We now know why The Ticket pulled the confrontation between Norm Hitzges, pictured here, and Gordon Keith. Apparently, it wasn't funny. Yeah? Who says.

Re: Damn the Man

Apologize for the seven-second delay in getting back to this. But last week I was invaded by e-mail aliens, and then yesterday Terrell Owens almost up and died on us. Yeah, I know. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Anyway, turns out the controversial KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket) segment recently pulled in mid-replay wasn't yanked by its new corporate boss but, rather, its old human one.

"If you want someone to blame about the non-replays of the original segment on the [morning-show segment] e-brake, or the Top 10, etc., blame ME," Ticket Program Director Jeff Catlin wrote me late last week. "Not Norm, or Bob and Dan, or Gordo, and not Cumulus...nobody else but me. It was and is my call."

Catlin says that numerous segments have been expunged during the station's 13 years. Not many, however, have had such an awkward death as the Norm Hitzges-Gordon Keith-Mark Friedman lovefest having to do with Hitzges' sports betting and Keith's dark humor. Writes Catlin:

"The problem with that particular cross-talk exchange, in my opinion, that makes it different from a Greggo mis-speak or a Norm caller rant or any other 'regular e-brake,' is that nobody involved ended up looking good. Friedo, Norm and Gordo all took the low road and made each other and themselves and The Ticket look bad. There was no joke. No punch line. No payoff.

It was a clear case of the difference between laughing AT something and laughing ALONG with something. There was no laughing in this at all. Only negativity and anger. And that is never what The Ticket is about."

Ironic, because that lack of scripted fellowship is exactly what made the exchange so uncomfortable, so compelling. The Ticket hosts are always comedians. On that day, they were also human beings. --Richie Whitt

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