Sunday, December 26, 2010

Some Drydock Quick Hits from Confessor Doug

Confessors, I have a special holiday treat for you. Frequent and perspicacious commenter Doug dropped me a private line the other day. He says the holidays left him with some downtime, so he got off a few private blasts. I thought they were very interesting and well-stated, on topics I did not have on my own list, so I secured his permission to share some of them. I’ve edited them a bit for length. My thanks to Doug both for taking the time to write, and to let me publish them here:

Doug on Drydock Showgram Quality and Substitute Hosts

It's implied that during drydock, the quality of the shows will drop off a little, but the substitutes Cat (I guess) comes up with make the station nearly unlistenable.

I remember in a segment just after the 15th anniversary party (which I relive thanks to the UnTicket) Bob and Dan preached the greatness of Bruce Gilbert (before he took the Fan PD gig) because he went out and got radio guys to do radio things. I understand they aren't going to get top talent for four weeks of fill-in time, but The Ticket has plenty of people in their arsenal that I think would produce better radio.

The problem with grabbing TV guys is they're too aware of their day job. I think Mark Followill is the best sub and has deep Ticket roots, won't so much as cuss without thinking twice about it. I'm not saying working blue produces good radio, but I do think good radio is made mostly off the cuff. Doocy isn't bad either, but again, you don't get that same level of honesty. Everything is polished. You're telling me Mike loves everyone he works with and doesn't have a single issue with his day job? Please. It's not their fault, though. If I had a dream job I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize it either. That's my point. The problem is the casting (I left out one obvious one. I'll get to him in a sec).

[On John Rhadigan:] I feel terrible for what I'm about to say because he seems like a total sweetheart of a man. Everyone says that working with John will spoil you because he is the ultimate professional, but holy crap. The guy just has nothing. Great on TV postgame shows, Horrible for four hours. He does waaaay too many resets. He takes a hit of speed before he does a segment, causing him to talk 600 words a minute, he repeats himself too much, he swallows his words like Ditka, and he’ll start a thought, then take an immediate left turn into another thought. He tries to get the Ticket lingo, but gets it just wrong, which is about as annoying as misquoting movies or songs. I’m sure he’s one of the nicest guys in the DFW market in person, but he just tries too hard.

Doug on Alternative Drydock Programming

With Elf gone, The Scrubs about as generic as you can get, and Danny on vacation (but Davey has a day job as a copywriter, which is awesome, so he probably couldn’t do fill-in anyway), I would propose giving the boys at It’s Just Banter a go from noon to 3. [I’d never heard of it, but apparently it’s the TC Fleming/Jake Kemp podcast – Plainsman.] They’re raw, sure. They cuss on the podcast, but they both have on-air experience. Plus they have chemistry with each other which is so important in radio, but somehow over looked during drydock. They’re also hungry to prove themselves. They’ll do their homework and have each segment planned out to a tee.

Then for 3-7 Cirque du Sirois. I love Mike Sirois. Loved him when he was doing Saturday morning Tickers full of schtick. Loved him when he was fill in producer, and I listen to Norm more now because he’s the producer. He’s got something. And he’s in his element when he’s working with people he knows like…his brother. They’ve got a good thing going. I’m almost wondering if Cash was busy this week since he’s not filling in anywhere.

More Doug at a later date. Comments are now open. I would remind commenters, who are almost always respectful – Anonymous, now, you be good – that Doug did not originally write this material for publication. He’s allowing me to republish his remarks because I asked him to let me do it. So keep that in mind as you post your thoughtful reactions. Many thanks

--  Plainsman

19 comments:

The Plainsman said...

Doug, just a few thoughts:

First, thanks again.

I have heard Rhadigan/Followill sub shows where the din sounded like it had been produced by Phil Spector. So I am inclined to agree about Rhads. However . . . I heard him a couple of days ago on a show, and man, he was dialed down, natural-sounding, and really good. I think some of these guys -- including long-time Ticket hosts -- reflect the guy they're teamed with. Anyway, it caused me to think again about Rhadigan. With a lower-key co-host, he could be a guy.

