You may have heard that ESPN Radio has ended its local programming. I mean, if you listen (or maybe listened) to ESPN radio, you definitely, literally have heard that. But if you don’t, maybe you saw a stray headline or something. I don’t know your life. Anyway, it has happened, and some of those local shows have migrated to The Ticket. For the shows themselves, it’s not much of a change — remembering new call letters during station IDs and that’s about it. But if you listen to The Ticket on weekends, you have likely heard some new voices or noticed a few shifts in time slots while driving around.
All of which is just a bit of throat clearing to get to what I have thought about doing previously, but now have an actual reason to do: a formal ranking of the shows on The Ticket outside of the big four that make up the bulk of its broadcast day during the week. With the exception of one, these are all weekend shows. And, as with everything else I do, consider these to be definitive.
- Cirque Du Sirois
Hosts: Mike and Cash Sirois
Saturdays noon-2 p.m.
This, to me, is the one show that could slide into a regular daily time slot without much of a dip in quality. Part of that, I’m sure, is because Mike is already a heavy presence on The Norm and D Invasion (or however Norm Hitzges and Donovan Lewis’ show is styled), serving as its producer and a foil for both hosts. Mike and Cash are part of The Ticket without relying on it for too much material. Some of these other shows suffer a bit from “Hey, did you hear this on The Hardline on Thursday?” They have created their own little world on Saturdays.
2. Country Force
Hosts: Ty Walker and Eli Jordan
These guys are a bit behind the Siroises (Siroi??) but in a similar category. Definitely could fill in for a week for one of the regular shows and keep you entertained. They know what they can do and stick to it, and that’s not as easy as it seems. If you only have heard Walker doing Ticket Tickers on The Hardline or shilling for SOTA weight loss, he’s not exactly a revelation here, but he’s solid. Jordan is, too, though his accent is probably a take it or leave it proposition for some.
3. The Kick Around
Hosts: Peter Welpton and Andy Swift
Saturdays 2-4 p.m.
Your enjoyment will obviously depend on how much you enjoy soccer. I like soccer quite a bit, so your rankings might differ. I don’t make a point to listen to The Kick Around but I’m always pleased to be in the car during this time. During Premier League season, the afternoon time slot gives them a chance to talk about the Saturday-morning games and since there is a dearth of soccer coverage in this area (and this country), I like hearing them chop it up. Again, if you don’t like soccer, you might be out.
4. The Teebox
Hosts: Rick Arnett and Craig Rosengarden
Saturdays 8-10 a.m.
As with the above, your enjoyment will obviously depend on how much you enjoy golf. Even if you like to play or like to watch on TV, listening to two guys talk about golf may be a stretch. But, regardless, this is pretty relaxing early morning hang, kind of like overhearing two buddies talking in the locker room. Low stakes. Also: a reliable source of entries on The Musers’ Friday-morning “E-Brake of the Week” segment.
5. The Mark Elfenbein Show
Host: Mark Elfenbein
Sundays 7-9 a.m.
A personal example of respecting something without actually liking it that much. Elf used to be on The Ticket, then went to ESPN Radio for a while, and now he’s back. Has the show changed at all during that time? No. He still has his usual hallmark segments and he is still a professional and competent broadcaster. His show is just a little too much like the piped-in national shows that the station runs on weekend afternoons and evenings and his persona can be a bit grating. But, again, I respect it.
6. Work in Progress
Hosts: David Mino and Justin Montemayor
The name of the show is truth in advertising. Both these guys are former interns for the station and Mino now runs the board for BaD Radio. They are likable and they are getting somewhere. They are just not there yet. I’m sure the nature of broadcasting in a pandemic does not help, but some segments just don’t come together. And they are a little reverential of their more notable co-workers. But that is probably to be expected. This is a low ranking, but I do like these guys.
7. JaM Session
Hosts: Jean-Jacques Taylor and Matt McClearin
Sundays noon-2 p.m.
I tuned in for a bit this Sunday to see what JJT was up to, and it was the same thing that I remember from the last time I came across him on the radio. It’s something like: here is a BAD take that might not be BAD so much as it is AVERAGE or something that people aren’t ARGUING about and I am going to try to resuscitate it by SPEAKING in capital LETTERS occasionally, so it’s like an ARGUMENT but again no one is ACTUALLY ARGUING THIS. Apologies to Matt McClearin, who seems fine.
8. Intentional Grounding
Hosts: David Moore and Robert Wilonsky
Wednesdays 7-8 p.m.
This Cowboys show has been on for something like nine or 10 years and its hosts still somehow do not have any chemistry. I think before it was sort of like a receptacle for Cowboys nostalgia or Cowboys ephemera and now it’s just like one of Moore’s regular Ranch Reports but with Wilonsky talking too much. I don’t understand its existence.