Saturday, August 28, 2010

Confessor Nation: I Respectfully Request That You Tune in to "The Orphanage" on The Ticket, 10 AM to Noon, Saturdays

I know I don't have an Oprah-like influence on your life, but I do recommend that you tune in to the Danny Balis/Dave Lane Saturday morning show.   All orphans deserve our support -- well, they're not really orphans, they were just given up for adoption and have since tracked down their very-much-living mothers -- and lately the boys have taken to discussing the lack of promotional support for their showgram and their correspondingly dismal ratings.

So I thought I'd chip in for The Orphanage.  Thanks to P1 Steven, I've had a couple of spikes in readership here (he linked to Part 1 of my massive BaD Radio Trilogy from a couple of weeks back durng the live online chat with Dan McDowell a couple of days ago -- I'm sure Dan appreciated the broader dissemination of Your Plainsman's uncertainty over Dan's broadcast value).  So as long as I have a few more of you clicking over, I thought I'd exercise my vast invluence to engage in some special pleading for one of this site's favorites.

Yes, the show is suffused with a certain degree of cynicism and ├╝bercoolness as would any showgram anchored by Danny.  But it's a lot of fun, very smart, and when they do talk sports, it's about as astute as what you hear on The Hardline and most of The Musers (except when Craig is delivering himself of one of his close readings of the record, which is just about the smartest sports talk I've ever heard).  Also some of the best listener calls you will hear on The Ticket.

So give it a spin:

WHAT:  The Orphanage
WHERE:  1310 AM or 104.1 FM, and I guess some HD channel I don't remember
WHEN:   Saturdays, 10 AM to Noon
WHAT ELSE:   Become a fan on their Facebook page
ANYTHING ELSE:  Become a fan of Dave's new Facebook page (OldWaver) and check out his music blog (


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sportsy Semi-Druggy Question

If Phiten titanium necklaces favored by today's major leage baseball contestants are not a complete fraud --

that is, if, in the words of Phiten's website:

they "work with your body’s energy system, helping to regulate and balance the flow of energy throughout your body"; and that

"[p]roper energy balance helps to alleviate discomfort, speed recovery, and counteract fatigue. Athletes find that they tire less easily and recover faster from intense physical activity"; and that

"[f]urther benefits of Phiten’s exclusive technology are more relaxed muscles leading to less stress and a greater range of motion that can be of great benefit to an athlete"; because, as everyone knows,

"[t]itanium emits energy that is effective in controlling the flow of bioelectric current. When this current is stabilized, the muscles relax and blood circulation increases, allowing for easier movement and pain relief. All Phiten® products help relieve pain in muscles and joints by improving the alignment of ions, especially at the body's crucial motor points" --

then shouldn't they be treated as an illegal performance-enhancing substance?  

That is, of course, if they're not a complete fraud.

Monday, August 23, 2010

As Long as We Have to Have Fight Night . . .

.  .  .  I have a few suggestions.  Yes, it's true I don't like Fight Night, but I had these gags kicking around, so thought I'd dig them out of the scrap heap. 

     --   Dr. William Boothe v. Dr. Gary Tylock

     --   The CEO of D and M Leasing v. the CEO of AutoFlex Leasing

     --   The battle of the Smiths -- Barb v. Alexis

     --   George DeJohn v. the KFC Double-Down Sammich

     --   Fake Jerry v. Real Jerry

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Teebox Resume Talk

I like the Teebox non-golf segments.  Always something of interest there.  Yesterday they discussed the awful resumes they were getting and the inexplicable cluelessness of job applicants for their expanding operation.

I sympathize.  I'm not in management or an HR guy, but my employer asks me to look over resumes and other materials submitted by prosective employees from time to time.  It's astounding how bad some of them are.  Like Rick and Craig, I'm amazed that in this economy persons seeking work aren't more careful about what they throw out there.   Especially since there is lots of free online help for persons creating resumes and trying to make a good impression.

(BTW:  I'm on the side of those who want to see cover letters.  Unless it's a commodity-type job were personal impressions and communications skills are of no importance, I want all the evidence I can get on the way a person presents himself or herself.  You can even learn something about an applicant by judging whether they have taken care to ensure that their cover letter leaves an overall pleasant visual impression, quite aside from its prose.)

