|Broadcast area||Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex|
|Branding||SportsRadio 96.7 & 1310 The Ticket|
|Affiliations||Dallas Stars (NHL)|
Fox Sports Radio
|Owner||Cumulus Media Inc. |
(Radio License Holding SRC LLC)
|KLIF, KLIF-FM, KPLX, KSCS, KTCK-FM, WBAP|
First air date
|March 13, 1922 (as WRR, first broadcasting license granted)|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|K The TiCKet|
|Power||25,000 watts (day)|
5,000 watts (night)
|Webcast||Listen live (via iHeartRadio)|
KTCK (1310 AM; "SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket") is a commercial sports radio station licensed to Dallas, Texas, which serves the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW). Its daytime power is 25,000 watts, which is reduced to 5,000 watts at night. The station's studios are located in the Victory Park district in Dallas, just north of downtown, and the transmitter site is in Coppell. The station is currently owned by Cumulus Media. KTCK's programs are simulcast at 96.7 MHz over KTCK-FM, licensed to Flower Mound, Texas.
KTCK's current call letters and format only date back to 1994. However it is one of the oldest radio stations, including the oldest in Texas, having received its first broadcasting license, as WRR, in March 1922. In addition, prior to its first broadcasting license, WRR was issued an initial transmitting authorization in the summer of 1921, and the station evolved from even earlier work conducted by the Dallas Police Department.
The genesis of what would become WRR began through the efforts of local amateur radio enthusiasts belonging to the Dallas Radio Club, in conjunction with Henry "Dad" Garrett, who was Dallas' superintendent of police and fire signals. Inspired by activities at the New York City police department, Frank M. Corlett, a local district manager for the American Radio Relay League, approached the Dallas police about setting up something similar. A short notice in the December 28, 1920, edition of The Dallas Morning News stated that Corlett was developing a system in cooperation with Police Commissioner L. E. McGee which would be used to "notify the near-by police of the escape of prisoners and to give a description of suspects fleeing from Dallas." In early February, it was announced that the plan was now operational, consisting of nightly transmissions between 7 and 10 o'clock. The primary outlet was Corlett's Special Amateur station, 5ZC, located at his home at 1101 East Eighth Street. Two alternate sites were included: Bennett Emerson's Special Amateur station, 5ZG, located at 3720 Wendelkin Street, and John Dorea's station, 5JG, at 117 West Twelfth Street. In early June 1921, it was again announced that the daily police bulletin transmissions had been inaugurated by Corlett and Emerson.
"Dad" Garrett was also involved in the developmental work. Garrett had had an early interest in radio communication. In 1912, a fire broke out that was being dealt with by a majority of the fire department. Meanwhile, a second major blaze occurred, but because the telephone lines were down, there was a delay in alerting crews at the site of the need to deal with the second emergency. Radio was still an unperfected technology, but Garrett recognized its future potential for speeding up communication during emergencies. In May 1921, it was reported that he had installed on a fire truck a radio receiver constructed by Corlett and had successfully received transmissions sent by Emerson and Garrett's son, Charles Garrett.
In July 1921, Bennett Emerson sold his transmitting equipment to the city for $250, and it was installed on the second floor of the Central Fire Station at 2012 Main Street, where it came under the oversight of "Dad" Garrett. On August 5, 1921, a Limited Commercial license with the randomly assigned call letters WRR was issued to "City of Dallas (Police and Fire Signal Dept.)", which authorized transmissions on the wavelengths of 400, 450 and 500 meters (750, 667 and 600 kHz), for communication with "Police and Fire Signal portable stations, general communication and broadcasting with amateur stations".
An early review of the new station noted that in addition to broadcasting police reports, it had been used for a two-way conversation between the Chief of Detectives in Dallas and Houston. WRR soon expanded its offerings beyond police and fire reports. In mid-December, it ran a telephone line to the local First Baptist Church's auditorium in order to broadcast Dr. George Truett's Sunday services. By early February 1922 the station's daily schedule included entertainment programs, featuring sports reports and weather forecasts, plus piano, vocal and saxophone solos. "Dad" Garrett's assistant, Lynn B. Henson, took on the majority of the responsibility for running the station.
From 1912 to 1927, the Department of Commerce regulated U.S. radio, and initially, there were no specific restrictions on stations broadcasting entertainment to the general public. The first formal standards were adopted effective December 1, 1921, which specified that broadcasting stations had to hold a Limited Commercial license that also authorized operation on the "entertainment" wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) or the "market and weather reports" wavelength of 485 meters (619 kHz). At the time this regulation was adopted a small number of stations already met the new requirements, although this did not include WRR, whose current Limited Commercial license did not have an assignment for either of the broadcasting wavelengths, and as of late January 1922 the station was reported to be broadcasting on 450 meters. In early February 1922, WRR was reported to now be on 360 meters, but it wasn't until March 13, 1922 that the station was issued a new Limited Commercial license that included an authorization to use both broadcasting wavelengths. For this reason the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records generally list March 13, 1922, as WRR's "Date First Licensed".
