Friday, November 19, 2010

The Musers: Not So Gentle on Greggo the Hammer

I don't remember the context, but this morning I believe I heard Craig "Junior" Miller make reference to someone being "hoarse," which was quite obviously a not-so-oblique reference to Greg Williams's vocal woes over on The Fan 105.3 RAGE showgram.  "Whatever the cause," he said -- or words to that effect, I was getting out of the shower at the time and my notepad was in my other towel. 

George and Gordon played along, i.e., pretended not to know what he was talking about, while knowing perfectly well.

The takeaway here is that The Exquisitely Gentle Musers disbelieve that Greggo's problem is laryngitis. 

There's some industry scuttlebutt here known only to local media insiders of the sort that used to be reported by Richie Whitt, but, of course, no longer. 



It's not beyond belief that Hammer had and has laryngitis.  (His voice sounds better by the day, on the brief snippets that I catch during Twin Peaks commercials on The Little One.)    I don't even know what kind of historical Greggo-style abuse would cause a loss of voice of the seriousness and duration of Hammer's.  So, in the absence of any definitive reporting by industry insiders -- or, heaven forbid, actual local media reporters -- I don't know that we have a choice other than to go with the official Fan version:  an organic source for Greggo's rasp.

15 comments:

T4 In Rockwall said...

I haven't heard anything, besides the loss of voice, that would suggest that Greggo's back on the stuff. I'm guessing, and probably being naive, that he's just weather sick.

On another note, I'm really glad that Greggo is on at drive time because, like The Plainsman, I check it out in between commercials on the 'Lil Ticket. He's got his cheesy moments, but for the most part, he sounds like the same old Greggo from 5 years ago.

P1 Steven said...

I think this is a sorry move for anyone to pick on Greggo. Obviously, we don't know how much turmoil The Ticket was in during the las year+(?) of Greggo's tenure. Im sure there are still hard feelings. Why does Craig feel the need to take shots at him? From what I understand, Greggo has held his tongue concerning his former colleagues. I really think that if Greggo was having trouble the fan would cut bait (just like ESPN did). Why cant they let a former friend rebound? It would make more sense for Greggo to stir the pot to garner stronger ratings. Just a couple weeks ago when I called into screenless, I asked Bob what he thought about Josh Lewing being their new competitor. Bob replied, " We have been here 10 years and have had MANY competitors, and will have many more. All we can do is continue to do our show. Are The Ticket personalities threatned by Greggo's new show? WHY? Their ratings our up to 3 times better than ESPN or THE FAIL. Im not saying The Ticket has to forgive Greggo, but they should just forget about him and move on. Whats wrong with a guy everyone loved trying to rebound....

The Plainsman said...

T4, I agree entirely.

My preliminary reactions to the RAGE are (1) Greggo sounds pretty good, but (2) his co-hosts are either weak (Richie) or fake-over-the-top (other guys whose names I don't know) and (3) he has to carry too much of the showgram himself. He's better as a reaction guy -- a color guy, if you will -- not the main attraction. But every time I tune in, he's holding forth at length on one topic or another (the other day -- gun safety; yesterday -- baseball players' union).

I'll likely have more to say on this interesting competition after I give RAGE more of a chance.

Anonymous said...

P1 Steven-
There was plenty of turmoil, and if the Fan didn't take shots, the Ticket probably wouldn't take shots back. But Greggo was on the air a few weeks back talking about how they were going to "truncate" the Ticket. How they were going to kick their ass and drive them off the air.
That's holding his toungue? Bullsh...

And t4 and Plainsman- it's somewhere else (one of your other posts, or maybe on teh Observer blog) that he's been out 19 days since starting on the Fan. Who has so much problems with the weather that they need 19 days off? 19 days in less than 6 months. That's something more than weather. Or can someone really be allergic to hot summer,s warm autumns, and cold fronts too...

ap said...

I can't speak to what's said on the Fan, but I've counted at least a dozen really, really pointed shots in the direction of the Hammer coming from the drivetime KTCK shows concerning his esophageal issues.

There's almost an element of malice towards them. If I'd clued in earlier, I might have put together a montage - there's really that many of them!

The Plainsman said...

Anon, thanks again for the info. I had heard that Greg was gone more than your average host. And, as I think it was P1 Steven who said it -- with his history, one tends to think that these are not, as they say, excused absences.

The only thing that makes me wonder whether there isn't something "excusable" going on is that The Fan made the decision to move The RAGE to drive and expand it to five hours. That's quite a move to make if you think that your star-power host is a serious risk of imploding for the fourth time (by my count).

I also wonder about his comp. His recent history is that he thinks he's worth a lot of money. So there's also the possibilitiy that his frequent days off are some kind of a negotiating ploy.

In any case -- based on what I've heard, even though he seems OK on the air, the RAGE showgram is really not very good overall and unless there are Hardline listeners out there who just can't wait to find another way to spend their drive, I don't see The Fan doing much arse-kicking in the 3-7 pm range.

