Friday, November 12, 2010

Howcum? Department

How can a station that takes a fair number of listener calls on-air have such a consistently terrible time actually making that happen?  

It's not limited to remotes.  In a meta-E-Brake today, we heard Norm struggling through uncompleted calls, and then voting for the E-Brake utterly failed when calls could not be connected to the hosts and to us.

If I were Jeff Catlin I'd be screaming at someone.  I don't know who.  It may be The Ticket equipment vendor; it may be the Cumulus tech maintenance guys; it may be the board ops, although for no reason at all I have a feeling that it's not the board ops.

I've listened to talk radio for years and I've never heard a station that so consistently fails to convey calls successfully to the air.  Just incredible.


"Hollywood" Matt Shannon said...

While on this subject, George took the opportunity to claim that "P1s everywhere want P1 voting to end." I have e-mailed George twice now, challenging him to show us proof of all these alleged P1s that are against E-Brake P1 voting. And I call bullshit on this because if there were a ton of P1s against P1 voting, there wouldn't be so many damn callers to the segment! I don't know if you've discovered this yet, but the Ticket can be a lot like the wife you love so much that you'll never divorce her, but still drives you up the wall from time to time. Likewise, we won't stop listening anytime soon because it's a very enjoyable station, but the guys can drive us batty sometimes.

The Plainsman said...

Hollywood, I'm sure no one remembers any more, but that's where the name of this site comes from: P1's are frequently and constantly driven crazy by the weaknesses and foibles of The Ticket. But at the end of the day (you know, just before The Top Ten), one must Confess that one loves the damned thing, even as it assaults us daily with what, in the end, is its infuriating humanity.

DRW1961 said...

I thought it was funny that they referred to themselves as being like the last season of Texas Stajum. The season where nobody really cared if anything worked or not because it was getting ready to come down in a pile of rubble.

Related - Did you guys get the references to "big things happening" that Gordon had? Any ideas what those things might be? New equipment? New frequency?

ap said...

@DRW1961 - I think it's got something to do with substantial improvements to the broadcast signal strength...I recall Gordo talking about it *very* briefly in an on-air encounter with another ticket host -- Dan McDowell, maybe?

Captcha = "Flingo" ... I need to work that into a sentence today.

P1 Steven said...

Gordo has been eluding to better signal strenth for a while. Maybe it is a bit. I stream at work, but have to use my crappy shower radio to listen on the weekend. Someone should email Cat and inquire.. he is great at returning emails.

The Plainsman said...

When I started writing about The Ticket's crappy signal, I heard from Cat that they were indeed taking steps to try to step up their signal quality. He wasn't specific, but he did note that it is a complex process. He's right, the FCC moves like molasses and you can't just slap a turbocharger on your transmitter.

And I agree with P1 Steven that Jeff Catlin is pretty responsive to P1 concerns. I hear from him from time to time (mainly when he wants to correct me about something, which I welcome). He's always polite.

But wouldn't it be cool if they moved 104.1 to 93.3, as Your Plainsman urged some time ago?

Fat chance.

ap said...

Applications to the FCC to increase broadcast signal strength and/or license a specific channel should be a matter of public record...right? Shouldn't even require a FOIA request.

I speak of things I am not fully versed on, however.

Captcha = "Strapsy"...I swear, this thing has a sense of humor.

ap said...

Holy crap, I just tried searching the FCC database for the info above, and got tired-head very, very quickly. If anyone wants to try, go here:

The Plainsman said...

I know someone at the FCC. I'll see if I can get any info.

ap said...

Permit file number BP-20091116ADS for facility ID 8773 (call sign KTCK) shows a permit for construction of an AM broadcast station capable of transmitting 25kW during the day, and 5kW during the night. It was granted March 11th of 2010, and subsequent filings were made that indicate delays due to construction of cell phone towers in the vicinity.

Wikipedia shows that KTCK currently emanates electromagnetic goodness at only 9kW per day, but I wonder how accurate that entry is.

One final note - Craig talked about 'blowing the thing up like Texas Stadium' - indicating that they'd probably have to move off the enchilada end of the AM dial for a better signal. Atmospheric attenuation on that end is slightly worse than it is on the other end of the dial. Think that might be part of the deal?

The Plainsman said...

Great work, AP.

I have heard from Ticket insiders that Cumulus feels they have too much goodwill in "1310" as a brand to move the AM signal.

Personally, I don't think that numeral is worth a thing as a brand. If The Ticket moved into the world of three-digit AM designations it would take every one of its listeners with it and rope in a lot more. WSCR ("The Score") in Chicago has moved several times, increasing in power and listnership with each move.

Nevertheless, I'd be surprised if they moved the signal on the dial.

I would not, however, be surprised if they invested in a new studio for their golden child, which could explain Craig's remark.

25KW would be a big improvement, although it would not vault KTCK into the ranks of the most powerful AM stations. It would probably solve most if not all of their local AM signal problems.

So -- a little investment in The Ticket.

Now -- how about a billboard on the Tollway? Or better, on 35 north and south as motorists begin to enter The Ticket's signal area?

Christy said...

Very off-topic and very old. Hopefully, the intended party will still see the post:

I'm thinking about investing in a shower radio. I keep waiting for a segment to end before I can shower, which negatively affects my morning schedule...

So, P1 Steven, which kind do you have? I assume you would not recommend it, but it'll be nice to know which one not to get.