Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Getting a Day's Jump on Wishing the Founder of the Feast a Very Happy Birthday

Mike Rhyner, born August 16, 1950.

I'll be away for a week and on the road quite a bit of that time.  Take good care of the site until I can get back and start deleting you.

Thanks, and Happy Birfday, you Old Grey Wolf

I'm not hip enough with Photoshop to turn this into Reinz 57      

"Feeling special, Michael?"

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In Defense of that Nice Young Michael Gruber

Not that Michael needs any defense as a general proposition.  He remains a Ticket legend, his influence apparent on the station every day.

But, alas, The Ticket is having a great deal of fun -- every show, and the weekend shows, too -- at his expense.  I probably don't need to go into detail on what took place.  He called into Diamond Talk after the Yu Darvish trade and, as things turned out, didn't manage to complete a point that sounded like  .  .  .  an actual point.

BaD Reviews Michael's Diamond Talk Call

The consensus seems to be that sometime before placing that call, Michael had been overserved.

A firm hand at the controls.
I do not wish to be understood as suggesting that Michael was not pixilated.  It is at least possible.  Perhaps more than possible.  I hope he got home safely.

But I think he was calling to make an actual point.  To my ear he started to make that point but didn't get it out with enough detail to give Sean Bass something to hang his hat on.

I think his point was going to be -- at least this is what I "got" as his point before things went awry -- that Yu Darvish was ready to be traded, ready to go anywhere, ready to leave the Rangers for any team that would take him.  That Yu wanted to leave the Rangers.  I don't know if that was going to be his point had he gotten it out with a bit more detail, but that's where I thought he was going right from the start.

What happened, though, was that he did not get that thought out clearly, and Sean, who was trying to keep Michael on track, converted it into a technical question about Yu's no-trade list, which gave Michael two problems:  (1) he wasn't really calling to make a point about the no-trade list, which got him off-message, and (2) Sean's question required consideration of what resembled a double-negative, i.e., a team "not being on his no-trade list," which someone in Michael's condition was not prepared to process, and which led to the stumbles we're now hearing ad nauseum.

Let me stress that I do not blame Sean for Michael's aimless performance -- he was guessing at Michael's point, as I am.

But I do think that, nudged gently in a slightly different direction, Michael would have been on his way to making a legitimate Sports Point worth discussing, that being:  Yu's overall attitude about being a Texas Ranger at that point was that he didn't want to be.

Any takers?

"You leave Michael alone.  He makes more sense tight than most Ticket hosts do straight."
 (The site had a request for more Myrna Loy.  Always pleased to oblige.)  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

(1) Welcome back, Monte, and (2) PROGRAM NOTE: Sunday AM Country Force

Wish I'd known Justin Montemayor was going to be returning to Monte + The Machine yesterday morning, I'd have tried to catch more of the show.  I thought he sounded real good -- a little rough, a little tired, but pretty darned good little broadcast, what I heard.

Machine seemed happy to have him back as well.  His account of he and David Mino visiting Justin in the hospital where he had his leg tucked back under him -- giving the appearance that he might have been relieved of that limb as well -- was pretty amusing.

So was their talk about the Golden Chick empire being built on the music of Ronnie James Dio.  You had to be there.

I didn't hear the first of the show so if he delivered his package of his account of his hospitalization, I'd appreciate it if one of you would fill us in.

*     *     *

A long, long time since Country Force with Ty Walker and Eli Jordan got a slot.  Good to hear those boys this morning.

Grocery-cart talk very welcome.

*     *     *

Liking some of these new Ticker guys.  Caleb seems like a zero-BS guy.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Another Good JaD

Heard Dan on with Jake today.  Another good show.

We've remarked on Jake's strengths, but what struck me about today's show is how sharp Dan was.  I yield to no one in my admiration and affection for Bob, but his encyclopedic sportsiness and tendency to go on some tends to leave Dan in the "sports humorist" role.  This too often consists of jabbing and teasing and exaggerating and timidly throwing out the occasional sports point, after which he says "right?" as though hoping for approval.

