Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Couple of Preliminary Low-Info Thoughts on the Cumulus Shakeup (H/T Confessor DA)

Whenever something stirs in the radio industry, we always look forward to Confessor DA's thoughts.  He posted a couple of interesting tidbits to the last post, suggesting among other things that the new CEO has a history of taking media properties (a print property, in her case) into bankruptcy.  This and other news has suggested to some Confessors that major changes in the sound of the station are in the offing.

Anything's possible, but we need to remember that The Ticket is a very profitable Cumulus property.  I'm betting on no major shakeups in any on-air lineups, talent, or JV assignments at least until contract renewal time rolls around.  DA suggests that belt-tightening starts with sales, but I would think that competition would militate against raising rates, and it's hard to believe that slashing commissions or sales staff wouldn't be self-defeating.  DA, what's your thinking here about how a media turnaround artist deals with the marketing function?

However, I do think that when contract-renewal time comes up, all bets are off.  Bob and Dan took a per-year annual pay cut, and there may be some hosts who are sufficiently well-off that a significant salary reduction would result in some stars being a little loose in the socket and ripe for plucking or moving on to pursue a different way of making a living (or just living).

For all of these reasons, I think the Western Hemispherical Catman faces some real challenges in keeping the station tops in the local sports-talk ratings to protect his team from significant changes.

I hope they don't mess with my Georgio.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy means that the company keeps operating, but the bankrupt must submit a plan for restructuring debt and paying creditors (which requires court approval and negotiation with lenders and creditors to avoid a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy) -- and yes, reducing costs.  I think DA is onto something when he suggests that dumping AM stations might be in Cumulus's future.  He's also probably right that it would be a challenge given today's listener preferences, but there's always someone out there who thinks they can make a go of a media property.  Somewhere out there there are Mike Rhyners who would be happy to pick up a bargain low-wattage 1310-type property to live the dream.  (Black Ticket, anyone?)  (I should add I don't know if Cumulus has a lot of those sitting around.)  May not bring in a lot of cash, but it would eliminate the cash drain and yield some return of capital.

Interesting times ahead for our weekday heroes and the line forming behind them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BREAKING: Dickeys BBQ'd (H/T Confessor Shaggy)

Dickey Brothers Out at Radio Giant Cumulus Amid Board Shakeup

The article notes the massive decline in earnings, and states:  "The news of the Dickeys' departure was first reported by music blog Hits Daily Double.  The blog suggests a huge reorganization of the company is on the way."  

I'm sure Confessor DA will have more on this breaking story, but I gotta get back to the plow.

But not before posting this: 

"Goodbye, Lew."

And apologies for the cheap headline.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back . . .

.  .  .  and enjoying the heck out of The Shake Joint with Sean and Folly this morning.

Mrs. P and I were in Maine last week.  We were dining at a restaurant one night when I glanced at the front door, and who should come (quite literally) rolling in, but President Bush and Barbara -- he in wheelchair and neckbrace, she with a walker and trademark pearls.  They passed by our table and sat about 20 feet from us, and the Secret Service guys were all sitting at the next table.  They dined with another couple and seemed to have a fine time. 

I did overhear the President say that he'd like to hear more Dave Lane now that the Orphanage is hors de combat, but in general he thought the Ticket weekend changes were working pretty well.

Cue Vivaldi.

Thanks to the Confessor for some solid offerings this past week.

Friday, September 11, 2015

We're Gonna Keep It Positive While I'm on Vacay

Mrs. P and I will be heading to cooler climes for a week.  I'll try to check comments every few hours, but please indulge delays.

I have sympathy for those commenters who decry the negativity on the site.  I must acknowledge, if not break down and tearfully confess, that I have lately contributed to it.

So how about let's make a special effort to call out segments, performances, bits, CTO decisions, that we like?  I'm not saying I'm going to delete negative comments for the next week, and sometimes there's a breaking story that cries out for commentary that may be less than glowing.  But I'll be biased in that direction on a close call.

Consider that no matter what you may think of an individual host, show, bit, JV, etc., what is really good about The Ticket decisively outweighs the yelling-at-the-radio stuff.  I mean, you do think that, don't you?  You wouldn't be here, or able to comment on things you've heard, if you didn't believe that, right? 

Well okay, then.  How about an attaboy for our favorites for at least the next few days?  All you guys who decry the big Neg -- let's hear from you.

I'll get started:  I heard about an hour of BaD Radio today, and I liked it.  Once again, Jake was not even close to being overexposed.  T.C.'s Tickers were fine and I believe I noticed him popping one maybe once, and appropriately.  Bob was his usual entertainingly erudite self, and Dan was on-topic.  The whole thing had a tighter feel to it.   It was a show I'd tune into again if I were a new listener.

Your turn.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

After a Half-Hour of Stephen Colbert, the Only Thing I Can Say with Certainty is that the Jimmies Fallon and Kimmel Slept Well Last Night

 Although I'm sure Corby will think it was great.  There; there's your Ticket connection.

Concession:  Small sample size.

I'm not hip to the details of Colbert's career arc, other than a general idea of his Daily Show alter ego.  Mrs. Plainsman saw a lot of the promotional stuff and puff pieces and said she was interested in watching the show.

Wow, that was some painful tube.

I heard this was supposed to be the "real" Stephen Colbert.  I don't have much familiarity with the put-on Stephen Colbert, but he couldn't be any less amusing than Stephen Colbert.

He yells.

He mugs more shamelessly than Meryl Streep in a romcom.


He addresses only the camera, eliminating the feel of a live show.

Nine months of comedy planning and that unfunny, manic mess was IT?

Exception:  Les Moonves switching over to "The Mentalist"  from time to time.

Mrs. Plainsman said:  "Well, that was pretty bad."

Lame theme music with overheated, too-happy performers matched the jittery underfunniness of the program content.

Know what it brought to mind?

Ben & Skin Show.  There's another Ticket connection for you purists.

Maybe the interviews went better.  You'll have to report.

No comments on his politics, please.