Sunday, July 31, 2011

What's the Inside on JJT?

Active Twitterati probably already know the answer to this, but I'd be grateful for some poop:

So here I am driving to work this morning (yeah, Sunday) and I hear the intro montage for The Soul Patch.  And as I'm listening, I keep hearing these rerefernces to "Anderson" along with the "Scot Harrison" references.

And sure enough, The Patch now features Harrison and one Byron Anderson.

What happened to Jean-Jacques Taylor?  I was really starting to admire not only this show, but JJT's work on The Ticket generally, sitting in with Norm, fililng in elsewhere, his call-in commentary.  It was on my short list of topics to write about.  Check that one off until I hear more of The (New) Soul Patch.

By the way, JJT's Tweeting like mad this morning while Harrison and Anderson are holding forth.

I always thought that a guy like JJT would be a great anchor personality forThe First Black Ticket.  I wrote about it here:  "WHO WILL CREATE THE FIRST BLACK TICKET", which had one of the more interesting sets of comments we've had.

Anyone have the scoop on Taylor and The Ticket?  Is he just no longer a programming regular, or has there been some JJT breach with The Little One (or has he signed elsewhere)?

Thanks in advance to The Nation for any info.  Sorry I'm behind the curve on this.  I wish I had the time to be a Newberg Report-type independent Ticket news clearinghouse, but alas, I have to depend on the kindness of strangers.  And looks like Twitter has a lot of that territory covered these days.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Thursday, July 28, 2011

OPEN THREAD: Random Thoughts Listening to Ticks-on-Chicks Softball -- Yours?

(1)  Great fun.  Mike is an entertaining play-by-play guy.  I don't know why, but I'm always surprised by how funny Norm is when he has the mic on these Ticket games.

Norm was funny tonight, but his voice sounded a little weak and gravelly and they seem to have released him from his duties.  

Filling in are Gordon and Dan when they're not playing.  A couple of others chip in.

Oops, Norm's back.  Not sure where he's been.  Voice still gravelly.  I suppose I should be tweeting thoughts this insubstantial.

(2) Interesting:  Mike's speculations on the delta between the esteem in which certain Ticket personalities are held by the public on the one hand, and by Ticket management on the other.  He first asked this question about Grubes, who he adjudged to be universally loved among the public, suggesting something less than universal love among the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords, although why I cannot imagine, unless they tell him not to play naughty drops and he does.  (Since he apparenly doesn't actually require a job or advancement owing to his fortunate family financial circumstances, perhaps he doesn't come to meetings or adhere to other CTO directives.)     There were similar questions about Rich Phillips, whose management role rendered the question a little self-contradictory.

(3)  Surprisingly close contest.  It surprised the Ticket promo production guys, who created ads referring to the "human sacrifice" and "humliation" that was expected to be visited upon our lads. 

(4)  Surprisingly clean broadcast.

(5)  Is this victory testimony in support of the absolute centrality, if not the exclusive significance, of pitching in girls' fast-pitch softball?

In the words of the late Harry Caray -- lemme hear ya.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sportsy Question

While I'm trying to decide what, if anything, to report on my week of drive-time BaD Radio, a question for you NFL experts:

This question is suggested by something I heard a bit of on Sporting News Radio on Sunday afternoon:

In view of the new NFL collective bargaining agreement that reduces the hitting during training camp: 

Does anyone know if there is a correlation between tough training camps and NFL success?  One can point to Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells as coaches who ran rough camps and who had success, and to Wade Phillips as a coach who didn't and failed.  Is there a consensus on this topic?  What kind of training-camp coach was Chuck Noll?  Bill Belichick now?

And is it also the case that players who play for hit-during-training-camp coaches have shortened careers? 

And if both of these things are true -- I have no idea, but if -- then does it not present a staff and players with a dramatic question: 

Would you trade a shortened career for a championship?

Going back and forth on whether to write on BaD's drivetime week.   But you are always welcome to do so -- no such thing as off-topic at My Ticket Confession.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Sometimes, a Confessor puts a matter so simply and purely that if he/she had the inclination to start his/her own Ticket website, it would put me out of business in a nonce.  Two nonces, maybe.

Anonymous writes in a comment to my recent post on The Hardline's Dilemma:

"One of the earlier posters alluded to 'the greatness of Mike'. This is what I don't get--why so reverent toward this guy? Obviously, his founding of the station along with his market tenure has earned him a certain amount of veneration, but he sometimes rarely speaks, and when he does, it usually isn't pearls. I've only been listening about two years, so maybe there was a day he used to be great. Greggo certainly isn't great either, so I sometimes wonder how their show was ever entertaining. Isn't it clear to everyone, irrespective of your feelings toward him, Corby is the de facto host?  Please, someone tell me, what makes Mike so great? I really do want to know."

