Sunday, July 4, 2010

Danny Draws Back the Curtain

A post or two ago I tossed a bouquet to Jeff Catlin , Program Director at The Little One (he may have a different Cumulus title, not sure).  He drops a line now and then, always polite, usually pointing out areas of disagreement, but always in pretty neutral tones.  I appreciate his communications and said so in the post.

An "Anonymous" poster, however, observed:  "Cat is a douche and doesn't respect all of his employees and most of the P1's."

I can't speak to Mr. Catlin's attitude towards his employees.  Although one does get the impression of a certain uneasy distance between JC and his charges, especially when he's referenced by Mike R on The Hardline.   As to the P1's, Your Plainsman mostly hears good things about his responsiveness, although I recall one commenter who didn't get a response to an email.  I imagine Mr. Catlin gets hundreds a day and probably doesn't (can't) respond to all of the genius suggestions he receives from The P1 Nation.  But perhaps Anonymous has information I lack.

Which is why I found this morning's Orphanage of interest.  (I'd been able to catch a fair amount of Cirque du Sirois (damned clever name) substituting for the Teebox.  Based on early returns, CdS is a pretty good show that suffers only from the Ben-and-Skin disease of the hosts sounding too much alike -- in this case for pretty good DNA-based reasons.  I'll have more to say about it in the future.)

Anyway, a caller on the "Ask the Orphanage" segment asked why The Ticket didn't run The Orphanage as a substitute programming for the regular weekday shows when those hosts were on vacation, since (in that caller's and his pals' opinion) the Orphanage was the best show on The Ticket.

Danny's initial response was "Because Cat hates us."  Upon brief reconsideration, he said that there were two reasons. 

First -- if I understood him correctly -- Danny explained that The Orphanage, as a successor to The Rant, got "grandfathered in" as a show that was not required to conform strictly to the X-percentage-of-sports-talk format.  Other shows, he said -- and I tend to credit this account -- are constantly importuned to maintain a substantial amount of actual sports talk.  The number Danny threw out was 60%, but I'm not sure if that was intended to be an accurate report or just an illustration of Cat's instruction to emphasize sports talk.  But The Orphanage is apparently exempt from that requirement, and Danny thought that Cat would not "trust" them to do a conventional sports-talk showgram substituting for a regular weekday show.  (Ironically, today's show was heavily sports-oriented, and probably had the most intensive World Cup coverage I've heard to date on The Ticket -- and since I usually tune such talk completely out, it was a tribute to the show that I didn't.)  

Second, he said, "Cat hates us."

I can understand why Mr. Catlin might have a problem with Mr. Balis.  I don't have a firm grip on Dave Lane's persona -- I gather he may have had a more prominent role on The Ticket in the past, perhaps before I got to Dallas in the mid-Oughts.  (I could never figure out who "Gen-X Davey" was.)   And I assume Dave has an actual paying job elsewhere.  Danny, however, gives every indication of being an actual honest-to-Jah free spirit who enjoys his freedom more than his radio gig and probably would not be the favorite of any supervisor who wanted employees to, you know, comply with his employer's instructions and policies, as employees are universally required to do.   

Cat's problem (if Danny's suggestion that there is a problem is to be credited), of course, is that -- putting aside attitude for the time being -- Danny is a truly gifted human.  Let's see:  He's a composer; producer; musical performer; witty; funny (not the same thing); a talented broadcaster as a secondary sidekick; a talented broadcaster as a show host; and a notable content provider ("What's On Mike's Mind" intros and other similar contributions).  Also a man-about-Dallas through his performing and his friendships with the Wilonskyesque Observer-orbit hipster element.  And a thoughtful mentor to that nice young Michael Gruber.     

And, I suspect, a Galaxy-Class pain in the ass to the KTCK/Cumulus overlords.

And it's true that the Dark Cloud emerges from time to time to annoy the hoi polloi P1 Nation with his overcool musical tastes and his cynicism about matters that may call for it in the abstract (for example, most of pop culture), but which he tends to oversmack on The Hardline.  But man, if he weren't there M-F 3:30-7, you'd miss him terribly. 

 (By the way -- does anyone know why George refers to him as "Big Dumb Danny"?  When I hear that [although I haven't heard him say it in awhile], I get this image of George walking around in a big glass house, with me standing outside with a chunk of feldspar -- or perhaps gneiss -- in my hand, ready to chuck.)

But returning to the original point -- doesn't it say something positive about Mr. Catlin that despite what he may see as unacceptable disrespect for Cumulus programming goals by the obstreperous Danny B, he recognizes what he's got and not only declines to terminate the the SOB, but actually gives him his own showgram?   

Before I sign off:    Will one of my faithful Confessors please remind me to post sometime on the extremely intriguing Danny B/Gordon K dynamic? 

Ah, dammit.  It's Great to Listen to The Ticket. Hurrah for the freakin' Fourth of July, everyone.


Anonymous said...

Davey was, interestingly enough, the producer of the Hardline in the late 90s/early 2000s...holding basically the same job that Danny has now, and was always introduced at the start of each show by Mike as "Generation X's own Davey Lane," which of course was eventually shortened a bit.

P1 Steven said...

I have always mentioned THE ORPHANAGE as one of my favorite shows. I think Danny has done more than is part to fill the gap left behind by sweet Greggo

chris said...

Did Davey produce? I thought Catlin was their producer and Davey did awesome/horribly-botched Tickers.

chris said...

Also, I think "Big Dumb Danny" started a while back in one of Mike's top of the show introduction iterations.

Michael said...

Davey was Hardline Ticker man for a year or two in the early 2000's, preceded and proceeded by Followill. Danny succeeded Cat as producer in 1999.

The Plainsman said...

Thanks for all the info. Very helpful in understanding some of the Ticket history I wasn't around for.

Got a lot of traffic for this piece. We get to know these guys so well (or think we do) that we inevitably try to read between the lines to figure out what the relationships truly are behind the scenes. All Confessor theories gratefully accepted.

Anonymous said...

Truth be told, Danny succeeded Cat in May of 2000. Before that, Danny was producing The Ender at night--co-hosted by Followill, which opened the Hardline ticker opening that Dave Lane took over in 1999. He then left as Followill came back. Davey was never HL producer

The Plainsman said...

Thamks, Anon. That predates my arrival in Dallas, so I'm always glad to have these bits of Ticket history to illuminate present relationships.