Celebrity Confessor AP from The (incomparable) UnTicket has requested that I comment on the visits of the respective drive-time programs to New York and San Francisco. (See his comment no. 6 to my prior post on my Ron Washington theories.) It is AP's feeling that as the Ticket's "baseball show of record," perhaps The Hardline should have been sent to San Francisco instead of The Musers.
I guess the first thing we have to consider in this particular case is that this was probably not a radio station decision -- I'm guessing it was a sponsor decision because the sponsor (StubHub) actually footed the bill for the trip and provided the tickets, if I understood the hosts of both shows correctly. They chatted with the nice lady who runs StubHub a couple of times on each showgram. StubHub might well have thought that it would get more bang for the buck by spreading the stubs around a little.
Let's put that aside and examine these road trips from the listeners' perspective.
A couple of thoughts:
(1) These are radio talk shows. They're not The Amazing Race where one's physical surroundings are a significant part of the actual broadcast. So the value of a road trip can only be discerned in the difference between what we hear every day on the air and what we hear when they broadcast from the road.
I was struck by this during Cowboys training camp this year. I always think that it's going to be cool to hear them broadcast from training camp, and then . . . I can't recall a single Cowboy insight from any of the showgrams this year (in fairness, I seldom heard Norm or BaD) that resulted from their presence at the training camp. Now there were some bits -- Corby's hit-and-run interviews of Cowboys after practice and various hangers-on, the Musers' encounters on the street at night. Both of those can be very entertaining. Were they worth it to The Ticket sending the broadcast teams and technical crews down to San Antonio for however long it was? Don't know. Doubt that Cumulus gets more ad revenue from road trips. Or maybe it's a promotional thing, they do it so they can say they did it. A goodwill thing, point of pride. Did it result in significantly enhanced (1) radio broadcasting or (2) Cowboys insight? Maybe a little bit. Little tiny bit.
Point is -- road trips don't do much for me one way or the other.
In fact, now that I think about it -- this year I don't evem remember the drive shows doing any sit-down player interviews with the hosts. I may be misremembering this, but in years past I seem to recall that they had players and coaches lined up to do a bunch of interviews but it's not coming to mind this time around. (Not that I miss player/coach interviews -- they seldom have much of interest to say, and when they do say something interesting, there's always the risk they'll get in some trouble. So who cares about player/coach interviews and, for that matter press conferences?) So if you're not going to interact significantly with the activity that has brought you on the road trip, what exactly is the point?
(2) Turning to AP's thoughts on the Hardline/Musers:
I agree with AP that the Hardline is more Rangeriffic. Even Danny arises from his cynical cultural torpor to show some enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, baseball. And, of course, Mike is Baseball Jeebus.
I'm not sure that the relatively greater advertised fondness of The Hardline for the Rangers translates into a better experience for the listener. Hard to say. I'm not sure the stories of the hard partying when the Hardline boys go out of town is of great interest to the listener. Sounds kind of like guys whose minds might not entirely be on The Great Game. We do get an account of their travels to Yankee Stadium and their time at the game, and that's interesting to listen to. But we didn't get much man-on-the-street this time around. I will say that I did like Danny's brief reports from Yankee Stadium on the day when they sent him on ahead because the game conflicted with their broadcast. I know Danny isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for some reason the jamoke just tickles me. But The Hardline's presence in New York City really didn't leave much of an impression that was a result of them being there.
The Musers, of course, are broadcasting in the dead of night in San Francisco, so other than their game account, -- which, like The Hardline's was interesting -- we get recorded audio of their encounters. Which, it must be said, are greater in number than the Hardline. And pretty well done. Each guy collected some tape.
I don't want to say that I like The Musers in San Fran better than I liked The Hardline in New York, or the other way around either. I will say that each show exhibited their characteristics with about the same vividness as they do in the studio -- the ramshackle, not-much-show-prep Hardline, and the more buttoned-down, spread-the-duties Musers. Liked 'em both. Not hearing a whole lot of gee-whiz arising out of their proximity to the Rangers post-season, but maybe some marginal sizzle. They're both great in their own way.
But neither is a whole lot greater on road trips.
So to answer your question, AP -- I can't say that The Hardline's baseballphilia earns them any greater entitlement to post-season ball on location. I might feel differently if they had used their their enthusiasm -- and their media contacts -- to more colorful effect in NYC, but they didn't line up much beyond the New-York-is-Cool stuff. So I'm OK with the Musers in the City by the Bay.