Thursday, May 24, 2012

OPEN THREAD: Local Industry Scuttlebutt

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Apologies to the Confessor Nation for not much in the way of new postings.  Scrambling at work and home, hope to re-emerge in the next few weeks. 

In the meantime, Confessors are reporting on rumors of regime change at The FAN and even within the Cumulus family of stations:  T4 in Rockwall sums up the recent whispers:

"A rumor I read on the board.radio-info.com said the Fan was flipping formats on June the 4th, Arnie Spanier's (spelling?) last day is June 1 and that possibly I93.3 was moving to 96.3. The last seems extremely unlikely because KSCS has been here for years and successful. Taking the place of the Fan is supposedly Amp radio, which is a syndication."

As T4 also points out, this would open the way for The Ticket to move its FM signal, at least, to 93.3 and, in all likelihood, for hell to freeze over. 

Fascinating stuff.  It would mildly surprise me if CBS pulled the plug on The FAN after the investment it's made, but it's still mired in third and not making dent one in The Ticket's ratings. 

This site has been beating the drums for signal swap almost since it started:

http://myticketconfession.blogspot.com/2009/12/tickets-lousy-signal-and-what-to-do.html

http://myticketconfession.blogspot.com/2010/03/that-lousy-ticket-signal-and-what-to-do.html

http://myticketconfession.blogspot.com/2010/03/no-sooner-said-take-wbap-for-example.html

http://myticketconfession.blogspot.com/2011/06/wherein-nation-is-instructed-by-someone_21.html

http://myticketconfession.blogspot.com/2011/06/indulge-me-one-more-article-on-signals.html

So the renewed speculation that The Ticket might be in line for a better signal is intriguing.  Although this thread from late 2010 suggests that 93.3 would not help The Ticket up north:

http://boards.radio-info.com/smf/index.php?topic=181375.10;wap2

Maybe hang on to 104.1 in addition to 93.3?  Possibly enable the region's most popular station to be heard everywhere?  Nah.  They should give The Ticket 96.7.    Won't happen, but fun to consider.  By the way, a couple of the foregoing links have comments from some folks who seem fairly well-informed who are skeptical about signal swap, so if you go back and check out those articles, don't overlook the critics.

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63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Elf is announcing his cohost today at 1pm

Anonymous said...

I'll bet it's Bacsik.

So I heard a Dr. Sanjay Gupta PSA type of thing on The Ticket this morning. A sign of what's coming down the pike where weekend programming is concerned? I hope not.

One more thing. Does Sirois choose the opening and return music for Norm's show? Whoever does (I'm pretty certain it isn't Norm) seems to be fixated on horrible hipster male vocalists who seem only to sing in falsetto against crappy disco beats. Kind of creepy, weird if you ask me.

The Plainsman said...

This site has heard that Gupta is going to be an ongoing segment or feature during one or more weekday shows. I'm sure The Musers must be delighted.

Anonymous said...

Why in the hell would the CTO think putting Gupta on, at all, be a good idea? Do they pay for such a "service"? Do they receive money for running that crap? I don't see how it benefits the station in any way...unless they're actually making money off of it. Someone who knows such things, please explain.

Shaggy said...

info about the Gupta segments:

Looks like there will be one daily for sure (for the affiliates who sign up), with an optional second one. 60 seconds each.

http://www.abcradio.com/Article.asp?id=2452880

Anonymous said...

The Fan chooses Jane Slater to team with Elf. Yawn.

Anonymous said...

Now we know that The FAIL is on its last legs.

The Plainsman said...

I don't know much about Jane Slater. I assume no Confessor thinks her addition will give BaD a run for its money.

Doesn't this appointment tend to negate talk of The FAN flipping formats anytime soon? Why bother spending money on a new hire if the station's about to crater? Unless maybe they're moving The FAN to a different signal or something.

Anonymous said...

It would seem that it's safe for now. But then again, this could be last ditch efforts to make something, anything, work. Right now, not one show is even making the slightest dent against its competitors.

Anonymous said...

