Talk radio has had a place in my life since childhood. Politics, religion, culture and sports all have a forum on the radio waves – and i have always made time to indulge in the conversation. As a child, I recall tucking headphones under my pillow case in order to covertly listen to Sports Byline with Ron Barr after bedtime. In fact, when I was 12 I called in a won their hourly trivia contest. I sprinted down the hall to wake my parents up overjoyed. It never occurred to me until now that they probably didn’t have many 12 year old listeners on a late night talk show.
Now while sports talk is but one of many avenues I traffic, it is one of the few types of talk that typically is station-wide and primarily locally focussed. This creates a brand loyalty amongst listeners and, being a man of many opinions, I must pontificate on the state of Dallas sports radio.
Dallas has the distinction of having three full-time sports stations. I don’t have any statistics to reference, but that must certainly be at least one more than your typical major market.
The king of the castle, and my personal sports station of record, is “The Ticket”. Before coming to Dallas I had never encountered a station quite like it. Not only is the programming gripping, but the listener sub-culture and tribe they have nurtured would surely make Seth Godin proud.
Truth be told, it took me a little while to warm up to their style and schtick. But once it clicked, it was over. Not only are the majority of their programs second to none, but no station I’ve ever heard has anyone comparable to the great Gordon Keith. He’s a comedic gift to the radio waves of our fair burg.
The silver medalist is ESPN Radio. A fairly solid station highlighted by Galloway and Company. Randy Galloway is an acquired taste, but one of the absolute best personalities in town. GAC, as his program is referenced, is as good as anything on The Ticket and is certainly superior to its direct time-slot competitor, The Hardline.
Longtime ESPN radio personality and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein is a walking encyclopedia of sports history and statistics. If he and The Ticket’s Bob Sturm had a show together, it would be a sports nerd’s Utopia.
On a similar note, if Mike Rhyner and Randy Galloway joined forces, I would probably never stop laughing.
As for The Fan—I think the only conclusion I’ve drawn is that three stations is probably one too many. I have yet to hear anything memorable on that poor excuse for a station.
Made up of cast aways from The Ticket and ESPN, their attempt to essentially imitate The Ticket is failing in a sad and pathetic manner. Their morning show, in particular, is noise pollution.
The other day I finally found a friend who had something positive to say about The Fan… It’s been hard for me to look at him the same way again.
In the end, we’ve got a pretty nice deal here in Dallas. The Ticket is a radio phenomenon and ESPN is a solid alternative. For now, The Fan is joke of a station masquerading as a viable option.