In early April 1922, as WRR's focus turned toward general broadcasting, a second transmitter was installed, operating on 200 meters (1500 kHz) under the call sign of 5ZAQ, which took over the broadcasting of fire signals. The common use of 360 meters led to some unique cooperative experiments, including a June 1922 wedding where the three main participants were located at different radio station studios, with the groom broadcasting his responses over WRR, the bride's from WDAO (a short-lived station operated by the Automotive Electric Company), and the minister officiating through the Dallas Morning News' WFAA (now KLIF (AM)).
As additional broadcasting stations were established, the joint use of 360 meters led to the need to develop timesharing agreements between the stations to avoid interference. By early July there were five local stations — three in Dallas and two in Fort Worth — and an agreement was concluded which allocated timeslots for the period from 8:45 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. on weekdays, and from 11:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. on Sundays. Under this plan, WRR's weekday assignments included "Weather forecast on 485 meters. Lecture and music on 360" from 12:00 noon-12:30, "Baseball, markets, music" from 3:00-3:30, "Police bulletins" from 7:00-7:15, and music from 8:30-9:00. Its Sunday schedule consisted of police bulletins at 7:00 P.M., followed by a church service at 8:00. By the end of 1922, the number of broadcasting stations licensed in the United States had ballooned to over 500. WRR stood out as one of fewer than ten stations operated by a municipality.
In 1925, it was decided that the city could not afford the expense of operating a radio station, and WRR's license was allowed to lapse, leading to its deletion in late July. However, a committee of civic leaders, headed by Edwin J. Kiest, the owner of the Dallas Times Herald, and George B. Dealy, President of the Dallas Morning News, raised the funds needed to revive the station, which was relicensed in October. Beginning in the mid-1920s, WRR started accepting advertising. The station became financially self-supporting and began providing surplus funds to the city government.
Over the years, the number of available transmitting frequencies was expanded. The Department of Commerce and, beginning in 1927, the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) worked to accommodate a growing number of stations, and WRR experienced a series of frequency reassignments. In late 1928, under the provisions of a major reallocation resulting from the FRC's General Order 40, WRR was assigned to full-time operation using 500 watts on a "regional" frequency, 1280 kHz. On March 29, 1941, implementation of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement resulted in all the stations on 1280 being shifted to 1310 kHz, which has been the dial position of WRR and its successors ever since.
In 1948, WRR launched an FM station, which was assigned the call letters WRR-FM. Initially WRR provided more popular programming, while the FM station featured classical music. In 1975, WRR became the first station in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to adopt an all-news format when it became affiliated with NBC's new "News and Information Service" network. It continued with this format even after NBC ended the service in 1977. The Dallas government eventually decided to sell WRR while retaining WRR-FM, so after nearly 57 years ownership of the station was transferred to the Bonneville International Corporation in early 1978.
Concurrent with the station sale, the call letters were changed as the station became the first of several incarnations of KAAM when it was owned by the same company that owned KAFM (92.5 MHz). KAAM dropped the all-news format and featured a variety of musical formats.
KTCK "The Ticket"
In 1994, the station was sold to Cardinal Communications, which changed the call letters to KTCK and adopted a sports talk format as "The Ticket". The Ticket's original lineup consisted of Skip Bayless, Curt Menefee, Mike Rhyner and Greg Williams, Chuck Cooperstein, and George Dunham and Craig Miller. Bayless was the first host to inaugurate the station's sports format. The Hardline (now with Bob Sturm and Corby Davidson) and the Dunham and Miller Show have been part of the station's offerings since the introduction of "The Ticket" format. The sometimes controversial station has posted strong ratings in the Dallas radio market, especially its top-rated shows. Formerly owned by Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, The Ticket was purchased by Cumulus Media on May 5, 2006.
On March 6, 2006, the station announced that it would be the flagship affiliate of the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys radio network. This resulted in a 60% ratings increase as reported by the Arbitron rating service. However, on January 23, 2009, KTCK and the Cowboys ended their three-year partnership. On January 16, 2009, The Ticket along with the Dallas Stars issued a press release naming KTCK as the new flagship station for Dallas Stars hockey for five years starting with the 2009-10 season. In 2014, this was renewed for an additional five years.
