Saturday, May 19, 2012

Quick Hits

It's been a while since I've posted here. I had an incredible, 28 month streak of at least one new post per month, only to have that streak snapped in April by laziness. This has not been a good year for my impressive personal streaks (my 28 year non-vomit streak was ended by some bad chicken enchiladas in January). I've had plenty to write about, but I feel like I'm still trying to get my head around my big April events: running the second hottest Boston Marathon on record, and getting to London with the Sturminator to take in several English football matches. I may be running another marathon soon, so I'll wait until my spring campaign is over before I recap the entire experience. I've also been waiting until the end of the EPL year to recap my sophomore season with the sport--and after last week's incredible final Sunday, there will be plenty to write about.

But right now, just a couple of quick hits--some things you might have missed that others had the energy to write and that I had the energy to cut-and-paste and put on this blog.

The Radio Ratings Game

Here is the latest report, courtesy Barry Horn at SportsDayDFW.com:

The April ratings book has arrived. Here are some sports talk numbers to digest.

In the all-important “men 25-54” target demographic all week long, it was The Ticket (6.2), ESPN (3.5), The Fan (1.8).

Mondays thru Fridays 6 a.m.-7 p.m. in the demo, went the stations’ heavy hitters are yakking it up, it’s The Ticket (8.3), ESPN (3.5) and The Fan (2.0).

The Ticket’s Hardline scored the most dominant hour of the week. At 4 p.m. daily, the show averaged a 12.4 share, which means one out of every eight men 25-54 in the market with radios turned on was listening.

Ticket lineup: Dunham & Miller (7.4); Norm Hitzges (6.9); BaD Radio (7.3); Hardline (9.8).

ESPN lineup: Mike & Mike (4.3); Ben & Skin (2.3); The Herd (3.2); Coop & Nate (3.8); Galloway and Co. (3.4).

Fan lineup: Shan & R.J. (2.0); Elf (2.2); Richie & Greggo (2.0).

These numbers are pretty consistent month in, month out. First, congrats to all of the hard-working shows on The Ticket. These shows have been around, in some form or another, for a long, long time (Norm 30+ years, Musers and Hardline for 18+ years, BAD for 12+ years). The fact that each show is still number one in it's time slot (for all shows in the market, not just number one in the sports talk race) is phenomenal. Props in particular to the Hardliners, who are tearing it up this year. I'm proud to be a small part of the big success of this station, and proud to work with everyone on this staff.

As for the other stations--they love to take shots at us and make fun of the way we do radio. But I think they are finding out, or have found out, that doing a talk show that will attract and keep listeners is a lot harder than it looks and sounds. I can't imagine the other stations are happy with their ratings. If any of the shows on The Ticket had ratings in the 2.0's or 3.0's, we'd be fired so fast we wouldn't have time to blink (which will happen one day, I'm sure).

Thanks to the P1's for hanging in there with us. We have the weakest signal in the metroplex, and we've had more than our share of technical problems this year, but America's most loyal audience continues to amaze us.

The Mavericks Season to Forget

I won't beat a dead horse--we all know that the Mavs 2010-11 season was, at best, a limp defense of their magically-won title. I did find two Bill Simmons entries on Grantland.com quite entertaining, regarding the Mavs half-hearted effort to go back-to-back. The first is dialogue between Cuban and Dirk before the start of the season:

"OK, Dirk, here's the plan."

"I'm listening."

"We're throwing away our title defense. We're just going to put it in a Dumpster and smear it with dog feces. By the end of the regular season, Delonte West will be our third-best player, we'll be relying on an overweight Vince Carter, we'll have turned Tyson Chandler into a three-headed dose of mediocrity called Brendian Haywonimight, and unless Jason Terry is feeling it, you'll have to shoot every single time in the fourth quarter of every playoff game."

"Got it."

"We might win one game against Oklahoma City, that's it. Then you'll have the spring and summer off."

"Sounds good. One question: Why would we do this?"

"Because we want to sign Deron Williams this summer. This was the only way."

"Deron Williams … the guy who acted like such a dick in Utah that they flipped him into two top-three lottery picks and never looked back and since then he's been playing for a lottery team?"

"Yeah, that Deron Williams. Also, we have a 2.2 percent chance of getting Dwight Howard, too."

"Dwight Howard … the guy who's three months away from quitting on his team and needs season-ending back surgery?"

"Seriously? That's going to happen? How do you know this?"

"I just do."

"Crap."

