Sunday, February 26, 2012

From a Copyrighted Story from Saturday's Dallas News . . . .

So sue me.

Some interesting numbers from the last ratings book.

Ticket wins.  Despite disappearing from the ratings world for a few days there.

Prize demo, 25-54 males, 6 a.m.-7 p.m.:

    Ticket:  6.0
    ESPN:  3.3
    Fan:  3.1

Same demo, 6 a.m. to midnight:

    Ticket:  4.6
    Fan:  3.3
    ESPN:  2.9

All demos:

    Ticket:  2.1
    Fan:  2.0
    ESPN:  1.5

Prize demo, drive:

    Hardline:  8.2
    Galloway:  5.0
    RaGE:  2.2

(Separate Norm, BaD, and Muser numbers not reported in the article.)

Fun fact:  Lewin/Elfenbein was the only Fan show to beat ESPN in every hour, not sure if this was prize demo or across the board. 

I was slightly surprised in the categories where ESPN beat The Fan.  I don't follow the ratings very closely, but my guess would have been that The Fan would have nosed out ESPN across the board, and I sure would have expected RaGE to do a lot better against Galloway. 

(By the way, I was speaking with a very astute guy in the heart of the prize demo the other day, a long time P1 (although not a fanatic), and he told me that he's drifted away from The Hardline.  He doesn't object to particular content; he just said that when he would tune into The Hardline, it was "just all over the place."  He said he was thinking Greggo was sounding pretty good these days.   Dunno -- I haven't punched over to The Fan for awhile.)

Got nothing profound to say here.  Just passing it along. 

Thanks to a couple of readers for good email topics, at least one of which I'll try to get to shortly.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

A Question for Junior

I was fascinated by Junior's "neighbor talk" last week.  He has an across-the-street neighbor lady who will not return his hearty waves and greetings, hundreds of efforts at neighborly reaching-out completely snubbed by this woman.  Gordon reported a similar experience with a next-door neighbor.

Both Craig and Gordon professed utter incomprehension at this treatment.  Was it something they did?  Junior asked the group whether he should confront this woman personally to find out what her problem is. The sense of the showgram was that he should not waste his time.

What surprised me about this discussion was that no one considered whether the neighbor's attitude might have had anything whatsoever to do with the fact that Junior/Gordon work at The Ticket.  Not everyone in the Metro would recognize a Ticket host, but I'll bet the neighbors of each of them know who they are.  [SEE CORRECTION -- FIRST COMMENTER BELOW.]

And some people just don't like The Ticket.  Some people, in fact, dislike The Ticket a lot.

Sometimes some of you guys take me to task for my complaints about Ticket vulgarity and its attitude toward women. In fact, I seldom mind it very much, but among people who don't like The Ticket, a substantial percentage of them object to that aspect of its broadcast ethos.   In other words, among people who don't like The Ticket, a lot of them dislike it for reasons that relate to issues about which people are culturally sensitive and highly judgmental.   Although Junior is by no means the chief practitioner of the racy arts, perhaps his neighbor is tarring him with that brush. 

Here is my question for Junior:  Is your unfriendly neighbor a churchgoer?  OK, hold on:  One does not need to be a Christian in order to dislike The Ticket, of course, nor does being a Christian disqualify anyone from being a P1. However, among people who object to The Ticket on broadcast-standards grounds, I would think that a fairish percentage of them are churchy types who might well believe The Ticket to be at the vanguard of the decline in public and private morality and civility, the home of broadcast profanity and lewdness.  They see it as a symbol of what has gone wrong with America.  If the answer to my question is "yes," you might be on the road to an answer as to why your neighbor has no interest in brightening your day. 

Um  .  .  .  of course I have absolutely no idea what Craig's neighbor has against him.  Maybe she thinks his bike shorts are too revealing.  In any event, I was surprised that neither Craig nor Gordon ascribed any significance to their own prominence, and what it might mean to people they encounter from day to day.

