Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Living La Vida Ticket -- PART 1

I’ve been kicking this one around for awhile.  It’s still not well formed so  it will meander somewhat more than is my custom, and that's some meandering.     I’ll leave you with a question which I hope will provoke some comments, and I’ll bounce off those comments for Part 2.
Most of the people who visit this site like The Ticket.   There is the occasional naysayer with a grudge of one kind or another, either against this site or a Ticket personality, or, on occasion, with The Little One itself.   Once in awhile, a commenter will take me or the Confessor Nation to task for taking it all too seriously, for, in effect, caring too much about what is, after all, just a sports/guy-talk radio station.
I blather on a lot about fairness in these articles, so let’s be fair to these critics:  Are they right?  What does it mean to be a P1?  Does it materially affect our lives?  Would we really miss it if it disappeared tomorrow?   Certainly the station encourages its listeners to listen every moment of every day.  Mike daily requires listeners to mill about the premises making sure that every radio is turned to The Ticket.
So I invite you to join me in an informal exploration of the impact of The Ticket on our daily lives; whether it is a positive or negative influence; and if your relationship with the station has changed over the years.
I believe that almost without exception – and perhaps without any exception – Ticket personalities deeply and sincerely appreciate the loyalty and enthusiasm of the P1.  They express it on the air.  Most pay some attention to email and Twitter exchanges.   The station spends an enormous amount of energy and cash staging free events that the P1 enjoys.  This site occasionally hears from station personnel, and on very rare occasions I’ll get a private email of comment, correction, or appreciation.
And yet, do you sometimes get the feeling that even they are overwhelmed with the obsession that some listeners exhibit?  Don’t you sometimes hear jeez, give it a rest in their voices?  I’m going to explore the relationship between the P1 and the hosts as human beings in an upcoming post, but the point I want to make here is that it’s not just grumpy commenters that exhibit occasional impatience with the intensity of some listeners’ enthusiasm for 1310 AM/104.1 FM.
The Ticket does play a big role in my life, and I would have said that even if I’ve never started this site.   It is the case that keeping this this site going has changed that role.   My need to come up with topics of interest to The Nation means I listen with greater care, scribble down things that strike me, and get by the channel during times when in my pre-MTC life I might have been spending my time in that most idyllic of states -- quiet burger reflection.
But for guys like me and AP and maybe a couple of others we hear from, following The Ticket has turned into a fairly time-consuming hobby.  This site started in 2009, and after a slow start where I was talking mainly to myself, I’ve averaged around 15-20 posts a month.   (I’ll never forget the Confessor who, after I’d been blog-silent for awhile and maybe would get a handful of hits a day, wrote to say how much he liked the site and how I should write more.  Got me going.)  I keep a list of potential topics.  Looked at it the other day.   Got about forty items on it right now.  A lot of them are stale; others look less interesting to me now than they did when I wrote them down.  Others are gigantic topics that would take me chunks of time I haven’t had the last few months.  (By the way – I do a general-interest blog that I neglect and that I have more than once thought of emphasizing at the expense of this one – to date, it’s decidedly the other way around.)    Others I realize I’ve done already.  For example, among my recent favorite moments on The Hardline are the Mike/Corby live spots for GumOut – but I did a piece on that last July [LINK]..     (But wait!   I just noticed something interesting in rereading that article.  Ooo, I’m going to save this one.  The only thing I can promise is that it will be another one of my Listening Too Hard entries.)  
A typical gathering of P1's
But let’s put aside my extra Ticket obligations, since they are atypical.  Here’s the extent of my devotion to The Ticket:   I begin listening right around 5:30 am, as Rich is finishing up his pre-Musers Ticker.  Mrs. Plainsman indulges my listening while we share the bathroom, as long as I turn on cable news before I leave.  I have a fairly long commute, and I get to my workplace almost two hours before the place starts hopping.   So I listen to The Musers from the beginning of the show until the 8:40 bit, which I’m going to hear the next morning anyway.  I’ll miss the last hour and change.   If I’m on the road during the day I listen to Norm and BaD, but unfortunately those opportunities are limited.  If I’m paying attention to the clock, I’ll flip on The Hardline sometime between 3:30 and 4, and listen as much as I can for the balance of the work day, on the drive home, and at home until I hear Mrs. Plainsman putting the oxen back in the shed.  I am fortunate to have an employer who lets me have a radio on in my work area. 
I should listen to the Top Ten to get some notion of what Norm and BaD are up to, but family duties, the other blog, and even writing these pieces invariably intrude.   I’ll strap on a radio and headset if I’m off for a jog or bike ride (although in general, I think it’s dangerous to listen to the radio whilst biking and I’ve pretty much quit that).   I listen as much as I can on weekends.  I don’t listen to podcasts; alas, I rarely even listen to clips on The (Incomparable) UnTicket unless it’s a big deal that a site like this should know about or something that AP has commended.  I don’t follow anyone on Twitter.   I only very rarely ever stream the station if I’m not in range of the sputtering terrestrial signal.
I’ve only been to a couple of remotes, and then only briefly to check in.  (Remotes are on my article-to-do list.)  Never been to a Ticket event.  Never called a show.  Never spoken to a Ticket employee other than once at a remote just to say a brief “thanks” before I left, which the host politely acknowledged.  Wait, I think I asked a Ticket Chick for a T-shirt once.  Don’t have any buddies or relatives who listen much at all. 
So there you have the extent of my average-guy devotion to The Ticket.  Four to six hours a day during the week, and probably two to four hours over the entire weekend.
That doesn’t strike me as a crazy Ticket-listening schedule.  I listen when I can and when the time is otherwise unchallenged by much of any other activity.    I’d like to know how you guys (and Jonaessa, and Christie, and all distaff Confessors) listen to The Ticket.  I’d also be interested in your thoughts not on The Ticket’s content, but on how you feel about the time you spend with it. 
I’ll conclude next time with some thoughts on how the P1 relates to The Ticket, and whether the Ticket-geek accusation has some truth to it.