One thing that may make a difference -- the lengthy Ticket commercial breaks. That's when I switch over to see what 105.3 is slinging. Usually I manage to switch back before The Hardline starts up again, but sometimes I don't. The Fan breaks are much shorter -- seem shorter to me, anyway, not selling quite so much time -- so I'm thinking that there's probably more show content on The Fan than on The Hardline, and that may tip a few listeners the RAGE's way.

Anon, many thanks again for sharing your information and opinions with the Confessor Nation.

The Plainsman said...

AP: You were posting just as I was so I missed commenting on your post.

Jeez, I hope his issues are windpipe related and not esophageal!! (Just kidding.)

OK, AP, what you say makes me think that radio insiders know something that we don't know. If Greg's affliction were merely organic in origin, then who cares. But you knw, you just KNOW, that these guys have dozens of mutual friends with their former colleague who left on unpleasant terms. Hammer's absence and VERY lingering throat problems have got to be the subject of sizzling email traffic among the DFW wireless cogniscenti.

So either The Ticket guys are complete shmucks, or they know something -- or reasonably believe stuff that they've heard.

And let me remind you that I heard Jagger and his guys taking a shot at Greggo one morning when I happened to nip by 105.3 in the SRT8.

So I'm thinking that there may well have been some kind of a Greggo crisis that The Fan and The RAGE have just brazened through.

In the past, who is the only media guy who would have reported on this? Richie Whitt. But for obvious reasons, he won't or can't.

And by the way -- let me say something nice about RWhitt. He obviously sympathizes with Greggo and his problems. He has crossed the line from reporter to friend, but it must be said that he's been a great friend to a guy a lot of P1's continue to wish well. I think that Whitt deserves some thanks for his standing by a difficult, unreliable, but talented guy. Maybe he hopes to hitch his wagon to Hammer's star, but that star is pretty unstable, and my own view is that RWhitt deserves a lot more thanks than he does obloquy. He may have a voice made for newsprint, but speaking only for myself, I thank him for his devotion to a unique local talent -- at the possible expense of his credibility as a serious print journalist.

So -- thanks, Richie. Hope Greggo justifies your faith and friendship.

Anonymous said...

The money in radio is made in drive times, Am drive 1st, PM drive 2nd. The Musers absolutely dominate with Men 25-54 in AMD, so I'm sure Bruce Gilbert isn't going to waste his highest rated show (Rage)going up against D&M.
But the whole Greg vs Mike battle, the perception that the Hardline has gone downhill, the perception that people don't like Corby, etc all gives Bruce reason to move RAGE to PMD.
And I say perception because for all the talk here, at Grubesismy leader, Radioinfo, Obesever blog, etc about how the HL now sucks with Corby, their ratings have never been higher.

The Plainsman said...

Anon, as you may know if you've been confessing for long, this site was founded partly on the theory that there were a lot of listeners out there who had thoughtful reactions to The Ticket, that is, something beyond "Corby sux." Every time I hear the latest radio book I think about all those flamers and Corby-sux guys and wonder whether there's something in their makeup which leads them to post on those boards you mention out of all proportion to their percentage of the actual sports/guy-talk listening audience. I hold with those who say that Greggo the Hammer sounds OK (when he's not sounding like he just finished gargling magma). It just ain't enough. Greggo just doesn't have the authority to be the star of the show. He's color, he's Don Meredith being asked to be Frank Gifford. The RaGE showgram is just not very interesting -- so far. Maybe it will hit its stride, maybe a couple of its bits will strike a note, who knows. Right now, I don't see a reversal of ratings fortunes between the two shows.

But as I say, I'll give RaGE a chance. And I want to think hard about whether The Hardline is entering another Ice Age and if so, why. I'm not sure it is, but something is nagging at me about that showgram . . . .

Anonymous said...

(Different Anonymous here)

As far as Greggo not taking shots at The Ticket, I seriously doubt that's out of the kindess of his heart. More likely he had to sign a gag order to receive a settlement.

RAGE is OK. I'd probably listen if there were no Ticket. I'm just baffled that the FAIL can't find one dude - aside from an ex-Ticket personality - that can carry a show. The Morning Drive program is a sad mess. The previous PM Drive show was laughable. RAGE would be nothing without Greggo.

But here's the thing: I'm really not that impressed with Greg Williams. In fact, he bugs the hell out of me. He's just plain ignorant. I started listening to The Hardline the October the Greggo mess went down (was that 07 or 08?). I betcha if Williams had been on the program I would've turned it off. I just don't see the allure - other than he's an easy target for ridicule (Gordo's Hammer bits are great).

Last scattershot: If the Ticket has an Achilles' Heel, it is their ridiculously long commercial breaks, as mentioned in other comments. Add a Ticker and traffic to the long breaks and you've got 20 minutes without real "content." And I can't imagine anyone listens all the way through. So any other program on the dial will always have a shot at taking away listeners; they just have to offer something compelling (which no one has been able to do so far).

I know The Ticket has to make money, and I suspect it's one of the only Cumulus properties actually bringing in any revenue, but Dear Lord, why are the breaks so long!? My AM/PM commute is between 45 and 60 minutes every day. I usually hear two and a half segments in that time. And if it's College Football Tuesday, I basically get no Hardline whatsoever (I have zero interest in College Football, let alone two segments of it, and turn the dial immediately). I can't be the only one that gets sick of hearing SANTE Center commercials half the drive home. I think some competition might be good for The Little Ticket in this regard.