Don't laugh, and don't scoff.   (Well, of course you can laugh and scoff, and feel free to do so in the comments.)   But it would not shock me in the slightest if Junior's and Gordon's neighbors not only have  no objection to how they keep their yards, but believe that they're actually bringing down property values.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Are Delighted to Welcome a Very New Confessor

Everyone knows Confessor and frequent commenter Jonaessa, MTC's li'l sister.  We haven't heard from her recently for the best of reasons:  She writes to advise that she gave birth to a baby -- don't know if it her first -- last month. 

True to her anonymous code, she provides no details on the infant's gender, weight, length, or name.  However, in her note she does write:

"I have come to think of MTC as a cyberspace family, an extension of the familiarity I think we all feel after years of listening to the guys on the Ticket.  Just as we develop a rapport with these on-air personalities by listening to them every day, I've come to develop a rapport with these bloggers and commenters."

Isn't that nice?  Please join me in congratulating Jonaessa on this exciting time for her and her family.  She writes that she's been unavoidably away from the channel the last few months but will be back soon listening to The Ticket and giving us more of her best.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Visit to TicketStock 2012

At great risk to my employment, I contrived to be in the vicinity of Irving, Texas on Friday afternoon (all right -- I ditched the gig entirely, if you want to know the truth), and visited TicketStock.

It was very enjoyable and even impressive.  I commend it to the Confessor Nation when it next rolls around.  Very nice job by the organizers.  I was only able to attend for couple of hours, so no TimeWasters, no LT.

Here are some photos and impressions.

Parking:  I was there pretty early and the indoor parking was almost full.  I got a spot on the upper level of the parking structure.  I'm not sure where everyone else was going to park.  However, there were stewards on hand at the various drive-in entrances and it seemed like they were ready for a crowd.  Do not be alarmed by the line of people standing circling the Irving Convention Center -- they were waiting for the box office to open to sell tickets for some other event.

First, I was welcomed by a parking-garage elevator that made it clear that one need not be a P1 to attend, but that listeners exhibiting all levels of Ticket devotion are welcome:

Visitors are welcomed by comely TicketChicks decidedly non-TicketChick attire:

I will have more to say about TicketChicks below.

There was one very offbeat note to the whole thing, and that is that the proceedings seemed to have a Mardi Gras theme, which I do not recall from any of the promotions on the station.  You'll be able to see this more clearly in the photos below.  This is why, for example, the TicketChicks were attired in semi-harlequin attire and not the usual t-shirt and shorts.  I must say, the outfits were quite flattering, although I don't believe there was anything on them that said "Ticket."  In fact, I did not enter from the entrance you see above, and it took me awhile to figure out that said chicks were, in fact, TicketChicks.  There were beads and Mardi Gras-flavored stuff all over the place. 

Overall, the gestalt was very positive.  Lots of smiles, no hassles, just a buncha guys having a pretty good time.  The attendees were overwhelmingly male,  no shock there.  I had imagined that it would consist largely of vendors and sponsors lined up in rows with their booths, with some activities and major-sponsor megaexhibits thrown in, and and that is exactly what I found.

The broadcast was as you have seen in online photos in the past, the participants in easy chairs on an elevated stage.  The sound was good.   It does, however, give you some appreciation for the virtues of individual mic modulation -- Dan's voice was way, way too loud through no fault of his own, painfully so, and others blessed with less natural projection (Donovan) could be a bit hard to make out.    If you wanted to listen to the broadcast, however, you could do so without much trouble.  Note the Mardi Gras mask of comedy overseeing the proceedings.   Please also note the spare-no-expense security barricades set up to prevent overenthusiastic P1's from rushing the stage. 