On August 7, 2013, it was announced that Cumulus Media would take over operation of rival station KESN ("ESPN 103.3"), owned by the Walt Disney Company, through a long-term LMA (local marketing agreement), with programming on both stations remaining the same. As part of this transaction, it was necessary for Cumulus to divest one of its FM stations, due to limits on the number of stations an individual entity can control in a given market. The deal was to take effect once Cumulus completed the transfer of KTDK 104.1 in Sanger, which had been simulcasting KTCK, to Whitley Media. However, the FCC disallowed the Whitley Media transfer, labeling it a straw purchase in which Cumulus would remain the de facto owner of the station, so Cumulus instead surrendered KTDK's license for cancelation. On October 7, 2013, it was announced that The Ticket would begin simulcasting on 96.7 FM, a station which, as WBAP-FM, had been simulcasting WBAP News/Talk 820 AM. The change took effect on October 21, followed by the FM station changing its call sign to KTCK-FM. (WBAP is now rebroadcast on The Ticket's former simulcast spot, KPLX 99.5 HD2).
SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket has won many awards over the years, including the 2007 Marconi Award for "Best Sports Station in America" at the National Association of Broadcasters' annual conference on September 27, 2007. The station and various shows have been Marconi nominees in the past, but this was The Ticket's first win. The Ticket was again recognized as "Sports Station of the Year", winning a second Marconi Award in 2013. The Ticket won its third Marconi Award for "Sports Station of the Year" in 2017. The Ticket was nominated as a finalist for NAB Marconi ‘Station of the Year’ regardless of format in 2018. The winner has not yet been announced.
In popular culture
The FX drama Justified made frequent use of the names of The Ticket personalities for supporting characters as writer/producer VJ Boyd is a former Dallas resident and an active fan of KTCK. Boyd continued this practice in his scripts for NBC's The Player.
Notable on-air staff
- Corby "The Snake" Davidson
- George "Jub-Jub" Dunham
- Norm "The Rev, The Colonel, Mr.123" Hitzges
- Gordon "Gordo" Keith
- Donovan "Dernie" Lewis
- Jake "Kempanzee" Kemp
- Danny "Dingu" Balis
- Dan "Press Box Hot" McDowell
- Craig "Junior" Miller
- Bob "The Sturminator" Sturm
- Chris Arnold – Host of The Chris Arnold Show. Arnold is the former sports director and morning show host at KKDA-FM (K-104). He now hosts G-Bag Nation with Gavin Dawson on KRLD-FM. At one point, Arnold worked at The Ticket, K-104, WFAA-TV, and for Dallas Mavericks TV broadcasts simultaneously. He is also the game night emcee for the Mavericks inside the American Airlines Center.
- Mike Bacsik – former major-league pitcher for several teams, served as producer of The Norm Hitzges Show. Dismissed after tweeting a comment about "dirty Mexicans".
- Skip Bayless – Host of The Skip Bayless Show. When the ownership decided to accept a lucrative offer to sell the station, the new owners bought out Bayless' contract. He is currently hosting on Fox Sports 1's Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.
- Chuck Cooperstein – Host of The Chuck Cooperstein Show, now on KESN. Cooperstein is also the radio play-by-play announcer for the Dallas Mavericks Radio Network (also on KESN).
- Mark Followill – Former Ticket Ticker (news update) announcer for The Hardline and current television play-by-play announcer for the Dallas Mavericks on Fox Sports Southwest and on KTXA 21. Also serves as an occasional "plus one" on The Hardline as well as KTCK's Mavericks post-game show.
- Dale Hansen – Dale Hansen Show, often controversial DFW sports journalist and WFAA-TV sports anchor.
- Richard "Big Dick" Hunter – Host of The P-1 Wild Ass Circus, broadcast evenings on Live 105.3 as The Wild Ass Circus. Also hosted The Richard Hunter Show on 1360 KXYZ.
- Curt Menefee – Curt Menefee Show, current host of Fox NFL Sunday.
- Rocco Pendola – former mid-day host, dismissed after a confrontation with Gordon Keith.
- Leila Rahimi - former co-host of the Ticket weekend show
- John Rhadigan – former co-host of the original Ticket weekend show, The Press Box. Briefly the play-by-play announcer for the Texas Rangers in 2011, currently on Fox Sports Southwest as host for pre- and post-game shows for DFW area teams.
- Ben Rogers and Jeff "Skin" Wade – hosted the Ben & Skin Show noon-2 pm Saturdays and hosted the Dallas Mavericks post-game show. Former hosts on 103.3 KESN-FM, 9 a.m.-noon, and on KRLD-FM 105.3 , 10a-2p. Now hosting 2pm-5pm on 97.1.
- Kevin Scott – former Ticker announcer for The Hardline; former co-host of The Throwdown; former co-host of The Beatdown on KZNX in Austin, Texas; former co-host on NewsRadio 1080 (KRLD) with Greg Hill.
- Greg Williams – former co-host of The Hardline.
- Mike "Old Grey Wolf" Rhyner Hosted the Hardline from 3-7 until 2020
- AM Query Results: KTCK (FCC.gov)
- "Running Down Law Breakers by Radio" by Fred C. Kelly, Popular Radio, June 1922, page 81.
