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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Phil K. said...
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Phil K. said...

I did a "Career Day" with Norm during the fall of my senior year of high school in 1995. He was over on KLIF doing Morning Drive with producer John Schomby (sp?). I got over to the Maple studios at about 5:00am to watch him do show prep. I was a bit flabbergasted.

He would take the Morning News, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and an 11x14 sheet of paper. He would then begin to scan through, mark up, cut out and paste to the blank paper all of the stories & topics that he planned on talking about that morning. The big one at the time was Emmitt's imminent milestone of the single season rushing TD record--which he ended up getting (25 -- since broken by 3 other players). It was a revelation to watch Norm work basically alone in a dark studio with just a producer.

I asked him what advice he had for me in pursuing a career in sports radio broadcasting and he simply told me to go to college and get a well-rounded education. That was it. I ended up getting a business degree and am in marketing now. Oh well....

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the first couple days, but I can't take any more. I'll just leave it at that.

-Anon B.

P1 Steven said...

It seems to be a common thread for me, but Norm is TRUELLY a nice guy. He (or his intern?) returns emails, greets you at his remotes. I especially enjoy the inside jokes that occur between Sirois, Jer, Sea Bass behind the scenes. BTW What great insight from Phil! I wonder if his show prep is still basically the same.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't disagree more; for all the reasons already listed and my perception that he just doesn't bring much to the table. His interview skills are lacking in so much that he reads his questions that are prepared in advance. There's little or no give and take. Norm is the great mystery to me when it comes to the Ticket. He's a beating that I'd rather not take.

The Plainsman said...

I can absolutely understand why Norm may not be everyone's cup of tea. I will take your word for it that he reads his questions prepared in advance, but I would rather hear an interview conducted under that circumstance than one in which the host betrays no preparation whatsoever, with predictably dismal results. You hear it with some regularity on The Little One.

It may just be idiosyncratic on my part. On a station with lots of "regular guys" (I've got an STD on that topic in the hopper), Norm stands out as an old-school announcer-type broadcaster, with all of the bombast and glibness that comes along with it. I just happen to like it, but I can understand why some might find it off-putting.

But hell, I also like Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, much ridiculed by The Hardline.

Chris said...

I'm not a huge Norm fan but I certainly respect him and I'm glad The Ticket has him.

The old saying is "Find a job you love and never retire." I could see Norm being around another 10 years. Possibly even pulling a Ron Chapman with his broadcast moving to his home prolonging his career even more.

P1 Steven said...

When asked, Norm has said he will do it till the day he dies. He said he could not see himself doing anything else.

ap said...

Did anyone catch Norm's cremation talk? It quickly turned into a kind of on-air will and testament...It was a very enjoyable listen, I thought.

He'd like his ashes scattered either at turn 3 at Lonestar, or in New Zealand.

The Plainsman said...

I did hear that and agree that it was very entertaining. In fact, I found all of Norm's non-sports segments worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

My favorite thing that Norm does is when he speaks for others on a topic (usually on some sort of personal failing) as he wants them to speak. It's amazing stuff!

The Plainsman said...

I thought the segment where Norm imitated Gordon imitating Norm was genius. Not only was Norm's performance really amazing and astonishingly self-aware, it was very cleverly-written. Can any Ticket insider let us know who wrote that? Very well-done, and funny.