cancer monkey said...

I listen during my morning and evening commutes and catch the meat of both D&M and The Hardline. I'll sometimes listen after I get to work and tune out when Norm comes on, then pick it up again right before BaD, just to hear the show open. I try to catch WTDS, because I cherish the pure chaos of it, but I'm usually caught up in work or meetings then. My only weekend listening happens when I'm in transit, so I'm usually limited to the end of the Tee Box and the beginning of whoever comes on after them, and maybe a little TSS.

I do rely on The Unticket quite a bit to catch up on things I've missed, and strongly believe that they were sent to us by the Internet and radio gods to guide us through our dark non-Ticket-listening times.

This might be jumping the gun on part 2, but the way I think of the hardcore P1 -- like people that run blogs and collect audio and spend their time writing comments on blogs and listening to saved audio -- is along the lines of people that dress up and go to ComiCon or Sturgis. We're grown-ass adults with lives and responsibilities and jobs and (in some cases) families, and we have a passion for something that brings us enjoyment. It's not an all-consuming "crazy cat lady" or "unibomber" passion, but it's something that's important enough to us that we want to share the experience with others of the same ilk.

The "jeez, give it a rest" that the on-air guys occasionally show isn't really any different than what you might hear from a Star Trek cast member. They understand that they've been given this incredible opportunity and are at the center of something very special, but for most of them, it was just an acting job. Brent Spiner, who played Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation is a classic example; he appreciates all that came from the role, but he's NOT Data, and doesn't understand why people can't get that it was a role. I think the Ticket hosts are of the same mindset: It's cool to be at the center of this juggernaut, but I'm just a normal guy.

The Plainsman said...

Great stuff, C-Monk. No problem with anyone jumping the gun on Part 2. Might make Part 2 more interesting.

Anonymous said...

My alarm wakes me to the sound of the Musers every weekday at about 6:30 (though I recall little of that while I try to gain consciousness). I'm usually up and getting ready between 6:45 and 7:15, when I really listen.

I jump in the car around 7:30 and listen for nearly an hour.

If I go to lunch, I catch about 10 minutes of Norm and maybe 10 minutes of BAD Radio on the way back.

I get in the car to go home around 5:05-5:10; just in time to catch an interminable Hardline commercial break, along with traffic, Ticker and 83 announcements. I usually catch about 45 minutes of Hardline on my drive home.

When I get home around 6:00, the first thing I usually do is flip on The Hardline and catch the end.

Then I often listen to the Top Ten from 7-9. Lately I enjoy it more than anything on television, and I can do pointless internet stuff while I listen.

I can't listen to a radio at my office. I can't stream over the office internet. There were times I'd stream over my iPhone just to get some BAD Radio (particularly WTDS, which doesn't suck hard), but it just doesn't jive with my job. It's a shame, because as I've said many times before, I think BAD Radio would be my favorite show if I were abel to catch it on a regular basis.

I think if it weren't for discovering The Ticket about 4 years ago, I would've had to move closer to my office, as The Musers/ Hardline is about the only thing that keeps me sane during my commute.

-Anon B

P.S. I do try to catch The Orphanage on Saturdays, but I'm usually sleeping off my Friday night. I wish they'd do it at noon instead of 10AM.

Anonymous said...

I listen in the car during my work commute, which allows me to catch a couple segments of the Musers and the first segment or two of the Hardline. I'll jump online every so often at work to try and catch some Norm and Bad Radio.