It is a symptom of a larger problem, which is the poor work attitude of persons in their twenties these days.   The children of yuppies, they carry with them a sense of entitlement.  They emit the vibe that upon their arrival they have nothing to prove, that they're too talented to be given the scut work that they were hired to do.  They've been overpraised throughout their childhood and academic careers, have never developed any realistic self-awareness, and are unprepared for the reality that by the time they score a top job they're average or worse among their peers.

In addition, I question the education that some of them are receiving.   Even those from supposedly reputable schools arrive for their first responsible job with poor habits of thought.  They are not thorough, they are not imaginative, they lack initiative, and they struggle to express themselves.  Whenever I hear some progressive educator criticizing the "back to basics" movement, I wish he or she had to deal with some of the poorly-trained prima donnas I've seen over the past decade or so.  No surprise that their resumes suck, too.

There was one absolutely precious moment in the show.  Craig Rosengarden (who else?) was talking about the crappy resumes he'd been reviewing, and he said:  They even spelt my name wrong."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why Did My Hits Go Through the Roof Friday?

Your Ticket Confession was bumping along with its usual number of daily hits, fairly healthy, probably not in unTicket territory, but not bad.  Usually about 2/3 of my hits are from past visitors, 1/3 first-timers.

Then today, my hits and my page views tripled.  And these were mostly first-timers.  I did have a new post up last night, but it looks like most of my hits are coming directly from Google, mostly people looking for Alexis news and other stuff about The Little One.

Usually when I get an inexplicable spike, it's because someone has linked to this site.  But I don't seem to be getting traffic from any other site (other than Google). 

Does anyone know if there's something up with Alexis or The Ticket that would be sending folks out looking for Ticket sites all of a sudden? 

Anyway, welcome to all.  Look around, hope you find something that attracts your interest.  Thank you for shopping at My Ticket Confession.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


You may have come to look upon Your Plainsman as a stalwart voice of fearless P1 commentary, speaking truth to power -- or, since we're talking about The Ticket's signal, speaking truth to underpower.   However, Y.P. is also a Confessor, and here's the latest:

I don't like Fight Night.

I wrote very briefly about this over a year ago, back when I only had a couple of hits a day.  (And I think both of them were probably me, checking for comments.)   I don't have anything against the sport of boxing.   But I can't shake the feeling that when it comes to Fight Night, the only question is not whether a catastrophe will occur, but when.

When I say catastrophe, I'm not talking about a financial catastrophe, someone getting hurt and suing Cumulus or a host who solicited a bout.  I'm sure the "fighters" all sign releases assuming the risk of injury, and Cumulus must haves insurance.  I also assume that The Ticket has instructed its phalanx of attorneys to file all required paperwork and secure all necessary licenses  from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Combative Sports Division).  

(A quick glance at the FAQ for that department indicates that amateur bouts need to be licensed.  Fighters, have you provided the records of your annual comprehensive medical exam, an ophthalmologist/optometrist eye exam, and negative results for Hepatitis B antigen and Hepatitis C antibody and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody?  If you're over 36, have you turned in your electroencephalography and electrocardiogram results as well as a report of your comprehensive annual physical?  Everything in order with the Department?  Surety bonds posted?  All time limits observed?  All the rest?  Good.)

When I talk about catastrophe befalling The Ticket, I'm not talking about massive personal injury damage awards, or about the State of Texas swooping in and shutting the thing down if The Ticket hasn't squared things with Austin.  I'm talking about the how Fight Night could bring all the fun of The Ticket to a premature conclusion.

I know the fighters have headgear.  And gloves.  And the highly experienced Richard Steele in the ring to keep things orderly.   The rounds are short.  The fights are short.

But you're putting people in that ring with no concept of how to defend themselves, people who may never have taken a punch in their lives.  It only takes one shot to the head or gut or even chest, or one awkward fall to the canvas, one head snapping the wrong way or too far, to cause serious injury, paralysis, or death.

How long have they had Fight Night?  I think it got started sometime after I got to DFW in 2004, but I could be wrong about that.  True it is that there hasn't been any catastrophic injury to date.  I doubt that happy record can be maintained indefinitely. 

Can you imagine, O Confessors, what would happen to The Ticket if a contestant were killed, permanently injured, or paralyzed?  It wouldn't just be the end of Fight Night.  It would be the occasion for all of the Ticket critics to go absolutely wild.  If the regulations for the fight (see the above link to the State of Texas website) had not been observed, there could be criminal prosecution.  Those crazy guys don't seem quite so funny now, do they?  Editorialists would call for a general Ticket cleanup.  Anti-fight people would come out of the walls.  And what about the group "represented" by the seriously injured combatant?