Sirois: Cirque is pretty good, although it does sugger from Ben-and-Skin disorder -- the two hosts sound too much alike. Mike as a guy -- jury's still out. I keep thinking ahead to a time when a current host leaves, dies, is arrested, etc., and I ask myself whether the talent in question is a viable candidate for the big time. Mike S -- as I say, haven't decided, need to hear more.

The Plainsman said...

Here's my drydock quick hit:

It is certainly the case that drydock programming isn't as entertaining as what we're used to every day.

A station can get away with two weeks of so-so-and-worse programming when it isn't too concerned about losing listeners to the competition, as the Ticket surely has not been in the past.

But now, The Fan has mounted a very credible competitive threat. In the past, listeners would not spend two weeks checking out its offerings. Now, however, CBS has awakened to the possibilities in this market and have invested in some very credible, well-known talent -- including talent that is extremely well-known to Ticket listeners.

So when you hit 1310 and hear some bland-sounding guys talking college football, you might be more tempted than you were in the past to switch over to The Fan and spend a fair amount of uninterrupted time with Lewin and Elfenbein, and the Richie and Greggo Extravaganza.

So is it any longer prudent to shut down your most popular shows all at once for an extended period of time?

I'd be interested to know -- is your Fan listening increasing during the Drydock Fortnight?

Big Anthony said...

There is NOTHING to get me to switch to the Fail! They all suck and till they get rid of the homo in mornings you can't take them seriously

Anonymous said...

I think Doug's analysis is pretty much spot-on. The only thing I'll add is I'm surprised I kind of enjoy listening to Doocy, because he's insufferable on TV.

Bottom line: The Ticket needs to invest in its farm system, and quick.

-Anonymous B

Anonymous said...

Plainsman,

I was thinking the same thing this very morning (your drydock quick hit). It seems to me that the days of two solid weeks of alternate programming (twice per year--summer/winter) have come to an end. I believe the most credible threat will eventually (sooner rather than later) come from the Lewin/Elf program. Each host has real insider information about the Mavs, Rangers, and the NFL in general; and neither appears to be afraid to talk about it on-air. This sort of thing is, of course, what listeners want. Hence, I wonder if the very real threat to BAD radio is the reason they are returning to the air-waves tomorrow (?). And perhaps the same can be said for the Hardline? (The Musers, at least for the foreseeable future are immune to this; as they have no competition.)

Scott said...

Interesting thoughts from Doug, and I agree, right on. I am not sure what they can do. For a summer time dry-dock, usually before Cowboy camp, I think you can go out and get talent to sub. Honestly, I spend little time listening during this holiday, and I think that the Ticket management feels the same. Yes, there are those who still listen loyally, but I think the numbers are seriously reduced.

As to the farm team... I think they do a good job developing. BUT, since permanent spots will not open anytime soon, guys on the practice squad are eager to take a full time slot elsewhere. Whether you like Ben and Skin or not (I do), they were on the practice squad, and were picked up by another team.

I look at it like my own career. As an engineer, I could go to a consulting firm and work on small jobs... But, the firms i know are set for principles, and none of them are close to retiring or dying... So, I could go, build a resume, and then when a start-up firm comes along, I will jump with a nice resume to take a principle role, even if it is not for a big name.

I have no idea how money works in radio, but I doubt they can justify keeping good people on staff, just to sub. And, I doubt good guys want to do that.

P1 Steven said...

I will second the endorsement Mike & Cash Sirois* (too lazy to spell check). I too enjoy Norm w/ Mike as co-pilot. Mike is VERY personable, and does not seem as argumentive as Fernando was. A Jake Z & T.C. Flemming would probably be better 10-12. I could only imagine the e-brakes when they took calls. For example, Matt Mclaren (the 30 yr. old dude w/ a 19 yr. old wife) and Bruce Levine (who?) are subbing in for Bob & Dan on the Dallas Stars post game. I called in on Thursday night. I said "Hey Bob & Dan" (I knew it wasnt Bob & Dan) matt quickly replies, "This is actually Bruce Levine & Matt Mclaren." I reply, "Well screw this." I then hung up ... If I had an entire week to kick dry-dock fill ins Jake & TC in the nads I would love it!

