Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick Thought, Maybe Not Worth a Post, But . . .

A commenter to the prior article noted that Greggo was on The Fan teevee show.  I responded that for all its broadcast lameness, The Fan is not giving up and is in there swinging.  (And it's not that lame, even.)  

An anonymous commenter wrote:  "The Fan is definitely not sitting around on their arse. I'm not a Fan fan (as they say), but the station and its, ahem, talent (OK, Elf and Josh are talented) are becoming more and more visible/present in the local sports scene. And doing it on very visible stages."

Yeah, that's right.   Now, it's not like The Ticket does nothing.  It does TicketStock.  It does remotes.  It does Fight Night and charity games.

But those are sporadic one-offs.  And they're directed primarily at people who already listen.   They don't compare with real honest-to-god systematic  advertising and always-visible promotion in the competition for new ears.

Someday, the CTO are going to regret the lack of promotional and capital investment in The Little One. 

Keeping up with The Fan is one thing.  The Fan looks like a well-financed (or at least splashy) local sports station compared to the "little" Ticket -- a locution Mike uses sarcastically, but which is starting to feel more and more accurate.  

The other -- I'm telling you, I know I am getting tiresome on this topic but this is not a small thing and is going to get bigger as time goes by -- is the appalling inattention to The Ticket's signal.  We've been hearing how it's going to get better for a long time.  Based on my systematic observation (i.e., driving around), it hasn't.   I haven't heard a compelling rationale for not giving The Ticket WBAP 96.7 FM.  (See detailed ramblings in this article from last year.

You can say that The Ticket talent kicks Fan arse all the way to ESPN-national-feed and back, and you'd be right.  But relentless promotion that is unanswered by Cumulus can't help but eventually have some effect.  A crack in the windshield, a foot in the door  .  .  .  .   

I'm not saying it's likely to happen soon, but when one competitor is moving and you're standing pat, and your hosts are aging, and your demo is aging, and whether you can even hear the station depends on the dew point in your vicinity on that particular day  .  .  .  .

Next thing you know, Ticket hosts aren't publicizing the latest numbers every quarter anymore. 

Abe's Gettysburg Address was more reliably broadcast than KTCK programming. 
And I think he had a sports bar.
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James said...

Preach it!

Anonymous said...

As the frosted-tipped Guy Fieri would say: "Totally ON-POINT, dude!"

By the way, I just heard Sirois say to Norm "let's confuse Norm." Norm replied "Ah...let's confuse the audience." Norm was right. I like Sirois, but he needs to remember that it's the "Norm Hitzges Show," not CDS. Not two seconds go by without Sirois chiming in with a faux Norm moan or some Ben and Skin-ish/wannabe Dennis Miller odd reference to something no one gets but he, his brother, and their friends. I for one wish it would stop.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd say this, but I will not be surprised if The Ticket, if not neck and neck, finds itself in second place behind The Fan in several time slots. Which time slots? Not a.m. drive; no one's going to touch those who so gently Muse, and especially not by what The Fan is offering during that slot. Norm, perhaps the second hour of his show. BaD, a definite candidate. Why Norm and BaD? By CBS commiting more money toward advertising and the buying their way (as well as using their vast resources--TXA 21 is a CBS station, hence the new nightly sports program) to prominence. The Hardline, another definite candidate. Why The Hardline? Not because RaGE is throwing out great programming, it's not; but rather because its product is getting weaker and lazier by the month--that in conjunction with the above mention of CBS's deep pockets and resources. I think Plainsman's analysis concerning the neglect of the signal and advertisements is finally going to bite Cumulus, and by proxy The Ticket, in its arsey arse is correct.

The Plainsman said...

I thought I would get a lot of responses saying that The Fan could never conceivably catch up with The Ticket. That we haven't yet seen these is some (admittedly highly anecdotal and statistically insignificant) indication that the competition between the two stations bears watching.

