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


birq said...

I got confirmation through a twitter twit last night that this was a edict from management, but that's all I know about it at this point. In my opinion, though, replacing f's with z's isn't the solution. The problem is that the boys have gotten lazy. Other than shaking things up with different voices, I don't know what the solution is.

The Plainsman said...

birq, you nailed it.

That's what it is: Lazy.

And these guys are funny and appealing performers with a ton of material at their fingertips. They just need to work it.

Yeah, the "Z" thing sounded like their way of tweaking management's nose -- not, as you say, a solution.

I do wonder what prompted this, however. Maybe a CTO tuned in.

Or maybe it resonates with that unfortunate on-air slipup on the Orphanage a couple of weeks ago.

Jonaessa said...

Birq makes a great point--by replacing the "colored" vocabulary with algebraic nonsense, it only showcases the apathy that the Hardline has come to embody over the last...well, good while at least. I am offended by very little (meaning I often find the humor in a good suicide or dead-baby joke--told in the appropriate manner, mind you--even though both hit close to home), but it pains me to listen to the f-bombs and oh-s's when I know the Hardline is a much more creative and clever lot. UTA probably employed Noah Webster to teach their English classes when Mike attended; surely he took advantage of such a stellar opportunity to brush up on the language. And didn't TCU teach Corby "a rather extensive vocabulary, not to mention a phenomenal grasp of grammar and a superlative command of syntax"? These guys could do better than five-cent words that do nothing to strengthen whatever argument they are trying to make. I am not suggesting these boys class up the show Oxford-style. I just wish they would stop being so lazy and put in some prep work. Is that too much to ask?

T4 In Rockwall said...

@ The Plainsman. I must have missed where it was talked about referring to the slipup on the Orphanage a couple of weeks ago. Would you mind talking about that?


Anonymous said...

Well, maybe this laziness points toward what may or may not go down in February with Mike's contract/the future of the show. I mean, if you know the thing is winding down in at least some capacity, you tend to get lazy. By the way, did anyone out there catch the mention of Danny's promotion? He's now p.d.'ing, or at least lording over, all weekend programming now.

Just some thoughts

Anonymous said...

I've always thought the embodiment of what I liked about the little ticket was the 'guy talk', or perception that these guys on the radio are no different than you or I. I don't mind the cussing at all for the reason, at least for me, is that that is the way friends and myself speak to each other (aka shooting the shit)on a regular basis. pardon my language

another point is that the worst of words get dumped anyways, it's not as if the curses forbidden by the FCC are actually being broadcast.

ap said...

Perhaps their loose and frequent almost-swearing was an attempt to stay current with the 18-25 beer & wings demographic?

With great apologies to everyone involved in this thread (especially Jonaessa), I think we all probably fall to the more senior end of ticket listenership here. As a result, we probably can't be as free and easy with using pseudo-cuss words in our daily vernacular and are therefore more sensitized to it.

"eff me"

Little Weak Jeremy said...

Here's a vote for not caring about the "F-ing," etc. one way or another. I find it nonsensical, however, to ban that type of abbreviation -- it's like banning "heck" or "darn".

And I don't think it has anything to do with show prep. You can drop a casual curse whether you're prepared or not.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right Jeremy. Heck, darn, damn, or 1000 other exclamations are exactly the same thing; they just weren't the chosen "bad" words. If the FCC is ok with it then they should let them roll with it. What the H!

Anonymous said...

This what the FCC looks for if a complaint is filed about indenceny or obscenity:

•An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
•The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
•The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

Common misconception has it that there's a list of unacceptable words from the FCC, which isn't the case, it was just a George Carlin bit.
The FCC could easily rule against "F" or "S" or "bullsh" as obscenity that an average person would follow. The rules also include any type of talk with excretory body parts. (Which is why you can say ass but not asshole) The FCC takes into consideration the context and meaning of what was aired and the time of day. And it's up to a listener to actually complain to the FCC and provide documentation in order for the FCC to even begin looking into the matter.
Still, it's a step in a better direction for the little Ticket.

Jonaessa said...

And maybe I also should have clarified that--used at the appropriate place and time--even the f-bombs have a place in certain conversations. Heck, even the C-word (one of my favorites to really drive home how I felt about the cashier who wouldn't take my coupon, for example) is acceptable, IF it serves to punctuate the point. I don't like when these words are thrown around because one can't be bothered to come up with an argument.

