Sunday, June 23, 2013

Why Cumulus Needs to Damn Sign Up Bob and Dan Within the Next Few Hours

(Will Norm get credit in tomorrow's grammar books for being the first public figure to use "damn" to modify verbs?)

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The prairie is ablaze, and Your Plainsman's on fire.
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Dear Lew,
May I call you Lew?  No?
So Lew, I know you need to save money, but, based on no evidence, I'm going to assume for purposes of this open letter that you do care about The Ticket and you want to see it thrive for as long as possible.  I know that you know it is a jewel in a very tarnished crown and that you are very fortunate to have acquired it in the Susquehanna deal.  It not only dominates DFW radio in the prize demo, it is one of the most famous radio stations in the United States.  In fact, based on podcast downloads and online listening, it is it one of the most famous and popular radio stations in the world.  You've done your best to starve it of resources -- those allowing it to be heard in its home city, for example -- but it continues to thrash all comers.
I'm not going to beat you down about the short run, except to say:
(1)   They are amazing talents -- yes, both of them -- and you should keep them in your stable.  An obvious point, but perhaps lost in the money talk.
(2)   Bob and Dan's departure would have effects at the station well beyond having to fill in the noon-to-three slot.  Letting Bob and Dan go would expose the essential fragility of The Ticket's success.  Bob and Dan going says -- hey, if they can go, anyone can go.  I'm not talking about the other hosts, who are very unlikely to go anywhere, I'm talking about the long-suffering group that we here at My Ticket Confession call the Junior Varsity.  The JV contains quite a number of extremely talented people who are frequently discussed in these pages as Ticket-worthy successors to the current hosts.   Dime a dozen?  Not the good ones, and the Ticket's are not only good, they are a critical element of the success of the shows bearing the names of others.  The good ones are there because it is The Ticket and that's where the good talent wants to be around here.  If they perceive that The Ticket has been dealt a blow, and that they can make even a little more money elsewhere -- why not CBS? -- because to them, a little more money is probably a large percentage of what you're paying them -- they'll start to trickle out, too, and while you can replace them, you'll replace them only to lose the next batch as The Ticket declines (see below).   Whoever would have thought Kevin Turner would blaze that trail?
(3)   Morale will suffer among on-air talent.  Hosts will not feel the same about The Ticket.  They will say that they do, but they will not.  You think the CTO -- that's "Cumulo-Ticket Overlords" in these parts -- are disrespected on the air now?  I can see Mike Rhyner starting to call the place "The Littler Ticket."   The Ticket against the World?  Don't look now, but the World just turned a quarter of your army against you.  Failure to make a creative deal with Bob and Dan will say to them, "Cumulus just put Brett Blankenship in charge of corporate strategic planning."  They will understand what until recently has only been guessed at, which is that nothing will ever get better at The Ticket -- things will only get worse because Cumulus will not do what it must do on any front to keep the thing solid and growing.
So, as I say, I assume you can see all the obvious things about the short run.
No, I'm going to beat you down about the medium run. 
Lew, you look like a pretty smart guy to me.
Don't think about two years from now.
Think about four, five years from now.
(1) Musers:  According to this site's readers, based on some fairly well-sourced information, Junior Miller is already loose in the socket.  I don't know how long you have him tied up, but surely not much past 2017-18.   (I'll call you Shirley if I want; it's my blog.)   He's gone, and George will have no one to Muse with, assuming he even wants to.  (That's George Dunham, another of your most valuable employees.)   That show is mortally wounded even if George and Gordon -- yes, Gordon Keith, the one who got into it with Nasty Nestor, but that's not important now -- would presume to carry on without the Fred Astaire of Dallas radio.   Fred Ast -- never mind.
(2) Norm:  Surely not past five years.
(3) The Hardline:  Nope, Mike will almost certainly be done by age 67 and maybe sooner, maybe by New Years 2015.  He'll have created and given public face to The Ticket and done The Hardline for over two decades, with plenty of dough, side projects, and the thanks of a grateful DFW, or that portion of it reached by the incredibly crappy signal you've continued to stick them with.  (That's another open letter.)
If you make a deal today, you'll still have Bob and Dan, perhaps already killing it in PM drive, you'll have indicated possession of the foresight that will encourage talent to stay or to come to The Ticket as the legacy shows serially reach the end of their runs, and with BaD Radio as the foundation to sustain the miracle that is The Ticket.
Lew, I know you can do this.  I've read the CBA (local inside joke; ask Bob) and you do not have to let this talent nip off to the Goliath rival who, so far, has spent its days picking your rocks out of its forehead.  Creative business leaders would find a way to make this happen.  You not  only need to give Bob and Dan a deal, you need to give them a real, real long deal.  Seven years, at least.   
Cumulus didn't get where it is by divesting stuff.
So, in the medium run:
If you don't make a deal with Bob and Dan in the next few hours, you won't have dick.
You'll only have Dickey.
Yr mst hmb'l & ob't sv't,
The Plainsman
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Jeff said...

