Thursday, September 1, 2011

MORE BREAKING NEWS: The Fan Invades The Ticket's Backyard

I was thinking that maybe The Fan had some Cowboys pre-game, so when the Hardline took a break I switched over.

I switched over just in time to hear a Major Station Announcement on RaGE. 

The Major Station Announcement was that The Fan has acquired the space formerly occupied by The Board Room in Victory Park (8000 sf) and is going to open The Fan Sports Bar.  I may not be recalling the name correctly, it may be The Fan Sports Lounge -- I was dodging texters on the Tollway at the time.  It will obviously be 100% Fan-promotional, and programs will originate from there from time to time.

Not far, I would imagine, from The Ticket's new studios, should they ever actually ever move into them.  I know that the move has been complicated by the recent Citadel acquisition, but that move to Victory Park ahs turned into something of a joke, has it not?  It is certainly not treated very seriously by any Ticket host.

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All right, Confessors, I want you to bear with me for a minute here.  You know Your Plainsman likes to look at the big picture, so after almost no careful consideration, I'd like to share with you a couple of thoughts for you to comment on:

The Fan may suck.  Richie Whitt may suck.  Greggo may suck.  The whole damned station may suck, and CBS may suck.  And we can all have a good laugh about The Fan's lousy ratings.  And we can all be very smug about the superiority of Ticket programming, talent, bits, history, all the rest.  I will concede that that smugness has been richly earned, because The Ticket is superior to The Fan in any way that matters to a day-to-day listener.

But I gotta ask you -- be fair now --:   Isn't there a spot of genius in this?  The Ticket moves into studios in Victory Park, but The Fan one-ups them with 8,000 square-feet of fan-friendly promotion right next door.  The Ticket does remotes and they're great, but The Fan is throwing up a permanent remote where listeners can come and identify with the brand while they're doing their favorite things (drinking beer, observing breasts, eating bar food in a bar, watching sports).  And The Fan guys are going to be rubbing elbows with listeners there in a way that Ticket guys haven't had to do in awhile (because they don't have to, because they're local gods).  I'm not criticizing Ticket hosts, who by and large get really good marks for dealing decently with P1's at remotes and in public.  Just saying that The Fan hosts are hungry in a way that The Ticket hosts haven't been, for awhile.  Those hosts and their listeners are part of a community of pain that can be a powerful springboard to improved ratings.

Even if you disagree with me that this is a very imaginative and progressive way to promote the station:  It ought to mean something to Cumulus and The Ticket guys that CBS continues to be willing to pour a ton of dough into promoting The Fan.  This is a signal that they're in it for the long haul, and they're going to fight The Ticket tooth and nail, right next door to our boys.

And all of this with Mike Rhyner's contract coming up.  What?  You don't see any way that The Fan's continuing well-financed assault on The Ticket has anything to do, conceptually or otherwise, with Mike's contract?  You say that Mike has been heard saying that Your Plainsman is a rank fool?  

In the words of the magnificent Rick Arnett, "I don't think so."  

It's going to be an interesting six months, and I hope that all Confessors hang in there for the ride.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310


Shaggy said...

Grubes and some other Ticket tweeter mentioned the whole Ticket staff going on a bus on some sort of field trip last week or so. I kind of figured maybe they went and toured the new space? Speaking of tweeting and The Fan, I swear it seems like Greggo is ready to go over the edge again. Constant incoherent babblings, begging famous people to follow him, constant requests for people to follow other random people, and even attempts to engage Rhynes and other Ticket folk in some sort of dialogue. Just bizarre behavior.

I am fairly shocked that The Fan is spending all of this kind of dough only to put out such a lousy product with almost no chance of success.

Shaggy said...

Oh, and you also neglected to mention yet ANOTHER breaking news alert that TC and Jake are co-hosting the Hardline tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a stunning slap back in the face of The Ticket. The Fan sucks but this shows they're here to stay and the Ticket might beat them down constantly but they're gonna keep getting back up and have no intentions on going away. This move makes it seem like they are truly biding their time, letting the Ticket know they are here and ready to pounce on any weakness the Little One shows. You have to wonder what the Ticket crew privately thinks of this bold ass move.

Anonymous said...

