I have to admit, I don't entirely get it. In fact, I don't get it at all. But I'll bet there's a Confessor out there who does.
Junior Miller, George Dunham, a couple of the smoothest, smartest hosts of any kind on any kind of program I've ever heard. Entirely deserving of their tippy-top ratings on the tippy-top station.
Michael Lombardi, Peter Gammons, also smart, also smooth, not scary, knowledgeable about things that The Musers are also very knowledgeable about.
And yet, the segments The Musers do with these guys are extremely awkward. They're so awkward that they (Those Musers) acknowledge it on the air. I've only heard them acknowledge it with Gammons, but the whole feel of the Lombardi interviews during football season is very similar. (I'm throwing out the last Gammons interview, which had the additional awkwardness of an artificial delay caused by The Ticket's remote technology. Forget that one -- they're all awkward.)
It can't be that The Musers are intimidated. They interview Troy Aikman on a regular basis, and their star-turn interviews with other notable figures -- show-biz figures, other sports figures, celebs of all stripes -- don't sound nearly as awkward. And what's to be intimidated about with Gammons and Lombardi? They're sportswriters. Gammons has been around for awhile, but he's less notable than other sports guys that they chat with without nearly the same stressful tone.
Adding to my don't-getted-ness is what The Musers have said on a couple of occasions about the Gammons interviews. They have said that Gammons merely "tolerates" them (in a joshing way, but they clearly wish to convey the thought that Gammons would rather be somewhere else at the time, broadcast-wise). I forget the words the used the last time they were self-critiquing their Gammons chat, but it was similar in intendment. What I don't get is that Gammons (and Lombardi), to my driving-to-work ears, sounds entirely happy to be talking to them. He's responsive; he throws in additional interesting observations; he's in good spirits when he comes on the line. Lombardi -- entirely lively during his interview segments. I don't get the slightest tone of condescension or irritation from either one of those guys.
No. It's The Musers themselves that render these interviews an agonizing listening experience.
I refuse to believe that it's lack of preparedness. Even though there do seem to be awkward pauses between answers and the next Muser question (even when they're in-studio), not being prepared is not a hallmark of The Musers.
So what is it? Not intimidation; not lack of preparation. Here's the only thing I can think of:
They hate being made to do these interviews. It's almost like they're insulted by having to devote a segment to these big-deal national sportswriter guys.
As with most of my speculations -- all of them, actually -- I have no idea if I'm within whiffing distance of the truth. But I try to put myself in their place. I'm thinking: We talk about the Rangers. We know more about them than Gammons does. Nobody who listens to us cares much about anything baseball except the Rangers. We are the highest-rated show on the highest-rated station. What more does this guy bring? Is the P1 clamoring for outsider commentary? Is he going to bring in one additional listener, even though his puss is splashed all over our showgram's page on the website, in an image larger than any of ours?
So it's not that they're intimidated or unprepared, or even that they dislike Gammons, who, as noted, is entirely pleasant. It's that they resent the fact that the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords seem to think that the Muser showgram needs some national star-power and celebrity-talking-head pizazz. Like it needs some class, ya know? Hell, The frackin' Hardline doesn't get treated this way.
So -- I don't think it's so much that Gammons just tolerates The Musers, as they say. I think it's that The Musers are hostile to the whole concept of having these hotshot national guys forced down their throats when their showgram is damned near perfect without them. Now when I hear George call him "the great Peter Gammons," I'm starting to hear that as a moment of shared sarcasm. Not because Gammons isn't "great," but because George doesn't in fact feel that his interview adds any noticeable quantum of greatness to the show.
So some CTO thinks getting a once-a-week Gammons or Lombardi interview would really snazz up The Musers. The result, however, is eight minutes of misery for Our Guys. Our Guys should not be miserable, so I call upon the CTO to call off these thrashings -- better still, schedule them with Norm, who would positively jubilate over being able to run his theories by these national guys.
Hey, Gammons can't be cheap. Save that dough and put up a billboard, why doncha?
Or put an extra hamster-wheel on the transmitter.