Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'd Like to Acknowledge a Special Confessor

Is it possible to get too much Mike?  I don't know, but if it is, we probably accomplished it with the last couple of articles.  I'm going to take a break to say hello to an unknown Confessor who has intrigued me for quite awhile.

I subscribe to a service that gives me information about the traffic to this site.  Among its features is a world map that shows the geographical origin of the last 100 hits.  Awhile ago, I noticed a lonely dot way up north in Canada.  No other hit from anywhere near it.  My service didn't know the name of the location, but it gave me the latitude and longitude of that dot, and putting that together with increasing the size of the map, the hit appears to come from somewhere in the rough country north of Churchill, Manitoba, near the shores of Hudson Bay -- perhaps Churchill itself, since the coordinates are probably approximations.

"The Polar Bear Capital of the World," indeed.  If you Google "Churchill Manitoba" and go to Images, you get a page full of polar bears.   Here's a trio that wandered into town:

It's rough country, by Google Earth appearances.  One website reports that you cannot drive to Churchill.   I picture an intrepid Confessor -- and P1 -- streaming The Ticket and checking out the Confessor Nation's latest reaction to what's happening on the Ticket.   Maybe in one of these Churchill residences.

It has its corresponding beauty, as well:

For all I know, this reader -- I guess I'll call him or her Winston -- is one of our commenters.

In any event, I'd like to say hello to this loyal Confessor, and invite the Nation to give a shout as well.

Thanks for shopping at My Ticket Confession, Winston.  Let us hear from you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Everyone Wants to Talk About Mike, So Let's Talk About Mike

Preliminary thoughts.

(1) Mike has earned the trust of P1's for honesty and speaking truth to Cumulus.  So I would propose that our first thought -- not our only one, but our first one -- is to take him at his word.  The problem, of course, is that there have been two words:  The campfire prediction of a February 2012 departure, and the showgram denial of any truth to it.  A rather adamant denial, and one that rang true to my ears.  Added to that is that the first was uttered under circumstances of fatigue, alcohol, and hypnotically dancing flames, and the second in the cleansing light of professional reality.  So I am more than 50% inclined to hold with those who say -- as someone did on The Musers this morning -- that both Mike and Norm will have to have their necrotic fingers pried from the microphone before they go.

(2)  How much over 50%, I'm not entirely sure.  I heard the replay of his campfire remarks for the first time this morning on The Musers.  The "February" statement is not what got my attention; it was what he said about -- hell, he said it in his usual orotund, circular fashion, but it was to the effect that the February date was what everyone who had been a part of the general discussion was believing.  (I haven't gone looking for tape on this -- anyone who remembers his phrasing, please advise.)  Whatever it was, I had the impression that he was not talking about the people sitting around that campfire, but other people -- The CumuloTicket Overlords.   This suggests, contrary to my point (1), that this is more serious than Mike is now claiming.

(3) Can we reconcile points (1) and (2)?  Maybe.  At this point, please click on this sentence and read the first few paragraphs of this article.  It is (ironically) Richie Whitt's Sportatorium article, dated February 13, 2009, on Mike's new contract with Cumulus.  (Note Richie's tip of the hat to The UnTicket.)   His old contract would have been up on February 20, 2009.  I suggest that that was a three-year contract, and that it expires on February 20, 2012.  I would further suggest that Mike has already been talking with the CTO's about what is going to happen on February 21.  Consider also another clue that the Whitt article gives us -- since Mike was considering skipping to The Fan, either his old contract did not have a noncompetition clause in it, or it was a very short one -- six months max.  Suggesting further that if Mike's agent/attorney was on the ball, his present contract probably doesn't have one, either.  Meaning that Mike has some cards to play in negotiating a new deal if he wants to keep broadcasting, as I'm betting he does.

And negotiating may be exactly what he's doing.  It explains his seemingly contradictory references to departing and staying.   Just a little something to terrify the CTO's, and a little something to make them feel better -- but not a whole lot better. 

Used without permission of The (Incomparable) UnTicket
I've had "what should Mike's new contract look like" on my topic list for well over a year and I've got one term to suggest to him that I think I'll hold off on for a bit.  But I can see I'd better get to it soon.

(4)  On a related topic -- everyone around that fire had had a few as well.  Someone asked Mike if he was contemplating retirement, or going elsewhere.  Mike didn't answer (to my recollection, at least not coherenly), and no one pushed him.  Somewhere along the line a jolt of electricity penetrated the hydrocarbonic haze in that group, and they realized they were not only being warmed by a fire, they were playing with it.

(5) Here's another fun fact for you Confessors:  It looks like Corby's contract might well be co-terminal with Mike's.  Clicking on this sentence will take you to Robert Wilonsky's Unfair Park article of February 19, 2009, announcing Corby's new contract.  Suggesting that Corby's fortunes can indeed by tied to Mike's.

Now those of you of a conspiratorial bent may recall that Corby did not show up at the Saturday night bacchanalia.  I am prepared to be simultaneously laughed-at and roundly condemned for tossing out the suggestion that maybe Corby knew the topic of "jeez, what will we all do after The Ticket?" was going to come up, and maybe he crept off to snuggle with his bottle of Woodford Reserve to let Mike toss off his "February" tease without being called upon to give his reaction.

Do I really think it's that calculated?  Uh -- no, no, I actually don't think it happened that way.  Just having a spot of fun.

