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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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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