Saturday, September 28, 2013


The fact is, I'm coming around on Dan McDowell.

At first, not my favorite, but my appreciation has grown over the years.  Smart.  Funny.  I'd actually like to hear him on his own show.

He did not make it to the All-Ticket golf tourney last week.

The Musers kind of glossed over it.  They mentioned that, when invited, he said he would participate, and his participation was assumed in the pre-tourney bits (the Las Vegas rankings, for example).  But he just didn't show up.  They didn't say why.  Perhaps they didn't know.

I did not hear what BaD had to say about it.  Perhaps one of you can fill us in.

Here's what I want to know:

How far did the steam jet out from Junior's ears?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Less Worried Now

Some Dickey somewhere is calling Cumulus's telecommunications lawyer, if it has one, with a few questions.

Thanks to Confessor Gopher for calling our attention to the FCC's rejection of what it is basically calling  sham sale to Whitley Media, a broker.  I'm excerpting without permission from an update to the previous news item from RadioInsight.

Stating that the license transfer is not a true sale in that all economic risk would remain with Cumulus as Whitley would get the same brokerage fee regardless of the price he sells the station for, Cumulus would remain the defacto owner of the station.
The APA, by providing for Whitley to be reimbursed out of the sale proceeds for any losses and expenses he incurs in operating the Station, makes it clear that all of the economic risk of operating the Station would remain with Cumulus. Likewise, because Whitley is required to remit to Cumulus all of the proceeds from the sale of the Station, less his expenses and his brokerage fee, Cumulus would retain all of the risk of loss and potential for profit from the sale of the Station to a third party. Whitley will receive his brokerage fee and no more, whether the Station is sold for $1 million or $10 million. Given these “economic realities,” we conclude that the agreement between Cumulus and Whitley cannot be reasonably characterized as a proposed $100 sale of the Station to Whitley and that Cumulus would remain the owner of the Station.

Cumulus spun-off KTDK to Whitley in order to LMA 103.3 KESN from ESPN. That LMA was set to begin as soon as the KTDK spinoff to Whitley closed. Now both are on-hold indefinitely.

This also answers the question I had earlier, which is whether the "sale" of 104.1 was necessary to allow Cumulus to enter into the management agreement for 103.3 KESN, that answer being "yes."

So sounds like we'll have 104.1 for awhile longer, and ESPN will have to find some other way to figure out what to do with those time slots.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gugilelmo Would Be Proud

Bob Sturm confirms on Twitter:  The Ticket has won the Marconi for Sports Radio Station of the Year.

Thanks to Confessor So Anonymous for his comment on the last thread for the tip.

"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've  got 'til it's gone."

     --  Joni Mitchell, "Big Yellow Taxi"

Congratulations to all hosts, the JV, and yes, the CTO.

Elf Out, G-Bag Middays

I'm behind the curve on this one, but for those wishing to comment further on a major change at The Fan:

Mark Elfenbein & Jane Slater out, Gavin Dawson and team moving to middays.

I liked Elf's weekend show on The Ticket, but what I heard of The Fan midday show, both before and after Slater came on board (which concededly wasn't much, in either case), seemed to me to denature the guy, dilute his strengths.

I've caught some G-Bag.  Usually a quick switch to the Top Ten, but not always.  Chris Arnold was gone from The Ticket by the time I got to DFW, haven't found him compelling to date on what I've heard, but not objectionable, either.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Late Summer Pleasures

Ah, I love The Ticket this time of year.  My flower garden is tossing out its last hopeful blooms, and the Cowboys are wilting.

And The Ticket throws out some great Sunday broadcasting.

I heard a fair amount of That Shake Joint Thang this morning, and it was very sports heavy.  Very solid sports talk by Jake and Sean.  Both of those chaps, to my ear at least, do their homework -- including studying Bob's blog, which they graciously acknowledge -- and the result is a pre-pregame program that is very worthwhile.  It's fresh (despite the partial debt to Bob) and does not step overmuch on the Bob-and-Rich pregame.

