Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Ticket Confession

Your Plainsman tries to be fair.  Sometimes this consists of taking shots at some of the showgrams and some of the hosts.  As ardent listeners, the stuff that stands out for us is the stuff that irritates, even though most of it is great.

I don't know what happened today.  I've been a little logy lately, under the weather, and kind of had that la-de-da sensibility that comes from mainlining DayQuil.  Maybe it was because I'd had a good meeting with one of my numerous bosses.  Maybe it was because I'd knocked off work early for no good reason.  Maybe it was because a checkout lady at the supermarket insisted -- even after I denied it -- that I was a well-known national television figure.  Swear to Jah.

Whatever it was, I have this to say:

I thought The Hardline was incredibly good today.

I smiled, I laughed, I cackled, I chortled.  The highlight was when they announced some giveaway of tickets to a cowboys-of-color rodeo.   Almost drove off the road during that exchange.   All of the hosts were on their game, all were funny, the coarseness was kept to a minimum.  The "Tom Sawyer" E-News segment also stopped me down.  The Joel Jenista reminiscence was perfect.

Your Plainsman (among others) gripes about Hardline show nonprep, vulgarity, over-Corby, Mike R's early retirement -- but jeez, these guys (and Danny "Wool Hat" Bacon and that Nice Young Michael Gruber) are pretty incredible broadcasters.  I thought about that scene in "The Fugitive" where Harrison Ford is keeping just a few scrabbling steps ahead of the train wreck that's advancing on him -- that's The Hardline at its best, and it was at its best today.

Despite the fact that all of us (cowardly, anonymous) media experts have a list of stuff we'd like to fix, The Hardline is an astounding radio showgram. 

That, among other admissions I sprinkle in here from time to time, is My Ticket Confession.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any ideas as to what the big announcement the Musers are issuing tomorrow morning might be?

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought.... sort of.

I left my own private cubicle hell a few minutes late yesterday evening and got in the car to basically hear the end of a segment and catch the tease about Corby's trip to the Rose Bowl, and I had a volcanic meltdown in my head.

"MORE FLIPPIN' COLLEGE FOOTBALL IN THE 5PM DRIVE SLOT!?!!? I AM DONE WITH THE HARDLINE!!!1"

Have I mentioned before I freakin' HATE College Football? And the way the Bowl system has been twisted this year just has me in a perpetual state of Sports Rage.

Anyway, after I swore I'd never listen to The Hardline again, I flipped to my P2 (JACK FM) and then my P3, RaGE.

(Just a note here. This comment is not about The FAIL, but I just want to say: watch out, Hardline. 105.3 is figuring it out, little by little. You can complain about them copying your format/schtick all you want, but the bottom line is their product is good and getting better. Just the fact I've somehow made them my P3 is telling.)

Anyway, to make a dumb story long, I did eventually flip back to my P1 and found that Corby was not talking about the freaking game, but about his trip. So I decided to give them another chance (you know I could never stay mad at you, Baby).

And here's my point: They were great. They totally reminded me why a non-sportsy guy like myself fell into the Ticket Trap three years ago. And when The Hardline is great, it's the best. They just gotta work on consistency (hopefully their newfound competition will light a fire under them)... AND... I hope somehow Cat is reading this.... figure out what the flip is going on with their programming choices! The only consistent thing about The Hardline is they put their WEAKEST segments on during the time of their biggest audience. Rich!? Cat?! Hello!? WTF is going on?

And cut back the commercials. You're playing with fire and giving an inferior opponent a chance to get in the game.

-Anonymous B

P.S. Hrmph. My attempt to praise turned into yet another scorn session. C'est la Me.

Christy said...

About those commercials - has anyone else noticed there are less of them? I listen to mostly the Internet stream, and it seems as if the ticket tickers hit almost immediately after they throw it to break. Just now, the break between Gordo's Corner and The Ranch Report seemed short. One of the programs talked about how businesses are figuring out their money situation at the beginning of the year so they don't advertise, which is why many of the usual sponsored segments are brought to you by "your butt." I was going to ask you, Anon B, whether you noticed less commercials, but I guess not.

cancer monkey said...

