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.