The owners of KTCK “The Ticket” and former hosts Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp have settled a federal lawsuit filed by the company over the duo’s new sports-talk podcast.
“The parties have announced that this case has been resolved,” U.S. District Judge Karen Gren Scholer wrote in an order issued Tuesday afternoon. The parties have until Friday to file final dismissal documents.
On Aug. 4, Susquehanna Radio, which owns The Ticket, sued McDowell and Kemp, who quit in July in a contract dispute. The suit contends The Dumb Zone, the podcast the two started shortly after quitting, is a carbon copy of The Hang Zone, the popular afternoon Ticket show they hosted. Both hosts had six-month noncompete agreements with Susquehanna.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. One person familiar with the agreement said that under its terms, McDowell and Kemp will not return to The Ticket. They are allowed to continue their podcast and to expand its availability with a free weekly YouTube episode. Currently, The Dumb Zone is available by paid subscription.
Discussing the settlement on Wednesday’s episode, McDowell said he and Kemp can now devote attention to improving the podcast’s rudimentary production — testifying in a pretrial hearing, he described The Dumb Zone as having “no format at all. … We’re just two guys.” He said they will also explore ways to extend their reach through other platforms.
“There’s a lot of options we haven’t even been able to look into,” he said, adding, “ Now we don’t have to do a lawyers’ Zoom call from 8 to 10 p.m.”
Added Kemp: “It’s been all-consuming.”
Cumulus Media Inc., the parent company of Susquehanna, issued a brief statement saying The Ticket and the two former hosts “appreciate one another’s sincere efforts to resolve their differences so that everyone can move forward. The parties wish each other well.”
Representing Susquehanna Radio in the case are L. David Anderson, a partner with BakerHostetler in Dallas, and David M. Pernini of Atlanta.
Representing Kemp and McDowell are former Dallas City Council member Philip T. Kingston of Sheils Winnubst, Frank G. Cawley of Frisco, Elizabeth Griffin of Clark Hill in Dallas, and Matthew Bruenig of Stamford, Connecticut, formerly a lawyer with the National Labor Relations Board.
The suit was set for trial in December. The parties had been in settlement talks since late August, meeting under a court order with a mediator, J. Robert Arnett II of Carter Arnett in Dallas.
Judge Scholer repeatedly made it clear in open court that she hoped a trial, drawing on the time and resources of her court, could be avoided.
“Getting this behind you is good for both sides,” she said at a Sept. 15 evidentiary hearing. “You guys should settle this case. … This case should go away.”