Sunday, October 30, 2011

OPEN THREAD: World Series Wrap-Up

I tried to listen to as much Ticket as I could Friday and this weekend, didn't catch as much as I would have liked.  A little Diamond Talk, a little Orphanage, a little Soul Patch.  I'm liking the Soul Patch, Matt McClearin is growing more comfortable by the week.  I'm also finding that I like listening to Danny Balis talk sports on those too-rare occasions when he turns his attention that way.  I didn't listen to much Diamond Talk this year -- bedtime -- but I may have to make that effort next season.  Good stuff, and I didn't notice some of the Newberry mannerisms that have gotten some adverse commentary here. 

In general, I thought the coverage was about where I hoped it would come out -- informed, calm, non-accusatory, balanced, big-picture.  Put responsibility about where it probably belonged (mostly pitching) without going ballistic. 

I especially liked the commentary from the likes of Mike R that we had focused on the Rangers' "story" to the near-total exclusion of the Cardinals' "story," and that had been our mistake.

So I gots nothing too profound here.  Feel free to offer sportsy baseball commentary as well as Ticket commentary, and if you have a thought on the TV coverage, that would also be welcome.  Here's a very mild one:  I've never thought much of Tim McCarver, going back a long time.  His observations have always seemed generic and obvious to me, but I guess we could have worse color guys.  Contrary to some of the Ticket hosts, I thought A.J. Pierzynski gave the Fox presentation a needed jolt.  Yeah, he looks kind of spiky, and I hear he has been voted putz-of-the-year or something by MLB players, but I thought his observations were fresh.

We haven't heard any of The Ticket's regular programming apres-Series as of this posting, so please return and post your thoughts on what our weekday warriors have had to say as the broadcast week gets underway. 

Me, I'm getting ready for The Ticket's "unofficial" Cowboys pre-game show.  (They've started to call it that on promos -- I wonder if The Fan complained to someone about that.)

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[PS:  There seems to be some controversy over whether Danny B has received some kind of formal appointment as "weekend program director."  Anon D says no, it's a bit; a couple of other commenters seem fairly certain that it has happened.  Can anyone shed any light on this?]

Hits way way up the last few weeks.  My gratitude to the Nation.  The party's only getting started.

As always, don't worry about jacking the thread.  If you've got something else on your mind, let us hear from you.  You can also email me at  I am not case-sensitive.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Friday, October 28, 2011

World Series Quick Hits

(1)  The Hardline has been brilliant the last few days.  Mike says it truly:  There is nothing more to say about this game, time to play.  Yet Mike, Corby, and Danny manage to be extremely entertaining for the entire show.   The passion and anguish of the fan.   The crosstalk with Diamond Talk has been great.  

This is Mike Rhyner at his absolute best.  When he's interested and engaged, there is simply no more listenable broadcaster in the metro.  This puts Corby in his natural position, with Danny lubricating the whole thing. 

We've heard that the CTO and Mike have a mutual loathing society going.  The past couple of weeks is good evidence of why they will come to terms.  The Ticket needs Mike Rhyner, and Mike Rhyner needs The Ticket.  I don't care what either side says. 

(2)  Did Bob Sturm really hijack Diamond Talk the other night, or were the accounts on the other shows exaggerated?  Witnesses?  I like Bob and in the past I've been inclined to dismiss charges that he's the Sports Bully, but that would qualify.  Unless, of course, it were 30 minutes of unrelieved brilliance, which is entirely possible.  But 30 minutes of droning qualifiers and subordinate clauses would be a bit much.

(3)  Been disappointed with the quality of the Ticket tweets tonight (Game 6).  Too many nothingburger interjections with no content or cleverness.  A few gems, mostly retweets.

(4) If The Ticket had not sent any shows to St. Louis for either segment of the Series there, would we have noted a significant difference?   I did not hear any of the Joe Buck encounters -- maybe that added some local color.  The Ticket didn't bother to send The Hardline the second time around.  I guess the station gets some PR benefit about saying that they sent some showgrams and the other stations didn't.  Hey, I don't mind them going, it certainly doesn't make their broadcasts any worse (technical issues aside).  But since Our Heroes aren't really news guys -- with the exception of Gordon, who gets some local sound from time to time -- no one is really covering the sports scene.  Their presence in St. Louis (or Detroit, or Florida) hasn't much for me one way or t'other.  Not unlike the playoffs and Series last year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are the CTO Cleaning Up the Hardli -- Uh, Make that The Firmline?

