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Confessions of a Former Ticket Hater

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This may be the most difficult article for me to write. It’s more of a confession than a rant or op-ed piece, as I try to answer the question many new followers likely have.

Why? Why did I spend so many years flat out hating (yes, I admit to this) Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket?

Keep in mind not everything I say here is necessarily what I think now, merely what I have thought at some point. I’m also not a rational person by any stretch. What it’s a result of – my being an Aquarian, being left-handed or my autism – I really don’t know, but just keep in mind as I tell this that I fully admit to being irrational.

When I started listening to The Ticket for the first time, I was just starting college. I was probably quite immature for my age while thinking I was actually more mature than most other people – not a good combination.

As I listened over the months, I soon became disenfranchised with how little the station seemed to talk actual sports, making me feel their name and advertisement were fraudulent. I remember one day when the Hardline spent an entire hour talking about some girl who called in and admitted she slept with a stripper. I wasn’t the only one frustrated with it; I remember a column in my college paper where the writer said he didn’t want a sports station talking about Bill Clinton’s scandal because he tuned in to a sports station to get away from that talk.

The big blow was sometime in late 1997 or early 1998. It was the offseason for the Rangers, and the Hardline and their callers were just going off on how much the Rangers would suck that season. I took the chance to call in and say that upcoming Rangers team to me looked as good as the 1996 one, just with John Wetteland as well. They immediately hung up and started ridiculing me for that statement. I vowed I was done listening to them.

(By the way, the Rangers would win the division in 1998, and sure enough, the guys on The Ticket who bashed them in the winter were then claiming they knew they’d be good all along.)

I soon found there was another station that had sports talk in 1310’s sister station, 570 KLIF. Norm Hitzges in the mornings, Mike Fisher at noon and Wally Lynn/Leon Simon in evenings. Kevin McCarthy and Humble Billy were entertaining as well. The difference here was they were a general talk station, and the sports guys mostly focused on sports. I became what KLIF referred to as an “ADL” (All Day Listener).

But it didn’t last. Two years later, the parent company dropped all sports talk from KLIF; all their sports hosts were let go except for Norm, who they tossed onto The Ticket. For years I felt sorry for Norm, having to accept a transfer to save his job even though those guys surely didn’t respect him at all (Ticket hosts never seemed to have a history of “respecting their elders” to me).

Left without another option for sports talk, I gave The Ticket one more try. It was the same thing as before to me; the few times they did talk sports, it was nothing but whining about how no one in their right mind should cheer for the Rangers or the Mavericks, while the Cowboys were the greatest thing ever. Even the Stars, which I didn’t really care much about, seemed to get little talk even though they had recently won the Stanley Cup.

I make no statement that this was actually the case; only what my irrational mind seemed to think. And as ESPN 103.3 eventually came into being and I settled on the likes of Chuck Cooperstein and later Randy Galloway, more irrational thoughts began to grow in my head to justify my refusal to switch back to that AM side.

So a lot of you are probably wondering, “What about The Hardline Nerd?” In 2004, I was living with a few people who worked at The Ticket. Even though I wasn’t listening, one of my roommates kept begging me to go there and appear for some segment that The Hardline wanted to do. Just to get him off my back, I reluctantly agreed to go, and I let myself be humiliated by those guys on the air. Again, that was just what was going through my own mind at the time; it probably wasn’t what was really happening.

It’s just that to me, the hosts at The Ticket came off as the ultimate alpha males – arrogant jock wannabes who probably got their jollies running a few dorks up the flagpole in their high school years. They seemed to only care about the sports that were the ultimate in physical abuse and beating your opponent to a bloody pulp – exactly the type I have no interest in.

And that’s not even getting into what I believed their opinions of women were.

I won’t deny in the slightest that I am a male feminist. I fight my hardest to not let my sexual attractions overcome the importance of seeing them as human beings. I believe in giving women at least the opportunity to succeed in any field, and yes, I also believe that women who know/like sports are quite attractive. To me, it appeared The Ticket never got that. The only women they ever had on the air were their traffic reporters, and they frequently made them act like sluts on the air (“Ooh, do the cars! Do the cars!! You can stick it up MY tailpipe anytime!”). To me, it seemed pretty clear that the station was loaded with frat boy attitudes that viewed all females as sex toys and nothing more. They never seemed to show respect to female athletes or recognize what the importance of getting into athletics can do to a girl’s self-esteem. And any women who dared get into sports journalism – I shuddered to think the type of harassment that Ticket hosts would deliver to them.

These are the beliefs I built into my own head about the people at 1310, whether they were accurate or not. And as I became a Fan Fan and saw them try to be similar to The Ticket yet have subtle differences, like allow the likes of Jasmine, Sybil Summers and Jane Slater on the air, I was confident they were the opposite of The Ticket in what I wanted as a listener.

