Thursday, September 30, 2010

FROM THE PLAINSMAN'S ARCHIVES: One -- No, Two of the Funniest Typographical Errors of All Time

I'm time-pressed to compose new jewels for you, so here's one from awhile ago for those of you who are more recent visitors.  I'll be back soon.  Have a splendid weekend.  Plainsman


Since yesterday was the sixteenth anniversary of the birth of The Ticket, I thought this might be the right time to post this item that's been rattling around on my topic list for awhile.

I read "Full Disclosure" in hardcover. It's not "Gone with the Wind," but it isn't badly written and moves along nicely, tells you some things the Ticket fanatic needs to know. And then I came to this typographical error that absolutely put me on the floor.

Now, the error appears in the course of George relating a story that was very frightening and unhappy for him and his family. But once you factor this out, and think about what this typo is saying, it's hilarious. And what is even more hilarious is that the book contains exactly the same typo a few pages later in an even more hilarious context.

Congregation, please turn to page 97 in your hardcover copy of "Full Disclosure." On that page you will see the dramatic story of how an out-of-control boater almost struck George's son Blake who was in the water having fallen off his skis. The bad boater missed Blake. You can imagine the drama of the scene when it was clear Blake was going to be OK. You yourself experience this relief, until you see this passage:

"It was just horrible. Everybody was crying, and my wife was balling."

I defy you to read that sentence and not have an image flash through your mind of Mrs. Dunham engaging in some grossly inappropriate behavior while everyone else is crying with relief, and I'm not talking about a pickup game of hoops.

The same error appears a few pages later as Junior is describing how he left a girlfriend in Dallas to try his luck in Colorado. They had dated for two or three years, but, Junior reports, "the relationship was wobbling a little bit." Upon parting, Junior recalled on page 107:

"It was really tough; I remember leaving her that morning and we were both balling."

Doesn't sound all that tough, really. I love that "both," as though perhaps they were not balling, uh, together. (If they were, you wouldn't need "both.") Of course, the word the writer (who apparently was working without an editor) was searching for is "bawling." I note the unusual acknowledgement in the front of the book: "Proofreading by Jennifer Canzoneri."

Someone must have brought this to the publisher's attention, because neither error appears in the paperback version. So hang on to that hardcover first edition, P1's – like a misstruck penny or a stamp mistakenly bearing a likeness of Pauly Shore, or Billy Ripkin's notorious 1989 Fleer baseball card – it'll be worth a fortune someday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pre-Game Quick Hit

Listening to Didactic and Quacktic (Sturm and Phillips) doing the Cowboy pre-game.   We've frequently heard sports-talk guys mull over whether the Cowboys' talent is overrated, but Bob is really digging into it, asking quite pointedly if the Cowboys' defense is the elite squad it is reputed to be.  He's coming around to the conclusion that it is not at the same level as the very best in the league, and that its reputation for being "elite" is a product of publicity rather than production. 

His and Rich's rapport is improving with each passing week.

This is so much better than what you get elsewhere, and even what you get in print jourmalism.  Which is why It's Great to Lis -- no, It's Inevitable to Listen to The Ticket. 


NOTE:  Schedule will make posting masterpieces difficult this week.  May dip into the archives. 

What I'd really like is for some of you to leave me some juicy, well-written comments and I'll reproduce them as primary articles (with full attribution, of course).  Either anonymous or signed, either way -- if I think they're of interest to Confessors worldwide, I'll give them a spin.  They don't have to be lengthy -- just well-written and with an original point of view.

Many thanks for your continued interest.

FURTHER NOTE:  You may post your comments on any article you wish.  I get notified whenever a new comment appears, so I see everything.  Thanks.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Listening Too Hard

This time it’s that ad for the service that books golf times for you. The one that starts with the guy telling the story of how the wife tells the husband that she and the kids are going out of town to visit her folks but he doesn’t have to go and he realizes he can go play golf if he's not too late to get a tee time.

This is where the stupidity starts.

The husband gets on the phone to the golf course and gets – a busy signal.

Not a ringing phone that isn’t being picked up – a busy signal.

Then the guy tells the busy signal to “pick up the phone.” He does this several times.

Only problem is that no one ever “picks up” when there’s a busy signal. Even if the person on the receiving end of the call who is on the phone generating the busy signal ends the call. The busy signal continues or the line goes dead.  (You can also get a busy signal if all available circuits are in use.)

So no one in his right mind would ever urge the unseen call recipient who is on the line to “pick up the phone.” When you dial a number and get a busy signal, do you sit there stupidly listening to the busy signal, hoping that someone will pick up? No, you hang up instantly and redial if you really need to get through.  So if anything, this numbskull is actually decreasing his chances of getting a tee time, since other smarter callers who have gotten a busy signal have wisely broken the connection and tried calling again.