I have a hard time listening to The Hardline ever since Danny The Douche Cloud made yuck noises and called Christina Hendricks fat a few weeks ago. He can be an irrational dickhead at times, putting things down for no reason other than to reinforce his image that he's too good for anything remotely mainstream or popular. He's been on my nerves for a long long time, but for some reason, that sent me over the edge. I'd rather listen to my iPod or NPR than him and the College Football Blowhard. Hell, I'd rather listen to Race Week*.

Also, I've been noticing the commercials and lack of content in the Hardline for quite some time, as has Anon B. Come back from a 5-minute break, do a non-segment where they talk about what they'll be talking about, take another 5-minute break, blow hard about college football, take another break, non-segment, break, Ranch Report and I'm home. Why waste my time?

*Not really.

Scott said...

I suspect the announcement will be Ticketstock. Don't get me going on KTCK "major station announcements".

I agree, Hardline was great yesterday. Glad to hear they are going to be more focused on trifecta talk.

I have also noticed more and more segments without sponsors, not just on the Hardline, which has them now and then, but hear a Musers segment recently with no sponsor.....

I wonder if those sponsors are not advertising, OR, if they are moving to an up and coming competitor with lower rates and better numbers than ESPN???

Anonymous said...

Christy, I haven't noticed fewer commercials, but I usually only listen during peak drivetime, where the commercial slots are in demand. The slots between 6AM-9AM and 4PM-6PM (and probably noon, as well) will always be in demand at a station with 1310's ratings. If there are going to be fewer commercials, it'd be during Norm's show or late BAD Radio. I did notice lack of sponsor, though. (Sponsorships are usually hard to sell, and often just thrown in with a commercial package. I used to buy radio time back in the old days)

And yes, advertisers severely curtail their expenditures once they're out of the 4th quarter/into January. You'll probably start hearing more crap like Diamond Cut Jeans and such as the sales team struggles to make their quotas.

Cancer Monkey, I really think Danny just misbehaves like that to get something going on the show. Usually when he pulls that crap it's because Mike has checked out and Corby is struggling and into overdrive. I think. Hard to tell with him. I suspect he's borderline Manic Depressive anyway. I still think he's bacon. And no one wants to listen to Race Week.

Final question: Do you think The Hardline's newfound dedication to The Trifecta has anything to do with The RaGE's "Dead and Gone" segment? Hm? Hm?

-Anonymous B

Scott said...

Anon B, interesting, I did not know RAGE was doing that.

I did listen in some yesterday to RAGE. It is getting better, still not sure I would say good, but I also tuned into ESPN for reference. I quickly switched off of ESPN as the wheels began flying off my car.

Off topic.... WHY DOES NORM EAT ON THE AIR??? It just drives me nuts and is an automatic punch out....

Douglas Sutherland said...

Anon B: You don't think it has anything to do with the fact that football season is just about done, hockey doesn't exist to The Hardline and Rhynes is willing to do like two basketball segments a week? I'm interested in seeing the ratings, but I don't think at the moment they're too scared.

I still think RaGE is the radio equivelent to soft toss. Richie tosses up the ball and Greggo swings. Never really been a big fan of Greggo though so of course I'm bias.

I'm obviously a Ticket (and mainly BaD and Hardline) apologist, so naturally I love the chemistry of the Hardline, and since their return, e-news is 2-2. It's been great.

Also, how much does the ad stuff have to do with Cumulus? The FM sports stations have strong backing companies with a lot of other things going. I know that the Ticket talks about Cumulus in a joking manner, but I wonder how much of that is true. Cumulus is solely in radio so I imagine they really are stttrugggling across the country.

Anonymous said...

Douglas,

Not really. (I assume you're talking about the advertiser lull)

The Ticket's ratings are solid year-round. Advertisers pretty much just look at numbers. Media Buying is an exact science, unlike the rest of the ad industry.

