Friday, February 25, 2011

EXCERPT: Cumulus Operating Manual, Volume Eleven, Chapter 7, Article IV, Paragraph 79


"Drops artificially created by a crowd being directed by a host can be very effective and amusing.  They reinforce the idea of a 'station community' and remind listeners of the enthusiasm of other listeners for the station and its programs.  Hosts should 'be on the lookout' for opportunities to create such drops.  Likely opportunities may arise at remote broadcasts, station-sponsored gatherings, and even station-sponsored sporting events.  For maximum effectiveness, please observe the following procedures:

"(a) Keep the proposed language or reaction (laughing, yelling) simple.  Make sure that the crowd can be heard through the open mics at the particular function.  If possible, involve the entire group within mic range so that extraneous signal will not spoil the drop. 

"(b)  Don't laugh over the drop."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Here's an Example of What I'm Talking About

Your Plainsman is not only a Hardline fan (who isn't?) but a defender of Corby Davidson.  In fact, this site was founded in part as a counterbalance to what I have called the Corby Sux School of Ticket Journalism.  It is true that this site has its misgivings about the OverCorby, as, it seems, do quite a large number of P1's.  On balance, however, I think Corby is a extremely talented broadcaster.  Seems to me that the proof is in the pudding -- with Corby stepping up after Greggo the Hammer's departure, The Hardline is as popular as it ever was, if not more.  In looking over my topic list, I see three items where I have in mind to write positively about Corby's contributions.  Some recent commenters have taken some shots at Corby for one or another perceived shortcoming, and they may be right.  But the 30,000-foot is that Corby does a real fine job on a number of levels; the Nation would miss him a lot if he weren't there. 

Yesterday, however, there was a segment that framed the issue of the OverCorby. 

Corby opened The Presentation with a tale about his iPod Nano.  It had gone missing, but Mrs. Davidson eventually found it on top of an outdoor fireplace (cue Masterpiece Theater music) where it had lain under the last-to-disappear of the layers of ice and snow from the Super Bowl Storm of 2011.  Of course, the iPod worked fine.  Nice story, entertaining back-and-forth during its telling, perfectly good segment.

Next -- What's on Mike's Mind?

Mike noted that Corby's story was timely because what was on his mind was a book he was reading about the development and marketing of the iPod.  The book is "The Perfect Thing:  How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness" by Steven Levy. 

There was some discussion of Mike "coming around" on the greatness of the iPod family of products (although that may have come at the end of the Corby-Nano-fireplace story, don't clearly recall.)  Mike noted the work of "some Euro professor" on the subject of coolness.

But whatever was on Mike's mind about this book stayed in his mind, because at this point, Corby jumped in and jacked the entire segment.  He started talking and did not stop.  There was barely another offering by Mike or Danny until it was almost time to go to break.  And his remarks were not extremely enlightening.and, if I am recalling correctly, a continuation of his thoughts on the reliability (or not) of iPods.  There was nothing wrong with this speech -- but it wasn't what was on Mike's mind.

In Corby's possible defense:   Mike himself seemed not entirely prepared to proceed.  At one point he said that maybe the topic -- or perhaps it was only the subtopic of "coolness" -- should be put off to another segment.  Perhaps he was signaling Corby that he needed some support on this.  Hard to say, but it did occur to me that maybe Corby wasn't Corjacking the segment as much as he was rescuing it.

But mainly I wondered:  What was on Mike's mind as the Corjacking proceeded?  The book sounded pretty interesting.  I'll bet P1's would liked to have heard what Mike had learned about iPod history and philosophy.  Did he perceive that the segment which bears his name and promises the contents of his mind had escaped his grasp? If he did, what was his reaction to that? 

All right, all right, I know -- it is kind of ridiculous, and even unfair, to take ten minutes of broadcasting and put it under a scanning electron microscope like this.  But I thought it was a perfect miniature of the biggest complaint this site hears from P1's about Corby (next to his musical tastes).  

