Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: Heavy is the head that wears the media crown

Gow Media is on a bit of a roll. Gow Media

Sports media is tough business. It is a fun gig to have. Most of us get to do something we truly enjoy doing. Some of us get to do something we’ve long dreamed of doing. Very few of us get to do something with the level of success in which we’re pleased with. To maintain said success for an extended period of time is no easy task. It takes a special blend of chemistry, appealing to your audience, wit, smarts, and knowledge to keep an audience engaged. After all, we are in the information age and entertainment can be had at the click of an app on any number of devices.

Gow Media has enjoyed that type of prolonged success so far this year. The Blitz has been the No. 1 rated sports show in the city for five consecutive months. This website has had a record number of page views again last month and continues to grow. The new simulcast of The Bench, The Charlie Pallilo Show, and The Blitz on ESPN 97.5 and Sports Map 94.1 will only strengthen their stronghold over the sports radio market by extending their coverage to reach a larger audience. The Raheel and Del Show had to be sacrificed so Pallilo could be simulcast on 97.5, but they went out on top by claiming the No. 1 spot in their time slot last month. Did I mention Gow Media Publishing? Yes Virginia, they publish books and audio books as well.

So what’s the key to success? How has this group been able to maintain such a high level output of good material over such a long period of time? Truth is there are several different factors. One of them is chemistry. Every single one of these shows has crazy chemistry. With the exception of Pallilo, they are all two-man teams who have worked with one another for years and have years in the business.

Charlie is a different breed with his one-man band show. He tends to captivate his audience with his profound knowledge and the level of preparation which is clearly visible with how he can change topics depending upon what his audience participation dictates.

The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein are the long-standing torch bearers for Houston sports talk radio. They’ve been a duo on-air for close to 20 years. Despite a brief time at opposing stations, they have managed to pick back up where they left off as if they hadn’t missed a beat. There are a ton of people who attribute their involvement in the business to these two.

Raheel Ramzanali and Del Olaleye are the millennial duo that helps bring a change of pace to the lineup. Their brand of humor and entertainment may not be for some, but it’s a much-needed breath of fresh air. These guys appeal to the 18-34 male demographic more than most hosts in this city.

Joel Blank and Barry Laminack have quickly established the Usual Suspects as a consistent winner in the 1-4 time slot and a top three show in the city.

Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman are the reigning ratings kings. Their approach is more like two friends talking over everything under the sun. Fred even said it on a recent show that The Blitz is “more like a podcast because that’s what’s hot right now.” To back that up, you can check out AJ’s thoughts right here in the latest of Ken Hoffman’s 10 Questions series.

If you don’t believe me, Google the ratings yourselves. Ask Fred for the Sports Map numbers. This isn’t an in-house fluff piece. OK, to a certain extent, it might be. But it’s not bragging when it’s the truth. The AM stations, 610 and 790, both have made changes to their lineups in order to stay afloat and attempt to catch up to what Gow Media has been doing. Guys that I’ve known for quite a while and am friendly with lost jobs because of the shakeups. Those stations have the luxury of being home to the Rockets, Astros, and Texans. That, and the success of SportsMap, are what separates Gow Media from the rest of the pack. They have two successful sports radio stations, a sports website, and a culture/lifestyle website as well, all of which function in conjunction and simultaneously independent of one another while maintaining success. Here’s to the success of Gow Media. May we live long and prosper! And if you don’t like it…we've got two words for you...

 

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Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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