Radio, TV and that Damned Media

Radio Daze: Ben-n-Skin v. Hammer

Back on the air. Back to his old self?

Radio is a changin’.

Arbitron recently awoke to the digital age and began more accurately deducting ratings via new electronic portable people meters. So instead of humans flippantly filling out diaries with No. 2 pencils, we’ll now get a much more precise reading from contraptions that literally “hear” whatever the radio listener “hears.”

That should mean pretty significant changes, I would think, when the first PPM ratings are released later this fall. If I’m The Ticket I’m a little nervous about my ratings dynasty. Kinda in the same way the Cowboys would be a little nervous if the criterion for their grading suddenly changed to, say, popularity and playoff performance.

What we hear is changing as much as how we hear it. Just yesterday, for example, I sampled old Ticket voices in new homes: Ben & Skin on Live 105.3 and Greg Williams & RJ Choppy on ESPN 103.3.

Let’s review, shall we?

BEN & SKIN I’ve always appreciated these guys’ quick wit and stream-of-consciousness one-liners. To me it’s stimulating radio, with content that forces you to stay alert, much less awake. In small, regulated doses Ben & Skin is like a shot of mental Red Bull. But four+ hours a day, five days a week? Man, it’s too much. At some point frenetic deteriorates into fatigue and I can’t keep up.

Plus, and probably more important, I want more sports. The dudes know their hoops, but so far it's buried under a barrage of too-cutesy topics. I realize they were hired to only touch briefly on sports, but over the last week or so I tuned in to hear:

*Water is flooding my house.

*When is it too late to have kids?

*Relationship deal-breakers.

*Neighbor talk.

*Sexiest TV moms.

*Flatulence etiquette/ Girl “bombs”/ “Rockin’ the Deuce” at work.

To me, their best, most compelling segment was, not surprisingly, when they broached Maverick Josh Howard’s vulgar dissing of the national anthem.

Skin: “It’s not outrageous for black people in this country to be unpatriotic. But Josh needs filter himself and play the game of the celebrity world. He’s getting tremendous opportunities and advantages in this country. I think in his situation, even if he feels that way, he probably needs to sit on it.”

Ben: “I hate to see him go through it. But you can’t defend the guy on this one.”

GAMENIGHT WITH GREG WILLIAMS AND RJ CHOPPY – I’ll be honest, the show’s 7-10 p.m. time slot makes it difficult listening. With a kid and a wife and a life, it’s rare I’m sitting still at night for more than 10 minutes at a time. From the little I’ve heard in the show’s first 10 days or so, it’s pretty rough. But there's potential.

So far they are smart to play the “hits”, which means basically Cowboys, Cowboys and more Cowboys. But eventually -- no, make that pretty damn soon -- I want to hear more of what I tuned in for. And that’s more of Greggo, one of the Metroplex’s most unique and entertaining radio voices.

Choppy is growing as a worthy adversary, last night trying to argue for Josh Howard’s “free speech” and claiming that Super Bowl XLV in Arlington will be boring because “it’s all about the bars.”

But this show needs to be about Hammer, who's getting more comfortable and more outspoken by the night. Last week he ragged on a women’s lingerie football league, saying “Any chick sport, I’m out. It’ll be like any other women’s sport. It’ll suck. It’ll be slow and boring. I’m out.”

And last night Greggo and his new gang even flirted with his Ticket heritage:

Williams: “I have serious B.O.”

Choppy: “Grab that.”

Williams: “I’ll never learn.” -- Richie Whitt

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt