Maybe a little more than kinda.
I never thought the ESPN deal would result in anyone moving from The Ticket to 103.3. Didn't make sense for Cumulus to pirate a single one of its top-rated to counter-program 1310.
No, my worry is about what seems to be the related sale of 104.1.
I don't know if we have any definitive ruling on whether the ESPN deal, whereby Cumulus will program, but not own, 103.3, required the divestiture of 104.1. Doesn't really matter for what's worrying me.
When accounts of the 104.1 sale appeared, the word was that it would continue to simulcast 1310 until the intermediary -- apparently, the sale was made to a nominee, a media property broker who was going to flip to another operator when one could be found. (The broker is Whitley Media, a broker with Media Services Group.) I haven't found any further information on any deal closing, so as of now, 104.1 is effectively unflipped, and it's still chirping out Sportsradio 1310, The Ticket.
And what will happen when someone is found to take over the Sanger Blowtorch?
Your Plainsman rises early; chores, you know. I travel to the skyscrapers of Dallas, Texas, where I park and scurry to my assigned seat and turn on the radio. Most days -- not all, but most -- 104.1 may be heard on the radio set. 1310, no. Even after the sun rises and 1310 makes recognizably human sounds, it still goes in and out, and but 104.1 generally remains stalwart to downtown and in the towers.
I get the impression that most Confessors listen to 1310. But I listen almost exclusively to 104.1. Could I listen to 1310 if 104.1 disappeared? Yes, but not for as long, and not as comfortably. iHeart and the new Ticket app and the website stream are not ideal substitutes for me for a number of reasons.
So do we know what Cumulus has in mind? I suppose it should be plain after all these years that no one knows what Cumulus has in mind. But I was troubled by this passage from this Barry Horn article:
"Although prominent sports talk radio stations in New York, Philadelphia and Boston have secured FM outlets, Cumulus’ [COO John] Dickey said that is not the current plan for the The Ticket.
"Cumulus has aired Ticket programming on weak-signaled KTDK-FM (104.1), but the sale of the station is pending. Might The Ticket find another more powerful home on the FM dial?
'We believe you don’t fix something that’s not broken,' Dickey said.
But he added, 'You never say never about anything.'"This isn't exactly the same as saying "we're not going to replace the 104.1 signal, and will just go with the Bic-Lighter 1310 signal, and good fracking luck to you all," but it's pretty close. Of course, it does confirm that Cumulus does not believe that the Ticket signal is deficient in any way that matters, which ought not come as a shock to Confessors. And it also confirms that John Dickey really has pretty much no idea of what's going to happen -- or at least nothing he's willing to share, which is not necessarily a bad posture to take with a reporter.
So I'll enjoy the crystal clarity of the Sanger Blowtorch for now, and hope that Whitley Media's potential customers find 104.1 as worthless as Cumulus does.
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