With Jake, who does not try to dominate the proceedings, Dan has some time to stretch out, support his opinions, talk sports.  TC was invited to pop on with OJ updates, which was fine, and Machine popped on almost not at all, so not too many voices today.

And come on, you've gotta love The Ticket.  What other show, what other network, what other medium would have the courage to do two segments on comparing "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" to "Ernest Goes to Camp."  Jake was the sole Ernest supporter; the balance of the staff came down heavily for Pee-wee and violently against Ernest.

I like them both, but come on:  Pee Wee's movie was directed by Tim Burton and written by Pee-wee (Paul Reubens), Phil Hartman, and one other.  Ernest's show was directed by someone named John R. Cherry III and written by him and one Coke Sams.  I was surprised that Jake didn't summon up the Three Stooges as examples of film figures whose rank stupidity has been entertaining men and boys for years, and Ernest strikes me as in that vein.  (Irrelevant disclosure:  The friend of a friend of mine had some role in the creation of "Ernest:  Scared Stupid," one of the lesser of the Jim Varney oeuvre.)

Pee-wee is a genius.  Bit of a wanker, but a genius.   His "Pee-wee's Playhouse" on Saturday morning, theme sung by Cyndi Lauper, Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis, the magisterial William Marshall as the King of Cartoons, Phil Hartman as Captain Carl -- was an incredibly rich and wonderous and hilarious broadcast from Puppetland.  And don't forget Miss Yvonne, The Most Beautiful Woman in Puppetland:

Jim Varney was never going to win any Oscars, but he had his charms.  I remember his pitch-work, where he was constantly tormenting his neighbor Vern, with great fondness.

Anyway, two great segments.  Good show today.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Is The Ticket a Good Buy?

This site's good friend DA writes in a comment at the end of the last thread:

Say The Musers make 40%+ of the station revenue.  If Cumulus sold The Ticket and the 1310 signal, what would the investors by buying long term? Mike and Norm are at the end. Each of the Musers could move on quickly if Cumulus voids contracts and trying to bill equal to The Musers after if even one leaves becomes an issue. Plus, the off air staff costs and sales turnover is a constant radio issue.

That is a very interesting and valid point.  I would issue not so much a mild and respectful disagreement, as a perspective that shifts the assumptions somewhat.

DA's point applies broadly to any asset that depends on individual talent.  Think about a sports team.  It's worth more if it's talent is good and the talent is assured of sticking around for awhile.  What distinguishes the teams that are valuable year after year from those that have their ups and downs?    It's management -- the ability to keep the inventory of talent strong and fresh.  It's other things, too, but I'm focusing here on DA's point.  (NB:  The analogy is not perfect -- there are a limited number of Big Four sports teams to buy and sell, and so scarcity drives up the price irrespective of athletic or management talent.)

My view is that The Ticket is like those teams with lots of talent that is backed by strong and savvy management.   Think about it:  The individual talent of the hosts is undeniable.  But management -- invented, in the beginning, by Mike Rhyner and other founders -- is responsible for both permitting and encouraging the highly-personalized, draw-back-the-curtain type of talk that results in an identification between them and the listeners.  It combines this with strongly show-identifiable features (O-Deck, Homer Call, E-News, etc.), station promotions (GNO, Fight Night, etc.), and other lesser touches that make the station stand out.  The talent is the foundation, but management provides the framework and direction -- and sometimes the discipline -- in which it can succeed.

Even though the current hosts have all been around a long time, I would also suggest that a critical element of The Ticket's success is management's identification and strategic promotion of new talent.  New voices are added, some stick and fit in with the Ticket ethos, some don't.  Gradually, some get more exposure.  How does this fit with DA's point?  Consider his scenario of host departure for some reason.  Wouldn't most of us listen to Country Force over the competition if it got a slot?  Shake Joint? Cirque (when not on a frequent vacation; also, Cirque probably the least likely replacement as its hosts have other things to do)?  Not a Podcast has its partisans.  And wouldn't that keep The Ticket on top?  And valuable?