Most businesses work on fixed schedules. Practically all of them ramp up for Christmas and then to keep the books in check, they back off in January. When I was at agencies, w'd sleep most of January and February. Businesses don't care what's going on in the sports world unless it has a direct relationship to the numbers.

People just don't go out and buy a lot of stuff after Christmas, so there's very little incentive to advertise.

-Anonymous B

Douglas Sutherland said...

Anon B,

I understand that, and maybe I misunderstood your point. But I thought your (and/or Scott's) point was advertisers are jumping ship to other stations. I realize that on January 5th, not many people are in the market for that pregnancy massage place.

But boy that In Touch Credit Union spot is still going strong especially on the internet stream.

Anonymous said...

@ Scott-
Better numbers than ESPN? Think again. Last 2 months,
M-Su 6a-Mid
The Fan:
Nov Wk 2 5.5 #4
Nov Wk 3 5.4 #4
Nov Wk 4 3.3 #12
Dec Wk 1 3.4 #11
Dec Wk 2 3.3 #11t
Dec Wk 3 3.0 #13
Dec Wk 4 3.0 #14
Hol Wk 1 2.2 #19

ESPN:
Nov Wk 2 4.9 #5
Nov Wk 3 4.0 #9
Nov Wk 4 3.5 #10
Dec Wk 1 3.2 #13t
Dec Wk 2 3.2 #14
Dec Wk 3 2.8 #17
Dec Wk 4 3.1 #13
Hol Wk 1 3.0 #13

Amazing what not having the World Series can do to your ratings.

Anonymous said...

"But I thought your (and/or Scott's) point was advertisers are jumping ship to other stations. "

Aw, hells no! ;D

-Anon B

Anonymous said...

Hey - where you get them Arbitron numbers?

I really miss the updates Barry Horn used to do on the Sports Media blog at DMN. Love the comment section on those posts.

-Anon B

DRW1961 said...

Part of the reason that they Hardline was good yesterday?

Less Corby.

I was wondering who the one guy was that was doing some talking and then I realized that it was Mike. I haven't heard him talk for an extended period of time in so long that I forgot what he sounded like. (not really, but...)

I thought it was interesting how they handled the discussion of Joel's death. While it was a good segment, I thought it was kind of cheap of them to package it into Trifecta talk. When Carter was shot - a person who wasn't an official part of The Ticket - they devoted several segments to his death. Granted, circumstances were different, but I think that they could have carved out a dedicated segment to Joel as a tribute to him.

cancer monkey said...

So am I the only one who's sick of Danny's act? He frustrates me because he throws out some real gold from time to time and then spends long periods of time spent pissing in everyone's Wheaties.

Scott said...

I stand corrected Anon. That is very interesting. I don't get the attraction.

Christy said...

DRW1961, I completely agree with you on the Hardline's handling of Joel's passing. I haven't heard The Muser's segment on Joel because it hasn't been uploaded to TheUnTicket's O-deck page, yet, but I heard the Hardline's version. Not only did they wait a day to talk about it, but they passed it off as part of the Trifecta? I'll buy that that's what "Joel would have wanted," but then they couldn't even spend an entire segment on him! I thought they might re-play some of audio from the much, much teased about (around these parts, anyway) interview they did with him when they broke the news of him having ALS or maybe put together an audio compilation of him and play that, but no, nothing. Instead, we get one story about him not knowing about 9/11 until a week later (which I had forgotten about and appreciated the memory) and that's it. I think Mr. Plainsman has done the best job so far of remembering Joel Jinesta.

To Cancer Monkey's point - I like Danny because he appears to have more sports knowledge than Corby does. I appreciate 2 out of my 3 sports talk show hosts paying attention to the field they work in. I think Danny has recently evolved from "The Dark Cloud" into this more sports-y role, and it suits him well.

ap said...

@Christy (1/2)
You are definitely correct on the advertisement lull. Normally, I have to twirl my finger twice on the ipod wheel (~7 min) to skip past a commercial, but it seems more like 4 minutes these days. I'm almost grateful for college football talk as it gives me a chance to catch up to live listening.