- A History of Station WRR: Pioneer in Municipally Owned Radio by Robin Leslie Sachs (thesis), May 1978, page 18.
- "Working Out Details for Police Wireless", Dallas Morning News, December 28, 1920, page 12.
- The "5" in 5ZC's call sign indicated that the station was located in the Fifth Radio Inspection District, while the "Z" specified that it was operating under a "Special Amateur" license. Special Amateur stations were permitted to transmit on wavelengths in addition to the congested 200 meter wavelength used by standard amateur stations.
- "Police Wireless System Installed", Dallas Morning News, February 3, 1921, page 9.
- "First Radio Bulletin is Sent From Police Station", Dallas Morning News, June 5, 1921, page 4.
- "Portable Wireless Tests Get Excellent Results", Dallas Morning News, May 18, 1921, page 2.
- "The Long Arm of the Dallas Police" by P. V. Keating, Dallas Morning News, Sunday Magazine, August 7, 1921, page 1.
- Sachs, pages 18-19.
- "New Stations: Commercial Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, September 1, 1921. Beginning with the introduction of U.S. radio station licensing in late 1912, it had been the practice to assign call signs starting with "K" in the west and "W" in the east. The original boundary line was located along the Texas-New Mexico border, and it wasn't until the shift in early 1923 to the Mississippi River that new Texas stations received K instead of W call signs.
- WRR August 5, 1921 license, Limited Commercial license, serial #213, issued to the City of Dallas Police and Fire Signal Department for a one year period.
- "Dr. Truett's Father Hears Sermon Over Radio at Whitewright", Dallas Morning News, December 18, 1921, Part 3, page 3.
- "Schedule is Adopted on Radio News From Dallas", Dallas Morning News, February 3, 1922, page 4.
- "Amendments to Regulations", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
- "Radiomania Epidemic Spreads Rapidly Over Dallas and State of Texas" by Eugene Travis, Dallas Morning News, January 22, 1922, Part 1, page 15.
- WRR March 13, 1922 license Limited Commercial license, serial #213, issued to the City of Dallas on March 13, 1922 for a 3 month period for broadcasting on 360 and 485 meters.
- "Date First Licensed", FCC History Cards for WRR/KAAM, card #1.
- "Fire Signals Broadcast", Dallas Morning News, April 4, 1922, page 21.
- "Wireless Wedding is Performed by Aid of 3 Stations", Dallas Morning News, July 1, 1922, page 5.
- "Getting Married on the Radio — 1922" by Paula Bosse, December 12, 2014. (flashbackdallas.com)
- "New Broadcasting Schedule Adopted", Dallas Morning News, July 9, 1922, Part 1, page 14.
- Sachs, page 22.
- Sachs, pages 35-36.
- Sachs, pages 91-92.
- "Bonneville Wasn't Looking to Sell Texas Station, Executive Says" by Lynn Arave, Deseret News, December 15, 1993.
- "The Ticket pulls in best ratings in radio station's 22-year history" by Barry Horn, Dallas News, June 10, 2016.
- "Cumulus Media Inc. Completes Formation of Cumulus Media Partners and Acquisition of Susquehanna Radio", Business Wire, May 5, 2006.
- DMN Blog: The Cowboys and The Ticket: End of an Era (cowboyszone.com)
- "Dallas Stars, The Ticket Ink Five-Year Renewal", June 6, 2014 (allaccess.com)
- "Cumulus to LMA ESPN 103.3 Dallas" by Lance Venta, October 4, 2013 (radioinsight.com)
- "104.1 KTDK To Be Restored?" by Lance Venta, October 29, 2013 (radioinsight.com)
- 'SportsRadio 1310 the Ticket' to also air on 96.7 FM by Robert Philpot (dfw.com)(released October 7, 2013, updated October 8, 2013)
- "2007 NAB Marconi Radio Award Winners Announced" September 28, 2007 (NAB.org)
- "2013 Marconi Award Winners Announced" September 19, 2013 (NAB.org).
- "2017 Marconi Radio Award Winners Announced" September 8, 2017
- Martindale, David (March 1, 2015). "'Justified' characters sound familiar? They're shout-outs to The Ticket (guidelive.com)". Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "News: ARTICLE: Hansen headed to ESPN Radio" by Barry Horn, Dallas Morning News, April 16, 2006.
- KTCK in the FCC AM station database
- KTCK on Radio-Locator
- KTCK in Nielsen Audio's AM station database
- FCC History cards for KTCK (covering WRR / KAAM from 1922-1981)
- A History of Station WRR: Pioneer in Municipally Owned Radio by Robin Leslie Sachs, 1978.
- DFW Radio Archives (dfwradioarchives.info)
- DFW Radio/TV History (dfwretroplex.com)