Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Happy and Healthy New Year to All Confessors

It's been a very gratifying year at My Ticket Confession.  Hits are up hugely and page views -- new readers checking out the archives -- are healthy as well.  The numbers may not be impressive in comparison with the listenership of The Ticket, but seeing as how it was me and about three other people in the early days, it's nice to have visitors.

In the last post's epic thread of comments on DryDock, I mentioned how healthy the hits were whenever that time of year rolled around.  That prompted a response from one Michael Krenek, who wrote: 

Your hits are up during dry dock because all of us Ticket spares are refreshing the site every 5 minutes to see if anything is written about us.


#truth #hungryforfeedback

In addition to being hilarious, I think there's some truth there.  It had long been my assumption that Ticket hosts and CTOs get tons of email, in some cases hundreds a day, with reactions from P1's to Ticket programming, bits, hosts, features, everything.  And I would have thought that any views expressed on this site would be pretty much lost in that torrent of opinion and not much noticed by the varsity and JV and CTOs at The Little One. 

I'm less sure now.   Some time back I heard from a Ticket guy via email who mentioned that he sees MTC up on laptops from time to time.  Now here's Michael K's testimony.  And of course we have heard in "signed" comments this year from Grubes, Matt, Jake, Casey, and Jeremy (actually, haven't heard from Jer in awhile, that may have been further back in the past).  Also, I'm reasonably sure that one or more of our Anonymi from time to time are also station personnel.  On rare occasions I will hear via email from a Ticket guy with an "atta boy" or a correction or something like that. 

So somebody's checking us out at our favorite radio station.

But I'll tell you something, Confessors:  It's not me they're interested in -- it's you.   There have been some absolutely sensational mini-essays in the comments over the past several months that are well-written and thoughtful.  Sometimes I agree, sometimes not, but these are people who obviously care about the station and think about what makes it great.  In fact, I would put all non-troll commenters in that category; even the offhand comments are pungent and get at something true about the station.

Our readers are guys (and Jonaessa!) who spend an astonishing percentage of their lives listening to The Ticket.   I would think that Cumulo-Ticket guys would be very interested in the views of quality listeners like you, even if they think that Your Plainsman is looney tunes with his between-the-lines interpretations, guesses, speculations, and opinions, not to mention his unhealthy obsession with Green Tail Shiner.  

So:  Raise a glass to yourselves tonight, and have a safe and joyful New Year and 2012, with my continued Thanks for Shopping at My Ticket Confession.

*     *     *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310
Email Your Plainsman:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DryDock Quick Hits

Been out of town and doing the Christmas thing with the fam, just barely keeping up with comments.

And then I tune in to my own site and find absolute gold in the last batch of comments.  I was going to cobble together some drydock quick hits but I find that Anonymous and Shaggy have beaten me to the punch, reporting more thoroughly and authoritatively than I could.  I hope I have their permission to repost their comments for further inspection by the Nation.

My reactions will appear in a comment.

First, here's Anonymous, Parts 1 and 2:


Thoughts concerning Dry Dock:

Gordie and the Deuce: Funny and uncomfortable as all get out. Doocy laid out the blueprint on how to effectively combat Gordo's guerrilla warfare. Good chemistry, even better times.

Rhads and Followheezy: Solid. Rhads has become a better radio broadcaster. He doesn't yell into the mic nearly as much as he once did. Nor does he try too hard to Ticket schtick it up, again, like he once did. Followill was his usual bad a self. Sure, he's going to give us a glass is (more than) half full view of the Mavs, but I think we can all understand why. His Cowboy talk has been chock full of HSOs, and that's a good.

