Courtesy KTCK

East Dallas resident (who has joked on air about his job delivering pizzas in Lake Highlands) Danny Balis has been producer of the afternoon drive-time show The Hardline since August 1999.

Friday will be Balis’ last day.

The Black Cloud (so nicknamed because of his dark humor, hatred of anything other people like and tendency to occasionally lose his temper with callers) announced his departure just before Dallas Mavs’ game one against the Golden State Warriors Wednesday. (Balis signed off with a plea that the Dallas Mavs win game one. The team did not comply.)

Hardline host Corby Davidson, a Lake Highlands resident who started at the station about the same time, spent the following segment fighting back tears (“I’ll try not to get choked up here,” he says) and reminiscing about the past two decades.

“People will never know, truthfully, what … bizarro things you and I went through together here,” Corby said on Wednesday’s show. “Wondering if we were even funny … bringing our marriages and divorces and losses to the air … and you talk about drama … these have been our formative years.”

Because they started as the youngest members at the station, Davidson and Balis have been perpetually viewed as the station’s wild and crazy punks, they joked. The job has allowed them to keep up that party-guy reputation into their 50s.

“Will I miss it? Hell yes I will,” Balis says. “I regret nothing.”

He says he doesn’t see himself doing the job into his 60s, so he has decided now is the time to focus on other interests.

In non-Ticket life, Danny Balis is a serious musician, co-owns the Twilight Lounge and has a talented grown son, Joshua Balis.  He’s also been at the center of multiple tragedies in Dallas music community. He was roommates/bandmates with Carter Albrecht and bandmates with Chadwick Murray and Trey Johnson, all of whom met with devastatingly young deaths.

The official station announcement notes that Balis has made an “undeniable impact” on the show.

“Using his unique talents mashing up comedy and music he has created some of the most magical and wheels-off Ticket bits and moments ever.”

For the uninitiated, The Ticket 1310 AM and 96.7 FM is a sports radio station, but I see it more as pure entertainment. Many of the hosts have been around for decades, so if you have listened regularly and often over the years — if you have P1 status, that is — then they start to feel like your buddies. Listening to The Ticket is like being part of a hilarious cult family without the weird bad stuff — like you are in on a cosmic joke.

Back in January 2020, a Ticket patriarch and The Hardline co-host Mike Rhyner — who grew up in Oak Cliff — retired. Longtime host Bob Sturm, who also covers the Cowboys for The Athletic, replaced Rhyner. Davidson and Sturm will continue to co-host The Hardline.

As for who will replace Balis, there’s a thread on Reddit discussing as much. Producer Blake Jones, Mavs postgame host Justin Monty and show host Mike Sirois all are potential contenders, remark Ticket fans. Also among serious suggestions is Julie Dobbs, a sports reporter who’s worked at The Ticket who has great chemistry with the hosts. She’s also funny and a cancer survivor and a mom.

Non-serious recommendations include Norman Elizabeth Hitzges, John Cena and Jesus.