Boys to Men

How did the juvenile jokesters at The Ticket respond to real-life terror? Real well.

But it probably goes deeper than that. After all, any talk radio station could and did provide an open forum for such discussion. The station's success in explaining the tragedy had much to do with seven years' worth of trust built up between itself and listeners. And, as the Star-Telegram's Philpot notes, most of print and TV media give DJs too little credit as communicators.

"I'm not really surprised that an irreverent station like The Ticket would be able to handle this well," Philpot says. "First, I'm an irreverent person, and I turned serious in the days after. Laughter still sounds a little strange. But second, since The Ticket is so much less politically motivated than other talk radio, I think it's able to have a more measured response. The same goes for the station's hosts."

In a word, then, they were honest--in their response, in their love of fart jokes and country and everything in between. This no-bullshit edict is what makes the station successful, and it is what made its coverage unique and appropriate, from Dunham to Miller to Norm Hitzges to BaD Radio to The Hardline to the Hot Spot. It's what some of its competitors don't understand: Honesty, not schtick, sells. It's what media-savvy consumers buy.

"We just don't know any other way to do radio," Keith says. "It's all organic. Our return to jokes and normalcy will be organic. We'll do it when it feels right, just like our audience will. We know what we do isn't important, but we still want to do right by them, our listeners. It's touching when they tell you our coverage was great, when they use terms like 'friend' and 'family.' I never realized how much people respond to our voices. It's moving."

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