It's like Gordo said this morning about putting down old people. Someone had written to take the Musers to task over their opinion that maybe Derek Holland should not have done Harry Carey impressions when his team was down 2-0. The writer, who will never listen again I'm sure, could only call them all "old" and "out of touch." Gordo is right that the people who make those comments can't come up with any better argument. I feel like the Hardline is a helluva lot smarter and can come up with better ways to make and/or prove a point.

Little Weak Jeremy said...


Not to wheel this discussion off-course, but you've mentioned one of my least favorite things about the Musers -- their tendency to go all Shrill Sports Talk Douche over any sort of personality/humor shown by athletes. Not every athlete has to be Jason Witten.

The ironic thing is that the kind of things they gripe about are what everybody LOVES about the Rangers -- their affinity for bits, loose clubhouse, keeping good humor in the face of adversity. These are GOOD THINGS. Yet the Musers (and not just them, to be sure, but they're the Ticket's loudest bitchers on this subject) expect Holland to go stone-faced whenever the Rangers don't have the go-ahead run in the bank. And yeah, the callers who accused the Musers of being old and out of touch might not have much, but is "Shave the mustache, punk" really that hot of a sports opinion in the first place? Because that was one of the viewpoints they trotted out before Holland's start. I think I'm pretty close to Junior's exact quote here -- he said "Washington needs to tell Holland to shave the mustache and grow up and be a man." Holland kept the mustache and delivered the clutchest playoff performance in Rangers history. Good for him.

The Plainsman said...

Great stuff, Confessors, thanks.

First: Anonymous, where did you hear about Danny's appointment as weekend program director? Extremely interesting. Danny the Suit.

Second: There probably is a demo split between people who don't like the vulgarity and people who don't mind it. My own chitchat and showbiz offerings (yes, I have a very minor background) can be pretty suggestive. My problem is that it is excessive on The Hardline and cheapens the show. I endorse the new rule, whatever it is.

Third: Finally, a counselor checks in. Thanks to Anonymous for the primer on broadcast obscenity.

Fourth: I was furious with Derek Holland and wondered why someone in the dugout didn't give him the high sign to take the headset off and excuse himself. His pitching colleague was out there with a two-run deficit and having control problems and his dugout guys weren't hitting. I don't care about the moustache, it's an OK bit, but that performance frosted my a_______e. And shame on Joe Buck for continuing to egg him on. What do you expect from a St. Louis guy? And Holland had already taken heat for those goofy faces he was making on the profile they did on him a few games back. Junior's right -- time to grow up. You don't reward youself for a star-making performance the day before by joking for the camera while the game is going on. If the concept of team is generation-sensitive, well, I guess we get the atheletes we deserve. Too bad, Holland is talented and likable but has the judgment of an armadillo deciding whether to cross the Interstate.

The Plainsman said...

@T4: All I know about it you can find on the comment thread to the post "Bobless BaD."

Anonymous said...

I heard about Danny's new position on both The Hardline and The Rant.

DinosaurMex said...

Is it just me, or has the once oft-mentioned and ever-becoming highly visible T.C. and Jake's star been fading of late? If so, why? Edict from Cat and/or Dan Bennett? CTOs?

birq said...

Mex, I was wondering the same thing when thinking about how seamlessly CdS and the Soul Patch stepped in during Norm's absence. Jake and TC have been conspicuously absent for an opportunity for fringe players to shine.

That also got me thinking about another thing: When did Norm become expendable? Not long ago, I couldn't picture the local sports landscape without Norm in it somewhere. I think the last couple weeks have been just fine (if not better) without him.

The Plainsman said...

As usual, The Nation has anticipated a topic that's been on my mind.

Some Confessors have called on me to set forth my thoughts on T.C. Fleming, who had been getting more airtime there for awhile, some of it self-invited. I resisted because he's a really young guy just starting out. I wanted to see whether his emergence was real or just a blip before I commented.

His disappearance began immediately after his and Jake's co-hosting stint with Mike on The Hardline. For the longest time, I didn't even hear his name mentioned, and I never even heard him interrupt a show with an observation from the board.

(I wondered whether he might have been the author of the tragic technical FUBAR on The Orphanage a couple of weeks back, but I was told that he was not on the board that day.)

So I assume that The Great T.C. Experiment has concluded, or at least put on hold temporarily.

I don't lump him together with Jake Kemp, even though they do "It's Just Banter" together and they are, or were, roommates. Other than The Hardline cameo, they don't really function as a team on The Ticket. I really like Jake's energy and patter on the Top Ten. He was almost invisible on The Hardline show with T.C., but I don't have a sense that his status has really changed that much since then. If y'all have observations to the contrary, let me know.