Here's JS's bio:

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/personality/jane-slater/

Okay, she's pretty. Wow. Didn't expect a female t.v. reporter to be pretty. Kidding. Just how that translates to radio is anyone's guess. Just how she merits being a co host of a sports talk radio show is anyone's guess. From her bio, I see no experience that would indicate she has any business doing this job.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the fan thinks they need all these females on a sports station...Jasmine, Sybil, and now Jane. Does management think that guys who listen to sports talk fantasize about the girl on the radio so we tune in longer? I know I sound sexist, but with few exceptions, guys generally are not compelled to listen to females on the radio. Maybe Jane is the anomaly, but I doubt it. I can't imagine that they chose her above everyone else who tried out simply because she was the best.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a sideline reporter. For how many years? I think she just started last year. I can't believe Gilbert has become this inept. Either he always was, and merely got lucky (or knew to stay out of the hosts kitchens) at The Ticket, or this hire is coming from above. Whatever the case, it doesn't appear to make a lot of sense. I'm sure she's a fine person, but come on, you have Bacsik there. He's even co hosted with Elf on several occasions (and was very good). This move reeks of desperation and ham handed.

T4 In Rockwall said...

Ok Plainsman, if you're going to keep quoting me, maybe I should be a little bit better prepared and write better responses.

In all reality, none of this will probably happen and The Ticket will continue to kick butt with the little signal, as they have for the last 18 years.

Anonymous said...

It seems the Fan is trying to be as disparate from The Ticket as they can possibly be. They are obviously targeting a younger demo, and they seem to want to be more sports intensive. And now, in addition to the sidechicks on the other daytime shows, they've hired an inexperienced female as co-host. Does "deck chairs on the Titanic" come to mind? I have to believe the key to radio success is simply hiring the best, most talented people available and not trying to be the opposite of the market leader by hiring a little blonde cutie pie. This obviously smacks of desperation.

I'm sure Bruce Gilbert has a lot of cache in the industry which probably bought him considerable time to turn it around, but there must be grumblings above his head. Hell, he's not only not making progress--he's taking them in the opposite direction.

My guess is that sports talk bills at a higher rate than similarly rated music radio, but what's the opportunity cost of not using that big stick on what would almost certainly be a much higher rated music station? Can you imagine what kind of numbers the little ticket would be pulling down if they had that big stick?

The Plainsman said...

Comment Quick Hits:

T4, I salute your assiduous surveys of local radio information.

I noticed Greg Williams has not been on RaGE the past couple of days. I happened to catch a few minutes today, and they reported that he had had some kind of stomach surgery on Tuesday, and was getting a six-hour blood transfusion today. Best wishes, Hammer.

Danny mentioned that their mics don't have mic screens (we used to call them "spit guards"). Maybe that's why the mics sound so overdriven and hot.

Applauding Danny for his adroit (and correct) use of the word "insular" this afternoon.

Shaggy said...

Stream down all morning..

T4 In Rockwall said...

Good to hear Shaggy. My TuneIn app would buffer up fully and start playing the stream, but no sound came out. I play with my phone quite a bit, and have rooted it and put custom ROMS on it, so sometimes I'm not sure what the cause is when apps don't function properly.

The Plainsman said...

More comment quick hits:

(1) Yeah, stream down. Craig mentioniong that the station "makes it harder for its listeners to hear it, with its weak signal and bad Internet streatm, than any radio station in the metroplex." (Quote approximate.) These repeated failures must absolutely frost The Musers' asses, especially Craig, who has rather little tolerance this sort of thing.

(2) I love George, we all love George, but the Summer Bash song is physically painful to listen to. Instant punch-out halfway through the first phrase. Off-key, shrill, and a give-up on the lyrics.

Shaggy said...

yeah T4...same thing here. Usually when the stream is down it's stuck in "connecting" mode. Here it connects and buffers and plays, but there's no sound.

The Plainsman said...

Oh oh, T.C. is an E-Brake candidate. He is likely to be unhappy about this.

Actually . . . T.C. is cracking me up with his commentary on his dilemma.

Shaggy said...

Anyone want to give a rundown of any rants against engineering we've missed so far today?

Shaggy said...

It is unimaginable that the stream could be down for 4 straight hours now without a fix.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering why TC thought he needed to do an on air play by play of his corrective actions? Why didn't he go to commercial and fix the problem?

birq said...

Plainsman, I was going to bring up the Summer Bash promo also. Until the last couple years, the SB promo used to be the only station event spot that I actually looked forward to. The one based on the song from Grease still cracks me up. But last year's (Lady Gaga's Poker Face) was pretty weak and the new one is just plain bad. In addition to being shrill and off-key, the tempo is off, and it just sounds like a complete give-up all the way around. I'm disappointed.

birq said...

Now that I think about it, Poker Face was a TicketStock promo. I think the UnTicket has a lot of them. I'll have to go dig some up and listen to them again.

Anonymous said...