A spot of genius is opening up a sports bar in an area that is infamous in Dallas as an area where bars and resturants fail at an amazing clip?
And if you read their press release, they're going to have a studio space there. That doesn't mean they'll be there all the time, so so much for the 'rubbing elbows' thing.
And remember that the reason the Ticket guys go out and rub elbows is because they're getting paid to show up at Joe Q Publics's Workplace. Think the bar owners are going to pay the Fan to be there? I doubt it highly; This is a a bar owner and a media company seeing what they can do for each other. The bar owner gets free publicity, which might help them survive in the consumer wasteland that is Victory. The Fan/CBS gets a built-in remote location that they can use for pre and post games, concert events, etc.
But their problem is that they have to get people in that place 365 days a year. Not just 40-odd home Stars games and 40-odd home Mavs games. That only leaves about 280 days and nights a year that they'll need to draw. Unless, like the State Fair and Scarborough Faire, they can survive year round on the money they make on game nights.

Progressive? More like desperation.

And Shaggy- the bus trip wasn't to teh new studios. Can't tell you where it was, as I'm sure a major station announcement will be scheduled at some point to tell the P-1's what the staff already knows.

Anon D

Shaggy said...

Thanks Anon D.

The Plainsman said...

OK, Anon D, those are all excellent points and I can't argue with any of them. But I don't think they touch my point.

The Fan has nowhere to go but up. If they do nothing, they stay way, way down, a year-old joke competitor to The Ticket.

But they're not doing nothing. Yeah, Victory Park is a graveyard of upscale eateries and shops, but it's also in the middle of a pretty sport-friendly demo and a big sports-bar with a local media tie-in ain't a bad idea.

And if it fails, what have they lost? "It's a bar owner and a media owner seeing what they can do for each other." Well, yeah! Businesses doing things for each other is how new things get done.

Desperation? Sure, why not? But doesn't that breed creativity and risk-taking? And isn't that the only way that ventures improve themselves?

We haven't heard from you for awhile, Anon D. I always enjoy your perspectives. This time, however, I'm getting a flavor of the same reasoning that says that the numbers say you can't give The Ticket a better signal -- even though sports radio in other cities have done exactly that as their popularity has grown.

I didn't say it was a formula for Fan domination -- I said it was a spot of genius, and I use the diminutive advisedly. Any new biz in Victory Park is a risk, and two years from now if it folds we'll all be snickering at the futility of it all.

But it's by no means a sure bet that it will fold -- we have no idea how The Fan, with its considerable CBS resources, will promote the thing. With that kind of sponsorship, it's got an immediate leg up on most start-ups. The Fox Sports Bar up in Plano is still chugging along, and it doesn't get nearly the pub that The Fan Sports Lounge is likely to get.

And, for awhile at least, there it will be -- right in The Ticket's face, a party next door while our boys toil away in a windowless studio.

And The Musers can't even get a billboard.

As I say, an interesting six months coming up.

Anonymous said...

First off, did Rhyner really call you a rank fool, Plainsman? On air?

@Anon D, great points. I take it that you work at or with the station in some capacity? If so, obviously you aren't going to say. But it seems like you do. The one thing that I do know, is that for a long while now there's been plans in the making to redo the entire Victory Park area's concept and target clientele. The goal is to make it a place Mr., Mrs., and Ms. Joe and Betty Blow will actually go and hang out before and after games. And when no games are being played at all. In other words, to be a viable, affordable destination. So perhaps this latest stunt by the Fan isn't as moronic as it seems. We'll see.

I do think you're way off base, Plainsman, when you even remotely tie Rhyner's contract and the Fan together. That man is not going to work anywhere near his former partner.

The Plainsman said...

Last Anon:

No, Mike said nothing about Your Plainsman on the air or, to my knowledge, at any other time. It would surprise me if he has much awareness of this site and, if he does, that he would give a damn about what is said here. My imputation of site-specific opinions to him was mere jocular speculation.

I knew I was going to take some heat with the Mike R contract comment. And I will continue to take that certain heat because I'm going to bring it up a lot in the next half-year.

I did not mean to imply that Mike might jump to The Fan. I entirely agree with you that that is vanishingly unlikely.

However, Mike's upcoming contract negotiations have everything to do with competition in the sports/guy-talk radio industry in DFW. And it's not to early to start mulling over exactly how that will play out, if one cares about the survival of The Hardline and how things might change at The Ticket if Mike decides he no longer wants to toil for the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords -- whether he goes elsewhere or simply leaves the airwaves. In future articles, we will consider how important Mike's continued goodwill is to The Ticket, and what kind of leverage he might have to fix things he is known (or believed) to care about.

