Mike Rhyner, left, returns to host "The Hardline" with Greg Williams today. But Greggo all by his lonesome? Not bad, buddy. Not bad at all.

It's "Hardline" Out Here for a Wimp

Of my experience yesterday co-hosting "The Hardline" on KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket) with the mighty Greg Williams, let me say this: Radio is hard. Very, very hard. I plan on saying very little to very few in the coming days; the sound of my own voice is the last thing I want to hear, and I have no doubt the beloved P1s who tuned in yesterday would say the same thing. Greggo, working without his partner Mike Rhyner and cohort Corby Davidson (who return today, and Greg would tell you not a moment too soon), brought his A-plus game whilst going solo during the past few days; us fill-in co-hosts, who included former Rangers outfielder Rusty Greer and KDFW-Channel 4 sports anchor Mike Doocy, only got in his way, despite The Hammer's protestations that he's little more than a Robin in need of his Batman. The man's a genuinely gifted raconteur, and all I offered were some soothing NPR drones that probably caused some of the worst traffic in recent memory yesterday around 5:28 p.m.

A few notes from the day: Two-segment guest Kinky Friedman sounded like a real candidate--an honest-to-God viable option who knew his stuff, whether it had to with workers' comp, alternative fuels, education reform, legalized gambling or the fate of state parks. The callers were as informed as he; not one "baby arm" in the bunch, thank you very much. Fellow Unfair Park resident Richie Whitt offered a few pointed observations about The Ticket, which just came as it was getting its numbers confirming it's the No. 1 station in the city with the key 25-54 demographic of both genders. Richie wanted to know, for instance, why Ticket talent had turned on Dale Hansen after he left the station a few months ago. Greggo said, more or less, it's because Hansen took shots at The Ticket first, and once you open fire, you're fair game, which is fair enough. I also mentioned Gerry Oher about 80 times, for whatever reason; last I saw the dude was more than a decade ago, when he was on a date with the former love of my life--who, go figure, isn't myself.

But the segment that got the most reaction from the P1 was when, at 6:10 p.m. yesterday, we played a handful of tracks from some of my favorite new local bands, among them Midlake, The Drams, The Theater Fire and Sorta, whose bassist, Danny Balis, produces "The Hardline" (and wrote the lovely tune below). After the show, Danny, Greg and I got dozens of separate e-mails from listeners wanting to know who we'd played--band name, song title, album, the whole deal. Well, I thought it would only be fair to throw the songs up here this morning and let you take a listen too. Seriously, that Midlake record, The Trials of Van Occupanther, might be the best record of the year by any band. Greg went right out yesterday and bought hisself a copy. You should too. --Robert Wilonsky

Bonus MP3s:

Midlake, "Head Home" (from the album The Trials of Van Occupanther)

The Drams, "September's High" (from the album Jubilee Dive)

The Theater Fire, "These Tears Could Rust a Train" (from the album Everybody Has a Dark Side)

Sorta, "Closer" (from the upcoming album Strange and Sad But True)

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