A few weeks ago, Thomas the Confessor left a couple of interesting, nicely-composed comments that I stored away for rebroadcast. It's a backward look and I thought NYE was an appropriately nostalgic juncture to brush them off and display them. They are lightly edited and reformatted for clarity:
It's funny how so much changed so quickly. The Littlest of Ones went from Skip Bayliss proclaiming they'll kick everyone's butt on D1 to packing out road shows in a few months. It went from a startup that no one in the industry thought would last 6 months to leading the pack within a few years. It had a fairly steady stream of turnover and tweaks outside The Musketeers until BaD hit the scene in 1999. It's also seen the metamorphosis of some hosts. Some for the better, some not.
It's gone from a primarily caller-driven station to a primarily talent-driven station. And it has trend-setted and set the bar for nearly all other sports/guy talk stations in America. But, to my mind (a la Jerry Jones), the biggest change has to have been what has occurred with/in technology.
My D1P1 status allows me to go back and map out every jump in technology we've had over the last 20 years. It's breathtaking. The effect it's had on The Ticket and the listener, too, is breathtaking.
It seems like yesterday when Sideshow Bob was faxing in to THL on a daily basis. Outside of Fax Fodder, mind you. Now, many below the age of 35 have very little, if any, idea what a fax machine or a fax is. The internet was almost all dial up. At least it was for 99% of all home service. We all had Internet America (local outfit) or AOL for a provider. It was slower than molasses, and there wasn't that much on there yet as far as time wasting goes.
Most of the sports, entertainment, and news stuff that was being discussed came from ESPN and the news. Which meant that both listener and host pretty much knew the same thing at the same time. Which also meant that everything was current and therefore the discussion had more urgency and zip to it. It was more of a conversation, and not a commentary like it is now. It also made you feel more a part of it. And with the way the interaction between host and listener was back then, you actually could be a part of it.
Now it seems like the majority of the listeners, specially the younger ones, only care for the bits or the outlandish, the shocking statement. And the drops. I get it. I really do. But you rarely get that warm and fuzzy "I'm a part of this" feeling from the interaction between the hosts or between host and listener anymore. Sometimes you do, but it's very rare.
What does this mean? I'll take a stab at it. Hopefully it makes sense.
Like [an earlier commenter] said, remotes were different then. THL really did hang out afterwards. Most were in restaurant-bars or bars. Not only that, but also the younger and/or single guys used to make no secret about where they hung out at and/or where they were going to hang at on such and such a night. You could easily have some suds and a conversation with Junior, Gordo, Followill, Doogie (if any of you remember him), sometimes Expo, and sometimes the (at that time) producer, Cat.
Greggo was an 817 guy then. He had his own longtime running buddies. But he sure would sit down with you after a remote. Rhynes was married and had not yet hit his belated midlife crisis. Like [the earlier commenter] I also suffer from Good Old Days Syndrome. But it was THAT good, people. Truly it was that good. When Rhyner issued his "there'll never be anything like it again once it's gone" statement, for me, "it" left the building around 2006.
It was the immediacy of the on air conversation, due to both host and listener knowing the same things at the same time, and its making you feel like you were having it with the hosts that also made the conversations and friendships after the remotes come about. Without [that immediacy], it would've been like it is now at a remote or a station-listener event (I go to most of them). Which means that the hosts are friendly but mostly guarded in nature, and when the remote or event is over, so too are they. Work is over and they're outta there. Just like the other stations do and have always done (been to several old-days Galloway and others remotes so I know what I speak of).
I wonder whether the listenership would have had such loyalty early on if [remotes hadn't had that personal flavor they had at the beginning]? It was that loyalty and host-listener bunker mentality that made it what it is. The bunker mentality still exists. You read it here in the comments whenever someone even hints that another station isn't so bad.
We'll never know.
Thank you Thomas, and thanks also for permitting me to spotlight your comments, which of course you didn't. See where he went with that? He found a source for the intimate relationship between hosts and P1's in two places: (1) The relatively primitive state of sports news in the very early Internet days meant that you were learning it when the hosts were, which led to greater identification between listeners and hosts in the context of the shows themselves. This was enhanced by the greater emphasis on callers and faxers. (2) This schlopped over to the personal contact that remotes afforded. He wonders (I'm extrapolating a little here, Thomas, please excuse me) if The Ticket would have exploded with the intensity of its early, loyal listeners if the technology were then as it is now. As he says, we'll never know.
Buckle up, confessing Buttercups, round up a designated driver, and get home safely tonight. See you in 2014, and Thank You for Shopping at My Ticket Confession.
Happy New Year.