@Christy (2/2) - The UnTicket is still kindof stuck in holiday mode :) I still have a huge backlog of dry-dock related posts to wade through myself, and DP is pretty busy too (he handles the daily staples). Rest assured, the audio will be eventually posted somewhere though!

Christy said...

ap, while I have your attention, can you tell me what software you use to edit the audio? I assume you record the internet stream all day and then listen and edit later...

While re-reading my initial post, I forgot to clarify that while the Internet stream's commercials seem less, the apparently shortened break between Gordo's corner and The Ranch Report was on the actual radio. But I'm glad ap vouches for me!

ap said...

@Christy - it's all linux-based, but windows ports should be available for most if not all of these tools.

- audacity for fine-editing of WAV's
- eyeD3 for ID3 tagging
- ffmpeg for transcoding/encoding

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

"So am I the only one who's sick of Danny's act? He frustrates me because he throws out some real gold from time to time and then spends long periods of time spent pissing in everyone's Wheaties."

He's the only Hardliner that makes me laugh out loud these days.

I think it's easier to take if you realize 95% of what he says is just for the sake of mining radio gold. He does most of his Wheaties wizzing with a mischievous smirk, not a malicious frown.

Just remember: he's doing a bit.

Anonymous said...

As good as it was yesterday - and it was - today was piss poor. I found the Garrett-talk to be shoddy; the "Gamblin' Danny" story boring; and Corby's text message to Danny regarding "retards" and gambling as just one more reason to think that the guy's an absolute frat boy douche bag.

The ONLY bright spot was Rhyner's unveiling of the term "fooj." That was pure radio gold!

The Plainsman said...

Anonymous, I was thinking the same thing, esp. re Corby's text. I'm not a big political correctness sort of guy and I don't object to use of the adjective "retarded." (I don't think Corby's text used it as the "retard" noun.)

But a lot of people do. It made me wonder who will be the next Bacsik on The Ticket. I thought Corby came pretty close yesterday.

Can we agree that The Hardline is best when Mike is interested and participating?

Christy said...

I think one of the reasons Corby doesn't use twitter is his fear of getting drunk and writing Bacsik-like comments. He also thinks twitter is a useless and dumb social media forum and doesn't understand why others are so fascinated with someone inane everyday movements. So he'll never have a Bacsik like moment.

I won't re-hash the whole on-air versus tweeting context arguments, but I'll point out that Corby has said many a-politically incorrect stuff on-air, including his rant on the word gay (#11), and nothing has come of it. He'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Plainsman,

You are correct, Corby said "retard," not "retarded." I, too, am not inclined toward politically correct language; and I agree with you regarding the next "Bacsik incident" and its subsequent result. (And with some of the things that are being said these days, I think it's more of a matter of when and not if.) However, this incident rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn't said on-air-rightly or wrongly-in the heat of the broadcast moment. Although it was sent to Danny in the flow of their text-conversation, it was read on-air even after having the time to reflect on whether it was a wise thing to say or not. I think such a move speaks volumes about Corby... and to some extent, Danny. There's an arrogance to Corby that is at times very off-putting. I'd lay down a bet in Shreveport that Rhyner would not have done the same.

Douglas Sutherland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Douglas Sutherland said...

edit: Plainsman, is there any way you can add in an "edit" button? I hate having to delete my post whenever I stumble across a typo or missing word.

--

In my mind "retard" is not okay to use over the air. I've worked with people with special needs, and I cringe every time I hear that word when referring to something/someone as stupid, or an idiot. I think much of Corby's willingness to use words like this over the air is ignorance (although the Dunham and Miller Open every year benefits Special Olympics and I'm sure he does other charities like that), but also he realizes that he has a radio persona. So if he gets 1600 emails telling him it's not okay to use that word, he's going to use it anyway because he's been told for years and years that he's "abrasive and over the top." So what happens when he stops saying shocking things? And how much of his radio persona is really him?

