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.


The Plainsman said...

I'll start:

Plainsman, you've been nipping at the Old Panther bottle again. Give it a rest!

Jeebus, Plainsman, can't you say anything in less than 1,023 words?

Plainsman, once again you're completely overthinking a simple subject. He stays, he goes, who gives a frack?


Feel free to cut and paste.

Hurricane Latarian said...

Your words (all of them) resonate with me, oh wise plainsman. I can't figure out if this is a bit or real either, but damn if it didn't sound like Mike was pretty sincere in his Feb 2012 departure. I'd think the HL would effectively die without him.

The Plainsman said...

Welcome, Hurricane Latarian. Your nom de confession rings a bell, so if you've posted before, welcome back!

Shaggy said...

To me, this was the most telling thing Mike said:

"It depends on, whether or not I can get along without it. Which, I don't know...when I really get down to it...when that day approaches...and I really get down to it that may...things may change. We'll see."

Ralphie M. said...

Richie Whitt is not a credible source for anything media/sports related. He's a jealous d-bag who is still bitter that he wasn't asked to be a +1 when Greggo left. Listening the day after that drunken talk, Mike said that he didn't remember the night before and laughed when it was brought to his attention that he said he was leaving in February.

Anonymous said...


Bulls eye. That's exactly what piqued my interest, too. When he said that, I knew that while he might be three sheets, he was being frank. People just don't throw around the sort of statements he was making. Is Rhyner prone to "doomsday" humor? Yes. Please refer to his myriad of claims with respect to the Ticket's demise--e.g., one of his favorites pertains to the "last supper" that Whitt cryptically wrote about during the Greggo tumult. So perhaps it's the case that what started out as a joke (Feb. retirement, etc.) turned into a, ahem, Ticket confession.

The Plainsman said...

Ralphie, you may be right about Richie, don't know a whole lot about him. But the article doesn't contain much in the way of his viewpoint -- it's mostly reportage and quotes from Mike and Cumulus.

Jonaessa said...

Oy vey--my head is spinning. What I hate about jumping on the Ticket bandwagon eleven years in is that I have missed a lot of backstory. Listening to most programs every day, I (perhaps wrongfully and naively) assume that these folks make a commitment to their time slots, and barring some inappropriateness (I'm talking about you, Mike Bacsik) they'll just be there forever. They get paid much more than any of us who post on these boards do, and they do a job that most of us would chop off a left nut (or in Christy's and my case, some other equally sensitive area) to do!

But again, I only know how things are now. I don't know what filled the time slot before BaD Radio arrived on the scene. Or even what they sounded like before the introduction of Donnie. Even the departure of Greggo was easy for me to get over because Corby was already there and quickly becoming my favorite personality. The chemistry that exists now just can't be replicated.

The Hardline without Mike would be like "ER" was without George Clooney. Yeah, you invested time in the other story lines, but it wasn't the real reason you tuned in.

Chris said...

I totally believe that Mike lost the context of his surroundings when he talked about retirement. I think, because of the alcohol, he was more focused on talking to the guys around the fire than the people listening (or recording) at home.

When I heard "February" I remembered the article about his last minute contract signing and wondered when that was. Now that I know it was in February 2009, I'm convinced that he was serious.

He's approaching this from "the way I feel now, I won't renew and I'll retire from radio" and is leaving serious reflection for closer to February. I think management knows this and they're fine with that timetable.

I believe that Mike, more than most of the others, could leave radio behind no problem. He's achieved a HUGE amount of success and there's really nothing left for him to accomplish. I see him as the aging superstar quarterback, leaving the game is pretty easy, leaving the people is a whole different story.

I could see him coming back a few times a year to sit in on a show (ala Art Bell) but the rest of the time would be spent with his band and traveling.

Anonymous said...

Mike's going to the Fan in February because he misses the Hammer. He says it all the time.

T4 In Rockwall said...

It wouldn't suprise me if Mike were to go to The Fan. I heard that Jagger is getting the boot and RJ Choppy is replacing him in the morning. That station rotates 'em in as fast as they can.

Shaggy said...

Now The Hardline is not going on vacation this week.

T4 In Rockwall said...

I will say this. If they mess with what they have too much, they're playing with fire. I wouldn't do something like take Gordo out of his element, or bring up Mike S. or Ty Waaaackaaaaa. I could see Danny B. working with someone making it work, if Corbles and Rhyner were to leave, but who he would work with is a very good question. Someone mentioned maybe Grubes as a yuck monkey or producer, filling Danny's current role. That would work.

Now that I write this and think about it, they could probably move The Orphanage from it's Saturday slot into a weekday (day time) slot and I think it would do real well.

Anonymous said...

Davy isn't going to leave his Job to work for Cumulus.

The Plainsman said...

