Tuesday, July 19, 2011

THE CONFESSOR NATION WANTS TO KNOW: What's So Great About Mike?

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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7 comments:

Jonaessa said...

I may have said this before but the Hardline without Mike is like peanut butter without jelly. Sure, it still tastes good on a sandwich, but you know if you had both, it would be pretty amazing. I've done my fair share of griping over Mike's "lack of interest" in his own show and what I deem to be failure to prepare at times, but when he takes a backseat to the Over-Corby and Danny Darko, I find myself wishing he would speak up because I know that when he does, it will be radio gold. (Not always, but most of the time.) His passion for the Rangers is unparalleled by any other host, and it's refreshing and inspiring. Here is this old man--somewhat curmudgeonly and bordering on cynical--who is instantly transported to his youth when you even whisper anything Rangers related.

I think the love affair with Mike is mainly because he's the constant. He's been there since day one, and while the Musers (in some capacity) have, too, Mike is the original, the flagship of the entire station.

I urge Anonymous to keep listening. I begrudgingly listened to the Hardline because my boyfriend (now husband) listened to nothing else. I wanted no part in any other show or anything other than E-News, really. Six years later, it is the ONLY station I listen to in my car and on my computer at work. The Mike drops are some of the funniest and most abrasive you'll ever hear. "I think cannons are good." "Shut up, bitch." "Daddy touched me there." If this is not your kind of humor, then listening more is probably not going to be your ticket. (Ha ha.) But the Ticket as a whole would not have been possible without Mike Rhyner. And for that, we should all be grateful.

Anonymous said...

Meh.

Anonymous said...

What's on Mikes mind?

Anonymous said...

On the rare occassion where Mike is gone and it's just Corby and Danny, I find it unlistenable. The day Mike is gone is the day I stop listening to the hardline.

Anonymous said...

the day mike retires is the day snake needs to get an audition tape together.

i think danny & grubes along with jake z would make a fine pm drive program.

the real answer to that guy's question is:
greggo was the biggest free loader in history.
also the biggest fraud.
the internet exposes his constant on-air inaccuracies daily.

TheDude said...

Not sure if this comment will bubble to the top since I'm only finding this a month later, but hopefully the Droid will notify the administrator, at least. Greetings from the future.

One of the coolest Ticket segments I remember was back in 2003. Mike was telling his Sports Story of the old ABA and the buyout of the Spirits of St Louis franchise. The topic certainly made it very interesting (check http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Enterprising-brothers-converted-NBA-buyout-of-ABA-1204630.php for the back-story). But Mike's narration of the goings-on and the proceedings was flawless and absolutely riveting.

He may have had something prepared, or he may have done it all extemporaneously, I don't really know. But the fact that I couldn't tell was what made it so cool to me.

Mike may mail it in at times, but he can turn it on when he wants to.

The Plainsman said...

Dude, welcome back. I recall that you have posted a few times. Yes, I see everything that comes in.

Thanks for the recollection. That would be a fun one to hear again.