Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Happy and Healthy New Year to All Confessors

It's been a very gratifying year at My Ticket Confession.  Hits are up hugely and page views -- new readers checking out the archives -- are healthy as well.  The numbers may not be impressive in comparison with the listenership of The Ticket, but seeing as how it was me and about three other people in the early days, it's nice to have visitors.

In the last post's epic thread of comments on DryDock, I mentioned how healthy the hits were whenever that time of year rolled around.  That prompted a response from one Michael Krenek, who wrote: 

Your hits are up during dry dock because all of us Ticket spares are refreshing the site every 5 minutes to see if anything is written about us.


#truth #hungryforfeedback

In addition to being hilarious, I think there's some truth there.  It had long been my assumption that Ticket hosts and CTOs get tons of email, in some cases hundreds a day, with reactions from P1's to Ticket programming, bits, hosts, features, everything.  And I would have thought that any views expressed on this site would be pretty much lost in that torrent of opinion and not much noticed by the varsity and JV and CTOs at The Little One. 

I'm less sure now.   Some time back I heard from a Ticket guy via email who mentioned that he sees MTC up on laptops from time to time.  Now here's Michael K's testimony.  And of course we have heard in "signed" comments this year from Grubes, Matt, Jake, Casey, and Jeremy (actually, haven't heard from Jer in awhile, that may have been further back in the past).  Also, I'm reasonably sure that one or more of our Anonymi from time to time are also station personnel.  On rare occasions I will hear via email from a Ticket guy with an "atta boy" or a correction or something like that. 

So somebody's checking us out at our favorite radio station.

But I'll tell you something, Confessors:  It's not me they're interested in -- it's you.   There have been some absolutely sensational mini-essays in the comments over the past several months that are well-written and thoughtful.  Sometimes I agree, sometimes not, but these are people who obviously care about the station and think about what makes it great.  In fact, I would put all non-troll commenters in that category; even the offhand comments are pungent and get at something true about the station.

Our readers are guys (and Jonaessa!) who spend an astonishing percentage of their lives listening to The Ticket.   I would think that Cumulo-Ticket guys would be very interested in the views of quality listeners like you, even if they think that Your Plainsman is looney tunes with his between-the-lines interpretations, guesses, speculations, and opinions, not to mention his unhealthy obsession with Green Tail Shiner.  

So:  Raise a glass to yourselves tonight, and have a safe and joyful New Year and 2012, with my continued Thanks for Shopping at My Ticket Confession.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DryDock Quick Hits

Been out of town and doing the Christmas thing with the fam, just barely keeping up with comments.

And then I tune in to my own site and find absolute gold in the last batch of comments.  I was going to cobble together some drydock quick hits but I find that Anonymous and Shaggy have beaten me to the punch, reporting more thoroughly and authoritatively than I could.  I hope I have their permission to repost their comments for further inspection by the Nation.

My reactions will appear in a comment.

First, here's Anonymous, Parts 1 and 2:


Thoughts concerning Dry Dock:

Gordie and the Deuce: Funny and uncomfortable as all get out. Doocy laid out the blueprint on how to effectively combat Gordo's guerrilla warfare. Good chemistry, even better times.

Rhads and Followheezy: Solid. Rhads has become a better radio broadcaster. He doesn't yell into the mic nearly as much as he once did. Nor does he try too hard to Ticket schtick it up, again, like he once did. Followill was his usual bad a self. Sure, he's going to give us a glass is (more than) half full view of the Mavs, but I think we can all understand why. His Cowboy talk has been chock full of HSOs, and that's a good.

Black and Quack: I agree with Plainsman where Dick Hicks is concerned. He's a consummate pro. Yes he can grate from time to time, but overall his HSOs are on point and fearless. Donnie Doo, I cannot say the same. The man is overexposed. There's been WAAAAY (to use one of his annoying traits) too much airtime for our man Donnie Doo. Between BaD, Cowboys post, fill in for the morning drive, and B&'s much too much. I like Donnie, but he's a one trick pony. While it's evident that he's been working really hard on his football knowledge (especially draft history, personnel from other teams, etc.), he just doesn't add anything meaningful to the conversation on a regular basis. He finds an obvious or emotion based point and keeps ramming it home, over and again. And even when he has a really good point, again, he won't relent, he won't move on; he applies it to everything, or he keeps returning to it. The CTOs need to curb his on air time. He doesn't need to be involved with so many shows. No one else up there is, why him? I can appreciate his work ethic and industry, but like Nell Carter used to sing: "Gimme a break, I sure deserve it."

Soul Patch: Why they were tapped to do morning drive is beyond me. Poor decision. It's not a bad show, but it's not strong enough to fill those shoes. Heck, they had basically run out of content by the end of their allotted time. Scott H has a pleasant voice and fairly good sports chops. For the life of me, I'll never understand why the show is named after a spot of (passe) facial hair. I don't understand a mid-late 40-something with multiple piercings, but hey, whatever floats your boat. Like I said, he (and the show) ain't bad. Matt McClearin is an entirely different animal altogether. Wow! I mean, from the prom, the teenage bride, the UFOs, the notion of sex, love, conception, and being well-adjusted, the wearing a kilt, mooning your family, and not realizing the when you don't wear underwear your junk will be showing as well, and finally, the Christmas fisticuffs with his brother over him sticking an olive in his bro's ear while trying to squeeze the juice out of it (hello Freud!)... while his mother is crying. Again, Wow! An odd duck for sure, and I'll leave it at that. (I'm sure he's a nice guy, but nice guys can be weird, too.)

CDS: When the Bros Sirois talk sports, I listen. I think they are the true up and comers around The Little One. What I dislike is their infatuation with their own sense of humor. When they go into schtick, especially extended schtick, it's overkill. Because they're brothers, they both sound similar. Furthermore they both speak very rapidly (something they need to temper). And when you have two people who sounds a lot alike, speak rapidly, and constantly finish each others thoughts/talk over each other, radio chaos ensues. They need to work on this. It's when they get too "cute" for too long that this most usually occurs. I wish they 'd be more sports oriented. I think that by doing so, they're star would rise faster. Don't get me wrong, they can be funny. But, like their rapid speaking, temper it; find the golden mean. Oh, and I know that Mike works for Norm, so I see where it comes from, but they are guilty of "Over Norm." You don't need to do your own Norm drops or imitations at every turn. While they can be funny when well placed, they get stale when repeated time and again. Besides, no one can hold a candle to Gordon in that regard.

Can't wait for p.m. drivetime BaD. A foretaste of the future perhaps???

Well put, Anonymous. 
Here is Shaggy's offering:

The Soul Patch really has got nothing. As generic as it gets. Today was my first time listening to them for a moderate length of time, and it wasn't good. They are exactly what other stations across the country come up with by trying to copy The Ticket's sports talk/guy talk formula. And it's nearly always bad.

Agree about Cirque. I also think they have something, but they are way too schtick-y. They are an almost exact carbon copy of Ben & Skin when they were on The Ticket. They would constantly be laughing at their own and each others' jokes, but they werent all that funny. I think B&S have grown a lot, but they do still suffer from thinking they're a lot cooler and funnier than they really are.

Gentlemen Confessors, you have my thanks.  I'll get the comments underway

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Merry Christmas to All Confessors

Here's a  little gift for you, a very cool video passed along by David P.  If this doesn't tug at your sports heartstrings, check your pulse.

A safe and happy holiday to all. 

     -- Plainsman

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It’s Not Too Early to Ask Some Hard(line) Questions – Part 4(a)

Some Confessors are tired of this series.  Sorry.  There will be two more after this.  This one will address a topic everyone seems to want to comment on, so here goes. 

The consensus, with which I agree, is that listeners want Mike to re-up; that Mike wants to re-up; and that Cumulus will probably get the job done.   In fact, I think it’s overwhelmingly likely that Mike will sign a new contract.  

[For those of you who believe there is no chance Mike will leave and/or have no interest in a hypothetical to the contrary, stop reading now and spare me the comments asking why I'm wasting my time and yours on this.]

 But let’s play a little what-if. 

What if Mike decides he’s had enough, that he has enough bank, and it’s time to – hell, I have no idea what he’d do if he weren’t broadcasting.  I also agree that it seems inconceivable that he would move to a competitor.  Hard to catch lightning in a bottle; even harder to pour lightning from one bottle into another.  

