Friday, May 11, 2012

OPEN THREAD: Is Ticket Tech Really as Bad As It Seems?

We need to hear from some radio experts and, ideally, Cumulo-Ticket insiders.

I used to think:  The Ticket does a lot of remotes; I'm sure those present some technical challenges as they move from venue to venue.  So, atrocious signal(s) aside, in my early years of listening I tended to give Ticket tech a pass.

Then:

(1)  I heard the hosts grow increasingly testy about the lousy technology they had to deal with in the studio.

(2) It occurred to me that the number of remotes mean that they should have figured out how to do them fairly seamlessly.

(3) There was the absolute disgrace of the move to Victory, during which, apparently, a large chunk of Ticket history disappeared in addition to the overall amateurism of the transfer.  If no one lost his/her job in that disaster, then  .  .  .  well, I guess you see a lot of this in ossified corporate cultures.

(4) The tech meltdowns in the last two Hardline remotes, one of which won the E-Brake today.  Now, I will say that Hardline meltdowns tend to be extremely entertaining, between Danny's exasperation and sarcastic sing-songy efforts to broadcast over the mortification and Corby's and Mike's disgusted commentary.

It occurs to me that I've been listening to sports radio and other talk radio for a long time, and I've never heard anything as technically error-prone as The Ticket. 

Really -- what's the problem?  Bad equipment?  Bad IT/AV administration up the ladder?   Insufficient investment in personnel? Or are we (am I) just wrong about how lousy Ticket technology is?

Please advise.

*  *  *

Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310
Email Your Plainsman:  ThePlainsman1310@gmail.com


19 comments:

McMung said...

GREAT questions. I eagerly await knowledgeable responses.

Cirque du Sirois said...

While I was quite pleased to come in to do the show last weekend and actually see color moving pictures on the flatscreens which had previously given me nothing but a black reflection of my own face.....I did find the wiring to be less than Starpower quality...

http://twitpic.com/9hovhn

Anonymous said...

Here's a question that I don't think is ever asked, at least not here: Is it possible that the lower rung tech support is also not very good? We seem to reflexively dismiss the idea that the Killers and whatnot of the station do no wrong; that it the issues wholly originate and are perpetuated by nameless, faceless, "higher ups" on the tech support food chain. Maybe it's a bit of both? Just asking...

Anonymous said...

who knows, but listening on my att iphone over the last month has been absolutely terrible. other stations come through with no problem and up until recently it was fine for the ticket as well.....no idea what the hell happened.

The Plainsman said...

@2 Anons ago: That is a fair question and the reason I didn't highlight it in my intro is that I have heard from some non-Ticket-insiders that the lower-rung tech guys are not the problem. I don't have the tech chops to know if this is the case or not; I am pretty sure they were not the problem with the move, and they're sure not the problem with the signal. I meant to get at it obliquely with my question re "investment in personnel," but my gut tells me that the day-to-day operators are not the issue here.

If, in fact, they are, then it's STILL a Cumulo-Ticket problem.

And, along the same lines, to be fair, if someone has information that the Ticket presents unusual problems for the tech guys (because of large numbers of remotes, because the guys are rough on equipment, any other extenuating circumstances), then feel free to defend. It's not beyond imagining that The Ticket is not unusually afflicted given the demands of its broadcasts. If there's a defense to the ragged product that goes out on the air, then this site wants to present it.

Anonymous said...

The technology at the new station is top notch, the boards are brand new digital boards, the editing software is the latest Adobe Audition release which is on par with Pro Tools...the problem is the automation software. It was designed by Cumulus and is called OpX. It's god awful. It puts automation software back 10 years. Yes, ENCO had it's problem but that was more of an outdated computer problem than a problem with the actual program itself. The new OpX software is horrible for talk radio purposes. All the Cumulus stations use the OpX now and while it works just fine for music (which is pre-programmed and rarely moved around with a completely different program) the OpX is horrible for talk radio needs. Constantly moving parts, hot buttons for quick touching and firing off of drops, endless pages synced for quick access...all disappeared with the OpX. There are various automation systems, all which can cost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how many machines you outfit with the program, but the OpX has to be the worst ever created. It's cumbersome and creates extra steps for the user whereas various other software is extremely user friendly. But then again, Cumulus designed it and installed it and hence probably saved a quarter of a million dollars in outfitting all the new studios.