At least that's what it sounded like to me yesterday.  I didn't get to hear the whole show so I didn't hear the beginning of this riff, but I gather that our PM drive heroes (and perhaps the whole station, although I don't think any other show would be much affected) have been asked to stop using "f-ing" and other substitutes for the f-word and the s-word.  They were joshing about substituting "Z" for those particular words.  I don't know whether this goes to the more casual profanity used on The Hardline (you know, the damns and the hells and the bitches), or for such phrases as "BS" (which Danny changed to "ZX" at one point).  Nor do I know whether it extends to subject-matter censorship (body-cavity, genitalia, and human by-product humor).

In other words -- I don't know much about this.  If you do, let The Nation hear from you. 

In any event, it's welcome.  As admiring as this site is of The Hardline and its proprietors, it has been critical of the increasing vulgarity and profanity on the show.  I've spoken with several P1's who have switched their PM drive allegiance for this reason, although it is obvious that The Hardline isn't losing share for this reason (and who knows, maybe they've increased it).  I've mentioned in the past that Mrs. Plainsman will tolerate any Ticket showgram on while she is present, except The Hardline.

I know this sounds prissy.  Fact is, I'm not particularly prudish about program content and while I don't like the profanity, it doesn't hugely detract from my personal enjoyment of the show.  The problem with its use on The Hardline is that it gives the show an angry and sometimes even a misogynistic tone that is at odds with the rest of the station and grates on the ear.  It sounds deliberately provocative and forced.  So for me it's less verbal immorality -- heckitytoot, I like a little clever smut as much as the next cat -- than it is the damage to the color and gestalt of the show as a whole.  It's just not as good with excessively blue content.

Everyone I hear from on this subject says the same thing about The Hardline's forays into Stern territory:  These guys are better than that.

And they are. 

LOTS more on The Hardline in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, if anyone has any information on any CTO edicts on this topic, do advise.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Sunday, October 23, 2011

OPEN THREAD: Who OverTweets?

Twitter has its merits.  My problem is time.  I don't have enough of it for reasons not interesting to The Nation.  Not only do I not know how to use all of the mechanics, I don't get to just flat-out read all the Tweets regularly enough to learn the individual languages of some of the major Twits.  I'm not much of a Twit -- I alert new articles here, and once in a awhile I'll throw up a  non-promotional Tweet.  But if I think of something interesting, I like to save it for y'all on MTC.
I follow all of the Ticket guys whose addresses I've been able to get.  I have a few more I need to add.   I follow some other local sportsy/newsy guys.

Our title today announces my inquiry.  When I ask you to tell me who overTweets, I have a couple of qualifications in mind:

(1) If there's a guy who absolutely hijacks your page with endless Tweeting, but whose Tweets are of high quality, funny, interesting -- perhaps he is not an overTweeter, but just a guy with a lot of good stuff on his mind.  He gives you quality along with quantity.  Work t'other way around -- maybe a guy only slings a half[-dozen Tweets a day, but even with their brevity they waste your time.

(2) We should probably not count big-game Tweeting, where followers actually "tune in" to hear their favorite guy comment on the game as it goes along.

Maybe we should put it in the negative -- who would you like to see Tweet less?

Your nominees need not be limited to Ticket personnel.

And follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Fake Jason Garrett: Pretty Genius

A brilliant debut.

This was what I call "process humor" -- it made fun of a certain manner of speaking, of the presentation rather than what was being said (because he said, essentially, nothing).  Very witty and funny, and a great performance, but once it's established, it's a one-joke joke.  The challenge will be to introduce humorous substance, at least if Gordon intends to do it more than once or twice a season, as I assume he's going to.  (I wonder if they'll try to engineer some Fake Jerry/Fake Garrett dialogues.)  By that, I mean Fake Jason talking about something (i.e., football, the prior day's game, players) other than his own manner of talking.

A Jason Garrett fave phrase I did not hear:  "awfully good."

I thought that voice sounded somewhat processed.  It sounded like they had a plate echo on it, and there was a roughness to the timbre that sounded like it might have been artificially added. 

No matter, it was great.   Legend potential.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some Props for the CTO

This one's a little late, sorry.  I had it slated for a few weeks ago, but then Greggo erupted a couple of times and it slipped.

Confessors will recall a very interesting dialogue I stitched together out of some comments from Little Weak Jeremy and Anonymous.  They're about ten years apart in age, but come to The Little One looking for different things and, in general, find them.  Here are the links to the posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I won't repeat their positions in detail; suffice it to stay that they each enjoy different things about The Ticket, don't enjoy some of the other things quite so much, but find enough of what they're looking for that they remain committed P1's. 