But never mind about the circumstances.  Let’s assume Mike doesn’t return.  Whence The Ticket?

A number of commenters have expressed the thought that BaD would move to the Hardline’s slot, and Corby/Danny would – well, no one’s quite sure.   I don’t know if there is any evidence for this.   It does make some sense; I can understand why some think this is the natural progression of things.

I’m skeptical.

Put yourself in the position of the CTO who has to make a decision of what to do if Mike leaves.  He’s (could be a she, I guess) looking at his lineup and the ratings.  He sees a boffo Number 1 BaD in afternoons, and a boffo Number 1 Hardline in PM Drive.  Been that way for years.  Loyal audiences who love things the way they are.   He’s losing one guy on one show.  A real important guy, it’s true, but one who some would say is not even the dominant influence on that show, and one whose interest seems to flag from time to time.  I don’t agree with either of those as the show is currently conducted, but that thought is abroad.

Which is the least risky thing for the CTO to do? 

Possibility (1):   Uproot these two ratings-busters – half of the programming day – and hope that what would be new audiences (at least to some extent) for each show would stick with the new show in the time period in which they were accustomed to tuning in; put Corby (and Danny?) into what is (possibly unfairly) regarded as a less glamorous time slot, assuming that the only thing that happened was that they would just do a simple switcheroo, which is itself by no means certain.  That is, moving BaD to drive wouldn’t necessarily dictate that the remaining Hard Guys would be placed in afternoons.  And if they didn’t move Corby/Danny to afternoons, then they have to come up with a new show for afternoons, and figure out what to do with Corby, who is unlikely to be overjoyed at any move at all, with attendant political problems in-house.  And that same CTO may be casting a nervous eye at late mornings and wondering what Norm is thinking about his own retirement. 

Let’s think about these audiences for a minute.  True it is that many P1’s like both BaD and The Hardline and would be happy enough to listen to Bob and Dan and Donovan during drive.  But surely the daytime audience is not entirely congruent with the drive audience.    It’s clear from the commenters on this site that both shows excite some fairly negative feelings.  Some folks, who knows what percentage, have a clear preference between the two shows, and you’ll be asking those people to listen to a show they’re disinclined to like in the first instance.  I have heard that BaD has many female listeners – would they like a Corby/Danny show as much as BaD (if Corby/Danny settled there)?   And BaD is much sportiser than The Hardline – will the people tuning in to The Ticket looking for more pop-culture/guy talk after a hard day’s work enjoy SportsSturm as much?  Dan’s acerbity?  HOCKEY? 

And we haven’t considered the host’s own preference.  Bob has an admirable attachment to his growing family, and he’s making a name for himself as a hockey broadcaster – how would a drive assignment affect those things?  

You can brush off any of these considerations and possibly be absolutely right.  But remember, you’re a CTO.  You have to answer all of these questions in a positive way in order for this move to be comfortable.   


Possibility 2:    Find a replacement for Mike on The Hardline.  I tend to agree with those who say that a Corby/Danny-only Hardline would probably not work, much as I like both performers.   Impossible to find a replacement, you say?  Certainly – Mike is irreplaceable if you want the New Hardline to sound exactly like the Current Hardline.  But freshening up the sound of The Hardline and keeping these shows in place might well be preferable to our risk-averse CTO.

In this connection, let me hearken back to something I said about White Elephant Day.  I said I was listening for something and that I heard it.   What I was listening for, and what I heard, was Corby doing a very good job as the primary host for the morning show.   He was smooth, he put aside the naughty-undergrad persona, and he was entirely credible as a more mature-sounding broadcaster.  Bits were good.   I think Corby’s range is somewhat underrated and I think he could work well with any number of different types of partners, including one who wasn’t as tolerant (and encouraging) as Mike is of Corby’s snakier offerings.

One last thing:  RaGE hasn’t made a dent in The Hardline’s popularity.  But it’s still there.  We can think what we want about the quality of Richie/Greggo’s offerings, but our fictional CTO might think:   Which would be more likely to cause people to experiment with punching in 105.3:   Corby/Danny with some plus-ones or a new co-host, where Hardline-curious listeners would at least tend to stick for awhile, even if they didn’t fall in love?  Or BaD Radio plopped into Hardline country?

Don’t think about these questions as a listener – think about them as a CTO whose career is on the line.  

Under Possibility (2), who might join Corby and Danny?  I have a couple of candidates in mind, neither one of which the Nation is likely to endorse, but I’ll save that for Part 4(b).

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310


Friday, December 16, 2011

Had to Laugh in the Car at Something Greggo Said Today

Rhads and Followill were enjoyable enough, but it struck me that I hadn't checked out RaGE in awhile, so I punched over.  They were talking to some FANfan (their latest catchphrase -- at least I hadn't heard it before) who had won a contest and was sitting in on the show.  One of his interests was camping.

GREGGO:  Why would anyone want to go camping?

SYBIL:  You can go out in the woods and drink beer, not shower for three days.

GREGGO:  I can do that at home.

Dunno, just struck me funny.  Didn't listen for long, no other major impressions. 

Except that they're still around and not taking time off over the holidays.  I recall commenters predicting their demise well before now, but they're hanging on.

PS:  Question:  I thought I heard Rhads say that BaD was going to do some PM drive shows during the break.  Did anyone hear that or know what days that will take place?  Thanks.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Not Too Early to Ask Some Hard(line) Questions -- PART 3

After ascertaining that we like Mike  (LINK) and that Mike wants to keep broadcasting (LINK), we were left with the question:  What does the CTO think?

[CTO ("Cumulo-Ticket Overlords") can be singular, plural, or a synecdoche (i.e., a singular indicating the plural, like "P1" to refer to all P1's).  It may take a singular or plural verb, as the spirit strikes me.  Some Confessors would prefer that I not use it.  Sorry.  I do care what the Nation thinks.  I don't mind criticism of this site's habits.  I just need some shorthand to refer to management generally.  I could say "management" but it's too .  .  .  generic and robotic.]

A rational CTO, one would think, would understand the centrality of Mike to the success of The Hardline, and, in some ways, to The Ticket as a whole, as he is its most prominent public face.  One would think that the responsible CTO would put aside his or her animosity towards Mike and make him a reasonable offer and secure his services for as long as possible.

Not the CTO
But that's not a certainty.

The first thing that's not a certainty is that the CTO is rational.  I'm not in the industry but some years ago I gave some thought to buying a small radio station and I started to follow industry news.  I was amazed at some of the absolutely idiotic personnel decisions that station and company management would make regarding on-air personnel, TV and radio.  The urge to fiddle with success to justify one's job, compensation, and self-image must be overwhelming, because time after time station and network executives would make on-air personnel changes that any casual viewer/listener could have told him/her were destined for catastrophe. 

Reminds me of sports, come to think of it.  I followed a football team once that hired the consensus hottest coach hire in the business, a guy everyone wanted.  Guy comes in and proceeds to put half the defense in positions they'd never played before (hyperbole), and instituted an offense that was absolutely guaranteed not to make first downs (not hyperbole).  You knew, you just knew, that this guy had been grossly overrated and he knew it, and was trying to overcompensate by making counterintuitive moves that he was praying would work out and would support his earlier genius press clippings.  Uh, no.

So while I have had more than one occasion to say nice things about the CTO (example: LINK ), it is by no means impossible that someone who hasn't had a career bump in awhile might be thinking that they will be the one to save Cumulus Mike's salary and start the dominoes falling among those damned high-and-mighty on-air guys who need to be taken down a notch or two anyway and who need to know that everyone is expendable, and with the resulting revolutionary programming changes for which I will take credit The Ticket will achieve even greater glory.  It can happen.  There are men -- and women -- out there who think this way.  The further they are away from day-to-day broadcasting, the more they think that way.   And the hell of it is, after they ruin a broadcast property, they find another job. 

Now, I think it is unlikely here.  The CTO have for the most part kept hands off the successful formula developed very early on in The Ticket's history (for which, I am guessing, Mike was something of a template).  But I have seen it happen in major markets with high-profile local programming.

That coach found another job too, come to think of it.  With the same results.

Here's another thing we don't know:

How big a pain in the ass Mike is to his supervisors.

We love the guy, but there comes a point even with the biggest stars at which insubordination tips the scales away from perceived value.  (See, e.g., Charlie Sheen.  Yes, I know 2.5 Men isn't as good or as popular without him, but the point is -- Charlie's gone.)