Couple more guesses:

(1) No chance MR will go to The Fan. This ain't 2009. He may say he misses his Hammer, but I think a lot of those are drops, and I'm guessing that NY Michael Gruber may have been asked not to play them for the next little while. I've heard him say some pretty harsh things about Greggo the last few months and there's too much bad blood. And I can't see Mike making a change that would have him stuck "away from home," as it were, in Greggo-volatile situation.

(2) I agree with those who say Mike is talking about retiring, at least for awhile -- not just going elsewhere. He gives the impression of disgust with the CumuluoTicket Overlords, and he probably doesn't think that big-time radio management elsewhere -- big-time radio is the only radio that could afford him at his present wage -- would be much better.

(3) My guess -- no retirement, no going to another station, new contract. More Mike. The CTO's are not so fed up with his constructive criticism that they are prepared to bid farewell to their meal (Little) Ticket without some serious back-and-forth.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Greggo bashing... The Musers' bit featuring Mr. Peppermint's Muffin and fake Greggo was pretty damn harsh (and hilarious!). I guess there's fairly bad blood between the Ticket, Richie Whitt, and Greggo.

Ralphie M. said...

So if you guys believe what he said that night, then how come you don't believe what he said the next day about not remembering the retirement talk?

Anonymous said...


Surely you're aware of CYA situations, yes? Maybe this is such a situation; maybe it's not. Whichever way it goes, it's fun--at least for nerds like us--to speculate and pontificate. And besides, I can tell you from personal experience that in my younger days I said things that I meant at least on some level that I didn't remember saying under the influence of sweet alcohol.

The Plainsman said...

As Danny might say: Good lord.

I just heard the replay of the Mr. Cinnamon (Greggo)-Muffin bit. I smiled, but it was incredibly angry, almost hateful.

As I've said in the past, Williams/Whitt-bashing strikes me as likely to increase interest in the RaGE, but the girlish feuding does lend sort of a soap-opera interest to DFW radio politics.

This does seem to suggest that no major Ticket figure will be defecting to The Fan anytime soon, not when the CumuloTicket Overlords allow a bit like that to be repeated. (The thought being that if anyone who counted objected to it, it would not have been rebroadcast even if the original bit couldn't have been squelched -- Gordon surely isn't required to get clearance for his stuff in the first instance.)

About 17% of my brain asks itself whether Mike R is entirely on board with attacks like this when he's unhappy with his lot under the thumb of the CTO's. Folks, I think there is a TON going on behind the scenes -- more than usual. And Corby is involved because (I speculate) his contract is up at the same time, and that involves everyone else because Mike's departure would cause a major domino spill and a tremendous uprorar in the DFW radio audience.

Keep your ears tuned for clues over the next few months. These guys absolutely cannot help themselves from the odd inside joke that perplexes the Nation, until it stops to think about it.

And keep shopping at My Ticket Confession for the best in Responsible Ticket Journalism.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Jagger* quipped this morning he was going to The Ticket.

Not in a million years, pal...

-Anon B

*Don't hate me for punching over, it was during a break and I was curious if those guys would still be on the air this week after the announcement yesterday of their imminent departure.

Anonymous said...

Also, I'm starting to think Mike's "accidental drunken confession" by the campfire might not have been so unintentional. Maybe he's sending a message to Management and trying to get some leverage for contract negotiations.

Could that have been Mike's way of showing Management, "look at the uproar when I just casually mention maybe leaving."

-Anon B

Jonaessa said...

On the continuing Mike/Greggo feud:

Did anyone hear yesterday's E-news? (I think it was E-news anyway.) Grubes played a drop of Greggo giving directions and everyone took a moment to laugh about it and make snide remarks. Then Danny said, "You need to forgive him." Mike increduously asked, "Who me?!" And Danny said, "Yeah, you." To which Mike replied, "So do you."

I always find these exchanges fascinating. We're talking about grown men who can't just move on and stop adding fuel to the fire. You expect women to behave this way because we're more of a vindictive breed, but not guys. Guys get over things pretty quickly. I absolutely believe Mike has a right to be pissed (and it sure makes for great radio), but from what I've read, Mike forgave Greggo on all previous occasions of relapse and station distancing. Why not this time? True, you can only forgive someone so many times before it's "shame on me" but has something else happened behind the scenes that makes it so much different? (My internet is working sporadically or I would insert the link to the article I think "The Observer" wrote about Greggo firing back at the Ticket and how they forced him out and yada, yada, yada. Did an article like this make it impossible for Mike to forgive and forget?) Has Greggo’s reentry to radio made it that much more difficult for Mike to move on?

The Plainsman said...

Joanessa: Interesting comment. You'll note I called the feud "girlish" in my last comment, and so it seems to me. Your comment absolves me of all charges of sexism, so I thank you. I'm sure the behind-the-scenes stuff about which we have no idea is absolutely delicious, and perhaps that story will be told someday.