On the weekends, if I'm working around the house or in the garage, I'll turn it on if it's after 12 because I don't care for the before noon programming. I could do without Race Week too but it's an interesting look at a sport I don't follow all that closely and I don't mind having it on in the background.

The only day I don't listen is Sunday, I haven't listened to a Sunday show since Elf left and even when he was on, I rarely caught it. I feel like Sunday is my "off day" from the Ticket.

Jonaessa said...

Part I
I never thought the little Ticket would ever be on my preset. As I have stated here before, my now-husband introduced me to the station by turning on E News one day six years ago (which, by the way, was not the worst E News ever). I thought Corby was hilarious. Back then he was just a yuk monkey and I had very little interest in sports, so my ears only perked up when he was doing bits. I tried to get my hands on everything Corby, even asking him to be friends on myspace. When he accepted my request, I was so thrilled! Imagine my disappointment when Corby announced he had no myspace (or facebook) page. I was duped by the fake Corby, or Forby as I came to call him. By then, I was listening to the Hardline every time I got in the car, whether my husband was there or not.

Coming around to the rest of the Ticket showgrams took some time. As a newbie, trying to distinguish between the voices made it difficult to understand what was going on. Half the time, all the voices sounded alike, so I never knew if I was listening to a discussion or someone having a heated argument with himself. Once I got the voices down, I started to tune in a lot more. I started to read into the backgrounds of the hosts. I see Dunham and Miller's picture every time I go into the Whataburger on Ft. Worth Drive in Denton, so I was starting to feel a little connection between myself and these guys. I remember the first road show I went to at Hooter's. My husband and I were walking in as some old guy was walking out. My husband nodded toward him and said, "Hey, Mike," to which Mike replied, "Hey, how ya' doin'?" He then told me that was Mike Rhyner. He might as well have told me that was Brad Pitt. "OHMIGOD! That's Mike? That guy?!?" I was like a starstruck teenager. (Yes, I was absolutely ridiculous.) He didn't seem to match his voice, but none of the hosts did when I first saw them. That was okay, though. I was hooked.

I listen to "Muse in the News" as it's the first thing on when I get in my car to travel the 15 minutes to work. Sometimes, I'll stop for breakfast just so I can hear the triumphant return of "You're An Ass If" or "Top Five, Bottom Five." If I have to pick up paychecks for my department, I get to listen to "Friday Morning Scattershooting" or sometimes "The Emergency Brake of the Week." Then I have to head into work. I can stream all day, but my job is not conducive to listening to talk radio. Everyone is always coming in and interrupting, and it's not like I can pause or rewind so I just get very annoyed. On my lunch break, I get to listen to the intro of "BaD Radio" along with some of the segments like "Gay or Not Gay" (my other favorite, which I have called into before [and wished Dan a happy birthday]) and "What's on my TiVo?" I try to stream "Why Today Doesn't Suck" and am often out the office running errands during that time so I really get to enjoy the crosstalk between the two shows. Unfortunately, I no longer get to hear E News unless I'm streaming it because work ends at five. I do, however, listen on the way home.

Jonaessa said...

Part II
I rarely listen on the weekends unless the guys are talking about the Rangers when I'm in the car. The only time I punch out during the week is if Norm is on (I'm sorry; I know I should respect the greatness that is Norm, but he sounds like a Simpsons character who was killed off after the first season) or if the guys are going on and on about draft picks or hockey. Being married to a coach is really all the sports I can handle, but I sure do love those Rangers so I'll listen to any segment about them.

I have gone to a couple of road shows and taken several pictures with Donovan, as he is always the most accommodating. My husband's line of work puts me in contact with George Dunham on occasion, and I am still excited to say hello to him. He is always super nice and has never once acted put out by a fan saying hey. I would like to meet Craig, Gordo, Corby, and Danny, but I would looove to meet Grubes, Tom, Fernando, and Big Strong Jeremy. Those guys are so underrated and really add great one-liners to their shows.

Again, I never thought I would listen to an all-sports, all-talk radio show. I don't like NPR, and the closest I ever got to non-stop talk was listening to Paul Harvey's "Rest of the Story" when I was a kid. There is just something about these guys that makes me want to listen as much as possible and wonder what I'm missing out on when I'm not listening. I find myself saying, "I've got a flask in my car if anyone wants to join me for an after hours drink," and yelling "ARE YOU GAY?" at just the precise moment that Grubes hits the drop. When my husband says something off-the-wall, I quietly mumble, "Mark." I love the Ticket, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Anonymous said...

Your husbands name is "Mark?" How is that relevant?

Thanks for the story anyway.

Michael said...


Call me.


