq company, and substitute traffic director at SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket as well as an occasional 'Plus One' show host on days when more prominent guests are not in studio."   I've never heard him as a Plus-One, although he may have done that in the past that I've missed.  And it is inconceivable to me that a "traffic producer" does anything whatsoever except wait to be called to fill in at The Ticket.

So, as lovely as the Smiths are, why can't we have Doyle King every single day?  He might be the only guy in Dallas who could make traffic an actual draw for the showgrams.

But he probably won't drive much traffic to My Ticket Confession.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Is That Haunting Acoustic Guitar Vamp Behind the Latest Ticket Promo?

It's the ad where Conrad says "we've got an app for that, too" near the end of the ad.  I don't know how to describe it, but the music has a repeated guitar figure that's been torturing me for the past week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another NPR Moment -- But Not The Ticket's Fault

I was just sitting here, going over my list of topics to write on, nothing inspiring me on a Monday morning, listening to the Muser Showgram, when I heard it.

In fact, I heard it for the second time this morning.

I reached for the dial and turned the sound all the way down.  As sometimes happens, I forget to turn it back up after the minute or so had passed.  And so missed precious minutes of Muser broadcasting greatness.

What was this item that causes me to turn immediately to NPR (if I'm listening on something with easy presets) or turn The Ticket completely off (if I'm not)?

It's the Race Trac ad delivered by someone portraying the fictional "Chris Hooper," the head of the Cupholder Installers Union.

I thought I would never hear an ad more stupid than the AT&T ad about the guy who was going in to buy an aquarium and couldn't figure out which fish to get, the stupidity of which I note here.

I was wrong.  This Race Trac ad, which is supposed to get you to want to buy one of those cups that you can fill up all summer for a few bucks, is the worst radio ad I have ever heard.  The largeness of the cup is apparently inimical to the function of the cupholders installed by the union.  Hell, I don't need to describe it to you.  You've heard it dozens, hundreds of times.

It is:

   --   incompetently conceived;

   --   incompetently written;

   --   incompetently produced;

   --   incompetently directed;

   --   incompetently acted; and

   --   incompetently edited.

YES, I UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO SOUND AMATEURISH.  I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO HEAR THE PAPER RUSTLING AROUND IN THE BACKGROUND.   I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO HEAR THE BAD EDITS.   But it does not even do a good job of conveying casual amateurism.  It's so wrapped up in attempting to convey amateurism that it doesn't realize that it's slugging you over the head with it in the slickest possible way.  The thing is so overwrought and precious that it insults the listener, who is apparently too stupid to get anything more subtle and witty.  And the poor actor who has to read this unfunny copy has to completely come unglued over the possibility that purchasing the Race Trac product could cause you to lose a finger.  There's a place for hyperbole in humor -- The Ticket is pretty much based on it -- but this is just moronic.

And why would anyone buy your product when your ad campaign is based on pointing out how it can damage your vehicle?  Those gigantic cups are hard to stick in cupholders.

The Ticket can't be blamed for accepting this ad from Race Trac, which has purchased an incredible volume of ad time for this misbegotten bilge.  But me, when I hear Chris Hooper stammering onto the air, I just catch up on my biased news reporting on "Morning Edition" or "All Things Considered."

And sometimes, I forget to return to The Ticket.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mike R is Kinda Interested in Syndication

By the purest coincidence, The Hardline briefly turned to the subject of syndication a shortly after Your Plainsman's trailblazing article on the subject a couple of weeks ago.  Mike had been browsing the latest number of Talkers Magazine that was devoted to syndication.

Michael Rhyner, Canny Market Observer

It wasn't a long conversation.  When Mike brought it up, Corby was instantly dismissive.  His position seemed to be that syndication was all right for some kinds of shows, but not for The Hardline.

Corby Davidson, Conservative Media Strategist

Mike was not so sure.  He didn't challenge Corby outright, but -- and I might well have been imagining things -- you could tell by the sound of his voice as he discussed the contents of the article that he was thinking ahead to the future of The Hardline and, possibly, KTCK Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket.