Black and Quack: I agree with Plainsman where Dick Hicks is concerned. He's a consummate pro. Yes he can grate from time to time, but overall his HSOs are on point and fearless. Donnie Doo, I cannot say the same. The man is overexposed. There's been WAAAAY (to use one of his annoying traits) too much airtime for our man Donnie Doo. Between BaD, Cowboys post, fill in for the morning drive, and B&'s much too much. I like Donnie, but he's a one trick pony. While it's evident that he's been working really hard on his football knowledge (especially draft history, personnel from other teams, etc.), he just doesn't add anything meaningful to the conversation on a regular basis. He finds an obvious or emotion based point and keeps ramming it home, over and again. And even when he has a really good point, again, he won't relent, he won't move on; he applies it to everything, or he keeps returning to it. The CTOs need to curb his on air time. He doesn't need to be involved with so many shows. No one else up there is, why him? I can appreciate his work ethic and industry, but like Nell Carter used to sing: "Gimme a break, I sure deserve it."

Soul Patch: Why they were tapped to do morning drive is beyond me. Poor decision. It's not a bad show, but it's not strong enough to fill those shoes. Heck, they had basically run out of content by the end of their allotted time. Scott H has a pleasant voice and fairly good sports chops. For the life of me, I'll never understand why the show is named after a spot of (passe) facial hair. I don't understand a mid-late 40-something with multiple piercings, but hey, whatever floats your boat. Like I said, he (and the show) ain't bad. Matt McClearin is an entirely different animal altogether. Wow! I mean, from the prom, the teenage bride, the UFOs, the notion of sex, love, conception, and being well-adjusted, the wearing a kilt, mooning your family, and not realizing the when you don't wear underwear your junk will be showing as well, and finally, the Christmas fisticuffs with his brother over him sticking an olive in his bro's ear while trying to squeeze the juice out of it (hello Freud!)... while his mother is crying. Again, Wow! An odd duck for sure, and I'll leave it at that. (I'm sure he's a nice guy, but nice guys can be weird, too.)

CDS: When the Bros Sirois talk sports, I listen. I think they are the true up and comers around The Little One. What I dislike is their infatuation with their own sense of humor. When they go into schtick, especially extended schtick, it's overkill. Because they're brothers, they both sound similar. Furthermore they both speak very rapidly (something they need to temper). And when you have two people who sounds a lot alike, speak rapidly, and constantly finish each others thoughts/talk over each other, radio chaos ensues. They need to work on this. It's when they get too "cute" for too long that this most usually occurs. I wish they 'd be more sports oriented. I think that by doing so, they're star would rise faster. Don't get me wrong, they can be funny. But, like their rapid speaking, temper it; find the golden mean. Oh, and I know that Mike works for Norm, so I see where it comes from, but they are guilty of "Over Norm." You don't need to do your own Norm drops or imitations at every turn. While they can be funny when well placed, they get stale when repeated time and again. Besides, no one can hold a candle to Gordon in that regard.

Can't wait for p.m. drivetime BaD. A foretaste of the future perhaps???

Well put, Anonymous. 
Here is Shaggy's offering:

The Soul Patch really has got nothing. As generic as it gets. Today was my first time listening to them for a moderate length of time, and it wasn't good. They are exactly what other stations across the country come up with by trying to copy The Ticket's sports talk/guy talk formula. And it's nearly always bad.

Agree about Cirque. I also think they have something, but they are way too schtick-y. They are an almost exact carbon copy of Ben & Skin when they were on The Ticket. They would constantly be laughing at their own and each others' jokes, but they werent all that funny. I think B&S have grown a lot, but they do still suffer from thinking they're a lot cooler and funnier than they really are.

Gentlemen Confessors, you have my thanks.  I'll get the comments underway

*     *     *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Merry Christmas to All Confessors

Here's a  little gift for you, a very cool video passed along by David P.  If this doesn't tug at your sports heartstrings, check your pulse.

A safe and happy holiday to all. 

     -- Plainsman

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It’s Not Too Early to Ask Some Hard(line) Questions – Part 4(a)

Some Confessors are tired of this series.  Sorry.  There will be two more after this.  This one will address a topic everyone seems to want to comment on, so here goes. 

The consensus, with which I agree, is that listeners want Mike to re-up; that Mike wants to re-up; and that Cumulus will probably get the job done.   In fact, I think it’s overwhelmingly likely that Mike will sign a new contract.  

[For those of you who believe there is no chance Mike will leave and/or have no interest in a hypothetical to the contrary, stop reading now and spare me the comments asking why I'm wasting my time and yours on this.]

