Sunday, April 10, 2011

RaGE -- One Year In (Almost)

I’m jumping the gun a little here, but after the last article, had RaGE on my mind.  The article you’re reading now started out in an entirely different direction, so I’ve hacked that out and will run it as the next article in a few days, also RaGE-related.

It seems impossible that RaGE has been on the air for almost a year, but it began its assault on The Hardline (and the last hour of BaD, not to mention WTDS) in May 2010.  The consensus among correspondents to this site seems to be that it has not been a success, at least by comparison to our heroes on The Hardline.  I have not checked the ratings, but I gather it has not made a significant dent in The Hard One's popularity. 

(Can anyone give us a report on whether RaGE and The Hardline are up or down?  I gather that The Hardline is still number one by a mile in the target demo in PM drive, but is there any evidence of even slight RaGE impact?)

I have heard some good things on RaGE and noted them from time to time, but on the whole I would have to agree with most Confessors that it's just not a very good presentation.   Confessors have suggested numerous issues, and I've got a few more:

          (1) Richie Whitt just isn't a compelling radio voice or personality.  He’s knowledgeable, but his voice is flat and dry and he is not particularly droll.   I don’t find him an offensive radio presence, just a colorless one.

          (2) The show spends too much time jabbing Greg, and not enough talking sports, which means that the only reason for Whitt to be on the show -- his sports knowledge -- goes to waste.  I don’t listen enough to know if there’s much in the way of interesting guy talk or pop-culture talk.  Whenever I turn in, there seems to be a sports theme, but it develops the Ben-and-Skin Disease of self-referring asides and conversational loops.  By at least attempting to talk sports, perhaps they’re trying to address a criticism one hears (but not from me) about The Ticket from time to time -- not enough sports.  Fine -- but get on with it.

          (3) Greg too often sounds pretty unhealthy.

          (4) RaGE tries to make Greg bear the weight of the presentation, and he just doesn't have the chops for it.   PS:  Could it be that his voice troubles are a result of doing a five hour show where he's expected to do quite a bit of the talking?

          (5) The other hosts patronize Greg, and it shows.

          (6) Attempts to copy The Hardline are doomed to failure, and the hosts know it, so the attempts are without conviction and fall flat.

          (7) Three persons with not-terribly-distinctive radio characters (Richie, Armen, Sybil) plus one distinctive radio character (Greg) does not add up to two distinctive characters.  Instead, they try to generate interest by frenetic talking and patently artificial jollity.  A Confessor or two mentioned this in comments to the last article, and I think this is the show’s biggest problem.

Sybil Summers.  Hey, why not?

Having said all this, I personally don't find RaGE all that horrible to listen to, and I've noted segments that I thought were very good.  But since there's a choice to listen to something much more interesting from start to finish, RaGE barely gets any of my listening minutes.  I don't doubt that should The Hardline disappear tomorrow (and not replaced by something good), I'd probably tune in to RaGE, or maybe 88.1 The One KNTU-FM, Little Steven's Underground Garage on Sirius-XM 25, or maybe road noise.

If I had to offer one piece of advice to RaGE -- and you know how much my advice is treasured in the DFW radio community -- it would be:  calm down and speak to one another like normal human beings having an ordinary conversation.  You don’t challenge The Hardline by doing the same things that The Hardline does.  That would be easy, and, as we have seen, it hasn’t worked in the past.  The Hardline succeeds (in addition to the innate talent and personalities of its hosts) because the shows present themselves as conversations between guys – not as shows that are scared to death of dead air and unplanned content.  That takes a special kind of talent and experience.  Greg might have had the knack at one time and I suspect he still does, but until they stop treating the poor guy like a Chatty Kathy doll who must be constantly goosed to keep the whole thing afloat, they’ll continue to sound ordinary, and The Hardline will steamroll them in every book.


As always, no limits on the subject matter of comments.  However, the next article will focus solely on the Richie-Greggo relationship, so if you want to remark on that, why don’t you hold those thoughts for a couple of days.   Focus on the show overall – if you can’t wait, no problem.  Blast away.

And, as always, contrary views appropriately expressed are welcome.  I’d love to hear from some RaGE fans.


Anonymous said...

