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. 


Anonymous said...

As a P1 from Day One, this borders on bizarre over-thinking.

Time has moved on. Mike is bored and offers nothing. Corby is a douche of biblical proportions. Danny is happy to have a job and understands he keeps it so long as he sucks up to Mike.

The Hardline is like Seinfeld in its final years: It sucked but no one could bring themselves to admit it. Kramer installing a garbage disposal in his shower is akin to "What's on Mike's Mind." Really? You think we care?

It's a slow death. But I'll watch it and care for it like a grown man visiting his dying dad in a nursing home.

The Plainsman said...

If you like bizarre overthinking, you should spend some time in the archives.

With all due respect, I didn't see a single thing in that comment that struck me as right.

If you'll pardon a cheap response -- if you loathe the show so much, and have such contempt for its principals, why on earth do you listen?

Anonymous said...

more danny + less snake = quality.
mike doesn't matter anymore.

corby is like his product Woodford Reserve:

danny and grubes make the show.
its time for danny to get paid!

Anonymous said...

They make it pretty clear that Cumulus has no money. Pretty much every show and especially the hardline always make jokes or comments about the lack of money in the company. Making Danny a host would probably mean paying him more, right? If so, then i don't really see a change happening.

Anonymous said...

It borders on the bizarre because they Ticket's ratings have never been better.
Everybody thinks their opinions hold true for everyone, and make 'improvements' based on those opinions.
When in reality, by the one objective measurement, teh station doesn't need changed.

Anonymous said...

I like your suggestions, Plainsman. And in some ways the Ticket seems to have been slowly implementing something akin to what you propose. Now perhaps it's just organically happening (which is the means by which the Ticket usually rolls... at least when the Ticket gets it right).

As to over-thinking the thing, I say this to the first anonymous poster: You yourself, madam or sir, seem to be the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

Anonymous said...

These things seem to be happening already. Danny goes on more outings with Mike and Corby, rather than stay in the nurturing biosphere.

Did it REALLY require all those flippin' words to say "Promote Danny to host and find a new producer from the farm system?"


cancer monkey said...

I like to imagine Anonymous as a single person with multiple conflicting personalities. It makes reading these comments a lot more entertaining. One personality is always angry at Plainsman, one may or may not work in the Ticket organization, a couple others are thoughtful and agreeable and one is known only as "B".

Christy said...


Has anyone noticed the increasing teasing of Mike Sirois by his co-workers? BaD Radio called him gay yesterday for having a favorite number and for his wife being his best friend (the latter he never actually said, of course). And while The Musers have been making fun of his "relaxed" delivery forever, Mike got upset over it for about 1 second during today's cross-talk and then went back to slinking into the background.

Speaking of T.C., I don't understand why he sounds timid and stiff on The Hardline or BaD Radio, but he sounds so much better (normal) when he's doing It's Just Banter, the weekly BaD Radio podcast, or The Top Ten. Is he doing a bit on the other shows because that's what he's known for or is he really that nervous even now after a decade of interning at The Ticket?

Slightly on-topic:
Corby's rant on the Oscars was awesome, and like Mike, I've been waiting for The Snake's comeback as well.

I thought Danny already had the power - if he chose to harness it in a positive manner - to do almost everything that was outlined in the post. He's not like any of the other producers because A) both Mike and Corby treat him as an equal and have done so since the beginning and B) Corby and Danny appear to genuinely be friends. For example, I have a theory (based on nothing) that Corby campaigned for Danny to go with them to New York for the 2010 ALCS. I don't remember Danny going with them on other show trips before this one and it always seemed unfair to me that a key on-air member didn't get to enjoy the outings with the others.

I cannot fathom Grubes not being the board op. You just blew my mind.

P1 Steven said...

I might argue that you over thought this one. I think it is simple as well. Give Danny the host job, and find another producer.

@ Christy RE: TC, I noticed the same thing about TC's on-air voice. It has to be some technical set up that makes the difference.

Off topic: I have always tried to figue who does Jer's voice remind me of. I got it! Kevin Malone from The Office

Anonymous said...

It could be that Corby campaigned for Danny to go.

Or it could be that budgets are all based on 3 people (plus an engineer) going someplace- Jub, Jr, Gordo, Bob Dan Donnie, and for a long time Mike Greggo Corby. No Greggo means a free bed and a extra plane ticket available...

Jonaessa said...

Without the over-analyzation, this post would have been two, maybe three sentences. What fun would that be to comment on?

Great thoughts, Mr. Plainsman, as always. Now that you point out that Mike is not necessarily "checked out" but more "disinterested" in certain thoughts and segments, I have to agree with that observation. I will, henceforth, give him the benefit of the doubt (most times).

I also welcome the idea of Danny coming onboard as the third member of the Hardline threesome. Is there a petition we can sign?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Anonymous is one person??? If so, he or she should start their own blog: "My Ticket Confusion."

Rock me.

James said...

I missed the big announcement yesterday or whenever it was. So what was it?

The Plainsman said...

They're all going camping again.

James said...

thanks. Their definition of "major announcement" and mine are different. They surely know this, so it's a running joke. But it's causing listeners to ignore them when they say a major announcement is coming, so it's going to backfire in a "boy who cried wolf" sorta way. Eventually.

T4 In Rockwall said...

The good news about them camping is my favorite Gordo character (The Crazy Prospector) will be there. Wooooo....oooooooo!

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping for lots of "Deep Ticket" gold.

Also, I'm trying like herll to remember what the impromptu campfire sing-along was last year... Was it Yoda and Avery Johnson?

-Anon B

ap said...

@Anon B

It was Mushmouth (Gordo), Fake Avery (Jub) AND Fake Yoda (Bob). I darn near messed myself laughing.

Relive it!


Jer said...

I was going to be offended by the Kevin Malone comparison, but then I listened closely and you're kinda right. Kill me.

JS said...

In the photo above the article "An Even More Modest Proposal for The Hardline - Part 1", I wonder what Mike saw in the Ticket book that made his eyes bug out?