What Happened To Dan And Jake On The Ticket

Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp were long-running hosts of the midday sports talk show “The Hang Zone” on Dallas radio station The Ticket. So their sudden departure in July 2023 along with the subsequent legal battle came as a shock to loyal listeners. This article provides a breakdown of what transpired over those summer months and why two of sports radio’s most popular voices are no longer heard on Dallas airwaves.

Who Are Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp?

Dan McDowell had been with The Ticket since 1999, establishing himself as one of the station’s cornerstone on-air personalities. He originally co-hosted the “BaD Radio” show before being paired up with Jake Kemp in 2020 as co-hosts of the rebranded “Hang Zone” from 12-3pm.

Jake Kemp joined The Ticket back in 2009, working his way up the ranks at the station over the next decade. He started out producing various shows before landing the promotion to McDowell’s co-host for the coveted midday slot. Together, McDowell and Kemp quickly developed an on-air chemistry that resonated with listeners.

During their time together in The Hang Zone, McDowell and Kemp garnered high ratings by blending sports talk with their unique brand of humor and irreverent commentary. They became two of the most recognizable voices on Dallas/Fort Worth radio.

Why Did McDowell and Kemp Leave The Ticket?

In July 2023, McDowell and Kemp shocked loyal Ticket listeners by announcing their departure from the station after a breakdown in contract negotiations.

On July 17th, both McDowell and Kemp submitted their resignations following failed talks over new long-term agreements with parent company Cumulus Media. Reportedly, a key sticking point centered around “competing digital media interests” that the duo wished to pursue outside of The Ticket.

Three days later on July 20th, McDowell and Kemp formally announced they were leaving their radio home of over a decade. In a YouTube video, they cited a desire to try something new while avoiding direct criticism of station ownership.

“At least personally, I am not pissed at The Ticket,” McDowell said in the goodbye video. “I’m not mad at Cumulus…That’s their thing, their evaluation of the situation. And our evaluation of the situation is we felt like it was fine to move on.”

So after more than 20 combined years, the popular co-hosts suddenly found themselves departing The Ticket to explore new ventures in the Dallas media landscape.

What Did McDowell and Kemp Do After Leaving The Ticket?

Just days after exiting The Ticket, McDowell and Kemp wasted little time launching their own independent podcast venture called The Dumb Zone.

Debuting on July 25th, The Dumb Zone podcast featured the same irreverent banter and humor that Hang Zone listeners had come to expect. However, the show was placed behind a paywall on Patreon, requiring a $6.90 monthly subscription.

In follow-up interviews, McDowell and Kemp reiterated that The Dumb Zone was not intended to compete directly with their former employer. By avoiding traditional advertisements, they hoped to co-exist while trying something new.

“Our intention was not to even have the slightest impression that we are trying to compete with The Ticket in any way,” McDowell told WFAA.

However, parent company Cumulus Media saw things differently…

What Did the Lawsuit From the Parent Company Allege?

On August 4th, just two weeks into The Dumb Zone’s existence, Cumulus Media (owner of Susquehanna Radio) filed suit against McDowell and Kemp in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The lawsuit alleged McDowell and Kemp were in violation of the non-compete clauses contained in the contracts they signed in 2018. Specifically, it accused the ex-hosts of the following:

  • Creating a podcast targeting the same audience while still employed by The Ticket
  • Taking over former social media accounts belonging to The Hang Zone
  • Focusing their new show on “identical” Dallas/Texas sports subject matter

In essence, Cumulus Media argued The Dumb Zone represented unfair competition since it closely mirrored the hosts’ popular midday program on The Ticket. They sought an injunction shutting down the fledgling podcast.

For their part, McDowell and Kemp maintained in legal filings that The Dumb Zone was not in direct competition due to its subscriber model and lack of advertising. However, settlement talks soon commenced between the warring parties.

What Was the Resolution of the Legal Battle?

After nearly two months of legal back-and-forth, Cumulus Media and former hosts Dan McDowell & Jake Kemp reached a settlement agreement.

The details of the resolution were not released publicly. But on the evening of September 26th, 2023, both sides announced they had come to a “mutually agreed” resolution to end their litigation.

Hours later, McDowell and Kemp read the same statement word-for-word at the start of a new Dumb Zone episode. They expressed relief at moving past the lawsuit saga with The Ticket’s parent company.

Though exact settlement terms remain confidential, the outcome means McDowell and Kemp are free to continue producing The Dumb Zone without further legal interference. Whether listener interest and paid subscriptions can sustain the show long-term remains to be seen.

What Changes at The Ticket After the Exits?

Meanwhile, the abrupt resignations of Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp left big shoes to fill in the midday slot on 1310 The Ticket. Station management immediately commenced their search for replacement hosts after the duo’s departure in July.

According to Cumulus Dallas VP Dan Bennett, the open time slot drew “enormous” interest from prospective talent. After cycling through various short-term options, The Ticket ultimately chose David Mino and Sean Bass as the new permanent hosts from 12-3pm.

Known as Mino & The Man Strong, the new show represents a fresh voice for the key midday hours. Early reactions from Ticket devotees has been positive. Yet Dan Mac and Jake’s indelible legacy as the hangout home for Dallas sports fans will be difficult to replicate.

Key Takeaways

  • Popular hosts Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp left The Ticket over contract negotiations
  • They quickly launched podcast The Dumb Zone, prompting lawsuit over non-compete clauses
  • Legal settlement allows the show to continue, while Cumulus found replacements at The Ticket

What happened with Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp at The Ticket offers perspective into the business side of sports talk radio. Even hugely popular hosts face job uncertainty, corporate restrictions, and other challenges beyond the mics. Yet their unique chemistry now lives on in the world of podcasting.

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