They haven't made ANY dent in the Hardline's ratings. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.
Here's the monthlies, Men 25-54, 3-7p.
July Ticket 7.7 #1, Fan 1.8, 27th
Aug Ticket 7.9 #1, Fan 2.3 18th
Sep Ticket 8.9,#1, Fan 2.6,17th
Oct Ticket 9.7 #1, Fan 3.3, 12th
Nov Ticket 9.2 #1, Fan 4.3 6th
Dec Ticket 7.7 #1, fan 2.9 13th
Jan Ticket 8.4 #1, Fan 1.8, 27th
Feb Ticket 7.7 #1, Fan 1.7 22nd

As you can see, even the Fan's increase due to the playoffs and WS didn't hurt KTCK, due to the overall increase in sports listening (in other words, to paraphrase Rhyner, even the marginal p-3 found themselves listening to more sportsradio at that time)
and if you want a fun game- name 21 other stations that appeal more to men 25-54 than the Fan. Ticket and ESPN, 4 rock stations, a couple of country stations, a couple urban, 4 hispanic stations, you're still only at 14. Couple of news or talk, couple odds and ends (KERA? KEOM?), you're still only at 18. That's because stations like KISS and i93 (that appeal to teens) and KVIL (that appears to soccer moms) are more popular with men aged 25-54 than KRLD-FM.

The Fan thought they'd come in and take some of that big Ticket audience. And all they've managned to do is erode ESPN's numbers. (Down from a 4.1 Tie for 8th in July to a 2.6 and 17th in Feb for 3-7p. Down from a 3.7 to a 3.0 in M-F 6a-Mid.

The Fan can't long survive (with the current hosts) as the alternative for people who hate Rhyner or Corby, or as the 2nd alternative when the Ticket goes to break.

And I don't disagree with any of your comments re Rage, but I think you may be overrating Greggo as a distinctive radio personality. I think people liked him when he was part of the Hardline. And there he had a distinct persoanlity within the framework of that show. But remove that framework, and the persona that he had (kinda goofy country bumpkin with a sexist streak) isn't quite as appealing.

Anon D

Scott said...

Interesting numbers Anon D. That drop after football season is huge also. Amazing that even if the Ticket is not on their A-game, they still do so well. And, good point... I can't list 20 stations in DFW.. That fact would have me scared if I were a Fan employee.

The Plainsman said...

I love the Confessor. No sooner than I wonder whether The Fan's renewed vigor was measurable against The Ticket, and here comes Anon D with a perfect answer.

One question, Anon D: I believe you said these were "Ticket v. Fan" ratings. Are such ratings also available for segments (drive, midday, etc.) so we might make a similar comparison limited solely to Hardline v. RaGE?

You may be right about overrating Greggo. When I listen to RaGE, I still find myself amused and intrigued by his sound (when he's audible). His current problem is that he's a second banana being asked to lift the entire show.

Anonymous said...

Here's the monthlies, Men 25-54, 3-7p.

Anon D

The Plainsman said...

Oops, sorry, missed it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything Anon D said. Well put.

Greggo was never great. The Hardline with Greggo was great. Now Greggo is not, but the Hardline still is.

Overall, I find RaGE to be typical Sports/Guy-talk radio. In any other market, it would probably do fairly well. But this is the land of The Ticket, and they've simply got no shot. I'm curious how much longer RaGE will go on. Management has shaken up the morning show once again. My bet is they'll wait for that to get going (the new team seems completely lost) and then they'll try something else in PM drive. I'm betting (hoping) Whitt isn't going to be around much longer.

-Anon B

The Plainsman said...

I cannot entirely agree re Greggo's merits.

Other than his ravaged pipes, the reason for which remains unclear, he seems to me to be exactly the same Greggo as before, with the same sets of merits and weaknesses. The difference is not with him, it's with what he is being asked to do. He was a good sidekick, a guy to throw in sometimes astute, sometimes absurd, sometimes comical, and sometimes contemptible content. When you try to make that guy the showpiece, he's going to sound like a clown.

So there's a piece of me -- not a large piece -- that feels soms sympathy for the guy. He's in a situation where, quite frankly, he's exposed. He was protected for years on The Hardline by the talent around him. No longer.

cancer monkey said...

1) I don't think "jollity" is a real word

2) Sybil Summers has big girl-things on her front.

That's about all I have to say on the subject of RaGE.

The Plainsman said...

Another nuanced analysis by C-Monk.

"Jollity" is most certainly a word, and a splendid one at that. "Apprehend/Nothing but jollity" -- Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV, Scene III.

cancer monkey said...

I stand correctificated. My apologies for calling the wordsmithery of the Plainsman into doubt.

Francis Shivone said...

Great blog. Long, long time sports radio listener.

I have tried to like the Fan and especially the Rage and can't take two minutes of R Witt. Don't know why.

In my view the Hardline isn't quite the same wihtout Greggo.

The Plainsman said...

Francis, allow me to convey a warm MTC welcome. Please let us hear from you again soon.

Daniel said...

You do realize they didn't go into 2pm-7pm hours (vs. Hardline) till November right? Technically they've only been in that slot for about 6 months. I know they haven't made a dent though, otherwise Richie and Greggo have been going on for a year in general. Either way, RAGE fan, occasional Hardline listener.

Anonymous said...

Is Richie banging Sybil ?