This site occasionally hears from persons who give some sign of being informed insiders, or with access to informed insiders, who say that the animosity between Mike and CTO is real.  But my very uninformed guess is that Mike's not near an asshole enough off the air to suggest the wisdom of nonrenewing his contract.  I doubt he talks much to any managers, including America's Catman, and while he may not listen to them, either, I doubt that the actual friction in the executive suite(s) is at a point where anyone is feeling the need to rid the joint of a temperamental performer.   They might prefer if he'd read the memos, but his failure to do so isn't killing camaraderie or morale.  It may be a bad influence on Corby -- Danny, I doubt, cares very much -- but that's like John Dillinger being a bad influence on Baby Face Nelson. 

And as we said last time:  Mike has toned down the badmouthing of management, and he's a very loyal and reliable broadcaster.  Sponsors like hiring him to do recorded and live spots.  (Those E. Smith ads are classics.)   The CTO is going to break bread with the guy, irrespective of their irritation with his acting as though they don't exist.

So where are we with our irresponsible and rude speculations?  We want Mike; we think Mike wants to stay; we assume the CTO wants him to stay.

A lot of verbiage for not-very-controversial conclusions.  But we have to ask.

What's next in our series on What's On Mike's Desk?  One of Confessors' favorite topics.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Your White Elephant Assignment

Not sure how much time I'll be able to spend by the channel tomorrow.  I'll appreciate careful reportage from the Confessor Nation.

I'm less interested in bits (although your reviews of indivdual performances are always welcome) than with listening between the lines to gather clues about relationships between the players: 

Who is tense with whom;

who makes a slighting reference about whom that doesn't seem entirely friendly;

what combo hits it off that you might not expect;

who is not enjoying the experience;

who takes advantage of (or squanders) a rare opportunity to shine?

Stuff like that.  As always, thanks.

We'll be back to irritating Mike very shortly, unless there is another Casey Millen eruption.

Query:  If something like the CMillen contretemps had happened on, oh, say, KDFW or KXAS, wouldn't The Little One be all over it?  Always depends whose ox is gored, I guess.  That's the nice thing about running a one-guy blog -- limited opportunities for scandal.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Monday, December 5, 2011

We Interrupt This Nosy and Apparently Endless Series on Mike's Employment . . .

.  .  .  for a nosy article on someone else's employment.

Namely, Casey Millen's.

At this point, Confessors are probably aware that Casey made some highly personal and highly critical remarks about Matt McClearin on the Tee Box that apparently took Craig Rosengarden by surprise, although having given Casey the rudder his options may have been somewhat limited.  You can hear it here: (LINK).

While we're on the subject of the UnTicket, I am reposting a comment left by AP which for some reason failed to appear in the comment section to the Open Thread on "Tell a Friend about The Ticket Month."  If you are interested in this topic, there are some good comments on it back there, two articles back.  Here's AP:

I reposted it at The Unticket for two reasons:

1) I wanted to know if I'm just being a prude, or if what I heard was really that bad. The answer appears to be a bit of the former and a lot of the latter.

2) McClearin deserves to hear what was said about him.

I'm not fan of McClearin's radio work for various reasons, but he certainly does not deserve a shot like that. I'm actually a bit disappointed that Craig didn't dump the comment. He was however on remote and may not have been familiar with McClearin or his situation (Matt is 30+, this is his second marriage, and he married his current wife 2-3 years ago when she was 18).

Weekends at the ticket basically serve as the farm system for cultivating new talent. For producer/board ops, there's Kevin Turner, Mike Marshall, Dave Wilson, and even Jason Killer Kellison on occasion. Ticker men in regular weekend rotation include Michael Krenek and Casey Millen. It's competitive environment in which one must bring their own twist to get noticed. If you've listened to the 'It's Just Banter' episode with Mike Sirois, you'll hear him talk about having to "up his ****" to get noticed - and his MadLib tickers went over well enough with other hosts and management that he was a "shoo-in" for Bacsik's seat.

The weekend ticker guys also try to bring their own twist to their work - both insert subtle jokes during their one-minute slots, and both also take opportunities to pop on air whenever possible. Millen's work is decidedly more shock-jock than Krenek's as of late though.

Krenek has recently gained acceptance with weekday hosts, garnering notice and 'praise' from Bob, Dan, Grubes and Tom during his fill-in work with BaD Radio last week. Millen is a reluctant favorite of the Teebox's, and the weekend edition of the SoulPatch uses him in limited on-air doses. I don't believe Millen has ever had a fill-in opportunity during the weekday.

Millen filled in as a host for a Teebox show a few months ago, and his work had a similar level of abrasion to the McClearin comment - borderline shocking, and not terribly funny 'jokes' delivered in rapid-fire succession (at least for my taste, and I'm pretty crass). Read into this what you will, but Mike Sirois was tapped to fill in the next time the Teebox was a host short, and Newbury + Jake also did a fill-in when both hosts couldn't make it. I haven't heard yesterday's Teebox offerings, but I'm told by a purported Millen fan that he was more muted this time around.

"Pretty sure I'm being fired next week" has been his twitter tagline for several months now.

Regarding McClearin, I'm fairly certain that his co-host regularly surfs this blog and was aware of what was said before the audio was reposted. While coming out of a break during Tuesday's SoulPatch, Matt introduced himself as "the intelligent one" ... Scot quickly replied with "and I'm the enthusiastic one." (Scot'll work in a subtle reference or two on you based on things he's read here).

One last note - some of the posts complimentary of Millen's work here and on the unticket seem to be written by Millen himself. The Plainsman is very gracious about letting the anonymii remain anonymous, so I can't make the claim with 100% certainty, at least not for this site.

Thanks, AP. 

My quick and not-deeply-considered takes:

(1) Casey has some on-air gifts, but he's the most nakedly ambitious of the Ticket JV.  Maybe not the most ambitious, but he is least successful in hiding it.  It's why I occasionally refer to him as The Perpetually Up-and-Coming Casey Millen.

(2) When he's playing it straight, he can be good when given some air time.  He's glib, he's intelligent, and he tries to find interesting things to say.  Too bad about that catastrophic-lack-of-judgment thing.

(3)  I have no information on whether or not he's been fired.  If he was on the Tee Box Saturday, sounds like he survived.  I don't like to see guys fired for one horrible moment, although there are some levels of horribleness beyond which one cannot survive.  This one is bordeline, but on balance I think I'd try to handle this internally if I were Cumulus HR.

(4)  Casey has posted here under his own name a couple of times, not offensively.  Always happy to hear from Ticket guys.

(5)  I have suspected Casey of posting anonymously on his own behalf, and I actually caught his significant other doing so with a suspiciously laudatory post about the lad.  I outed her somewhere along the line in these pages, but wouldn't be able to find it now.

(6)  I am in agreement with some of the commenters to the last Open Thread who offered thoughts on what the JV will do to try to get noticed.  Some are more skillful at insinuating themselves onto the air than others.  Casey tends to come across as very aggressive and  brassy, as though he can hardly wait for an opening or an invite, and when it comes he practically bursts with schtick.  It's not that the content is bad, it just has calculated written all over it.  I bend over backwards to try to be fair to the junior guys, who have a tough row to hoe for not a lot of financial reward, and Casey is not an untalented guy.  Just too obviously eager.  If he survives this, I wouldn't be against giving him another fill-in shot somewhere.

(7)  Having said this, the McClearin thing was pretty awful.  Nothing to add to what has already been said about that.

(8)  However  .  .  .  why?  Why would a political guy like Casey have been moved to issue such self-damaging observations?  Let's think about this for a couple of minutes.

Matt has posted very kindly here on occasion, which the Nation appreciates.  He seems to have supporters (generally, I'm one) and those who are less enthusiastic (AP).  I have to say, however, that I have always found him a little  .  .  .  discomfiting.  Just a little  .  .  .  curious somehow.  I don't want to overstate this, because, as I say, on the whole I think he's working out well on The Soul Patch.

The whole young-wife thing, when it got big play on the station when he went to her prom (I believe they were afianced at the time) and when they were married, struck me as really kind of  .  .  .  man, I can't even think of the word for it.  Kind of an eewwww moment.  I really want to keep out of the personal lives of the Ticket guys (Norm's recent marriage a happy exception), but this was all over The Ticket, so fair game.   Yeah, yeah, we guys all yuk it up about getting younger at that position, but I really had to wonder about all that teasing.  I asked myself why he let this happen; I asked myself what the future Mrs. McClearin thought about all of it.   I don't want to be uncharitable -- maybe he felt that this is what his bosses wanted to do, so he had to go along with it; maybe he thought any pub is good pub.  And it wasn't in unusually bad taste by The Ticket's notably flaccid standards, just more or less male joshing.  But it made me wonder about him a little.