I'll go first.  No, actually, I"ll go second, because Little Weak Jeremy Beat me to it.  He responded:

"I'm not sure he's more knowledgeable than anyone else at the station about anything, even with his "Baseball Jesus" tag, but he does have a great voice and there's just ...SOMETHING... about him that makes him very entertaining to listen to. Even stale sports points sound more entertaining when heaerd in Rhynes' lofty, long-winded style; he never attempts to cover up having been a total dork in his formative years; he has a different perspective, being older, than anyone else at the station about the beginnings of the Rangers, Mavericks, and Cowboys (Norm's older, of course, but he never seems to really reminisce about being a fan in the early days the way Rhynes does); he has funny, totally random thoughts such as the 'green-tail shiner' thing from a couple months ago; and he's utterly unafraid of saying something that will become embarrassing in drop form later.   As much as I can put it into words, that's what I think is great about Mike."

Agree, Little Weak Jeremy, and thanks.  Thanks also for the reminder of the most sublime moment in DFW radio history, Green Tail Shiner.

I understand Anonymous's perplexity, to a degree.  Persons listening over the past couple of years could easily have come to the conclusion from time to time that The Hardline had turned into The Corby Davidson Extravaganza.  The earliest articles on this website griped consistently that The Hardline had developed a serious lack of balance -- as talented as Corby is (my opinion), the weight of participation of the principles had fallen noticeably and adversely out of whack.   This imbalance comes and goes -- right now, I actually think Mike has made something of a comeback and Corby has dialed back a bit, with the whole precarious platter of unwashed plates being steadied by the increased participation and, dare I say, leadership of Danny B.  But yes, there have been times in the last few years when one might well wonder why Mike is such a celebrated figure in DFW radio.

Having said that, to get back to Anonymous's question:  I think Mike Rhyner is a broadcast genius, quite aside from his founding of The Ticket.  He is the rock upon which DFW sports radio is built.  Asking "what's so great about Mike Rhyner," which is a perfectly sound question, is kind of like asking "what was so great about Walter Cronkite?"  After all, the guy just read the news.  He might have had a minor editing function, but in the years in which he became famous he was basically a guy who sat in front of a camera and read stuff that other people wrote.  And yet, he was an utterly compelling broadcast presence, the most trusted man in America.  

Mike is like that.  LWJeremy has identified a lot of it -- the man has a sound, an authentic Texas sound.  It's just flat likable.   Despite his curmudgeonly pose, his essential goodwill and humanity can be felt through the speakers.  And he's smart as hell.  And, yes, there's the don't-give-a-damn attitude that is very distinctive -- as opposed to media figures who claim to offer I-don't-care-what-other-people-think viewpoints but who are obvious poseurs without conviction, Mike truly does not care what happens to him -- no, he's not immune from getting his ass fired, but his ass truly could not care less and truly knows that he's got the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords by their nine-kilowatt balls.

And I suppose it goes without saying at this point that The Hardline was always about Mike.  I remember the days of The Great Divorce.  I couldn't believe the drivel I read about how Greggo was going to kick The Hardline's ass when he rose again, and how The Hardline would sink without him.  That was crap from the instant Greggo missed his last show-start, and the increasing popularity of The Hardline since then should have long since proved it.  Corby deserves some credit, as do Danny and Grubes, but this is much, much, more about the enduring appeal of Show-Biz Mike.

The man simply knows how to entertain.

Mike has his detractors -- I'm sure we're about to hear from some of them -- and, of course, no one is immune from criticism.  But for my money, I'd rather hear that leisurely growl greeting me on my drive home than almost anything else I can think of.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

While We're on the Subject . . . I'm with Junior

In the comments to the prior post on showgram vulgarity, one commenter (and there have been others in the past) have mentioned a certain anti-female bias in Junior, especially when it comes to women's sports.

I don't agree that Junior is anti-women generally, but this morning he went off on a rant about the U.S. Women's soccer team.  The framework for discussion was:  "People were interested in the Women's Soccer World Cup Final; but did they really care about it?"

Junior's answer was "no," and among his evidence, mentioned by others, was that their miserable performance got a near-total pass in the press.   Few, in their heart, took it seriously as a major competitive sport.