Drives me nuts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Noted Hardline Co-Host Michael Rhyner (top) and Noted Character Actor (the late) Edgar Buchanan (bottom), best known as "Uncle Joe" on "Petticoat Junction."

Check out Uncle Joe on YouTube.  Uncle Joe sounds exactly like everyone's attempted impersonation of Mike.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

[WARNING: SPORTSY POST] Several Unoriginal and One Original Observation about the Dallas Football Cowboys

One of my blessedly rare sports articles. Sorry. I will return to my acute analysis of all matters Ticket soon.

Unoriginal observations follow:

(1) The team is poorly prepared and undisciplined. This is on Phillips and Garrett.

(2) The game-day employment of offensive talent is inexplicable. This is on Garrett, and, if Phillips is the actual head coach, also on him.

(3) The team is psychologically fragile and doesn’t handle gameday adversity well. This is also on Phillips and Garrett.

(4) What’s the problem? Players don’t pay a price in practice or otherwise for mistakes, poor play, and failure of discipline.

(5) Why not? Neither coach is strong or authoritative.

(6) Isn’t it also on the players? Not much. The Cowboys are widely acknowledged to have excellent talent at most positions, including all the skill positions. I agree. It would be extraordinary, however, if even this excellent talent chose to play to expectations that their own coaches either don’t hold or don’t enforce. If that’s the way team sports worked, great coaching wouldn’t be a significant factor in success. But we know that it is, so we should not expect even great players to perform beyond their bosses’ requirements.

(7) Why don’t we have strong authoritative coaches? Jerry Jones doesn’t want a strong authoritative coach.

(8) You said coaches, then you said coach. That’s another thing. Jones’s strategy of putting Garrett in place before hiring a weak nominal head coach guarantees no single day-to-day boss of the team, internal second-guessing, and Jerry as the CEO of the play on the field.

(9) Why doesn’t Jones want strong authoritative coaches? Because Jerry Jones is in love with his picks and acquisitions, is in love with owning jocks, and wants to hobnob with them and be their benevolent pal. He wants them to love him, too, and thus does not want the Cowboy experience to be unpleasant for them.

(10) Is that all? No, he also fancies himself a football savant qualified to direct onfield operations.

(11) Sounds hopeless. Oh, quite. We’re talking Little Big Horn here. The Cowboys will not win another championship during Jerry Jones’s tenure as shot-caller.  Since Jones, Phillips, and Garrett aren’t going anywhere this year absent the return of Jeebus, there is only one other possibility, which leads to . . .

An original observation, to the best of my knowledge:

Since the Cowboys will not succeed with the Ghidorah-headed monster running the show, the only solution is for control of the team to be taken from them for the balance of the season.

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster [Jones, Phillips, Garrett], battling Godzilla.  Ghidorah lost, too.

Romo and Gurode on offense, and Ware and Brooking on defense, should stage what would amount to a revolt, taking charge of all practices, if not the entire game preparation. Of course they would need the coaching staff’s intelligence on scouting the opposition for the week, but other than that, these guys should begin exerting much, much more onfield leadership on gameday and between. They would have to abandon any pretense at being nice guys and take charge of discipline, calling guys out, sitting guys down. I can’t imagine Romo could call a worse game on offense than Garrett. (I don’t know how he’d get the personnel he wanted on the field. Details, details.)  They would tell the press the truth.  They would risk fines. 

Would Phillips bench them?  Are you kidding?

No chance? Probably.  Do the players I've identified have the inner strength to revolt?  Dunno, probably not.  (Lack of fire is a separate problem.)   But if the players with some kind of credibility with their teammates – and I still count Romo among those who do, although not everyone would agree – push back against the listless and feckless coaching staff, then maybe, at a minimum, this thing could get all blowed up and exposed sooner rather than later.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

KTCK -- All Rich, All the Time

It happened again.  I was out running errands for The Memsahib and "Race Week" was on.  I know this site has been Rich Phillips-intensive the past few weeks, so I'll keep this short.

I'm listening to Rich doing the NASCAR stuff, doing an interview, just talking about races and The Chase (whatever that is -- feel free to educate me) and guys I've never heard of participating in a sport I care nothing about, but I didn't consider changing the channel for a second. 

I ask myself:  Why am I listening to this? 

You already know that I think Rich does a great job with Race Week, but I never stopped to wonder what it is that's so appealing about his broadcast.