I think it's both George and Gordo singing the new promo. Isn't that the Gnarls Barkley song "Crazy"? If so, not only is the execution of the promo sub par for the usual standard, but it also uses a hit from several years ago. They usually do a take on the current 'it' song of the day. Sort of a song of the summer. Seems like everything at The Ticket is going into autopilot lazy bones mode.

Remember, Rome fell. So can The Little One.

The Plainsman said...

Kind of what I was trying to say back a few posts ago.

We probably shouldn't read too much into a truncated, low-promo campout or a give-up Summer Bash promo. But I do think that neglectful and sometimes downright bad management filters down into the attitude of the stars. Management doesn't care -- why should they?

It's a gradual thing, and it eats away at the vibrancy of the product that goes out on the air. You can't quantify it, you can only feel it. I've been feeling it for the past few months, even though I can't point to a show that has noticeably declined in anything other than technical quality.

Anonymous said...

I know it's said here on what seems to be a weekly basis, and I know you're not inclined to agree, but for me, The Hardline is the one show that continues to stand out as the laziest show on the station. Personally, I long ago quit caring about what's on Mike's mind. We get it, Mike, you like to ruminate on classic rock bands from your youth and t.v. shows aimed at audiences half your age. Community quick hits is for the most part a local extension of E-News. E-News takes up what seems like more than a quarter of the show. The only thing new they've come up with in the last seven years is the Pool Party, which is nothing more than What's On Mike's Mind for the rest of the hosts. I only tune in to the show when a big sports story happens. Other than that, once WTDS is over, I'm out until the Top Ten. Yes I know that their ratings are better than ever. Yes I know that because of that, they're will be absolutely no changes, no infusion of fresh air into the show. But one of these days, things will change. I just hope The Hardline wakes up on its own accord, before they're forced to.

East Texas P1 said...

At 1:15 Anon, you are correct that it is Gordon and George but they are trying to sing to Adele's Rolling in the Deep.

They discussed this on-air the other morning. I wasn't really listening to the whole segment but what I remember is:

1. They did this right after the show and spent something like 10 minutes on it. I think they said they did two takes.

2. They recorded the lyrics to one version of the song but then somebody dubbed their vocals onto another version of Adele's song. That is why the tempo is off.

ET P1

Newt said...

MAJOR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES ON THE HARDLINE STOP

Joshua Deets said...

CORBY AND RYHNER PERFORMING RADIO SHOW OVER CELLPHONES STOP

Capatin Augustus McCrae said...

DAN BENNETT HAS RETURNED FROM CASUAL FRIDAY AT LACE TO SOLVE REMOTE TECH DIFFICULTIES STOP

Shaggy said...

The summerbash promo is f'ed up because of the technical deficiencies of the new studios.

What a joke this whole day of Ticket has been.

Captain Woodrow F. Call said...

KILLER SWEATING WORSE THAN NATE NEWTON'S BANANA HAMMOCK TRYING TO REMEDIATE THE SITUATION

Jake Spoon said...

MAJOR TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES CONTINUE ON REMOTE FOR THE HARDLINE COMMA BROADCAST CONTINUES FROM HOSTS CELL PHONES STOP

Pea Eye Parker said...

BROADCASTING DIFFICULTIES CONTINUE THE HARDLINE CEASES BROADCAST AND CUTS TO ROTTEN RADIO STOP

Dishwater Boggett said...

DIFFICULTIES CONTINUE INTO FIFTH SEGMENT STOP

Anonymous said...

enjoying the reports of pending technical meltdown. Don't stop

Anonymous said...

Plainsman, you really need to farm out some of this blog work to someone who can listen more, anywho.

RE: the summer bash promo as discussed by the Musers: the lack of a working studio is mostly to blame for the lousy promo. So more of the same from the engineering department.

Bigger question: How much longer can The Ticket give their faithful listeners a giant middle finger in the face? You schlubs keep crawling right back just like the smoking hot girl who treats you like dirt but you put up with it. Send the bastards a message. Let them know they can't take for granted that their loyal fanbase will put up with all the small town tech bullsh.

And as embarrased as the Ticket should be, their competitors need to look at themselves and ask why they can't capitalize on a tech situation that is bordering on idiocy.

Roscoe Brown said...

TECH HARDSHIP CONTINUES TWO HOURS INTO SHOW COMMA MIKE COMMENTS THIS IS FIRST TICKET REMOTE TO FAIL SO BAD STOP

BROADCAST RETURNS THROUGH CELL PHONES

CORBY AND MIKE THREATEN LEAVING REMOTE STOP

ATTEMPTS AT FIXING SITUATION HAVE CEASED STOP

Anonymous said...

