At almost the same time that Randy Galloway signed off on his final radio show on KESN/103.3 FM, another longtime DFW broadcaster, Mark Davis, tweeted this: “DFW radio bulletin: WBAP to lose 96.7 simulcast as Cumulus hands it to SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket. I'll always remember the March '10 debut.” (Davis, whose show now airs on KSKY/660 AM, formerly aired on WBAP.)
Dan Bennett, vice president/market manager for Cumulus Media Dallas/Fort Worth, verified the move. Sports-talk station KTCK will continue airing on 1310 AM, but will simulcast on 96.7 FM beginning Oct. 21. News-talk station WBAP will continue at its longtime home of 820 AM but no longer simulcast on FM.
“We have seen no ratings increase since adding the FM,” Bennett said via email. “WBAP at 820 AM still covers 114 counties in the day and has been heard in up to 38 states at night and early morning before the sun comes up. WBAP at 820 is one of the biggest radio signals in America.”
Bennett added that WBAP will also air on HD Radio channel 99.5 HD-2. “HD radios [are] now available in 150 models of cars,” he said. “66 models now have HD radio as a standard option. So WBAP [is] going on an FM channel of the HD band in addition to 820 AM.”
The move is the latest in a busy year for sports-radio in DFW, much of it related to moves made by Cumulus, which in August entered into a local marketing agreement with ESPN in which Cumulus will operate DFW’s KESN/103.3 FM, which will still be owned by ESPN.
The next day, Galloway, a 28-year DFW radio fixture whose Galloway and Company has aired on KESN since 2003, announced that he would retire from radio at the end of this year. Galloway has said from the beginning that the timing was a coincidence and that he intended to work for Cumulus through late December, but he moved up the date after his lawyer informed him that if he remained with ESPN after the Cumulus deal closed, he could ride out his contract and still get paid for the final months without even being on the air. Galloway reiterated that on his final GAC show Monday.
Cumulus has said all along that it intends to keep the ESPN Radio format on KESN, although some personnel -- including program director Tom Lee, on-air personality Landry Locker and SportsCenter anchor Kelly “Miss Kelly” Webster, among others -- are getting cut as Cumulus’ takeover happens tomorrow.
Still unclear is what will happen with 104.1 FM, which currently carries the Ticket simulcast.