Josh's broken records said...

I'm with one of the Anons, I've been listening to KTCK with Wunderradio (suggested by Gordo, cost like five bucks) on my Iphone (AT&T) for two years with no problems and then about a month ago it quit working..I then grabbed the TuneIn Radio app (freebie, so that was nice)and it works on and off. I know the Musers said that KTCK was the most streamed radio station in the Universe and now they can't keep the effing stream moving better than Ryns can.
I know this is kinda off the topic, but it's a pisser for us folks out in the hinterland that still like to listen in the eve when we get home from making widgets.

Shaggy said...

I know we've covered this in previous comments sections, but it's been just the opposite for me with TuneIn on my iPhone. It was great for a year+, then got really bad when streaming over 3G. Now for the last month or so it has been flawless on 3G for me.

deezy said...

I'm glad you posted this today Plainsman, but not because of the tech talk.

You mentioned one of the technical problems winning the E-brake today, but am I the only one who thought that Mike talking to someone in the background when they came back from break should have won? I'm working right up the street from the Mooyah where they had the remote that day, and I came _this_ close to hopping in my car and driving over there to tell him to pick up his headset.

Offtopic, but alas, it seems that actual "e-brakes" are winning the contest less and less these days (though I suppose the winner this week did win on account of "technical meltdown", one of the requirements.)

deezy said...

Oh, by "won" in my previous comment I mean should have been nominated. Winning is up to the P-1s, but the nominations are done by the hosts, and they need to do a better job of vetting candidates!

ugh.

Grubes said...

I don't feel like going into detail, but I'll gladly answer the question in the title: God yes!

normalguyguide said...

I used to work at a TV station that was owned by a major media company. There were several times when all three live trucks were broken and our chopper was also down - meaning we had zero shot of pulling off a live shot. One time, during a morning newscast I was producing, our video system crashed four times in 15 minutes and we had to go to MSNBC programming because we couldn't play video on TV.

Sometimes it's simply a miracle that TV newscasts and radio remotes even make the air.

Shaggy said...

Biggest Diamond Talk of the year tonight. Internet stream was playing a continuous loop of commercials for 23 minutes.

Anonymous said...

There was an attempted mix between DeJohn and the T-Box (well, at least with Rick) this morning. Unfortunately, technical difficulties got in the way. So it seems that the Arnett part of the show is still on speaking terms with DeJohn. Back to the technical difficulties: I read Anon (5/11, 12:04) with interest. However, I'm not sure how or if it has anything to do with the constant bungles/glitches we hear on remotes. It's come to the point that it occurs at every remote. It's ridiculous. I've never heard anything like it in all my 25+ years of listening to talk-radio of all stripes.

The Plainsman said...

No sooner do I do a tech topic, than the TeeBox throws out its worst sound yet. The remote (not the studio stuff, not the Tickers, not the ads) is suffocating under a blanket of static. The level is way down and there's this overlay of static.

George DeJohn tried to mix 'n' mingle, but Rick/Craig were inaudible and he quickly abandoned the effort.

There seems to be some improvement, but the static is still incredible. This is not a reception problem -- this is a problem from the remote.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but due to its incessant technical difficulties, both in studio and on remote, The Ticket is becoming a joke. This has zero to do with its programming. I feel for the hosts and the board-ops. Cumulus *ought* to be ashamed of itself. I say *ought* because I'm fairly certain it isn't. How very very sad.

T4 In Rockwall said...

Concerning the TuneIn app, I took this from the DFW Radio Forums: http://boards.radio-info.com/smf/index.php?topic=211872.0

In short, the TuneIn app will apparently not be carrying The Ticket after a certain time and will be carried on the iHeart app.

Shaggy said...

That is just awful, awful news.

As far as I can tell iHeart does not have a record function.

Anonymous said...

As long as stream is not down completely, the FStream app works very well for me on WiFi & 3G. I can't say I'm thrilled about 20+ min commercials when DiamondTalk is supposed to be on, but that's not the app's fault. I don't record or know why one would so as long long as one wants to listen live (time shifted 2+ mins for delay and stream latency from live over the air) I like my FStream.