Then there was the close encounter with the aliens.  I'll pass on commenting on this except to say that it was certainly consistent with the archetypes of these types of account.   Another emotionally-charged, unusual personal experience by a not-yet-prominent guy on the station that got a lot of airtime.  Hmmm.

Next:  On-air friction with David Newbury, with Newbury seeming to get the worst of the reaction to it.  Numerous Confessors noticed it and commented on it in these pages.  Result:  McClearin up, Newbury down, perhaps a little unfairly in the latter case.  (FWIW at this point, I thought Matt was a little manic on those weekend shows with Newbury.  He's calmed down on Soul Patch and it's better work.)

And now, Casey Millen rather angry with him.

Where am I going with this?  Nowhere in particular, except to say that Matt seems to have a talent for getting noticed, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  He's skillful at it -- taking all of the foregoing into account, has anyone out there formed a strongly negative impression about him, based solely on what you hear on the channel?  (And not about what you might know about him off-hours?)

Can't speak for The Nation -- I have not.  But some of his colleagues apparently have.   I don't keep track of seniority among the JV, but my working theory here is Matt has leapfrogged some of the JV, and it has caused some resentment. 

Rambling, sorry.  But we don't get the curtain pulled aside at The Ticket very often, and when it happens, Your Source for Responsible Ticket Journalism has to get something up fast.   There's some sizzlin' inside baseball going on here, and I'm hopeful some Ticket Inside Baseball Jeebus can fill us in.

In the meantime -- Casey and Matt, you guys take care.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Not Too Early to Ask Some Hard(line) Questions -- PART 2

A couple of weeks ago I started sticking my digital nose into Mike Rhyner's business.  It's going to get worse.

First thing we explored was whether we want Mike to sign on again.  You can read my timeless thoughts on this subject here.  I certainly do, and I think the sense of the Nation is that it does as well. 

But that's not important now.  Our next topic is:  Does Mike want to re-up?

For quite a long time, Mike's sometimes (?) adversarial relationship with the CTO would be hinted at on The Hardline.  About every presentation or two, something would inspire him to grumble "Won't somebody come in here and buy this thing?"  And it didn't sound like a bit.

And from time to time someone who sounds like they might have a spot of inside knowledge will leave a comment on this site suggesting that Mike's relations with the CTO are consistently less than rosy. 

But somewhere along the line, something happened to Mike's public dyspepsia about his supervisors.  I'm thinking it may have been the internal Cumulo-Ticket fallout to those sodden ruminations on the shores of Lake Mingus when Mike, transfixed by the flickering campfire and addled by his shot-o-beer-a-minute heroics, suggested that February might be his Ticket schwanz-song.   (Actually, I don't remember if that was the same night he did the beer-shot challenge.)

Whatever it was -- suddenly, it seemed to me, he started to keep whatever hostility he felt under wraps.  I don't recall any requests that someone come in and buy the station since then.  It's doubtful his attitude changed, but I just don't remember hearing anything about it, other than the occasional grumbling about balky hardware in the soon-to-be-abandoned Ticket studios.

The guessing seems to be that Mike wants to keep broadcasting with The Hardline, and I think that's right.  Probably not so much about money.  Probably did OK when the founders sold, but I sometimes wonder if he wishes he and the other founders had held on a few more years.  Probably makes some good coin -- oh, we'll be looking into this in a future installment,  you may be certain --  and he's got Petty Theft for some walking-around money.

Nah, I think that for all his curmudgeonliness and rare checking-out, he is strongly committted to The Ticket and The Hardline.  Consider -- Mike almost never, ever  misses a show.   In general, Ticket hosts are a hearty bunch, but I can't remember any shows Mike has missed due to illness.  He's had the odd family commitment, but on at least one of those occasions I think he switched duties with Craig to allow a midday getaway rather than to miss a day of broadcasting.

But I think the biggest clue to his intentions is his performance.  This site was started one day when I was worried about Mike's slipping interest in the showgram and how out-of-balance it had become a year or so after Greggo the Hammer's departure.  I started to write about it.   Turns out I wasn't the only one who perceived this; in the years since, many Confessors have said the same thing.  However, in the last year-and-a-half, it seems to me that Mike's attitude has changed.  He's much more involved in helming segments and in participating in the ones that Corby or Danny initiates.  He's just more there than he was for a long period of time.  The Hardline has been as good in the last six months or so as it has ever been.  He's working it.  He wants to continue.

We think of him as the "Old" Grey Wolf but he's not, very, as talk-show stars go.  Early sixties; heck, he's got a lot of years left, as long as the listener demo doesn't start dying off.   Another topic for another day, that maddeningly shifting demo.

And what else would he do?  OK, Petty Theft.  But coming in to do a four-hour stretch with pretty minimal show prep, sitting and talking, and doing a lot of listening to Corby -- is a pretty sweet shot.   Replacing that with -- sitting around?  Traveling?  Giving interviews (right)?  Nah.

There's something else:  As marvelous a radio presence as Mike is, he's less notable when he's away from The Hardline.  We've mentioned it before:  When he sits on on a pre-game, or even participates in a roundtable, he pretty much vanishes.  It's hard to imagine him risking an attempt to transfer chemistry he has with Corby and Danny (and Nice Young Michael and even Ty and sometimes Rich) to strangers on a strange station.

So yeah, I think he's going to listen when the CTO come calling, if they haven't already.

But what about the CTO?  Part 3 coming up.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Thursday, December 1, 2011

OPEN THREAD: What Happens When You Tell a Friend About the Ticket?

November was supposedly Tell a Friend About the Ticket Month. 

Whenever I ask a conversational friend whether they listen to The Ticket, assuming that he's male, I never get a response that they've never heard of The Ticket.  So telling them about The Ticket is usually unnecessary.  I usually get one of several reactions:

--  they're Ticket listeners and enjoy it.  Given it's healthy ratings, I'm surprised that this is the reaction I get least.

-- they don't listen to The Ticket because it doesn't have enough sports.  They split equally between FAN and ESPN.

-- They don't listen to The Ticket because it's too dirty.

What reaction do you get?  If, in fact, you proselytize for The Ticket.  As we all should.

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URGENT MESSAGE TO ALL CONFESSORS:  The circumstances of my employment have kept me away from the channel for the last few days, and that may continue for a little while.  I would appreciate if anyone hears anything of interest that they'd like to comment on, please do leave a comment here.  Sorry for being a little distant, and hope to be back with more blasts soon.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Monday, November 28, 2011


Many thanks to faithful Confessor Jonaessa for collecting the White Elephant information for us:

Morning Drive
Producer – Killer
Host #1 – Norm
Host #2 – Corby
Yuk Monkey – Bob
Tickers – Sean Bass

Ten to Noon
Producer – Gribble
Host – Gordon

Noon to Three
Producer – Danny
Host #1 – Mike
Host #2 – George
Tickers – Donovan

Afternoon Drive
Producer – Fernando
Host #1 – Craig
Host #2 – Ty
Yuk Monkey – Dan
Tickers – Rich

I'll be interested to know how Gordon fills up his two hours.  I always look forward to Craig's tickers, but not this year, I guess.  I think Craig and Ty will make an interesting pair, as will George and Mike.

Your thoughts welcome.

I still want to know who did that T.C. imitation on The Hardline last Wednesday.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.   I'm underwater at work right now, so new articles may dribble out irregularly for awhle.  Thanks for your patience.  I may cannibalize some of your comments for articles just to keep the content monster sated. 

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gordon Gets It Right

I know it's always distressing to the Nation when I stray too far from commentary on The Little One, so you may wish to skip this entry.

I've read many of the Kennedy assassination conspiracy books, a number of the better-known ones.  My bookshelf contains around 15-20 of them.  I've visited numerous conspiracy websites.  Walked Dealey Plaza numerous times and visited the Sixth Floor Museum a couple times.   I've also read the Posner and Bugliosi LHO-did-it-alone books.  Also read the Warren Report, although none of the many published volumes of evidence.

LHO-did-it-alone wins hands down.