I accept all criticism that I'm being an alarmist about this.  I acknowledge that the risk is small.  Amateurs fight all the time without getting seriously hurt or killed.  But those fights aren't sponsored by an extraordinarily popular and visible -- and controversial -- media property.  It would only take one serious injury to a woman, or to some mismatched contestant, or to anyone else who had no business in a boxing ring, to absolutely rock The mighty Ticket.  No P1 would want to see this happen.

So:  I accept the mantle of Weenie this occasion.  I certainly hope that no one gets hurt, this year or ever.

I'll leave you with one word:


And one final thought:

Mike Bacsik didn't kill anybody.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

MORE FROM THE ARCHIVES -- Archer v. Spagnola: Or, a Modest Proposal on What (if Anything) to Do About "The Ranch Report" -- PART 2

In the previous post I rambled on about how colorless and uninteresting The Ranch Report has been, whether in the hands of Mickey Spagnola or Todd Archer.

Before throwing out a couple of respectful suggestion, let us consider the possibility that there just isn't enough news coming out of Valley Ranch on a daily basis to make The Ranch Report compelling listening under any circumstances.

OK, I’ve considered it. I don't believe it. My guess is that the Ticket hosts themselves hear an enormous amount of inside Cowboy information that they do not share with the P1 Refugees. (And inside info re the Mavericks, and Rangers, and Stars (but who cares) and FC Dallas (ditto in spades).) Interesting information; information that affects on-field decisions and performance. Who's up, who's down, who's at the clubs late at night, who doesn’t like white (or black) guys, who got chewed out on Monday, who's switched from D&M Auto Leasing to AutoFlex. That would be a Ranch Report worth listening to.

Of course, all of this is complicated by The Ticket's "partnership" with the Dallas Morning News. (I really need to pick up the DMN to see how the partnership is manifested in its pages. I'm guessing that the DMN needs The Ticket more than vice-versa, but that's a topic for another time.) Maybe they have some kind of legal or moral obligation to feature the DMN beat guy on the station.

If not, then I have several modest proposals:

First, safe suggestion: Get an “outside” Michael Lombardi-type or Peter King-type – he (or she) wouldn’t have to be of national renown, just a skilled and knowledgeable pro sports reporter or observer (ex-jock, but not Troy Aikman) – to do a report devoted solely to the team at issue (Cowboys, Rangers, Mavs, Stars) Might be expensive, but remember, we’re putting on a better show here. Advertisers would pay more to be associated with a name commentator.

For an example of this, think about Mark Followill’s calls to the Hardline. Those are terrific segments. Followill is employed by – hell, I don’t know, but if he’s not employed by the Mavericks, then the Mavericks undoubtedly have a voice in his retention. Nevertheless, his commentary on the Mavericks is informed and candid. It is interesting to listen to because we have come to trust him not to pull his punches.

Second, out-there suggestion: Turn The Ranch Report into more of a TMZ-styled segment in which some of the stuff that sports radio guys actually hear about the Cowboys makes it onto the air. I absolutely understand that The Ticket does not want to traffic in naked rumors, in stuff that has no indicia of reliability, or highly personal information that, if disclosed, would threaten reputations and relationships. But O Confessors, you well know that there is a large amount of credible and juicy information that swirls around a team with the high public profile of the Cowboys, and a lot of it leaks out, and a lot of it visible out on the street. Someone knows that information and can make an informed editor's draw between the likely and the unlikely. Where is that knowledgeable person? Who should be doing The Ranch Report? I have no idea. Hey, I'm not paid to provide all the answers. (Hmm, come to think of it, I'm not paid for ANY of these jewels.)

My modest proposal is that The Ranch Report should be ditched and replaced by a segment with news of interest to P1s. Call it . . .

    The Death Star Dish
    Voiice from the Valley
    Cowboy Confidential

. . . or something less crappy. I think I might use a female reporter, even if she were not the source of the information. There are all kinds of ways this could work without significant risk of liability. The Ticket doesn’t have to worry about a paycheck from the Cowboys. It doesn’t have to worry very much about access – how sad would we be if The Ticket were denied access to Martellus Bennett? A small price to pay for even more startling ratings. Can you imagine the hullabaloo if The Little Ticket broke a story or two?

Third – solely procedural – suggestion: Two, three times a week would be often enough for either the current Ranch Report or any of these suggested variations.   The Ranch Report itself (with Archer or someone like him) might be better if it appeared less frequently and the host could gin up some tidbits for us.