@4:57 Anon: Agree with your first point. Maybe Plainsman needs to get in touch with one of his more trusted commenters and see about going into partnership.

To your last point: It just shows you how truly awful the competition is. With these, now months worth of, technical difficulties and it's flagship show (Hardline) mailing it in for the last three years and yet still garnering monster ratings, you'd think a show that's even half way decent would've made a dent. But none have. The competition is THAT bad. Grandpa Urine has been a has-been for a long while now; RaGE is every bit the sad little clown that Dick Hunter is; and the rest of ESPN's and The FAIL's roster is just plain boring. And the fact that they go up against The Musers and BaD. Two shows that keep evolving and put forth a good and well prepared effort each and every day. Why none of the competition can keep up with Norm is beyond me. No offense to Norm, but he oscillates between good to weird to annoying on a recurring 10 minute cycle. Also no offense to Ben and Skin, Coop, and Elf. All good voices, but not good enough to fill out an entire show (unless it's all basketball, all the time).

One more thing: anyone notice how BaD now gives their guests a scripted radio liner to read? And more interestingly, that it says "I never listen to Bob and Dan" instead of "BaD Radio"? In other words, Donnie neither is included implicitly or explicitly. Not saying that it means anything, but it is curious. I can't imagine that this hasn't made Donnie scratch his head.

Bolivar said...

DANNY CONTINUES TO MAN THE SINKING SHIP STOP

NO LIVE SPOTS DURING THIS MELT DOWN STOP

MORE ROTTEN RADIO STOP

Anonymous said...

Loving the Titanic is sinking wire-feed comments! Is this the sort of thing that, if happens another time or two, makes someone like a Rhyner say "F it! I'm done!"?

Sweet sweet Jer said...

@5:14 anon: BaD has been doing the wacky radio liner throughout the show's existence. This is nothing new.

Anonymous said...

I know they have, but if you noticed, they started asking the guest to say "BaD Radio" exclusively after Donnie became a permanent member of the program.

Anonymous said...

HOT OFF THE TWITTER PRESSES:

Mike Rhyner ‏@theoldgreywolf

never in 18+ years have I been so pissed at this place #
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Hugh Auld said...

DANNY STOPS ROTTEN RADIO THINKING WE HAD THEM ONLY TO REALIZE THAT WE LOST THEM AGAIN AND SENDS IT TO COMMERCIAL CUSSING STOP

Anonymous said...

MORE:

danny balis ‏@danny_balis

@tweetgrubes man, you got out at the right time. this is EPICFAIL.
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Anonymous said...

I WANT TO HEAR FROM MISS LORENA!!

Anonymous said...

This crap either drives some of them off the cliff and looking for new gigs or in some cases retirement...or it lights a fire under some of their asses and they renew their commitment to making good shows. Cos this has to be about as embarrassing as it gets for them.

East Texas P1 said...

There is a commercial on right now for MY COMPUTER CAREER.com.

Could this help the tech guys at The Ticket?

ET P1

Clara Allen said...

THE GREY WOLF AND KUBY ARE ON THE AIR DESPITE GRAINY SIGNAL STOP

BOTH HOSTS AIM TO SPITE STATION AND GET DRUNK ON AIR STOP

SHOW OFFICIALLY STARTS WITH CORBY ATTEMPTING E NEWS STOP

Lorena Wood said...

KUBY TRYS TO MAKE YOUNG WOMAN ARM FART ON STAGE FOR RANGERS TICKETS STOP

Captain Woodrow F. Call said...

BUSINESS AS USUAL IT SEEMS NOW STOP

The Plainsman said...

I was able to hear the end of the show. It still sounded terrible, overdriven, a mess. The hosts did what they could.

I would like to hear from the critics of my "Apocalypse Sometime" piece about how things are going at The Ticket after today's stream meltdown and remote catastrophe. Any thought that the talent is all hunky-dory with the ongoing problems must simply be ignored.

So: Hosts not happy. Engineers and board-ops not happy. Listeners not happy.

I'll tell you who else is not happy:

Sponsors.

I'll tell you who else is not happy:

Ticket sales guys whose sponsor clients are not happy.

If I hadn't unloaded on the CTO already I'd do another piece on today's crap, but I don't know that there's much more to say. This poor performance cannot continue without deterioration of The Ticket's reputation for excellence, even in the face of its high-school signal.

