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.