Man, wish I knew some Ticket (or even DFW radio) insiders. I have a feeling that things are boiling over at The Little One -- more than usual, that is.

And when our guys walk into their new studio and see this large, splashy Fan-branded saloon next door -- irrespective of whether it succeeds in the long run -- I don't think they can help but think that CBS has stolen a march on Cumulus with some creative marketing.

In my opinion, they'll be right.

Anonymous said...

Plainsmen- what goes up, might come down. It is possible for the Fan's ratings to go down, also, right?
And as for the Musers billboard, they're #1 M25-54. They don't NEED a billboard, they WANT a billboard. Since billboards go for THOUSANDS Of dollars a month, the "CTO's" have decided, (rightly in my opinion), that they're not going to spend 10's of thousands of dollars just to throw the Muser's egos a bone.

I really think the problem with this site is that you guys take something you hear, examine it thruogh your personal prisms, and then project your viewpoint as to what that "really" means.

But offhand comments about the studios, or equipment, or billboards, or what-not, are being examined by y'all in a vacumn. The CTO's aren't going to spend a ton of money for studios that are being abandonded in 60-90 days.

Anon D

ap said...

If Rhynes called someone blogging on the internet a "rank fool" (a comment that I don't recall hearing on-air, at least not as of 09/01 8:00AM), then his venom was more than likely directed towards Richie Whitt's Sportatorium blog and not here.

Grubes is the only Hardline member who's visited this site and posted under his real moniker.

The Plainsman said...

D, D, crypto-insider D, my treasured Anon D, who I would like to hear from with everyh post, you continue to state the obvious and miss the point.

Of COURSE "we guys take something we hear, examine it through our personal prisms, and then project our viewpoint as to what that 'really' means." That's not only how blogs operate, it's how LIFE operates. If I had better information, I'd have more valid opinions. In the meantime, The Nation and I, who do not have such access, gather up the bits and pieces as we can about a station we care about, and we speculate about what it "means."

Does it matter? No. Is it fun? Yes. Do we claim accuracy for our guesses? No. Do we identify them as guesses? Yes.

And let me ask you this: Don't you think the "prism" of Ticket listeners is of importance to the station? Why is it less valid than the "prism" of insiders when it comes to things like, oh, say, ratings? P1's will form attitudes about the channel whether they are right or wrong about what's going on behind the scenes.

With respect to the merits of your remarks: No responsible marketer decides to stop promoting its product because the product is popular. I don't care about billboards, but I think it is hard to deny that Cumulus doesn't nourish the incredible asset that they have in The Ticket. That's not to say that they don't spend money -- I'm sure the studio upgrade is running them some coin. The Ticket probably won't sink in the ratings anytime soon, but this is solely -- solely -- because of the talent of the hosts. If that changes (say, with a Mike Rhyner departure and the musical chairs that might result), we might all be surprised at how fragile The Ticket's ratings really are. If that happens, a competitor's strong promotional presence in the market might pay considerable dividends as listeners, perhaps for the first time, consider making a change.

I don't WANT any of this to happen. But there is nothing inevitable about The Ticket's popularity. When I see CBS making this kind of splash, I find it an intriguing contrast to what goes on with The Ticket.

Something sites like this keep an eye on.

The Plainsman said...

Meant to say, Anon D: Thanks very much for your comments. They're frequently critical, but they're always appropriate in tone and toss us a nugget of news from time to time.

I hope you'll continue slinging your stuff here.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Plainsman. Well said, indeed.

The Plainsman said...

Thanks, Anonymous.

Hey -- the party at this address is doing nothing but growing. Wish we could bring even more of the P1 Cohort along for the fun.

Anonymous said...

I heard this yesterday, as well (sorry, I punched out because I've effing had it with college football/A&M-to-SEC talk). And I agree, it's a bold move, and probably a good one.

Will it succeed? Probably not. It's a lousy location for a restaurant, and I doubt there's going to be anything special to drive customers there. Sorry, but there's not one "personality" at The Fail (no, not even Grog Williams) that anyone really cares about. But I suspect it will be an annoyance to The Ticket when they finally get in their new offices.

More than anything though, it says "We're here to stay." And that sucks. I wish nothing but failure on that station. I really can't stand anything about it, from the vapid talk to the unabashed replication of every Ticket bit they can think of*. They are a station of the douce, by the douche, and for the douche.