Junior went on to make the larger point that women's sports in general are over-praised and over-celebrated, and that women's sports gets a pass from serious analysis of for reasons of political correctness.  (That "PC" phrase have been George's contribution, but it was in support of Junior's point -- George, however, did report getting involved in the "story" of this particular team.)  This is a point we have heard from Junior before, when whatever-women's-basketball-team-it-was coached by whatever-his/her-name-was had won more consecutive games than the previous recordholder -- was it UCLA?  Pardon me while I Google  .  .  .  yeah, it was UConn women's basketball breaking UCLA's 88-game winning streak.  Except that no thinking person (like Junior, and you, and me, and anyone else not driven by a barren ideology) would find that datum even slightly interesting -- it's like saying that that basket of apples is bigger than that basket of oranges -- and, more, would say that it is fundamentally untrue that ULCA's record had been broken.

That doesn't make Craig a misogynist, and cramming stuff like Title IX down out throats has done nothing but distort the economics of college sports.  (Craig didn't rant about Title IX, but I will.)   Junior's point is that this was a story of passing interest, that few took it very seriously, and that it is consistent with his larger point that no one regards women's sports with extreme seriousness because these days it's hands-off on serious analysis of women's games. 

He's right.

All I've got to say is:  Craig, good luck in your first at-bat a week from Thursday.  Make sure your helmet fits nice and snug, and you might consider a cup.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hardline's Dilemma

First, let me say that I think the Hardline has undergone something of a renaissance over the past six months or so.  Can't put my finger on it.  Show has just seemed on an upswing.  Mike's been engaged, takes charge of more segments, his attention seems to wander less often.  Whenever that happens, the show gets some of its old balance back and it's good. 

Way back when when I started this site, one of the things on my (pretty short) Ticket wish list was that The Hardline were not so vulgar.  Profanity, explicit sexual references.  I don't think much of anyone else cared about that -- never got much reaction -- so after a couple of gripes I let it go.  I didn't like, it, still don't, but it's not a big deal.  I still listen.

Then, a few days ago, a Confessor made note of what seemed to him to be an increasing number of dumps.  He complained that whatever it was that was so amusing The Hardline was seldom, if ever, explained.  Another Confessor picked up on the theme and said that he felt left out when that happened.

I've noticed the same thing.  There do seem to be more dumps.  But it's not only the dumps -- there seems to be a lot of inside stuff going on during the segments that distracts them, they laugh, and we have no idea what's going on.  Sometimes they're watching TV and reacting to that, and the P1 has no idea what's going on.

At first I thought I'd write kind of a critical piece.  But Your Plainsman tries to see all sides when there's something that's getting under his skin.   After mulling it over, I came around to thinking that in some ways, The Hardline is in a no-win situation.

On the one hand, The Hardline's appeal is that it is a bunch of guys who enjoy each other's company and like to talk about guy stuff and pop culture stuff and now and then some sports.   It's like they say on the ad, isn't it?  Just a bunch of guys we like to hang out with on the radio.   And, like almost any group of guy friends, in the course of their chit-chat, there's going to be a certain degree of profanity.  And a certain degree of wandering and not paying attention and ninety-degree turns in topics that someone listening from outside isn't always going to pick up on.   The Musers aren't vulgar, BaD isn't vulgar, The Hardline is.  Not all buddy groups are the same, and the dynamic of this one is, well, naughtier than some others.

On the other -- well, it is annoying, as our Confessors have noticed.  It can seem disrespectful -- The Hardline invites us to join the party, but sometimes things just get too inside or dirty or private or something, and they have to snicker behind their hands for a few seconds -- no P1s allowed.  And, I'll go back to my old point -- even when they're not dumping themselves, there's an awful lot of cussing on the show.  A lot of "f"s.  I think it cheapens the show and the station, a lot of it sounds gratuitous and forced, and I'm mildly surprised that Cumulus hasn't tried to regulate it.  Is there a more profane show in DFW radio?

So, we want The Hardline to be themselves, but not too much.   I guess with The Hardline, like with any social group, you gotta take the real good (a very cool trio, plus the Most Famous Man in Radio, Grubes) with the bad (too cool, sometimes).

But either way, you gotta take it.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Sunday, July 10, 2011

OPEN THREAD: Ticket Coverage of the Rangers Tragedy

It's an open thread because on the day after I had very little time to listen to the radio.  What I heard seemed  pretty good.  There wasn't a lot to report on, but these guys managed to fill up an entire broadcasting day (I'm guessing -- every time I caught a few minutes that was the toipc) with reasonably coherent and interesting talk about this awful incident.

A special tip of the hat to The Soul Patch.  I'll be writing more about that show later, but I think it's got something.  Both Taylor and Harrison seemed to be trying to find some new angles and keep the discussion fresh without being disrespectful.

No such thing as off-topic.  Please comment on anything that's attracted your interest lately.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Know, I Know . . .


He belches on the air.

He farts on the air.

He broadcasts with his mouth full.

He's not much of a sports prognosticator.

He's been known to mistreat subordinates.