T.C. does get the occasional "technically directing" credit, and I heard him pop onto the air once recently to answer a question, but other than that he seems to have returned to his earlier, less audible role.

This site continues to wish him well.

Anonymous said...

I've heard nothing about Danny as assistant program director. Isn't that Rich Phillips' job? I've noticed Rich has been absent the last couple days. It is interesting to think of Danny in an authoritative role.

Shaggy said...

Does anyone know what TC's actual position at the Ticket is these days? He started as BaD's intern, but that was years ago...he has to be earning money there now right? So what's he do?

The Plainsman said...

Anyone care to comment on Mike R's "rickshaw" comment on yesterday's show?

He was making reference to a Rangers player of Japaneese descent. It may be the pitcher who isn't on the playoff roster they got midseason who did not distinguish himself, whose name I am too lazy to look up.

Anonymous said...

Oh where to begin....
According to the copy of Cat's memo posted on the studio door, there wasn't a specific incident that caused the 'clean up your language' memo as a 'okay it's going too far' in Cat's opinion. As he points out in the memo, they are better than that, and need to not take the lazy way out. And since they constantly dance up to what could be grounds for an indecency complaint, why add gratuitous coarse language to the context of what might get complained about.

T4- the Orphanage had their mikes on when they thought they were in break. And let loose with language they shouldn't have used-

Anon (et al) if you really think Danny is 'lording over' weekend programming, I've got a bridge in Brroklyn you might be interested in. It's called a bit...

Confessor/Dino Mex et al. Dan, Cat, CTO's? Dan and Cat ARE the CTO's, as Lew Dickey, John Dickey and the rest of the corporate suits don't care as long as Dan and Cat ain't complaining and as long as ethnic groups aren't threatening boycotts based on drunken tweets.

Anon- Rich's absence was due to a surgical procedure. He either went in to get his shoulder worked on, or to get a penis transplant. Or to have his lips surgically removed from June Jones buttocks. I always get those first 2 confused, so I'll leave y'all to speculate as to which it actually was.

Confessor: I don't think there was actually a "Great TC experiment". He just happened to luck into a little extra airtime. Now he's back to doing what he's good at.

And as soon as someone figures out what that is, please fill the rest of us in. Unless any of you think there's really a job opening at the Ticket for someone who's good at doing research for Bob, someone who agrees with Bob a lot, and can get lunch for B&D&D. Because that, along with a weekend shift and the occasional weekday fill in job is what he does.

And Birq, Confessor et al, the reason CdS and Soul Patch have been able to seamlessly step in and fill in are because both of those shows are composed of radio pro's, IJB as radio pros? Not so much.
Cash used to do sports on NBC 5, Mike worked as a sports producer for years at Fox Sports Radio, Harrison spent years at KRLD, and McClarin is the least experienced of that bunch. And he laps Jake in experience, who laps TC.
If you needed a fill in show, are you going to go with guys who understand how to program a show, guys who've talked sports on radio or TV for years, or Dan Mcdowell's house-sitter?

It's over and I'm out...
Anon D

The Plainsman said...

Love it, Anon D.

"Memo posted on the studio door." That's rich. (No, not Rich, rich.) Nothing like the personal touch with valued employees. Jeff Catlin as Martin Luther.

I was wondering if the Danny promotion thing was a bit.

Dick Hicks, get well soon.

But I still think there was a Great T.C. Experiment of sorts -- perhaps not formal. He didn't luck into his exposure -- he was deliberately featured on several shows there for awhile. I do think the CTO worries about the aging of the host population and does look for ways to maintain appeal to the yutes.

Shaggy said...

Norm seems to have done quite well for himself.


Anonymous said...

Anon D, You certainly seem to have some info/intel. So what's the deal with Norm, then? Sick? Vacation? Both (i.e., went on vacation and got sick)? Do tell, if you have that info.

Anonymous said...

Was out last week sick. Was supposed to be gone this week on vacation.

Anonymous said...

Again, I say, this blog has become nothing but muckraking. The "Plainsman" thinks he's doing some community service, but he is simply the TMZ on the Ticket. Hope you're getting enough hits to justify your horrible behaviour. I think "Anon D's" comment should be enough to put an end to this kind of garbage, but The "Plainsman" has shown time and time again he is not about responsible commentary, regardless of how many fancy words he uses.

DinosaurMex said...

Last Anonymous: Back your claims up, dude. How is Plainsman acting irresponsibly? How is he being TMZ-ish? And as far as "horrible behavior" goes... do you know what hyperbole means? Furthermore, do you know what the term "muckraking" means? I think not. I'm not sure who you are, last Anonymous, but I am sure that you're confused with respect to your own cogitations. (Did that "big word" impress you?)