T.C., Donovan (pending down), Mike (partly hidden), Dan, Bob, and Corby
The bleachers were pretty full, but when I was there you could find a seat if you wanted to sit down.  There were also some Southwest Airlines seats scattered around that you could sit in, and some people brought their own chairs, including the guys who brought their Ty Walker posters exhibiting their guesses as to what porn star's birthday he would be promoting that day, and which cinematic selections from her oeuvre Ty would select (they got the porn star right, but only guessed one of three of her films).   Note pretend Southwest Jet in the background:

Here is the guy in the bleachers the hosts nominated as the most likely to have done time:

Here's the Hardline interviewing Sean Lee:

Other than Southwest Airlines, the main sponsor who had a large exhibit, the largest footprints were left by the Cowboys:

And Bud Light, who had a very cool mobile saloon set up:

Those interested in a less, uh, promotional beer acquisition experience could easily access a purveyor of those certain beverages:

Food was available at prices that Jerry Jones wouldn't even recognize as conceivable at Cowboys Stadium:

Occasionally one would have to cut through lines of folks waiting for autographs:

The half-court basketball setup was pretty nice.  Obviously the big crowds had not arrived yet, but when I was there one could grab a ball and try some three-pointers or maybe even scare up a pickup game.  People lined up for autographs had to be vigilant else they might be bonked on the gourd by a shot missing the backboard:

But I must tell you that the most fun I had was visiting with some of the sponsors and other vendors who had exhibits.   Oddly, the Ticket booth, where I believe you could get a free T-shirt and chat with a Ticket Chick or two, was almost always deserted:

And United Rentals either failed to pay their fee, or successfully rented all of their stuff in the few hours since TS opened its doors:

If the Ticket sales staff wants to use this site as a reference for future sales calls they're welcome to do so, because I spoke with a couple of vendors who were not even Ticket on-air sponsors but reported a positive response to their attendance at TicketStock.  One was an enthusiastic young woman who worked for a company called Daylight Rangers, who described the benefits of solar cooling and a product that conducted sunlight from the roof down into the house using highly-reflective tubing from a company called Solatube.  They are not Ticket sponsors, but she reported positive results from their attendance at past TicketStocks in terms of leads and referrals.  (If anyone asked why I wanted a photo, I always told them that I had a Ticket website and was just resporting on the proceedings.  I did not reveal my name or the website, but would have given the latter had there been any interest.)   She was a little suspicious of me when I asked permission to take a picture, so her condition was that she would be seen to be checking some documents.  If you are a Daylight Ranger supervisor, I can report that she is an excellent representative of your company:

I also had a nice chat with a woman who owned a company called Cigars A Go Go, a start-up that will bring a mobile cigar bar to your golf outing, party, or other event.  I bought some handsome stogies which I unaccountably left at one of my photographic destinations, so I hope who ever picked them up is enjoying them:

Dr. True's assistant told me about his weight-loss and male-re-invigorating practice, one of at least three that were present:

There were two notable absences:  Sweet Jack, whose 1-foot-3 presence was nowhere to be seen, and All-Pro Foundation Repair.  However,the MTC-endorsed Structured Foundation Repair did pop for a booth, although it was somewhat forlornly situated outside of the mainstream.  I failed to think of a conversational gambit that would persuade the two chaps manning the booth that I was interested in foundation repair, and they were eyeing me suspiciously as I strolled near their booth with my Droid deciding whether to snap their picture.  

I opted to wait until next year to engage them, and hit the Hooters booth, where I failed to "win a surprise" by draining a toy basket with a toy basketball.  I never found out what the surprise was, but I did get a coupon.  Unaccountably, I failed to get a picture of the two alluring young Hootettes manning the booth.

Which brings us to the Ticket Chicks.

In the tireless service of the Confessor Nation I have now been to a few Ticket remotes.  The TicketChicks have ranged from surly to cheerful, and most seem extremely young.  Not a thing in the world wrong with that from Your Plainsman's point of view, but the crew at TicketStock was another batch entirely, or so it appeared to me (I would not be able to identifiy an Official TicketChick on sight in any event.)    The word that first came to mind was "fetching," which I realized was not the right word to use in the wake of Ms. Houston's passing.