What I especially like about Gordon's approach to this is that it recognizes both fronts on the fight against nonsense:  First, he knows a great deal about the facts of the assassination and, within the style and time limitations of a guy-talk format, does a good job of answering conspiricists on the merits.  Second, he recognizes the illogic and flimsiness of the conspiracy investigators' methods and calls attention to the tortured processes by which they spin their very strange and mutually-exclusive scenarios.  Of the couple-dozen or so shooter candidates of the various schools of assassination thought, all but one of them must be wrong.  It's amazing to me that Jim Marrs, who spans both Kennedy conspiracy and UFO conspiracy, is a professor at UT-Arlington where he offers his stuff to the unsuspecting undergraduates.

Today he alluded to another strain of this debate:  It is characterized on the conspiricists side by what historian Richard Hofstadter called, in a book of the same name, "The Paranoid Style of American Politics."  We see it on both sides of the political spectrum, from Joe McCarthy, through the Kennedy conspiricists, to the Area 51 people, to the 9/11 Truthers, to the Obama Birthers.  (I swear to God:  The other night I happened on a YouTube video of a network interview with a Texas A&M professor who was seriously arguing that no jets hit the World Trade Center on 9/11.) 

[By the bye, of this group, the Birthers strike me as the least incredible, mainly owing to POTUS's extremely odd reaction to the entire controversy, and the continuing reluctance to produce an original of that long-form certificate.  But pretty incredible, nonetheless.  For the record -- I think POTUS was almost certainly born where he says he was.]

Might try to tag along on that LHO Trail of Tears if Gordon gets it up and running.

A solemn promise to the faithful Confessor:   More Mike R irresponsible speculation coming right up!

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[Respectful request:  Even though I didn't, let's try to keep comments tied to Gordon's work on this.  Of course, you are always welcome to tell me that I've lost a reader.]

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Not Too Early to Ask Some Hard(line) Questions -- PART 1

I think the archetypal P1 harbors the thought that if he were personally acquainted with a Ticket host, that said host would like said P1.  And in general, most hosts have a reputation for friendliness towards P1's they meet out and about and at remotes and events.

But I don't think Mike Rhyner will like the next set of articles -- and, alas, probably Your Plainsman -- much at all.  Not because they will be critical of him -- quite the opposite.  It's because he judges his employment relations with Cumulus/The Ticket -- because that is what we are going to be considering -- to be none of anyone's business but his. 

And why shouldn't he feel that way?  Would you want your employment issues to be the subject of a public website?  Of course not. 

But he's kind of brought this on himself, a little. 

First, his contracts, if not their details, are the stuff of news reports.  It was a big deal when he re-upped in February 2009. 

Second, there was that little matter of the alco-fueled speculation on the verdant shores of Lake Mingus back in March, where he suggested he might disappear after February.  If you want a refresher on this episode, you might want to review this article.

Third, he (and the Hardline generally) allude to their somewhat adversarial relationship with their employers as a recurring bit on the showgram.

Finally, The Ticket as a whole has cultivated a highly personalized relationship between the hosts and the P1.  Mike's welfare is naturally of widespread interest to the largest and most loyal listenership in the metro.

So, at the risk of aggravating a gent of whom most of us are extremely fond, we're going to have a look at what might be in store for him, The Hardline, and the P1.


NOTE:  Other than what Confessors suggest in comments, which may or may not be credible, I have zero inside information on any of what you're about to read.  I don't even know for a certainty that his deal is up in February.  However, circumstantial evidence and at least one knowledgeable-sounding Anonymous suggest that it is.

The first question is an easy one:   Do we want Mike to re-up?

That answer is very easy for me:  Absolutely.  And it has nothing to do with him being the founder, blah blah blah.  He is simply the most listenable guy on the radio.  I'm going to cheap out and quote myself from an article last spring:

"I think Mike Rhyner is a broadcast genius, quite aside from his founding of The Ticket.  He is the rock upon which DFW sports radio is built.  Asking "what's so great about Mike Rhyner," which is a perfectly sound question, is kind of like asking "what was so great about Walter Cronkite?"  After all, the guy just read the news.  He might have had a minor editing function, but in the years in which he became famous he was basically a guy who sat in front of a camera and read stuff that other people wrote.  And yet, he was an utterly compelling broadcast presence, the most trusted man in America.  

"Mike is like that.  *   *   *   The man has a sound, an authentic Texas sound.  It's just flat likable.   Despite his curmudgeonly pose, his essential goodwill and humanity can be felt through the speakers.  And he's smart as hell.  And, yes, there's the don't-give-a-damn attitude that is very distinctive -- as opposed to media figures who claim to offer I-don't-care-what-other-people-think viewpoints but who are obvious poseurs without conviction, Mike truly does not care what happens to him -- no, he's not immune from getting his ass fired, but his ass truly could not care less and truly knows that he's got the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords by their nine-kilowatt balls."

In upcoming posts I'll back off on a little of that, but not my regard for Mike. 

Some of you may recall that among the motivations for my founding this site was the impression that the Hardline was in trouble -- very out of balance, with Mike seemingly losing interest and focus on the showgram.  I wasn't the only one who observed that.  Lots of comments on Mike "phoning it in."

That tendency of the show, it seems to me, has decisively reversed itself.  It's been a long time since I thought the OverCorby had escaped his cage.  Mike has been much more present on the show, his attention seems only seldom to wander.  I think I've expressed the thought that Danny's increased role has something to do with keeping the show in equilibrium.  I don't think it's a salary drive -- it feels real to me.  Reason doesn't matter -- the Rangers' ascendancy; Mavs greatness; feeling good about life for reasons that are truly none of our business -- dunno, maybe none of those things.  I've found myself laughing out loud at the show more the last few months than I have in a long time. 

His talent really is unique.  He may be baseball Jesus, but he's not noted for profound sports expertise.  In fact, he parodies that fact, sometimes picking the Cowboys to win all their games and go on to win the SuperBowl.  When he's on pre- or post-game duty, he's almost invisible.  In fact, he's not really all that comfortable in segments with other hosts.  Nope, he's a star, but a star with his own rhythms and cadences and lyrics and tempo and it works best when he's the conductor. 

And on The Hardline it works very well indeed. 

So, as I say, the answer for me is easy.  But not everyone is a big Mike Rhyner fan.  I don't know how the P1 breaks down on the subject of Mike.  In fact, the above excerpt was from an article responding to a Confessor who was wondering "What's So Great About Mike?"  So let me ask you this:  Knowing the alternatives in DFW drive radio, if Mike were to disappear and not be replaced -- The Hardline becoming the Corby/Danny/Ty/Grubes show -- would you continue to listen?

Let's hold the speculation on who might replace Mike.  We'll come back to that, promise.  I want to gauge your interest in whether Mike stays on or not. 

We'll explore other issues surrounding the enigmatic Mike R in following articles.

Unless he finds me and beats me up first.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn State Sodomy Quick Hits

(1)  The Musers and The Hardline did a good job with this hot topic on Thursday.  I thought that their efforts to tone down the comedy were notable.  (The Musers generally more sincere, and successful, in this than The Hardline, but the fact that they acknowledged the gravity of situation was to the credit of both shows.)  I felt that they also made an effort to find something different to say about the matter in addition to the obvious.

The seriousness with which both shows treated this topic, and that fact that the Penn State mess was almost the only topic covered, was perceptive.  This is one of those events that changes the way we look at an entire institution, and I'm not talking about Penn State -- I'm talking about sports in general and perhaps even large, powerful institutions of all kinds where horrors are swept under the rug because the consequences of exposure are so vast.  It seems like any time we get past the surface of what we see on the teevee in college or pro sports we find financial, sexual, medical, political, and other-words-I-can't-think-of-ending-in-"al" misdeeds that take our breath away.  The drive shows didn't get all philosophical on us like I'm doing right now, but I thought that their reaction -- being brought up short by the enormity of what took place -- was a perfect mirror of how many of us are reacting.

(2)  I was able to have BaD on in the background on Thursday, but couldn't hear it very clearly.  I got the impression that they didn't devote much airtime to this subject at all, but I may be way wrong about that.  Can anyone give us an account of how BaD handled matters?

(3)  The student riots and support for Paterno are excellent reasons for raising the voting age to 25, and also fodder for the growing literature on the worthlessness of the modern liberal arts education.  It will be interesting to see what happens to applications there.  It's one of the largest universities in the United States, so perhaps it is to be expected that some irreducible core of maroons would be out and about spouting fatuities.

