Friday, October 19, 2012

I'll Probably Regret This

- - -
 
A couple of Confessors commenting in the last post remarked on a Corby reference -- possibly a stitched together drop, I did not hear it -- to "n-lover."  And of course we frequently hear Danny's "a pretty good n" drop (he's actually saying "a pretty good in," the original reference being to someone's good inside connection with something or other, but the drop is played as though he's saying "n"). 
 
From time to time commenters have suggested that The Hardline is racist.  I do not believe that any of the Hardline guys is racist in the slightest.  I myself do not find the racial banter or references offensive, but if you do I'm not going to try to talk you out of it or accuse you of oversensitivity.
 
So I'm OK with the occasional risky reference.
 
"A truckful of Mexicans" -- Mike Rhyner
(courtesy http://reinforcingstereotypes.tumblr.com/, used without
permission; site dedicated to collecting photos that reinforce stereotypes of all
races, without discrimination)
 
Here's my concern:
 
There have been times when I've wondered whether a motivated interest group could create gigantic headaches for the CTO and The Hard Ones by doing to them what was done to Mike Bacsik.  The kindling is there.  I truly do not think The Hardline is racist, but the edge-skirting stuff, when you add it up, could be fodder for some "community organizer" to make a name for himself calling for a Ticket advertiser boycott.  Those drops would be assembled and played by the local news channels.  And possibly by The Ticket's competitors.
 
And that would be trouble for our lads that they couldn't laugh their way out of, no matter how unreasonable or crazy the accusations.
 
I'm not suggesting The Hardline should change a thing because I personally don't find these references blameworthy.  But we live in fractious times, and there are those out there who would love to see The Ticket brought low.
 
Please keep comments respectful and moderate in tone.  Thanks in advance.
 
 
Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

37 comments:

James said...

I have wondered the very same thing. Is it just a matter of time before someone raises a ruckus? Surely they have said some things that, if presented by the media in a certain light, would sound worse than things that have gotten Bascik, Opie n Andy, or Imus in big trouble.

birq said...

I believe local advertisers know what they're getting into with The Ticket. The station has been what it is for over a decade. Once it got past the first few years of finding its way, it pretty much settled into what it is today and hasn't significantly changed its personality since. Locals have to at least have an idea of the reputation and are either tolerant of it or will embrace it (like Mr. G's did until it was bought out).

As for the national advertisers, (correct me if I'm wrong here, someone who knows), they're sold and maintained by Cumulus and either wouldn't care about what goes on in a single station in a single market or wouldn't hear about it unless it became a major national stink.

I think you're right, Plainsman, that there's the potential for a bunch of specific instances to be taken out of context and blowed the damn hell up, but I think it would have to be a major ACLU-on-the-doorstep-with-Jesse-Jackson-in-tow kind of imbroglio to affect station sales. I think the chances of something gathering that kind of steam are between slim and none.

The Plainsman said...

Quite possibly, birq, but they sure cut Bacsik loose within a few hours of the thing blowing up. Obviously, Bacsik was not remotely as valuable to the franchise as any one of The Hardline guys (and his remark was arguably more directly offensive). It is true that advertisers know what they're getting into with the content, but none of them is bargaining for local activist demanding to know if they are going to continue buying time at a station that finds the use of "n" amusing, if the result is that they will lose all of their black/Latino/gay customers.

And while I haven't catalogued other racial references, there are a fairish number of them (not necessarily offensive, but more in the stereotyping vein).

And we haven't even mentioned women's groups, which strike me as potentially the biggest threat to take some kind of action, just because of the more frequent and direct -- shall we say -- disrespectful references to women on The Hardline.

But, as you say: This has been going on a long time, and if it hasn't happened already it probably isn't going to. They couldn't shut down Augusta, and they probably aren't going to shut down The Hardline.

Believe me, I wouldn't have done this column if it weren't for the increasing number of "n" references, and the one from yesterday, if it has been reported accurately by commenters, strikes me as ratching up the audacity factor a little.

birq said...

Bacsik was a special case where he was a) unfiltered on Twitter and b) drunk. On the air, they have the benefit of having other people around to reign things in if they start to get out of hand, but they also have the dump button, which has probably saved more than career in the past 18 years. When they go too far, the producer and board op don't hesitate to dump it. Now, if one of the guys were to pull a Bacsik and go scorched-Earth through a secondary channel without the chance of a Mulligan, I agree he'd most likely suffer the same fate.

tango said...

I believe Bacsik was a special case because the individual in San Antonio who read his tweet and got the ball rolling was/is an activist who is known for doing such things. If someone like him ever sinks their claws into The Ticket/Hardline, watch out, there could be a firestorm. So far this hasn't happened. But the odds are that one day it will.