But I do want to say this: My very strong impression is that this is not fundamentally a problem of day-to-day engineering/board-op/remote contractors. THIS IS A MANAGEMENT PROBLEM, FIRST AND FOREMOST. The problems are not only chronic, but they are never quite the same problems from remote to remote, which suggests that they are ill-managed from up-top, that there is no consistency in setup protocols from show to show.

What would you do if your boss made it impossible for you to do your job?

The Plainsman said...

Confessors, Your Plainsman has many faults and is ignorant about many things Ticket. I try to stay thick-skinned about criticsm. But The recent critique on this thread struck me as, well, ridiculous. So I will take a moment to defend myself.

Anonymous, supported later by Anonymous, suggests that I need to farm out some drafting to others BECAUSE I was unable to discern that the shabby Summer Bash promot was done on shabby internal equipment.

This is wrong in almost every particular:

(1) The Summer Bash promo is not shabby because they don't have a studio. It was shabby because they spent ten minutes on recording it and only a little north of zero minutes on writing it and clearly didn't give a shab about it.

(2) You don't need a studio to record a parody. I did 20 of them for a Chicago radio station in my dining room with s Tascam four-track Mini-Studio.

(3) Enlisting assistance on writing this site would not have increased the likelihood that the reason for the shabby performance would have come to its attention, even assuming that that had anything to do with its shabbiness.

(4) Actually, I agree with the main point. I have tried on numerous occasions to get Confessors to write original pieces for this site, with almost zero success. Anons, please drop me a line with your articles and I will publish them if they are not too shabby.

(5) My ignorance of many things Ticket is part of this site's shabby charm. I'm writing as a fan, not as the Jamey Newberg of Ticketdom.

The Plainsman said...

And welcome to all new commenters, especially those Lonesome Dove guys.

Anonymous said...

4) Hopefully someone will come through.

5) Agreed, and glad that you're not.

1-3) I don't think it pertained particularly to the Summer Bash parody, but rather to what you addressed in 5).

Gnarls Barkley ought to sue Adele. That tune is pretty much a rip off, a la My Sweet Lord to He's So Fine.

I still agree with the 'this isn't going to deeply hurt the station in either the short or long term/we'll all soon have forgotten about it' camp. I think you're blowing it out of proportion. Yeah, the hosts and board ops are mad. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You really, honestly think some or even one of them is going to chuck their career or budding career or one shot at a career because s ain't right, right now? Not a chance. Gagree that there are top down issues that Cumulus needs to sort out ASAP. But don't be a bunch of Chicken Littles. The Little One will get on track and it'll be fine. I know one thing, if I were Cumulus I'd put a gag order on all employees' public Tweet bitches about in house problems, pronto. If Grubes wants to take swipes and somesuch, fine, he's no longer a part of the company. But man oh man, when you have Danny, Rhyner, Jeremy, and a few others (Corby really didn't make a direct jab) tweeting some of the things that they did today, well madams and sirs, that's out and out insubordination, and honestly it's not that cool.

P2 in MI said...

All the stream/show meltdown caused me to listen to local, Detroit sports talk. Made me realize why I/we put up with this.

T4 In Rockwall said...

Wow, this wasn't a day I needed to miss The Hardline. That's what happens when you get off early on Fridays, sometimes you miss gold or in this case, extreme lack of it. Hopefully it'll be talked about on Monday. I'm sure Big Dumb Danny will be speaking on it tomorrow. If someone's listening, can you fill us in that can't tune in tomorrow?

Patton said...

The orphanage had trouble this morning as well. About 15 minutes late and issues coming out of commercials

Ron said...

We know that Mark Davis' departure from WBAP was over money, but you have to wonder what the Ticket hosts will be thinking when it's contract renewal time.

"Do I really need this?"

Does anybody know what kind of non-competes are in their contracts? Six months?

The Plainsman said...

This site has had considerable to say about noncompetes over the years. No one has any reports on what they might provide. I just hope to Jeebus our Ticket heroes have good agents and better lawyers.

Of all the essential on-air elements of The Ticket, I'm speculating that Danny B may not have an actual contract and could split and work for a competitor at any time, not that he is presently inclined to do so.

In fact, I have no idea. If I were Cumulus, I'd tie a host up on a noncompete for at least a year in the DFW market. Longer than that and you might bump up against Texas law, although I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule on the permissible duration of noncompetes.

Again, no idea. But, in light of the recent appalling events, well worth, uh, musing about.

=========

PS: Out of town, not sure when I'll have a new blast up. Really appreciate the Confessor reportage. Keep it up.