Monday, July 30, 2012

OPEN THREAD: Oxnard and Elsewhere

I like it when a host runs into some luminary at one of the road trips.  Gordon's stories of encounters with Garrett and Jones were fun this morning.

But what's your impression of how The Ticket does overall on these junkets?   Now, maybe Norm and BaD have more vigorous news-scounting organizations, I don't know, and they're broadcasting during the active practice hours.  The Musers, of course, are broadcasting in the very wee hours on the West Coast, although I guess they've snagged Bill Callahan this morning.  The Hardline -- might as well be broadcasting in Thule, not that I mind.  No one listens to The Hardline for sports information, so who cares if Danny isn't badgering Caleb McSurdy for an interview?

When I was listening to the post-Jerry round tables yesterday, I couldn't figure out why Norm's sound was so bad -- I assumed he was on a telephone feed.  I'm sure it takes a heroic engineering effort to get the station going halfway across the country at all.  Killer got some bouquets on The Musers this morning, which he doubtless deserves, from the looks of things.

Overall, I don't get the impression that these trips do much to enhance either the hosts' insight into the team, or ours.  Don't misunderstand me:  Got nothing against the junket.  Maybe the station uses it as some kind of a fringe-benefit team-building thing -- these guys seem to have a helluva time out there unrelated to coverage of camp, and that can kick up a fun story or two.  And, as noted, there's the odd interview here and there that you wouldn't get if you were back in DFW.  There's also the PR aspect -- just to be able crank out some promos to say that you're going/you're there/you went.

On the merits, though, I've never thought the the traveling added much to the sportsy aspect of the presentations themselves, compared to with how much this must cost.  Had this feeling with the Super Bowl and World Series junkets as well.

As always, thread is open for all topics.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen: George DiGianni

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FKA George DeJohn, Inventor of the
21-Day Full Body Cleanse,
Currently Being Experienced by Bob Sturm
for the Ninth or Tenth Time

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Open Thread: "Ethnic" Sports Talk

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There have been some interesting comments in the prior thread about ESPN's pairing (unclear whether this is temporary or permanent) of Jean-Jacques Taylor and Nate Newton.  One Confessor confesses that he is having a hard time making out what they're saying.  Others hearken back to earlier black sports-talk voices, mostly positive recollections.  That was before my time.

Awhile back, I speculated on who would create the "First Black Ticket."  I heard Coop/Nate a week or so ago and while I was unimpressed with the content, I didn't have any particular difficulty understanding Nate.  I can see, however, that if a coupla brothers got together to broadcast, the patois might take a decidedly more, shall we say, ethnically distinctive turn that we pasties might find difficult to make out.

I'm not an affirmative-action guy by any means, but I support experiments like JJT/NN, if that's what it is.  Local competition for The Ticket isn't succeeding with what it's slinging out there, so why not try something a little spicier? 

I went back and read my "First Black Ticket" piece and thought it held up OK.  There were some excellent comments there that I commend to you as well.  Don't have any further Great Thoughts on it, but thought I'd throw it out there since the JJT/NN pairing has caught folks' attention.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WARNING -- Marginal Tickety Post: My Brush with Southwest Airline History

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The only connection of this post to The Ticket is The Musers' immersion in all things Southwest Airlines today.  Just a brief encounter with the history of this great American company.

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A few years ago, Mrs. P and I attended an evening function sponsored by my employer at the time.  We were seated at a  table with one of my employer's leaders.  His companion for the evening was a very attractive woman of indeterminate age -- maybe late fifties, early sixties, hard to tell.  She was beautifully dressed, and extremely gracious and charming.  A lovely southern lilt to her voice  We chatted briefly but non-memorably.  I had never seen her before -- or so I thought; I never learned her profession or affiliation; and I did not recognize her name.

But I thought:  OK -- this woman is someone.  There is something about her.  I'm not good with names, terrible, in fact, but I resolved to remember hers.  I told Mrs. P on the way home of my hunch that this woman was notable in some unusual way -- I thought perhaps she was a prominent local benefactress -- and that I was going to look her up on the electric computer internet.

I did so.

Her name is Sandra Force.

She was one of Southwest Airline's first 17 employees, a flight attendant.  Those employees, most of whom continued to work for Southwest well past their financial need to do so, did quite well, as The New York Times reported in 2006 in an article that prominently featured Ms. Force:   On Some Flights, Millionaires Serve the Drinks.