And it illustrates the point that I think must, in fairness, be made:  This is not just a Corby issue -- it's a Mike issue, too

Theater of the Mind:  Try to imagine a segment called "What's on Bob's Mind?"  Imagine Bob beginning to talk about some topic that had attracted his interest lately.  Imagine Dan jumping in about two sentences into it and talking nonstop.  What would Bob's reaction be?  I'm guessing it would not be silent acquiescence (although I am always willing to be corrected on BaD etiquette by their many Confessor fans). 

Corby's two-segment contribution on iPods didn't wreck the show -- I'm not even sure it wrecked the "Mike's Mind."   I listened; I heard nothing that made me want to punch out.  It was perfectly good content.  But it wasn't what was on Mike's mind, and it did strike me as a real-time illustration of how (1) The Hardline (which, to my ears, has been very sharp since drydock mainly owing to Mike's increased participation) can sometimes lose its balance, and (2) it s not really a Corby issue -- it's a show issue. 


I would ask commenting Confessors to maintain their equanimity in commenting on this STD.  (Christy -- you have your usual license to comment off-topic.)   Corby is one of the tallest lightning rods of The Ticket -- but please be respectful in your remarks.  The Hardline isn't the only enterprise that benefits from balance.  Many thanks. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Haven't Brian Wilson and Mike Love Sued . . .

.  .  .  Lute Riley Honda?  The jingle on the Lute Riley Honda ad is a direct copy of "Help Me, Rhonda."

By the way -- "Help Me, Rhonda" was the first Beach Boys song with Al Jardine on lead vocal.

Sorry for the not-very-Tickety post.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Let the Call go Forth

First, thanks to the Nation for filling in wint some good observations for the last few deays.

Second, a thought:

I've been listening since around mid 2004 but I still miss a lot of the inside references.  There are surely thousands of older and especially newer listeners who have questions about some of the bits, drops, references, gags, bits.  I've run articles where I ask my qauetsions, and someone always has an answer.  Sometimes we hear from insiders like Grubes who fill us in.

I've got a little list going for a new article, but why should I haves all the fun?
Not Christy
 So if you have a question about The Ticket's legends, myths, any inside stuff, drop me a private line and I"ll collect them and we'll get some of these things straightened out.

The email address is:  Got a question?  Let me hear from you.

(And even if you don't have a question, if you have something you'd like to pass along that you don't want to put in a comment, feel free to contact me in this way.  Remember, however, that much as I would like to have a vigorous email back-and-forth with any of you via email, time just won't permit it in most cases.  It's why I don't do Facebook or Twitter for this site.  Thanks for understanding, and get those questions ready.) 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Let's Try This

I'll be out of town for a few days and won't hear the shows or be able to post much of anything.  I invite Confessors to get a chain of STDs going and I'll try to check in from time to time to direct traffic if need be.

For example, how are the Edmonton BaD shows going?

Will be back in a few with some new blast or other.

Thanks to all.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Don't Know Whether to be Amused, or Terrified, or Thrilled

Theater of the Mind. 

Suspend disbelief for a few minutes, Confessors.


It's three, probably more like four years into the future.

The United States -- indeed, the world -- is in grave danger.

The US is beset by enemies on all sides.  Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have fallen to radical Islamists.  They are on the verge of declaring war against Israel, which would trigger the Israeli-US joint defense pact and draw us into a new world war.

al-Qaeda has enormous influence on the most radical elements in the Islamist governments in the Persian Gulf.  It has reached the point where Osama bin Laden has assumed operatinoal control of the overall conduct of anti-Western political operations.  The decision for war, or no war, is in his hands.

However, a secret US "black operations" unit within the CIA has penetrated one of the Bedouin tribes close to the al-Qaeda leadership.   The undercover operatives know bin Laden's location.  They have operational control of a Navy SEAL team that is prepared to breach al-Qaeda headquarters, at which time the black ops team will follow them in to provide critical armed tactical support.  Their aim:  to extract bin Laden to a secure Allied location.   At a crucial moment, the US team will call in air support and surgical naval bombardment.  If the operation is successful, it will achieve something no US unit has been able to accomplish since September 11, 2001, and, more important, end the threat of imminent war.

The security of the free world depends on the success of the US black ops penetration and extraction.

The black ops team is ready to pull the trigger.  They've been preparing this for months. 

It's T minus 30 seconds.

The tension is a physical thing, you can feel it on your skin.

