The Freak Flag Has Flown In Dallas As iHeart’s Eagle Returns


iHeartMedia Dallas has abandoned its “free-flowing” hot talk experiment, 97.1 The Freak (KEGL), after eighteen months. The station fired its entire air staff, including Texas Radio Hall of Fame host Mike Rhyner, on April 26, returning the signal to Rock as The Eagle.

Rhyner confirmed to the Dallas Observer that he and his colleagues, Jeff Cavanaugh and Julie Dobbs from the afternoon show The Speakeasy, were let go.

Despite the upheaval, the station continues its role as the Dallas Mavericks’ radio broadcast partner during the NBA Playoffs, with Chuck Cooperstein continuing play-by-play coverage. The Dallas Mavericks have an agreement with iHeart through the 2026 season to broadcast on KEGL. There’s no word yet on whether either party would seek an early termination of that deal.

Mike Rhyner told the Observer, “It’s a feeling that I and plenty of others at the station had been getting for some time now. iHeartRadio is a music company that really doesn’t do that much talk radio, and the talk radio they do is not local or locally originated.” He continued, “This was a thing where that radio company, especially the branch of it here in Dallas-Fort Worth, is not well equipped to handle us and what we did, and they really weren’t into it at all.”

Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade, hosts of The Ben and Skin Show, commented on social media, “We are heartbroken that the station we worked so hard to help build is changing directions. We loved being a part of The Freak. The best part of the last 18 months was coming to work everyday with some of our closest friends and favorite DFW radio personalities. Nothing will top that. Although it was short-lived, it was far and away the most fun we’ve ever had in radio.”

On the other side, management expressed their enthusiasm over The Eagle’s return. iHeart Dallas/Ft. Worth Senior Vice President of Programming said, “I’m excited that The Eagle is back and ready to rock Dallas/Ft. Worth again. This is a legendary brand for the market, and listeners have been asking to have it back on air and we listened!”

Region President Amy Leimbach added, “We are thrilled to announce the return of a legendary station to the DFW airwaves, 97.1 The Eagle. Active rock enthusiasts can rejoice as their beloved station is back, ready to once again be the destination for all things rock!”

New on-air personalities and programming will be announced in the coming days.


  1. I’m so excited to have the eagle back!!! I was completely heartbroken when the switch to talk radio was announced. The eagle has been a part of my life, since I was a child… Thank you for giving us our rock icon back! Dallas rocks again with the Eagle!!!!!!!

  2. Pass on I won’t be listening to this station anymore. Luv’d the now departed programmed. Super bummed!!!!! Bad move!!!!!


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