Also, note that both the Whitt and Wilonsky articles state that these are "long-term contracts" guaranteeing The Hardline's survival in its present form "for years to come."  Would they say that about a three-year deal?  Sure.  Especially if Mike and Corby were about to fly the coop, they would have been in a position to bargain for a shorter deal if they thought the showgram was going to maintain its popularity so they could do another deal sooner rather than later.  Pretty good bet, I'd say.  (Unlike pro athletes, they don't have to worry about injuries shortening their career -- although considering the Ticket-wide sporting contests and stuff like the Campout, query.)  

(6) Consider Danny's position.  Most likely without a contract.  Almost certainly tragically underpaid for what he brings to the signal.   A huge contributor and multi-talented, I wouldn't be shocked if he were highly recruited around town.  His status may well be an element of Mike's calculation as to his own future.

So there are a few thoughts.  I can assure Confessors I am utterly without inside or industry sources on this (on pretty much everything, actually).  As a result, this article is quite possibly preposterous in every particular. 

One works with the clues one has.  Hey, I was right about Lake Mingus, for awhile.  

Cue Vanderjagt drops again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

VOICE OF THE NATION: Campout Open Forum

Fresh on the heels of my exhaustive analysis of the clues that resulted in a triumphant correct guess for the campsite published at 7:56 yesterday morning, for which I am claiming priority (changed immaterially later in the day, but that's not important now) -- boy, talk about grasping for scoreboard -- I need a couple days off.

Mule Lip Bar, Mingus, Texas
(Thanks to Confessor James)

Loved the last two days of broadcasting.  Let's have your views.

--  Funniest moments.

--  Interpersonal dynamics.

--  Mike R's woozy retirement talk.

--  Obsessive campground guessing.

Lots of stuff there.  Gotta love The Ticket.  Thanks for checking in on my campground quest the last couple days.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Was Wrong About Lake Mingus -- Next Guess

Corby gave a description of the private property they were on during the Pool Party.  His description does not match the landforms around Lake Mingus.  So Lake Mingus was wrong.

Here are the new clues:

Lake is 110 acres.

There are animal pens, oil wells, hay fields, savannah-type meadows.

If one attempted to swim across the lake from the campsite, one would encounter a "thicket" of trees.  There was some debate about how far this was.  Mike thought it was nowhere near a mile -- Corby thought it was further.

There are the new clues.

Pass the beans, please.

I'm still intrigued by two of the earlier clues:  the 7:32 sunrise, and a nearby town with a bar beginning with the word "Mule."

So I'm still scouting the Mingus metro

If you check the map, go north about two miles and a little to the east, and you will find Lake CB Long.

There is a privately-owned CB Long Ranch in Palo Pinto county.

There are also oil wells in Palo Pinto county.

Turning to Google Earth, we find open fields adjoining the lake -- savannah-like, to my eye.

If you zoom in on the lake and scout the area near the shore, just south and west of the easternmost bulge of the lake you will see a single boxy structure.  Cabin-like, to my eye.  I believe that the straight part of the shore at that point is the C.B. Long Dam.  There is a road crossing the northern lobe of the lake, but I don't thnk it's a dam.

Google Earth does not have a scale on it that I can find, but Google Maps does.  A square mile is 640 acres, so a 110-acre lake is about .17 square miles.  A square mile is 5280 feet squared, or about 4.7 million square feet.   .17 times 4.7 million = 806,000 square feet, or about 900 feet on a side. 

Regrettably, Lake CB Long is not square, so forget all of those calculations.  However, if on Google Maps you place the lake next to the scale (sized to show a linear mile) and try to imagine whether you could get 5 Lake CB Longs -- scrunched into an appropriate shape -- into a square mile, it's imagineable.  Especilly if the part of the lake north of the road crossing it (which looks rather murky -- the lobe, not the road) is excluded.

Returning to Google Earth:  If you imagine the campsite somewhere near the eastern edge of the lake (remembering the location of the possible cabin) and look directly across, you will see a peninsula that has on it some trees -- to my eye, a thicket.   (A thicket on the Ticket, if you will.)  It is nowhere near a mile -- maybe between a third- and a half-mile.

I cannot find much information about the C.B. Long Ranch, except in this memorial article about a ranch foreman who passed away in 2008:  (Steve Holub, sounded like a wonderful guy -- foreman there for 50 years.)  If you read it, you will see that one of the chief products of the ranch is -- hay.

So there's my new guess:  The southeast quadrant of Lake CB Long.

Having been wrong the first time (but close, I still think), I won't scoreboard myself this time around.  Mike V would have nothing to do with a loser like me.


One more thing:  This is of little probative value, and highly circumstantial, but:  After I emailed Junior this morning about my Lake Mingus guess, I heard no further discussion of P1's guessing.   If I was pretty close with Lake Mingus, one would not expect to hear that anyone had guessed correctly (or, in this case, close to correctly) even if the host didn't name the actual location, because after a bit a hundred souls or so might have checked in to Your Humble Site and seen the guess.  (And within an hour or so I'd thrown Lake CB Long out there as well, in the comments.)   Pretty flimsy, I know, but it crossed my mind.

Campout Quick Hit -- My Guess

You'd think a Plainsman would be able to figure out where these guys are.  We've heard several hints.  My guess -- somewhere in the vicinity of Mineral Wells, and my more precise guess is near Mingus in the Cross-Timbers area near Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir or Lake Mingus.  Hints:

     --  Danny suggested that they went west, making a vague reference to the landscape that sounds more like West Texas than East Texas.  Gordon made a reference to "Louisiana" this morning, but this was an obvious Gordon misdirection play (lie).