Now, all that has come crashing down with The Fan’s new management. I’ve heard people say that Spittle has laid edicts to be more “friendly” to Jerry Jones since they are the Cowboys flagship station. People who both used to and still work for The Fan have told me he did indeed fire Jasmine on the belief that women didn’t belong in sports radio. It was such a quick 180 that it could give you whiplash. The Fan was becoming what I thought The Ticket had been.

I will never deny what I have previously thought of The Ticket. Even though the comments have been deleted, I fully admit that during the Broadcasters Bracket contest, I posted comments suggesting no Ticket P1 would ever vote for the likes of Emily Jones or Dana Larson because those listeners are all misogynists. And to be honest, part of me still feels a lot of those types still exist among the P1 crowd. I know a number of you reading this aren’t that type, and if so, I am NOT talking about you. But certain people who also posted comments in all caps calling The Fan “The Wipe” and bragging about how great The Ticket is without going into details – yeah. Those are the people who spurred my retaliatory comments, even though I now know I shouldn’t have gotten into that.

On May 24, I did something I didn’t think I’d ever do. I traveled all the way to McKinney, having read The Hardline would be broadcasting downtown for the “Bike the Bricks” race. When Rhyner and Corby finally showed up at their location, I confessed everything to them. Rhyner just shrugged it off. Corby was much friendlier, actually remembering that Nerd segment from nearly nine years ago. I wasn’t tuned in at the time as I drove home, but I hear they mentioned my visit on the air, and suddenly my Twitter follower list jumped up, even though I’d never have asked them to do something like that. Some other listeners who heard them talk of my confession have given me podcast excerpts of Emily Jones actually appearing on The Hardline to rebuke my sexism accusations.

Does this mean I have “seen the light” and become a full-on P1?

I can’t say that for now. For one thing, I still refuse to attach myself to one exclusive station. Had Bob and Dan left The Ticket, maybe things would have been different. That’s the other thing – I still don’t like BaD Radio. I have yet to see much to convince me that Bob and Dan aren’t the arrogant macho jerks I thought all of them were. They plugged the Fox Sports Southwest models, who I believe have appeared on their show, in the Broadcasters Bracket over real journalists like Emily and Dana. And to me, “Gay or Not Gay” is unfunny and exactly the type of abusive bullying on people who are different that I abhor. That’s just my view; judge me for it as you wish.

All I can say is that, at certain times of the day, yes, I have been willing to tune over to 1310 AM and at least give them another try. The jury is still out as far as I’m concerned.

But I am done trying to outright accuse The Ticket of anything anymore, because I’m done with the sports radio war as a participant. No more affixing myself to one frequency. Maybe one day, I’ll get over my anger to listen to the few left on the Fan I like, like RJ Choppy and Gavin Dawson. But I won’t keep myself from also flipping over to Norm, and yes, maybe even Mike and Corby.

People like Richie Whitt and Jasmine Sadry won me over, and I will always support them. I’ll support the right people at 1310 if I feel they are worthy of it.

The End of RAGE and a Fan Fan: Prologue

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And with that, both sides have come out. Or at least the two differing ends on the side that got tossed out.

After weeks of wondering and speculating, in one week-long, five-part exposé, Richie Whitt laid out his details on what led to the demise of the Richie and Greggo Extravaganza on 105.3 The Fan.

Hopefully, you’ve read it by now, and if not, you can always check out the link above, but here’s the Cliff Notes version. Basically, Greggo was never really clean or sober, according to Richie. He missed way too many days for reasons never given, he bailed out on his co-workers and he alienated sponsors. Richie tried to take the high road while hoping management would change things and save the rest of them. And then Gavin Spittle took over and cut the rug out from everyone.

So how do I feel, as someone who Richie called RAGE’s biggest fan and who helped Greggo briefly as an editor to his blog?

Sad. Definitely sad to read how not just a show, but a friendship, was destroyed.

While I’d love to find a way to believe both sides, Richie is the one I have to trust the most. I know a lot of people don’t like him, but I can see he’s genuine. And hey, I know a lot of people don’t like me because of my views and opinions, so maybe that’s why I can gravitate to him.

I feel I should be more angry at Greggo than I am, but I’m not. Maybe it’s a result of knowing the guy enough to have liked him, so I don’t want to think anything bad of him, but not being close enough to have the full feeling of betrayal. All I have is the feeling that I wish this hadn’t happened with anger directed at other people that I still think do deserve it. Because I feel even without Greggo’s indiscretions, RAGE was doomed and not for the right reasons.

It’s a complicated issue, more complicated than I ever thought something like this would be. The only thing I think I can do is lay it out in my own words, how not just a show but a station got undercut in my opinion and good people I came to know, like and admire got screwed. Maybe you’ll want to read it, maybe not, but I think getting it out will be therapeutic for me.

So strap in and get ready, my Rowdy friends. You’ve heard the side of the people behind the microphone. Now, over the next week, it’s time for a loyal listener to give his take on when something he was loyal to was taken away.