I think it boils down to one thing:  Conviction.  Rich's devotion to the sport rockets out of the speakers.  It's not just that he's knowledgable, it's that he loves it, and his easy familiarity with the material makes it seem like a subject maybe you'd like to know more about, too.  (And now, I do.)  He's clearly not a hired set of smooth pipes doing an obligatory hour he was hired to do -- you know damned well he pitched this to management until they were sick of listening to him and gave him a shot.  

And now he's got a show that deserves a nationwide audience for the millions who are themselves devoted to this sport.  Mike R teases about syndicating Race Week, but I can't believe Cumulus isn't thinking about either syndicating it or clearing it in other Cumulus markets.  (Maybe they have -- anybody know?)  There's nothing local about it, at least no reason to have any local references (I thought I caught a reference to The Ticket on one episode). 

And then I come back to the SRT8 after dispatching one or another of my duties, and there he is broadcasting SMU football, which was also a pleasure to hear.

I've had several opportunities to observe that Rich is an interesting co-host with Donovan and with Bob.  He's the touchiest of The Ticket broadcasters (he makes Bob look like Winston Churchill in this regard).

I think they should let Rich take listener calls. 

And   .  .  .  mark that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

SHAMELESS PLUG DEPARTMENT: Your Plainsman Is Delighted to Link to Confessor "Hollywood" Matt Shannon's "Sports Nutz Wrestling Central"

I don't get a lot of communications from De Niro or Pacino or Taylor Swift or Fred Durst or even Pauly Shore -- or, for that matter, Gordon Keith -- but I am delighted that Your Humble Site has come to the attention of local wrestling maven "Hollywood" Matt Shannon, who comments on Your Plainsman's timeless Ticket insights from time to time. 

I call to your notice that he is developing a site devoted to his passion.  You will find it at the top of the "Ticket-Friendly Links" on this page any time you visit this site, and here it is:

"Hollywood" Matt Shannon's Sports Nutz Wrestling Central

The truth is that I know next to nothing about pro grappling, but I am extremely grateful for every Confessor who clicks over to see what's up on this site.  I'm guessing that a fairish number of visitors share Hollywood's interest in the sweaty arts, and I commend his site to you.

Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon, Your Plainsman's favorite pro grappler of all time

If you are a P1 and wander over to My Ticket Confession from time to time, I have no problem with you promoting your site in comments to articles that appear here.  If it looks like something that might be of interest to other Confessors, I'll link to it after checking it out for suitability.  Don't worry about pimping your site here -- as I say, assuming the content is no worse than PG-13.

But in the meantime, I do recommend that you check Hollywood out if you have an interest in large sweaty men in tiny skivvies.  I can also attest to the fact that he's a lively correspondent and I'm sure that he would love to hear from all Confessors.

Hollywood, best of luck with the site, and thanks for shopping at My Ticket Confession.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Didactic and Quacktic

Caught pretty much all of the Cowboys pregame with Bob Sturm and Rich Phillips on Sunday.

It was excellent, as one would expect. During the ads I listened to the pre-game on 103.3 and 105.3 – admittedly, not an impressive sample size – and they just sounded awful. In a great sports metro like DFW you’d think they could find some interesting talkers about the Cowboys. Bob and Rich are the only choice for Cowboys pre-game.

Didactic (see footnote) and Quacktic

It’s an inspired pairing. Confessors are aware that I like both these guys quite a lot, and that my esteem for Rich has grown in the 1.25 years I’ve been doing this site. I liked the Bob/Donovan pairing last year, too, but this combo gives us something extra: Bob and Rich are both, shall we say, a bit on the thin-skinned side, and that adds a frisson of electricity to the presentation. The opportunities for interesting radio are correspondingly increased, mainly because Rich doesn’t have any unusual respect for Bob’s expertise. (He doesn’t disrespect it – he just doesn’t let it back him off of his own views.) Don’t get me wrong, the guys don’t fight about stuff, but there were a couple of moments that tickled me:

-- They were talking about the uncertainties surrounding the Cowboys’ receiving corps and Rich said that a guy who doesn’t put up numbers isn’t going to have a big effect on the field. Bob disagreed, saying that a guy who attracts a double team (I think they were referring to Dez Bryant) can have a positive effect without putting up big numbers. Rich countered by noting that a guy without big numbers isn’t going to attract a double team. “Well, there you go,” Bob said.

-- They had just brought in Todd Archer from Washington and Bob said that Rich had handicapped the chances of rain in D.C. at 20 percent. A perfectly innocuous reference, not even a jab, but Rich reacted with extreme indignation, saying that he hadn’t handicapped it. Bob said mildly that he thought Rich was the weather handicapper. No, Rich said, it’s the National Weather Service, “Don’t be so touchy,” Bob said.  Beautiful, had to laugh.

