There are myriad reasons The Ticket has dominated Dallas-Fort Worth airwaves for 20 years, all part of a formula that's proven to be impossible to replicate. One ingredient that builds a sense of culture around the station is the so-called "Drops." Small sound bites, usually taken out of context, inserted into the hosts' conversations can often transform bland moments into instances of high hilarity. Some Drops are taken from movies or commercials, but most are culled from the mouths of Ticket hosts themselves, usually to the victimized host's chagrin, which is what makes it so much fun for the listeners.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of our favorite radio stations, here some of our favorite Drops. To pay tribute to the popular voices of the station, we're sticking to Drops that the hosts are responsible for, whether they like it or not.
See slideshow: Day 2 of Ticketstock
Georgio's Not-So-Silent-Moment: In the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, The Ticket proved to be a solace for listeners as joking was held in check and sports talk was almost nonexistent. But as with any bunch of buds, some needed laughter eventually came and lightened some heavy hearts. The Musers' George Dunham innocently missed an intro cue for a spot that encouraged listeners to observe a moment of silence, and instead of adhering, Dunham mistakenly went on the air to take a call, saying, "Uh, Paul, in, what ..." as his confusion became apparent.
More than a decade later, Dunham remembers that moment with clarity, "It was a total mind shutdown on my part. I was really zoned out," he tells us. "We laugh about it now, but I was really distraught about it then. I heard the music trail out and thought that was the end of the moment. I really did go into a deep mode of prayer and thought, but I came back [on the air] at the wrong time."
Sports Bully: Bob Sturm of BaD Radio is rivaled only by Norm Hitzges on the station for his encyclopedic knowledge of sports. When Sturm was challenged by a listener about the career of (former Cowboy, indeed) Efren Herrera, Sturm got cocky, referring to himself as "Sports Sturm," then saying, "This is not some dude in the next cubicle over." The best part about this drop is that it stems from Sturm suffering a rare defeat in a sports-knowledge showdown.
Jerk McDowell: Dan McDowell of BaD Radio is a funny guy, and at times the celebrity guests he speaks to aren't fully prepared for his biting sarcasm. In 2005, ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso wasn't in the mood to joke when McDowell certainly was. As Corso expressed his outrage over the offending question -- even snarling to Dan that he's "a jerk" -- McDowell attempted to save the interview by hurriedly asking in a high, nasally tone, "We're having fun here, no?" Corso huffed away into Ticket infamy and the joke has been on him ever since.
No, No, Never Norm!: Death, taxes and a caller-induced Norm Hitzges meltdown are three things in life we can all expect with certainty. A small group of evil geniuses know that calling Hitzges' show, offering up a stupid sports point and then talking over the legendary host will typically send the otherwise calm and reasonable Hitzges into a rage spiral that could force Bob Knight to tears. There are so many to choose from: "Does anyone know what the hell it is I do for a living?" or "Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! What? What? What? Wait! Stop!" or the iconically furious "No! No! No! No! No! No! Never! Never! Never! Never! No, never!"
Ranger Rhyner: The "Old Grey Wolf" of The Ticket is also the heaviest romancer of his beloved Texas Rangers. While Rhyner usually speaks in an even-keeled, linguistically elevated manner, the Rangers bring out his inner cheerleader. The smile-inducing drop in which Rhyner elatedly screams "I love the Rangers!" is a classic, thanks to catching the Wolf in perhaps his most natural state of expression.
Bragging Corby: The Hardline's Corby Davidson has long made a habit of talking, er, bragging, about such enviable items as having a telescope and sleeping in a twin bed. While many montages of his boastful claims have become common, "The Snake" is at his most braggadocios in the Drop when he says, "There have been hot women surrounding me for the last 20 years, really."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.