As to any member of The Hardline being racist, I say no way. Same with the crew. But the thing is, that really doesn't matter. What matters is the content that flies out. "N lover" is unacceptable in this day and age. And you know what? It shouldn't be acceptable in any day or age. It's very easy for you, Plainsman, to say it isn't offensive; as I assume that you're a white either in or beginning to push middle-age. Yes? I don't believe finding "n lover" drops as being unworthy of air time, and thus offensive, tantamount to being overly sensitive. Perhaps it's you and some of your commenters that have been de-sensitized?

tango said...

One more thing. I'm a legit day one P1. The station and The Hardline didn't used to have such drops. The hosts didn't used to say things like "Hey! don't call them the n word!" to each other when trying to shoot the other's wheels off. As much as I love Grubes, it wasn't until he began cutting and pasting drops that this really began (e.g., the Norm, "big, black, mf'er" drop). Soon thereafter is when Corby began to use the line I wrote above. The only tinge of racial humor came from Gordon. But in Gordon's case, at least back then, it was the "good" sort of racial humor. White men can't jump stuff.

Anonymous said...

Bacsik's incident made national news, because he was a former baseball player. I would imagine that had a little bit to do with his dismissal.

T4 In Rockwall said...

I guess some might say their not racist, but for them to spend as much time on it as they do sounds like they enjoy it quite a bit. That's probably their immaturity, but I feel like that if they didn't at least bend a little in that direction, it wouldn't be as popular with the 3 of them.

The Plainsman said...

Detour: Awful lot of Zep on the 'Line the last couple of days. I don't mind it at all, but I'm sure portions of The Nation are in a lather.

Anonymous Ron said...

Doing my best Fake Corby:

*sigh*

OK

I get it.

You like the Led Zepplin movie.

Anonymous said...

Didn't someone make the comment a few threads ago saying how 90% of What's on Mike's Minds are about music? And didn't you say he she it was exaggerating? Seems like he she it was right and you were wrong.

P2 in MI said...

I was shocked a couple of days ago when, in comment to Corby talking about death in high school, Mike said someone died while out "rolling __________'s." One, I was surprised it wasn't dropped. Secondly, I was surprised that nothing was ever made of it, other than Corby & Danny stopping down the show for it. It seems to me that the trouble might come when someone who is a minority (and off air), gets fired or let go. That would be the person to make the push. At this point, I wish they would tone it down, as it makes the show unlistenable at times for me and much less enjoyable.

The Plainsman said...

936, you may want to brush up on the concept of "sample size."

The Plainsman said...

Can we get an "It's Just Banter -- Saturday Fill-In Edition" report?

I was only able to listen to a few moments of it, where Jakc was talking about George D's Quest for Potency. He had a different, better phrase for it, but that was the idea.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I did hear IJB this morning. Pretty good. Though both Jake and TC seem to have a bit of Corbyitis in them. When I say that I mean they make these assertions about something in such a confident manner that you'd think they're experts in everything. It's a little annoying. But other than that it was solid. I'd prefer they had that slot over The Orphanage. They do need some work, though.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Plainsman said...

For the record, I deleted a comment critical of me that would have stayed up except for a gratuitous concluding insult. (The criticism was . . . wrong.) This was followed by a post complaining of the deletion that was even more personally insulting, which, the commenter correctly predicted would also be removed. In fairness, I will say that the commenter wanted you all to know that I'm a self-important jerk that can never be wrong, and that he hoped he could impart that information to you all before I took that one down, too. So now you know.

TheDude said...

To turn back to the topic at hand briefly, I think tango has made what I feel is the most important observation. Plainsman alluded to it in the post itself, but I think this is what needs to be made clear:

The hosts' attitudes and motivations about race/women/"queers" don't matter one bit when it comes to -ism. The only factor is if a third party with a loud enough voice (i.e., a special interest group) wants to share it with media that can use it to sell airtime or clicks (i.e., does this bleed enough to lead).

There is already enough evidence in the archives, right there on TheUnticket. If someone was motivated enough to do damage and could convince a news editor it would explode, they could find enough of Corby's old songs, Mike's off-handed comments, and Grubes's cuts to do significant damage.

Anonymous said...

Nothing can stop or take down the ticket besides the ticket itself.

duckandcover said...

So it looks like the commenter got his wish. Now if we can move on to something more important if there is in fact something more important to move on to.

