This article is not about Mike's kidney stone, other than incidentally.
And, as I am inclined to do sometimes, I am going to jump to a conclusion based on extremely, extremely skimpy evidence. Maybe not a "conclusion" -- maybe more of a . . . musing.
I got to hear a fair amount of The Hardline on Monday. I was in my car and I quite literally sat up straighter in my seat as the Presentation progressed.
I heard two excellent, hard-core sports conversations between Mike and Corby, one right after the other. One was about the NBA playoffs. I think the other was Ranger-based, but my recollection is dimmer on that one. The conversation was continuous, no dead spots where Danny had to jump in, interesting to listen to, and hard.
I thought: All right. I haven't heard sports talk like this on The 'Line in months if not years. Not jokey, apparently knowledgeable, straightforward. As you know, I don't know a lot about sports, but it sounded genuine to me. Could Corby and Mike have learned all the names and prospects and playoff permutations earlier in the day? Could they have been reading off of a sportsy website? I suppose. It didn't have that feel to me, and I wouldn't have cared if it were.
The one thing I noticed was that while Mike sounded "good" with respect to his cadence and content, his voice had that whispery, older-gentleman timbre that ausgang (I believe it was) and I began to notice popping up several months ago. Must have had a rehearsal the night before, I thought.
I thought the entire show, all that I heard, was sharp and focused. I thought to myself this is what Confessors have been asking for. I did ask myself if I was just hearing what I wanted to hear, or sensationalizing what I perceived to be a better-planned show just so I'd have something to write about.
It's possible -- but I don't think so. I think there was a real effort there to beef up the content and dial back the chaos.
Then, at the end of the show, we learn about Mike's battle with the dread kidney stone. The guy must have been miserable.
Nevertheless, I thought Tuesday's show (of which I heard much less) was equally on track.
Do I think this means that The Hardline is moving back to a more thoughtful, targeted, prepped presentation? Man, I have no idea. I'm just saying I noticed it -- or thought I did -- on Monday and Tuesday.
While we're at it, let's keep a collective excellent thought for the Founder of the Feast, Mike Rhyner. Hope he is back soon and energized for the tilt with Ben & Skin.
Which brings us to today's show with Corby, Danny, and Jake. I thought it was excellent. I have bored you all with my repeated insistence that when Corby is called upon to helm a show or take an active role on a different show, he really shines, shows that he's capable of leadership, planning, and a much more mature form of entertainment.
Unlike a commenter to the last thread, I thought Danny was equally good. I confess (of course) to being a strong Danny partisan, including The Orphanage (which, ironically, begins with an image of a trainwreck). He's one of the smartest guys on the channel, and I thought he was sharp and funny as usual today. Several laugh out loud moments from them both.
Jake had a gawdawful EQ going on his voice -- I understand he was broadcasting from the producer's perch, perhaps he left Danny's levels intact -- but his contributions were also appropriate and entertaining. So I had zero problem with today's show and while I hope Mike gets back soon and broadcasts for another twenty, I will repeat what I've said in the past when we were puzzling over whether Mike was going to re-up last time around. Assuming Danny wants to hang around and assuming they pay him what he's worth, Mike's departure would not require gigantic adjustments to PM drive.
But let me get back to my main point: I do wonder if the prospect of new competition, other changes in the local industry, or the sense in the room that The Hardline has kinda been loafing through its months of drivetime domination, has suggested to our Hard heroes a new seriousness of purpose.
Yah -- that's quite a thing to wonder based on two partial hearings of The Hardline. You have plenary dispensation to say that I'm hearing things, those shows were just more of the same. But yes, I did think I heard something, a little something between the lines, on Monday and Tuesday, and I liked it.
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