Last year I caught up with an old friend. Amazingly, during the conversation, he failed to tell me some exciting news about his kids. They had gotten exceptionally good grades and were on their way to Stanford. A very exciting time! Yet, out of modesty, he said nothing, and I had to learn the big news from a third party. His omission almost made me feel left out.
Today I will not make the same mistake. I will share with you some exciting news about “the kids” at the station, who recently got a very good report card. When Nielsen ratings came out last week, ESPN 97.5 FM finished with the three top-rated sports shows in the city (for Men, ages 25-54, the standard metric for sports). The top three shows:
No. 1: The Blitz, with Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman; weekdays 4-7 p.m.
No 2: The Usual Suspects, with Joel Blank and Barry Laminack; weekdays 1-4 p. m.
No. 3: The Bench (John and Lance!), with John Granato and Lance Zierlein; weekdays 7-9 a.m.
As always, there is a story behind the successes.
At 8-years old, The Blitz is now the longest continuous-running sports-talk show in the city. Fred and A.J. do their homework and know all-things-sports. For that matter, Fred is now also the cerebral editor of SportsMap.com. But do not consider them the class nerds. Fred and A.J. talk sports with an edge, perhaps an air of cool.
The Usual Suspects launched one year ago, almost as an odd couple. Joel came from the Rockets and seemed to see everything through the prism of sports. Barry won our Rock the Mic contest and as a stand-up comic, seemed to see everything through the prism of humor. Like most good couples, the two have found a solid, compelling balance. Sports and humor? Absolutely: the odd couple is now a successful couple.
The Bench. There are many famous duos: Bert and Ernie, Batman and Robin, Heckle and Jeckle, etc. But in the history of Houston sports talk, John and Lance stand apart. When we got the opportunity to reunite them, I knew they would be successful; what I did not know was how quickly the market would come. In this first ratings book since the reunion, they are No. 1 in their daypart. And they are just getting (re)started.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the other kids. In middays, Raheel and Del are rising stars on 97.5. We have one of the country’s top authorities on soccer, Glenn Davis, who hosts Soccer Matters on Tuesday evenings. Also, I am often asked: what ever happened to Charlie Pallilo? We got him. He is on SportsMap 94.1 FM, weekdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. And 94.1 FM now includes Golic and Wingo, Barry Warner, Charlie, Nate and Creight and the Sean Salisbury Show. Check it out!
Finally, as you read the names above, the family is big now. Bluntly, we have more sports experts in our building than any other media company in the city. What do we do with them all? Our “Stanford” is our new media and new platforms. All members of the team are now talking on air, writing on sportsmap.com and now appearing on videos here on the site. A very exciting time!