Erik said...

Goooood morning.
Don't know if anyone saw my mini-intro on another post, but I'm Erik, a less than 1-year P1(started listening in Feb).

The biggest beatdown of a sub for me is always Rich Phillips. His voice turns me away, and his HSO's are usually something that is completely opposite of what I think.

Rhads: I thought he was great, although due to time restraints, I can only listen to the Hardline for about 30 minutes a day; so perhaps a larger dose of him may not be good.

I agree that Followil and Doocy sugar coat their HSO's about their job and sports in general not wanting to make people mad, although Followil will go more cut throat than Doocy. Doocy to me makes a great fit for a Musers sub(mainly for the fact that Gordo is awesome at pulling him offsides, but everywhere else he just seems a little out of place.

Forgive me if my Confessions are a bit lame...I'm a first timer.

Douglas Sutherland said...

A Few quick hits (thanks to Plainsman for weeding out a lot of my meandering points)

I did enjoy the drop offs and 5:30 Big Dig Sirois and Rhads did. They had good ideas and seemed to mesh well towards the end of the week, (although I did still think Rhads was super hyped up) so maybe Plainsman is right and he works better with a low-key host. As I recall he and Followill are too sports intensive for my taste.

I was interested to see how people felt about IJB. I am around their age, and share similar opinions and interests, so they interest me quite a bit. I think they have their radio personas fairly well established (even though Jake despises his). TC knows a ton about sports and Jake is (I believe confessor Christy pointed this out, or was it P1S?) a young Corby, but he's fairly entertaining. I'd like to hear others' opinion on them. Something tells me I'm in the minority.

It seems that management looks favorably on McClearin and Newbury. I don't really see it. I prefer the voice and stylings of Michael Krenek. I think the think that turned me off to The Scrubs is the fantasy football segment they used to do. I was out after that.

The farm isn't what it once was, but when you have a lineup that has been so solid for so long, I imagine it's tough to keep good back ups at bay with two (or three) other sports stations in this market alone.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said... The Musers, at least for the foreseeable future are immune to this; as they have no competition."

If there's any competition for the Musers, it's coming in the form of Russ Martin. I'm curious if he's put a dent in their numbers.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Do you mean that serious competition from the Russ Martin show is on it's way? Or do you mean that the Russ Martin show is (perhaps) already having an impact on the Musers?

If it is the former, maybe that will one day manifest itself; but thus far that hasn't been the case with regard to ratings (check out the radio-info.com site--Dallas board--for access to unskewed ratings). If it is the latter, please see above.

I'd love to see the Russ Martin Show--or any show for that matter--push the Musers. It's not that I'm claiming the Musers are slacking, but rather that I believe healthy competition breeds better radio, all the way around.

Anonymous said...

As long as management thinks that Rich Phillips deserves to be anywhere near an open microphone, I hold out no hope for any fill-in hosts.

Anonymous said...

I'm saying Russ Martin had a big following before he went away. I don't have data, but I'm pretty sure that following is the same as the Ticket demographic. If he's going to regain his audience, I would guess it would affect The Musers.

Also, I will never understand the hate for Rich Phillips. He's not the brightest star at 1310, but he contributes with some funny and some good HSOs. He also does the best tickers.

Anonymous said...

Plainsman,

I've been waiting all day to see if you pulled the homophobic comment. I'm really hoping you just haven't been able to check in, and that kind of crap isn't allowed here.

-Anonymous B

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I believe that you are right regarding listener demographics. From what I can discern, Russ's ratings were fairly good at first, but quickly (and have steadily) tailed off ever since. While he did compete head to head with the Hardline when he was at his peak during the afternoon drive slot, that head to head soon became head facing tail--Russ's head watching the Hardline's tail leave him in the dust. All of the above, in conjunction with the stranglehold that the Musers have on the morning ratings, leave me to think that Russ is not a threat. But one never knows!