P1 Steven said...

Is there such thing as listening too much? I get in my car each morning between 6:45 & 7:15. On the way to work, I drop my son off at the sitter's. I arrive to work bewteen 7:45 & 8:15. I immediatly go to my desk and turn on the ticket stream. On occasion, I turn it off to listen to a little music, but i pretty much listen all day. Depending if I go to my second job I either listen 10 mins or 30 mins on the way home. On the weekends I try and catch THE ORPHANAGE. Although, I have NEVER played golf, I enjoy there show. sooo total listening time per week would be somewhere in the 20-30 hours depending on my schedule.

The Plainsman said...

Jonaessa, Your Plainsman doesn't want to intrude, but if you are able to report on your chat with NY Michael Gruber, the Nation is all ears.

East Texas P1 said...

I usually listen on the way in to work and on the way home. About 40 minutes each day starting at 7:00 a.m. However, out here in East Texas the signal really sucks on 1310. The Ticket was streaming on a secondary signal (1400 I think) which was stronger but management switched it to KVIL. I e-mailed Dan Bennett about it and he said it was in preparation for upgrading the signal to (I think) 25K watts. Don't think this has happened yet.

I stream at work and usually finish the Musers after the normal morning stuff is caught up.

I usually punch out of Norm except on Mondays after a Cowboys game. Got to have the discussion of the game and "5 plays you may have missed".

Rarely do I ever listen to BaD radio. Just can't take the over-talking between them. Donavon is the best on the show.

Then comes the epitome of my day: 3:00 p.m. WTDS and The Hardline.

Only been to one road show and only because I happened to be in Dallas and was driving right by it. Really enjoyed it.

The Tee Box and The Orphanage if I am around a radio / computer on Saturdays.

Stay hard

ap said...

There are approximately 8,000 hours of KTCK audio archived on my computer (including commercials, so really, 4000), spanning over two years.

It's all been listened to - Musers, most of Norm (moreso for Sirois and Jer), BaD Radio, Hardline, Orphanage, Scrubs and of course, Cirque. Intently, only about an hour a day, maybe two, but I do hear it all. Between exercise, commutes, housework, travel and autopilot activities at work, it's pretty easy to run through it.

I created my own setup a few years ago for automatically recording the ticket, encoding it to mp3 and putting it onto my ipod, so I've always got my KTCK audio on-the-go and I can skip past anything I don't want to hear. Rarely do I ever listen to the station in real-time, but I'm usually not too far behind.

Twitter helps tremendously to plan out listening -- I follow every host and that lets me know when something big is about to happen. Every host (i.e. Bob, Donny, Mike, Gordo, Sirois, Grubes, Jer, and many of the weekend guys) I've written to since I started listening have written back to me, which is again mind-boggling considering how many P1's exist, and it's something I appreciate immensely. I think my first reply from Bob was when I thought to myself that I've earned my 'P1 card'.

Having said all that, something's gotta give with this hobby of mine. I rarely watch TV and don't read much anymore, but these are things that I'd like to resume. I've been trying to figure out which show would get the ax first, but it's too hard to decide. So, I'll keep listening until one day I look at my ipod and say "Screw it, I can't listen to all of that" and hit delete. =)

CA said...

I listen to BaD and HL everyday in their entirety and make up for whatever I miss from the Musers with daily emails from the Unticket and Ticket. I think if AP didn't exist I would probably be him. In fact, I discovered the great Unticket when I searched the net seeking Ticket audio. He provides a tremendous service and even picks the best stuff out for you which is fantastic of him to do. You're the man.

My idea was to come up with a similar setup but instead just post podcasts of entire shows. Maybe someone here can set me straight, but as far as I know none of the ticket shows are put into mp3 format as a whole show. I find it baffling that the unticket posts more and better audio from the day than the ticket's own website. I know the ticket puts up a weekly wrap-up of BaD which is the next best thing, but for some reason the other shows don't get that treatment. If they offered full show podcasts with some kind of subscription I'd gladly pay for the service. It seems so simple but who knows.

I follow all of the guys on twitter but ironically I don't think it is meant for interaction. The only guys who have ever taken a second to respond to me are Grubes and JJT. The rest of them probably get hundreds of messages a day so it's not really worth trying to say or share anything with them. They all tweet each other back and forth and sometimes it's amusing if you happen to be on at the time.

I'm not sure if 7+ hours a day makes me a "Trekkie" to them. I certainly don't worship the guys. I could give a rat's ass what tv shows Bob likes and I don't care about Corby's dopey bands. We all know people who are interested in things we could care less about. Similarly, I have tried on several occasions to get others into the ticket and it has failed every time. I guess it's an acquired taste if you can say that about something that's less than sophisticated.