Saturday, December 18, 2010

White Elephant Memory

This one is a little late.  I actually had started it right after White Elephant Day (WED), but got sidetracked with a suggestion from AP, my rant on "Thicket on the Ticket," and the STDs from numerous Confessors.  Thanks again, can't tell you how much I appreciate it when people comment.  (It also steers me toward topics of interest to The Confessor Nation.)  The different impressions people have of the different hosts is fascinating -- and explains why Cumulus/Ticket management doesn't tinker with host lineups.  Every host has his big fans, as well as detractors.  Dan, Junior, Corby, and Gordon are the main lightning rods, and I find  it particularly fascinating that Craig is in that group.  I'll have more to say on that in future blasts.

And another thanks again to all Confessors who reported on their impressions of WED.  Very entertaining.   In reading these comments, I had a thought that morphed into another thought that resonated with something that Mike R said on Thursday's showgram.

Which means that I'm about to get to the point. 

First, let me say that I'm a big WED fan and supporter.  I am certain that The Ticket does it because of its inherent popularity and the unpredictable fun and disaster that it promises.   So please accept my representation that this thought applies to, oh, somewhere on the order of five to eight percent of overall WED theory.

As I say, I got this theory in reading Confessor accounts of WED.   The thought that perhaps some of the guys we don't hear that often might not quite be ready for prime time.

And I thought -- you know, Ticket management knows this, too.

And then I thought -- maybe, just maybe, there is a tiny segment of the collective intelligence of Ticket management that says to itself:  We get a lot of static from the P1 about this host and that host and this program or that program.  Well, let's see how they like it when we turn the whole day into amateur night.

Just the slightest flash of the old middle finger to the P1.

I thought, nah.

Then, as I was driving back from DFW on Thursday, the day after WED, I was listening to The Hardline.
Mike R was talking about the Cliff Lee derby.  He was talking about the Yankees and their ever-escalating offers to the guy.

Mike was very exercised on this topic.  He might have even used the "middle finger" image.  The Yankees do this all the time, he said, because they can.

Then he said -- I swear, you can look it up -- It's just like what we did yesterday.  We did it because we can.

Which I took to mean -- we can throw out pretty much anything, and get away with it.  Because we're The Ticket.  We're the Yankees of Dallas radio. 

That is not untrue.  I'm not saying that what Mike said was wrong, or disrespectful to the P1.  That was certainly not his intention.  I'm saying that there is a part of The Ticket that knows that WED represents, at its heart, sub-par broadcasting if it were offered every day.  By associating these two things, I think his thought was something like -- Just like the Yankees' overbidding on OK baseball talent isn't good for baseball, our throwing out utterly random showgram lineups results in something you don't want to hear everyday.

Yeah yeah yeah, I'm overanalyzing a few Mike R syllables.  But I thought it was a telling moment.

But only about 5-8% telling.  Maybe not the middle finger, maybe just the pinkie.  And just for a moment.


Anonymous said...

There are times when I think that Mike is putting us on with that particular act; then there are other times when I think that he's serious. To this, there have been several instances over the Ticket's storied history in which I believe that Mike has behaved rather small. I'll never forget the infamous "5, 4, 3, 2, 1... and you're done" spot of utter disrespect and meanness toward Pete Stein. It is precisely incidents like this one, coupled with the "we can do X because we're the Ticket" stance, that makes me lean toward thinking that Mike is, on the whole, serious. Indeed, at times he comes off as someone who as a boy and young man was last picked to play the game, and now, as an adult, is not only no longer last picked, but also is a captain... and unfortunately, from time to time, forgets who he once was. Though he is ever reminded by Corby and Danny of his self-admittedly geeky youth. In other words, Mike's a complicated man!

Just a thought.

The Plainsman said...

Anon, he is indeed a complex individual, and I think that comes through the speakers and is one of the things that makes him a compelling broadcaster.

I hope I made clear (!!) that in this particular case I did not get the impression that Mike was trying to scoreboard other stations or one-up the P1 Nation. It was a passing comment in the middle of his Yankees/Cliff Lee blast, not a thought-out commentary on Dallas radio. But I thought it revealed just hte slip-hem of an attitude about WED, that the P1 nation probably wouldn't like every day to be WED.

Anonymous said...