 But let’s play a little what-if. 

What if Mike decides he’s had enough, that he has enough bank, and it’s time to – hell, I have no idea what he’d do if he weren’t broadcasting.  I also agree that it seems inconceivable that he would move to a competitor.  Hard to catch lightning in a bottle; even harder to pour lightning from one bottle into another.  

But never mind about the circumstances.  Let’s assume Mike doesn’t return.  Whence The Ticket?

A number of commenters have expressed the thought that BaD would move to the Hardline’s slot, and Corby/Danny would – well, no one’s quite sure.   I don’t know if there is any evidence for this.   It does make some sense; I can understand why some think this is the natural progression of things.

I’m skeptical.

Put yourself in the position of the CTO who has to make a decision of what to do if Mike leaves.  He’s (could be a she, I guess) looking at his lineup and the ratings.  He sees a boffo Number 1 BaD in afternoons, and a boffo Number 1 Hardline in PM Drive.  Been that way for years.  Loyal audiences who love things the way they are.   He’s losing one guy on one show.  A real important guy, it’s true, but one who some would say is not even the dominant influence on that show, and one whose interest seems to flag from time to time.  I don’t agree with either of those as the show is currently conducted, but that thought is abroad.

Which is the least risky thing for the CTO to do? 

Possibility (1):   Uproot these two ratings-busters – half of the programming day – and hope that what would be new audiences (at least to some extent) for each show would stick with the new show in the time period in which they were accustomed to tuning in; put Corby (and Danny?) into what is (possibly unfairly) regarded as a less glamorous time slot, assuming that the only thing that happened was that they would just do a simple switcheroo, which is itself by no means certain.  That is, moving BaD to drive wouldn’t necessarily dictate that the remaining Hard Guys would be placed in afternoons.  And if they didn’t move Corby/Danny to afternoons, then they have to come up with a new show for afternoons, and figure out what to do with Corby, who is unlikely to be overjoyed at any move at all, with attendant political problems in-house.  And that same CTO may be casting a nervous eye at late mornings and wondering what Norm is thinking about his own retirement. 

Let’s think about these audiences for a minute.  True it is that many P1’s like both BaD and The Hardline and would be happy enough to listen to Bob and Dan and Donovan during drive.  But surely the daytime audience is not entirely congruent with the drive audience.    It’s clear from the commenters on this site that both shows excite some fairly negative feelings.  Some folks, who knows what percentage, have a clear preference between the two shows, and you’ll be asking those people to listen to a show they’re disinclined to like in the first instance.  I have heard that BaD has many female listeners – would they like a Corby/Danny show as much as BaD (if Corby/Danny settled there)?   And BaD is much sportiser than The Hardline – will the people tuning in to The Ticket looking for more pop-culture/guy talk after a hard day’s work enjoy SportsSturm as much?  Dan’s acerbity?  HOCKEY? 

And we haven’t considered the host’s own preference.  Bob has an admirable attachment to his growing family, and he’s making a name for himself as a hockey broadcaster – how would a drive assignment affect those things?  

You can brush off any of these considerations and possibly be absolutely right.  But remember, you’re a CTO.  You have to answer all of these questions in a positive way in order for this move to be comfortable.   


Possibility 2:    Find a replacement for Mike on The Hardline.  I tend to agree with those who say that a Corby/Danny-only Hardline would probably not work, much as I like both performers.   Impossible to find a replacement, you say?  Certainly – Mike is irreplaceable if you want the New Hardline to sound exactly like the Current Hardline.  But freshening up the sound of The Hardline and keeping these shows in place might well be preferable to our risk-averse CTO.

In this connection, let me hearken back to something I said about White Elephant Day.  I said I was listening for something and that I heard it.   What I was listening for, and what I heard, was Corby doing a very good job as the primary host for the morning show.   He was smooth, he put aside the naughty-undergrad persona, and he was entirely credible as a more mature-sounding broadcaster.  Bits were good.   I think Corby’s range is somewhat underrated and I think he could work well with any number of different types of partners, including one who wasn’t as tolerant (and encouraging) as Mike is of Corby’s snakier offerings.