But that is not where she has been most prominently featured.  Remember the early days of Southwest, where  the FA's were dressed in hot pants or miniskirts and boots?  Did you like that outfit?  So did Esquire, especially on Ms. Force, who was featured on its February 1974 cover:

And there is my brush with Southwest Airlines history, and the charming Ms. Sandra Force.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012

7:24 a.m.:   Stream down.

Ticket computers down, at least in the period prior to The Musers' 5:30 start.  At 5:35, Junior referred to it as "sabotage."  A minute or two ago, they made reference to computers being down again.

Did yesterday's Muser invasion over Gordon's promo recording make yesterday's Top 10?

Now there's an echo from time to time.  Faint, but very audible in the replay of the Fake Jason Kidd interview.

Speaking of which:  Pretty savage Fake Jason Kidd, essentially accusing him of illiteracy. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Uninvited Guest Visits the Musers

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Gone for a week.   No Ticket?  No problem! 

Not only a wheels-off moment, not only an all-time E-Brake (will be interesting to see if it makes the list on Friday), but a real no-kidding confrontation within the first half-hour of this morning's listening.

Of course, Gordon was at the heart of it.

I have not heard any promo where the Fake Jason Garrett (supposedly) retired but hope one of you will fill us in.    The Musers were talking about how the quality of the impersonation on the promo was not up to Gordo standards -- one P1 thought it was George.   [Wait, just heard it.  Yeah, it does sound a little like George.]

[Love, love, love the Fake Jason Garrett, but the first time I heard it, I thought -- this is genius, but where in the world can you go with a guy whose bit is that he's incredibly dull?  How many "well" jokes can Gordon make?   I don't know if Gordon felt the same way, but from the outset it was clear he wasn't crazy about this character, referring to it as the "first and only" appearance of the Fake Jason Garrett.  One other point on impersonations:  Muser impersonations are aided by being broadcast through a fake telephone line most of the time.  A "clean" recording of even the best impersonation is going to let more of the voice-actor's inflections and timbre leak through.]

As usual in the morning, I was getting ready for work and not paying the closest attention, but I gather that Gordon must have said something that was interpretable as critical of the promo-recording process.

The next thing I hear is someone talking about a "double bird" and someone identified as -- I'm not sure, could it have been "Mr. Doo" (I believe it was a black guy, but sure didn't sound like Donovan, although the precise identity of this guy was not clear)?  The guy must have been the recording engineer for that particular promo, and he was hot.  The Musers were clearly taken aback.  Gordon tried to banter with the guy, but he wasn't having any.  He said that if he'd told Gordon that the impersonation needed work Gordon would have bitten his head off.  (Gordon admitted this.)   Craig and George were yukking it up but man, it was tense.  At one point, Gordon told the guy that if he didn't like the impersonation, he should do it, whereupon Gordon did a black Fake-Jason-Garrett voice.  The guy's parting shot was to say that when Gordon came into the studio, "don't half-ass it."

Hope The UnTicket snags this.  It was chaos, everyone talking at once.  Pretty amazing and tense radio.

While Gordon is a favorite of this site, this does resonate with stuff we hear through The Ticket grapevine from time to time, which is that Gordon is not a favorite among the technical staff.  I have some sympathy for Gordon on this -- his is frequently a high-wire act.  It depends on timing, and everything needs to work and work the first time, and work well, and not get interrupted.  Wherever the merits fall on this particular dispute, this was one of those delicious Ticket pull-back-the-curtain events.

And the guy was probably sick of wrestling with the problems from the botched Victory move, and wasn't having any of Gordon this morning.

I'll be happy to be corrected on any of my recollections here, and would especially appreciate some confirmation of the identity of this courageous (or crazy) recording engineer, if that's what he was.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Still Gone

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Just freshening up the thread, to ease scrolling anxiety.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

OPEN THREAD -- More Tech Talk

OK, folks, I'm out for awhile with Mrs. Plainsman on vacay way far away.  Will not be listening to The Ticket.  I have an STD (Scorching Ticket Disquisition, for newcomers) in the hopper but it's not quite ripe yet.  Thought I'd at least get a fresh thread started so visitors wouldn't have to scroll through 50 comments.

While the out-and-out catastrophes seem to have abated for the time being, the station still sounds awful (I also have a budding  STD on that topic that needs a little more time on the vine) and there are still a lot of errors.  After a brief post-Jake-suspension period of silence, the on-air grumbling has returned.  