     --  Junior made a reference to a 7:32 sunrise.  Sunrise this morning in Mineral Wells is at 7:32.  Mingus is south of Mineral Wells and just slightly west.  When I go to, I see that sunrise in Mingus is also stated to be 7:32.

     --  The temperature in Mingus this morning is in the mid-to-low forties.

     --  Mike R let slip that there was a bar in town starting with "Mule."  There is a "Mule Lip Bar" in Mingus.

     -- Mingus is a few miles from a major lake, the Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir.  Now, there are lots of lakes in this area of Texas -- however, if I'm recalling correctly, PPCR adjoins the 7R Ranch development, for which Gordon Keith used to do commercials and might have had, as Danny might say, "a good in" with them. 

         There is also a Lake Mingus just north of town, which might be a better guess, because this morning someone wasn't sure whether the lights in the east was the town or the sunrise.  This indicates that there is a town east of the camp.   The town in question might be Gordon, which is to the east of Lake Mingus, and somewhat larger than Mingus.    So I'm going to give Lake Mingus the edge.

Gratuitous Ticket Campout Woman Photo

Therefore, I conclude that the campout is somewhere near the shores of Lake Mingus, or possibly the Palo Pinto Creek Reservoir, in any event not far from Mingus.

Please do not hassle them.

WAIT -- They're talking about where they are.  Junior named several lakes that they're NOT near, and none of them was PPCR.  So I'm in the running.

I had some more quick hits but I'll let this one simmer a bit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let Us Now Praise Corby Davidson

First, apologies to the Nation for my relative neglect of this site lately.  It may continue for awhile.  I've been away and just not able to devote time to composition.  Hope that changes in the next few weeks.  Very much appreciate the good comments on a variety of topics.


I haven't done a careful survey, but of the Ticket personalities, the one who takes the most thrashing from Confessors is Corby Davidson.   Dan McDowell is a not-so-close second, with Gordon Keith and Craig Miller somewhat further back.  Your Ticket Confession strongly favors Corby, while occasionally regretting the OverCorby.

This is somewhat stale -- again, sorry -- but I was reminded of one of Corby's strongest broadcast skills during the visit to Rangers training camp.   Get ready, Nation, for an STD:

When he plays it straight, Corby is one of the best interviewers of any kind on any broadcast media I have ever heard.  I actively dislike some of the prank interviews, but when called upon to get information out of a guest he's hard to beat.  (Dan has his interview partisans, but I'm less familiar with his body of work other than those that get mentioned on other shows, usually where the guest leaves mad, which is probably not always indicative of a bad interview.)

It helps if Corby has a good interview subject, but even when he doesn't, he's in there slugging with interesting questions and interesting ways to put familiar questions.  Where he needs to set up a question, he usually does so succinctly and clearly (contra:  Bob Sturm, who should not be allowed to conduct interviews).  He has a naturally engaging way with people he's never met, including scary types like Bill Parcells and Shaq.  I admit that I have occasionally heard him preface a question with a too-lengthy oral essay, but it's rare.

The one that really caught my ear was the interview with David Murphy (I think -- I didn't have my notepad handy to write it down).   Murphy wasn't a bad interviewee, but it seemed to me like he -- Murphy -- got better as the interview progressed largely because of Corby's skill in putting him at ease and exploring subjects Murphy felt comfortable talking about.  The other Ranger interviews (I recall Kinsler, but I believe Mike jumped in on that one from time to time) were also very good.

This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it's not intended to be:  Corby succeeds as an interviewer largely because he has no equal in selling insincerity.  Let's face it, hosts of all kinds, in all media, interview stars and public figures because they have to, not because they have a personal burning desire to get answers to mundane questions the subject's heard dozens of times and may even resent.   So almost every interviewer has to mask an inevitable lack of interest in the proceedings.  Corby is great at that.  Because we know Corby so well, we can hear the difference between his Cobra-Snake personality during segments and his warmer "interviewer" personality.  But he makes that transition very naturally, and of course many (although not all) interviewees don't perceive any difference at all.

Along with Rich and Gordon, I think Corby may be the Ticket guy most likely to be able to succeed in other formats.  A televised talk show, for example.  He would be an interesting news correspondent, too, if he stayed away from anal bleaching topics and Woodford Reserve diets. 

Fortunately, relative pay scales likely means we will have be enjoying his talents on The Little One for years to come.  It will be interesting to see how -- and whether -- he matures as his fifth decade ticks away.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anyone Got Anything on Last Week's Ticket Broadcasting?

Sorry I've not been able to post new material lately.  I have a couple of items lined up, but since I was out of town last week, I thought I'd check to see if anyone had any blasts they'd like to offer.  Didh't hear a word of the channel, and it was rough, let me tell you.

Thanks to everyone who posted on the Voice of the Nation open forum.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Anyone Catch The Teebox on March 13?

The (incomparable) AP from The (really incomparable) UnTicket advises that Rick Arnett and Craig Rosengarden gave this site a mention on The TeeBox a week ago.  Mrs. Plainsman and I were headed out to Carmel for a tenth anniversary vacation and we'd parked the Conestoga at DFW just as The Train Station Fitness Show (with George DeJohn) was drawing to a close, so I missed The TB for the first time in a long time.

Had a great time.  Missed the tsunami (which did cause some damage in California), but Mrs. P and I do seem to be giving off a faint glow.