One last thing:  RaGE hasn’t made a dent in The Hardline’s popularity.  But it’s still there.  We can think what we want about the quality of Richie/Greggo’s offerings, but our fictional CTO might think:   Which would be more likely to cause people to experiment with punching in 105.3:   Corby/Danny with some plus-ones or a new co-host, where Hardline-curious listeners would at least tend to stick for awhile, even if they didn’t fall in love?  Or BaD Radio plopped into Hardline country?

Don’t think about these questions as a listener – think about them as a CTO whose career is on the line.  

Under Possibility (2), who might join Corby and Danny?  I have a couple of candidates in mind, neither one of which the Nation is likely to endorse, but I’ll save that for Part 4(b).

*     *     *
Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310


Friday, December 16, 2011

Had to Laugh in the Car at Something Greggo Said Today

Rhads and Followill were enjoyable enough, but it struck me that I hadn't checked out RaGE in awhile, so I punched over.  They were talking to some FANfan (their latest catchphrase -- at least I hadn't heard it before) who had won a contest and was sitting in on the show.  One of his interests was camping.

GREGGO:  Why would anyone want to go camping?

SYBIL:  You can go out in the woods and drink beer, not shower for three days.

GREGGO:  I can do that at home.

Dunno, just struck me funny.  Didn't listen for long, no other major impressions. 

Except that they're still around and not taking time off over the holidays.  I recall commenters predicting their demise well before now, but they're hanging on.

PS:  Question:  I thought I heard Rhads say that BaD was going to do some PM drive shows during the break.  Did anyone hear that or know what days that will take place?  Thanks.

*     *     *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Not Too Early to Ask Some Hard(line) Questions -- PART 3

After ascertaining that we like Mike  (LINK) and that Mike wants to keep broadcasting (LINK), we were left with the question:  What does the CTO think?

[CTO ("Cumulo-Ticket Overlords") can be singular, plural, or a synecdoche (i.e., a singular indicating the plural, like "P1" to refer to all P1's).  It may take a singular or plural verb, as the spirit strikes me.  Some Confessors would prefer that I not use it.  Sorry.  I do care what the Nation thinks.  I don't mind criticism of this site's habits.  I just need some shorthand to refer to management generally.  I could say "management" but it's too .  .  .  generic and robotic.]

A rational CTO, one would think, would understand the centrality of Mike to the success of The Hardline, and, in some ways, to The Ticket as a whole, as he is its most prominent public face.  One would think that the responsible CTO would put aside his or her animosity towards Mike and make him a reasonable offer and secure his services for as long as possible.

Not the CTO
But that's not a certainty.

The first thing that's not a certainty is that the CTO is rational.  I'm not in the industry but some years ago I gave some thought to buying a small radio station and I started to follow industry news.  I was amazed at some of the absolutely idiotic personnel decisions that station and company management would make regarding on-air personnel, TV and radio.  The urge to fiddle with success to justify one's job, compensation, and self-image must be overwhelming, because time after time station and network executives would make on-air personnel changes that any casual viewer/listener could have told him/her were destined for catastrophe. 

Reminds me of sports, come to think of it.  I followed a football team once that hired the consensus hottest coach hire in the business, a guy everyone wanted.  Guy comes in and proceeds to put half the defense in positions they'd never played before (hyperbole), and instituted an offense that was absolutely guaranteed not to make first downs (not hyperbole).  You knew, you just knew, that this guy had been grossly overrated and he knew it, and was trying to overcompensate by making counterintuitive moves that he was praying would work out and would support his earlier genius press clippings.  Uh, no.

So while I have had more than one occasion to say nice things about the CTO (example: LINK ), it is by no means impossible that someone who hasn't had a career bump in awhile might be thinking that they will be the one to save Cumulus Mike's salary and start the dominoes falling among those damned high-and-mighty on-air guys who need to be taken down a notch or two anyway and who need to know that everyone is expendable, and with the resulting revolutionary programming changes for which I will take credit The Ticket will achieve even greater glory.  It can happen.  There are men -- and women -- out there who think this way.  The further they are away from day-to-day broadcasting, the more they think that way.   And the hell of it is, after they ruin a broadcast property, they find another job. 

