The Ticket Needs a Local Music Show

When 102.1 FM The Edge killed Mark Schectman's The Local Edge radio show last August, it left a gaping hole in the Dallas radio landscape. Suddenly the one show that focused entirely on showcasing local talent was gone, and without any explanation. Sure, there's the excellent Paul Slavens Show over on 91.7 KXT, although that's not wholly local. And as a station, no one can really compete with the local coverage offered by volunteer-run 89.3 KNON.

But when it comes to having one definitive local show, there's one radio station in Dallas that could unquestionably do it right: Sportsradio 1310 FM The Ticket. Yes, it's technically a sports talk radio station, but there's no one else in town with the cred, the good taste and the listenership to really make a difference for local music. It doesn't make a damn bit of sense there isn't already a local music show on The Ticket, and we think it's about time to change that.

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One could already argue that The Ticket is Dallas' best music station. There aren't many other radio stations where Robert Plant or Rhett Miller just drops in to chat for a while, and there are probably zero that can get Christopher "Kid" Reid to share his thoughts on a Kanye album alongside his betting predictions for the weekend's football games. There is also extremely trenchant music commentary, on everything from bro-country (on The Hardline) to the city's best metal shows. You'll also hear more concert reviews, album recommendations, and music talk than you will on any other radio presets.

According to Danny Balis, producer of The Hardline, there's only thing that's stopping The Ticket from having a quality music show -- "laziness." A few months ago, Balis approached program director Jeff Catlin about bringing his turntables to the station for an hour-long vinyl listening session, but he hasn't yet done it. Now, it would seem, it is officially time to light a fire under Balis' ass and talk these guys into bringing Dallas the local music show that it so desperately needs.

"When The Ticket started out, the whole thing was to be predominately a sports station," says Balis, who owns Twilite Lounge and was a founding member of Sorta, everyone's favorite local band that almost made it. "But for whatever reason, everyone on air started talking about their personal lives and ancillary subjects, like the TV shows and music they like. That's when The Ticket became The Ticket. We're doing something unique. It's sports-based, but we're talking about our interests and our lives, whether it's TV shows, music, food, or girls."

There is really no reason why The Ticket shouldn't have a local music show, and approximately one zillion good reasons as to why they should. The Ticket needs to finally give Dallas' music scene an official, weekly block of airtime. They don't have to try to be trendsetters or indie music sleuths, but it would be really nice if we could just hear a little bit of under-appreciated local music, and maybe some discussion from the players who make the scene possible. The Cowboys aren't even playing anymore, so surely there is some time to fill.

The existence of a local music show on The Ticket would also be good for local bands. The Ticket is one of the most popular sports talk radio stations in the country, especially with Texas expats who are living elsewhere. Opening up bands who have never played a room bigger than Club Dada to people all over the world could have serious impact on the local music scene. The Ticket is the one station that might actually have the pull to local bands get noticed by promoters and talent buyers in other cities.

We even have a host to suggest: Dallas Morning News reporter Robert Wilonsky. His annual Christmas Eve show reflects the station's interest in and commitment to music. They're Christmas songs played on Christmas Eve, but they're quirky, deep cuts. If anyone's suited to hosting this hypothetical show, it's Wilonsky.

If there were to be a music show on The Ticket, Balis imagines that it would be mostly staffed by the station's board operators, weekend hosts, and "ticker guys." "It's going to be hard to get those weekday guys to do any more work," he says (again with the laziness!), but also notes that he'd probably be in, along with Sean Bass and BaD Radio producer Jake Kemp. We're betting that Rhyner, Davidson, and Donovan Lewis wouldn't be able to stay away from a quality show, even if it did mean putting in a little extra work.

Well, doesn't that all sound great? Then let's make it happen, Dallas. If you really want The Ticket to attempt a local music show (and we do), Balis suggests sending emails to Jeff Catlin expressing your interest. Do that one million times, and maybe we'll soon have a home for local music on Dallas radio.


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Amy McCarthy

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