My favorite brand turns 19 today.
My favorite brand is not a car, or a beer, or a coffee or a computer company. My favorite brand is a radio station. Not some fancy subscription satellite or heuristically customizable internet station, but just a regular terrestrial radio station.
I’m talking about The Ticket. KTCK. Sportsradio 1310, Dallas. And I don’t even live in Texas. But thanks to the wonders of iHeartRadio I’m a loyal Ticket listener, a “P1” in Ticket parlance. The Ticket uses P1, the Arbitron metric of single-station listenership, as a merit badge for the dedicated follower. How brilliantly obvious and simple.
What makes The Ticket special? Why is The Ticket not like any other radio station in America? What can all brands learn from The Ticket?
– The Ticket gives its followers a sense of belonging, of being on the inside. P1s have their own events like Ticketstock and Fight Night and Normathon (featuring Norm Hitzges, the senior statesman of the station). P1s have a vocabulary all their own: “doin’ a bit,” “HSO,” “spares,” “bullsh,” “greatness,” “tired-head” and “a beating.”
– The Ticket is not like anything else in its category. Even the biggest sports fans can get tired-head from the typical sports-talk radio station. Too much analysis, preview and re-view, and “call in and tell us what you think of the Giants’ latest trade” blabber. The Ticket just flows with whatever guys are thinking about that day. Sometimes it’s the latest episode of “Breaking Bad,” sometimes it’s Lee Harvey Oswald’s bathtub. The Ticket doesn’t ignore sports, it just knows there’s room for a lot more.
– The Ticket is consistent but not stuck in a rut. After 19 years, it’s still Sportsradio 1310. Many of the same voices that were there in 1994 are still there. New talent is onramped in a way that doesn’t disrupt the flow. New media are embraced. The Ticket’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and blogs is seamlessly integrated with on-air content.
– The Ticket builds relationships. Every day the Ticket celebrates the birthdays of its P1s along with the biggest names in sports on a segment called “Why Today Doesn’t Suck.” Everybody feels like somebody.
– The Ticket doesn’t take itself too seriously. Good brands aren’t stuffy. Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Moe’s Southwest Grill. They know how to make you laugh and still deliver a prime product with super service. The Ticket celebrates its gaffes with an “E-Brake of the Week” segment, when listeners call in to vote on the worst on-air screw-up.
– The Ticket takes risks. There are no sacred cows, not even sacred Dallas Cowboys. Regular appearances by the Fake Jerry Jones, the Fake Tiger Woods and other false idols are filled with “I can’t believe they said that” zingers. Top-shelf sports figures from David Beckham to Phil Mickelson might be interviewed by Scoops Callahan, a Ticket character who speaks in 1920s press lingo, or by the Overcusser, a zealous locker-room reporter who clocks in at 30 bleeps a minute.
– The Ticket has friends. It also has enemies. You can’t please everybody. Barry Switzer and Shaquille O’Neal love the Ticket. Lee Corso and Bob Knight? Not so much.
– The Ticket is a thought leader. Amidst the shtick there is substance. The guys on The Ticket are smart, especially when it comes to knowing what’s going on with the big four local teams: Cowboys, Rangers, Mavericks and Stars. They are the go-to experts. They just don’t act like it.
Marconi Awards, loyal advertisers, a cult-like following and nineteen years in business. Not too shabby for a bunch of guys just sittin’ around talking. Happy Birthday, guys.
For more of my gentle musings on The Ticket, see https://paulsagemarketing.com/2017/03/09/what-mike-rhyner-says-every-day-around-330-on-the-ticket-ktck/