What struck me about this dialogue, and about running this site generally and reading all of the great comments that Confessors favor us with, is that the "demo" that we hear so much about with The Ticket is actually quite diverse.

And I thought:  It's remarkable that The Ticket has grabbed all of us for many years and is doing nothing but getting more popular.

I think the Cumulo-Ticket Overlords deserve some credit -- actually, quite a lot of credit -- for this success.

Several Confessors have used the phrase "lightning in a bottle" to describe the mix of talents we have heard every day for lo these many years.  I agree with this characterization for the most part.  Junior, George, Mike, the anchors of the Good Ship Ticket since the beginning. Greggo for many years.  Incredible talents and they're still there, save the Hammer.  But BaD was as acquisition; so was Norm.  Corby's gradual ascension through the ranks was not inevitable.  I happen to be a Rich Phillips fan, and he's a hire.  The constant augmentation and improvement of weekend and nighttime offerings are also management initiatives.  It may be "lightning in a bottle," but the voltage of that original inspired team has been considerably juiced as the years have passed.

Of course, the current CTO are not responsible for all of these decisions, but the current lineup has been more-or-less in place through the current administration.  They'll be dealing with Mike's and Corby's future shortly. 

I have no pipeline to the ruminations of the CTO.  But I would be quite surprised if our on-air heroes don't get some nudging with respect to the variety of material they offer.  There are the young listeners who are probably more interested in the entertainment stuff; there are old-timers who prefer the sportsy-talk; and those extremes are stitched together by the overall dosage of generalized guy-talk.  I don't think that's an accident of the unsupervised preferences of the hosts.  I think the CTO manage these egos with great skill to get a mix of broadcast content that appeals to guys in all their variety.  And to a large (and, I suspect, growing) audience of chicks as well.

The CTO are facing a real challenge over the next several years.  Am I correct in thinking that all of the weekday hosts/yuks are over 40?  Mike over 60.  Norm is 67.  (I haven't found any birth info on Donovan.)   So far that collection is doing an admirable job of grabbing and holding the younger listeners.  (See the Little Weak/Anon dialogue.)   I think a lot of this is a tribute to The Ticket's success in making listeners feel like they belong to a kind of exclusive club, the P1.  (I know, I've written that the plural of P1 is "P1's" under rules for making plurals out of words ending in numbers, but "the P1" is kind of a synecdoche, too.)   The remotes and special events have done a lot to foster this feeling among listeners, and that's a function of the integration of marketing, sales, and the Talent.  (The UnTicket has a role in this, as does grubesismyleader and, to a microscopic extent, MTC as well.  As I  have suggested, the UnTicket is probably allowed to repost proprietary content wholesale through the CTO's good graces.)

They can probably keep it up for a long time, but not indefinitely.  Off-hours shows are tryouts for up-and-coming talent:  The Sirois brothers, Scot Harrison, Matt McClearin, Sean Bass, Ty Walker (another 40+, but a fresh voice as a host), and The Next Generation:  Jake Kemp, David Newberry, Mike Bacsik (RIP), Casey Millen, Michael Krenek, and, of course, human lightning rod T.C. Fleming.  Some encouraging talent there, if not all of them can currently be imagined as full-time weekday daylight hosts.  But  the CTO deserve some credit for giving these guys some time to stretch out and turn on the mic once in awhile.

And I'm guessing that Jeff Catlin and his colleagues are pretty clued in to broadcasters in other markets who might fit in here when the time comes.  Guys who can talk in normal tones, in measured cadences, about sports, pop culture, and babes.  (May be some babes on that list, too.)

Don't get me wrong -- The Ticket's gold is in the performance of its broadcast teams.  My point is that management has an unsung role in maintaining that level of performance and the stability of these teams, and we should sing about it a little.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, changes comes February with Mike's and Corby's contracts.  My guess is that the current lineup is going to be around for awhile.  My point is that the CTO aren't sitting around waiting for the next ratings book when it comes to Ticket programming.

Of course, we give the CTO grief in these pages.  Signal; promotion; syndication; hockey.  So I think fairness requires us to give some credit where it is due.

Can I get a witness?

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I've been wanting to post this for awhile, and now that (I hear) Bob Sturm is returning it seems like the right time to do it.

How was BaD Radio without Bob?  Commenters have made reference to it from time to time, mainly in connection with (1) how much they missed Bob and (2) whether a particular plus-one was getting the job done. 

You can still comment about those things, but I have a very specific question for y'all:  How was Dan as the Host-in-Chief? 