[Side note:  Unless there were a bankruptcy, I am doubtful that Cumulus would be able to unilaterally "void contracts."  But to DA's major point -- contacts certainly do expire and Cumulus could chose not to renew them.]

"I'll start the bidding at $700 -- but I only want David Mino."

Despite rumbles of it being near the end for Mike and Norm and even some younger hosts who want to do other things, I think both of those worthies, and even the younger voices, are going to be around for quite some time.  Got no concrete inside poop on this and DA may well be right that their days are numbered.  But it's just the feeling I get.  The P1 has been anticipating their exit for quite some time, but my sense is that this is just way, way too sweet for each of them, and Norm has some big fans in upper management.

Another point is that the a buyer of a business will take steps to avoid the very problems DA has identified.  It would make sure it had its main hosts under contract for a meaningful future period. It would also likely insist on noncompetes, for which it would pay the affected hosts extra as part of the deal.   And it would tie up key managers and executives in exactly the same way.

So if The Ticket were on the block, I think buyers with dollars would be lined up around it.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Excellent 2017 07 05 Shake Joint AND Mike R v "Not a Podcast"

(1)   I never went to church camp but today's segment on it was one of the most entertaining things I've heard on The Ticket for a long time.

(2)  Not attributable to Shake Joint, but:  Charlie Gray is asking listeners to let him know if Hidden Cost Motors and Heavy Metal Motors should be permanently retired.  Think his email might have given him a clue?

(3) Can't believe Sean will be interviewing one of my favorite crime writers, Don Winslow, here in just a little while.

(4)  Thanks to Jake for asking Sean to explain what "pitch framing" is from a stats point of view.  I kept hearing it mentioned on The Ticket, but had no idea what it meant.


This Machine/Mike R issue is intriguing.  It only came up yesterday, so here's the string from the commentary for your reading pleasure, and a late unrelated comment from a reader.  I doubt we'll see much more about this on Twitter, but I think it's a large-pulling back of the curtain.

Shaggy said...
Rhynes-Machine controversy brewing on twitter...
Anonymous said...
Can you give a little detail, Shags, por favor? I'm not on the Twitters.
Gopher said...
Shaggy: I'm not seeing anything on either feed. ?
The Plainsman said...
I haven't taken the time to learn the structure and practices of Twitter, so it's hard to tell exactly who is saying what to whom. However 16h ago (as of July 4 at 5:27p), Father John Zesty tweeted: "When the people you look up to shit on you on the internet." Attached to that tweet was a shot of what appeared to be another tweet of someone who was "Replying to @FYFMethod, k@BracketDan, and 6 others," with the following text: "Hopefully his tastes are discerning enough to turn off 3-7 today."

Circumstantially, it looks like whoever was the original author of that tweet -- and I can't find it anywhere, including @OldGreyWolf -- was taking a shot at Monte + The Machine filling in for The Hardline.

That's all I know. If anyone else can excavate what's going on here, let me know. If that was Mike R shooing people away from The Hardline's fill-in show, that would be news.
Shaggy said...
Nope, the original tweet was a P1 wife "complaining" (but not really) about her husband listening to the ticket on his phone on vacation in Florida. Completely innocuous/complimentary of the ticket in general. Not related to Not a Podcast in the least. Mike's shot seemed to come out of nowhere


Shaggy said...
(It was Rhynes that said "Hopefully his tastes are discerning enough to turn off 3-7 today")
The Plainsman said...
Thank you, Shaggy.

Mike's shot doesn't feel like a bit; nothing about it suggests he's teasing.

That's extraordinary. Mike R apparently displeased at the prospect of Monte + The Machine's stewardship of his time slot.

We wrote last week speculating -- well, mostly speculating, but also crediting some rumbles -- that perhaps The Musers aren't the warmest home for certain factions of the JV.

Now we have Mike R going radio silent (NPI) on David Mino and suggesting, quite gratuitously according to Shaggy, that people shouldn't listen to his distant-tier JV drydock replacement.

This site likes to pump up the JV when it has the slightest excuse to do so, but in this connection I must report that on a startling number of occasions when I've been tuned in Machine has presumed to dish it out to some weekday hosts and other of his Ticket way-betters. I hope he's as prepared to take it.
Anonymous said...
A few questions to anyone and I will hang up and listen.

