Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ask, and Your Plainsman Shall Deliver Sometimes

The Confessor World was rent asunder in the last thread by competing opinions on the narrator on some ads appearing in The Ticket stream, and, I suppose, on the air, although I don't have a list for you.  Confessor Boo! did not much care for it, another found it fetching.  I have since heard from others who very much like the sound of this woman's voice.

AMENDMENT 5-1-16:  At least one of the ads in question is for The Local Ticket with DJ Mark music show.

The talent community must know who's doing what -- and have the occasional cup of coffee at My Ticket Confession -- because it wasn't long before I heard from someone who gave some indication of knowing what he was talking about, and our voice actress was identified.

Her name is J.J. Jurgens.

She has a Masters in Journalism/Sports Broadcasting from the University of Nebraska and played on the Cornhuskers women's basketball team.

She was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Promotional Announcement.  No, really.

Her favorite drink is Widmer Hefeweizen

She played professional football for the L.A. Amazons.  Wide receiver and corner.

[Close as I could come.  LA Amazons didn't leave an extensive photographic footprint on the Internets.  This is from "Tarzan and the Amazons" with Johnny Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce.]

So there you have it.  More at her website.  Your Plainsman has a special fondness for her birthplace of Omaha, Nebraska, and My Ticket Confession wishes her the best.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Quick Hits -- Limited Ticket Nexus

(1)  One hundred percent with Craig "Junior" Miller:  The Chuck thread of "Better Call Saul" is a thrashing of a high order.  Show screeches to a complete stop when Michael McKean appears on the screen, not necessarily because of Michael McKean himself, but because the thread is not interesting.  The electromagnetic-sensitivity mental illness element is tacked on, gratuitous, and slows a slow story even more.

In fact  .  .  .  while I love both "Bad" and "Saul," those shows can both be very, very slow.  

(2)  I attended an employer-sponsored seminar on how an optimistic outlook can improve health.  I noted that this popular notion got started with a famous journalist named Norman Cousins, who was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness.  He rented a bunch of Marx Brothers movies and other things he thought would make him laugh, locked himself up somewhere, and laughed himself back to health.  I tried to remember details about this and when I looked it up, I found that the disease from which he suffered was:

Ankylosing spondylitis.

(3)  All hosts on all Ticket shows should immediately and permanently abandon all lines of diarrhea humor.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Brief Plains-itorial

Confessor Boo! writes:

I think it's amazing how deep The Little Ticket's talent well is these days. The Shake Joint fills in for the Musers -- no problem. One of the funniest guys at the ticket is a producer 10-Noon. Need someone to fill in for Gordo for the week? No problem, Donnie and Jake can do that. The weekend is full of talent too:  M+M, Shake Joint (again), The Sirois[es].

Honestly, you may not like certain people on The Little Ticket but it's hard to deny how talented the whole station is. And that doesn't even go into how they can broadcast a 3 hole golf tourney of first time players and make it one of the most entertaining events on the station in a long time.

I think the ratings reflect all this. 

I agree with Mr. Boo!, and I would like to add:

Jeff Catlin deserves a lot of credit for the things Mr. Boo! is talking about.  Talent selection, talent pairing, programming, creating (or perhaps only approving) bits like the golf tournament, getting shows out to the Masters (providing several days of unique and fresh broadcasting), knowing when to pull the plug on stuff that doesn't work as well. 

Yes, it's the front-line talent that brings in the listeners in, but it takes organization, leadership, and judgment -- and, in these days of uncertain ratings technologies and reawakened competition -- patience, to keep quality high and ears tuned.

No, I'm not kissing Catman ass so he'll do another AMA someday.  I don't know the man and have no relationship with him.  But I do have some familiarity with the challenges of managing a group of accomplished, temperamental, ambitious and sometimes high-strung professionals and answering to a larger organization for their performance.  It ain't easy but when it works, it can accomplish great things.   Cliches can be true:  Michael Jordan didn't win a thing as a pro until Phil Jackson showed up with his lunchpail and Zen texts.

"Oh, Jeff, Jeff, Jeff  .  .  .  I love John Fahey, I really do, I mean, he sounds so  .  .  .  so  .  .  .  tasty, and I truly do look forward to replays of BaD interviews with hockey guys -- but please, please, please, bring back weekend-show crosstalk."

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Boys Drop Some Thoughts on Signing Up with The Little One

This article is going to suck.  No, really, it's not very good.  I've got better topics in the hopper.  But I didn't want to forget these couple of items, and it's Saturday night, and I'm watching a couple of Nirvana performances on one of those Saturday Night Live legacy reruns with Charles Barkley, and they're not very good but I was intrigued by the presence of a second guitarist, who I find through a little Internets stroll is one Pat Smear (Foo Fighters, Germs) -- the Internets also say the rehearsals were better -- and I'm trying to get more stuff up more often, and I just started typing.  And I feel scruddy.  I'm sorry.  I wish it were better and more innarestin.  Couldn't even find a redhead.