Like pretty much everyone here, I don't think there's one racist bone in any of The Ticket personalities, be it main hosts, JV hosts, board ops, Ticker guys, or anyone else I'm leaving out. But I agree with tango about the possibility of both listener and station being unintentionally insensitive due to de-sensitization. I know that when I take a hard look at myself, I find it to be true. And look, it's only a matter of time before the right or wrong sort of person (right or wrong depending on your perspective) grabs hold of something racy, does a little (and easily done) audio homework, and causes a problem that could at the very least be a headache like you wouldn't believe, and at worst bring the whole thing down as we know it, and maybe bring it down, period. The fact that nothing has happened yet is pure dumb luck.

Like Plainsman, I don't mind some racial humor. Though I think there's a fine line between making a joke about certain stereotypes (for example, the black lady screaming at the movie screen or the overly all local all organic white hipster yuppie type) and saying something racist because you just think it's funny and of course you don't mean it in "that way" because you're not racist. Maybe we all need to look a little closer at ourselves? Why is it funny to conceive of and then play a "n lover" drop if that same person claims not to be racist? And if we claim the same thing but still chuckle? Surely there's something there.

The Plainsman said...

TheDude makes the point I was trying to make. I wouldn't want to see that happen to The Ticket.

When I stopped to think about it, I asked myself: I don't know the demographics, but I suspect that the ethnic/religious minority listenership of The Ticket accounts for only a small part of its ratings. (Although this site and Confessors have noted the unusually large numbers of black callers to shows that take calls.) Let's say that a black community type made a splash by calling on AutoFlex Leasing to stop advertising on The Ticket. Really made a howl. (Maybe we could get the ASPCA to demand that SweetJack pull its ads.) Would AutoFlex find that compelling? With The Ticket's ratings? So maybe Cat sends out a memo, maybe the shows clean up a little for awhile, it dies down. I ain't seeing it.

The group that I would fear most would be women. Partly because there seem to be an awful a lot of them, they control a lot of pursestrings, and they're well-organized and well-financed, and they know how to make noise. And partly because The Hardline (in particular) provides innumerable and vivid examples of, shall we say, extremely disrespectful talk about women. (There's another word for it, but I quail at its use.) A lot of it is fratboy joshing, but some of it has a hostile edge, from all three hosts. And that could easily be a national attack, aimed at Cumulus.

I guess we can take some comfort from the fact that it something like this were going to happen, it would already have happened, and would have happened to someone like Stern.

So, on balance, I don't think any budding Obamas from the neighborhood are likely to take on The Ticket anytime soon, other than the odd case of low-hanging fruit like Bacsik.

duckandcover said...

It did happen to Stern. Happened to him when I was living in both D.C. and Philly. But he was such a juggernaut that in many ways he was helped by it. A big of a deal as The Ticket and The Hardline are around these parts, there bigness (that's what she said) isn't in the same area code as Stern's was back when he would get protested from, well, you name it.

duckandcover said...

As for the female angle, I think you're onto something. However, as prominent as The Ticket is in our lives, and guys like us -and as big of ratings getters as they are- the station is a pimple on the rear of the KISS 106, etc. gorilla that most women and run of the mill people in the DFW area listen to. Check out The Ticket's ratings. They slay The Fail and Espn and they're in the top half of overall ratings. But look at who is in the upper tier. Better yet, look at the number discrepancy. It's pretty dang big. I think that's one of the reasons why we haven't yet had any of the troubles that we've been talking about. But like I said before, I honestly do think it's a matter of when, not if. Sooner or later, sometimes much later, things catch up to you.

Anonymous said...

We're not the only ones who've noticed The Ticket's and The Hardline's recent spate of suspect spewing.

http://radiodiscussions.com/smf/index.php?topic=221598.0

"Rolling queers." "N lover." And all the rest. Yeah, they think they're above it all. Crusin' for a bruisin' I say. Someone or some group will go after them soon enough. Bank on it.

T4 In Rockwall said...

Totally unrelated (or is it?!?), but I was on the UnTicket and ran across this link: http://www.theunticket.com/dallashiphop-com-thread-accuses-corby-of-being-racist-4-15-04/

Anonymous said...

Since last Tuesday, every single Hardline show has had at least one music segment. Three had two music segments. One (Thursday) had three music segments. And that's not counting Friday's concert calendar.

Too much. Overkill.

I'm also tired of the endless "here's what I did" segments. Seems like every single day there's another tale of vacation, weekender, concert (music!), show that was played (again, music!), comedy show, sporting event, you name it. Okay, we get it, you have ample amounts of free time, money, and get all sorts of kick ass seats for free. Enough.

I guess I've just had it with The Hardline. With the exception of Danny, they're all insufferable. Jake included.