1) Is "not a podcast" a reference to IJB? I know a lot of the JV'rs are annoyed with the way one of that group left and made it back as if it never happened.

2) Who is running the ESPN station? I know cumulus owns their signal, but how does that work? JJT was fired at ESPN but still runs a radio show. The reason I ask is it is stated it is less expensive to run national instead of local each night. Yet several nights their is local programming with Elf and others on ESPN.

3) If host are stretched for content during the summer, why not a soccer segment? plenty of MLS and Gold Cup or other tournament action. I guess we could have another will the Cowboys win 12 or 11 games this summer. There are plenty of things going on besides the Rangers or whatever they pull off ESPN headlines and just repeat the article. Several shows last week seemed like they were just stretching to get to that next break. Certain host def need a strong second host with them.
Mike R or Mike M?  Do I have to choose?  They're both so  .  .  .  radio-handsome.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Eighth, MTC


On this date in 2009, My Ticket Confession debuted.

Its first commenter was none other than the estimable That Nice Young Michael Gruber.

Thanks for sticking with me, Confessors.  Some of you have come and gone, but your patronage is much appreciated whenever it was offered.

Let me know if we make WTDS.

"I wish I could wake up MTC in that special way."

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Craig, as a fellow cycling enthusiast – but not in your league – I am excited about your cross-country jaunt.

As a Ticket listener, and in particular a daily Muser auditor, I am shaking with withdrawal symptoms.

Please take a right turn in Missouri – I believe I heard it said you were traveling west to east – and return to Dallas.

I am second to none in my near-worshipful admiration of Gordon Keith.  His gifts are staggering.  This site has dedicated entire months to celebrating him.

I also join all of humanity in having enormous affection for George Dunham.  It takes a special kind of talent to be one of those Sara Lee people, one of those people nobody doesn't like.

But, like many very fine things, Gordon is best savored in small portions, served at intervals that leave us looking forward to his contributions.

And George – needs a co-host.

Gordon is a noodger, a baiter, a badgerer, a ceaseless font of freshman debate tricks.  George isn't equipped to respond meaningfully.  Segments bog down before they get rolling.

Craig, I have referred to you as the Fred Astaire of the Ticket.  

"Rita, you won't believe what's coming up in Scattershooting."

 Fred dazzled us with his terpsichorean skills, but on the set he imposed discipline.  You moderate Gordon's behavior in ways George cannot do, and you also occupy air time that Gordon is now called upon to fill, which would be OK if he didn't feel the need to be "on" all the time.   Did we really like it all that much when someone tried to conduct a sincere interview with Robin Williams, or Dangerfield, or Rickles? 

So please abandon your lifelong dream of pedaling the country and come home and take care of the P1s that have made The Musers the most popular radio show in the entire world.

CONFIDENTIAL TO JEFF "USA CATMAN" CATLIN:   Doocy is not a complete solution, since Gordon – after reducing his Doocy-baiting for awhile – can't seem to let go of that bit.  But he way beats an empty chair.   Why he's vanished, I don't know.   But you've got an entire school of JV swarming around the borders of these shows, several of whom the P1 would love to see sitting in with George and Gordon, the same way Jake sits in with Bob and/or Dan.

Fix this shit, Jeff.

I know, guys, but those legs  .  .  .  .

Sunday, June 11, 2017

An STD I Just Can't Seem to Shake

[Complaints that this piece is too long will be taken down.  Read it or don’t.   – Plainsman.]

Since I’ve been away for awhile, and pathetically light on content when I do stick my head up, I thought I’d stage a comeback with a Scorching Ticket Disquisition.  This one’s going to get me in trouble with a certain cohort of Confessors, and probably a whole flock of JV, and who knows who else.   As an old girlfriend used to tell me, you can’t please everyone.

