By Chuck Cox
Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket (KTCK-AM) has gone from very modest beginnings nearly 20 years ago to a fire-breathing behemoth of regular-guy talk about sports, music, movies, and pop culture that’s lingo makes its way into the lexicon of listeners all across Dallas/Fort Worth and beyond.
Each February, the station and its personalities host a two-day event that features free autographs from big-name athletes for listeners, laid-back interviews with those athletes, lots of fun and yucks, and a concert. That’s right, a concert. Sports? Music? That’s right up my alley. I’m not alone.
On the first night of Ticketstock, which is now held at the plush new Irving Convention Center, the station’s hosts and support staff take the stage for a concert by a band they call the Timewasters. It’s became a real tradition listeners look forward to each year. The set is a mix of goofing around, silly songs, some real songs performed in a serious manner, and old favorites that are special to the station. It’s always interesting to see what songs the guys choose each year. And it’s like hanging out with a bunch of guys you know — even if you really don’t.
I don’t get to see the Timewasters very often, because my real gig usually involves covering a girls basketball playoff game around the same time as Ticketstock. It worked out this time around for me to see the guys play for the first time in probably five years. And I got Ricky Williams’ and Brandon Carr’s autographs, to boot.
While the concert is mostly played for comedic effect, several of the hosts are very talented musicians. Mike Rhyner, co-host of the Hardline, plays in a pair of tribute bands — Petty Theft (Tom Petty) and the Nyrds (the Byrds). Danny Balis, producer of the Hardline, plays in a country band, the King Bucks, and some solo shows. George Dunham, co-host of the Musers, plays in a country band, the Bird Dogs.
And when these guys really throw down on a tune, it sounds pretty great. This past Friday, I really dug Balis and Rhyner doing three Everly Brothers hits, along with Gordon Keith’s cover of Billy Idol’s “Flesh For Fantasy.” I couldn’t help thinking after the show ended that one day these guys might all end up in a band together. It wouldn’t shock me in the least. It would be a success, too, if their day jobs are any indication.
Mainly because I don’t have a musical bone in my body, I can’t imagine how amazing it would be to talk about sports for a few hours a day, and then go play a gig with your band at night. And when those two worlds intersect at Ticketstock, it’s got to be a pretty amazing feeling for them. I’m glad I got to be a part of it again.