I mentioned the Mardi Gras theme.  There was an area that was decked out in Mardi Gras regalia where one could always find two or three TicketChicks hanging out on a couch and where the occasional guy would stop by to chat or have his picture taken.  The TicketChicks were always gracious and happy to oblige.  This stalwart P1 just wanted some conversation:

I stopped by and asked what this thing was, and the TicketChicks told me it was pretty much just for guys who wanted to have their pictures taken with TicketChicks.  I must say, the TicketChick contingent when I was there was very impressive, and, more to the point, they were approachable and friendly and doing exactly what it was they were being paid to do:   Indulge the male's infinite capacity for self-deception.  Your Plainsman, a rough-hewn man of the frontier, is not exactly the type that is going to turn the head of your average attractive woman in her late teens or early twenties, and he is deeply in love with Mrs. Plainsman, who might someday read these words, but I cannot deny that these chicks were worth whatever Cumulus had bargained them down to.  A trio posed for me:

I have on my list to do a TicketChick article sometime when I had more material.  I have always harbored the suspicion that there are really only a very few official TicketChicks, and that The Ticket hires very young aspiring models or actresses from agencies on a strictly ad-hoc basis.  I mean, if you go to the TicketChick site on, as all P1's do at one time or another, you will find that it is perpetually under construction, featuring photos of young women you have probably never seen at a Ticket event.  No matter.  These TicketStock Ad Hoc TicketChicks were great, a real credit to the proceedings, and probably prolonged my stay at the Irving Convention Center by a good half-hour.

Well, that's it, Confessors.  I had a good time.  I'll try to make it again next year, perhaps with a more focused reportorial agenda.  In the meantime, my thanks to the CTO for making it worthwhile to drive to Irving.

Your TicketStock impressions?

Friday, February 17, 2012

@That Nice Young Michael Gruber


My policy is to honor the confidentiality of anyone who emails to me, but since your email was simply a nice one-line invitation to attend TicketStock, I didn't think you would mind if I answered you personally.

It had been my plan to attend either later today or sometime tomorrow.  However, the press of business, Mrs. Plainsman having something annoying for me to do, or the possibility of being in France, means that it is looking unlikely.  But thanks anyway.

And I must say:  Attending Ticket events always presents me with a dilemma.  Like any P1, I'd find it delightful to meet any of the guys whose talent I enjoy and admire so much. 

But I'm wondering if My Ticket Confession hasn't become something of a harsh mistress.  I claim -- some would say "pretend" -- that MTC is Your Source for Responsible Ticket Journalism, which suggests the need to maintain some observational distance from Ticket personalities so that I may continue fearlessly to comment objectively on their broadcast comings and goings.  Of course, a handshake and "keep up the good work" probably wouldn't impeach the site's credibility all that much. 

If "credibility" is something it possesses to begin with. 

So I dunno.  I'm conflicted about introducing myself.

But one thing I'm not conflicted about is that  OPEN THREAD on TicketStock starts NOW.  This year or any.  Email photos, please.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Nation Is Restless

Holy crud-o-mighty, 80 comments to the last thread.  Record hits.   Some great comments, and some fine newcomers.  Can't tell you how grateful I am for all of your comments, expertise, and thoughtfulness.

But some in the Confessor Nation are unhappy with me for not providing fresh MTC fodder. (At least one is unhappy with the whole concept of a Confessor Nation.) 

It's true.  I'm sorry about that.  I've been out of town, tied up with family stuff, working on work stuff, not feeling tippy-top.  Jeebus, I've had GOUT.  Guys in my demo and physical condition are not supposed to get gout.  Like something out of an old New Yorker cartoon.

When I hear something that I think might make an interesting article, I write it down on a list.  My list is now six typed pages long.

The problem is that there is usually something of current interest, or something that the Nation has gotten excited about.   Stuff of interest to write about.   Which means that all those interesting topics recede into the past and get stale.  I mean, who wants to read about T.C.'s big prank, asking hosts to provide bit topics for him in late night calls?  Matt McClearin's account of alien encounter is deep in the past.  Interested in my latest thoughts on Gum Out ads?    I didn't think so.  If you want me to dip into the stale topic archives, let me know.

