Doing a Double Take

David Gow's message: From humble beginnings, our company has grown up

Gow Media

Last week the son of a good friend came up to our office. It had been a couple of years since I had seen him, so I still envisioned that he would be an 18-year-old high-school kid. But when he walked in the room, I did a double-take, as he was now a mature young man. The kid had grown up, and he was standing before me ready to talk business.

In some ways, the story illustrates Gow Media. Sometimes I come across people who will ask me: "How is 1560-The-Game doing?" We are not that young kid anymore. We have matured from a sports radio venture to a multi-platform media company. And we too stand before you ready to talk business.

Here's my update, with the following highlights:

  • ESPN 97.5 FM: Dominant sports ratings.
  • CultureMap: A large wave of growth.
  • SportsMap: New content and record traffic.
  • SB Nation Radio: Elimination of a competitor.
  • The Team: New faces in leadership roles.

ESPN 97.5

A year ago, we secured the No. 1 sports ratings position. This past quarter, we dominated. In the latest Nielsen book, we have the top four sports shows in the city, and five of the top six. The top four: (No. 1) John and Lance; (No. 2) The Blitz; (No. 3) The Usual Suspects; and (No. 4) The Charlie Pallilo Show. In morning and afternoon drive times, our ratings share was higher than our two competitors combined. And more good news: this quarter the Houston Press announced "The Best Radio Station" in Houston. The winner: ESPN 97.5FM.

CultureMap

Last week, more than 1,000 people in Houston turned out for our Tastemakers event, which sold out for the second year in a row. It is an amazing sight to see hundreds of folks line up early at the door. The turnout embodied the growth of Culturemap.com, where online traffic is soaring. Our Houston editorial team of Steven Devadanam, Eric Sandler, Ken Hoffman and others is on a roll. For that matter, the same is true of our teams statewide. We are experiencing double-digit growth year-over-year, yielding a very large and loyal following.

SportsMap

Our deep pool of sports experts has led to record traffic levels. One fun feature: we get to try new combinations such as videos featuring Raheel with AJ and Granato; Lance paired with AJ; Faour and Pallilo. Other must-see videos include Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank (aka "one-take-Jake"). And we continue to get great written contributions from Barry Laminack, Joshua Jordan, Jermaine Every, Cody Stoots, Jerry Bo and, of course, SportsMap editor Fred Faour.

InnovationMap

Due to the collective efforts of many, Houston is experiencing a great wave of innovation. And now the city has a media outlet to tell the stories. Launched late last year, and backed by blue-chip sponsors, InnovationMap is off to a great start.

When we were planning the site, we were continually asked: who would be the editor? We found a good answer: Natalie Harms, whose fingerprints are all over the site. Last week Natalie was honored by AAF Houston, given the "Rising Star" award.

SB Nation Radio

In this business where we provide sports shows and updates for other stations across the country, we have faced a very competitive landscape the past four years. Finally, in January one of our competitors, NBC Sports Radio, withdrew from the market — enabling new growth and increasing our reach. Our SB Nation Radio Network is now heard on 600 radio stations across the country.

The Team

This has been an exciting season of growth for our people also.In the past quarter, we promoted Josh Jordan to assistant editor of SportsMap; Tyler Scott became assistant programming director. And, most notably, we tapped AJ Hoffman to become program director for 97.5 FM.

Most everyone knows Fred and AJ as leading show hosts, but they are proving to be far more. As Editor of SportsMap for the past 18 months, Fred has been a catalyst for our growth and success online. With AJ, we are tapping into his natural programming instincts and leadership. I have enjoyed watching their talents extend beyond the show and into management.

Let's give sage Ken Hoffman the last word. Some may recall that Ken was with us for a short while in the early 1560-The-Game days. Two years ago he returned to write for CultureMap -- so he has some perspective, having seen both our youth and maturity. The other day he wandered into my office. Looking at Gow Media, it appears Ken had done a double-take. He declared: "I have something to tell you. You have the best group of people and talent now. You really do. This is different than before. You are a real grown-up company now."

ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

Waking up to Wednesday guys! Let's get excited, we're half way through the week and I hope you're on pace to absolutely crush this week.

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

This week we're going to focus on helping some people right in the circle of nerds, at the Spring Charity Drag Show. It's a themed drag show within Houston's nerd community and will feature pop culture, gaming and nerd icons as well as prominent drag queens in the "Gaymer" community. The proceeds go towards this group which all year long put on events for their community and give those people a place to go and be accepted.