Now, I think it is unlikely here.  The CTO have for the most part kept hands off the successful formula developed very early on in The Ticket's history (for which, I am guessing, Mike was something of a template).  But I have seen it happen in major markets with high-profile local programming.

That coach found another job too, come to think of it.  With the same results.

Here's another thing we don't know:

How big a pain in the ass Mike is to his supervisors.

We love the guy, but there comes a point even with the biggest stars at which insubordination tips the scales away from perceived value.  (See, e.g., Charlie Sheen.  Yes, I know 2.5 Men isn't as good or as popular without him, but the point is -- Charlie's gone.)

This site occasionally hears from persons who give some sign of being informed insiders, or with access to informed insiders, who say that the animosity between Mike and CTO is real.  But my very uninformed guess is that Mike's not near an asshole enough off the air to suggest the wisdom of nonrenewing his contract.  I doubt he talks much to any managers, including America's Catman, and while he may not listen to them, either, I doubt that the actual friction in the executive suite(s) is at a point where anyone is feeling the need to rid the joint of a temperamental performer.   They might prefer if he'd read the memos, but his failure to do so isn't killing camaraderie or morale.  It may be a bad influence on Corby -- Danny, I doubt, cares very much -- but that's like John Dillinger being a bad influence on Baby Face Nelson. 

And as we said last time:  Mike has toned down the badmouthing of management, and he's a very loyal and reliable broadcaster.  Sponsors like hiring him to do recorded and live spots.  (Those E. Smith ads are classics.)   The CTO is going to break bread with the guy, irrespective of their irritation with his acting as though they don't exist.

So where are we with our irresponsible and rude speculations?  We want Mike; we think Mike wants to stay; we assume the CTO wants him to stay.

A lot of verbiage for not-very-controversial conclusions.  But we have to ask.

What's next in our series on What's On Mike's Desk?  One of Confessors' favorite topics.

*     *     *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Your White Elephant Assignment

Not sure how much time I'll be able to spend by the channel tomorrow.  I'll appreciate careful reportage from the Confessor Nation.

I'm less interested in bits (although your reviews of indivdual performances are always welcome) than with listening between the lines to gather clues about relationships between the players: 

Who is tense with whom;

who makes a slighting reference about whom that doesn't seem entirely friendly;

what combo hits it off that you might not expect;

who is not enjoying the experience;

who takes advantage of (or squanders) a rare opportunity to shine?

Stuff like that.  As always, thanks.

We'll be back to irritating Mike very shortly, unless there is another Casey Millen eruption.

Query:  If something like the CMillen contretemps had happened on, oh, say, KDFW or KXAS, wouldn't The Little One be all over it?  Always depends whose ox is gored, I guess.  That's the nice thing about running a one-guy blog -- limited opportunities for scandal.

*     *     *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Monday, December 5, 2011

We Interrupt This Nosy and Apparently Endless Series on Mike's Employment . . .

.  .  .  for a nosy article on someone else's employment.

Namely, Casey Millen's.

At this point, Confessors are probably aware that Casey made some highly personal and highly critical remarks about Matt McClearin on the Tee Box that apparently took Craig Rosengarden by surprise, although having given Casey the rudder his options may have been somewhat limited.  You can hear it here: (LINK).

While we're on the subject of the UnTicket, I am reposting a comment left by AP which for some reason failed to appear in the comment section to the Open Thread on "Tell a Friend about The Ticket Month."  If you are interested in this topic, there are some good comments on it back there, two articles back.  Here's AP:

I reposted it at The Unticket for two reasons:

1) I wanted to know if I'm just being a prude, or if what I heard was really that bad. The answer appears to be a bit of the former and a lot of the latter.

2) McClearin deserves to hear what was said about him.

