GALLANT SAYS

Houston sports talk host unleashes anything-goes podcast

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

When I landed in Houston, I was John Lander's helper on the Q-Morning Zoo show on KKBQ FM radio. The show was extremely successful, but we always thought, "If the listeners could hear what we talk about while the songs and commercials are playing, that would be the best show."

I moonlight in radio for ice cream and college tuition money. Over the years, I've been on a few shows, once a week with Michael Berry, same with Pat Gray and Lanny Griffith. Same thing: The conversations off-air were always more entertaining than what went out on-air. In "real life" (away from radio), Berry is wildly funny, Gray even more opinionated, and there's no helping Lanny.

That was before podcasts. Now anybody, even people who have on-air shows, can have off-air "shows," too, where there are no rules. The Federal Communications Commission has no control, no authority over podcasts, which stream over the Internet. Podcasters can say whatever they want with no worry. I used to listen to all-night talk radio when I went to bed, now I'm tossin' and turnin' (great song by Bobby Lewis) to podcasts. The Jim Cornette Experience and Jim Cornette's Drive-Thru top my list.

Two weeks ago, Sports Talk 610 (KILT-AM) morning host Paul Gallant left the station after eight years on the air. Now he's off the air, but on the Internet with a podcast called Gallant Says. He unleashes a new episode each Monday and Friday. I've listened to the first two: let's just say this is Gallant as listeners have never heard him before. You thought he had a big mouth and big opinions on the radio? His Gallant Says podcasts are streamed on iTunes, Sticher, Spotify, and other platforms.

I asked Gallant how he was enjoying life in the anything-goes, shackle-free world of podcasts.

CultureMap: How does it feel to have no restrictions on what you can say and how you can say it? Do you have a sense of complete artistic freedom? Is it a weight off your brain?

Paul Gallant: It's hard to not feel a weight on your brain when you're trying to find ways to entertain people. We all tend to get stale after a while, and you never want to be it. I've set some limits as to how far I'd go with things. But it is fun to be restriction-free.

CM: Not only are you free of FCC rules, you are free of 610 rules. What rules did 610 impose on you? For example, were you allowed to talk negatively about broadcast properties, specifically the Texans, or sponsors?

PG: [610] never really set many rules for us. Or at least for me. There wasn't some 'Texans directive' coming from bosses or anything like some people have suggested. They left us alone. The Rockets (when we were their flagship station in 2011-12), meanwhile...

CM: You can use profanity now, and you certainly take advantage of that. Which is the real PG, the buttoned-up guy on 610 or the colorful language guy on your podcast?

PG: I think what's great about this is that I get to be 100-percent honest about myself. I love opening up. So this has been a lot closer to who I am in real life. A lot of people think swearing makes you sound uneducated. They're probably right, but I find they add a lot of oomph to anything you're saying. That said, I think may have dropped a few too many expletives in the first two episodes. My mom sent me a text about it. So I'll probably dial those back a little this week.

Continue on CultureMap to find out where and when Gallant does his podcast.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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