Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Hammer & The Hard Line

Well, once we had an easy ride and always felt the same
Time was on our side and I had everything to gain
Let it be like yesterday
Please let me have happy days
Won't you tell me
Where have all the good times gone?
- The Kinks
By now many Dallas radio listeners have heard all about Greg Williams ongoing recovery issues. Last week the Hard Line announced his being shown the door - ostensibly for not having complied with a "get-clean or you're fired" order from station management.
In the past few years I have really taken to listening to this Sports Radio station. Before embracing the Ticket 1310 AM, I used to screen out most AM radio for the poor sound and the bevy of commercials. At one point on my dial XM Radio & MP3 CD capability forced out local radio in favor of commercial-free entertainment. But I found myself craving local coverage. The recipe for 1310 The Ticket's Arbitron-ratings success in the DFW market has been a simple one: consistent, conversational sports coverage by next-door neighbor personalities. Greg "The Hammer" Williams was a key part of this recipe for the afternoon drive-time program. His "back porch country witticisms" imbued the 3+hour show with a sense of perspective. Don't be mistaken: It's Rhyner who holds the show together. Yet he seems to be the on-air personality most affected by The Hammer's departure. He would be wise to try out a few more co-host candidates.
My two cents would have the Sturminator replace Hammer. Bob Sturm has the sports smarts and the Ticket Schtick down pat. The one thing you can't expect to replace is the personal chemistry that the Hammer & Rhynes had together. They both loved talking the "talking sport" of baseball.
They have had Kevin Scott & Rob Wilonsky on the show to patch the dam. But The Hardline would do well to replace Greg Williams with a headliner from one of the other shows. Rhynes stated that they were likely to add someone to the lineup. The 2nd half of this statement is available here. The Morning Musers have their mojo. BAD Radio from 12pm to 3pm has Bob Sturm, Dan McDowell & Donovan Lewis. Bob Sturm would be a good fit. He's very knowledgeable sports wise. Dan McDowell might fit the Hammer's personality better. He's known to be cranky & willing to pick a fight (ask Lee Corso about that). But it's hard to imagine Dan McDowell handling the schizoid, to and fro Hardline of Corby & Danny very well.
Might be weird to analyze the drive-home show of an AM Radio Station's line-up. But this is the biggest ratings draw in DFW radio. It has been carefully cultivated over the years.
There's a liturgical quality to "Hi, I'm Ty Walker reminding you to remember the time you spent listening to Dunham & Miller Mornings on The Ticket SportsRadio 1310." It gets stuck in your head. A friend of mine moved to Cincinnati but still listens to The Ticket podcasts online.

(The photos were taken at a remote that the Hardline was doing at the Sigel's in Buckingham on September 27th a mere few weeks before Greggo's meltdown.)