I had occasion to be out in the Conestoga in the early afternoon hours a couple of times a week or two back, and I thought I’d try to catch up on my woefully deficient BaD Radio listening.   Bob was absent and Jake Kemp was filling in with Dan McDowell.  I mean no slight to Bob, who is one of my favorites on the station, but I thought every segment I heard was top-notch.  We’ve remarked from time to time how sometimes a fill-in guy will elevate the normal host’s game, or, in the case of Corby Davidson, elevate Corby’s own when assigned non-Hardline duty.  Whatever it was, it was good BaD.

So that’s the first thing I want to say.  That is not the STD.

*     *     *

As I struggled to keep the Crosley tuned in as the team and I lurched across the metro, something suddenly struck me with great force:

Jake Kemp is a terrific broadcaster and should be an everyday host.

Every day when he’s got producer or related background duties is a day of talent in the pail. 

I do not mean to slight Sean Bass, Mike Sirois, Ty Walker, or Eli Jordan, who I view as the main guys who either have shows or are called to fill-in duty from time to time.  Nor is this a snub of any of the other voices who have a weekend gig or who are called upon to pop on from time to time.  Lot of talent there; each deserves his on-air hours and more.    

But to my ear Jake is in a class by himself.  He belongs by himself in Tier 2 in Craig “Junior” Miller’s original, unamended ranking which Craig had left vacant, separating the daylight hosts from the batch of senior JV.   I have no idea of Jake’s reputation at The Ticket, but on the evidence of his exposure across the broadcast week and over time, it sure sounds like he’s the king of the go-tos, the guy most clearly positioned to move up, the guy who gets the plums when there are plums to distribute.  I’ll get to the circumstance of having nowhere to move in a moment.

First, let me anger everyone further by heaping some additional praise on the man.

No, wait.  First, let me say that I do have some issues with the guy.   

I don’t like his social-issues talk, but that doesn’t distinguish him from every other host on The Ticket.   Subset:  He may think he’s progressive about sexual matters, and he may be, but his remarks about women sometimes skate towards Hammer-like misogyny. 

He can sometimes dominate co-hosts.  He has some Sturmian logorrhea issues. 

There was a time when he was sometimes dismissive of opposing viewpoints, and that came across as arrogant, but am I just imagining that he’s worked on that and that I’m hearing a whole lot less of it?    I find his back-and-forth with Sean and with whomever else he’s batting something around to be lively while still – mostly – respectful.

For a highly-educated man – is he the only Ticket regular with an advanced degree? – he sometimes seems almost gleefully unaware, and unappreciative, of matters taking place before, well, before he came into consciousness that important stuff happened before he was born.   But even there – hang on, I’ll come back to that. 

So yeah, I sometimes shake my head at the guy.  Probably some of the same reasons he takes it in the shorts from some Confessors.

Back to the praise:

If you tuned into those BaD broadcasts last week and had no prior knowledge of The Ticket, you would not have known you were listening to a seasoned and popular host and a very occasional weekday fill-in guy.  Jake ran the show, and that is no knock on Dan, whose role, after all, is to be a Sports Humorist and not a deep sportsy guy.  In fact, they sounded great together, Dan sharp and involved.

Jake is dazzlingly smooth, glib in a good way.  No dead air, and he’s got an interesting way of speaking that attracts the ear.  He has a great broadcast voice (with occasional forays into Dylan the Argumentative Teen territory, but fewer and fewer as time goes by).   Don’t underestimate the value of this, even on a station that has a lot of reg’lar-guy-sounding speakers and that is justly celebrated for it.  There’s a real distinct music to his sound that isn’t too obviously Radio Pipes Guy but also isn’t blue-collar Bro Guy – nice modulation, nice variation in pitch and velocity, nice timbre, nice grown-man sound but still gives off that youthfulness vibe that the Catman of the New World probably sits up nights wondering how to infuse into some of his creaky programming. 

He is well-informed about sports, able to talk dweeb-wonk stats and empirical observation with equal authority (maybe I should say “apparent authority,” since I don’t know much about either).    Maybe he doesn’t have Bob’s large Talosian-throbbing sports brain, 

but Jake always, always holds his own.  In fact, in terms of overall sophistication of his sports analysis, I would say he is second only to Bob on The Ticket.  Now maybe at The Ticket that is not his reputation – I have no idea how his sports talk is regarded.  But remember, we’re talking about what is coming through the earbuds.  Is Jake a con artist?  If so, he’s a real, real good one and his sports talk is entertaining and thought-provoking. 