Even though he had fill-ins and plus-ones, the few times I caught a few minutes of BaD it sounded like I expected it to sound:  A single-host show with a color guy (no Donovan jokes, please) and Donovan.  Dan by far the most prominent voice.   I thought it sounded pretty good.  (Prompting one of my more absurd STDs that is so absurd that I will probably keep it in the can.)

A lot of Confessors are big BaD fans, think it's the best show, so I'm sure there must be some STDs out there on how the show fared in Bob's absence.  How did it sound to you the past couple of months?

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seven Very Quick Hits

(1)  In driving around listening to The Little One on Saturday, I was reminded once again of what a terrific play-by-play guy Rich Phillips is. 

I like Brad and Babe doing the Cowboys broadcast, but Brad makes about a half-dozen mistakes per game, mainly misidentifying players.  He's getting worse.  Last week they completely missed plays coming back from breaks on two different occasions -- not because the ads ran long, but because they were yammering on about something else.  I'd like to see the Cowboys appoint Rich to do those broadcsts and I think he and Babe would make a fine team.  Couldn't happen under the circumstances of the Cowboys' present affiliations, but I'd take Rich over any TV play-by-play guy.

(2)  Is C.J. Wilson suffering bad karma because of his poor relationship with The Ticket? 

(3)  Re the Hank Williams, Jr., "Fox & Friends" story:  F&F co-host Steve Doocy is Mike Doocy's first cousin.

(4)  Don't catch Diamond Talk too often, but I enjoyed the pre-post-game broadcast while Sean Bass and David Newbury were on the air waiting for the Rangers game to end, commenting on the game in real time (more-or-less -- the radio broadcast was way, way behind the TV feed).   I especially enjoyed Danny B's contributions.   I like his Hardline persona, but there's an argument that he's even better when he tones down some of the more extreme guy-cynicism and interacts sincerely with whoever's broadcasting.

Anyone know -- is it legal to "call" a game by watching it on TV and broadcasting a report of the game play?  Is that a forbidden use of "descriptions and accounts"?  I'd think it would be some kind of violation of the team's right to control, and exclusively to exploit, its product.  These guys weren't describing the game in that degree of detail, so maybe it's "fair use" if it isn't a regular practice, or doesn't go on too long.

(5) How many more months do we have to listen to those execreable Bud Light "Here We Go" ads?

(6) I have been surprised not to hear anything about the death of Peter Gent, former Cowboy (Lance Rentzel eventually replaced him due to injury).   But he is best known as the author of "North Dallas Forty," fairly controversial hereabouts in its day.  Have any shows mentioned it?

(7)  I have no new Greggo or Richie or RaGE news, opinions, or speculations.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Followup Note to "Weekends are Tough for The Hammer"

I agree with the sense of all commenters   that this is not going to end well for Greg Williams.  (See previous article and comments.)  Whether he's still under the influence or not, and we hope not, he seems unable to compartmentalize his professional life and keep it between himself and his employers.

I don't know much about broadcasting, but I know quite a lot about the way large companies, and especially public companies, are put together.  Bacsik was out almost instantly at The Ticket because of ONE WORD in his Tweet.  The Ticket could live with a Latino boycott, but Cumulus could not take the PR hit.

If He Who Can Only Rarely Be Named can't keep from mortifying his bosses, he's going to go.  Put Greggo and Richie out of your minds for a few minutes, and think about the guys they answer to, and the guys those guys answer to.  Their weekend is worse than Richie's and Greggo's.

"We don't shy away from Twitter controversy," says Richie Whitt.  I didn't hear that statement, but I accept Confessors' reports as accurate.  Think about what that means:   This isn't "controversy" in the sense of "I have a hot sports opinion about whether Dez Bryant is a goldbrick."  It's "controversy" in the sense of "unauthorized disclosure of confidential company information."  Richie saying that they don't shy away from Twitter controversy is equivalent to saying:  "We embrace self-destructive public airing of internal discord." 

Greggo has forced guys like Richie (for whom I continue to have some sympathy) to triage the damage he's done, and Richie's chosen to deal with it by embracing it.  (Query whether ignoring it might be a better strategy.)  But it can't work.   Greg's behavior reflects on the judgment of Fan and CBS managers and executives -- not just among listeners, but in the industry.  They look like fools if they let it continue.  They cannot tolerate this kind of loose-lippedness much longer.