-- A lighter moment: Bob made reference to Sam Bradford’s “Tupperware collarbone.” Rich said that a collarbone of Tupperware would probably work pretty well.

Love it. Don’t want to suggest that the show was dominated by these moments, not at all. It was mostly all good beefy smart Cowboy talk. Thumb up.

FOOTNOTE:  didactic (die DAK tic):  tending to instruct or lecture in detail, sometimes at length

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Ticket Should Do More of This -- and Also This Other Thing It Did

Of all the showgrams, I get to hear Norm the least. But I found myself in the car doing some work-avoiding chore or another the other day and was pleased to see that it was Norm time. I tuned in and caught almost all of Norm’s amazing report on his research into the evidence that the Cowboys’ – which is to say, Jerry Jones’s – financial condition may not be entirely healthy. If you did not hear it, the gist of it was this: Norm pointed to a number of pieces of evidence, some of them apparently not previously reported, that the Cowboys/Jones might be having some financial problems – and they might be severe. I won’t go into detail, I’m guessing most of you heard it, or heard about it. He considered both expenses and revenue.

This was an absolutely terrific piece of work by Norm. To the best of my knowledge, it was original reporting, and might even qualify as something of a scoop. I do not regularly read the News or Star-Telegram sports pages, but I do not remember hearing anyone else reporting on the techniques the Cowboys are using to fill the stadium. Nor do I recall anyone putting together pieces of evidence to paint a picture of possible financial unrest in the Jones regime.

I have two thoughts on this, one pretty obvious and the other a little less so.

FIRST: This was a real feather in The Ticket’s cap. If The Ticket becomes known not only for first-rate saloon sports/guy talk but also great reporting – and Norm’s segment actually goes beyond original reporting all the way to what one might even consider investigative reporting – man, there’s no longer any reason not to listen to the station if you’re a sportsy kinda guy or gal. Acquaintances of mine who don’t listen to The Ticket say that the station has too much guy, not enough sport. I would never advocate a diminution in guy talk, but if The Ticket did original sports reporting, there would be no excuse for any North Texas sports fan not to listen to The Little One, because no other local sports-talk station is doing original reporting, at least none that has come to Your Plainsman's attention. You wanna be a sportsy station? Great – hire someone discover news about sports. What The Ticket does now does not qualify as sports reporting. But what Norm threw out this week did. And it was riveting, news-making radio. Don’t send that clip to the Marconi people – send it to the Pulitzer people. (Except . . . there’s no Pulitzer for radio work. I doubt the Nobel people would have a lot of interest either, too bad for them.)

SECOND: OK, so it was great work by Norm, Norm is great, what else is new. As you know, Your Faithful Plainsman is at least as interested in trying to figure out stuff about what goes on behind the scenes as it is in what we hear on the showgrams themselves. And Norm’s great work caused something to happen here that I think we need to applaud.

Someone at The Ticket said: Hey – this is amazing stuff. We need to leverage this within the station. Let’s run Norm’s investigation as a segment on The Musers. And so they did, and it was as interesting there as it was on Norm’s show. (Unfortunately, while I knew the Norm segment was coming up on The Musers, I was not in a position to pay close attention. It is my impression that Norm was a live guest on The Musers, but I could not tell from the snippets I heard whether Norm was on live or whether they were replaying his original report, and I’m too lazy to download the podcast. I think Norm's Muser gig was live, but if anyone can advise I’d be grateful. Whether Norm was live with the Musers or on tape, the analysis is the same.)

I’d love to know how that went down. Was it a Muser who realized the gold Norm had panned out of the bits and pieces of Cowboy news that came his way? Or was it Program Director Jeff Catlin? Or Assistant Program Director Rich Phillips who went to bat for increased exposure for Norm’s hard work? Or someone else who thought that Norm’s insights deserved a drive-time audience? Muser producer Michael Fernandez, maybe?

Not that it matters whose idea it was. But I’d like to give credit where it is due. The decision to give Norm a prominent chunk of The Musers’ time illustrates the fact that even though we all enjoy what appears to be the somewhat ramshackle construction of The Ticket’s broadcast day, someone at The Ticket/Cumulus is on the ball. Someone actually thinks about how to put this product out on the air. It’s not just a buncha white guys (and Donovan) sitting around talking. It’s – all right, I’m going to get a little gooey on you here – an art to throw 13.5 hours of pretty cool programming out there every day, and to keep it on top for ratings period after ratings period. The Ticket is one amazing media property and it’s decisions like this, and the talent of its stars, that keep it going strong.