Whatever you do, Cumulus – don't subject us to another year of the sound-check Ranch Report.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Archer v. Spagnola: Or, a Modest Proposal on What (if Anything) to Do About "The Ranch Report" -- PART 1

[[Confessors:  This article and the one following appeared in slightly different form in February of this year.  At that time, I was laboring in relative obscurity with only a handful of visitors a day.  Since then, you have been kind enough to click over in greatly increased numbers.  I need to take a break for a few days, and when I heard Todd Archer a couple of days ago I thought it might be worthwhile to re-run this.  It is somewhat dated, and I have edited it slightly to bring it up to date.  I apologize to long-time Confessors who have already digested these timeless thoughts.  I'll be back with new material shortly.  Thank you.  -- Plainsman]]

When Mickey Spagnola was doing The Ranch Report, we all knew he was an employee of the Cowboys. So we always kinda didn't know what to make of his reports. Was this the straight stuff or was it the company line? He was always a voice-of-reason kind of guy, seldom had any really serious breaking news unless it was fairly minor – someone held out of practice for one reason or another. He came across as a pretty OK guy, and the Ticket hosts seemed to like him.

But I wonder if anyone had the same feeling I had: The Ranch Report usually brought the Hardline (and other shows it was on) to a gentle stop. The most interesting thing about it was Michael's sing-songy introduction. We'd either heard Mickey's stuff already on a Ticket Ticker, or what we were going to hear was not of much significance. Once in awhile he'd offer a tastier observation, but those instances were few and far between. There was never much banter or warmth between Mickey and the hosts.
Then the Cowboys moved on to a better signal – and perhaps more respectful treatment at the hands of the local hosts, or more money, or who knows why – and Mickey went with them. Todd Archer,  Dallas News Cowboys beat guy, was now reporting from the Ranch. I recall his first few dispatches as pretty good. Good energy, some interesting observations. Seemed to work well with the hosts. Mike seemed excited to have him on.

I would be interested in the observations of fellow Confessors on his performance over the course of the NFL year. I want to be fair. Archer is not a professional broadcaster and should not be held to high standards of audio professionalism. But the tradeoff we’re looking for here is that in return for listening to this press guy’s voice, we’re going to get some shinier nuggets than Spagnola doled out.

Personally, I was disappointed. His reports grew less informative, seldom offering the kind of "inside" stuff that one would expect from an objective report issuing from Valley Ranch. His energy level sank. His radio presence was nowhere near as vibrant as Spagnola's, for about the same amount of not-very-sexy information. Like Spagnola, Archer seems like a real nice guy and a knowledgeable guy, a sense of humor, too, and at least the various hosts didn't show the contempt for him that they sometimes show for third-party participants in the show.  As they had with Spagnola, Archer's Ranch Reports became an opportunity to punch P2 and listen to "All Things Considered."

Upon reflection, the reason for the lack of interesting information conveyed during The Ranch Report was obvious: Just as one could not blame Spagnola for respecting the source of his paycheck, one cannot blame Archer for (and I am speculating here with zero evidence) protecting the trust that gives him access to inside information he needs to do his job. He surely knows (or reasonably suspects) more than he’s giving us on The Ranch Report. But I feel for the guy -- he can't say what he knows, or pretty soon his Cowboy sources (the sources he needs to do his real job of sportswriting) would cut him off. So we probably need to give both Mickey and Todd a break, concede that they’re good at what they do, and regret that there is a price to be paid in the coin of broadcast discretion in return for a continued paycheck and/or continued access.

If you think I’m being too harsh, O my Confessors, let me ask you this: Would you rather listen to Cowboy talk from either of the “insiders” on The Ranch Report, or would you rather listen to Cowboy talk from “outsider” Michael Lombardi on the Musers?

[PART 2 from the archives, with some suggestions for livening up The Ranch Report, will appear in a few days.]

Monday, August 9, 2010

The General Unified Theory of BaD Radio -- Part 3 (Conclusion)

Part 1:

Part 2:

After all the verbiage of Parts 1 and 2, Your Plainsman had reached the utterly unremarkable conclusions (1) that Dan McDowell and BaD Radio are the most polarizing of the hosts and showgrams, respectively (a conclusion which seems to have been borne out by the traffic to this site and the comments to the posts); and (2) that Dan McDowell does not wreck BaD Radio and that the showgram is, on balance, a pleasurable listen (a conclusion which is borne out by the fact that it's a number-one show in the market [thanks to Confessor Christy for the research, and if you haven't checked her War-and-Peace-length-comments-and-yes-I-know-I'm-a-fine-one-to-talk comments to Part 2, you should] and has been around with the same two hosts for ten years).