Then there's Bob and Rich, joined for part of the show by another Ticket host.  I really enjoy the Bob/Rich interaction.  I know not everyone who visits this site shares my high opinion of Rich as a sometime host, but I really like his contributions and the way he and Bob deal with one another.

Today's guest was, as Bob and sometimes I refer to him, "Craig 'Junior' Miller."  Good stuff from Da Joonz, as usual.  There was a very interesting moment later in the show, after Craig reported on some historical research he'd done on the old Dallas Texans, and the nexus between football in Dallas and Kansas City.  I wish I had a transcript of what Bob said, but he praised Junior as a "sensitive" guy -- the kind of guy he, Bob, said he also believes himself to be -- who digs down and looks behind stuff.  My opinion, too, and I wish there were an opportunity for Craig to serve more often with the Stat Men on the station like Bob and David Newbury.  Craig doesn't ignore tendencies, but he reads between the lines of the recent performances on the field and comes up with some arresting insights.  Interesting contrast, and interesting that Bob made note of the flavor of Craig's contributions.

After the game, there's Norm and Donovan.  I continue to find myself puzzled sometimes by Norm's analyses -- I've written in the past that Norm will be slagging the Cowboys one moment, and in the next defending them against some caller on what seems to me like the same point.  If one were to break these instances down, I'm sure one would find that Norm is not being inconsistent.  Perhaps he's just instinctively challenging with callers.  In any event, I'm usually on board for the whole post-game.

Time to go rake some leaves, yellow, brown, and red.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Current Events, and One Past

Yes, like the rest of you, I cringe and hide when any of the shows strays into current events as a segment topic.  It's almost always bad radio, and sometimes embarrassing at how uninformed our heroes are on both left and right.  How many times have you heard them launch into a topic, only to come to a screeching halt because they don't really know some fairly basic facts about it?  "More Questions than Answers," a nice little self-mocking promo/drop.

But I was intrigued by Junior Miller's global warming talk yesterday morning during the 5:30-Post-Rich-Phillips-Epic-Mother-of-All-Tickers segment in two respects.

First, Junior actually began his report of his skepticism over the global warming (hardly no damn hurricanes) with the distinction that too few people make -- there may be global warming, but it is not primarily the result of human endeavor.  That is, you can believe in global warming as a phenomenon, and even be very concerned about it, without agreeing that human commercial activity should be forcibly reordered.

Second, Gordon offered support for my theory that he is The Great Ticket Moderate [Gordon as Great Ticket Moderate].  Making fun of the liberal position on Global Warming, he noted that the left has renamed it "Climate Change," and has essentially adopted a no-lose position that any adverse climatic effect is decisively influenced by human activity.  To my ear, Gordon is charming when he adopts this kind of faintly self-mocking tone (only it's not really self-mocking, because he never strongly held the mocked position to begin with if he held it at all).

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I wasn't around DFW in 2001, so I'd like to invite the Confessor to give us his or her recollections of how The Ticket handled things.  We've heard about what happened on that day many times, but yesterday they said they were pretty much all 9/11 all the time for a couple of weeks, with only an occasional sports shot.  I was a listener at the time to WSCR "The Score" in Chicago -- I was probably listening to the Mike Murphy show in the morning on that day -- but I couldn't tell you what they broadcast for the next little while and I may have been tuned to NPR for that post 9/11 period.

But I'll bet y'all were tuned to The Ticket, and do remember.  What is your recollection of how The Ticket handled the days and weeks after 9/11?

