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 http://www.theticket.com/, 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?

25 comments:

normalguyguide said...

We were sitting right next to each other, although I am missing in your photos (I got up quite a bit to take my own photos). I drove up from San Antonio for TicketStock and loved every minute of it. It was great to meet the remaining hosts I hadn't yet met - and I always get a thrill out of watching Bob's sports mind work in person. Rhyner even performed a TicketStock photobomb (like his Super Bowl antics) at my request. I got to spend some time talking with George and Junior and shared Tom Foolery stories with them (I used to work with ol' Tom himself - their old college roommate). My only complaint, and it's a minor one, was the sight lines were way too obstructed for the Time Wasters concerts. I'm claustrophobic and had to move back from the bleachers area when everyone crowded in - but the Southwest Jet, Ticket Chick area and Cowboys bus made it impossible to see the stage. Like I said - that was kinda minor. I had a blast and it was well worth the 4.5 hour drive up.

ervinlang318 said...

I attended friday nights timewasters.The parking garage that was next to the convention center was full although cars were leavng out security refused to let new cars go in so we had to walk all the way down by the apartment complex to park.I know the ticket hosts probably dont give a crap but having those promotions props blocking everything really killed my buzz.Its like they expected 100 people to show up.Move it back to Plano if this is how its going to be.

ervinlang318 said...

also the performances in my opinion were better last year. this year they felt pretty half azz and mailed in..

stay hard whitney !!!! fake greggo out !

fondaporn said...

Guhgree with ervin's assessment. This was actually the subparrest ticketstock I've been to. I've been to 7 or so, I think. I suspect the use of pipe and drape to cordon off the main area was to be able to charge the "inside" vendors more, and possibly make the main area feel more full, but it resulted in almost zero visibility for MANY folks during the TW show. Also, parking situation was awful.

The Plainsman said...

Interesting variance between what the Musers are reporting ("best TS and TW ever") and the last couple of comments which are consistent with respect to (1) not enough open room to enjoy the TimeWasters, and (2) not enough parking, or convenient parking.

I understand both comments. I wasn't there for the TW but yeah, there wasn't much open room in front of the stage for any kind of a crowd, and I could tell that when the crowds started to arrive parking was going to be a problem. For such a large facility, the parking does seem pretty undernourished.

Good to hear that the hosts were accessible when they weren't broadcasting. I didn't see any wandering around, but while I were there they were broadcasting most of the time. Bob and Dan would have been the only ones who were cut loose after their show, and I didn't see them after The Hardline started.

Despite these issues, I still thought it was a good time, well-organized, roomy (sight-line issues aside).

Josh's broken groin said...

A couple of things, me and my lovely bride arrived about 5pm..parked in a field just East of the convention center..parked and walked up in less than 5 minutes.

Wish I had of had a chance to get a hug from Fondaporn and shake the Confessor's hand.

We had a gal friend saving us a seat front row/dead center..I had the cowboy hat on.

Beera concessions were a mess, about 6pm or so. When they finally opened up a cash bar next to the Beer vendor you took a pic of..it cleared up pretty good.

They wifey was far more hyped up to see everyone than I, and she wasn't let down..She spoke to Gordo and Georgio and had a blast.

Funny story of the day: Generic live-at-home p1'er sat down next to me just prior to Dutchoven coming out. When Derek came out the dude leaned into me and asked what position Dutch played. I took pity on him and let him know he was a pitcherman.

The guy that looked like the short hairy guy on Lost was seated just behind me.

Good times, we're already thinking about Summerstock..Fonda, bringg your bikini!! Signed @Longhorny1

East Texas P1 said...

Plainsman - Hope you don't mind the hijack. If so, feel free to delete.

http://www.dallasobserver.com/slideshow/scenes-from-ticketstock-36168811/#1

ET P1

Anonymous said...

In semi-Ticket related news, Big Bob Wilonsky (The Hardline's own and host of the Christmas Show) has jumped ship to the Dallas Morning News. Good for him, smart move by the DMN, and even better for Dallas. The Observer has devolved into a cesspool of ideological drivel. Bob deserves and is better than that. Now let's hope he helps to make the DMN a great paper. Because brother, it sure could use it.

Anonymous said...

The move by Wilonsky might have a bit of an impact on The Little One. He was THE connection between The Ticket and The Observer. Wilonsky and The Observer had a big hand in The Ticket's early to mid-years success. They provided free, VERY often, and VERY positive publicity for our friends. Furthermore they opened up the station to a segment of the population that wouldn't have given it a chance had it not. The Observer isn't too flattering and doesn't play fair when it comes to the DMN. So let's see if The Little One is treated the same way now that its champion, Wilonsky, has gone over to the perceived opposition.