You waded through all those syllables for that? 

But there's something else I've concluded about Dan, something that may be utterly wrong, something that may be so utterly wrong that you will question Your Plainsman's judgment.  Not that you don't already. 

But this conclusion is why I think I, speaking only for myself, find listening to BaD Radio such an off-center experience.

I got to Dallas in 2004.  I mostly got to hear The Musers and The Hardline, but I'd catch BaD Radio now and then, and a snippet here and there on the Top 10.  Bob and Dan on wife swaps and round tables.  And I'm thinking -- Dan:  smart guy, quick-witted, but something  .  .  .  .

Then The Ticket's fifteenth anniversary arrived.  They taped a show where all the hosts sat in two rows.  I hadn't ever seen the hosts live and barely knew what they looked like.  (I hoped I could find the video to see if my impressions and memories of that broadcast were accurate, but I can't find it anywhere.  Jeff C asked The Unticket to remove the video link, and I haven't found it on The Ticket website or You Tube.  If any Confessors know where it may be found, I'd be grateful for the advice.)  I wasn't paying particular attention to any particular host.

But I sat up when Dan McDowell entered and was introduced.

He appeared to be scared to death.  He looked like he would rather have been anywhere but there with his long-time colleagues.  Not one indication of pleasure to be there -- a co-host of a top-rated show on one of the most popular and remarkable radio stations in the United States, and he looked like someone had just told him that Dan Bennett was back at Ticket International Headquarters auditing his hard drive. 

As I say, I didn't know what Dan looked like at the time, and maybe that's the way he always looks.  But I was struck by his facial expressions and body language that night.   Surely, as a long-time major host, he must have said something during the panel presentation (and I understand that the broadcast did not capture the entire presentation to the live audience),  and I have the very dimmest recollection that he uttered one somewhat sarcastic phrase somewhere along the line -- that I can't swear to -- but other than that I don't remember a single contribution.

From that point, I began to pay attention to Dan's place within the whole structure of The Ticket.  And -- I swear, Confessors, if you tell me this is my imagination I will not disagree with you -- I began to notice that his colleagues displayed a very, a very, uh  .  .  .  odd attitude toward him. 

     --  I remember one afternoon long ago on The Hardline.  They were out in California, probably at training camp.  Mike just mentioned that he'd gone to a concert with Dan McDowell.  There was a moment of silence.  Corby asked something like:  How'd that go?  Mike said:  Fine.  Or maybe it was Fine, fine.   He might have said something else that is lost in the mists of time, but I guarantee you it was conspicuously noncommittal.   And that was the end of that. 

     --  I have caught references from time to time that early on in the Bob/Dan partnership, Bob couldn't stand Dan.  (I think it was recently, in connection with the anniversary of the "moron dog" episode.)  I sometimes wonder when I listen to them how they feel about one another now.  Like you always wondered whether Johnny Carson really liked Ed McMahon.

     --  Dan gets almost no good-natured joshing from the other hosts.  Danny blasted him the other day, but it wasn't good-natured joshing.  (See Part 2 -- Danny observed that Dan "bogs crap down.")  In fact, he's seldom mentioned at all.  Bob is mentioned; Donovan, the newest addition, gets a mention now and then.  Dan -- almost never.

     --  Again, could be my imagination, but on wife-swaps and round-tables where Dan is present, I get almost no gestalt of warmth between the other hosts and Dan.

     --  I keep hearing that BaD Radio is fan-friendly, and I believe it, but it's hard to find much about Dan online.  I looked for a photo of Dan by himself and other than rather disrespectful Photoshopped stuff all I could find was that postage-stamp image featured in Part 2.  This one, that appeared in a table of a number of local pundits predicting the Cowboys' season game by game:

I realize this has absolutely zero to do with his performance on BaD Radio.  But it has something to do with the way I hear him.

I think there's something going on with Dan at The Ticket, something that started when he got there and has not diminished, and may have grown, over the years.  Part of it, I speculate, is that he is an insecure guy.  This would explain his unfortunate tendency to belittle people who have scant ability to defend themselves.  (And some Confessors who defend and like Dan agree with me that this is an unnattractive feature of his broadcasting habits.)  Part of it may be nothing more than that somewhere along the line, he has rubbed his Ticket peers the wrong way.     

