At a station where the status quo is the norm, and any change like this one happens rarely, the departure of Rich Phillips is a big deal (especially this close to the departure of TC). Shocking almost. Shocking in the sense that he is one of the longest tenured employees up there, to the tune of 15 years. Not shocking at all when you see where he is going. Dick Hicks (his real name, on his credit card dammit) is leaving the Ticket for apparently greener pastures. Making his money now on football, basketball and auto racing broadcasting. Leaving the morning spot for a more normal schedule and a much shorter commute in. The Musers, who has had the same crew for 14 years, will experience a shake up. Who will replace him? Unknown at this point. And how do the other Musers feel seeing him go? Do any of them hear and see the delight in his voice and on his face, leaving this job and chasing his dream? Does Junes fleetingly think about all the biking or running he could do if he left this gig? Does George dream about making music a full time gig? Does Gordon weigh the idea of going full time into writing? They have to.
Hearing him recount interviewing with Rhyner in November 1995 was special, Friday on THL. That was a damn long time ago. Rhynes didn't even have a key to the building, so they went to the Jack in the Box at the corner of Fitzhugh and Central to chat. Rhynes remembers that the guaranteed onslaught of applications during the Ticket's opening did not happen, and Rich was one of the few to apply. Apparently it was only 25-30 guys, since no one wanted a part of this seemingly sure to fail station. Ironically Rich was not hired at that time, but hired on two years later (thanks largely to the great Followill).
Rich has always been in the backseat in the P1 Ticket brain. Case in point, the gold standard for Ticket blogs, MTC, has not tagged him in a post since June of last year. His departure has brought him up front, temporarily at least, in the middle seat with our arms around him. The throw back audio we heard this week including the awesome SMU football and basketball calls was great. And it reminds us how few Ticket people we behold in our gestalt, how its only the hosts we hear and how there is so much more going on behind the scenes that the listener does not see.
Rich, oh Rich. Such a sweet guy and true class act. This gig at the TMS is his dream job, and we are happy for him. Lets hope these big Ticket shake ups stop for a little while.
Also, look out for Part II of the Ticket Movie. Soon.
"Hey Rich!? Are your racing pants going crazy? Well, are they?"