"Any chance we can come up with another plan?"

(Dead silence.)

The second was this postseason award the Mavs received from Simmons:

The Another 48 Hrs. Award for "Worst Title Defense"

Two schools of thought: (a) the only thing that matters is winning a title, and (b) part of winning a title is defending that title. I believe the latter, which is why I remain lukewarm on the '83 Sixers as an All-Time Greatest Team (they got bounced the following year in a humiliating Round 1 loss to New Jersey), and why I love the '86 Celtics so much (they were banged up the following spring and could have rolled over, but they didn't). Dallas's willingness to toss away their title defense for cap space (and the "chance" at Dwight Howard and Deron Williams) always seemed a little too clever, as well as a massive underestimation of everything Chandler did on and off the court.1

What rarely gets mentioned here: Had they convinced Chandler to take a little less to stay, they could have pursued Deron Williams this summer (with Dirk and Chandler as the bait) and maybe even used Chandler as trade bait for a sign-and-trade for Howard (either in February or this summer, which wouldn't have been any more callous than how they treated Chandler, anyway). And they could have actually defended their title.

Here's where a Mavs fan might say, "I don't care, we won the title." Yeah, but you also won the "One of the Worst Title Defenses Ever" title. In the Shot Clock Era, only two defending champs missed the playoffs: the '99 Bulls (no MJ or Pippen) and '70 Celtics (no Russell or Sam Jones), but since both teams were rebuilding, you can't totally blame them. Four other defending champs were bounced in Round 1: the 1981 Lakers (lost a best-of-three miniseries to Moses Malone's Rockets), 1984 Sixers (lost a five-gamer to Micheal Ray's Nets), 2007 Heat (swept by Chicago) and 2012 Mavs (swept by Oklahoma City). That's a short list. The Mavs outsmarted themselves; heck, they couldn't even complain about Lamar Odom as he stole money from them for four straight months, because Odom's agent (Jeff Schwartz) represents Williams as well.

And by the way … why are we so convinced that NBA free agents are so desperate to play in Dallas again? Because they want to play with Nowitzki … who's about to turn 34 and cross the 45,000-minute career barrier? Because they want to play for Cuban … who didn't take care of Nash in 2004 or Chandler in 2011 when both guys wanted to stay? You don't think players around the league noticed how Cuban handled Chandler's situation? Even if we've learned not to count out Cubes (especially when things look bleak), I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't grab a do-over for the last 11 months.

Cuban's decision to play for free agency was a big gamble. It may pay off, it may not. In fact, the Cuban decision and the upcoming Rangers decision on what to do with Josh Hamilton are two of the biggest risk/reward decisions that any club in this town has ever had to face. Could be very fun to follow, or very disappointing, depending on the outcome of each.

3 comments:

  1. Question about the ratings, do they take into account the web listeners? just curious

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  2. I am not a P1 DayOne and never have claimed to be, but since discovering the littlest of Tickets back in about 98 I have been one since. I wasn't there for Skip Bayless but I do remember the Rocco meltdown. It is not the same radio station I listened to then. Janet Jackson's nip slip did away with some recurrent bits, eg. the over-cusser. You all still push the envelope at times, but that is as it should be. It is part of what keeps me a listener. I have such a range of sports and social angles to explore as a listener to the station. Yours was the first voice I heard announce the crash of the plane into the World Trade Center and it was yours/our meeting place of the theater of radio where I found no small comfort for the next week or so as we all sorted out wth just happened. Then there are things like the campout and the Power Hour that are flat-out hilarious. That cannot be produced by some sort of committee in some far off board room. No consultant would ever sign off on some recommendation to get the entire collection of hosts off in the boonies to produce some of the most random radio in the history of mankind. "Hello, west of the Rockies" and "Good luck with your..bottom.., Jennifer..." are not ever ever going to be heard on ESPN or the Fan.

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  3. Looking back on it, the 2010-2011 Mavs had the new prototypical NBA team:

    a stretch 4 who can shoot 3s and score (Dirk, the best)

    a defensive stopper at center who can finish when you get him the ball (Chandler)

    a defensive stopper at small forward who doesn't hurt you on offense (Marion)

    a shooting guard who can fill it up from downtown (Terry)

    a point guard who is an elite distributor but can also knock down the open 3 (Kidd)

    They should have re-upped Chandler regardless of the cost. Cap Space sounds like a good player on paper, but he never puts any points, rebounds or assists on the box score.

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