I'm not fan of McClearin's radio work for various reasons, but he certainly does not deserve a shot like that. I'm actually a bit disappointed that Craig didn't dump the comment. He was however on remote and may not have been familiar with McClearin or his situation (Matt is 30+, this is his second marriage, and he married his current wife 2-3 years ago when she was 18).

Weekends at the ticket basically serve as the farm system for cultivating new talent. For producer/board ops, there's Kevin Turner, Mike Marshall, Dave Wilson, and even Jason Killer Kellison on occasion. Ticker men in regular weekend rotation include Michael Krenek and Casey Millen. It's competitive environment in which one must bring their own twist to get noticed. If you've listened to the 'It's Just Banter' episode with Mike Sirois, you'll hear him talk about having to "up his ****" to get noticed - and his MadLib tickers went over well enough with other hosts and management that he was a "shoo-in" for Bacsik's seat.

The weekend ticker guys also try to bring their own twist to their work - both insert subtle jokes during their one-minute slots, and both also take opportunities to pop on air whenever possible. Millen's work is decidedly more shock-jock than Krenek's as of late though.

Krenek has recently gained acceptance with weekday hosts, garnering notice and 'praise' from Bob, Dan, Grubes and Tom during his fill-in work with BaD Radio last week. Millen is a reluctant favorite of the Teebox's, and the weekend edition of the SoulPatch uses him in limited on-air doses. I don't believe Millen has ever had a fill-in opportunity during the weekday.

Millen filled in as a host for a Teebox show a few months ago, and his work had a similar level of abrasion to the McClearin comment - borderline shocking, and not terribly funny 'jokes' delivered in rapid-fire succession (at least for my taste, and I'm pretty crass). Read into this what you will, but Mike Sirois was tapped to fill in the next time the Teebox was a host short, and Newbury + Jake also did a fill-in when both hosts couldn't make it. I haven't heard yesterday's Teebox offerings, but I'm told by a purported Millen fan that he was more muted this time around.

"Pretty sure I'm being fired next week" has been his twitter tagline for several months now.

Regarding McClearin, I'm fairly certain that his co-host regularly surfs this blog and was aware of what was said before the audio was reposted. While coming out of a break during Tuesday's SoulPatch, Matt introduced himself as "the intelligent one" ... Scot quickly replied with "and I'm the enthusiastic one." (Scot'll work in a subtle reference or two on you based on things he's read here).

One last note - some of the posts complimentary of Millen's work here and on the unticket seem to be written by Millen himself. The Plainsman is very gracious about letting the anonymii remain anonymous, so I can't make the claim with 100% certainty, at least not for this site.

Thanks, AP. 

My quick and not-deeply-considered takes:

(1) Casey has some on-air gifts, but he's the most nakedly ambitious of the Ticket JV.  Maybe not the most ambitious, but he is least successful in hiding it.  It's why I occasionally refer to him as The Perpetually Up-and-Coming Casey Millen.

(2) When he's playing it straight, he can be good when given some air time.  He's glib, he's intelligent, and he tries to find interesting things to say.  Too bad about that catastrophic-lack-of-judgment thing.

(3)  I have no information on whether or not he's been fired.  If he was on the Tee Box Saturday, sounds like he survived.  I don't like to see guys fired for one horrible moment, although there are some levels of horribleness beyond which one cannot survive.  This one is bordeline, but on balance I think I'd try to handle this internally if I were Cumulus HR.

(4)  Casey has posted here under his own name a couple of times, not offensively.  Always happy to hear from Ticket guys.

(5)  I have suspected Casey of posting anonymously on his own behalf, and I actually caught his significant other doing so with a suspiciously laudatory post about the lad.  I outed her somewhere along the line in these pages, but wouldn't be able to find it now.

(6)  I am in agreement with some of the commenters to the last Open Thread who offered thoughts on what the JV will do to try to get noticed.  Some are more skillful at insinuating themselves onto the air than others.  Casey tends to come across as very aggressive and  brassy, as though he can hardly wait for an opening or an invite, and when it comes he practically bursts with schtick.  It's not that the content is bad, it just has calculated written all over it.  I bend over backwards to try to be fair to the junior guys, who have a tough row to hoe for not a lot of financial reward, and Casey is not an untalented guy.  Just too obviously eager.  If he survives this, I wouldn't be against giving him another fill-in shot somewhere.