PLAYOFFS?!, PLAYOFFS?!

Man do I love the NBA playoffs, they are the most exciting playoffs to me. I know some people may complain that a lot of years chalk carries through for the most part, which is fairly accurate but their journey to the finals every year is what is most impressive. This year we're basically two games in, with the Rockets playing their second game today, and already The Clippers had an amazing Game 2 come from behind victory over the defending champion Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs blew a 19 point lead as well. The Celtics, who all season long have been question marks look great and The Raptors looked like, well the playoff Raptors who are traditionally awful; think if every year your best friend always gave you the worst gift for Christmas, that's the playoff Raptors. Tonight the Rockets look to go up two games over the Utah Jazz, who have forever been the bane of playoff Rockets but I'm confident this year will be different.

AVENGERS ENDGAME FRUSTRATIONS

So apparently on the internet people have begun leaking Avengers Endgame information and that is my biggest pet peeve. Spoilers have become one of the worst things in the world. Who are these people who want to spoil the ending to what is essentially a ten year long story? Are these the same people who searched for hidden gifts during the Christmas season? I mean what is wrong with just waiting and being pleasantly surprised, just waiting the nine more days to find out what lies ahead? This is such a sad development for fans everywhere and now it's got me dodging all things Avengers related with a seriousness that I didn't think would be necessary.

MORE BAD NEWS

So speaking of disappointing news out of entertainment land, production seems to have stopped on Y: The Last Man's FX television adaptation. Based on an amazing comic book by Brian K Vaughn and Pia Guerra, Y: The Last Man was the story of a world where a mysterious plague has killed every man on the planet except one Yorrick Brown, literally the last man on Earth. It's an amazing comic book and if you can find it anywhere go out and buy it, it's a completed story from start to finish and it's in graphic novel format so it's one of the easier comic books to follow but it's a beautiful story with great moments and wonderful characters and I hope this mess gets cleared up. There was apparently a pilot made last year, FX liked it and approved it for a first season and just this week with production only a month in, the show runners disagreed with FX on what they were making, what kind of show it was and what it was about, so the showrunners quit. FX says they want to continue making the show but with new showrunners, so we'll see, but my fingers are truly crossed for this one because I loved Y: The Last Man.

THE INTERNET KEEPS BEING AMAZING AND AWFUL

In a bid to be both the worst and most amazing thing ever made the internet always just cuts both ways I feel like every time you see something great that could only happen with the internet, you then see some horrible story and you're like well, of course. It's like for every time there's a great go-fund me for some kid with cancer who then gets to announce he's cancer free and a millionaire then there's a story where a guy broadcasts on facebook live him beating up puppies or something, it seems like it never fails. So this week the same news story has the pleasure of being both, already in 2019 more stores have closed than in all of 2018 because of the internet. The downside is pretty obvious I feel like, it's one of those things where the internet kills jobs and big companies gobble other big companies but the positives are there too. For those not seeing it, it's simple, we're reaching points in the lifecycle of the internet where the idea of a Payless shoe store no longer makes sense, or a dollar store no longer make sense and that's a great thing as far as technology and innovation are concerned because now we can take these areas of the market to new unexplored corners, think about it, we've only been doing "shoe stores" one way for like 60 years and now we have an opportunity to completely redesign the thing from the ground up.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

The DC Streaming service which I have been rather vocally critical of in its early stages is beginning to shift into a more logical place. In just the past few weeks they've made several changes and announcements that bring the service more inline with the value they were purporting to have this whole time. They have said that by the end of this month, the entire catalog of DC comics will be available to read on the streaming service and they finally have gotten onto one of the gaming platforms, they now have an app on Xbox One. One of the biggest and fairest complaints during this whole process was there wasn't a convenient way to watch the service except on phones and tablets and computers but not on, you know, your TV. They had a Roku channel but everyone has one of those and no one knows how Roku works it seems like, so we're back to square one, but in the same time Disney announced the details of their service this month, DC finally got on one of the three major gaming systems.

I'm going to jump out and wish you guys a great Wednesday and remind everyone to be kind to each other and try a little harder to have a great day! I'm coming back Friday and we'll be bringing more good times your way. Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House, or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where every shirt is now under $20 or listen to Nerd Thug Radio or support our Patreon Page. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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