And it's not like Williams has proven himself a ratings star.  The only downside to his release would be that some Fan guys would have to admit that their faith in Greggo's "this time I'll be good" story was misplaced, not to mention a lot of publicity dollars down the drain.  Hey, it looked like a good move at the time, didn't it?  We can all say aww, we knew Greggo was going to do the Greggo again eventually, but to put two well-known media figures against The Hardline -- one of them a former Hard Guy -- was a smart move at the time.   They were in the ratings tank then, and still are -- the hurt from admitting that it didn't work would go away fast.  But professional damage up the chain of command if there's a truly catastrophic meltdown, where all the warning signs were there, will linger with some suits who do not want failures, much less notorious public flameouts, on their resumes.

[Offbeat:  Here's a scenario to consider -- unlikely but anyone in business has seen more exotic theories conjured up by employment lawyers:  Hammer takes the position that this kind of public confession is therapy for his various addictions -- the "reconciliation" scenario that Anonymous posited.  He gets fired for them (presumably for insubordination) and then he claims that he was dealing with a disability known to his employer before he was hired (1) that did not affect his on-air performance, and (2) that were not "accommodated" by his employer.  That's a suin'.]

There's nothing wrong with reaching out to old friends and colleagues.  It's the public digital trail that's the problem while you've got current colleagues -- colleagues who have gone out on a limb for you -- who deserve your full concentration and loyalty.

I don't want Greggo to fail.  I don't even want him off the air.  I'm just saying that he's bumping up against some institutional dynamics that are going to make it very difficult for him to hang around much longer if he keeps doing what he's doing.

As Bob Newhart said on that old Saturday Night Live skit:  "Stop it."

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman 1310

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekends are Tough for The Hammer

An Anonymous Confessor passes along some Greg Williams tweets and offers a comment with some plausible speculation:

@tweetgrubes ...I can't believe you won't's Greggo...
23 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

@CMCrume...they may think I'm the enemy..but I'm not...No ill will against any of those guys...I did great work there..and I love those guys

@Thehermesmeyers I do have a life...but in my recovery...I want to make things right with those guys..we went thru a lot.and had great times

After doing a little Tweeter dumpster diving (there's too much to post up here), it looks like Greggo has been reaching out to every Ticket host. On many occasions. It also looks like he might be having a conversation with Rhyner. If that's so, then, as far as I can tell, Rhyner is tweeting privately to Greggo, while Greggo seems to be tweeting publicly with Rhyner. This does seem to be the case. Unless Greggo is so out of it that he's tweeting as if Rhyner is answering his questions. I find that hard to believe. Don't know what the deal is, but I think somethings afoot, in the workings, or at the very least maybe a reconciliation of sorts is happening.

[Anonymous then clarifies that he believes that the "reconciliation" that is taking place is the "reconciliation" that is called for in the 12-step AA-tyhpe programs -- not a reassembling of The Hardline prior to Greggo's departure, which he acknowledges is almost certainly not going to happen.]


I don't know what the evidence is for behind-the-scenes Rhyner communications with Greg.  Whether or not this is true, these Tweets are still fascinating.  They cannot be welcomed by Greggo's Fan colleagues or supervisors.  This cannot be a bit to gin up interest in RaGE.   While it may be a part of Greg's rehab -- and if so, we can only hope it's working -- it looks desperate, it looks like he's unhappy with his current surroundings and wishing that he could turn back the clock.  It's pleading; it's sad.  He might scoff at that, but that is the impression he's giving.  The fact that he's making these communications public, when every Ticket guy's email is on The Ticket's website, suggests that he wants listeners, not just his former colleagues, to know what's going on.  As I suspect he has done in the past, he seems to be hoping that his public will demand some kind of rapprochment with his old Ticket buddies of some kind.

More speculation, of course.  However, I would suggest that these Tweets are even more interesting when one considers:

(1) Mike Bacsik has popped up on The Fan.

(2) Mike's and Corby's contracts are up in February, I'm pretty sure.

(3) Richie Whitt is let go at The Observer for reasons remaining unclear.

(4) Don't laugh -- BaD Radio is humming along sans Bob -- at least, that's my impression -- and it is not beyond imagining that when he returns he might want to make some other changes in his life. 

(5) Cumulus has bought Citadel and has access to much better signals that are currently being seriously underused.

I agree with Anonymous, as he wrote in the comments to the last article, that the chances of a Hardline reunion are extremely remote.  At least on The Ticket. 

But I don't think it's going to far to say that matters are somewhat fluid at The Fan, and we're approaching decision time for a number of individuals at The Ticket as well.

And we'll be mulling these things over in greater detail in future postings.  In the meantime, as Harry Caray used to say, lemme hear ya.