Of additional interest is the fact that Norm’s investigations were reprised on The Musers and not on The Hardline. Which makes me wonder if Junior or George might have taken an interest in Norm’s discoveries and urged their inclusion on their show. I will say that I didn’t sense the slightest resentment from any Muser in Norm’s cameo appearance.

Whoever it was, both Norm’s original report and the decision to let Norm guest on The Musers is the kind of work that elevates a station like The Ticket from Your Source for Fart and Dick Humor to an essential destination for people who are serious about DFW sports.


Friday, September 10, 2010

FROM THE ARCHIVES: How to Make Money with the Ticket

[NOTE:  Listening to the Musers picking the weekend games against some feckless P1, I was reminded of this post from the early days when only the most enlightened were clicking over to My Ticket Confession.  I realize that George hung on for a win last year, but I'd still go wtih Junior.  Since George usually ends up over .500, however, it would be hard to go wrong with him, either.

I apologize for the recycling.  I'll be back with new material soon.]

First thing we need to know is how Junior and George – actually, probably just Junior – do on their football picks if you don't count the high school games. That is, what is their record when the high school games are factored out?

Let's assume their successful picking percentage is at least as good without the high school games as it is with them. Probably a pretty good assumption.

What we know about those picks based on the spread is that over the course of a season, their winning percentage is noticeably over 50%. My recollection is that Junior usually wins, although I think that as of this week he and George are about even.

So if you just bet Junior's college and pro picks – legally, of course, and only as spread picks – at the end of the season, you will have made money.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


But by the time I grabbed a camera and ran back out, it was only a single rainbow.

Dan: The Voyage Continues

I have really enjoyed reading the defenses of Dan McDowell.  I know that some readers regarded my three-parter on BaD Radio as highly critical of him, and indeed it did identify him as the source of my less-warm/fuzzy feeling about that showgram.  In general, though, I ended up finding the show worthwhile and Dan worth listening to  But I do understand why readers thought I don't like Dan.  It's a fair cop.

Here's the latest from "Anonymous," the latest poster to the article titled "Jeez, This Is Not Going Well":

I remember a while back, during some Q & A (either on-air or in that occasional Ticket publication that the hosts contribute to - I can't remember the name), I think it was George who said something to the effect that Dan was either the most professional or hardest working guy at the Ticket. Count me as a Dan McDowell fan - I realized after years of listening that it was Dan's contributions on WTDS that had my attention (in addition to Line 4 Guy), and his pairing with Bob was genius. Something that was part of the BaD Radio magic, early on, was the contributions of Jimmy 'The Saint' Christopher. The mix of Bob, Dan, Jimmy and Tom solidified the show as my favorite on the Ticket. Somehow, with all the changes in the show, it has remained my favorite (I like Donovan, a lot, and am happy he landed with the BaD Radio guys) - it maintains a funny, real edginess that's addictive, more so than the other shows for me (though I like them all). That edge wouldn't be there without Dan McDowell.

One other thing I can add: McDowell is responsive to e-mail questions (Corby and Gordo, too; the Old Gray Wolf? Not so much. . .).   By the way, great blog!

*   *   *  

Thank you, Anonymous.   Jimmy the Saint was before my time, but comments like this one are what make me think that I need to expand my opportunities to listen to the BaD Radio showgram.  I've changed my views on certain Ticket guys over the years and it could well happen with Dan. 

But I don't know exactly how I'm going to get over the feeling that Dan is not a favorite among his own colleagues.  Maybe it shouldn't matter, and maybe even it's a virtue -- some readers identify this as "edgy," which is fine.  An earlier commenter said that Dan's colleagues defend him, and I responded that I'd never heard that.  Anonymous has provided us with an example, and thanks again, Anon.  My question is:  To what was George responding that he was required to say something positive about Dan?    Have you ever heard any other host defend another main show host?

And -- again, with complete respect to Dan defenders -- whether he is professional, or hard-working, or responsive to P1's, is less important to me than whether he sounds like a putz when I tune in the showgram. 

Which, when I tune in, he too often does.  But then, so, sometimes, does Corby.  Gordon.  Guys that overall I like a lot.   But I hear them more often.  I've internalized their schtick; maybe I just haven't had the opportunity to "get" Dan in the same way.  Which is why, in fairness, I must acquire a larger sample size on Dan and on Bad Radio generally before switching over to Greggo and Richie Whitt (more on them later). 

Until then, I cordially invite Confessors to continue my Dan education.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Todd Archer Reconsidered

I've posted and reposted a couple of articles criticizing The Ranch Report as dull and uninformative here and here.  I heard something today that changed my viewpoint.

