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.
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