And part of it may be that he's just not comfortable being one of the Ticket guys for reasons that don't emerge on the air.  Not a carouser; not a late-night guy; not a hang-around-the-station guy; not some other thing.

Which leads to my final, largely irrelevant, element of the General Unified Theory of BaD Radio:

(3)  Dan McDowell is on The Ticket -- but he is not of The Ticket.

This, I think, is why I haven't fully embraced BaD Radio -- because Dan doesn't feel like a full investor to me, even though he's been a steady and popular presence there for a decade.  Can I think of an analogy  .  .  .  try this:   He's the the Mark Teixeira of The Ticket -- a talented performer, but holding the team at arms'-length.  And it feels the same way about him.

I was fascinated by the comments to Part 2 of this endless series.  Let me quote from a first-rate comment left by Anonymous, who is a firm fan of BaD Radio:

"[Dan] makes people uncomfortable. He goes places people don't like. And he enjoys doing it. And it's interesting to listen to. Dan is the only guy you really never know what he's gonna say.  *   *   *   BaD Radio is definitely harder to listen to than Musers or Hardline. It's the most un-Ticket-like. Or is it the most?" 

It sounds like Anonymous and I would agree that Dan is something of an outlier at The Ticket.  He finds it a virtue, as do some other Confessors who have left comments. 

I agree that he makes people uncomfortable.  I'm one of them.  I'm thinking that some of the others draw their paychecks from Cumulus Media, Inc.

It's Great to Listen to The Ticket.  But as I sit here in the hot, hot summer of 2010, it's only Good to Listen to BaD Radio.

But it is Good.


Well, we've come a long way.  I'd been putting this off for a long time.  As George C. Scott said at the end of his opening speech in "Patton":  All right now, you sons of bitches -- you know how I feel.  (I am sure that no Confessors are actually sons or other offspring of bitches.) 

Thanks to all Confessors and visitors for your patience, and Thank You for Shopping at My Ticket Confession.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The General Unified Theory of BaD Radio -- PART 2

When we were last gathered together, I'd started thinking about BaD Radio. I said some nice things about Bob and Donovan.

You may think I'm going to be critical of Dan McDowell, but you would only be partly right. Early on in my Ticket-listening career I zeroed in on Dan as the source of my discomfort wtih BaD Radio, but I wasn't sure why. So in the spirit of fairness, let's review some of Dan's good qualities.

     --  He is very smart. I suppose everyone at The Ticket is pretty bright, but Dan gives an impression of both quickness and thoughtfulness. Example: A couple of weeks ago when Mark Cuban was first dipping his toe in the Rangers' cesspool, Dan came up with a great instant analysis. His point was that he liked Cuban as an owner where (as with the Mavericks) he's an emotional wild-assed fan. But he liked the thought of Cuban as an owner a lot less when he was acting more as a self-interested investor. Struck me as exactly right, and pretty soon we did see the unattractive side of Cuban with his apparent abandonment of Greenburg and Nolan, contrary to what he told The Ticket in a memorable interview.

     --  Good family man.  Likes dogs. 

     --  Quickness + intelligence = sometimes funny.  (Sometimes -- see below.)

     --  I have heard that he is very P1-friendly via e-mail and at remotes, along with Bob and Donovan.  That recommends him very highly, as I do not get that vibe from the other hosts.  Unfortunately, this particular quality is not one that has much to do with the broadcast on a day-to-day basis.   Important to the fan base overall, but not meaningful to me, as I don't attend remotes or correspond with the hosts.

     --  Again, along with Bob and Donovan, much less smutty than The Musers and especially The Hardline.  I speculate that this is why the showgram has a reputation as being the most popular show among women.  (Irrelevant aside:  Not only that, but being broadcast during the work day when many women are home or out running errands or driving the kids around, the percentage of women who are able to tune in will be higher than it is with the other shows.  Hence its reputation as a hit with the ladies.)

So, some very good things.  Against these positive elements:

     -- Those pipes. Not fair, I know. Highly subjective, I know. I just find that sound unappealing and there's nothing either of us can do about it. BUT: I got used to Howard Cosell. I got used to Pee-Wee Herman. I could get used to Dan.  So the voice shouldn't have anything to do with it.