Norm had The Musers' slot today and when Archer came on with TRR, he was sharp, engaged, full of opinions and information on The Cowboys.  Even kept me in the car at Kroger until he finished up.

What was the difference? 

The difference was that Norm was prepared and was himself interested in what Archer thought.  The Hardline, bless them, sleepwalks through these segments as thought they were sponsor-driven diversions from their own showgram, which they probably are.  Norm had questions ready to go, and they were specific and aimed at mining Archer's inside knowledge.  The result was an interesting interview and a showcasing of Todd Archer to good effect.

Lesson:  Segements, including segments with outsiders, and including repeating and scheduled segments, benefit greatly from -- this is probably going to get bleeped -- show prep.   Today's show suggested that my focus on Archer's indifferent performances was too narrow -- a little help from the hosts might bring his bit to life.

Hope everyone has had a Ticket and safe Labor Day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Can't Let Mike R's Gag Pass Into History without Notice

Mike dropped a funny into a Corby story on Thursday.  He delivered it while Corby was taking a breath, and I'm not sure anyone on-air picked it up at the time (or maybe they didn't think it was amusing).  And maybe I'm interpreting what he said incorrectly.  But I don't think so.

Corby was talking about the bad old days of racial prejudice in some context or other, I don't recall the story.  And he paused to take a gentle shot at Mike, saying something like (I don't recall the colloquy exactly):

"Like when Mike and his high school buddies would stand around in a circle with a frightened black guy in the middle."

And Mike said:

"That's right, except for the black guy."

I about drove off the road, but Corby immeciately began to speak again before anyone really took in what Mike had said. 

Mike Rhyner
(NOT Edgar Buchanan as Uncle Joe from "Petticoat Junction,"
so please stop emailing me.)

Anyway, I thought it was a very funny (if dirty) joke, and I didn't think it was right to let it pass into eternity without a brief appreciation.

MARCHING ORDERS (2): Tune in to The Orphanage (Danny Balis and Dave Lane) Saturday at 10 AM on SportsRadio 1310 AM, 104.1 FM, The Ticket

I can assure all Confessors that I receive no promotional consideration for plugging The Orphanage and The Teebox.  I do not know and  have never met Rick, Craig, Danny, or Dave, any Ticket technical staff or management, or any members of their immediate families, respectively. 

I just enjoy the showgrams and wanted to spread the word, nothing more devious than that.

MARCHING ORDERS (1): Go to Bed Now, and Tune in to The Teebox at 8 AM Saturday on SportsRadio 1310 AM, 104.1 FM, The Ticket

A real darned nice showgram, even if you're not a golfer, as I am not.

And you never know when Craig Rosengarden will issue forth yet another classic drop.

If you're really ambitious, and batshit crazy, you can tune it at 7 AM and hear the Train Station Fitness Show with George DeJohn.

Have a fine holiday, Confessors all.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Star v. The Suit

If you didn't hear the spat between Craig "Junior" Miller and Rich "The Ticket Man of Mystery" Phillips, go over to The "Magnificent" UnTicket (or is it unTicket?) and check it out.

Back? Good.

Apparently The Ticket's Internet feed was unwell. That feed is important. I am able to tell where My Ticket Confession's readers come from, and it is amazing how many of them do not come from The Ticket's tiny coverage area. (Interestingly, almost all of my non-DFW readers come from east of the Mississippi.) These folks are either listening online, or visit the unTicket on a regular basis. A lot of locals do, too. I click on that green LISTEN LIVE link frequently myself.

Anyway, Rich was dealing with this crisis, if it was a crisis, during on-air time. It is difficult to tell what the problem was, because apparently everyone agreed that he was fixing something having to do with the Saturday morning broadcast, which is at odds with what Junior was suggesting at the outset, and it similarly at odds with what I've heard from some online listeners, who advise Your Plainsman that there were indeed problems that morning. It is hard to tell exactly what Rich was doing, or where he was doing it, but it apparently rankled Junior and they had a bit of a set-to about it.  Junior found the timing inappropriate; Rich's position was that he was so busy that he had to get things done when he could.  I won't give you a blow-by-blow -- you really need to check it out.

