Part 1: http://myticketconfession.blogspot.com/2010/08/general-unified-theory-of-bad-radio.html
Part 2: http://myticketconfession.blogspot.com/2010/08/general-unified-theory-of-bad-radio_05.html
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.