If any of you heard it and can recall anything that was said, I'd be grateful for a report.  Many thanks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

VOICE OF THE NATION: Open Forum on Norm and Mike S

I'm out of town and out of touch and out of time, but thought I would follow up on a commenter's suggestion to allow open posting from time to time.

I like Norm's show when I hear it and enjoy Norm at other times, but I hear the show so seldom that it doesn't get much notice here.  I regret that, so maybe you all can fill in the midday hole on this site.

As always, you can post on any topic you like, but I thought I"d get things rolling with a suggestion.  Mike Sirois has been with Norm for awhile now, after Friedo's long tenure.  How do we all think it's going?  My very brief exposure to the team leaves me with a pretty good feeling.  Mike S doesn't have a distinctive broadcast voice, but he's smart and quick and the Norm/Mike combo seems to be clicking.

Your thoughts?

Back in a few days.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Teebox Journalism from the Nation -- or at Least the Part Controlled by Casey Millen

The Nation is aware that Your Plainsman has a soft spot for The Teebox.  Saturday morning, 8 to 10 am.  Rick Arnett -- one of the original Ticket Seven -- and his colleague Craig Rosengarden talk golf and a lot of other things.  To my ear, very entertainingly.  A lot of P1's sleep through it, but if you're up going for a jog or starting your errands or waiting for The Orphanage, give it a spin.  I'm not a golf guy but I still like the show.  Nice, easy, frequently funny.   Just a a real  nice sound to start the weekend.

Confessor email correspondent C.S. applauds the recent contributions to that showgram of one Casey Millen.  Now, I must say, I suspect C.S. is a female and may have an intimate correspondence with Casey, so there may be some special pleading here.  But even discounting the comment for this possibility, I think his/her remarks are of interest:

"The up and coming Casey Millen seems to be getting a lot more attention from Ticket fans for his blue one-liners and irregular bits. Today Casey performed a bit of high comedy on the Tee Box and I’m a bit confused on what to think.

"The bit featured his creation called “Golf Metal” which was wildly inappropriate for the venue (duh). I think it was a stroke of comedic genius that played like an Andy Kaufman bit because Craig and Rick didn’t seem to understand the gag.

"I attached the audio. I think this Millen kid has something, and I look forward to seeing where it goes. I’m curious as to whether any other P1s heard this bit, and what they’re thoughts were.
"Either way you look at it, the Tee Box has become a bit cooler due to this guy’s shtick."


Many thanks to C.S., Millen intimate or not, for the clip and the comment.

I think The Teebox is getting better as time goes by, too, and I agree that C. Millen may have a little something that the Nation should keep an eye on, C.S.'s special pleading notwithstanding (if I'm right that this email is something of a plant).

I do think that Rick and Craig basically got the bit, but since it was about 12 seconds long, there wasn't much they could do with it.  They also mentioned a creative "open" to the show that Casey had done.  I'm out of town and missed the showgram today, but I would welcome the Nation's views on Casey (or the Teebox).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chucking Chuck

It's always dangerous when I get sportsy, but this really isn't all that sportsy, so I'm slinging it out there.

Somewhere along the line someone is going to spill the beans about what really happened with the Chuck Greenberg termination.  Until they do, I have a thought or two.

I have heard it said that nothing was revealed at yesterday's press conference.  I heard two things I found, if not revealing, at least suggestive.

First, there were frequent references to Greenberg's "passion."  I hear that from time to time in the business world in which I move, and it frequently means that the guy is a jackass -- that his "passion" is a little too apparent in the way he deals with people -- subordinates, peers, and bosses.   Was it Evan Grant who mentioned rumblings about a possibly abrasive character in private?  I heard it somewhere. 

Second, note that I mentioned bosses.  Greenberg  had some.  In that presser, you also heard frequent references -- and pointed references -- to the Rangers board of directors.  The board of directors, not the CEO or President, have the ultimate responsibility to the corporation's owners.  That board is full of money guys who have come up through, and headed, large organizations.  They're button-down guys.  They want their CEO to be responsive to them and to run the team like a business.   The board probably consists of guys who have confidence in the business theory that calls for clear lines of reporting and responsibility.   Greenberg may well have strayed from the reservation in his dealings on the Cliff Lee thing -- remember that there was a point there where Ryan and Daniels seemed to be excluded from the negotiations.  And there may have been other instances where he didn't keep in touch with his board or involve the baseball people who, in large measure, attracted this risk capital to the Rangers in the first place.   Greenberg is by no means an amateur businessman, but as I read his bio it looks to me like he may never headed anything as conventionally corporate as the Rangers.  His out-front "style" may have looked a little too Cubanesque (his friend, despite the Ranger auction, and former neighbor) for their taste.

Pure speculation based on the items that caught my ear in the press conference.  May be way off base.  N.P.I.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where Did that Danny Parody of "The Boxer" Come From?

Michael G played it as The Hardline outro yesterday.  Never heard it before.

Like many if not most Ticket parodies -- musically/vocally good, lyrically dashed-off-sounding.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The hosts have been teasing this for the past week or so -- probably against instructions, and, since Cumulus and Citadel are both public, potentially illegally -- but today the deal got announced.

Cumulus Media agreed to acquire Citadel Broadcasting, a deal that will approximately double Cumulus's size.  The price -- $2.4 billion in cash and Cumulus stock.

This article says nothing will change at the stations.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Even MORE Modest Proposal for The Hardline -- PART 2: The More Modest Proposal Its Own Self

Don't think I don't understand the absurdity of a civilian -- a rather radio-naive civilian at that -- suggesting changes to one of the most popular radio shows in the United States. 