The Plainsman said...

Anonymous B: Yeah, I didn't like the reference to Jagger, either, and I thought long and hard about pulling it. I decided not to do so even though it doesn't meet this site's standards. Hoping it's a one-off, although I hope Big Anthony will check in again with comments more in keeping with the respectful tone we're trying to cultivate here. But I appreciate you calling me on it. I've never pulled a comment (other than my own that had typos that couldn't be allowed to live, which I've corrected and reposted) and just decided I wouldn't start with that particular one.

Erik: Your comment is most welcome and there are lots of readers who are recent P1's. Thank you for shopping at My Ticket Confession, and feel free to drop by any time.

Christy said...

Sorry, I'm late to the party.

I find Doug's idea intriguing of letting the It's Just Banter boys do a fill-in show. Perhaps they'll start doing weekends! I've never listened to the podcast since I fear it's just Jake Z saying so-and-so is "some old fart" and everying is super gay. I'm not a fan of over-cussing. I think P1 Steven made an excellent point about comparing Jake to Corby, which probably explains why he's starting to grate on me. But I like Jake on the Ticket Top 10 - I think his intros are witty and I'm rooting for TC so I'll give the podcast a twirl...

I find it ironic that Bob and Dan sing the praises of Bruce Gilbert for finding radio people to host shows instead of going to the town's media people for programming, and yet, most of the fill-in shows are hosted by local media.

Rhads: Complete word to Doug's comments on him. Love this line: "He tries to get the Ticket lingo, but gets it just wrong, which is about as annoying as misquoting movies or songs."

I wish Rhads would slow down and talk at a normal pace. I don't like his rants - he seems to think rants = good radio or that his rants are interesting. Last year's rant on holiday cookies/baked goods was irritating. You're upset because someone took the time to bake dessert but they weren't up to your standards? His voice, while great on TV, can be irritating when it's closer on the radio. Does that even make sense?

P1 Steven - I heard that Dallas Stars post-game show call! And I think I thought it was you, but they called you just Steve. I wish the hosts had just moved on instead of spending another minute about how they weren't Bob and Dan and blah, blah, blah.

Anon said: Each host has real insider information about the Mavs, Rangers, and the NFL in general; and neither appears to be afraid to talk about it on-air. This sort of thing is, of course, what listeners want.

I agree with this and past Mr. Plainsman's points on this theme. There are actually people out there who listen to sports radio for the sports aspect, but they need personable hosts to tune in (I gave Galloway a listen, and his bit is annoying). Elf and Josh Lewin and Ben and Skin fit the description. Even though I'm sure all the hosts of all 3 stations have insider information and informants on all the teams, it's nice to hear Ben and Skin actually say "when we were in the Dallas Cowboys lockerroom and talking to so-and-so..." Even though they might have been just talking about the latest rap song, it gives them a credibility that you don't always hear from The Ticket, superficial though it may be. I mean, none of The Ticket hosts have even set foot in a sports locker room in a long time.

I wanted to thank The UnTicket for doing what they do. It is a luxury having a website devoted to archiving Ticket segments; they've been very helpful in getting me through Dry Dock!

P1 Steven said...

I have only listend to one episode of Its Just Banter. It was the episode w/ Dan as guest. It was refreshing to hear two up & comers ask questions about Dan's early career. Dan also gave his input about porn, pot, booze. It was a good laugh to hear Dan talk about his early career.

Anonymous said...

I’m not sure why The Ticket doesn’t have original programming on the weekend in the place of the national SNR stuff.
I also agree The Ticket should invest a little more in the farm system.

Having said that, I’ve started to take notice of the new Saturday morning ticker guy named “Casey Millen.” This guy has something although I’m not sure exactly what it is. He kind of reminds me of Sirois.