Friday, September 6, 2013


A distaff Confessor writes me with the following convenient chart comparing numbers from a year ago and now:

Station            Aug. 2013                   Aug. 2012

Ticket                          7.5                   7.3
ESPN                          3.3                   2.8
Fan                              1.7                   1.3
Ticket                          8.1                   7.7
ESPN                          3.5                   2.5
Fan                              1.9                   1.8
Ticket                          7.3                   6.9
ESPN                          4.9                   2.8
Fan                              1.9                   1.8
Ticket                          7.5                   8.3
ESPN                          5.1                   3.4
Fan                              1.7                   2.1

She notes:  "All other Ticket shows up from a  year ago.  This makes sense to me as Mike’s disinterest and too much music/Breaking Bad talk might be taking a toll."  Looks like ESPN has essentially cut the gap with The Hardline in half, from 4.9 to 2.4.

Quite possible.  It is interesting that all sports radio is up from 2012 to 2013 (at least for the August report) except for Hardline and Fan Afternoon.

Now:  I don't know if these numbers are for all listeners, or only the all-important male-of-a-certain-age demo that we tend to look at.  A more sensitive breakdown might reveal continued Hardline maxi-dominance, I don't know.  

But I'll bet some of you do.

Thanks to our Confessor for sending this in (from her work email, yet!).

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Kinda Worried

Maybe a little more than kinda.

I never thought the ESPN deal would result in anyone moving from The Ticket to 103.3.  Didn't make sense for Cumulus to pirate a single one of its top-rated to counter-program 1310.

No, my worry is about what seems to be the related sale of 104.1.

I don't know if we have any definitive ruling on whether the ESPN deal, whereby Cumulus will program, but not own, 103.3, required the divestiture of 104.1.  Doesn't really matter for what's worrying me.

When accounts of the 104.1 sale appeared, the word was that it would continue to simulcast 1310 until the intermediary -- apparently, the sale was made to a nominee, a media property broker who was going to flip to another operator when one could be found.   (The broker is Whitley Media, a broker with Media Services Group.)  I haven't found any further information on any deal closing, so as of now, 104.1 is effectively unflipped, and it's still chirping out Sportsradio 1310, The Ticket.

And what will happen when someone is found to take over the Sanger Blowtorch?

Your Plainsman rises early; chores, you know.  I travel to the skyscrapers of Dallas, Texas, where I park and scurry to my assigned seat and turn on the radio.  Most days -- not all, but most -- 104.1 may be heard on the radio set.  1310, no.  Even after the sun rises and 1310 makes recognizably human sounds, it still goes in and out, and but 104.1 generally remains stalwart to downtown and in the towers.

I get the impression that most Confessors listen to 1310.  But I listen almost exclusively to 104.1.  Could I listen to 1310 if 104.1 disappeared?  Yes, but not for as long, and not as comfortably.  iHeart and the new Ticket app and the website stream are not ideal substitutes for me for a number of reasons.

So do we know what Cumulus has in mind?  I suppose it should be plain after all these years that no one knows what Cumulus has in mind.  But I was troubled by this passage from this Barry Horn article:

"Although prominent sports talk radio stations in New York, Philadelphia and Boston have secured FM outlets, Cumulus’ [COO John] Dickey said that is not the current plan for the The Ticket.
"Cumulus has aired Ticket programming on weak-signaled KTDK-FM (104.1), but the sale of the station is pending. Might The Ticket find another more powerful home on the FM dial?
'We believe you don’t fix something that’s not broken,' Dickey said.
But he added, 'You never say never about anything.'"
This isn't exactly the same as saying "we're not going to replace the 104.1 signal, and will just go with the Bic-Lighter 1310 signal, and good fracking luck to you all," but it's pretty close.  Of course, it does confirm that Cumulus does not believe that the Ticket signal is deficient in any way that matters, which ought not come as a shock to Confessors.  And it also confirms that John Dickey really has pretty much no idea of what's going to happen -- or at least nothing he's willing to share, which is not necessarily a bad posture to take with a reporter.

So I'll enjoy the crystal clarity of the Sanger Blowtorch for now, and hope that Whitley Media's potential customers find 104.1 as worthless as Cumulus does.

KTDK Coverage Map

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