[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|
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.
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