(I do wish he'd do more sports research though)

The Plainsman said...

Douglas: I have looked into this myself a couple of times. There is no way to edit posted comments on Blogger. Sorry. (Sorry for myself, too, since I err with some frequency.)

I think you're right about maintenance of the "abrasive, over-the-top" persona Corby has cultivated. And it's perfectly fine to create a brand for yourself (especially one that's reinforced everytime you're introduced), but it won't stand him in good stead if a too-far-over-the-top texted remark goes viral and some interest group starts howling for his head and threatening to boycott Ticket advertisers. Don't see that happening with this one, though. And Corby is generally pretty shrewd about his image -- I'm doubtful he'll do anything grossly damaging to his career with an inadvertent remark.

DRW1961 said...

You know, back when Gregg was around, it was OK for Corby to be "abrasive, over the top" because that's what a yuck monkey is supposed to do. However, he's now the #2 guy on the evening drive time program on the top rated (M 25-54) radio station in the 5th largest radio market in the United States. However...

I'm sure that most of you are aware of the cross-pollination between the Ticket and the Dallas Morning News where a Ticket host does an hour of online chat on the DMN website. The hour that Corby did a couple of months ago ended up being about 40 minutes because there wasn't really anything serious being asked or discussed. It was all a series of "baby arm" and other Ticket-schtick.

I actually started feeling sorry for Corby until I realized that this was the niche that he has carved out for himself.

So - even though he might try to do something different or not be a yuck monkey, that's his lot in life - at least as it pertains to the DFW radio scene.

And, that is why the Hardline has started going downhill and why I would expect them to start losing some footing in the future. It's Mike - who is mailing it in half the time; Danny - who is so self absorbed and pretentious that he can't attempt to see other opinions or step outside his own little comfortable world and Corby - who is a 40+ year old frat boy still trying to hold on to those glory days and not willing to do whatever he needs to to reinvent himself and make himself more appealing to the audience he is in front of very day.

Hot. Sports. Opinion.

Anonymous said...

Jeeze - enough of the Danny hate.

Anyway, here's my HSO for the day.

Dallas Stars on The Ticket: Mistake or Big mistake?

They screwed up the postgame for the last Cowboys game of the season. They frequently cut off The Hardline. They waste a crapload of Bob Sturm's time. They often kill off the Top 10 (which I really enjoy, even if some of you don't), and you get never-ending Razor* segments with The Musers that make Newy Scruggs sound interesting.

I really hope they don't carry Stars games next year. Does ANYONE give a rat's posterior about these games? Who listens to hokey on the RADIO?

*I think Razor is actually really good on-air; just couldn't care less about hockey.

ap said...

I agree with the last anonymous (the one who has mastered the bold tag) on both of his points:

1) Danny plays radio with the Hardline. The Danny that does the Orphanage is usually a much different person. There are a few flashes when he drops his "meh!" persona and becomes a very compelling radio host (i.e. when he got into the world cup, when he started re-following the Stars, his baseball love, his mavericks love, his review of the Jay-Z album, and when he went to go meet his birth mother). All good stuff, but he either can't or doesn't want to show that side 100% of the time. I don't know why.

2) The Stars robbed me of two Cowboy postgame shows this season, and I was less than impressed both times. I listen on the internet, so it's not like I'd be able to hear the damn game anyways -- it's blacked out! There have been times when the ticket has simulcast things (i.e. the internet feed plays one thing, the AM signal plays another and their FM signal does yet another thing). It hasn't happened in a couple of years, but it needs to happen again. Hockey on the radio is simply bullsh; you may as well read a live-tweet feed instead.

cancer monkey said...

Orphanage Danny is a completely different animal. I had forgotten about him. I love Orphanage Danny. I have to do a little soul-searching on my newly strengthened Danny hate. Damn it.

As for Hockey on the Ticket, I'm ambivalent. I don't mind when I hear it, but I wouldn't turn it on on purpose. If they'd put on 13 hours of Razor a day, I'd be there for every single second of it. I loves me some Razor.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Razor is greatness. Need to get him doing something other than hockey. Give him a fill-in show! Get him on with Norm! +1 for the Hardline!