(4)  "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."  HINDSIGHT?  HINDSIGHT??  Does Paterno even know what kind of activity is involved here?  Is there a more poorly-worded confession in the annals (yes, that's "annals") of American history?  Who drafted Paterno's appalling statement?  That mouthy lawyer kid of his?  Craig Rosengarden?

"Hindsight":   Astoundingly unfortunate word choice aside, think about what he is saying.  "Hindsight" doesn't mean that you now have more facts than you had back at the time to which you are looking back -- it means that some new circumstance has caused you to interpret those facts differently.   What are those new circumstances here?  Only the threat to his own skin and Penn State arising out of disclosure of the matters he and his staff chose to at best ignore, and at worst to cover up.  

His effort to instruct the Trustees on their duty not to regulate his employment is exactly the kind of tone-deaf arrogance that has now tarnished his legacy.

(5)  OFF-TOPIC:  This site strongly endorses The Hardline's increased references to Green Tail Shiner.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Sunday, November 6, 2011


This probably falls under the category of low-hanging fruit, but really:

A contract is a contract, but aside from The Ticket not breaching its agreement with the Stars, is there ever an excuse for hockey, no matter how good, to take precedence over the Cowboys, no matter how bad? 

Anyone know whether the Stars do better than the Ticket Top 10, ratings-wise?

I don't begrudge the hockey-lover his sport, but if put to the choice, is station management ever justified in bouncing football for hockey?  Yes, yes, I know there's a contract, but I guess what I'm saying is:  If presented with a contract that causes you ever to bounce Cowboys talk, or Mavericks talk, or Rangers talk, in favor of hockey, or, for chrissakes, hockey TALK, shouldn't the CTO politely decline it? 

When does this godforsaken alliance with the Stars expire?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And While We're Passing Out Congratulations . . .

.  .  .  a big one to The (Incomparable) UnTicket for the massive props Mike Rhyner is giving your site at this very instant for making available some old parodies I'd never heard of. 

DP and AP, sounds like you got him through a very tough weekend.  

Please Join MTC in Congratulating Mr. and Mrs. Norm Hitzges

Thanks to T4 in Rockwall for alerting us to a website that has published photographs of Norm's wedding to Mary Danz in Corinth on October 8.  (So, old news, but apparently not widely known beyond The Ticket and radio junkies.)    (The photographer's website featuring the below and numerous other great images is found here.)

I am reluctant to write about Ticket guys' private lives, but this site is pretty out there, it's a happy occasion, and the couple looks spectacular. 

Congratulations from My Ticket Confession and The Confessor Nation.

[PS to Norm and jimmages:  If you would prefer that this item be taken down, I will honor a request from either of you.  Email me at]

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Sunday, October 30, 2011

OPEN THREAD: World Series Wrap-Up

I tried to listen to as much Ticket as I could Friday and this weekend, didn't catch as much as I would have liked.  A little Diamond Talk, a little Orphanage, a little Soul Patch.  I'm liking the Soul Patch, Matt McClearin is growing more comfortable by the week.  I'm also finding that I like listening to Danny Balis talk sports on those too-rare occasions when he turns his attention that way.  I didn't listen to much Diamond Talk this year -- bedtime -- but I may have to make that effort next season.  Good stuff, and I didn't notice some of the Newberry mannerisms that have gotten some adverse commentary here. 

In general, I thought the coverage was about where I hoped it would come out -- informed, calm, non-accusatory, balanced, big-picture.  Put responsibility about where it probably belonged (mostly pitching) without going ballistic. 

I especially liked the commentary from the likes of Mike R that we had focused on the Rangers' "story" to the near-total exclusion of the Cardinals' "story," and that had been our mistake.

So I gots nothing too profound here.  Feel free to offer sportsy baseball commentary as well as Ticket commentary, and if you have a thought on the TV coverage, that would also be welcome.  Here's a very mild one:  I've never thought much of Tim McCarver, going back a long time.  His observations have always seemed generic and obvious to me, but I guess we could have worse color guys.  Contrary to some of the Ticket hosts, I thought A.J. Pierzynski gave the Fox presentation a needed jolt.  Yeah, he looks kind of spiky, and I hear he has been voted putz-of-the-year or something by MLB players, but I thought his observations were fresh.

We haven't heard any of The Ticket's regular programming apres-Series as of this posting, so please return and post your thoughts on what our weekday warriors have had to say as the broadcast week gets underway. 

Me, I'm getting ready for The Ticket's "unofficial" Cowboys pre-game show.  (They've started to call it that on promos -- I wonder if The Fan complained to someone about that.)

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[PS:  There seems to be some controversy over whether Danny B has received some kind of formal appointment as "weekend program director."  Anon D says no, it's a bit; a couple of other commenters seem fairly certain that it has happened.  Can anyone shed any light on this?]

Hits way way up the last few weeks.  My gratitude to the Nation.  The party's only getting started.

As always, don't worry about jacking the thread.  If you've got something else on your mind, let us hear from you.  You can also email me at  I am not case-sensitive.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Friday, October 28, 2011

World Series Quick Hits

(1)  The Hardline has been brilliant the last few days.  Mike says it truly:  There is nothing more to say about this game, time to play.  Yet Mike, Corby, and Danny manage to be extremely entertaining for the entire show.   The passion and anguish of the fan.   The crosstalk with Diamond Talk has been great.  

This is Mike Rhyner at his absolute best.  When he's interested and engaged, there is simply no more listenable broadcaster in the metro.  This puts Corby in his natural position, with Danny lubricating the whole thing. 

We've heard that the CTO and Mike have a mutual loathing society going.  The past couple of weeks is good evidence of why they will come to terms.  The Ticket needs Mike Rhyner, and Mike Rhyner needs The Ticket.  I don't care what either side says. 

(2)  Did Bob Sturm really hijack Diamond Talk the other night, or were the accounts on the other shows exaggerated?  Witnesses?  I like Bob and in the past I've been inclined to dismiss charges that he's the Sports Bully, but that would qualify.  Unless, of course, it were 30 minutes of unrelieved brilliance, which is entirely possible.  But 30 minutes of droning qualifiers and subordinate clauses would be a bit much.

(3)  Been disappointed with the quality of the Ticket tweets tonight (Game 6).  Too many nothingburger interjections with no content or cleverness.  A few gems, mostly retweets.

(4) If The Ticket had not sent any shows to St. Louis for either segment of the Series there, would we have noted a significant difference?   I did not hear any of the Joe Buck encounters -- maybe that added some local color.  The Ticket didn't bother to send The Hardline the second time around.  I guess the station gets some PR benefit about saying that they sent some showgrams and the other stations didn't.  Hey, I don't mind them going, it certainly doesn't make their broadcasts any worse (technical issues aside).  But since Our Heroes aren't really news guys -- with the exception of Gordon, who gets some local sound from time to time -- no one is really covering the sports scene.  Their presence in St. Louis (or Detroit, or Florida) hasn't much for me one way or t'other.  Not unlike the playoffs and Series last year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are the CTO Cleaning Up the Hardli -- Uh, Make that The Firmline?

At least that's what it sounded like to me yesterday.  I didn't get to hear the whole show so I didn't hear the beginning of this riff, but I gather that our PM drive heroes (and perhaps the whole station, although I don't think any other show would be much affected) have been asked to stop using "f-ing" and other substitutes for the f-word and the s-word.  They were joshing about substituting "Z" for those particular words.  I don't know whether this goes to the more casual profanity used on The Hardline (you know, the damns and the hells and the bitches), or for such phrases as "BS" (which Danny changed to "ZX" at one point).  Nor do I know whether it extends to subject-matter censorship (body-cavity, genitalia, and human by-product humor).

In other words -- I don't know much about this.  If you do, let The Nation hear from you. 

In any event, it's welcome.  As admiring as this site is of The Hardline and its proprietors, it has been critical of the increasing vulgarity and profanity on the show.  I've spoken with several P1's who have switched their PM drive allegiance for this reason, although it is obvious that The Hardline isn't losing share for this reason (and who knows, maybe they've increased it).  I've mentioned in the past that Mrs. Plainsman will tolerate any Ticket showgram on while she is present, except The Hardline.