For the record, I am not as pessimistic as Anonymous. Any parity between The Fan and The Ticket is a long ways off. A material change in the rankings would require either significant host turnover or significant listener turnover. I don't foresee the former for quite a long time. For reasons I will get to in a few days, I am now certain that Mike R will be with The Ticket for quite a while longer. Corby's deal is up in a couple of years and he will probably be signing on as well. I don't expect Bob or Dan to leave, although Bob is a possibility -- a remote one, in my view. Norman is getting up there, but seems to me to be going strong. Oddly, I'm thinking that a Muser or two or three might be looser in the socket than some of the other candidates. But their departure also seems quite unlikely. I can see Donovan, or Rich,or a Sirois moving on, and of course the JV is all up for grabs. But fundamentally, I think the lineup will be the same for awhile.

If it were going to get stale, it would already have done so, against The Fan high-visibility broadcast onslaught. I do agree with Anonymous that if a show begins to take its listeners for granted or shows an obvious lack of respect it becomes apparent through the speakers, and a P1 can stray. Right now, I'm not hearing that, although I have heard it in the past with The Hardline.

Listner turnover is another matter, especially in the desirable demographic. P1's grow old and leave the station (or the earth); young sports listeners come fresh to the radio wars. P1's leave the metro (and maybe stream, or maybe not), and other sports listeners arrive, equally innocent to what's going on in the medium. It's these ears that will determine the books of the future.

But listener turnover is also extremely slow and incremental and hard to measure.

So I think The Ticket is going to continue be the market leader, if not with its current magnitude of dominance, for at least a few more years.

But that's an eyeblink in dinosaur time. The smart CTO will plan for change. If it were me, I'd start by making sure my product could be heard 24 hours a day in the entire metropolitan area and somewhat beyond. The second thing I would do is at least act proud of the lineup I was throwing out there, and give this amazing talent some promotion.

The Ticket had better break out the Green Tail Shiner and start polishing its brand to a high sheen.

Anonymous said...

Interesting point about a Muser possibly leaving. I think I agree with you. The obvious guess would be Gordo leaving for greener, more national pastures. But on second thought, I'd put my money on Junes. He's already admitted that he seriously considered leaving on at least one occasion, and I have a feeling that there's a lot more/other things he'd like to do in life.

Anonymous said...

End of an era on Maple. And no good-bye sound byte Grubes?

Grubes said...

Sorry. Had to get out for Stars. No time for bits. :(

But tune in Sunday around 11am. Juuuuuust sayin....

ap said...

Thanks for the tip, Grubes - is that when they flip the big switch?

Anonymous said...

The "CTO's" aren't going to spend thousands of dollars advertising as long as the Ticket is still #1 M25-54. and guess what? They're still #1 M25-54, by a long shot. the Fan has hurt KESN's ratings more than they've hurt the Ticket's ratings.
Lack of capital investment? Stop by the 4th floor of 3090 Olive and you'll see capital investment.

And as for the signal, let's remember something. 1310 sold in 1994 from Bonneville to Cardinal Communication for 3 million dollars. Cardinal sold out to SFX a year later for 8 million
And then it sold to Susquehanna for about 14mil in May of 1996.

98.3, a crappy FM siganl sold a few years back for 16mil+.
To get a 'good' FM signal, or a significant upgrade to an AM signal would require in the 10's of millions of dollars. Check that broker's site for an understanding of pricing of stations. And realize that any station that has a decent signal will probably have decent billing. And with common BCF multiples of 5-8, the CTO's aren't going to pay 50-80 million let's say, for a better signal when KTCK is billing just fine with the crap signal they've got. Not to mention that to buy a better signal, you've got to have someone willing to sell a signal. Why would Clear channel, CBS or anybody else sell them a better signal? And as for other signals in house, flipping 570 and 1310 would kill 570 and whatever billing it has. And 96.7 is a halfway decent signal north of town, and it sucks south of town. It's 104.1 slightly closer to town.