Scott said...

Anon, you had to hear Greggo years ago. I started listening when I moved back in 99. While he has never sounded like a genius, he would on occasion have something. And, the greatness of Greggo was bits and drops.

I concur about the commercials. Obviously, they are having to sell the daylights out of everything to cover those $500k/yr contracts the hitters have at the Little Ticket... at least if we are to believe Greggo.

The Plainsman said...

Yeah, Anon and Scott, the commercials are good news/bad news. The good news is that sponsors keep our boys on the air. The bad news is that we have to listen to all of them. Frankly, I could do completely without the Tickers and traffic at all times (unless Doyle is doing the latter). I undersetand from station insiders that P1's like the Tickers, but scores anyone cares about are instantly available on devices that every P1 carries and consult if necessary. I guess that if you are claiming to have a sports station, you have to report on the results of sporting contests at a minimum, tedious and unnecessary though they may be. Traffic -- in my experience useless, either because (1) you more-or-less have to take the major routes that you always take whether they're backed up or not, or (2) because they're inaccurate, way behind the reality on the roadway.

I'd be willing to bet that the major hosts are making mid-to-upper six figures for sure. Mike, George and Craig -- maybe Gordon. Corby maybe a small step down (lack of seniority). BaD, no idea. Norm, ditto.

What would probably surprise most of us is how little everyone else (producers, board ops, ticker guys, weekend guys) makes. Even a guy like Danny who contributes a lot and is almost a thrid host on that certain Hardline.

As far as Greg goes (no pun intended): As I say, he is not a convincing front man. He can be an interesting guy to listen to at low dosages, but he doesn't have the gravitas to run the show.
Does it seem to anyone like the other hosts, including hosts of other shows on The Fan, kind of treat him like a curiosity, like he's their local celebrity? And a fragile one at that, who needs constant shoring up?

Scott, you're right, the old Hardline had some great moments with Hammer. The future? Stranger things have happened in showbiz.

The Plainsman said...

Yeah, Anon and Scott, the commercials are good news/bad news. The good news is that sponsors keep our boys on the air. The bad news is that we have to listen to all of them. Frankly, I could do completely without the Tickers and traffic at all times (unless Doyle is doing the latter). I undersetand from station insiders that P1's like the Tickers, but scores anyone cares about are instantly available on devices that every P1 carries and consult if necessary. I guess that if you are claiming to have a sports station, you have to report on the results of sporting contests at a minimum, tedious and unnecessary though they may be. Traffic -- in my experience useless, either because (1) you more-or-less have to take the major routes that you always take whether they're backed up or not, or (2) because they're inaccurate, way behind the reality on the roadway.

I'd be willing to bet that the major hosts are making mid-to-upper six figures for sure. Mike, George and Craig -- maybe Gordon. Corby maybe a small step down (lack of seniority). BaD, no idea. Norm, ditto.

What would probably surprise most of us is how little everyone else (producers, board ops, ticker guys, weekend guys) makes. Even a guy like Danny who contributes a lot and is almost a thrid host on that certain Hardline.

As far as Greg goes (no pun intended): As I say, he is not a convincing front man. He can be an interesting guy to listen to at low dosages, but he doesn't have the gravitas to run the show.
Does it seem to anyone like the other hosts, including hosts of other shows on The Fan, kind of treat him like a curiosity, like he's their local celebrity? And a fragile one at that, who needs constant shoring up?

Scott, you're right, the old Hardline had some great moments with Hammer. The future? Stranger things have happened in showbiz.

Anonymous said...

"What would probably surprise most of us is how little everyone else (producers, board ops, ticker guys, weekend guys) makes. Even a guy like Danny who contributes a lot and is almost a thrid host on that certain Hardline."

Wouldn't surprise me. I had a swim through the DJ life many years ago. You don't go into radio to make a decent living. It consumes your life and the pay is a joke. The board ops are probably making just a bit more than minimum. Producers probably make as much as a typical office drone. I guaran-damn-tee you Danny is criminally underpaid.

But Radio is a "glamor" profession, and behind you there is always a long, long line of young scrubs, waiting to make a substandard wage for the chance at "making it." (FWIW: Jake Z is about as lucky as a guy can get. He does a decent job, but some people wait a lifetime for the break he got at 22 or 23 years old.)

And yeah, it seems like the rest of the FAIL talks about Greggo as if he's some living legend, resurrected from another time or something. It's weird.

P1 Steven said...

When Richie Whitt wrote an article about the HL break up, he alluded to Greggo's 6 figure salary. Might have even flat out said it. I would beg I figure due to his LONG term status in the area & legion of followers, NORM might be the highest paid personality. Then again, he seems like someone who would be very happy making 100K & getting all the perks that come with his gig. I have always guessed Danny's salary in the 50-75K range. WOW. I dont know how many times the various blogs/ live chats have always come to this question. The magical question.. how much/little are you willing to be paid to do what you love?