(7)  Having said this, the McClearin thing was pretty awful.  Nothing to add to what has already been said about that.

(8)  However  .  .  .  why?  Why would a political guy like Casey have been moved to issue such self-damaging observations?  Let's think about this for a couple of minutes.

Matt has posted very kindly here on occasion, which the Nation appreciates.  He seems to have supporters (generally, I'm one) and those who are less enthusiastic (AP).  I have to say, however, that I have always found him a little  .  .  .  discomfiting.  Just a little  .  .  .  curious somehow.  I don't want to overstate this, because, as I say, on the whole I think he's working out well on The Soul Patch.

The whole young-wife thing, when it got big play on the station when he went to her prom (I believe they were afianced at the time) and when they were married, struck me as really kind of  .  .  .  man, I can't even think of the word for it.  Kind of an eewwww moment.  I really want to keep out of the personal lives of the Ticket guys (Norm's recent marriage a happy exception), but this was all over The Ticket, so fair game.   Yeah, yeah, we guys all yuk it up about getting younger at that position, but I really had to wonder about all that teasing.  I asked myself why he let this happen; I asked myself what the future Mrs. McClearin thought about all of it.   I don't want to be uncharitable -- maybe he felt that this is what his bosses wanted to do, so he had to go along with it; maybe he thought any pub is good pub.  And it wasn't in unusually bad taste by The Ticket's notably flaccid standards, just more or less male joshing.  But it made me wonder about him a little.

Then there was the close encounter with the aliens.  I'll pass on commenting on this except to say that it was certainly consistent with the archetypes of these types of account.   Another emotionally-charged, unusual personal experience by a not-yet-prominent guy on the station that got a lot of airtime.  Hmmm.

Next:  On-air friction with David Newbury, with Newbury seeming to get the worst of the reaction to it.  Numerous Confessors noticed it and commented on it in these pages.  Result:  McClearin up, Newbury down, perhaps a little unfairly in the latter case.  (FWIW at this point, I thought Matt was a little manic on those weekend shows with Newbury.  He's calmed down on Soul Patch and it's better work.)

And now, Casey Millen rather angry with him.

Where am I going with this?  Nowhere in particular, except to say that Matt seems to have a talent for getting noticed, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  He's skillful at it -- taking all of the foregoing into account, has anyone out there formed a strongly negative impression about him, based solely on what you hear on the channel?  (And not about what you might know about him off-hours?)

Can't speak for The Nation -- I have not.  But some of his colleagues apparently have.   I don't keep track of seniority among the JV, but my working theory here is Matt has leapfrogged some of the JV, and it has caused some resentment. 

Rambling, sorry.  But we don't get the curtain pulled aside at The Ticket very often, and when it happens, Your Source for Responsible Ticket Journalism has to get something up fast.   There's some sizzlin' inside baseball going on here, and I'm hopeful some Ticket Inside Baseball Jeebus can fill us in.

In the meantime -- Casey and Matt, you guys take care.

*   *   *
Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Not Too Early to Ask Some Hard(line) Questions -- PART 2

A couple of weeks ago I started sticking my digital nose into Mike Rhyner's business.  It's going to get worse.

First thing we explored was whether we want Mike to sign on again.  You can read my timeless thoughts on this subject here.  I certainly do, and I think the sense of the Nation is that it does as well. 

But that's not important now.  Our next topic is:  Does Mike want to re-up?

For quite a long time, Mike's sometimes (?) adversarial relationship with the CTO would be hinted at on The Hardline.  About every presentation or two, something would inspire him to grumble "Won't somebody come in here and buy this thing?"  And it didn't sound like a bit.

And from time to time someone who sounds like they might have a spot of inside knowledge will leave a comment on this site suggesting that Mike's relations with the CTO are consistently less than rosy. 

