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.


Christy said...

Disclaimer: this comment has nothing to do with the actual post (I don't recognize the commercial you wrote about, yet), but it's the latest entry so I'll use the platform. I apologize if you'd rather we e-mail you directly with our miscellaneous hot sports opinions.

I know you've written in the past about both The Hardline coming across as not having show prep and the pros and cons to listeners, as well as whether Mike Rhyner is showing more interest in the actual show itself these days. But, have you heard the Hardline Pool Party podcast posted Monday on The UnTicket? Both of those somewhat separate topics collided nicely in one explosive segment!

P1 Steven said...

Even though we might be annoyed the HELL out of some of the TICKET commericals, it seems the work... or cause us to absolutely hate whatever is being promoted. Remember the "get the fever" Hooters spot that was played during March madness? That KILLED me... I useally listen to the stream & the recent Reverend Horton Heat ad was a beating too. In addition, Christy is right I think Corby is the biggest culprit in lack of show prep. Im sure there is a possible intern out there to provide him with info, but CRAP sometimes it drives me crazy... he reads a headline & that is it.

The Plainsman said...

Christy, you can comment on anything at any time attached to any post. I couldn't care less if your posts don't relate to the topic (in fact, it helps guide me to topics of interest to readers) and I'm delighted you're sharing your thoughts with the Confessor Nation.

Great minds, as they say: I thought Corby was an absolute disaster throughout Monday's show, and I think even Mike R had had about enough of him. Danny seemed a little embarassed about the way the day's show was turning out. I'm actually in the process of drafting a post about that very show. I think I heard the Pool Party but I don't remember its content. What was the issue there? Is that the segment where Corby got after Mike about not watching the lousy soccer match because he had to go play a Petty Theft engagement?

Monday's show reminded me of the dark Hardline days of 2009, where it seemed like the whole gang was sleepwalking.

Christy said...

Long, rambling comment (not kidding):

Thanks, P1 Steven for referencing one of my past comments regarding my NPR moments. I only heard a few segments from Monday's Hardline Show so I can't comment on how prepared or unprepared the hosts sounded throughout, but the podcast I referenced featured Mike taking his turn at hosting the Pool Party...

Allow me to digress on this "new" segment that will run until Dallas Cowboys training camp begins. One of the hosts (Mike, Corby, and Danny) hosts a Pool Party each day at 5:50pm, in which he can talk about whatever interests him that's not sports related. It sounds to me like a variation of "The Snake Pit" or "What's On Mike's Mind Today" (which they do every day), but it's given a cute, alliterated title to disguise another example of the show recycling ideas. Oh, and it lets Danny host a segment with permission.

[Digression not done, yet.] Don't they all get to talk about whatever they want during THEIR show when it's a non-titled segment?! I'm sure if a host had a really hot sports opinion/great story about WHATEVER, he would be given time to talk about it. Is the naming of the segment and the produced opening for it and all that - are they needed so sales can more easily find sponsorship for a segment? Is that what I'm missing here?

Sometimes The Hardline drives me nuts, especially when this blog makes me think about the show. Sorry. Back to the original comment topic: It was Mike's turn to host the Pool Party, but it was clear from the get-go that he hadn't prepared for his segment. After a minute of hemming and hawing, he started out promoting The Hardline/Musers wife swap this Thursday because he has a Petty Theft show to front. This caused Corby and Danny to ask him the question that I'm sure we've all wondered: Mike, why do you schedule gigs during your own show (making up for lost on-air time on another show, notwithstanding) EVER? Your job is to HOST THE HARDLINE.

Before that discussion could get out of hand, Corby and Danny stopped their attacking argument so Mike could get on with his real Pool Party topic, only for Mike to say promoting the wife swap was his topic. Then Corby and Danny jumped on him for his lack of preparation - talking about your own show is a give-up topic after all. It was intense. Corby seemed genuinely angry and Danny was in disbelief at the situation. Having read your allegations regarding Mike’s disinterest in his own show, I was listening most attentively as the very topic was brought up on-air.

I wonder, Mr. Plainsman, if your points about Mike's interest/disinterest in the show regards solely to sports segments or to all segments: The Pool Party appears to be a Corby/Danny baby. Corby, especially, wants to see the segment flourish.

OH! I heard part of the spot your post was originally about, and oh yeah, that's a really bad ad they're running. I must congratulate you, however, on being perhaps a truer P1 than I am and listening to the station during commercials.

Digression: Mike's shirking of his duties, notwithstanding, I do enjoy wife swaps. I think Craig is able to regin in Corby and Danny better than Mike is. He seems to bring a prepared aspect to the show that it generally lacks, and even with Corby as a co-host, he strongly asserts his hot sports opinions. I assume Mike doesn't bother asking BAD radio to wife swap because he'd be on the air an hour less than usual...

Finally, to add to the overall original topic at hand - NPR moments - mine sometimes is WTDS. It just depends on the mood I'm in and if there's anything else on the radio I'd rather listen to. I'm not a huge fan of the segment, unlike the majority of the P1 nation, it seems. Mr. Plainsman, you've stated your own lukewarm feelings towards this segment in a past post; where's the pay-off post on WTDS you promised? =)

The Plainsman said...

Christy, I did hear that segment, and I couldn't decide who was more sorry -- Corby for his typically hyperbolic reaction, or Mike for not really giving a damn.

It appears that you have been dipping into the Confessor archives. Excellent. Then you may be aware that I have thought that from sometime in early 2010 up to the present, Mike had gotten more engaged, taken a little more control of the show. 2009 was not a good year for The Hardline.

As far as Mike's commitment to the showgram, we have to remember a couple of things: One, he's a little older. Not ancient, but pushing 60 if he's not there yet. My guess is that Cumulus is dreading the day when he says "you know, I've made more money having fun here than I ever thought I would, and now I'm going to retire and play a few Petty Theft gigs from time to time and be the Grand Old Man of Dallas radio." Cumulus is probably motivated to let him switch off with a willing partner like Junior from time to time.

Like you, I like the wife swaps. Junior is a real pro, and I get the idea that he has some respect at the station. So it sounds more like a show for grownups when he's on.

And think about this: Sooner or later, Mike R's contract is going to come up for renewal. Now that would be an innaresting negotiation. Speculating about that is on my topic list.

Entirely agree about The Pool Party. I don't have the slightest idea how it varies from any other random segment of the show. It appears to be an effort to make the show appear planned, when it's actually the same old lovable train wreck every day.

Man, you are sharp-eyed: Why Today Doesn't Suck is indeed an NPR moment for me, and you are forcing me to face a topic that I have held in the deep, dark recesses of my topic list for a long time. You may force me to confront it. It threatens My Ticket Confession's entire reason for being. But certain unpleasant things must be faced sooner or later.

Not that it makes a lot of difference. I sometimes wonder who reads this thing other than you and P1 Steven and a couple of other faithful Confessors that I hear from from time to time. Well, as Mike R says, It's Great to Listen to The Ticket, and I have fun writing about it, even if not too many are listening.

Sleep tight.

And send a link to all your Ticket pals.