KESN (103.3 FM) is a Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas based sports talk radio station. It is owned by The Walt Disney Company as an ESPN Radioowned affiliate. Beginning on October 8, 2013, Cumulus Media took over operation of the station although Disney was still the owner. The station's studios are located in the Victory Park district in Dallas just north of downtown, and the transmitter site is located southeast of Collinsville in Grayson County.
From 1983-2000, 103.3 FM for Dallas/Fort Worth was licensed to Commerce, Texas and held the call letters KEMM. The station operated a country music format. KEMM went silent on September 28, 2000. The city of license and tower were moved to Allen, Texas in 2001, and the station was re-launched on April 27, 2001 as KESN with the new all sports format. Fourteen outlying stations were rearranged and relocated to make way for this frequency to move into DFW, all at ABC/Disney's expense. Among its 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, 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 & KZMP acquired rights to broadcast all Texas Rangers baseball games for the next four years. Its English broadcasts would air on KESN while the Spanish-language broadcasts would air on KZMP. These broadcasts were in addition to the Dallas Mavericks audio broadcasts that were already on KESN. Rangers games remained on KESN until the 2015 season, when the Rangers returned to KRLD.
Until mid-2011, KESN was broadcasting in HD Radio. With its HD2 signal simulcasting KZMP-AM (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 1310 The Ticket, will take over operations of ESPN 103.3 through a long term local marketing agreement with Disney (which started on October 8). Programming on both stations would remain the same. The 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 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: Steve Dennis & Mark Friedman, and The Afternoon Show with Tim Cowlishaw and Matt Mosley. KESN is the flagship station for the Dallas Mavericks' radio network, and Texas Christian University football and men's basketball. Regular weekend shows include Inside Sports Medicine with TO Souryal, 103.3 ESPN Gameday, Soccer Today, and Pain Free Radio. 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 many 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 AM, which aired Spanish language sports programming, was heard on 1540 AM until September 2016 when it was flipped to a Regional Mexican format, leaving the DFW market without an ESPN Deportes Radio affiliate.