But it's no more absurd than some of the very entertaining things we hear on The Ticket every day.  Not that this is a gag -- I think all my ideas are excellent.  But if the only thing that happens is that you laugh and shake your head at Your Plainsman's chuckleheadedness, I'm perfectly OK with that.  And you'll let me know in the comments.  Respectfully, I am certain.

So here we go:

In Part 1, I recanted my earlier opinion that Mike R goes through phases of diminished interest in The Hardline.  I did not recant my view that from time to time, The Hardline as it emerges over the airways needs more Mike and less Corby, what I have for the last couple of years called balance.

I've been kicking around an idea about a  .  .  .  an  .  .  .  adjustment to The Hardline that not only would address this issue, but that isn't totally cockamamie, unworkable, and incredibly faster-than-the-speed-of-light impossible. 

Why loose it on an unwitting public at this time, while The Hardline continues to ride high?

        --  Continued communications from P1's expressing the view that Mike has lost interest.  Not really my opinion, but I do hear this.

        --  Continued communications from P1's, also reflected in comments to posts, lamenting the OverCorby.  I have some sympathy for this view, much as I admire Corby's performance overall.

        --  Remarks on The Musers a week or so ago that each of the Courage Boys has developed his own theory about Mike As He Has Been Lately, who, they speculate, seems to have developed a don't-give-a-damn attitude, say-anything attitude, suggesting a scorched-earth point of view towards The Little One.  (They were referring to his performance on "The Newlywed Game" at Ticketstock -- I'm don't think they were necessarily describing The Hardline presentation.)  I don't actually know what Mike-AHHBL behavior they were thinking of, but the fact that they commented in such detail on one of their semi-rival hosts at all was somewhat alarming -- although their attitude was bemused rather than alarmed.

        --  A comment from AP (as I recall -- I haven't gone back to check on the commenter), who reported a couple of remarks by Danny, who occasionally experiences tension between his role as producer and as on-air talent.

        --  Unanimously positive reactions to the March 1 presentation, where Corby was absent, Danny was more-or-less the co-host in grown-up mode, Jake did E-News, T.C. produced, and Robert ("Don't Call Me Bob") Wilonsky did Community Quick Hits.

With (i) this context, (ii) our wish to maintain host/host balance on the show, and (iii) my revised Theory of Mike all in mind, I offer the following modest proposal:

               (1)  Make Danny a full-time host.  Relieve him of his producer duties.  Give him a raise -- probably a big one -- and a contract.

               (2)  Include the following in Danny's job description, since it unlikely Corby would undertake any of them: 

                         (i)   Plan topics and segments that are more likely than not to engage Mike's interest (i.e., take charge of show prep, and, if he's already in charge of show prep, take charge of it better).

                         (ii)  On the air, make sure that Mike is heard, even in those instances where he is not particularly engaged.   This sounds patronizing towards Mike, but, as noted, Mike wanders and defers to Corby, and Corby allows it.  Danny has shown flashes of being genuinely concerned about the overall sonic presentation of the show.  Task him with bringing Mike into conversations where he's lapsed into silence for one reason or another.  In other words, give him some authority over the on-air presentation in real time.

                         (iii)  Police the OverCorby.  Now it is true that in the past Danny has sometimes allied with Corby, exacerbating the balance problem.  My hunch, however, that given express responsibility for keeping the showgram sounding professional, he would do it.

                         (iv)  I think this could be accomplished without diluting Danny's colorful and acerbic contribution.   It would only require that Danny put on the adult persona that he has when he's co-hosting with Mike in Corby's absence -- that's a Danny that the Nation finds quite easy to take.

               (3)  For Grubes's years of toil in the fever swamps, give him the opportunity to produce if he wants.  We would miss his amazing drops artistry, but surely the guy doesn't want to be a board op forever, even assuming he plans to hang with The Ticket for the foreseeable future.

               (4)  If Grubes doesn't want the producer job, assign it to Jake Kemp.   Find another up-and-comer to do Top Ten.  (Not T.C., in my view, but the Nation seems fond of him.  Maybe Casey Millen.)

               (5)  If Grubes does want the producer job, I don't know who should be on the board.  There must be lotsa guys who'd like that gig.

               (6)  Ty Wal-KAH?   Jeez, I'm sorry, I just don't see him moving from Tickers -- which, after all, is his natural habitat.  At least not on The Hardline, anyway.   Ty has some real broadcast skills as a behind-the-mic guy, but the Hardline doesn't needs another talker and I don't see him in the producer role -- could be wrong.  His role as lightning-fast Google guy and porn counselor is bringing him an increased role on the show when Danny's drop isn't yelling at him, so he's doing OK.

Danny, Corby, Mike, and a slice of Junior

Consider the advantages (or, in some cases, the non-disadvantages) of this plan: 

          --  It addresses the need for more Mike and a more moderate contribution from Corby.

          --  It requires no new hires or even moving anyone from one show to another (other than Jake and maybe a board op).

          --  Showgram chemistry is altered only very slightly.

          --  It keeps a major talent (Danny) around and lets him concentrate his skills and energy on show presentation.

          --  Unlike other Hardline-related suggestions, it does not involve any kind of formal or even apparent demotion of Corby.  It does not suggest that Corby is "only" a yuk-monkey. 

          --  It barely requires any changes at all within the presentation itself.  Just more Danny, which is a good thing overall, and more authority for Danny to guide the show.  In fact, it may not mean much more Danny at all -- it only requires that his contribution be aimed at getting/keeping Mike involved in the broadcast. 