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Try to put together items I hear that are at least vaguely related.  Here are a couple that have something, kinda, to do with Ticket host contracts.  Just a couple of remarks in passing, but worth a post, I thought.

(1)  I believe The Hardline was discussing Mike's and Danny's first exposure to August National.  Which, you will have perceived if you listened to the station at the end of this week, was a rousing success, something they enjoyed a lot.  (I thought the Musers' and Hardline's Masters coverage, if it can be called that, was a success.)

Mike said something like -- and I'm not going to get the quote right, but:  "It was one of those magic events that only the Ticket can produce," he said, "and we'll continue to do so for years to come."  I can't remember if he said "Right, Corby?" but in any event Corby chimed in with hearty agreement.

I'm sorry I can't reproduce exactly what was said, much less the tone of the remarks, but I had the distinct impression that Mike and Corby intended to convey the thought that The Hardline -- not just The Ticket but their very team -- was not going to be shuffling off that mortal coil anytime soon.

(2)  Of greater pull-back-the-curtain interest to me was a very brief exchange on the Muser showgram one morning a few weeks ago.

I don't remember how it came up, but one of them -- I think it was George, but any Muser may have made any of these remarks. -- made a passing and fuzzy reference relating to their representation in negotiations with The Ticket.  (I apologize on my vagueness on who was speaking, but I didn't realize what they were referring to  until the moment had passed.)  Or at least that was the context I picked up from the exchange. 

After George made the reference, Craig (I think) made a semi-joking reference to possible disagreement among the Muser team as to the effectiveness of that representation, which was followed by brief snorts of acknowledgment from one or both of the other Musers.   Garsh, I wish I could remember the words that were used.  It was subtle, one of those deep inside references that sometimes pass between hosts when they're on the air that only they understand.  One thing I did take from this brief exchange was that these guys may negotiate as a team, or, if not, at least all have the same representation.  If they have any representation at all.

I wouldn't be sharing this (rather defective) recollection with you if it didn't have something to do with the subject we're always interested in -- how these guys do their deals with The Ticket, how much swag they take home.

I have no idea how much Ticket hosts make.  Big-time hosts in big-time markets on shows that are less successful in those markets than The Ticket is in this very large market make mid-six and more.   The syndicated guys do gobs better, 'course.   The thing that struck me about this brief back-and-forth was that it touched on the topic of whether these guys were represented at all and, if so, if they had the kind of bomber agents that would get these guys salaries commensurate with the profits they accounted for.

I gather the answer is no.

We have some fairly recent evidence that our hosts could make more money elsewhere -- the near-defection of Bob and Dan.  I heard from one fairly well-placed Cumulus-connected source at one point that after all was said and done, the Ticket deal beat The Fan's.  But a more authoritative source -- Bob -- contacted me to suggest (in a very nice email) that this was not the case.  No dollars and cents attached to any of these communications, unforch.  (Wild guess:  Yearly dollars less at The Ticket, but possibly longer-term or other benefits could boost overall value.) 

By the way, if you care deeply about income inequality (I don't), radio provides an interesting example in all markets.  I think we all know from joshing remarks made on the various showgrams that if you're not a big-time host, you make borscht -- even if you have some on-air opportunities and perhaps even a weekend show.  And you have to become fairly well-known and a ratings monster before the really big money comes in.  I'd love to know the role that agents and lawyers play in that process, and whether these guys ever get counseled to jump ship, or withhold their services come contract-renewal time if they don't get a wage that reflects the value they represent to Cumulus shareholders.  (I wonder if they get stock options.)  

Although, as we know, Cumulus shares remain in the tank, so perhaps management doesn't feel that losing a host or two, or even a show or two, at The Ticket would mean much of anything to shareholders.  ($0.39/share at this writing.) 

Too bad for our heroes.

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Off-topic.  On Monty + The Machine today, Justin and Machine had an argument.  Machine took the position that the fact that he was willing to travel across country to see a particular musical act meant that Justin should at least check out that act (not by traveling, just by listening to some of it).   In other words, his argument was that his personal discretionary investment in seeing this act required Justin to take a listen.  He got rather exercised about it.

Advantage:  Justin.   But pretty fun slacker radio as the insults flew.

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Well, this has not been premium content tonight, but I thank you for sticking with me.  

Pleasant dreams and chocolate creams.