KESN (103.3 MHz) is a commercial FM sports talk radio station. It is owned by The Walt Disney Company as an ESPN Radio station. It is licensed to Allen, Texas, and serves the Dallas-Fort Worth radio market. Beginning on October 8, 2013, Cumulus Media took over operation of the station, although Disney is still the owner. The station's studios are located in the Victory Park district of Dallas, just north of downtown, and the transmitter site is located southeast of Collinsville in Grayson County.
|Broadcast area||Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex/|
|Branding||"ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM"|
|Slogan||"First For Sports in Dallas/Fort Worth"|
|First air date||December 1, 1981 (as 92.1 KEMM)|
|HAAT||606 meters (1,988 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Entertainment and Sports Programming Network|
(former full name of ESPN)
|Former callsigns||KEMM (1981-2001)|
Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
NFL on Westwood One Sports
|Owner||The Walt Disney Company |
(KESN Assets, LLC)
|Sister stations||KLIF, KLIF-FM, KPLX, KTCK, KTCK-FM, KSCS, WBAP|
|Webcast||Listen Live (via Triton Digital)|
The station first signed on the air on December 1, 1981, as KEMM. From 1981-2000, KEMM was licensed to Commerce, Texas and at first, broadcast at 92.1 MHz. The station aired a country music format.
KEMM went silent on September 28, 2000. The city of license and tower were moved to Allen, Texas, in 2001. The station was re-launched on April 27, 2001, as 103.3 KESN with a new all sports format. Fourteen outlying stations were rearranged and relocated to make way for KESN to move into DFW, all at ABC/Disney's expense. Among KESN's most notable local programs was Galloway and Company, hosted by Randy Galloway until his retirement in October 2013.
Previously, despite different owners and a merger of ABC Radio Networks to Citadel Broadcasting; KESN, WBAP (AM), and WFAA-TV maintained a strong partnership (as WFAA is the local ABC television affiliate). In early 2006, 103.3 ESPN welcomed WFAA-TV personality Dale Hansen, a former Dallas Cowboys radio analyst and host on rival station KTCK, to the station. KTCK had become the Cowboys' flagship station, and many speculated that Hansen leaving KTCK for KESN was due to his criticism of the team. The official explanation, however, was that Hansen's ratings did not justify his salary request.
Beginning in the 2011 Major League Baseball season, KESN and KZMP acquired the rights to broadcast all Texas Rangers baseball games for the next four years. English-language broadcasts aired on KESN while the Spanish-language broadcasts were heard on KZMP. These broadcasts were in addition to the Dallas Mavericks broadcasts that were already heard on KESN. Rangers games remained on KESN until the 2015 season, when they returned to KRLD-FM.
Until mid-2011, KESN broadcast in HD Radio. With its HD2 signal simulcasting KZMP (ESPN Deportes Radio) and its HD3 substation broadcast an audio simulcast of ESPNews. For reasons unknown, the HD broadcasts were discontinued.
On August 7, 2013, it was announced that Cumulus Media, owner of KESN's rival KTCK, would take over operations of ESPN 103.3 through a long term local marketing agreement (LMA) with Disney, beginning on October 8. Programming on both stations would remain the same. The change took effect once Cumulus closed on the sale of FM station KTDK 104.1 of Sanger to Whitley Media. However, on September 20, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected the sale citing that the license transfer was not a true sale in that all economic risk would remain with Cumulus as Whitley would get the same brokerage fee regardless of the price the station would have sold for. Cumulus would remain the de facto owner of the station. Eventually, the license of KTDK 104.1 was cancelled, and its callsign was deleted by the FCC on October 18, 2013, at the request of Cumulus.
The station has two locally based, weekday shows: JaM Session with Matt McClearin and Jean-Jacques Taylor, and Dennis and Cowlishaw (DAC). KESN is the flagship station for the Dallas Mavericks' radio network. Regular weekend shows include Inside Sports Medicine with TO Souryal and Soccer Today. When not airing locally based programming, the stations airs national programming from ESPN Radio.
Share ratings for KESN's primary shows lag behind that of KTCK, Sportsradio 1310, "The Ticket", their chief sports talk radio rival in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. In ratings books, KESN has had more cume listeners than KTCK. That figure means that, as the ratings show, while more total people may listen to KESN at various points throughout the day, roughly twice as many people are listening to KTCK at any given time.
Its former sister station KZMP airs Spanish language sports programming, and is heard on 1540 AM. Although from September 2016, it was flipped to a Regional Mexican format, which left the DFW market without an ESPN Deportes Radio affiliate until its reaffiliation on July 2018. It was announced that ESPN Deportes Radio will discontinue its radio broadcasts by September 2019.
Starting with the 2019-2020 NFL season, KESN becomes the new affiliate of Cumulus Media's in-house NFL on Westwood One Sports radio program. This includes every Sunday night, Monday night, and Thursday night game as well as the Super Bowl playoffs coverage.
Notable on-air staffEdit
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1984 page 246
- Rangers join ESPN 103.3 FM, 1540 AM - ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth (released December 8, 2010)
- Cumulus to LMA ESPN 103.3 Dallas - Radio Insight (released August 7, 2013)
- Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket to operate ESPN Radio in Dallas - The Dallas Morning News (released August 7, 2013)
- 104.1 KTDK To Be Restored? - Radio Insight
- Surrender of Licenses - Federal Communications Commission
- "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. May 29, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
- Venta, Lance (July 17, 2015). "Big 98.3 Indianapolis Debuts". Radio Insight. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- Other Authorizations of Disney (KWDZ and WRDZ-FM included) - Federal Communications Commission
- KESN (ESPN Dallas 103.3FM)/Dallas Adds Westwood One NFL Prime Time Package - All Access (published July 12, 2019)