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.