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.


Anonymous said...

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.

This is just a horrible, horrible idea. Why would you want this crap on The Ticket?

Just can TRR. There's enough Cowboy talk already. We haven't even hit the first week of the season and I'm already sick of hearing about The Cowboys.

Blue Moon said...

Agree with Anon:

1. There is already too much Cowboys coverage as it is. You could cut 70% and it would still be too much. Who cares how many picks Alan Ball had in practice? Ugh! If you need to know how Roy Williams looks in shorts and a T-shirt, you need a life.

2. If you want gossip, just repeat Ed Weder's stuff.

3. Going Cowboy TMZ will eliminate the only decent Cowboy coverage -- the training camp bits with Donnie and Corby. Why would they talk to the Ticket guys on air if the Ticket becomes TMZ?

The Plainsman said...

Thanks Anon and Blue Moon. It sounds that at least we all agree that TRR in its present configuration is a waste of time.

I also agree that for all the money Cumulus spends to send showgrams to San Antone and Oxnard, Corby's and Donovan's candid interviews are just about the only items unique to training camp that The Ticket manages to find. During this entire TC period, did you hear a single observation about the team that required The Ticket's presence there?

I also more-or-less agree that we don't want vicious unsupported gossip on the air, so if that's what you took from my reference to TMZ, I probably agree with that, too. (Although it must be said that whether you like gossipy stuff or not, TMZ generally supports its stories.)

However, I absolutely believe that Ticket guys and Dallas News guys and Star-Telegram guys and probably the TV sports guys (the last of whom are under even more severe constraints) hear a lot more about the Cowboys -- and hear it repeatedly, and credibly -- than they disclose on the air. Now, is it the case that they dummy up because they're concerned about access? Sure it is -- and that's my point: If you don't break out of that mold you're going to get exactly the same repetitive, dull Cowboys BS that we're already tired of two games into pre-season.

I'm not advocating for shock journalism here -- I just refuse to believe that arguably the most popular sports team in the country possessing characters up and down the roster and executive suite with that always-tasty combination of giant ego and appalling judgment are as cortex-numbingly dull as TRR and The Ticket (and sports-talk radio generally) make them seem. What, exactly, would The Ticket lose if it broadcast the more credible of the more interesting items they acquire? Access? Access to what? The party line? It's freely available universally the instant the Cowboys release it. Name me the last interesting interview you heard with a Cowboy (outside of Donovan's and Corby's ambushes).

As noted in the first installment, you get more interesting perspectives from the sources that are NOT beholden to the Cowboys. Observers outside of Dallas aren't fearful of broadcasting what they hear about the team. It is perfectly understandable why Todd Archer would be, which is why TRR needs to go. But can't a powerhouse like The Ticket get something better?

The Plainsman said...
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The Plainsman said...
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