Commenters have noticed that Cumulus is looking for a new Chief Engineer for DFW.  I don't know enough about the hierarchy to know who this person would replace, or if it is a new position, or if it is for all the DFW Cumulus stations or fewer than all.  I was under the impression that the host-reviled Brett Blankenship was not a DFW guy but a little further upstairs at Cumulus.  On LinkedIn his title is "Market Engineering Manager, Tulsa, Oklahoma Area," but I dunno, maybe he's been posted here to supervise the bungled Victory rollout.  But I'm guessing he is not being replaced.  Anyone with a better idea, please weigh in.

Nothing to leave you with here except to get your impressions of station performance since the major meltdowns of a few weeks ago.

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Not sure when I'll be returning, so I'll have to rely on you guys to switch gears in the comments if something comes up.  Will try to keep an eye on comments, but maybe not.   Carry on, and hope to see you down the road.

[One last note on the last thread:  Some commenters have recommended that I start screening comments.  It's not a bad idea and I'm thinking about it.  I don't do it for two reasons.  The less-important reason is that I don't have time.  The more-important reason is that it has come to pass that when something breaks ("literally" and figuratively) at the channel, this site gets swarmed and commenters have the news way before I do.  So (1) I am hoping the site can continue to be a source for breaking Ticket news, and (2) I don't want Confessors to be discouraged by having to wait until 9 p.m. to see their and their co-Confessors' comments.  Once-a-day review would also eliminate much of the entertaining and informative give-and-take that commenters provide by being able to respond to one another in real time.  For now, we'll risk the occasional inappropriate comment.]

Thank you for continuing to shop at My Ticket Confession.

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

Thursday, July 5, 2012


As I mentioned, I was going to take a break, but this tidbit deserves its own thread.

See the following article brought to our attention by Anonoymous:

The money quote, speaking of the Dallas market and 105.3 The Fan:

 "This is a market where both CBS and Cumulus own sports radio stations. It would basically be a coin flip between “The New School” on “The Fan” and the long-running “Musers” on KTCK/”1310 The Ticket” – though a scenario where the “Musers” would move to “The Fan” in favor of a “B&C” clearance on “The Ticket” is not out of the question."

According to hawk-eyed Confessor Shaggy, Mike Rhyner had the following reaction to this on his Facebook page, which I've confirmed:

"so you thought this cbs/cumulus alliance is a non-story, huh?...fight through this until you get to the salient point ( and when you do, you'll know it) and then see if you still are thinking that...a merger, probably later than sooner, is coming"

In considering the possibilities, please bear in mind the evidence currently before us on the strategic acumen of the CTO.

Wrecking the channel seems like a long way to go just to get rid of MTC.

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Hope to be back in a couple.  Carry on.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Note on Speculation

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Some Confessors like the guessing games on this site.

Others find it annoying and even improper.  That's OK.  I don't mind the criticism, if expressed in tones conventionally disgusted.

I don't want to whine, but put yourself in my shoes for a moment.

This site had its third anniversary last Saturday.  That's 469 posts, counting this one.

Basically covering (1) the station as a whole (CTO, signal, internal politics), (2) The Musers, and (3) The Hardline.  There are posts about Norm but not a lot of them.  A few more about BaD but again, not a conspicuous feature of this site.  An occasional visit to other stations.

You know I'm not a Ticket insider, and you'd need a scanning electron microscope to find the inside information I've received from genuine insiders.

Which means that if I'm going to generate new material on this site more than once every couple of weeks or so, I've basically got two sources to draw on:  I can comment on stuff that I've heard, which is far from the majority of the broadcast day and only, on average, about half of The Musers and The Hardline.  The stuff I've heard you've heard too.  It can be fun to comment on that and get your reactions, but after awhile, let's face it, there's not a lot new out there.  You want another column about Hardline potty mouth?  I didn't think so.

Or I can listen real carefully when I do listen, and speculate about stuff that the Nation speculates about, and sometimes I come up with stuff that maybe it hasn't thought of.  Sometimes it strikes a nerve, sometimes it's right, sometimes it's plausible but wrong, and sometimes it's just plain ridiculous.  I accept the ridicule and criticism -- anyone who runs a blog about something that people care strongly about had better be prepared for that.  If it isn't vulgar or too over the top, up it stays.