So why do I not know whether to be amused, or terrified, or thriilled?

Because the US black ops team is made up entirely of formerly unemployed P1's who have answered those CIA ads now running on The Ticket.


OK, I've had my fun. 

Here's what I really think:

P1's, I can think of nothing more terrific than answering those ads and entering into the service -- probably pretty dangerous service -- to the United States of America.  Matters not whether you are currently between opportunities or already have a job.  I have to admit -- those ads sound pretty cool.  I have never served my country (so far) and it's one of the chief regrets of my life to date.  I hope some of you hear something in those ads that strikes a spark and that you check it out.  Let us know how it works out -- only if it's not classified, of course.  And be careful; after all, my little story aside, the world is a dangerous place.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Confessors: Report

Need a hand here, loyal and loquacious Confessor Nation.

I liked Ben and Skin on Saturdays on The Ticket.  Oh, sure, I'd bang my head on the steering wheel when they'd get into one of their endless self-referential hyper-irony loops.   And the problem of hosts sounding too much alike I came to call Ben-and-Skin Disease.  But their show was pretty good, they were smart and could be funny and they knew their sports-stuff, I thought.  The show had a very different sound which I found appealing (when I wasn't steering-wheel-banging-of-head).  I was sorry when they moved on.  I regret to say I have never heard one of their ESPN broadcasts.

(Also, I liked the little girl singing "Ben and Skin" to "My Darling Clementine," and the "Ben and Skin Show" guy doing that overdubbed lower-register vamp.)

I always thought Bob Ortegel was OK, whenever I was able to catch the Mavs.  But the fact is that Mrs. Plainsman is not interested in the Mavs and my evenings are usually spent on domestic interactions that do not allow even radio Mavs listening. 

So I have heard absolutely zero broadcasts with Mr. Followill and Mr. Ortegel and Mr. Skin.  (No, not that Mr. Skin.)

I thought that The Hardline today was particularly good on the departure of Mr. O from the Mavs' broadcasts.  They were complimentary to Ortegel's many years of good service.  They were also quite gracious to Skin, I thought.   They could have been snotty about Skin, a Ticket refugee and current competitor, but they weren't.   In fact, in general, they thought the Skin/Ortegel color combo was working OK.    (And, later, they were  complimentary to former-colleague-and-current competitor Big Dick Hunter in his speaking-truth-to-power address to the Mayor and City Council about the Vick key-to-city disaster.)   It was another good Hardline day.

Here's my request to the Nation:  Did anyone out there listen to the Followill/Ortegel/Skin broadcasts?   What was your reaction to the whole thing?  I'd be grateful for your report.


Also:  I found it interesting that RJ Choppy -- Greggo the Hammer Williams's former broadcast partner -- emailed in during the discussion of Corby's invite to the Mav's game.   Obviously, Choppy was listening to The Ticket, not to his former pard.  (Who had let Choppy down, of course, with his claimed mismanagement of what must have been massive prescription meds.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Rage of Mike Rhyner

I haven't rambled in awhile.  On this Super Bowl Sunday, I find myself with some time on my hands.  Always a dangerous thing.  So I'm going to ramble a bit.

One of the reasons I started this site was because I was worried about the Hardline.  That was back in mid-2009.

Most Confessors know the recent history of the Hardline -- years of toil, growing success, spectacular success, Greg Williams's departure, flirtation with some plus-ones, settling into simply doing without Greggo -- and continued spectacular success.

Recently, The Hardline and BaD have faced a new competitive threat in the form of a revived 105.3 The Fan.   Both competitors feature former Ticket guys, including Greggo against The Hardline, the show starting an hour earlier than Mike and Corby hit the air.  There are Confessors out there who follow the ratings more closely than I do, and I'm hopeful we can have a report later in 2011  My own feeling is that any ratings comparison is going to be meaningless until at least 6-9 months out, since some listeners will switch out of curiosity for awhile but eventually wander back.  It will take awhile before any meaningful trend may be discerned.  And, as various Confessors have noted, the holiday/drydock ratings are probably not very meaningful.

More than most of the showgrams, it seems to me, a "wave theory" may be applied to The Hardline.  It goes through cycles where it's sharp, followed by a period of time when it seems to descend into a kind of funk.