Now, as it happens, some of the topics on my list would still work.  Not as exciting as the recent tech flameout, but they'd do.    And I've got a Hot Sports Opinion in the oven that, unfortunately for you, is actually about sports.  I'm going to try to get to TicketStock next week for an on-scene report.  But tonight -- none of it looks like much fun to me after the recent behind-the-scenes drama.

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to find out if you sometime get the same feeling that I do.

I've been unavoidably away from the channel, and I don't have a lot of time to go back and check out what The UnTicket has selected for us.

And, as has happened from time to time in the past, I found out that I didn't miss it all that much.  Sometimes I can't wait to get back to the Ticket-listening routine; sometimes, takes me a day or two to get back into the habit. 

It has nothing to do with The Ticket itself.  I listen to the showgrams, they're perfectly fine, no one boring me, no one making me angry, no one being a jerk.  The SweetJack commercials are even starting to recede into the overall commercial noise.  I just sort of  .  .  .  forget.  I got to work this morning, realized about a half-hour later that I'd forgotten to switch the Musers on.  3:30 rolls around, I can usually spin The Hardline and do so nearly every day possible -- again, just kind of passed me by.

So sometimes, for reasons having nothing to do with any deficiencies coming out of the speakers, I take a break from The Ticket.   Sometimes I check out the competition, see if there are any topics popping up there, but it's usually so unlistenable that I switch the Philco over to KNTU 88.1 or some Real Jazz or Little Steven's Underground Garage or Deep Tracks on Sirius XM.  But usually back to The Little One.

Oh, I'll be back with an HSO pretty soon, and, shortly thereafter, I hope, with an STD.

Ever take a break from The Ticket?  And if you do, how do you spend that listening time?

And if that doesn't interest you -- the topic list is always wide open at MTC.

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Monday, February 6, 2012


Already had three comments on the last article, and I'm pleased to see one of them was AP, so we'll be hearing what I'm about to write about on The UnTicket:

1310AM  and The Stream went dark early early this morning, and Those Who Muse So Gently were not happy about it.  I haven't heard all of the on-air references to Cumulus technical incompetence over the past few weeks, but this one was a sizzler.

In fact, it sounded like it was Ripped from My Ticket Confession.  Junior spoke eloquently about signal swapping, and how a competing station was getting two powerful signals, and The Ticket was supposed to stay number one against that with their two cruddy signals, which are only intermittently on the air.  Longtime Confessors will reall that this site has been howling about signal swap almost since it began.

There was mention made of bolting The Ticket.  I'll come back to this.

And then George -- of all people, George -- singled out a particular individual, although no names were used.  He said to this person -- SHOCKING! -- "You stink." Later on, he graduated to "You suck!"  I don't know which of the three called him an "idiot."  I don't know who this knucklehead is, but it's someone who has had some hegemony over The Ticket, or perhaps Ticket technical matters, only in the past year -- and reference was made to this person screwing up last year's Super Bowl broadcasting.  (Perhaps it's this Brett Blankenship guy.)  They even suggested that this "idiot" was protected by some higher-ups for some reason. 

It was the most angry I have ever heard a Ticket host, including Mike R.

Oh, yeah, and right after this rant, some broadcast from an entirely different station cut into an advertisement, and we all had to be puzzled by this for a little while.  (It did not sound like sports-talk to me -- it sounded like it might have been WBAP.) 

As usual, The Musers had the courage to make a gag out of it -- saying that they felt safe in ripping management because they weren't on the air anyway. 

Hey, a SweetJack commercial!!

A commenter has expressed the view that a Muser will be leaving the showgram sometime in the coming year.  That would not shock me.  It also would not shock me if The Musers have a plan to leave the station entirely sometime in the future, as a group, as their contracts expire.   Unlike Mike and Corby, they started with their show at the same time, did they not?  Which would mean that their contracts all might expire at the same time.  They would have to wait out their noncompetes, if they even have noncompetes, and they would wait for all three of them to get clear of their employment contracts, and then they'd all re-assemble at a competitor. 