          --  It keeps/rewards Grubes and opens up a spot for some new Ticket talent (i.e., Jake/Casey or a hotshot board op).

Well  .  .  .  there it is.

It really only has one significant feature -- noodging Danny towards more responsibility and authority.  If he's interested, it works.  If he thinks it's BS, it doesn't.  (Of course, we're all thinking -- this is impossible, so whether it's BS or not is kind of beside the point.)  I may be wrong in sensing in Danny a mature professional waiting to come into his own, but I have found myself hearing a faint regret in the direction the show takes from time to time, even as he participates in it.  He has the presence and the skill to give the showgram a nudge back on track when it threatens to stray.  And maintain his Danny persona in the process.

OK, this has gone on long enough.   The Nation is entirely free to comment on any feature or all of them, but I would request that you not overemphasize the incidental features (Grubes/Jake/Casey/Ty), which are really not important to the overall scheme -- included just to keep things tidy.  

Your turn. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Even MORE Modest Proposal for The Hardline -- PART 1: Does The Hardline Really Need Any More of My Modest Proposals?

I mean . . . they're doing pretty well without my deathless recommendations.

Confessors who have been with us for awhile will remember Your Plainsman's five-part series on The Hardline almost exactly one year ago, in late February 2010.  I'm too lazy to link to each article, but they're easy enough to find in the archives.  The series was titled "A Modest Proposal for the Hardline."

It took a rather long route to reach the conclusion that The Hardline should add Mike Bacsik to their mix.  OK, OK, not exactly a prescient suggestion, but along the way I reviewed what a lot of P1's who are Hardline fans think about the showgram's intermittent (and sometimes not so intermittent)  .  .  .  well, let's just call them "issues."  I won't review them all here, but chief among them were (1) irregular show prep, (2) Mike R's waning interest in the proceedings, and, along the same lines, (3) The OverCorby. 

(And I still think Bacsik would have been a good addition to The Hardline.)

I thought The Hardline picked up smartly in early-to-mid 2010.  It reverted to Mike-checks-out/OverCorby form in lateFall/Winter, to my ear.  Since the year-end drydock, however, the show seems to me to have been very sharp most of the time.  So, up and down -- par for the course, and I figure that this is actually probably part of the charm of the showgram, you never know what you're going to get.  Not really that big a deal.

Now, before we go on, I would like to look more closely at one core criticism that one hears with some regularity about The Hardline -- not just on this site and from the Confessor Nation, but throughout the cloud of Ticket journalism and comment that is gradually taking over the Internets.  That criticism is that Mike has lost interest, has checked out, etc.

A lot of people say it.  But is it true?

I have concluded that it is not, at least not in the general sense in which it usually expressed.  Bear with me for a couple of minutes

I began listening more closely to The Hardline.  Even during what I would characterize as its "down" periods, Mike was not "checked out" generally.  You want an example of a checked-out host, hearken back to the final months of Greg Hammer Williams.  There was a checked-out host.    I listened to the shows, but I also watched when the showgram was on the webcam, and I even nipped into a couple of remotes to observe Mike's comportment during a show.

I conclude that Mike's apparent apathy has two sources: 

(1) Sometimes a segment just doesn't grab him.  His attention wanders.  He gets distracted with the Internet or what's showing on what I assume is a studio TV or a set at a remote, or maybe just starts thinking about other stuff, and temporarily loses track of the discussion.  Corby and Danny will call him on it.  This happens only during portions of segments, and not very often, but the fact that it happens at all is so striking that it gives the impression -- the false impression, in my revised view -- that Mike isn't interested in the show as a whole

(2) Mike really likes Corby.   Likes him personally, likes him professionally, a lot.  Sounds silly and obvious, I know.  But it bears on what we're talking about here.  When Corby's off on a tear, Mike is listening to him.   He's not cowed into silence, he positively endorses Corby's contributions.  He approves of the OverCorby most of the time.  Were you listening on Monday (February 28) when Corby was going absolutely nuts on the Oscars?  I mean, the man was positively shrieking.  Mike intoned, sotto voce:  "That's what I've been waiting for out of him." 

I conclude, therefore, that I have been wrong about Mike.  I don't think his interest in the show has decreased.  I think it actually may have increased with the revved-up competition.  I think his interest in the odd segment flags intermittently and he gets caught, which gives an overimpression of apathy; and I think he is usually perfectly happy to have Corby talk as much as he does, which also comes through the speakers like, well, like checking out.  But in fact, he's listening to every word Corby says, and approving the magnitude of his contribution.

But even if I've been wrong about Mike's interest level overall, or the reasons for the way the show sounds sometimes, the fact remains -- and I think most Confessors would be with me on this -- the show is better when there is balance between the hosts, and that means Mike fully involved on mic.

So (1):  I apologize to Mike for prior suggestions that he exhibits occasional periods of uninterest.  I think I've had it wrong.  I think he's as engaged with The Hardline as he ever has been, at least since I"ve been listening.

But (2):  The answer to our headline question is:  Yeah.  There's a condition on the showgram that I think a lot of P1's would like to treat.  Couldn't hurt to sling another (very respectful) recommendation out there for the consideration of the CumuloTicket Overlords. 

Which I know they will afford it in the very most high-up and plush of their Overlord decision lounges.

I'll get to it in the next installment.  I promise to limit this series to two parts.

I think the Nation is going to like this one.