I know this sounds prissy.  Fact is, I'm not particularly prudish about program content and while I don't like the profanity, it doesn't hugely detract from my personal enjoyment of the show.  The problem with its use on The Hardline is that it gives the show an angry and sometimes even a misogynistic tone that is at odds with the rest of the station and grates on the ear.  It sounds deliberately provocative and forced.  So for me it's less verbal immorality -- heckitytoot, I like a little clever smut as much as the next cat -- than it is the damage to the color and gestalt of the show as a whole.  It's just not as good with excessively blue content.

Everyone I hear from on this subject says the same thing about The Hardline's forays into Stern territory:  These guys are better than that.

And they are. 

LOTS more on The Hardline in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, if anyone has any information on any CTO edicts on this topic, do advise.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Sunday, October 23, 2011

OPEN THREAD: Who OverTweets?

Twitter has its merits.  My problem is time.  I don't have enough of it for reasons not interesting to The Nation.  Not only do I not know how to use all of the mechanics, I don't get to just flat-out read all the Tweets regularly enough to learn the individual languages of some of the major Twits.  I'm not much of a Twit -- I alert new articles here, and once in a awhile I'll throw up a  non-promotional Tweet.  But if I think of something interesting, I like to save it for y'all on MTC.
I follow all of the Ticket guys whose addresses I've been able to get.  I have a few more I need to add.   I follow some other local sportsy/newsy guys.

Our title today announces my inquiry.  When I ask you to tell me who overTweets, I have a couple of qualifications in mind:

(1) If there's a guy who absolutely hijacks your page with endless Tweeting, but whose Tweets are of high quality, funny, interesting -- perhaps he is not an overTweeter, but just a guy with a lot of good stuff on his mind.  He gives you quality along with quantity.  Work t'other way around -- maybe a guy only slings a half[-dozen Tweets a day, but even with their brevity they waste your time.

(2) We should probably not count big-game Tweeting, where followers actually "tune in" to hear their favorite guy comment on the game as it goes along.

Maybe we should put it in the negative -- who would you like to see Tweet less?

Your nominees need not be limited to Ticket personnel.

And follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Fake Jason Garrett: Pretty Genius

A brilliant debut.

This was what I call "process humor" -- it made fun of a certain manner of speaking, of the presentation rather than what was being said (because he said, essentially, nothing).  Very witty and funny, and a great performance, but once it's established, it's a one-joke joke.  The challenge will be to introduce humorous substance, at least if Gordon intends to do it more than once or twice a season, as I assume he's going to.  (I wonder if they'll try to engineer some Fake Jerry/Fake Garrett dialogues.)  By that, I mean Fake Jason talking about something (i.e., football, the prior day's game, players) other than his own manner of talking.

A Jason Garrett fave phrase I did not hear:  "awfully good."

I thought that voice sounded somewhat processed.  It sounded like they had a plate echo on it, and there was a roughness to the timbre that sounded like it might have been artificially added. 

No matter, it was great.   Legend potential.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some Props for the CTO

This one's a little late, sorry.  I had it slated for a few weeks ago, but then Greggo erupted a couple of times and it slipped.

Confessors will recall a very interesting dialogue I stitched together out of some comments from Little Weak Jeremy and Anonymous.  They're about ten years apart in age, but come to The Little One looking for different things and, in general, find them.  Here are the links to the posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I won't repeat their positions in detail; suffice it to stay that they each enjoy different things about The Ticket, don't enjoy some of the other things quite so much, but find enough of what they're looking for that they remain committed P1's. 

What struck me about this dialogue, and about running this site generally and reading all of the great comments that Confessors favor us with, is that the "demo" that we hear so much about with The Ticket is actually quite diverse.

And I thought:  It's remarkable that The Ticket has grabbed all of us for many years and is doing nothing but getting more popular.

I think the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords deserve some credit -- actually, quite a lot of credit -- for this success.

Several Confessors have used the phrase "lightning in a bottle" to describe the mix of talents we have heard every day for lo these many years.  I agree with this characterization for the most part.  Junior, George, Mike, the anchors of the Good Ship Ticket since the beginning. Greggo for many years.  Incredible talents and they're still there, save the Hammer.  But BaD was as acquisition; so was Norm.  Corby's gradual ascension through the ranks was not inevitable.  I happen to be a Rich Phillips fan, and he's a hire.  The constant augmentation and improvement of weekend and nighttime offerings are also management initiatives.  It may be "lightning in a bottle," but the voltage of that original inspired team has been considerably juiced as the years have passed.

Of course, the current CTO are not responsible for all of these decisions, but the current lineup has been more-or-less in place through the current administration.  They'll be dealing with Mike's and Corby's future shortly. 

I have no pipeline to the ruminations of the CTO.  But I would be quite surprised if our on-air heroes don't get some nudging with respect to the variety of material they offer.  There are the young listeners who are probably more interested in the entertainment stuff; there are old-timers who prefer the sportsy-talk; and those extremes are stitched together by the overall dosage of generalized guy-talk.  I don't think that's an accident of the unsupervised preferences of the hosts.  I think the CTO manage these egos with great skill to get a mix of broadcast content that appeals to guys in all their variety.  And to a large (and, I suspect, growing) audience of chicks as well.

The CTO are facing a real challenge over the next several years.  Am I correct in thinking that all of the weekday hosts/yuks are over 40?  Mike over 60.  Norm is 67.  (I haven't found any birth info on Donovan.)   So far that collection is doing an admirable job of grabbing and holding the younger listeners.  (See the Little Weak/Anon dialogue.)   I think a lot of this is a tribute to The Ticket's success in making listeners feel like they belong to a kind of exclusive club, the P1.  (I know, I've written that the plural of P1 is "P1's" under rules for making plurals out of words ending in numbers, but "the P1" is kind of a synecdoche, too.)   The remotes and special events have done a lot to foster this feeling among listeners, and that's a function of the integration of marketing, sales, and the Talent.  (The UnTicket has a role in this, as does grubesismyleader and, to a microscopic extent, MTC as well.  As I  have suggested, the UnTicket is probably allowed to repost proprietary content wholesale through the CTO's good graces.)

They can probably keep it up for a long time, but not indefinitely.  Off-hours shows are tryouts for up-and-coming talent:  The Sirois brothers, Scot Harrison, Matt McClearin, Sean Bass, Ty Walker (another 40+, but a fresh voice as a host), and The Next Generation:  Jake Kemp, David Newberry, Mike Bacsik (RIP), Casey Millen, Michael Krenek, and, of course, human lightning rod T.C. Fleming.  Some encouraging talent there, if not all of them can currently be imagined as full-time weekday daylight hosts.  But  the CTO deserve some credit for giving these guys some time to stretch out and turn on the mic once in awhile.

And I'm guessing that Jeff Catlin and his colleagues are pretty clued in to broadcasters in other markets who might fit in here when the time comes.  Guys who can talk in normal tones, in measured cadences, about sports, pop culture, and babes.  (May be some babes on that list, too.)

Don't get me wrong -- The Ticket's gold is in the performance of its broadcast teams.  My point is that management has an unsung role in maintaining that level of performance and the stability of these teams, and we should sing about it a little.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, changes comes February with Mike's and Corby's contracts.  My guess is that the current lineup is going to be around for awhile.  My point is that the CTO aren't sitting around waiting for the next ratings book when it comes to Ticket programming.

Of course, we give the CTO grief in these pages.  Signal; promotion; syndication; hockey.  So I think fairness requires us to give some credit where it is due.

Can I get a witness?

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I've been wanting to post this for awhile, and now that (I hear) Bob Sturm is returning it seems like the right time to do it.

How was BaD Radio without Bob?  Commenters have made reference to it from time to time, mainly in connection with (1) how much they missed Bob and (2) whether a particular plus-one was getting the job done. 

You can still comment about those things, but I have a very specific question for y'all:  How was Dan as the Host-in-Chief? 

Even though he had fill-ins and plus-ones, the few times I caught a few minutes of BaD it sounded like I expected it to sound:  A single-host show with a color guy (no Donovan jokes, please) and Donovan.  Dan by far the most prominent voice.   I thought it sounded pretty good.  (Prompting one of my more absurd STDs that is so absurd that I will probably keep it in the can.)

A lot of Confessors are big BaD fans, think it's the best show, so I'm sure there must be some STDs out there on how the show fared in Bob's absence.  How did it sound to you the past couple of months?

