The Ticket is and has long been the undisputed king of Dallas sports radio, consistently owning its two main competitors, ESPN 103.3 and 105.3 the Fan. But The Ticket's ownership of the local market has always been figurative, in the sense that it consistently gets two or three times as many listeners as its rivals.
Now The Ticket's going to own its competition in a more literal sense. (Update: An ESPN spokeswoman clarifies that ESPN retains ownership of 103.3. This is an affiliation agreement. But you get the idea.)The Dallas Morning News reports that employees were informed in a morning meeting that the station has taken over the ESPN station.
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There aren't a lot of details about the deal yet, other than that the lineups won't change for the time being. There are enough hints, though, for Observer veteran Richie Whitt to predict that 103.3 FM The Ticket is coming soon.
Here's how he put it in a blog post from last month:
The Ticket on 104.1 FM is about to be a thing of the past. Cumulus has sold the frequency, and doubtful the new owners will simply keep 1310 AM's simulcast on its station. So here's my working theory: The Ticket is positioning itself for a move to 103.3 FM. Yep, ESPN. I know for a fact that Clear Channel attempted to buy 103.3 FM earlier this year. If The Ticket hopes to buy it, and thereby move to a stronger, FM signal, it would have to dump its existing FM signal, 104.1. Again, it's only a hunch, but if The Ticket winds up on 103.3 FM and ESPN moves to 1310 AM, you heard it here first.
Still yet to be announced -- or, perhaps, decided -- is what will become of the Mavs and Rangers games, both of which are currently broadcast on ESPN. It's probably safe to assume they'll both be devoured by The Ticket, along with the rest of your radio dial.