Indeed you were clear. My point pertains not only to Dallas radio, but to the way that Mike--from time to time--treats others (including the listener: recall his "we don't owe you anything" comment during the Greggo fiasco). I find that aspect of Mike to be distasteful. Having said that, I still think he's a great broadcaster.

Anonymous said...

What Mike meant there was simple-
if we mix up our shows and do a different line up, you're interested because you don't know what you're going to get: You might get radio gold, you might get e brakes galore, but odds are you want to listen to see WTF happens.

The Ticket calls the day they mix up their hosts Whiet Elephant Day.

When the Fan mixes up their hosts, it's called just another Monday, trying to mix and match crappy parts into a better whole.

And no one cares when ESPN moves hosts around, which is why they're down to 17th in today's ratings (M25-54)

N Sider

Jeff said...

2 things--

1. Let the P1 vote for WED slots next year. Set up some type of poll that you can pick where you'd like a host to end up. Some will vote for their favorites to be together, some will vote for tension (Gordo/Bob, anyone?) The hunt for "radio gold" can turn out to be extremely boring.

2. No Rick Carslile on WED. That makes 2 times he's been a prick (last year or maybe the year before to Donnie.) But then again, we have great Sean stutter drops and Rick's "no."

P1 Steven said...

There was once a time when Dan would read a 40 liner (to promote some Ticket event) and if it was a remote by THE HARDLINE, he would say, "And go get ignored by the HARDLINE." This cant be anymore true. Im not saying it is right or wrong, but it is what it is. On the other hand Norm goes out of his way to say hello, and be the nicest human I think I have EVER met. In addition BAD also says hello. I understand the shows have to prepare for a segment, so there are times when they need to prepare. I have taken the philosphy to only make it to a remote if it is not out of my way. I work in Rockwall & live in the anus of Dallas County (Balch Springs). Sometimes the shows make it to the taint of Dallas County (Mesquite- Trophy Nissan, Town East Ford, Soulman's BBQ,) I have learned the only real reason to go to a remote is the free food. I prefer to keep my distance. BTW the nut sack of Dallas County is Garland.

Douglas Sutherland said...

Great Plainsman,

I take Mike's comment as an addition to the Ticket monicre "We can do what they do, but they can't do what we do." The consistant dominant ratings and long standing lineup allow each show (and the station in general) to do things that totally go against the general beliefs of sports radio. For instance, E-news and WTDS (two of my very favorite segmants) when at their best are 25 minutes of inside jokes. You even have the hosts making jokes for "an audience of one" and the listener just kind of accepts it. I have listened for going on 13 years, but I often wonder how it is for the brand new listener who doesn't know Greggo or that the hickish sound Ty makes before reading porn birthdays alludes to when he was working Tickers for Big Dick Hunter's P1 WAC.

But for some reason it works. And maybe it's because the hosts let you in on just enough that it leads you thirsting for knowledge and inside information on the origin of this and that. Do you think any other station in this market could generate enough interest to sprout a super popular p1 blog, a super popular p1 authored website that just posts tons and tons of audio, various p1 twitter feeds that have over 6,000followers, and a message board that is also highly populated, and and even a term for a frequent listener that has been around (I think) since the station's inception?

The power of the little Ticket is truly amazing.

The Plainsman said...

P1 Steven, you're crackin' me up with your geography lesson.

Douglas: Superb comment, beautifully put. The Ticket does successfully walk the line between the personal approach that draws you in, and the obscurity that makes you feel like you're the member of a privileged club instead of cheesing you off.

Hey, is this site one of those groovy P1 things you mentioned?

In any event, thanks for the Comment of the Week.

Douglas Sutherland said...

Just possibly, Plainsman. Just possibly.

Does the CotW award come with Wolverine work boots? Maybe Sim Fighter passes?

I've noticed The Fan tries to take the guy talk route often, but in the same way The Ticket toes the line with great expertise (thanks in large part to Ticket MVP Grubes) The Fan stomps across it with finesse comparable to Leonard Davis as the lead in Swan Lake. They don't use euphanisms, rather say EXACTLY what they mean (I think it was Gregg in the morning show that was talking about premature ejaculation and he said something along the lines of "you're banging a chick and you explode almost 30 seconds later"). Even as a younger listener, not even in the coveted 25-54 yet, it's off putting. It's as if they read the first 50 pages of the Ticket's how to book and never finished it.