But somewhere along the line, something happened to Mike's public dyspepsia about his supervisors.  I'm thinking it may have been the internal Cumulo-Ticket fallout to those sodden ruminations on the shores of Lake Mingus when Mike, transfixed by the flickering campfire and addled by his shot-o-beer-a-minute heroics, suggested that February might be his Ticket schwanz-song.   (Actually, I don't remember if that was the same night he did the beer-shot challenge.)

Whatever it was -- suddenly, it seemed to me, he started to keep whatever hostility he felt under wraps.  I don't recall any requests that someone come in and buy the station since then.  It's doubtful his attitude changed, but I just don't remember hearing anything about it, other than the occasional grumbling about balky hardware in the soon-to-be-abandoned Ticket studios.

The guessing seems to be that Mike wants to keep broadcasting with The Hardline, and I think that's right.  Probably not so much about money.  Probably did OK when the founders sold, but I sometimes wonder if he wishes he and the other founders had held on a few more years.  Probably makes some good coin -- oh, we'll be looking into this in a future installment,  you may be certain --  and he's got Petty Theft for some walking-around money.

Nah, I think that for all his curmudgeonliness and rare checking-out, he is strongly committted to The Ticket and The Hardline.  Consider -- Mike almost never, ever  misses a show.   In general, Ticket hosts are a hearty bunch, but I can't remember any shows Mike has missed due to illness.  He's had the odd family commitment, but on at least one of those occasions I think he switched duties with Craig to allow a midday getaway rather than to miss a day of broadcasting.

But I think the biggest clue to his intentions is his performance.  This site was started one day when I was worried about Mike's slipping interest in the showgram and how out-of-balance it had become a year or so after Greggo the Hammer's departure.  I started to write about it.   Turns out I wasn't the only one who perceived this; in the years since, many Confessors have said the same thing.  However, in the last year-and-a-half, it seems to me that Mike's attitude has changed.  He's much more involved in helming segments and in participating in the ones that Corby or Danny initiates.  He's just more there than he was for a long period of time.  The Hardline has been as good in the last six months or so as it has ever been.  He's working it.  He wants to continue.

We think of him as the "Old" Grey Wolf but he's not, very, as talk-show stars go.  Early sixties; heck, he's got a lot of years left, as long as the listener demo doesn't start dying off.   Another topic for another day, that maddeningly shifting demo.

And what else would he do?  OK, Petty Theft.  But coming in to do a four-hour stretch with pretty minimal show prep, sitting and talking, and doing a lot of listening to Corby -- is a pretty sweet shot.   Replacing that with -- sitting around?  Traveling?  Giving interviews (right)?  Nah.

There's something else:  As marvelous a radio presence as Mike is, he's less notable when he's away from The Hardline.  We've mentioned it before:  When he sits on on a pre-game, or even participates in a roundtable, he pretty much vanishes.  It's hard to imagine him risking an attempt to transfer chemistry he has with Corby and Danny (and Nice Young Michael and even Ty and sometimes Rich) to strangers on a strange station.

So yeah, I think he's going to listen when the CTO come calling, if they haven't already.

But what about the CTO?  Part 3 coming up.

*     *     *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

Thursday, December 1, 2011

OPEN THREAD: What Happens When You Tell a Friend About the Ticket?

November was supposedly Tell a Friend About the Ticket Month. 

Whenever I ask a conversational friend whether they listen to The Ticket, assuming that he's male, I never get a response that they've never heard of The Ticket.  So telling them about The Ticket is usually unnecessary.  I usually get one of several reactions:

--  they're Ticket listeners and enjoy it.  Given it's healthy ratings, I'm surprised that this is the reaction I get least.

-- they don't listen to The Ticket because it doesn't have enough sports.  They split equally between FAN and ESPN.

-- They don't listen to The Ticket because it's too dirty.

What reaction do you get?  If, in fact, you proselytize for The Ticket.  As we all should.

*     *     *

URGENT MESSAGE TO ALL CONFESSORS:  The circumstances of my employment have kept me away from the channel for the last few days, and that may continue for a little while.  I would appreciate if anyone hears anything of interest that they'd like to comment on, please do leave a comment here.  Sorry for being a little distant, and hope to be back with more blasts soon.

*     *     *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310