When is the next ratings book out? Enough time has passed so we should have some notion of whether RaGE has gotten any traction at all, and I'd also be interested in Levin/Elf's impact, if any.

Scott said...

Geez, I hate when the login fails and I lose a post.

I was riding the fence until I read the comments. I was unaware of the contract situation in Feb 09.

Now, I think he is negotiating. Most all P1s have said something under the influence to get something, whatever it may be.

BUT, I am not convinced he is negotiating for money. When do they move to Victory??? I wonder if he is drawing a line in the sand.... Give us more power (wattage, that is), better equipment, etc. when we move, or I will retire.

In my estimation, it would be a terrible hit to move into a new studio, new location, all that buzz, and have the main guy walk. Sponsors would waver, listeners would wander, and bills would pile up.

I know nothing about working for a station, so I can't speculate about what he would want, but if it were me, it would be more than money.


Anonymous said...

Could that have been Mike's way of showing Management, "look at the uproar when I just casually mention maybe leaving."

-Anon B

Um, news for you.
A dozen people talking about it on an obscure blog doesn't make for an "uproar".

Anon C

Anonymous said...

"Um, news for you.
A dozen people talking about it on an obscure blog doesn't make for an "uproar". "

Um, I have news for you.
It was a big deal on the station. They talked about it for days. If MTC didn't exist, I would still consider it a big deal.

-Anon B

The Plainsman said...

Yeah. We're still talking about Greg Williams's departure YEARS later. The slightest whiff of a hint that the founder and face of The Ticket as we know it might depart the station is pretty newsy.

Although I don't deny that MTC is obscure. Considering the magnitude of the P1 universe, it's all but invisible.

What's happenin' on GrubesIsMyLeader and The UnTicket? These days I just can't budget time to check other Ticket sites. (There may be others I don't even know about, in which case I'd be grateful for advice.)

Anonymous said...

They talked about it for a day, the day after it happened. When Mike distanced from it.

Just think you guys are extrapolating an awful lot from one data point and an assload of random specualtion (he cussed out the CTO's again, that must mean he's ready to jump to CBS!!!)(ignoring the fact that "better the devil you know then the devil you don't", and the CBS overlords could be a LOT worse than Big Dan Bennett to work for)

And FYI- they're getting new equipment with the now-delayed move to Victory, and they're working on increasing the power to 25KW. For a blog that's all about the little Ticket, you guys seem woefully uninformed or misinformed.

Anon C

Anonymous said...

And I've seen nothing on Grubesismyleader about it.

Might be buried somewhere, but certainly not it's own thread with almost 30 comments on it...

Anon C

The Plainsman said...

Anon C (if indeed you are Anon C), my question is: Where have YOU been? Readers of this site know about every data point you raise, and, in fact, commenters to this site were among the first, if not the first, to report on the FCC filings regarding the power increase (still languishing, apparently). The "devil you don't" point was made (by me) on this very thread. I would not expect The Ticket to dwell on Mike's campfire oration for the very most obvious reasons, but Mike had to say SOMETHING the next day, and then it was in everyone's interest at The Ticket to drop it fast fast fast. The fact that The Ticket has gone radio silent on this is zero evidence of its nonsignificance. It is a big topic and it ain't going away -- witness the report (again, in this thread) that Jagger joked that he was coming to The Ticket.

The matter of Mike's and Corby's renewal in February 2009 was big news in 2009, and if our surmise is correct that those are three-year deals, speculation as to what will take place in February 2012 will be louder and sooner this time around, with more at stake and Mike's lubricated disclosure on the record.

So -- respectful comments are welcome, but I think you're considerably off base if you think commenting Confessors are out of the mainstream on this. In fact, I do think Mike stay for business as usual for awhile, but the circumstances for speculation otherwise are firmly in place.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant MTC, not MTS.

Anonymous said...

Atta boy, Plainsman!

cancer monkey said...

Jeez, I go away for a couple days and come back to find a new thread and 31 comments waiting for me. I don't know if I can keep up with this torrent of new content.

I don't think I ever heard about the contract stuff in '09, but if that's where February came from during the campout, that means something. I don't think he's planning on retiring and I don't really think he's using this as a negotiation tactic, I think he just threw that out there as the next time his contract is up.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear the "he had shoes with goldfish in them" Greggo drop on WTDS? Right on cue, Corby said "No he doesn't, you idiot." It's really heating up!

Anonymous said...

"They talked about it for a day, the day after it happened. When Mike distanced from it."

Absolutely untrue. The Hardline talked about it Friday and The Musers talked about it Monday morning. Since then, I've heard the drop every day, as well. The topic continues to get attention in and outside the station.

Stop trolling our board, dude.

