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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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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