The Plainsman said...

A week or so ago I got one of those rare emails from a Ticket person. He said he reads the site every day and said that he appreciated what we were trying to do here. I have only heard from a few Ticket personalities since I started this site, and without exception they have had nice things to say about us, even if they were writing to disagree with something or correct an error.

He also wrote: "Ignore the trolls, they're not worth your time." Good advice. But the foregoing Trolly McTrollerson, with both this email and his last, continues to amuse the nation with his knuckleheaded bile. It soils the site, but since it's not vulgar or defamatory I'm not inclined to delete it. (If there were a lot of these, I probably would, just to ensure that the tone here doesn't turn angry.)

First, as predicted, although claiming to be abandoning MTC forever, he's back in record time. How do we know it's the same guy? Because the first word of his post is "Again."

Second, as DMex points out, the guy offers absolutely nothing in support, and his judgment is execrable. Anon D passed along some solid blasts, and while I have my faults, "horrible" seems rather harsh. I mean, this particular post is a truthful report of an apparent Hardline cleanup. I approve. What's the problem here? What did Anon D say that was Ticket-negative?

So . . . what is our apoplectic reader's point here? As I have suggested, this particular under-bridge-dweller has an agenda. Something on this site is making him awfully cross, and I cannot imagine what it would be.

Working theory: Trolly is a Ticket guy of lesser prominence, who is perhaps not among this site's favorites (or who is a friend of or who works for same), and feels that this has disadvantaged him. I am hard-pressed to imagine any other reason anyone would be so furious about the continued existence of MTC, which overall is an extremely Ticket-friendly site and tries to keep criticism and suggestions fair and civilized. Where rumors come our way, I am at some pains to identify them as such. I actually hold off on some of my less charitable opinions if I feel they might be hurtful or unnecessary. A mere listener could not possibly get so exercised over this flame-resistant site. This guy is acting wounded.

And it's not like this site has any influence at The Little One. It may be read by some of the guys, but I'm sure it is overwhelmed as an opinion-source by the hundreds if not thousands of emails that must roll into the hosts' and CTOs' inboxes every day.

So whatever pathology is eating at our angry reader, it's having no influence here and tagging him as a hypocrite, and not a very clever one, impugning my (and the Nation's) motives without disclosing his own.

What fancy words?

The Plainsman said...

PS: The last couple of days, my page views have absolutely skyrocketed, off the charts. (Unique hits are high but not crazy-high.) When that happens it often means some more popular site has linked to MTC, but that does not appear to be the case here.

Both The Nation and Your Plainsman have expressed the feeling that The Ticket is approaching a watershed time.

I think something's up.

East Texas P1 said...

Just a quick RaGE observation. I have gone from a 100% P1 in the afternoons to probably 80%. Now that I have a 50+ minute commute home I find myself kicking over to Richie and Greggo during Hardline commercials and sometimes staying there if they have something interesting.

That said (and it may just be that I am trying to correlate two issues that are not related), it seems that RaGE has really increased their level of bad language and cursing; i.e. "World f-n Series" all the time. Wonder if this is deliberate based on what is going on at the Hardline?

(Plainsman, let me know if you would rather not have FAN issues raised on this board.)

The Plainsman said...

East Tex: FAN issues AOK on this site. I've written extensively about RaGE and a small amount about Elf/Josh and Ben/Skin.

But I appreciate your courtesy in inquiring.

Anonymous said...

I think Anon D is either an ex-Ticket employee or a bit player with some superficial inside information (i.e., someone in sales or some other capacity other than host/ticker guy, et alia (which is the correct Latin by the way; "et al" is an Anglicized abbreviation; if you're going to be clever, be clever). We all here at MTC ought not to take what h/she says as g/Gospel. As Plainsman has said about certain "contributors" here: some of them might have an agenda. Well, the same could very well be applied to Anon D. H/She sure seems cocksure in his/her answers to others' inquiries. Per Anon D, everything is obvious and easily explained; anything else is merely (wrongheaded) speculation by imaginative minds.

Well, Anon D, for one, Danny *is* the new weekend programming director. That's not a radio "bit."

Anon D, I think you're full of it. If not, prove it.

Anonymous said...

