Some Confessors seem to think The Hardline is sinking in the ratings, running behind the competition, or otherwise not doing well.
This is not correct.
I recently heard from a Dallas media source who I believe to be reliable. S/he was concerned about passing along this information as even the immortal Barry Horn seems to be forbidden from publicizing it, so I'm going to withhold some details to avoid any problems with the ratings people.
However, at extreme personal risk, I can report generally on the numbers representing an average of the last four monthly books (as of the time I received this information, which was a few weeks back now):
-- All Ticket shows are #1 in their time slots in the target demographic (men 25-54).
-- The Musers are the top-rated Ticket show, ratings in the low double-digits.
-- The Hardline is a very close second to the Musers, only a point behind The Musers and also in the low double-digits.
-- Hardline ratings have risen steadily over the past "many" months (source was not more specific).
-- BaD and Invasion ratings are about equal, and only a point behind the Hardline.
So: Ticket continues to dominate. Hardline doing extremely well and improving. Musers still tops. Middays also extremely strong, only two points behind the galaxy-class Muser ratings.
None of this means you have to like The Hardline or any of the other shows. But running down its ratings just because you want to see (for example) Corby get some kind of comeuppance is wishful thinking.
If one believes these numbers, and I do, one can only conclude that The Ticket continues huge throughout the weekday daylight broadcast hours. This suggests that the CTO has zero incentive to impose the slightest tinkering on any of those shows.
* * *
I will say this: While I do defend Corby and The Hardline in these pages, I am in agreement with many Confessors on much of the criticism leveled at The Hardline. Weak show preparation, dumb political talk, shaky sports talk, Mike's very inconsistent interest in the show (it seems to be on the rise lately), Corby's mic hogging and noisy berating of Mike for having variant opinions -- it's all true. It's obvious. And yet, I don't tune away very often and when I do, it isn't for long. And the numbers are saying that, if anything, The Hardline is getting more popular.
So while on balance I give The Hardline an MTC thumb's-up -- when it's clicking, it's still very entertaining despite everything and Mike remains the most charismatic broadcaster on the air -- I have to ask myself if better competition wouldn't see a meaningful migration away from 1310/96.7 after 3 pm.
I just don't know, so hard to say based on the current choices. ESPN's substitution of Steve Dennis for Matt Mosley has been a step backwards. Ben & Skin -- man, every time I tune in there it seems like they're doing some dumb game show thing or homering for the Cowboys or Rangers or otherwise failing to attract my interest for more than a few minutes. The whole show just seems canned, the enthusiasm manufactured. Maybe I need to do a power-listen on B&S to see if there's more to 'em, because as much as I feel at home with The Hardline, I'd give a PM drive show staffed by human beings who seemed comfortable talking to one another -- which is how I would characterize The Hardline even when it's weak -- a real shot.
|Inaccurate reportage of Hardline ratings makes me melancholy in kind of a tragic, Jane Austen sort of way.|