     -- He calls out colleagues on the air. And not in an amusing, teasing way, but in a way that should be saved for private meetings with whoever has upset him that particular time. When I was listing these pluses and minuses I hadn't heard his attempt to read an internal memo on the air that would likely be embarassing to Ticket producers -- the one that got BaD booted off the air for 1.5 segments. When I heard it, I thought yup, sounds like something he'd do. Yes, other show hosts flog underlings on the air. Usually it sounds like good-natured joshing. With Dan, it sounds like mean-spirited scoreboarding of guys who don't make a fraction of his coin.    I discuss this in my article about his memo-reading.

     --  Norm is right:  Dan makes a joke out of damned everything.  Jokes are good, right?  Lotta jokes on The Ticket, right?  Two problems:  (1) His jokes are frequently offered by interrupting other speakers.  (2) The jokes are almost never of a quality that justify the interruption.  Dan's humor tends strongly toward the sarcastic, cynical and, most of all, smug.  Danny Balis is not the chief Dark Cloud on The Ticket.  Dan is.  As a result:

     --  He's a segment killer.  He does this in a couple of different ways:

         (1)   I can't believe I heard Danny B say it on Monday, August 2, the same day I wrote this:  Danny was badgering Corby and Mike, who were squabbling over some irrelevancy or other, to get the segment back on topic, and Danny said -- I wrote down his exact words -- "You're almost as bad as Dan McDowell in terms of bogging crap down."   Yeah, that's it.  Dan bogs crap down.   In this regard, Dan reminds me of Ben and Skin -- each was so interested in commenting ironically on the other's previous ironic comment, that the communication of actual content was agonizingly delayed.  The other day I was waiting for BaD to get going on an advertised segment, and Dan simply thrashed it to death with his interruptions and not-so-hilarious asides.

         (2)   He says the same thing over and over again.  Bob gets criticized for long-windedness, but Bob is more like Your Plainsman -- he goes on at extreme length, but he's going somewhere.  Dan takes one thought and repeats it ceaselessly.  Even Bob had had enough the other day.  Dan had delivered a lengthy disquisition on how upset he was about some guy -- to tell you the truth, I couldn't understand exactly what this guy was supposed to have done -- who was hosting some kind of online chat that was somehow connected with The Ticket's online presence, and who referred to Dan as a c-bomb, if I understood him correctly.  When Dan turned to Bob for agreement, Bob noted with some irritation that Dan's time-consuming rant had done nothing more than encourage people to search online for this miscreant.


I've heard from listeners (see comments to previous post) who believe Dan is the best host on The Ticket and that BaD is the best showgram.  Good, thoughtful comments.  I've also heard from people who dislike the guy and think he should be fired.  (Didn't his firing get a vote on E-Brake of the Week last week?)   As I look back at the Dan ledger sheet of assets and liabilities, I can't say that the the latter so outweigh the former that he can be said to turn BaD radio into, well, bad radio.  I can listen to the show.  I rarely switch it off when I have it on.  Yeah, I wish he were different, but to be fair I have to say that the overall BaD Radio listening experience is positive.

And then I realized that this the most pixels I've ever devoted to a single host in a single article in the year I've been flogging this site.  Which leads to the first element of the General Unified Theory of BaD Radio:

(1)  Dan McDowell is the most polarizing figure on The Ticket and, accordingly, BaD Radio the most polarizing showgram.

Yes, more polarizing than Corby.

And I'm listening.  I'm trying to listen more.  It's sorta aggravating, but I do it.  Even the people who outright dislike the guy must still be listening in order to offer that opinion.  Which leads to the second element of the General Unified Theory of BaD Radio:

(2)  Dan McDowell's negative influence on BaD Radio, if any, is not so great as to render the showgram unlistenable.

So far, these are pretty wimpy elements, I concede.  I mean, obviously -- the showgram has been on with the Bob/Dan team for ten years, so someone is listening and liking it.  But remember, I'm writing about my struggle with the thing.  And my conclusion that the showgram is worth my time, despite misgivings about one of its marquee figures.

I've got one more element that is even more diffuse and abstract, and one that gets at my personal discomfort with the show.  I still haven't gotten to what really -- I guess the word is intrigues -- me about Dan McDowell.

I know I said this was going to be a two-parter; nevertheless, PART 3 -- finally, the conclusion -- will appear in a few days.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The General Unified Theory of BaD Radio -- PART 1

I've been putting this one off for awhile.  But it's time.

Confessors, I need help.  I have a problem.

People ask me, "Why don't you write about BaD Radio?"

Actually  .  .  .  no one has ever asked me that.  Wait, I think Confessor Christy did once.