He can be funny.

He rid us of Mike from Palookaville.

He seems to be very decent to the P1.  His occasional cups of coffee here on MTC have always been gracious even when he’s been slagged about something by some of our more dyspeptic observers.  I’ve heard that he’s responsive to P1 outreach.  His instinct seems to be to defuse anger with reason and, dare I say, niceness.   The digisphere needs more of that strategy.

"I like a man who's never heard of stuff and who disdains the super gay."
 And I do not mean by saying what I’m about to say next to elevate him over one other soul on The Ticket.   I’m having trouble finding the right words for this, so I’ll just plunge ahead:  When I listen to Jake broadcast, I feel like he absolutely believes every word he is saying and does not care one bit if you like it or not.  What is that?  Honesty?  Sincerity?  Everyone on The Ticket is honest and sincere.  I think that what I hear in Jake is a thinker who tries hard to be free of preconceptions and fads – I think he shares that independence of thought with Gordon – and doesn’t take a position in order to be deliberately provocative or get a reaction.   This independence leads him into creative analyses and unexpected opinions, and he doesn’t filter them – he lays them out there.  In this respect, perhaps he’s a little like Dan himself; there’s that fearlessness that keeps you listening, love his opinions or not.

Even that “gleefully unaware” crack I made above I said I’d come back to:  God, what was it the other day?  Some musician, huge, famous musician, maybe even artistically important, but perhaps before Jake’s time.  Can’t remember why he or she or the group was in the news.  Anyway, Jake said he couldn’t name a single song by that artist.  I shook my head, but what struck me was he clearly did not care if you thought he was unexpectedly ignorant.  He wasn’t grandstanding – he may even have been just the tiniest bit chagrined.  But his blithe cruising through opinions or gaps in his education without constantly qualifying his point of view – which a couple of hosts do to utter distraction – is why he can be counted on to tell us exactly what’s on his mind.  Which is what we want from our hosts.

Hosts, hosts  .  .  .  oh, yeah, I was saying that I thought Jake should be a host, have his own show, every day.

But there’s no room for another everyday host on The Ticket.  With every show leading its time slot among listeners who matter, there’s not going to be a vacancy unless someone decides not to re-up.

No room -- on The Ticket.

But there are two other stations in town with some pretty damned lame programming, one of which is programmed by our very own Cumulo-Ticket Overlords.  Is it beyond imagining that Jake might be invited to helm a showgram on one of those joints?  How would you feel about that?  I wouldn’t forsake the sainted Musers, but I’d give a Jake-based show a real spin.

And what about TV?  Jake’s a nice-looking chap, and my Jah, he’d come across as positively incandescent next to some of the jamokes they’ve got doing sportsy commentary in this great land of ours.

And, of course  .  .  .  sometimes Ticket talent gets offers from elsewhere.

(No, my road-to-Damascus insight, if insight it is, that Jake needs to move up and/or on is not a secret strategy to get him off The Ticket.)

As I said, there are several JV at The Ticket who could hold down an everyday host job.  There are those of you out there right now who would like to see some of those JV take the place of one or more of the less-favorite current hosts.  Cirque du Sirois is big fun, and for my money Country Force should have a permanent weekend or even an evening slot (would cause problems for the award-winning Diamond Talk, though, wouldn’t it?  By the way, what award did Diamond Talk win?).  But for sustained interest to the listener, for sophisticated conversation, for brainy (or brainy-seeming) analysis, for overall broadcasting polish, it’s Jake – yes, it’s Jake.

And that’s where I come out.  Jake always gives me what I tune in The Ticket to hear:   Entertainment with intelligence and integrity, whether I agree with him or not.   I’d like to hear more of him.  

"I'm before your time so you've never heard of me, Mr. Jake Kemp, but let's just say I like thin men."