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The last thread had some very thoughtful pieces and responses on where The Ticket might possibly be headed. Here are some of them (sorry about the formatting irregularities -- Blogger's word processing is pathetic), and then I have a couple of thoughts:
This first one, from Anon 225, doesn't focus on the Hardline, but on Ticket competition generally:
Flipped on 103.3 today. Elf and Friedo have a show. Nice to hear Elf on the airwaves again. Like B&S and Greggo, he's now done the trifecta. Except in a way, working for 103.3 is sort of a return back to The Ticket. On that note, by the way, the cross over between the two stations is already underway. Programs on both frequencies are beginning to cross reference/mention the other. In a friendly manner, too boot. While listening to Elf and Friedo (sorry, Dick Hicks, I know it's the last Race Week of the year, but I can't deal with it), I started to think how 103.3 might be about to embark upon cracking the code that is The Ticket. How? By taking the IDEA of The Ticket and making it their own. Instead of, like certain ESPN programs in the past (looking right at you, B&S) and well, every single FAN show, copping Ticket lingo, segments, and just about everything - basically aping The Ticket to a T with zero success - they've decided to take the "guys just being guys who happen to know about and have inside info on, sports" concept and run with it. But do so by actually being themselves, and not trying to be THL of The FAN or whatever. It's early in the game, but so far they have my attention. Pman's too, for that matter. I'm looking forward to the ratings books over the next six or so months to see how this shakes out.
Things got rolling with runitandrunitandrunitandrunitandrunit, expanding on Anon 225's point:
Exactly right, 2:25. What's going on at ESPn is kind of what went on during the first years of The Ticket. They're getting for the most part locally known talent who've been around the media scene for a long time who 'get' the DFW area mentality and who have lived here and know the area intimately. The demo for sports talk radio is not going down. It's still the same as it's always been: mostly approaching, in the midst of, or about to exit middle age/d white dudes. The young aren't listening, and the scant numbers that are diminish with each year. No getting around it. * * * If you've ever been to a remote or a bigger event, you see their demo first hand. All of this means that on the whole (please note that part, "on the whole" which means of course there are exceptions) the majority of the listening audience wants to "converse" with guys like them. Not snarky younger guys who come off as knowing everything (whether they do or not is not the question), are into music that is for the most part alien to them, and who are experiencing and relating their adventures that most listeners went through themselves years, decades ago. They want the guy next door who gives the knowing nod, not Jake, not TC, not Sean, not Machine, or whomever. It's not a knock on the guys I just mentioned, at all. It's just the way people are and how they relate to others and to whom they relate to. LIke seeks like. Unlike might be interesting for a bit, but in the long run it isn't.
Thus the picture here is that with a demo that ever remains the same and yet will inevitably shrink, and an up and coming demo that really doesn't exist, and the little that does keeps dropping off, you've got yourself a shaky future for The Ticket because they have no veteran replacements. Due to the probable future of the industry a youth movement is actually counterproductive. Cheaper, yes. So the upshot is that over the next years don't be surprised if a group of vets who've passed their 20 year mark begin to set sail, a group of (absolutely deserving) up and comers take their places, and the once mighty Ticket begins to slip in a most major way. Falling prey to its sibling with big mouse ears and a largely aging talent pool that connect with a largely aging demo.
runit had some additional thoughts in the thread you may want to check out. Anon 111 had an interesting contrapuntal observation:
As someone who is probably in the younger end of the demographic (too old to start a high school fan club but around the age of the up and comer JVers), I am amazed that we are listening to the same shows. I love the Musers but The Hardline is my show of choice.
I started listening right around when Greggo left. Thanks to our pals at the Unticket, I've gone back and listened to the old shows and I probably wouldn't have been into the show that much back then. Greggo just isn't my thing. And maybe it's coming to the station towards the end of things with him and just not being there Day 1 but he leaves me with a big old meh when I listen to archived Hardline shows.
Corby can be too sheltered/pompous/privileged. I like Mike's music and TV segments and hearing old band stories. But I really like the weekend guys a lot and think they're finding their niche. Shake Joint and Cirque are solid and most people I know in my age group that listen agree. Again, love the Musers too but that didn't seem to be a point of argument here.
All very interesting. Got me thinking.
First, I am no expert on the overall radio audience, but I have a hunch that when it comes to The Ticket and its competitors, the demo business is somewhat overblown. The market for sports itself is huge and growing. The NBA, MLB, and NFL are prospering even in this dismal economy. Driven mainly, by guys, and guys of all ages and levels of prosperity. They get in the car, they turn on the radio, they want to hear sports talk. They stay for the guy/pop culture talk. Maybe that talk is by guys in their 30's, maybe their 50's. But as long as it's good, and knowledgeable, and doesn't insult their intelligence, they'll like it and hang. Check between the three stations, see which they like the best. But still a huge audience to go around. This, of course, does not address the relative popularity of the shows.
Second, the Ticket has been on top since almost the day it came on the air. That's 20 years. If a demo is going to change, it's going to change over two decades. And yet The Ticket is more popular than ever, and The Hardline -- which has taken it in the jewels in the comments for the past little while -- if I'm not mistaken, is the highest rated show on the station. This, of course, does not address what some here have urged to be the waning popularity of terrestrial radio generally.
Third, I'm willing to listen to our experts who predict the coming decline of terrestrial radio. But if anything iHeart Radio, SportsDay Talk, podcasts, and even social media have, if anything, expanded the radio audience, so I'm guessing that radio -- or programming produced for radio -- isn't going away anytime soon as a destination for sports fans.
And one more thing:
Fourth, I have a feeling that the demo for this site is not closely representative of the P1 universe. I'm thinking possibly somewhat older. Perhaps more critical. Just perhaps. So when I see lots of comments slagging The Hardline (not that it doesn't need some slagging now and then) or predicting the coming decline of The Ticket, I do wonder. Now, of course, The Ticket will change with the passage of time. Stars will retire or leave -- almost lost Bob and Dan there awhile back. Rome fell. But it took a long, long time. Gibbon's book is three heavy and closely-printed volumes.
And with Cumulus bringing a different strategy to ESPN -- which, on the evidence of the afternoon show, may be exactly as Anon 225 described -- it should be an interesting few years.