There is an incredible amount of over-laughter. You could argue The Hardline (which prides itself on being laugh intensive) has more, but there is a big difference to me. Each person's laugh is totally different, and in most cases the laugh is used as a tool to lead the segmant (danny laugh drops) rather than the self-gratifying laughs you'll get at The Fan. The only person who laughs at his own jokes at The Ticket (on mic) is Tom But at The Fan, it seems to be a very common thing. Mostly the drive time shows. I have no problem with Josh and Mark, and would probably listen more if they weren't against BaD.

There are a bunch of over used cliche's (such as the Cybill Stuff sign off "When in doubt, whip it out effin' A")that are borrowed and used from other shows, mediums, and movies. I suppose what separates those cliched Phrases from The Ticket's cliched phrases is the majority of those are created within the station with a few exceptions. And still no other station as has mastered the art of the drop.

Try as I might to look at other stations through neutral eyes though, I suppose I will always be wearing Ticket shaded glasses, so every other station is at a supreme disadvantage to me.

Scott said...

It occurs to me, that we often refer to the Ticket much like we do our teams. While I love the Rangers and Cowboys... I see tons wrong and I have all the answers to take both organizations to the championship each year... just ask me.

At the same time, I will never stop watching or listening. Occasionally, I will watch the Bears, or Saints, just to see what is up, but I always come back to the Cowboys.

Same with the Ticket... If I had Cat's job, the station would be perfect.... again, just ask me... But, no matter what, I am loyal.

Like I said in a previous post, I have to rig a voltage converter, to my laptop and wireless card, with an input to the car system anytime I am on the road.

Anonymous said...

Scattershooting here….

"And go get ignored by The Hardline."

I heart The Hardline. But... sorry, this is accurate. And this is also why Dan is great. If The Hardline doesn't like it, do something about it.


"In other words, Mike's a complicated man!"

Who isn't? I think the bigger point is, Mike is human being. He's also pretty damn considerate. A couple years back, I ran into him at a random bar patio, standing by himself. I was Danny plastered* and I insisted on drunken pestering Mike for the next 20 minutes. He was nothing but kind and patient with my foolish ass.

You'll never get me to believe Mike Rhyner doesn't appreciate what he has.


Scott is dead-on (see above comment).


WTH is a "monicre?"


*It's a joke. Danny plays up his drinking because it;s funny, and it's one of those "Ticket Persona" things. It's funny, but you gotta remember there's a human being behind it.

-Anonymous B

The Plainsman said...

"Monicre" -- I assume this was an attempt at "moniker," i.e., an identifying name, although even in that form I'm not sure it fits.

More incredible and eloquent commentary from the Confessor Nation.

Anonymous B, I am in complete agreement that Scott has really nailed it with his analogy to his affection/exasperation with sports teams. This is really the essence of The Ticket Confession -- it drives you nuts sometimes, but you must confess that you love the SOB.

I would like to welcome (or welcome back -- I don't keep careful track) Confessors Jeff and N Sider.

I have to confess that I wonder about the alcohol consumption of pretty much the entire Hardline. I generally think that you can't keep up quality broadcasting for years at a time -- but there are such things as functioning alcoholics in showbiz (Sinatra being a notable but by no means the sole example). I worry about them from time to time, but in general I think -- hope -- you're right that most of the boozing talk is guy-talk-character-establishing.

Geez, you guys have been hot lately. I can pretty much retire, just throw out a few topics and let you guys write the site for me. Some pretty good writers, too. I'm impressed.

Douglas Sutherland said...

I apologize. I took a stab at "moniker" without double checking the spelling or exact definition. This is what I deserve for trying to go outside my vocabulary comfort zone. Let's roll with "slogan" instead, shall we?
My mistake.

P1 Steven said...

I wanted to add to this thread after my interaction with Mr. Rhyner mere minutes ago. I was on my FB profile & noticed Mike was online. I sent him an Im concerning the possible Brandon Webb signing. We kicked around some possiblie starting 5 going into this season. I think it comes down to the guys probably dont exactly enjoy their work enviroment being messed with. Who would? BTW I always look forward to any of the shows being at a large venue w/ a P.A. system. Those poor souls always page whomever I request.... "Mike Rhynerm you have a phone call."

P1 Steven said...