NOTE to faithful Confessors:  I don't consider this a finished article.   So I have disabled comments on this post.    After Part 2 you'll have an opportunity to weigh in with your usual perspicacity and enthusiasm on this topic of (judging from emails and comments) ongoing interest.

And, of course, emails are always welcome:

Thanks for your patience.  Part 2 will be up in a few.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

QUICK QUESTION: Who was the Mello-Tone Guy on with JJ Taylor and (I Think) Stewart Cedar Mid-Morning on Sunday?

I was able to listen for about a half-hour but did not catch any names.

Nice to hear Taylor on again.  I think he has something to offer.  Strikes me as a guy who needs the right co-host.  Really knows his stuff, and offers a very different sound.  A good sound, very conversational, Ticket-ready.

The long-promised second STD (a two-parter, look out!) will be up on Monday or Tuesday.  Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This is NOT the Promised STD -- It's About Craig Rosengarden's Tickers on This Morning's Teebox and Tickers Generally

I had promised that there would be two consecutive STDs (Scorching Ticket Disquisitions, if you're new to the site), starting with the "Black Ticket" article just below.  But today's Teebox inspired a thought I thought I'd knock off to give the Nation some weekend content:

Whether you like golf or not, the Teebox is a great little show, 8-10 am on Saturdays sandwiched between the dubious (George DeJohn's Train Station Fitness Show) and the sublime (The Orphanage).  Rick Arnett and Craig Rosengarden have a fine old time talking about golfy things but also about other items on their minds and stuff that's happened to them during the previous week.  Always enjoyable.  Even if you haven't ever been up on a Saturday morning to check it out, you will be familiar with its most famous series of utterances -- Craig's "the anus is on him" and Rick's "the anus?!" and "I don't think so."  (My recollection is that Rick's "I don't think so" was not in reaction to Craig's misuse of "anus," but to Craig's attempt to explain his way out of it.)  Yes, Confessors, I was actually tuned in for that immortal exchange.

Anyway, on last week's show Craig expressed the thought that he might like to give Tickers a whirl. 

Today, he realized his dream.

It is not my intention here to criticize Craig's Ticker efforts.   If I understand matters correctly, he wrote the first one, and regular Ticker guy Casey Millen wrote the second one.  (There may have been another one or two but I did not hear the middle of the show.)    He was a little halting and uncertain on the first Ticker, but when he read the second one he'd found his stride -- even though Casey had written in some rather, uh, blue material. 

Here's what struck me -- reading out loud is a skill.  Put aside the skill needed to bang together a mini-broadcast as sporty news piles up during the day, gotta get the clips ready, gotta get a tease ready, maybe a couple of jokes, and then you have to write solid, succinct text that gets the info across in a clear and efficient way. 

Our Ticker guys are really good at all those things.  But again, my focus today is on reading the written word out loud.  Craig, of course, reads just fine.  But he is clearly reading.  It's not seamless.  He's not just talking into a mic, he's obviously reading.  His inflection is non-conversational, his cadence somewhat forced.  But Rich, and Ty, and Sean, and Casey, and all the other Ticker guys just blast it right out.  They're reading too, of course, but there is a seamlessness and polish to their delivery that does not call attention to that fact.  It has nothing to do with speed -- it's just a talent for reading out loud without sounding like a third-grader, on the one hand, or Franklin Roosevelt, on the other.  Expression; pace; continuity.  A mini-speech that is pleasing to the ear and does not call attention to its own delivery. 

So -- Craig's bit was fun, he was perfectly fine.  Rather brave, in fact, to undertake the Tickers. 

But let's take a moment to reflect on the skill it takes to sling out a good Ticker, and to thank the unthanked Tickermen of SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This one's been rattling around for awhile. 

You've seen the title, so you know where this is going.  So let's plow right in.

Ever since I started listening to The Ticket I've been struck by the number of black callers to the station.(1)   Nothing surprised me about it -- any sports guy or guy guy would enjoy The Ticket, regardless of race.  There were also Latino callers, Middle Eastern callers, even the odd Asian caller.  Female callers.  Mostly the white male demo.  But I noticed it because I've listened to other sports-talk stations around the country and they didn't have nearly this high a percentage of black callers.  Nice tribute to the broad appeal of The Little One.


(1)  I don't mind the term "African-American," but I don't think it adds much to the racial dialogue.  It's clumsy, and at this point it's not even very accurate.  Scholars and politicians like it, but it's so obviously PC that it's already falling out of favor among the general public and, I think, blacks themselves.  If the Musers can have a Black Guy Round Table, that's approval enough for me to continue to use the term.

Then I noticed -- there were actually quite a number of black callers.  (Not even counting Sports Shaniqua.)  Which, if callers are at all representative of the P1 Nation, would indicate that The Ticket had a large black following.  And, as I say, why not?

In fact  .  .  .  wouldn't the black audience for sports-talk be huge?  Don't need to cite statistics to prove the dominance of black athletes in almost every sport (except maybe the one broadcast on The Ticket).   Now let's be clear:  Black athletes are admired by whites as well.  And black sports fans root for the success of white athletes playing for the teams they favor.

But I'm not talking about the black public rooting for black athletes.  I'm talking about the black public making listening choices when they have one.

OK, now let's tread lightly here.   Am I out of line to observe that it is fairly widely acknowledged that entertainment can be racially targeted with success?  That racial groups are interested in entertainment relating to their own experience, ideas, language?  (Whites, too.)   Implied answer:  Not out of line.   Consider radio itself -- the "urban" segment is the code for "black hosts playing music by contemporary black artists."  Nothing wrong with it.  A fact of our society. 