I'm sure that all the hosts feel a strong attachment to The Ticket and an emotional connection and commtiment to their colleagues.  But Cumulus has not shown either respect or support to them in recent years.  It was either Junior or Gordon who said it this morning, and once again I don't have the exact words, but it was to the effect that Cumulus's serial screwups, invisible promotional support, and inattention to the signal are going to come home to roost, the implication being that these deficiencies would result in an outflow of broadcast talent.

Frankly  .  .  .  wouldn't break my heart.

Would I have to change the name of this site? 

I dunno, the CTO seems to think that "The Soul Patch" still makes sense for a coupla really white guys.

Quick question:  Is there any media reportage in either of the major area newspapers?  Is anyone else writing about this?

I won't be able to listen much today.  Please let us know what you hear.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I've Had a Vision

As the last commenter pointed out, it's February.

Mike Rhyner contract time.

Or is it?

You can say what you want about Richie Whitt, but, unlike Your Plainsman, he had sources.  So when Mike and Corby signed their deals, he knew about it and reported on it and got some quotes.

Me -- as they say on The Hardline -- not so much.

So we heard Mike speculating on the conclusion of his tenure at The Ticket at the campout on Lake Mingus last spring, mentioning February, what I speculated was the end of his contract.  So I've had some fun the past couple of months with speculations, guessing, predictions, and, of course, our valuable advice to the CTO.

And then, listening to The Hardline a month or two back, right around the time I was finishing up the last of the four pieces, I heard something.

I was in the Conestoga at the time wrestling with some recalcitrant horsies, so I couldn't write anything down and by now, I've forgotten exactly what I heard, forgotten the words.  I should have written about this awhile ago but thought I would save it up.  The problem with that, of course, is that memory fades.

So this will be a little frustrating for me to relate and for you to read, but as I had the Philco struggling to pull in 1310 AM while I was gee-hawing the horsies, I heard Mike talking.

And he said something.

I can't remember the words, but I remember the sound of his voice.  It was like he temporarily forgot he was broadcasting, he kind of sighed and said something kind of -- I don't know, sentimental, suggestive, relieved -- didn't sound like Mike.

And then it struck me.

That son-of-a-buck signed his contract months ago.

I should have figured it out sooner.

Look, if the guy was getting all morose about staying at the Ticket early in 2011, then he was probably already talking turkey with the CTO.  It was going to get done sooner than 10 months later.  I think it did.

And no Richie Whitt to tell us about it.

So how can we get this confirmed or denied?  I have two strategies.

The first was inspired by a discussion on the Musers, I believe it was, talking about how gossip-mongers and website sensationalists drive traffic, by making an outrageous assertion that no one bothers to deny, but by denying that the reporter himself actually believes it they halfway protect themselves.  I'm going to give it a slight grammatical twist.

So I am here to report that:

I'm not saying I have any proof of this, and it could possibly be false, but:  (1) Mike Rhyner was born as a female, or (2) he signed a new contract with The Ticket/Cumulus sometime in mid-to-late 2011.

This can only be denied if both parts of it are false.  So if this statement is denied by someone with knowledge, then Mike did not sign a contract some time ago.  If someone in authority says it is true, then we are left to imagine which half is true (because the statement is true if either part is), and the unlikelihood of (1) will suggest to us that (2) is true.

Of course, if no one says anything, then we're back where we started.

Which leads me to my second strategy:


Hey, Jeff and Mike:  How about a scoop for the Confessor Nation?  Come on, I know we take our shots from time to time but I think you have to admit that both this site and the Confessor Nation are positive about The Ticket and even finds some nice things to say about the CTO from time to time.  Even when we're critical, we make every effort to be fair and keep things civil.  How many times do you get a chance to do a solid for Your Home for Responsible Ticket Journalism?  Drop me a line at   No details, just the broad outlines of the deal.  Aw, come on, how's about it?   

I'll let you know if I hear anything.

I don't know if he's an Old Grey Wolf.  But I'm pretty sure he's at least an Old Grey Fox.

Old Grey Fox -- I swear, I did not Photoshop this

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