The Plainsman said...

East Texas, no problem with the link. I'm more worried about SweetJack than I am about hijack. However, I opened it up the link and while it did take me to the advertised site, I could not get the slide show to advance past the first image, so hope others had a better experience.

What do we think about The TimeWasters?

Anonymous said...

For those complaining about TicketStock, I'm sure the Ticket will gladly refund your admission and parking fees.

Anonymous said...

Only "The Plainsman" could attend Ticketstock and return with the following points:

-Parking was full, but there was a button labeled "P1"
-Ticketchicks didn't look like Ticketchicks
-Why was there a Mardi Gras theme during Mardi Gras?
-"gestalt"
-You could find a seat if you wanted to
-I enjoyed sponsors that had nothing to do with The Ticket

And, "The Plainsman," again, has no idea how the whole Ticketchick thing works. They're just girls. Girls who want to do something. They may be aspiring actresses or models, or not at all. They are not hired. They work for free. They rotate in and out regularly. Why is this so hard to understand? We're not involved in a conspiracy or any kind of shenanigans here. But then, someone who can't understand why a P1 would want to have their photo taken with Ticketchicks is not exactly the kind of person who gets the Ticket. Which makes me wonder why you even bother with this "blog." It's like a synthetic life form that can never understand a feeling on its own - only have it explained to it. It's the Ticket!!!

Also, the "Confessor Nation" exists only in your deluded mind. Good morning.

The Plainsman said...

What a peculiar comment. Anon not only apparently doesn't read this site, s/he didn't even read the post. Don't mind criticism, even silly criticism, but why the bile?

On another note, hits are way up.

Anonymous said...

Plainsman, this is the same old obsessive troll that goes under the guises of Anon, Cumulus Employee, and one other "name." What a fool. Only a fool would waste his/her time on something h/she thinks to be awful. Only a fool and perhaps an imbalanced, even damaged psyche. Get help Anon. Get help and get it now.

ap said...

"They're just girls. Girls who want to do something. They may be aspiring actresses or models, or not at all. They are not hired. They work for free. They rotate in and out regularly. Why is this so hard to understand?"

Well, for starters, that's never been explained on-air while I've been listening. I just assumed it was a paid position. I know that aspiring ticketchicks used to have on-air auditions with the Hardline, so I assumed that there was some kind of vetting process to determine whether or not a potential ticketchick actually listened to the ticket or not.

But thanks to the invective that you just hurled at the Plainsman, that's been cleared up. Our gratitude, whoever you are.

The Plainsman said...

Work for free? You mean they volunteer, like at a soup kitchen? If true, which I somewhat doubt, I would be interested to know what exemption from the federal and Texas minimum wage laws Cumulus asserts to avoid paying them their $7.25 an hour.

Ah, but wait! Perhaps Anonymous can tell us.

ervinlang318 said...

Plainsman,

The same way The Fan and ESPN is to The Ticket..Anon is to My Ticket Confession.They just dont get it. But they privately listen to The Ticket and privately read this blog of yours so they can find something to bitch about..

I hope you have lost Anon as a reader to this blog..

Anonymous said...

I used to work in promotions for The Ticket/The Wolf and I can guarantee you that the Ticketchicks get paid. I can't speak for the current times, but back then they made quite a bit more than the promotions guys who made minimum wage.

The Plainsman said...

Ah, so now we can answer Anon's question as to why his account was "so hard to understand."

It's because it was false.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, you can find a job posting for Ticketchic on the cumulus dallas job website.

The Plainsman said...

So Anon was also wrong that TicketChicks "rotate in and out." Sounds like a more-or-less permanent part-time gig.

Wonder if we have any TicketChick Confessors.

Tangent said...

Plainsman: your description on "the ticket chick contingency" late in the post is an example of classic Plainsman prose, and it is that kinda thing that keeps me coming back for more. Please keep up the good work

The Plainsman said...

@Tangent: Welcome to you, and hey, thanks for the kind words. Keeps me going.

Anonymous said...

Ticketchicks work for the station and get paid by the station. They are only needed at big events and certain remotes. Generally Hardline or Bad Radio, but maybe a high profile Norm event. Most of them are in school in Arlington or at UNT. A few are recent grads who have time to make a good amount of money on the side (they get $50 per appearance which is 3 hours or under I believe, and then another $50 for longer shifts). To my knowledge, only one or two of the Ticketchicks have any sort of career aspirations in modeling. Again, mainly students with p1 friends who suggested the gig and they applied. Always a rotating door, however some hang around for a while. That answer the question?

The Plainsman said...

Sure does, and many thanks.