A third source would be y'all, but my occasional calls for topics meet with stony silence.  Still, you've noticed that a particularly interesting or well-aimed comment will sometimes serve as the topic for the following article.

Even when I'm wrong, I can sometimes flush out stuff that we wouldn't know otherwise.  Take the just previous Pants Finnegan column.  Anonymous advises that Pants is Gordon's reference to an obstreperous new sales guy.  Says it twice, in fact.  He also instructs me to "stop overthinking stuff like this."  Well, Anonymous, if I hadn't wondered why Gordon had created this character, who didin't seem to have reference to any "type" we knew from the station, we wouldn't have the benefit of your (apparent, and, I think, actual)  inside information that Gordon was noodging this new sales star from San Diego and, presumably, the sales department generally.  And we wouldn't know that Gordon sometimes does whole bits that are meaningful primarily to his colleagues, and not to us.  Those insights are not going to overturn Obamacare, but they are of interest to the good folks who click over to My Ticket Confession.

So I'm going to keep listening between the lines, and throwing out guesses, and maybe we'll all learn a little something about this wonderful station that positively invites us to care about it on a personal basis.

And someday, maybe some of those guesses will come home to roost, and I'll be able to say that you read it here first.

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In other news:  Did you hear Corby and Mike discussing Dan Bennett this afternoon?  The subject was working on holidays, which the hosts don't have to do this year, the first time in a decade or so, since the early Susquehanna days.  I laughed out loud in the Conestoga when they ridiculed Bennett for his judgment that a lot of new listeners, freed from their workplaces, would spend their holiday listening to the radio.   And that it took him ten years to realize that this view was in error.  Pretty rough on the ol' CTO.  

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Confessors, I'm buried for the rest of the week and then off with Mrs. Plainsman for a vacation in cooler climes.  Please feel free to do 90- and even 180-degree turns on subject matter in the comments.  I will monitor comments and toss in a pfennig or two if I have a thought.   I'll be back if I'm able, but it may be awhile before there's a new article.  Thanks to all for observing the unwritten rules of civility of this site, and in advance for continuing to do so.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310
Email Your Plainsman:

Monday, July 2, 2012

What is Pants Finnegan Trying to Tell Us? -- Listening Too Hard

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I was fascinated by Gordon's "Pants Finnegan" "new Ticker guy" character back a week or so ago.

WARNING:  I am about to overinterpret this.  Punch out here if you don't like wild MTC speculation.  We KNOW you don't like non-MTC speculation.

Unnecessary Question:  Why did Gordon create this character?

Obvious Fact:  Pants doesn't resemble any current Ticker guy, or any guy currently on The Ticket.

Sketchy Observation:  He might be teasing guys on other stations, but when he does things like that, it is usually done in the context of some kind of conversation with that other station or overhearing of the other station's broadcast.  (See "The Touchdown Brothers.")  There's no reason to make the guy a Ticket guy.

Over-Analysis:  Let us assume that Gordon has reasons for what he does.  A stretch, I know.

So if Gordon is (1) not making fun of a Ticket guy, and (2) not making fun of someone at another station, that leaves only -- he's pre-emptively making fun of someone he thinks might be coming to The Ticket.

The San Diego reference and bombastic delivery = Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, currently featured on the "Corby Davidson, The Ticket" drop.

Over-Conclusion:   The Ticket is steeling itself for the introduction of new voices -- maybe not Hacksaw, maybe not a Ticker guy, but some bombastic sports talker like the ones we don't listen to on other sports-talk stations.  They are not happy about it.  Gordon is staging a pre-emptive attack.

(By the way:  I happen to like Hacksaw.  This site has recommended that The Ticket hire him. (See The Ticket Should Hire Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton.)  I lived in San Diego for a few years and seldom missed his late-drive/early-evening show.  And he was a first-rate Chargers PBP guy.)

There is my extremely speculative take on what Gordon's Pants Finnegan is trying to tell us.

I ran "Pants Finnegan" on Google Images and this is
the first item that appeared.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

As Frank Sang, "Regrets, I've Had a Few . . . ."

But I don't think I'm entirely crazy.

If you haven't seen the prior post, check it out now.  Read the comments, too.

As I mentioned in my comment, I wish I had taken a less dramatic approach.  But I don't think I was entirely out of line on this.  Ignorant about ALS, guilty.  Ass, guilty.