-Anon B

ap said...

Put me down for "negotiation ploy."

Has something gone horribly wrong with the move to Victory Park? I heard one solitary reference to it, followed by the standard "ahhh...uhhh...budday..." that hosts issue to signify a touchy subject.

I haven't heard anything since, which seems odd considering the move is coming up rather soon.

@AnonC...The Plainsman was aware of the signal increase last year -- I found the FCC report.

I've also noticed a handful of instances where speculation that occurs here winds up being addressed (usually indirectly) on KTCK's broadcast. Examples include the increase to 25kW and figuring out where the 'secret campsite' was. I'll happily concede that a lot of wild speculation occurs here, but hey, we're havin' fun here, no?

Anonymous said...

Indeed we are having fun here, ap; indeed we are.

T4 In Rockwall said...

I don't patrol the forums of as much as I used to do. If you want to find some relevant info about The Ticket and not be flamed, this is the site to come to. You can always expect some smart !@# to comment on a thread over there and then derail the whole thread.

Keep up the good work Plainsman! You're attitude and willingness to remove unnecessary posts are what makes this site good.

The Plainsman said...

I don't know who Anon C is, or whether he has any relationship Grumponymous of recent unlamented menory.

But let me tell you something: I actually like it when we get some tidbits from people like G-onymous and Anon C who sound like they know what they're talking about. They may be snowing us, but if they can keep a civil tongue in their heads, and if what they say makes sense, happy to have them on board.

But I must tell you . . .

The last time we had a Grumponymous outbreak, I had a brief communication from an unimpeachable inside Ticket contact on a completely unrelated subject, probably correcting me on a minor point, I don't really remember. (Note: I almost NEVER hear from Ticket insiders unless they post a comment here. You hear what I hear. On EXTREMELY rare occasions, I'll get a very brief note from someone at The Ticket with a criticism, a correction, a tiny nugget of information, or an attaboy. They are always respectful.) The contact did comment on the site as a whole, and this contact said, in effect: The most frustrating thing about your site is reading comments from people who claim to or act like they have inside information -- they are ALWAYS full of it. (The source, in general, likes the site.)

You guys have it right -- this isn't a contest to see who can guess what's going on at The Little One -- it's just part of the fun of listening to a station that BEGS us to have a personal relationship with the cast and crew.

We gonna gossip?

Frackin' A.

Anonymous said...

The move has been delayed due to the Citadel purchase. They're trying to reconfigure layouts to fit in another 2 studios and all the ancillary spaces that go with it (more production rooms, more sales mgrs, PD and promo dir offices, more sales cubes, more storage spaces, etc)

And Plainsman- what kind of proof would you like that I'm unimpeachable, and actually have inside information? Want to know what Rhyner is wearing tomorrow? What free t shirt Corby has on? What live spot runs tomorrow at 405p?

I'll try to oblige...

Dude said...

I chalk Mikes retirement talk up to a drunken hypothetical he was merely kicking around. I would imagine he has done very well for himself. He realizes the next chance he COULD retire is Feb. I would also argue that Mike "doesnt remember" saying that. He wasnt that plastered.

Anonymous said...

"And Plainsman- what kind of proof would you like that I'm unimpeachable, and actually have inside information? Want to know what Rhyner is wearing tomorrow? What free t shirt Corby has on? What live spot runs tomorrow at 405p? "

Dammit Ty, get off this blog!

The Plainsman said...

Last Anonymous, you're crackin' me up.

The Plainsman said...

And by the way, Anon C, did you happen to notice in my prior comment that I said I LIKED getting inside information, even from grouchy commenters? I have no way of knowing whether anonymous commenters are impeachable or thoroughly peachable, and I don't recall ever judging any offered inside info not credible. My non-anonymous Ticket authority expressed skepticism over some claimed inside stuff, but did not single out anyone in particular.

Anonymous said...

"C" for "Corby"?????

The Plainsman said...

An interesting speculation. I had thought that "Anon C" was to distinguish himself from "Anon B," who has become a mainstay of the board, who adopted that nom de confession to distinguish himself from the legions of Anonymouses (Anonymice?)

"Hollywood" Matt Shannon said...

I had the radio on as I went to bed(as I always do... that's the eccentric in me) and heard this exchange. Having listened to Mike Rhyner on numerous occasions, I just chalked it up to more shockvalue from Mike to help make a segment worth listening to. Then I came to this blog and now my head is spinning! :P

The Plainsman said...

Hollywood, I'm sorry we've discombobulated you. Welcome back. I know you are one of our more sensitive Confessors.

You're not alone -- those February 2008 articles about Mike and Corby shook up a lot of people.

"Hollywood" Matt Shannon said...

To be honest, I was more poking fun at the fact that I had been away and had so much catching up to do with all these comments! :D Haha!