It may not surprise you that I have a number of TROs (Tepid Radio Opinions) about it, some of which are actually pertinent to the segment:

(1) It is difficult to discern a right and wrong here. On the one hand, Junior and the on-air guys are doing their morning high-wire act, which is harder than it probably seems to the casual listener. Distractions are undoubtedly unwelcome. On the other hand, as noted, that Internet feed is important to the P1 Nation (and I do mean Nation), as noted. Maybe Rich, as the Cumulus executive present, felt it was his duty to set things right and he decided in his management discretion that this needed to be tended to without delay. Would Cat have dealt with it if he hadn't been on vacation (if he still is)? I don't know, but you have to cut Rich some slack for taking responsibility for a technical issue that he otherwise might not have had to deal with. So I can see both sides here. However, I did take Dan McDowell to task for jabbing Tom and others on the air, and when I heard this contretemps, I thought perhaps Junior's displeasure might have been saved for a more private moment. Slight -- very slight -- advantage, Rich. But I concede that if one were in the studio and witnessing what was actually taking place Junior's peevishness might have been justified and perhaps he rightfully felt that the situation needed to be addressed right then. So -- toss-up, uninformed TRO slightly tipping to Rich.

(2) This is another example of the combustible relationship between celebrated and well-paid on-air guys and the somewhat more peripheral players, rendered more combustible here because Rich isn't all that peripheral. He's an assistant program director, sometime host (see below), and hosts the much-teased "Race Week" (ditto). I sense that Rich is actually pretty well-respected up and down the broadcast day, including The Musers. (Gordon is an interesting semi-exception, but that needs a separate post. Dan -- dunno.)

(3) The comments to the unTicket post were fascinating. Both Junior and Rich took it in the shorts, but I like them both quite a bit.

A couple of people judge Junior to be the weak link in The Musers, but I do not. He works much harder than George at show prep, does a first-rate blog, and offers very thoughtful HSOs. He's not the encyclopedia that Bob or Norm is, but he strikes me as extremely perceptive and very fair. When he's gotten some Big Opinion wrong, he will call attention to his earlier judgment and correct it. 

Alexis Smith, KTCK Trafic Twist
So it's irrelevant.  You got a problem with it?

(4) Rich is also criticized in those comments, but (contrary to my early dislike of Rich) I have come to think he is a real asset to The Ticket. The Tickers are masterpieces of audio economy. And "Race Week" -- look out. Mike teases about syndicating it, and the hosts talk about it as though it is a chore to listen to, but think about it -- it's a terrific candidate for syndication. Lots and lots of NASCAR fans out there, and not a whole lot of dedicated sports radio coveratge. I don't care anything about NASCAR, but when I'm doing chores on the weekend and it comes on, I listen. The day might well come when Rich is a nationally-known broadcaster. He's massively knowledgeable and there is a toughness to his reportage and delivery that fits perfectly with the sport and its fans.  Oh, almost forgot:  Terrific PBP guy for the SMU Mustangs, delivers a very exciting and interesting call dotted with his piquant observations.   Rich might have to update his look a little for TV,  lose a pound or 30, but why not? If I had to guess who might be the first breakout national talent on The Ticket, it would be Rich Phillips. (Unless Cumulus syndicates The Musers, then maybe Gordon.)

(PS: Who out there can tell me why he is referred to as Dick Hicks?)

(5) Having said that, Rich remains The Ticket Man of Mystery. Cumulus has identified him as a guy to whom to give some responsibility, and a show, and showgram fill-in. Yet his presence on drive-time isn't technically superior to that of Ty WahKAH. I haven't quite figured it out, but I sense just the slightest wariness in the hosts about his presence hovering at the border of the broadcasts. He does contribute usefully when he switches on his mic during segments, and overall, as I say, I don't get a strong vibe of antagonism. I can't imagine Gordon would have said "someone doesn't like his job" if Rich's management role were really a big problem.  

Actually, since it was Gordon, I can imagine it.

(6) But Rich is also very prickly. When he gets teased, he sometimes strikes back with some heat. I'm not entirely sure that isn't what happened here. Junior started off with a joke, characterizing the work being done as similar to running a test pattern over Brian Williams. Rich could have shrugged that off, but he responded sharply, and Junior shot back even more sharply, suggesting rather pointedly that the time was not appropriate.

Brian Williams (top); Test Pattern (bottom)

(7) George mostly kept out of it. 

(8) We (all right, I) tend to focus on what this means about Rich, but I think it means something about Junior.  Rich repeatedly referred to Junior as "interim program director" in a way that suggested that insiders would know exactly what he was talking about.  That got everyone's attention.  I admire Junior tremendously, but I must admit -- I have sometimes wondered if perhaps his somewhat detached attitude is interpreted by his colleagues as a Marconi-clutching air of superiority? 

