Mike and Corby, remaining rigid.

Greggo or No, The Hard Line = Rock Solid

Just got my grubby little hands on the Arbitron radio ratings Winter ’08 book and, you know what, I can’t make heads or tails of it. The details, that is. Numbers schnumbers. But this much I can tell you:

*KTCK 1310 AM The Ticket is still the Metroplex’s No. 1 station in the coveted Men 25-54 demographic.

*The Ticket’s Hardline is still king of afternoon drive.

With this being the first full ratings period since the departure of Greg Williams, coupled with the gap-closing by ESPN 103.3 FM’s Randy Galloway last Fall, some forecasters predicted ominous numbers for both Ticket and Hardline. A beginning of the end of the dynasty, as it were. Nope.

For Winter ’08 The Ticket finished 11th overall in listeners 12+ with a 2.6 rating to ESPN’s 1.7, good for 22nd. (For what it's worth, our area’s No. 1-rated station – by a mile – is KESS 107.9 FM "La Que Buena", which, I believe, translates loosely to "Eff Farmers Branch.")

“It probably calms some nerves,” admits Hardline anchor Mike Rhyner of his show’s stability amidst the storm. “Ratings have never been the end-all for me. But having said that, it’s very gratifying to come out on top again. A lot of folks out there predicted doom and gloom. Well, here's your doom.”

Really, without a doing a damn thing, The Hardline has kept on keeping on. Williams is gone, if not forgotten. (I hear he’s still back-and-forthing with ESPN on a weeknight show, by the way. Yeah, still.) We’re sorta kinda getting comfortable hearing Corby and Danny talk serious sports. And all those “Plus-1” tryouts seemed to have fizzled into so much status quo.

These latest positive ratings, of course, will give management further motivation to sit tight and not fix it ‘cuz it ain’t broke.

Ticket program director Jeff Catlin last month sent selected P1s a poll asking who, if anyone, would make the best replacement for Williams. (Full disclosure: Having sat in twice for The Hammer, I was on the list of candidates along with John Rhadigan, Dave Barnett, Bob Sturm and others.) In my humble opinion Sturm, co-host of mid-day BaD Radio, seems the most natural, talented fit. But corporate bean-counters don’t often screw with the make-up and flow of a wildly successful station.

So for the foreseeable future, The Hardline is what it is. And that’s good enough to remain No. 1.-- Richie Whitt

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