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seven Very Quick Hits

(1)  In driving around listening to The Little One on Saturday, I was reminded once again of what a terrific play-by-play guy Rich Phillips is. 

I like Brad and Babe doing the Cowboys broadcast, but Brad makes about a half-dozen mistakes per game, mainly misidentifying players.  He's getting worse.  Last week they completely missed plays coming back from breaks on two different occasions -- not because the ads ran long, but because they were yammering on about something else.  I'd like to see the Cowboys appoint Rich to do those broadcsts and I think he and Babe would make a fine team.  Couldn't happen under the circumstances of the Cowboys' present affiliations, but I'd take Rich over any TV play-by-play guy.

(2)  Is C.J. Wilson suffering bad karma because of his poor relationship with The Ticket? 

(3)  Re the Hank Williams, Jr., "Fox & Friends" story:  F&F co-host Steve Doocy is Mike Doocy's first cousin.

(4)  Don't catch Diamond Talk too often, but I enjoyed the pre-post-game broadcast while Sean Bass and David Newbury were on the air waiting for the Rangers game to end, commenting on the game in real time (more-or-less -- the radio broadcast was way, way behind the TV feed).   I especially enjoyed Danny B's contributions.   I like his Hardline persona, but there's an argument that he's even better when he tones down some of the more extreme guy-cynicism and interacts sincerely with whoever's broadcasting.

Anyone know -- is it legal to "call" a game by watching it on TV and broadcasting a report of the game play?  Is that a forbidden use of "descriptions and accounts"?  I'd think it would be some kind of violation of the team's right to control, and exclusively to exploit, its product.  These guys weren't describing the game in that degree of detail, so maybe it's "fair use" if it isn't a regular practice, or doesn't go on too long.

(5) How many more months do we have to listen to those execreable Bud Light "Here We Go" ads?

(6) I have been surprised not to hear anything about the death of Peter Gent, former Cowboy (Lance Rentzel eventually replaced him due to injury).   But he is best known as the author of "North Dallas Forty," fairly controversial hereabouts in its day.  Have any shows mentioned it?

(7)  I have no new Greggo or Richie or RaGE news, opinions, or speculations.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Followup Note to "Weekends are Tough for The Hammer"

I agree with the sense of all commenters   that this is not going to end well for Greg Williams.  (See previous article and comments.)  Whether he's still under the influence or not, and we hope not, he seems unable to compartmentalize his professional life and keep it between himself and his employers.

I don't know much about broadcasting, but I know quite a lot about the way large companies, and especially public companies, are put together.  Bacsik was out almost instantly at The Ticket because of ONE WORD in his Tweet.  The Ticket could live with a Latino boycott, but Cumulus could not take the PR hit.

If He Who Can Only Rarely Be Named can't keep from mortifying his bosses, he's going to go.  Put Greggo and Richie out of your minds for a few minutes, and think about the guys they answer to, and the guys those guys answer to.  Their weekend is worse than Richie's and Greggo's.

"We don't shy away from Twitter controversy," says Richie Whitt.  I didn't hear that statement, but I accept Confessors' reports as accurate.  Think about what that means:   This isn't "controversy" in the sense of "I have a hot sports opinion about whether Dez Bryant is a goldbrick."  It's "controversy" in the sense of "unauthorized disclosure of confidential company information."  Richie saying that they don't shy away from Twitter controversy is equivalent to saying:  "We embrace self-destructive public airing of internal discord." 

Greggo has forced guys like Richie (for whom I continue to have some sympathy) to triage the damage he's done, and Richie's chosen to deal with it by embracing it.  (Query whether ignoring it might be a better strategy.)  But it can't work.   Greg's behavior reflects on the judgment of Fan and CBS managers and executives -- not just among listeners, but in the industry.  They look like fools if they let it continue.  They cannot tolerate this kind of loose-lippedness much longer.

And it's not like Williams has proven himself a ratings star.  The only downside to his release would be that some Fan guys would have to admit that their faith in Greggo's "this time I'll be good" story was misplaced, not to mention a lot of publicity dollars down the drain.  Hey, it looked like a good move at the time, didn't it?  We can all say aww, we knew Greggo was going to do the Greggo again eventually, but to put two well-known media figures against The Hardline -- one of them a former Hard Guy -- was a smart move at the time.   They were in the ratings tank then, and still are -- the hurt from admitting that it didn't work would go away fast.  But professional damage up the chain of command if there's a truly catastrophic meltdown, where all the warning signs were there, will linger with some suits who do not want failures, much less notorious public flameouts, on their resumes.

[Offbeat:  Here's a scenario to consider -- unlikely but anyone in business has seen more exotic theories conjured up by employment lawyers:  Hammer takes the position that this kind of public confession is therapy for his various addictions -- the "reconciliation" scenario that Anonymous posited.  He gets fired for them (presumably for insubordination) and then he claims that he was dealing with a disability known to his employer before he was hired (1) that did not affect his on-air performance, and (2) that were not "accommodated" by his employer.  That's a suin'.]

There's nothing wrong with reaching out to old friends and colleagues.  It's the public digital trail that's the problem while you've got current colleagues -- colleagues who have gone out on a limb for you -- who deserve your full concentration and loyalty.

I don't want Greggo to fail.  I don't even want him off the air.  I'm just saying that he's bumping up against some institutional dynamics that are going to make it very difficult for him to hang around much longer if he keeps doing what he's doing.

As Bob Newhart said on that old Saturday Night Live skit:  "Stop it."

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman 1310

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekends are Tough for The Hammer

An Anonymous Confessor passes along some Greg Williams tweets and offers a comment with some plausible speculation:

@tweetgrubes ...I can't believe you won't's Greggo...
23 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

@CMCrume...they may think I'm the enemy..but I'm not...No ill will against any of those guys...I did great work there..and I love those guys

@Thehermesmeyers I do have a life...but in my recovery...I want to make things right with those guys..we went thru a lot.and had great times

After doing a little Tweeter dumpster diving (there's too much to post up here), it looks like Greggo has been reaching out to every Ticket host. On many occasions. It also looks like he might be having a conversation with Rhyner. If that's so, then, as far as I can tell, Rhyner is tweeting privately to Greggo, while Greggo seems to be tweeting publicly with Rhyner. This does seem to be the case. Unless Greggo is so out of it that he's tweeting as if Rhyner is answering his questions. I find that hard to believe. Don't know what the deal is, but I think somethings afoot, in the workings, or at the very least maybe a reconciliation of sorts is happening.

[Anonymous then clarifies that he believes that the "reconciliation" that is taking place is the "reconciliation" that is called for in the 12-step AA-tyhpe programs -- not a reassembling of The Hardline prior to Greggo's departure, which he acknowledges is almost certainly not going to happen.]


I don't know what the evidence is for behind-the-scenes Rhyner communications with Greg.  Whether or not this is true, these Tweets are still fascinating.  They cannot be welcomed by Greggo's Fan colleagues or supervisors.  This cannot be a bit to gin up interest in RaGE.   While it may be a part of Greg's rehab -- and if so, we can only hope it's working -- it looks desperate, it looks like he's unhappy with his current surroundings and wishing that he could turn back the clock.  It's pleading; it's sad.  He might scoff at that, but that is the impression he's giving.  The fact that he's making these communications public, when every Ticket guy's email is on The Ticket's website, suggests that he wants listeners, not just his former colleagues, to know what's going on.  As I suspect he has done in the past, he seems to be hoping that his public will demand some kind of rapprochment with his old Ticket buddies of some kind.

More speculation, of course.  However, I would suggest that these Tweets are even more interesting when one considers:

(1) Mike Bacsik has popped up on The Fan.

(2) Mike's and Corby's contracts are up in February, I'm pretty sure.

(3) Richie Whitt is let go at The Observer for reasons remaining unclear.

(4) Don't laugh -- BaD Radio is humming along sans Bob -- at least, that's my impression -- and it is not beyond imagining that when he returns he might want to make some other changes in his life. 

(5) Cumulus has bought Citadel and has access to much better signals that are currently being seriously underused.

I agree with Anonymous, as he wrote in the comments to the last article, that the chances of a Hardline reunion are extremely remote.  At least on The Ticket. 

But I don't think it's going to far to say that matters are somewhat fluid at The Fan, and we're approaching decision time for a number of individuals at The Ticket as well.

And we'll be mulling these things over in greater detail in future postings.  In the meantime, as Harry Caray used to say, lemme hear ya.