Turn that around, prove to me that he is. I just know what I see and hear. Weekend schedule? still coming from Dick Hicks. Weekend producer and board op schedule? Still posted on Rich's cube. Maybe he is, and they just didn't bother to tell all us bit players about it. But I doubt it.
(And how do you want me to "prove" it? And what exactly do you want proof of? That I have inside knowledge? So, do you want to know what Will or Vanessa is wearing today? If Alexis has her hair up in a ponytail or hanging down today?What info would satsify you? )

The Plainsman said...

Anon D has been checking in for awhile. Yes, he (I'll assume AD is a male to avoid all the he/she qualifiers) does evince something of a superior attitude which can be off-putting. On the other hand, I've always found his stuff to have the ring of accuracy.

What I find curious is why the CTO, who could probably figure out who Anon D is by reading his comments (if they do), don't keep him from disclosing inside info on this site.

And the answer may be that Anon D is himself not a grundoon, but a CTO or near-CTO himself, and the CTO don't mind. Perhaps a third party who does business with The Ticket, a vendor, a consultant, a guy who hears the news and knows the names of the female employees.

Perhaps a friend of Danny's. Perhaps a very good friend of Danny's. Perhaps a very good friend of Danny's somewhat wired in to sales.

In any event, someone with inside or "nearby" Ticket knowledge. Which, his supercilious tone aside, makes him a valued correspondent to our comments section.

It is easy to scam sites like this where contributors are anonymous. We always need to keep our antennae aquiver for the prankster who posts salacious nuggets claiming some special access. Anon D's I-know-something-you-mere-listeners-don't attitude seems genuine, if unpleasant to read, and thus I tend to accept his pose.

With some grains of salt handy.

The Plainsman said...

PS: Two other things that make me think that Anon D may be a semi-CTO or an outsider-who-can-see-inside, but in any event not a lower-rung Ticket grundoon:

(1) He writes pretty well.

(2) He feels comfortable taking a shot or two at T.C., which I would think a fellow-grundoon would be reluctant to do.

Anonymous said...

"I know this sounds prissy.  Fact is, I'm not particularly prudish about program content…"

"Yes, he … does evince something of a superior attitude which can be off-putting."

Self-awareness really isn't your thing, is it, "Plainsman?"

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anon D (and yes, that last anon is Anon D, I'll bet the house on it), in what manner do those quotes from the Plainsman show him to have a lack of self-awareness?

I think it's fairly obvious that you work or have worked at The Ticket in some capacity. Or perhaps you're one of those people who will make up (and is good at doing it) plausible-sounding lies. Whatever the case, you sure come off as defensive and thin-skinned. The latter is even more glaring when you consider the derisive manner in which you often address other commenters' questions and speculations.

If you do indeed work for The Ticket (and especially if you are a so-called CTO, a host, or any other prominent on-air figure) you're not representing your employer in a professional manner. Other Ticket personnel pop in here from time to time. They all use their real names (even the ones, like Jake, who've been a lightening rod around here form time to time). And they are all respectful of both the Plainsman and his readers/commenters.

In sum, Anon D, whatever the case is regarding your Ticket status (or even if you're just a liar), I suggest to you to either show a bit more levity around here or leave. Besides, if this blog's host and his commenters are a pack of rumor-mongering morons who get everything wrong, why on earth would you waste your time? There are several angles one could go at with respect to my last question. One of which is the "you aren't who you imply you are" angle.

Good Morning to ya.

birq said...

'Self-awareness really isn't your thing, is it, "Plainsman?"'

I realize that the primary purpose of trolling is to get a reaction and some attention, but you're really going to have to try to make more sense than that. Something like "ur gay lol", perhaps.

The Plainsman said...

You MTC-defenders are crackin' me up! Thanks for the responses to an exceedingly odd post by Anon/D.

Anonymous said...

Anon d here
That lSt anon wasn't me and I don't know WTF he means by that

The Plainsman said...

Yeah, I had a feeling that snide Anon was not Anon D. Despite Anon D's tone, I have become fond of him. He is interested in getting good info to the Nation -- as I say, we dont know for sure, but it has an authoritative ring to it -- and seems to me that deserves some thanks. We can stand some lecturing if the lecturer has the goods.

As to the Anon taking Your Plainsman to task for non-self-awareness -- hey, we got a big tent here.

Anonymous said...

I call bulsh. Anon D got too emotional. Then h/she realized it after the fact and now comes back with the politician-esque, "I was hacked," "it wasn't me," response. Fine. Bulsh. Go back in the thread; go back in past threads and look at Anon D's style of writing. It was h/she who wrote the last series of rude-ish comments. H/she was obviously perturbed. Whatever. It doesn't matter. But we who observe closely do know that it was/is you, Anon D.