I do not need to remind faithful Confessors that Michael Rhyner was something of a visionary in this market when he cobbled The Ticket together a decade-and-a-half ago.  His musings on where the market is headed ought not be taken lightly.
Michael Rhyner, Ecstatic Radio Prophet

Now, as it happens, when I wrote the article a couple of weeks ago, I did not think The Hardline was a particularly good candidate for syndication in its present form -- and by "form," I didn't mean Mike-Corby-Danny-Grubes-Ty, which is a perfectly splendid form of very talented men.  I meant the overall flavor of the showgram, which is probably the least sportsy and most blue of the shows.  Perfectly marvelous for the long-time listeners who love the insidedness of it all (me too), but possibly a little too spicy for quick success in a new major market.

Upon reflection, though, I think The Hardline might be a very fine candidate for syndication into North Texas small-to-medium markets.  Sort of like what Wolfe was planning to try with Greggo the Hammer.  (Not only more potentially Hardline-friendly markets, but no -- or less -- danger of competition with other Cumulus properties.)   If that were successful, perhaps they could dip their toe into Texas metro generally.

And I don't need to tell you that any expansion into nearby markets -- depending on how nearby -- might help solve some of The Little One's abysmal signal problems.  Maybe not for local Confessors, but for those in outlying areas who now rely on iPhone apps and Internet streams.

Inexplicably, neither Ticket nor Cumulus management has turned to Your Plainsman for far-seeing radio advice on any of the topics upon which I have presumed to offer guidance.   

No offense taken.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I'm not the only one who reaches for the dial when Gordon baits George.  I hear from the very Sweetest of the Clean that they join me in finding Gordon's near-constant baiting of George tiresome and unamusing.   It usually takes the form of attributing to George racist-sexist-antigay-stupid off-air statements that he did not make or positions that he does not hold and that, in fact, no rational person would.   Its stale; it's overfrequent; and, unlike some repeated Ticket gags, not funny.  Alas, Gordon, in most of his ventures a very great favorite of My Ticket Confession, has not sought Your Plainsman's advice on this topic, so the baiting goes on.

Copyright The
Used without permission.

Here's an example.  April 9.  I wrote it down, although the following quotes are inexact.  Gordon is talking about a jewelry heist by a gang of Hispanic individuals. 

GORDON:  "George thought the guys were probably caught when they were found in a nearby park taking a siesta with big sombreros pulled down over their faces."

GEORGE:  "I never said that."

There are two things to notice about this (and the same analysis could be made of almost every single other instance of baiting).  One obvious, one less obvious.

First:  We'll put aside the fact that it's Gordon that is making the offensive racial stereotype references.   The problem is that it isn't amusing.  It isn't witty.  It isn't clever.  It isn't even aurally interesting.  It is just a lie told about George at the expense of Mexicans.  It's dumb.   And -- how about this? -- it brings the story he is actually telling to a complete stop.   So -- not quality broadcasting.

Second:  George reacts.   He does so every time.  He does it almost the same way every time.  That is, he denies what is obviously false.  Sometimes he switches it up and says "That's what you say," or in some other way feebly attempts to attribute the slander to Gordon.  Whatever he says -- he rises to the bait and hits it

Now, perhaps I'm overreacting here.  Perhaps The P1 Nation finds the George-baiting to be can't-miss radio.   For those of you who, like me, find it to be show-killing filler, you will be pleased to know that I have hit upon the solution to this metastisizing anti-comedy.  

I came to understand that in ranting against Gordon I was attacking the part of the problem least likely to yield to my subtle and informed critique.  I now see that the proper solution is not to attempt to affect the supply (that is, Gordon, the incorrigible provider of aggravation) but rather the demand (George, its hapless consumer). 

Here's how you stop it:

George:  Lay out.

When Gordon claims that you have said or believe some stupid thing, just sit there.  Let the bait sink past you, straight to the bottom, while Gordon sits on the showgram shoreline, stalk of alfalfa sticking out of his mouth, waiting for you to chomp down on the lure.   Stop the dull game by swimming away.  Not one word.  If he persists -- not one word.  Let Gordon's flop sweat fill the studio.

Comedians who don't get a reaction to a joke cycle it out of their routine.  Time for this one to suffer that fate.  You'll thank me.  The Sweet Clean Nation will thank you. 

Who says this site isn't on the cutting edge of sophisticated Ticket commentary?