But this is supposed to be a website about The Ticket, the whole Ticket and nothing but The Ticket.  And there's this enormous midday gap in my reportage.  I need to do something about it.

At first, I had the excuse that I seldom heard BaD Radio.  There comes a time during my work day when I have to perform the illusion of doing useful work for my employer, and I figure it starts maybe a little more than an hour from the end of The Musers (I switch off before the 8:40 gag segment, since I'm going to hear it on the way to work the next day), and somewhere in the middle of What's on Mike's Mind.  So I miss Norm and BaD, usually.

But the truth is that I'm in my car a fairish amount after noon, and, of course, recently BaD had The Hardline's slot.  So I've heard enough to be able to comment on it with some small familiarity.

Get to the point, you say.   (If you say that, you haven't been reading this site very often.)

Your Confessor's aim with My Ticket Confession is to comment on The Ticket with fairness.  And since It's indeed Great to Listen to The Ticket, I try to keep the site generally positive and, when I can't be positive, at least even-handed.  I leave it to you to decide whether I've succeeded.

You know where I'm headed.

After six years of listening to The Ticket, I'm having some trouble warming up to BaD Radio.

Why is this my problem?

Well, jeez, I mean, BaD Radio is a very popular showgram.  Bob and Dan have been together for a decade.  I don't know where they fall in the ratings for that time of day, but I'm guessing they're right up there.

The reasons are not hard to see.  They pull some very good interviews.  They've got some good bits, like Homer Call and Gay/Not Gay, although some Confessors have complained to me that the latter segment has deteriorated in recent months (the boys apparently have stopped actually passing judgment on what is G/NG).  

Most important, listeners I respect like BaD Radio very much.  Several have told me it is their favorite showgram.  I credit that.   Thus, it must be my problem.

And yet, when I have it on for any period of time, I find myself wondering what Krys Boyd's got going on over on KERA 90.1 FM or whether I can pull in some jazz from Denton on KNTU 88.1 FM.

But since so many people love BaD Radio, including some influential Confessors, my somewhat-south-of-indifference attitude has got to be wrong, misinformed, a lapse of judgment or taste, something.   So why do I keep shrugging off this long-lived and very popular showgram?

I have a theory about BaD Radio. 

My theory doesn't make my problem go away, but it at least explains it.  That's a start. 

Let's take a look at the BaD Radio showgram:

I like Bob Sturm quite a bit.  Yes, his interviews are, mm, shall we say, discursive -- he deserves every bit of teasing he gets for long-windedness in interrogating showgram guests.  The guy is the absolute Pope of Subordinate Clauses.  (And, as you Confessors know, I have been known to employ a subordinate clause now and again myself.)   But he and Junior Miller are the sharpest sports minds on The Ticket.  (Norm is very interesting and gives a strong impression of knowledgeability, but his judgments tend to be, uh, somewhat, shall we say, colorful.  How does he do on the ponies?)   Bob is somewhat thin-skinned and peevish, and he does give off a vibe of very healthy self-regard.  He's also one of those guys who can be funny, but does not himself have a sensational sense of humor.  These are minor matters.  I very much like listening to him for his astute commentary, whether on BaD Radio, Cowboys pre-game, round tables, wife-swap, draft-day guest -- wherever he pops up, he's going to say something worth hearing.  His blog analyses are top-notch.  I count among my friends some of the most sophisticated pro football observers in the city, and, while they are not Ticket listeners, they greatly respect Bob's blog.  That sports expertise is actually something of a breath of fresh air on The Little One.  So -- good on Bob.

I also think very highly of Donovan Lewis.  He's excellent with Rich Phillips (an underrated on-air presence himself) running Black 'n' Quack, and his Cowboy pregame with Bob is also quite good, as is his post-game with Norm.  I've heard some criticism of Donovan, but I don't get it.  He's well-informed, enjoyable to listen to, good for some yuks.  He and his colleagues on The Ticket play his race at a pitch-perfect level.  It isn't exploited, but it's acknowledged and the humor related to his unique status on the station is effective without being offensive.   He's also good on the BaD showgram itself.  When they toss him a segment, it always attracts my interest.

That leaves Dan McDowell.

*   *   *

Part 2 of The General Unified Theory of BaD Radio will appear in a few days

I Cannot Get Danny's "Swimmin' Pool" Theme Song Out of My Head

Been tormenting me for a week now.  I feel like one of those guys who is prepared to damage his own skull to get those cursed alien transmitters out of there.