I've noticed a marked uptick in "The Fan's Ratings" talk on The Hardline. Both Danny and Rhynes seem to enjoy making jokes about it. I'm not sure what I think of that.

-Anon B

*I will say, the Fan Sports Bar is the first thing they've done that wasn't a complete rip-off of The Little One. Credit where it's due.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard anything about Mike's contract before. Where are you getting this?

The Plainsman said...

T4 In Rockwall said...

I will agree with Anon B about the Ticket, particularly the Hardline, making continued references to the Fan. All that does is give the Fan some kind of acknowledment that they are something to worry about. In my opinion, they should never mention them on air.

Is it just me or does it seem like The Plainsman is somewhat vain when he mentions himself in the 3rd person? Me, I refer to myself as "myself".

The Plainsman said...

To the contrary, T4! I refer to myself sometimes not as "The Plainsman," but as "YOUR Plainsman," which is indeed a third-person format, but is a reference bearing a connotation of supplication and respect to the reader, as though in a position of servitude to and control by the reader. Example: Referring to oneself as "Your humble servant."

Vain?? Humpf. Well, I never!

birq said...

The Ticket might as well go ahead and sign a deal with The Barley House, what with all the money their employees put into the place, and with all the business they drive to it just by mentioning it on-air so much. That would be an interesting collaboration - Petty and Pepper Theft and The King Bucks rotating Fridays, and every Wednesday could be Buy Grubes A Shot night.

Anonymous said...

An earlier poster alluded to the fan ripping off everything from the ticket. I don't really see that. The only fan show that seems to try to rip off the ticket is rage. And they do it very awkwardly. Maybe if the fan really did rip off the ticket, they wouldn't suck so badly. I hope that poster is still around because I would like to see some sort of a list of what the fan's been ripping off.

Anonymous said...

ap, if you're out there sir, you do know that the Unticket site is down, don't you? What's up with that?

East Texas P1 said...

I guess I am in the minority but I am finding myself punching out to the FM stations more and more. Mike and Mike in the Morning and RaGE in the afternoon.

Anytime Gordon and Corby start with the bathroom / in-the-gutter humor I am out. George even asked Gordo this week "Did you hit your head on something" which I think was only partial humor as Gordo was really off of it.

Finally, I have to (respectfully) disagree with Shaggy in respect to Greggo. I am not listening 100% but when I do he is making some validd points.

Shaggy said...

Do you follow Greggo on Twitter? That's all I'm talking about. I don't listen to him on The Fan.

ap said...

"ap, if you're out there sir, you do know that the Unticket site is down, don't you? What's up with that?"

Odd - I didn't realize that it was down. Appears to be working fine at the moment, fortunately.

I'm not on the administrative side of things; that's DP's baby - my understanding is that The UnTicket gets whatever spare cycles and bandwidth that's not being used by commercial endeavors. Sometimes the server simply catches fire...

Fozzie Bear said...

Okay people, what say you about TC and Jake's Hardline appearance?

Anonymous said...

I will say that since Bob left for Future Professional Soccer Player Land I've been tuning into Coop on ESPN more often. Rhads seems like a good guy, but for a seasoned t.v. veteran he sure talks too loud into the mic. It drives me nuts. That and Donnie's constantly taking over segment after segment. It seems that there's no issue that Donnie doesn't have expertise in these days.

TC and Jake did a pretty good job today. Especially when you consider it was their first time to be put in such a prominent position. And for the fact that Rhynes pretty much let them take over the show. Much like he does with Corby. I'm beginning to agree with some of the commenters here that Rhynes might be bored or a bit lazy on the job. Like I said, they did a fairly good job. But it grew stale after awhile. TC began to sound more and more like Gen X Davey Lang as the show went on. Meaning that he has a deeper than superficial body of sports knowledge, but he takes the long way home to get any thought out. I think it's evident that he's a smart guy, so he doesn't need to attempt to use formalized language on air in order to let us know he's smart. He's not very good at it, and so it clutters the message. That and he tries too hard to schtick it up as much as possible. If anyone remembers Gen X's tickers they'll get what I'm saying. I was surprised that TC, not Jake, took more of the lead during the broadcast. Jake on the whole was serviceable, but not very memorable. Overall I give their performance a solid B.

East Texas P1 said...

Sorry Shaggy, I don't do Twitter. Will have to trust you on this one.