Galvanic skin responses of a group of 20 Confessors listening to
The Hardline over a four-year period.

The period following Greg's departure was good.  In those months the show was still finding its way but it was solid, dramatic radio as we all tuned in to see if and how they would sustain the high-wire act.  As it turned out, they sustained it pretty well.  The increased role of Danny Balis was a very positive development, and the show was funny and sharp.

To my highly-subjective ears, the graph headed south around mid-to-late 2009.   I started this site in June.  The issue, for me, was one of balance. 

I wrote about my concerns in a five-part series one year ago this month.  I identified a number of issues, but chief among them was balance.   The Corby/Danny axis was overwhelming Mike, and good as those guys are, it was too much juvenalia.  (By the way:  That series concluded not-very-presciently with the radical suggestion that Mike Bacsik should join the showgram -- it's hard for Mrs. Plainsman to keep my crystal ball clean in a sod house.)

Ironically, by the time those articles appeared, I thought that The Hardline was actually on an upswing and through, oh, summer 2010 I thought The Hardline had returned to form.  I had my usual issues with vulgarity but those are largely personal; most of the Confessor Nation does not find even the raunchiest Hardline material very troublesome.  That aside, however, I thought things were going pretty well.

Come fall, however, I thought the showgram once again seemed to run out of gas.  Whenever I get that feeling, I ask myself whether it's just me needing a change, or if there really is a difference in the show.  One of the interesting things about doing this site is that as it has gained readers and I hear from them, is that I can compare my own impression to theirs.  Since this site discourages what I call the Corby Sux School of Ticket Journalism, Confessors weigh in with thoughtful views on the showgram and have proven to be an excellent reality check for my own listening.   As it turns out, I got the same feeling from the Nation -- lots of Corby, Mike checked out.

I found this odd because with the Rangers in the World Series, one would think that Mike would be energized and engaged.  He was -- about the Rangers, and during playoff/World Series time.  But that temporary enthusiasm did not seem to pay off for the show as a whole.  The New York City trip, for example, never really got off the ground for some reason.

So in the latter part of 2010.  I found myself punching out more, exasperated at the OverCorby, wondering what was on Mike's mind after 4 PM since he himself so rarely reported on it, awkward real-time show prep, the usual Hardline struggles.  Of course, by that time the Richie and Greggo Extravaganza had hit the air, so I sampled that from time to time (and, in general, found it wanting but with the occasional bright spot). 

Then came drydock.  I was pretty sure people were tired of reading about the same old Hardline issues so didn't quite know what, if anything, I was going say about it.

As it turns out, it was unnecessary.  To my ear The Hardline has been very good since the New Year.  A couple of Confessors have also noted that recent showgrams have been better.

The reason is not hard to discern.  As Mike Rhyner goes, so goes The Hardline.

Other than the occasional amusing cutting reference, The Hardline appears to have made no formal or structural response to RaGE at all.  That is, the showgram itself hasn't changed its personnel, segment organization, bits.  Wait, they restored the Trifecta, but that's about it.   (Confessor Anonymous B has perceptively asked whether this is a response to RaGE's "Dead and Gone" segment.  Quite possible, I would think.)  Good.  There's no reason to show concern over RaGE at this point by any kind of obvious tinkering with the showgram, and more important, it'd be dangerous to mess with a successful formula absent evidence that it had lost its punch.

But more to the point -- over the long haul, the success of The Ticket showgrams isn't driven by bits anyway.   It's driven by the desire of listeners to spend time with the personalities that the hosts project on the air.  When Confessors complain about The Ticket, it has rarely to do with content -- it has to do with liking or not liking the performance, personality, dedication, attitude of a particular host.

Mike Rhyner, in addition to being the driving on-air force behind The Ticket's founding, is its most distinctive voice, its guiding spirit, and, not coincidentally, a hypnotic radio presence, a font of aural charisma the likes of which is not to be found elsewhere in Dallas radio.  When he is serious about what he is doing, he absolutely commands the listener to keep his fracking mitts off the presets.

