Anyone who cares and was paying attention over the holiday weekend had an inkling this might happen, after The Freak radio and several of its personalities on Twitter teased a “huge” Monday-afternoon announcement.

Anyone who guessed that East Dallas resident, Bastards of Soul bassist, left-handed Twilight Lounge co-owner and former Lake Highlands pizza delivery boy Danny Balis would be joining his former KTCK The Ticket exes Mike Rhyner, Michael Gruber and Mike Sirois on The Freak’s 3-7 p.m. show, “The Downbeat,” was correct.

Yesterday at 5 p.m., following a moment of fanfare, “The Downbeat” host, Rhyner, welcomed the return of Balis to the airwaves.

“He is the one I want, and, here, I get what I want,” Rhyner said. “Here he is: Daniel Balis!”

Following the real and canned cheers and horns, Balis deadpanned an anticlimactic, “Hello.”

Balis departed The Ticket in May after serving as producer of its afternoon show “The Hardline” since 1999. Rhyner had been hosting that show from The Ticket’s first days in the late 90s until his retirement from the station in 2020. In other words, the two spent decades working together at The Ticket.

The Ticket is still going strong, with Lake Highlands resident Corby Davidson and Bob Sturm hosting “The Hardline.” 

Rhyner mildly shook the radio-listening community when he announced he would headline all-talk station, The Freak, which replaced The Eagle on 97.1 in September.

During Monday’s announcement, after Rhyner told listeners he had been speaking with Balis daily about his debut on The Freak, Balis called him out. “The last time you responded to one of my texts was in late October.”

Despite Balis’ on-air admission of uncertainty and nervousness, the old chemistry seemed relatively in tact.

If you listened in the 2000s to The Ticket, you’ll enjoy a real sense of deja vu when turning the dial to 97.1 weekday afternoons. (Personally, when in the car, I toggle, with some NPR in the mix)

From conversations with those involved, Reddit forums and merely listening to these guys talk on air, there is a general idea about the reasons some have left The Ticket and joined The Freak.

That is, at The Ticket, a select few — Davidson, Sturm, Craig Miller, George Dunham, Gordon Keith, for example — are compensated like the celebrities they are, while producers and support staff — even after building a local fandom through years of work — are not.

Here at the Advocate, I’ve begun interviewing some of the voices of radio in Dallas. For December, in our Preston Hollow print  magazine, I interviewed Rhyner and Gruber for a Grubes profile.

Since we could not convince Grubes to come to the photo studio for a portrait, the story art is a bobblehead of Michael Gruber riding a unicorn that is pooping a rainbow.

That sentence should explain everything about all of this.