(9) But what the P1 Nation really wants to know is -- when Rich says "We're done, OK? It's over!" -- with considerable emphasis -- does he mean (1) "I have completed this controversial but regrettably necessary task, gentlemen, so we may now conclude this civilized little chinwag" or does he mean (2) "Put a fracking cork in it, Miller, your APD has had enough of your snotty insinuations"? Some of the commenters over at The unTicket thought he meant (1), but I'm not entirely sure. Just before the clip ends, you hear Gordon chortling in a very "wow-this-is-pretty-inside-stuff-to-be-going-out-over-the-air" way, and saying "My . . . " just before the clip ends.  I'm guessing that the implied conclusion to that phrase is "fracking Gawd," or a sentiment to that effect.   I'd say there's an even chance or better that Rich -- who reported during the fracas that he'd worked 11 hours every day that week, suggesting that he was tending to management items in Jeff C's absence -- was flexing a little supervisory muscle there.  Whatever he meant, that was the end of it.  Junior fell silent.

(10) If Junior hadn't said anything, would anyone have noticed anything at all unusual about the broadcast?  Was there, in fact, a test-pattern-over-Brian-Williams radio analogue that was audible to listeners?  I didn't hear it.

(11)  Is it possible -- I mean, is it within the power of the mind of man to conceive -- that we're (I'm) mining too much meaning out of a minute of Ticket audio? 


I have a great idea for fight night next year.

Thank You for Shopping at My Ticket Confession.

Another Perspicacious Commenter

I'll say this for Dan McDowell:  He has extremely thoughtful and articulate defenders.

Doug Sutherland has posted a lengthy essay in support of Dan in the comments to this post.  I commend it to you:

Scroll down -- it is in two parts.  I posted them under The Plainsman name.  They are the 10th and 12th comment.  I think you'll enjoy it.

Thanks to Doug and all Confessors who have weighed in on The BaD Radio Trilogy.

Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye Pierce, Not Doug Sutherland as Confessor

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Check Out An Interesting Comment from Scott

One Scott has left an excellent comment about how he listens to The Ticket at the end of the comments to Part 3 of the BaD Radio Trilogy.

Click and scroll down to the end.   Very thoughtful perspective from a long-time P1.

Actor Randolph Scott, not Confessor Scott

Geez, This Is Not Going Well

Dedicated Confessors will recall that as a result of my intensive analysis of BaD Radio, found in the trailblazing trilogy:

Part 1:;

Part 2:; and

Part 3:,

I am trying to listen more frequently to BaD Radio to see if it worms its way into my affections.  I don't dislike it now, it just doesn't feel like part of my Ticket routine yet.  For example, I didn't used to care for Rich Phillips, now I think he's quite good.  I'm educable.

I don't have a lot of time to listen to BaD but if I'm in my car I tune in to see what's up.  Alas, in the last week or so I have had two unpleasant encounters with the broadcast work of Dan McDowell:

(1) Late last week I hit the switch while Dan was calling attention to the inability of two athletes -- Herschel Walker and Magic Johnson -- to pronounce a word.  I was driving so couldn't jot this down, but I think the word was "aggressiveness"  -- Confessors, correct me here if I'm wrong.

All the programs make fun of athletes who say something dumb-sounding.  (Although I think it was BaD that introduced us to the "Phong is ringing" Deon classic.)  Usually the misspeaking is noted, we all get a giggle out of the dumb jock, and the show moves on, perhaps with a new drop in the drop machine.  But Dan was absolutely pounding these guys, repeating the clips endlessly, comparing the pronunciations side by side.  All but saying man, can you believe how stupid these two guys are?   It ended up not being a passing amusement, but an exceptionally nasty and mean-spirited piece of radio.  

I couldn't help noticing that Donovan was not in the studio during this presentation.

(2) This next one was priceless.  Fight Night pre-game.  Dan was on the air with George.  I believe someone remarked that Rich Phillips was the ring announcer.  Then, apropos of absolutely nothing, Dan managed to take a shot at Rich and George in the space of one short question, asking George (and I may not have the words exactly right, but this is close):

     "How often are you in the studio for Rich's five-minute Tickers?"

-- taking a shot at Rich for his longer 5:30 a.m. Tickers, and suggesting that George wanders in to his own program only at the last minute.  George put an end to this with his ready response, not sounding particularly amused:

     "Every single day."

And that was the end of that comedy initiative.

I know, I know, hosts jab each other all the time.  But this came out of nowhere -- it was a double-shot that felt as though it were taken for the sake of taking a double-shot, with no comedy predicate for either of them (i.e., (i) Rich's five-minute Tickers are listeners' first catch-up on the sports news of the day and night before and a useful foundation for the Musers' show, and (ii) George isn't known for being late to his shows).  In fact, I have a dim recollection, could be mistaken, that George ignored the question the first time around, and Dan repeated it. 

*    *    *

But, as I have noted, many readers are big fans of both Dan and BaD Radio.  I will honor that by continuing to listen, and looking forward to more enjoyable broadcasting in the course of future listening opportunities.