Lately, I've been hearing some of the Mike Rhyner that guided me to The Ticket in 2004.  I don't know if it's the new competition.  Wouldn't stun me if Hammer's presence up the dial had something to do with it, but dunno.   I can tell you that the first time I really sat up and took notice was a segment right after drydock when Mike was positively shouting into the mic, his voice a good register higher than normal, about his newly-found and freely-confessed man-love for the most unique-looking Blake Griffin.  We heard it again when he was recounting his personal encounter with Griffin at a booster luncheon.   (I've named Mike's revived passion "Racially Ambiguous Griffin Ecstasy" -- RAGE.) 

Whatever it is, we've heard more Mike lately.  You could see it on the Webcam.  Previous Webcam presentations have showed Mike looking about as uninterested as he sounded.  There on Radio Row, however, he was animated, sitting up, head always in motion, gesturing with arms and hands, always keen on what was being talked about.  And would the Nation agree with me that those shows this past week were pretty good?   Would you agree that they've been better since drydock than in the couple-three months before?

Notice that I've said nothing about Corby or Danny.   Got no problem with them at all.  (Or Ty, or That Nice Young Michael Gruber, for that matter.)   But the past few weeks have confirmed, for Your Plainsman, at least, that The Hardline rises and falls with the attitude and interest of Mike Rhyner.  Lately the showgram has once again attracted his attention, and life in DFW is the better for it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

WEBCAM QUICK HIT: Are You Digging Those Comments Running to the Right of the Webcam Pitcher?

One of the reasons I started this site.


The Hardline was discussing the "teambuilding dinner" held at Perry's last evening.  They mentioned that one of the topics on the table was their "hate list" of non-Ticket-Friendly entities, which, they said, included all media and Tom Gribble.

I hope that this site, to the best of Your Plainsman's knowledge the sole source for responsible Ticket journalism (including our eloquent Confessor commenters) and a stout defender of 95% of all things Ticket, was left off.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

WEBCAM QUICK HIT: My Lord, with Corby's Hair Long, Parted in the Middle, and Smashed Down on His Head with the Headphones . . .

.  .  .  he DOES look like Ruth Buzzi!

Sorry, I don't know how to snag images off the webcam.  If anyone does and can grab one of Corby, pass it along and I'll copy it in here, with thanks.

Or, if anyone has any pictures of Corby looking like Ruth Buzzi.

PS:  Confessor triplespluscv  (many thanks!)  was kind enough to snag an image of Corby that gives you a bit of a flavor.  The head-on shot would show Corby's very nice part in the middle, which adds to the Buzziness of the look:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Rare Bob and Dan Post -- or, Get Ready, Christy

I have a 100% sincere question directed to listeners of the Bob and Dan show.  I was going to say "fans" of BaD, but I assume if you listen that you like the showgram.

The Confessor Nation is aware that I don't get to listen as often as I'd like, but today I did have occasion to be in my car around 2:30 so I tuned in.

Just in time, it turned out, for a big fracas between Bob and Dan.

I'm not taking sides here.  I just have two questions and I need to set it up as neutrally as I can.

I'm sure I"m not going to get this quite right, but it had to do with certain long-retired athletes being in good shape.  They had just concluded an interview with former Packer Donny Anderson.  Bob was going to make a point about -- I thought it was Roger Staubach, but maybe it was Herschel Walker.  He'd only gotten a few words out of his mouth when Dan interrupted.  I don't know whether Dan was correcting something, or teasing Bob for a misstatement, or what.

Bob took great offense, called Dan a jerk, there was some considerable back and forth, and Bob refused to finish his point.  Eventually they moved on, but I sensed that there was continuing discomfort.  Christy's comment to the last post suggests that she noticed some interesting facial expressions on the webcam.  After awhile, Dan brought the conversation back to the topic and apologized to his "best friend," and Bob was finally cajoled into finishing his point.

As I say -- I don't know if Dan was being a jerk, or Bob was being touchier than usual.  No position on Bob v. Dan.

Here are my questions for the BaD connoisseur as I continue my course of instruction in BaD Radio:

(1) Does this happen often?  When I was doing my BaD series way back when, I got the impression that there might be more, and more intense, on-air internecine squabbling on that show than on some of the others.

(2) Is this one of the things that BaD fans like about the show?  Should I be learning to savor these encounters?