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ESPNRadio 103.3 2013.png
CityAllen, Texas
Broadcast areaDallas–Fort Worth metroplex/
Frequency103.3 MHz
BrandingESPN Dallas 103.3 FM
AffiliationsESPN Radio
NFL on Westwood One Sports
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company
(KESN Assets, LLC)
First air date
December 1, 1981 (as KEMM at 92.1)
Former call signs
KEMM (1981-2001)
Former frequencies
92.1 MHz (1981-2000)
Call sign meaning
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network
(full name of ESPN)
Technical information
Facility ID58265
ERP98,000 watts
HAAT606 meters (1,988 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
33°32′08″N 96°49′54″W / 33.53556°N 96.83167°W / 33.53556; -96.83167

KESN (103.3 MHz) is a commercial FM sports 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. From October 8, 2013, to October 7, 2020, Cumulus Media operated the station via a local marketing agreement (LMA), although Disney retained ownership. The station's studios are located on the ESPN campus in Bristol, Connecticut, and the transmitter site is located southeast of Collinsville, Texas, in Grayson County.


The station first signed on the air on December 1, 1981 as KEMM.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] 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 broadcasting 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.[4][5][6] 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.[7] Eventually, the license of KTDK 104.1 was cancelled, and its call sign was deleted by the FCC on October 18, 2013, at the request of Cumulus.[8]

Since 2015, as result of the sale of WRDZ-FM (today WZRL) to iHeartMedia,[9][10] KESN is the only Disney/ABC-owned station on FM.[11]

Its former sister station KZMP (1540 AM) aired Spanish language sports programming until September 2016, when it was flipped to a Regional Mexican format. The change left the DFW market without an ESPN Deportes Radio affiliate until its re-affiliation in July 2018. ESPN Deportes Radio discontinued its radio broadcasts in September 2019.

All local programming on KESN, with the exception of the Dallas Mavericks games, ended on October 7, 2020, following the expiration of the LMA with Cumulus.[12] The station then began broadcasting an all-national format except for Dallas Mavericks games. Prior to the end of local programming on KESN, share ratings for KESN's primary shows lagged behind that of KTCK, Sportsradio 1310 "The Ticket", KESN's chief sports talk radio rival in the Dallas/Fort Worth market.[citation needed] In ratings books, KESN had higher cume than KTCK, meaning that while more total people may have listened to KESN at various points throughout the day, roughly twice as many people were listening to KTCK at any given time.[citation needed]

On August 23, 2021, it was announced that the Dallas Mavericks game broadcasts will move to iHeartMedia-owned Mainstream Rock station KEGL (97.1 The Eagle) after 20 years on KESN. While the Mavericks current contract with ESPN 103.3 ran through 2023, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban exercised an out clause in the contract triggered by the end of the LMA of KESN by Cumulus Media a year prior.[13]

Current programming

The station airs national programming from ESPN Radio.


Unlike most of the area's FM stations, which transmit their signals from Cedar Hill, KESN transmits its signal from an area east of Collinsville. Therefore, KESN's signal is much stronger in the northern parts of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, including Dallas, Decatur, Denton, and McKinney. The signal is also strong in cities further north and outside of the Metroplex such as Gainesville, Sherman, and Bonham, to as far north as Ardmore and Durant in Oklahoma, In Fort Worth and areas south of Dallas, the station's signal is considerably weaker, which has caused problems for some of its listeners in these areas following live sporting events on KESN.

Notable on-air staff



  1. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1984 page 246
  2. ^
  3. ^ Rangers join ESPN 103.3 FM, 1540 AM - ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth (released December 8, 2010)
  4. ^ Cumulus to LMA ESPN 103.3 Dallas - Radio Insight (released August 7, 2013)
  5. ^ Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket to operate ESPN Radio in Dallas - The Dallas Morning News (released August 7, 2013)
  6. ^ {{{callsign}}}
  7. ^ 104.1 KTDK To Be Restored? - Radio Insight
  8. ^ Surrender of Licenses - Federal Communications Commission
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ Venta, Lance (July 17, 2015). "Big 98.3 Indianapolis Debuts". Radio Insight. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  11. ^ Other Authorizations of Disney (KWDZ and WRDZ-FM included) - Federal Communications Commission
  12. ^ "KESN Local Hosts To Exit Wednesday Ahead Of Return To ESPN Control". RadioInsight. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  13. ^ Reports: Dallas Mavericks To Move To KEGL - RadioInsight (published August 23, 2021)

External links

This page was last edited on 1 November 2021, at 20:45
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