WOW! As I type this ANOTHER music segment begins. Wait, it's a bonus. A music segment about a guy they've already spent 2 previous segments on in the last several months...AND a concert going experience. D bags. All but Danny.

edfes said...

Does anyone else here notice that Alexis seems to end all of her traffic reports with "I'm Alexit"? It sounds like she says "Alexit." Don't know why, but it drives me nuts. Other than that, love me some Alexis/t. What male with a pulse wouldn't?

Anonymous Ron said...

Reference to racist Corby on WTDS today.

T4 In Rockwall said...

In reference to Alexis signing off on that, whenever Rich references Quaker State Oil, he says Quaker Steak.

Tomfoolery said...

It is "Quaker Steak"....
Its a restaurant...

The Plainsman said...

Don't feel bad, T4. I never heard of it, either.

http://www.quakersteak.com/

Locally, Carrollton.

Tomfoolery said...

Anon 5:18:

I agree with your point about hearing about all their kickass trips the hosts take (which you really notice if you compare these times to the shows from the old days - these guys used to be far more engaged in the job...now it seems they do it for the money)

But, would you rather them be like most sports talk stations and spend their time on multi-million $ spoiled athletes and their kickass exploits?
To some degree, this is why the ticket has such a loyal following - we feel like we know them and their families...

But again, I do see where you are coming from...

Anonymous said...

@Tomfoolery
By your name I can see that you're a long, long time listener. Me too. I remember when The Hardline wasn't all about their off show kick asseness. It was THAT Hardline that made me feel like I was a part of the station. That they were a part of my life. Not so much anymore. It all began to change once Corby got on board. But it's not all his fault. I blame Rhyner. He sets the pace. LIke you said, they're not engaged like they once were. Sorry Plainsman, I know you think that Mike and the HL have been more engaged the last year or so, but you have no idea what it was like in the old days. THAT was being engaged. Back to it. Mike sets the tone. Now that I think of it, it was when Petty Theft got up and running is when things started to go downhill. Danny was already playing in bands, but you'd never know it until Rhyner started promoting PT all the time and Danny's band too. I think this all began around the time Mike was splitting up with his wife. So there's a lot of factors involved. Oh, another one is the fact that in the old days they weren't offered everything for free. They weren't sought out by promoters giving them free tickets, plane trips, you name it. So I can understand somewhat. But it still doesn't excuse them making much of their show about themselves. George is in a more successful band than Rhyner (and he writes original material) yet while he promotes it, it isn't obnoxious. Like I said, I'm just tired of the HL's act. I hope Danny moves on to something better. Where he's featured as a fulltime host. Though I think he likes the hours and the lifestyle too much to go that route.

T4 In Rockwall said...

Per the Quaker Steak restaurant, you think they're trying to play off of the oil company? Lube, time for a fluid change. Idiocracy...

ausgang said...

@Anon 1:02 and a few others

I agree that Mike sets the tone. I also agree that Corby isn't the one to lay all the blame on. Furthermore I think there's something in what you say about the at times, IMHO, smothering music talk and what can only be called ego or "look at me" talk. It is true that in the old days, prior to Petty Theft, music talk wasn't so prevalent. At least it wasn't an every show topic.

I do recall a particular period around 2005-6 where Mike and Danny would basically have arse kissing sessions about each others' bands. It was when PT was still fresh and Danny's band at that time was rising fast locally (and they were an Observer favorite). I remember being put off by it. Not because I begrudged them being in a band or having success outside the show. Not at all, quite the opposite; I thought it was really cool. But rather because it came off as self-congratulatory and totally out of self-interest; it was the first time I remember the show being about themselves, and not the shared experience between listener and host/station that made the show/station pure greatness.

You're absolutely right in your George/Bird Dogs comparison. It is bothersome that Mike puts on an act like he's being forced to promote his band's gigs by rapidly mentioning multiple shows at once. If that's the case, then why mention them at all? Then again, Mike puts on a lot of acts of feigned indifference, of not wanting to be noticed.

Personally, it's going to take a lot more than too many music segments and a bit too much self-involvement to drive me away from my favorite show, The Hardline. But I can see where some of you are coming from.

Anonymous said...

Really digging Intentional Grounding. I can see where the show probably benefits from being a one night per week show. You can't come up with interesting and unique stuff on a daily basis. But with a week or more to prepare for each show, you can. I do wish it went another hour. It needs it. Without it, the show ends just at the time it was getting its groove on. Also, it's very nice to have local programming going from 4:30 am to 10pm (Top Ten am repeat to Top Ten pm). It'd be great if IJB got a slot, and perhaps another show as well. More local programming!