But this has been on my mind for quite awhile.  I looked ahead.

 Look, I'm a guy that worries about stuff like this.  I don't even like Fight Night, so if you think I'm too much of a mamby-pamby, you're entitled.   But let me invite you to join me in a little theater of the mind. Consider this decidedly non-crazy hypothetical:

Josh throws a bat.  Bat hits someone, doesn't matter who.  Maybe into a group of kids who couldn't protect themselves.  Someone is badly hurt.  The Rangers aren't able to make a private settlement.  This isn't like a foul ball, where spectators have a reasonable expectation of one coming their way.  Scene:  A law firm conference room.

HIGH-PROFILE PLAINTIFF LAWYER:  Good morning, Mr. Daniels.

JON DANIELS:  Good morning.

HPPL:  Mr. Daniels, you're aware of the events of August 3.

JD:  Yes.

HPPL:  Mr. Daniels, were you, or perhaps I should say, to your knowledge, were the Texas Rangers aware of the statistics regarding thrown bats?

JD:  I don't understand the question.

HPPL:  Were you aware that a bat being thrown into the stands is a relatively rare occurrence over the course of a season, and even rarer for a single player to have done it on several occasions in a season?

JD:  I didn't know the exact numbers, but generally, yes.

HPPL:  In fact, the number of bats thrown by Mr. Hamilton, several of which went into the stands, may be a major league record?

JD:  I don't know.  I do know it was somewhat unusual.

HPPL:  On occasion, did Mr. Beltre leave the on-deck circle over concern about Mr. Hamilton's thrown bats?

JD:  It may have been a gag.

HPPL:  The team regarded it as funny?

JD:  No.

HPPL:  Were you concerned about the thrown bats?

JD:  Somewhat, yes.

HPPL:  Did you speak with him about it?

JD:  Yes.

HPPL:  What did you say to him, and what did he say to you?

JD:  I asked him why he was throwing the bats.  He said he didn't know.

HPPL:  Is that all?

JD:  He said he guessed he just couldn't help it.

HPPL:  Did he say anything about the bats, or maybe his batting gloves?

JD:  No.

HPPL:  Did he give you any reason for the increased frequency of thrown bats?

JD:  No.

HPPL:  What did you say to him about it?

JD:  I explained that we were concerned about the safety of our fans and the players on the field, of course, and urged him to make every effort not to throw the bat.

HPPL:  What was his reaction?

JD:  He understood.  He said he would try.

HPPL:   Did you ever think it was intentional?

JD:  Certainly not.

HPPL:  A subconscious issue of some kind?

JD:  No, no.

HPPL:  How long was this second meeting before the incident and Mr Hamilton's suspension by Major League Baseball?

JD:  A month or so, I think.  Six weeks maybe.

HPPL:  But after that and before the incident, he threw another bat into the stands and another towards the dugout, did he not?

JD:  I believe that's correct.

HPPL:  Did you do anything else?

JD:  We spoke to him again and repeated our concern about the thrown bats.  He said he was sorry but he just couldn't help it.

HPPL:  Did you speak to Mr. Washington about possibly removing Mr. Hamilton from the  lineup?

JD:  No.

HPPL:  Why do you think he threw the bats?

JD:  I don't know.

HPPL:  Did it concern you that he said he said he couldn't help it?

JD:  Well, yes, of course.

HPPL:  What do you think he meant by that?

JD:  I don't know.  I thought he meant he would just lose his grip from his swing.  Obviously, he swings very hard.

HPPL:  But the frequency was increasing, was it not?

JD:  Yes.

HPPL:  Did you ever ask Mr. Hamilton to submit to a medical examination to determine why he might be losing his grip on the bat?

JD:  No.

HPPL:  No further questions.

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THAT's what I was thinking.  That when the whole world can see there's something odd going on that results in the threat of bodily harm to your fans and highly-paid athletes, you do something about it in advance of tragedy.  And where you don't know the reason, you ask people who know about holding on to things to have a look.  Even if they don't find anything, you've done what you could to find out why this extremely unusual and dangerous series of events were occurring.  Other than sitting him down to think it over.

It would surprise me if I am the only person in the metro who has thought -- there's something wrong here.

But in retrospect, I should not have focused on the specific possibility of ALS.  That was look-at-me, even by my somewhat relaxed standards, and I should have thought twice about that.

Let the piling-on continue.  I know, I know, I've lost a reader.