I made a similar point in the previous thread about the Ticket JV. I'm pretty sure those guys are not under contract and can leave the same way you and I can leave a job. Granted, they may not have the wealth to fall back on like Bob and Dan, but money talks!

Anonymous said...

Sad, slow clap. The bottom line is many of us will follow them to the FAN.

If they are given the mid-day spot as Barry Horn posted, and they are allowed to cross talk with Ben and Skin. I am likely to stick with Ben and Skin until they run me off before I head over to The Hardline.

Not good for the Ticket, and has someone posted, even worse for the Fan.

Michael said...

I approve this message.

Anonymous said...

I meant worse for ESPN

Anonymous said...

Why Today Doesn't Suck at 2:00 pm on a station that you can hear anywhere? I am down for that!!!

Shawn Slocum said...

*clap* . . . *clap* . . *clap* *clap* *clap*
Well done, sir.

Anonymous said...

Josh Hamilton has ALS. I heard it from the Plainsman.

MCC said...

I've talked myself into the idea that this has less to do with $$$ and more to do with Cumulus wanting to enact a culture change at the Ticket. I think the mgmt out in ATL has always wanted to rein the little one in. I have a feeling there are still some very bruised and butthurt mgmt egos over all the (justified) pissing and moaning from the on-air talent over the Victory move. So what better way to reassert a measure of control than to go tell an integral piece of the puzzle to go pound sand over at the Fan, business sense be damned? It's a total power play type move to remind everyone who's in charge.

Anonymous said...

And Troll Anon is bored again. So what else is new, ass hat troll?

BBQ said...

Anyone else see this from Corbles' Twitter feed?

Maybe there's even more changes coming down the not so distant future?

Matt Van Winkle ‏@mattvw9287 21 Jun
@corbydavidson so once again I call for @NotJackKemp to take over E-news. Love you, but more Jake.
Corby Davidson ‏@corbydavidson 21 Jun
@mattvw9287 @notjackkemp patience
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4:55 PM - 21 Jun 13 · Details

Anonymous said...

Just make sure Bob is
Offered enough money to
Stay at the Little Ticket
However much it takes

Hell, throw some money at Dan too
As an avid listener, he deserves it
Suck it Donovan

After that, I don't care
Losing Tom would be unfortunate
Say it ain't so, Cumulus!

Lucky Jim said...

Bob just tweeted a poem.

JG said...

Go look at Bob's Twitter. I think it's game over. Or he's completely screwing with everyone.

Lucky Jim said...

The poem is pretty clear, though what it means re: his decision remains oblique. He's made a decision, and he feels it's one that he can live with--regardless of what others think.

Anonymous said...

What if it's just Dan leaving? Dan was the emotional one on Friday. Maybe Bob is okay with staying even if not getting a raise and Dan felt they werent being treated fairly. Just a wild guess but I think it's possible

Anonymous said...

Bob and dan wont split up. They are married

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, if they were staying wouldn't we have gotten a "see you tomorrow" instead of a poem?

Anonymous said...

As of a few minutes ago, Barry Horn updated the BaD story.

Looks like it's a done deal. They're off to The FAN.

The Plainsman said...

It ain't over until the fat contract sings.


Damn, I wish I had ads on this site.

Anonymous said...

"We are staying home for years to come. In the end, just can't leave you or our brothers or the special thing we have all built. #1310" -@SportsSturm

Anonymous said...

This was just tweeted by Sturm.

Bob Sturm ‏@SportsSturm 1m

We are staying home for years to come. In the end, just can't leave you or our brothers or the special thing we have all built. #1310

cactusflinthead said...

They stay!

We are staying home for years to come. In the end, just can't leave you or our brothers or the special thing we have all built. #1310

Bob Sturm, Twitter

terry tynsedale said...

After reading the poem Bob posted and now that Ticket sources (which means Cat and/or Dan Bennett--and by the time something gets leaked to Barry Horn, it's done so for a reason) are saying they're not optimistic, they are in fact gone.

If they're going to do middays over there, that's fine with me. I'll miss WTDS as it has been, but since that's Dan's bit that he used to do in Ohio, I'm sure it'll now take place between the B&S/BaD mix. Sure it won't be the same, but it'll eventually grow on me. Who knows, perhaps it might help to shape B&S into a better show? The other good thing about them doing middays (if in fact they do) is that I won't have to flip between them and THL.

Yes, this sucks. But it could be worse. We could be losing them to another market, not just a local competitor.

I don't know why, but something inside me says that the whole gang (at least THL) will be reunited on a permanent basis within 2 years time, tops.

Like some have said here, I think this is the beginning of the beginning of the end of The Ticket as we've always known it.

Lucky Jim said...

Wow! And I thought they were for sure gone. What a weekend for The Little One!

terry tynsedale said...

DAMMIT!!!! I just posted my farewell to BaD and I look at the comments and lo and behold THE BOYS ARE STAYING!!!!!!!! WOO HOOOOOOO!

So screw me, I'm wrong and couldn't be happier about it!

cactusflinthead said...

Barry Horn got punked. How bad is that? At the very last minute, moments before Bob tweets he is staying, the DMN gets it wrong.