Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hardline brouhaha: The story that won't die

A bit more info on the Greg Williams vs. The Ticket/Hardline story emerged this week, as Ticket parent company Cumulus Media released a statement indicating Williams has resigned. No further details were forthcoming in the statement, from management, or from the on-air staff.

As we've mentioned here before, it's unlikely you're going to see much, if any, detail around this story discussed in public any time soon, if ever. There are big legalities and big bucks at stake here (The Ticket is, and has been for some time, a money factory; one which Williams lawyers would love to raid), and the surest way Cumulus, Ticket management, or the on-air staff can kill the golden goose is to start blabbing. Perhaps, some day when the dust has settled, Richie Whitt will write the details for The Observer or for himself. But we're a long way from that day.

Reading comments on Unfair Park, and the few which have been left here, sort of amazes me. It's striking how many listeners feel personally betrayed, and how many have sworn off The Ticket in general, The Hardline in particular. This is entertainment, and pretty sophomoric entertainment at that. Don't get me wrong, I am a loyal listener and regularly laugh out loud at the pranks, on-air chaos, double entenderes, and general mayhem regularly featured on the airwaves at 1310 AM and 104.1 FM. But it's just entertainment - filler for the time I spend in the car morning and evening. I don't owe these guys anything, the don't owe me anything. We have a mutually beneficial, if anonymous, relationship, but neither they nor I lose any sleep if I don't listen.

With all that said, I'm still enjoying the Hammer-less Hardline. Friday's show, with drop-in guest John Rhadigan, had all the giggles it's ever had. I like the chemistry between Rhyner, Davidson, and Balis, and, let's face it, Greg Williams had barely been contributing to the show for months prior to his disappearance. I don't miss him at all.

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