Thus:    my hypothesis is that black sports fans and black-male-culture guys would listen to a quality sport/guy-talk-radio station with mostly -- possibly all -- black hosts.  They're not going to listen to garbage, or anything that is patronizing.  But if it's good radio, and if it reflects the concerns and enthusiasms of the young-to-early-middle-aged black male listener (remember -- it's not just sports) -- they're going to tune in.

So -- with a huge potential audience in major cities, why do we not see anyone tapping into it?  Why has no one tried to create a black Ticket?  And should someone do so?

Well, let's think about this:

Has anyone tried it before?  I've tried doing some research on this, and I cannot find any Internet reference to a black-dominated sports/guy-talk station.  I would love to hear from anyone who knows of one.  Satellite maybe?

Maybe someone has, and it has flopped.  Again, anyone know?

Now there is one well-known black sports-talk showgram, the famous "2 Live Stews" of WQXI-AM 790 the Zone in Atlanta.  You can hear them very early on weekend mornings on The Ticket sometimes, where the station will run a segment or two of 2 Live Stews.  They show up on Radio Row on Super Bowl week.   I have no idea what black listeners think about 2 Live Stews.

2 Live Stews
I know what I think about them.  They're terrible.   One guy is hyper, the other asleep.  But they're pretty popular with someone, since they're at least getting some syndication play.   Anyone know how they do in Atlanta?

And this brings us to our first reason that maybe no one has tried it:

It Is Difficult to Build a Quality Sports/Guy Talk Radio Station of Any Kind, Much Less One of the Greatness of The Ticket.  We've got two vanilla stations here in DFW trying to copy The Ticket's success, and, from all accounts, not doing a great job.  It would be even more difficult to build a black sports-guy-talker from scratch.

But it seems to me that that is not a good reason for a media entrepreneur not to give it a try in some metro market.  Sure, you'd have to go find talent.  I guess I'd start with the local newspaper sports guys.  (By the way -- Whatever happened to Jean-Jacques Taylor on The Ticket?  After Mark Elfenbein departed, he showed up on Sunday mornings and I thought he was pretty good, and I also thought he and Norm made a formidable team.)   Maybe I'd poach a talented black broadcaster from a white station (like Donovan).  Maybe I'd grab a popular black local TV sports broadcaster (like Newy), or, if I were in New York or Los Angeles, a national black sports anchor.  Maybe I'd find retired black athletes who had shown some talent for the microphone.  (I think Jason Terry has a career in broadcasting when his playing days have concluded; Terence Newman, maybe, too.)  Maybe I'd find experienced black DJs who have a strong interest in sports.   I cannot believe that there isn't a lot of black-guy talent out there.  And by that I mean black men who are "guys" in a black-culture sense the same way that The Ticket guys are are appealing hang-out "guys" to The Ticket demo.  Guys capable of talking in their own voices, and not some overamped radio voice.

Also -- there are tons of white sports-guy-talkers, but no black ones -- there has got to be a large pool of untapped black talent out there.

And maybe I'd do it the same way that white sports-talk got started -- put an evening sports show on an urban station and see what happens.  (Actually, I'd probably jump in with both feet and just put the damned station on the air with drive-to-drive sports-guy-talk programming, but I've always had a gift for spending other people's dough.)

Established Media Companies Don't Want to Cannibalize Existing Programs.  So should Cumulus try this in Dallas?  Well, if it's the case that a lot of black guys listen to The Ticket, why would you introduce a competitor of any kind, much less one that would poach an identifable group of listeners?  And you'd probably find the same situation with other media companies in other markets.  Now maybe if I were Cumulus and I had no sports-talk presence in a big urban center, I might give it a try.  But I have a feeling that if this concept is ever to be risked it will be by an independent media company -- quite possibly minority-owned -- or a single-station owner in a major market at what has fondly come to be known as the enchilada end of the dial.  There's a lot of them.

By the way -- there's a lesson from The Ticket:  You don't need a gold-plated signal to succeed.  A light-bulb AM could string this together (although maybe not with the high-profile talent I've hypothesized above).

Why Would Anyone Switch Allegiance from a Great Station Like The Ticket?    If The Ticket is serving the needs of the black listener, why start another station?   My concern here is not with service to the black listener -- it's with the company that is trying to come up with a money-making idea who, incidentally, will put on programming that is even more appealing to a target demo.  And, as noted, we're not necessarly talking just about DFW, but any city with a large black population.

How About a Brown Ticket?  Absolutely.  Same opportunity for targeting the Latino (or is it "Hispanic" these days? -- cue Bacsik giggle) listeners.  Possibly (likely) Spanish-language.  (I have not researched whether there might already be such stations.  If there are, that only supports my point that someone should try this with the urban audience, too.) 

Conclusion.  Someone should do this thing.  Might be tough here because The Ticket is such an 860-pound gorilla -- but, on the other hand, the greatness of The Ticket might have conditioned core black listeners to the appeal of sports-guy-talk radio.

If I had some walking-around money, I might throw in with that myself.


PS to Confessor commenters:  No censorship here, but I would really prefer that this comment thread not be about Donovan, although it seems to me that The Ticket's appeal to and attitude toward black listeners (and that of its local competitors) is fair game.  I'm more interested in what you think about the idea, though, than I am about The Ticket's attitude toward racial matters.  Future article, maybe.

And please, keep the sensitivity of this issue in mind in framing your comments.

And no "Race Week" jokes.