BTW: The Hockey HSO was me. Forgot to sign.

-Anonymous B

The Plainsman said...

Hokey smokes.

I can't get over the excellence (and volume) of these comments.

You guys are so good, I ought to save myself some time by just posting a title that says "Comments About Corby" and let you guys write this thing for me.

DRW1961, your Corby blast is sesnsational. I'd love to post it as a main article (with appropriate attribution). I really think you're on to something. After, what, three years of Hammer absence?, maybe it's time for a more professional approach. (Although I'm not a Corby basher and on balance a fairly stout Corby fan.)

Also, DRW1961, I didn't have a negative reaction to the way The Hardline handled Joel's death, even though they snuck another passing in there. If any showgram were going to spend some extra time on it, I thought it might be The Musers, since they interfaced with him more than The Hardline. Did The Musers carve out any time for JJ?

Cancer: I know what you mean about Danny but to me he's still Danny Bacon. I do tire of the uber-cynical thing he does, and I'd like to see him shut down the misogyny. But he's so damned smart, and actually a witty man. And, as everyone seems to acknowledge, he unaccountably seems to grow up when The Orphanage hits the airways. Wish that show had a little more prominence.

The Plainsman said...

Reading these comments over again -- I don't know if the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords or Major Hosts check into this joint, but they should. I may be an idiosyncratic chucklehead, but the thoughtful comments you guys have been leaving deserve their attention.

The Plainsman said...

Here's a thought -- the next time a Ticket Host does the online thing with the News, let's ensure that he gets some non-schtick related questions. Especially a yuk-monkey. If we want Corby to exhibit sports knowledge, let's give the guy a chance.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Plainsman.

Christy said...

*Now I'm confused by what it is Corby does for a living.

*Why [should Corby] start now?

*So 3 years isn't long enough of a chance?

*At least Gordo's upfront about his limited sports knowledge

*Donovan Lewis filled up his chat just fine.

The Plainsman said...

Christy, my comment was intended solely to respond to the report that Corby was faced with schtick-related questions when he did the online News thing.

The consensus of the Confessor Nation does seem to be that Corby needs to spend a little more time learning sporty things to talk about.

However, let's be fair: If you want to talk college football (some here do not, but there's a constituency for it), golf, or tennis, Corby's your man. And really -- is he that bad on football, baseball, and basketball? I confess (of course), I'm don't really notice his inexpertise that much. He's OK for my listening purposes. However, it seems to be a frequent theme here, so perhaps I need to listen more closely.

Anonymous said...

I thought Corby was very good yesterday while interviewing (with Rhyner) Everson Walls. And I thought he was excellent, on top of his game, during the segment on college athletes who keep going down in divisions/transferring to other schools because they won't give up the dream of playing professionally. (And in conjunction, blind themselves to the fact that they aren't good enough.) The only time I have a sports-related issue with Corby is when he starts in with the superlative language. But then again, I take issue with him whenever he uses such language.

Shaggy said...

When people do the online DMN chats, they CHOOSE which questions get posted and responded to. I am quite sure Corby would have gotten enough serious questions to answer. He chose what he chose.

The Plainsman said...

Shaggy, I defer to your knowledge, but I find that a little surprising. When Dan M was doing the DMN thing, he got a question (I believe from Legacy Confessor P1 Steven) about this site's trailblazing three-part series on BaD Radio. I would not have thought a question like that would have been selected if the Ticket guy had a choice of what to answer. Unless it's the case that an editor, and not the person doing the chat, selects the question. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

It's true. The subject chooses which quesiotns show up to the rest of the world. ?(Can you imagine the filth otherwise?)

Dan ain't afraid.

-Anonymous B

P1 Steven said...

BIG QUESTION: I am currently writing a mini article about the Hard-Line's break up. I have a question... When did Mike Ryner say he did not owe the P1-Anything? Was it in relationship to the breakup? What was the context?