He'll twist off on a caller from time to time.

But I gotta tell you:  I've been listening to Norm substituting for the Musers the past few days, and I've been enjoying it quite a lot.  In particular, I've been enjoying:

-- the show prep.

-- his interaction with Mike, Ty, and even Jeremy.

-- his interviews.

And that's before you get to the run-of-the-mill segments, which are almost always listenable.  I suppose it is fatuous to say this after the man has been in broadcasting, what, eight decades or so, but Norm throws out a darned interesting showgram, professionally presented.  Yeah, he's not a hip young cat anymore, and some of the jokes are obvious and corny, but I don't get a feeling that Norm is out of touch when it comes to sports and even pop-guy culture. 

(Now, if they'd just run Bob and Dan as a morning-drive substitute from time to time so I could get a stronger dose of them  (kicking myself for inability to hear any of their recent drive-time substitution).) 

Listening to Norm also suggests a larger point with respect to the future -- yes, the future -- of The Ticket.  It reminds us (all right, reminds me) that a format consisting of more-or-less equal co-hosts isn't the only format that can succeed on a sports-guy talk station.  A strong central "star" personality surrounded by solid sidekicks/producers can also work well.  You need the right guy, and the right chemistry with the second bananas, but you don't need two stars.

Because he just turned 67 (I think that's right) there is the temptation to think that he's in the twilight of his career.  But he sounds pretty strong to me, and he clearly has the passion to put on a good show for the listener. 

Appreciate ya, Norm. Appreciate ya.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @plainsman1310

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Holiday Gift to the Nation: Guest Confessor birq on the Ascendance of BaD Radio

My writing schedule having been rudely diminished by my actual paying gig, I reached out to sometime commenter birq to invite him to share some thoughts on any Tickety topic -- a topic (and at a time of) his choosing.  He was kind to oblige, and here it is. I was very happy to see that he chose to write on a topic I seldom address.   It's terrific, makes a point I've never seen or considered.  The weekend and holidays are low-traffic for MTC, so there will be no new postings through mid-next week.   I suspect it will inspire considerable commentary, as BaD always does.   Without further fanfare, here's birq:

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BaD Radio has been a fixture on the Ticket midday for a decade now, and the show's quirky chemistry and eccentricities have become a staple of the listening day. But for the better part of their tenure they were considered the 'little brothers' of the Ticket. From the halting, rocky start, to the stilted, awkward mixes with The Hardline to their reduced role on road trips, the BaD boys seemed destined to always be considered the new guys, never to be taken into the fold of the Ticket mainstream.

Something has happened over the past couple years to make the show more prominent. BaD used to only rarely crack the top half of the Ticket Top 10, but now they regularly make 2nd or 3rd, and occasionally take the top spot. They play a more central role in the Timewasters' set and get to (or are forced to) participate in the campout or compound or Great Game as much as everyone else. And the glorious chaos of Why Today Doesn't Suck is arguably the best daily segment on the Dallas airwaves.

What is it that has transformed BaD Radio? Is it the presence of Donnie, acting as both buffer and catalyst, as the situation demands? Has Gribble matured to the point where he's a net positive for the show? Is the drop artistry of Grubes the secret ingredient? Is it a management decision, forcing the other shows to play nice? Each of those may or may not play a role, but I would posit another small factor:  Social media.

Bob is as much an information junkie as he is a stats junkie, and Twitter gives him the ability to follow other high-profile information junkies and to share his information stream with everyone else. He and Grubes were both early adopters and both understood very quickly how to effectively use it. Of all the Ticket hosts and personalities, Bob and Grubes were the only ones who really got it until recently.

A side effect of their effective use of the medium was increased interaction with Ticket listeners. Bob has always been reasonably responsive through email, but with the limited size of Twitter messages and the necessary brevity, interaction is faster and with less obligation. He engaged the listener more often and in more meaningful ways than most of the other Ticket hosts, and the listeners came to feel a stronger kinship with the show. This engagement has led to the creation of the phenomenon known as #the2300, a loose amalgamation of P1s and sports fans. Bob and Grubes didn't create #the2300 -- by the time it came into being, most other Ticket hosts had jumped on the bandwagon and figured out how to take advantage of the medium -- but their interaction with P1s opened the door, and, I believe, helped put BaD Radio as a show on par with The Musers and The Hardline.

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My thanks to birq.  I have a feeling he has some other STDs he might be cajoled into sharing with the Nation in the future.

If you would like to submit your thoughts for possible posting as a headlined article, don't hesitate to contact me at  It can either be an idea for an article, or a finished product for consideration.  No promises, and I reserve the right to edit.  Anonymity will be honored.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @plainsman1310