Thursday, July 24, 2014

LESSONS FROM BRAZIL - ANGELO LAWFORD - 7/24/2014



LESSONS FROM BRAZIL
Written by: Angelo Lawford
Date posted: 7/24/2014
I think it's safe to say that we learned a lot from this past World Cup. It's incredible how time flies by. I can't believe that it's over now. It was an incredible ride though. One that I doubt I will ever forget and whose end is hard to come to grips with. 
But for all truly great things, when they come to an end, there is a legacy left behind. And that is what I hold on to. Not just the YouTube.com homages of the goals and glory that are now left behind, but the understanding that soccer, maybe more than any other sport, is truly an expression of her people, wherever she is played and by whomever she's played. 
So what did we learn? The world has caught up to Brazil. I am not certain if within my lifetime, Brazil will be the out-and-out favorite to win a World Cup again. I think the expectation going into this World Cup was generous on behalf of Brazil. I think the fact that Brazil was the host nation, skewed the opinions of pundits and fans alike. 
Brazil has a roster with individual talent, but they had no cohesion as a team and there were many signs heading into the tournament that this particular generation of Brazilian players was most likely in over-their-heads. And that's okay honestly. The expectation for them was unfair and it is no wonder, that by the end of the tournament, the pressure crushed them. The pressure was surely superior to the talent.
With that said, I do believe that they accomplished more than the assembled roster dictated going into the tournament. And for that, they should always keep their heads held high.
As for the champions, Germany proved not just to the world, but to themselves, that patience is a virtue. Germany hasn't missed a semi-final of a major tournament since 2006. What's overlooked by many from 2006 to now, is that despite always fielding a more than competitive side, in the heart of this eight- to-ten year cycle of players, is the reality that there was a complete rebuild of their structure as a football federation in conjunction with their stylistic approach on the field. To be able to maintain that kind of continuity and sustained belief in a system that by strategy, was continually evolving, is quite remarkable, and it is only fitting that they endured to be champions.
On a side note, a core piece to the German puzzle is one Jurgen Klinsmann, who is currently the USMNT (United States Men's National Team) head coach, and was the overseer of the German youth movement, which began when he became the German National Team coach in 2004. It's his ideas that saw a shift in how the German National Team played and developed players from a grass-roots level. 
The coach of the World Cup winning German side, Joachim Low, was Klinsmann's top assistant and was awarded the job of becoming Germany's head coach, once Klinsmann resigned, in order to seize on an opportunity to coach soccer club giant, Bayern Munich, which occurred shortly after Germany's semi-final performance in the 2004 World Cup, which was hosted by Germany that saw the Germans lose to eventual World Cup champions, Italy, in the semi-finals.
That's the expectation for the USMNT now that Klinsmann is in charge. I think you saw that strategy take place this past World Cup cycle for the USMNT. There was an injection of youth and new ideas. So in the scheme of things, a round-of-sixteen exit for the USMNT, was a pretty fair outcome, if not an out-and-out overachievement, especially considering finding themselves in the dreaded "Group of Death," in the group stage.
In regards to the USMNT, you saw the beginning of a new era whose goal wasn't necessarily to win this past World Cup, more than it was as a preparation for World Cups to come.
If Klinsmann can replicate for the USMNT and for soccer in this country, what he did for soccer in Germany, the USMNT can take the game in America, where it has never gone before.
Another valuable lesson that we learned as a nation, is that the 2014 United States of America, can absolutely consider itself a soccer country. She might not look like a duck, talk like a duck, or walk like a duck all the time, but rest assured, she is a duck.
The social media and television phenomenon that was the World Cup in this country, spoke volumes as to how much soccer, has woven itself into the fabric of not just the domestic sports landscape, but our general landscape over all, at least for soccer's biggest moments. It was actually an amazing thing to see.
This actually leads me to what was maybe the most important lesson learned. And that is simply, as a nation, we are still in need of a strategy that can take the goodwill earned by an event the magnitude of a World Cup, and accelerate the sports' progression further into the bloodstream of mainstream society, so that we don't have to wait for proof that we are a soccer country, in four-year cycles or intervals. 
Though it has been proven that the United States has sneakily morphed into a soccer accepting country, there is still a ways to go, before it truly becomes a part of the vernacular. Though soccer adds to her army high profile soccer event by high profile soccer event, the sport still hasn't generated a consistent enough dialog, especially within the confines of the sports media complex.
So even though just one week removed from what many consider to be the best World Cup finals tournament ever, especially in regards to the group- stage chapter of the tournament, there is a silence post-World Cup stateside, that makes me question if the event even happened. Was it all a dream? If it was just a dream, it was a good one.
I hope whomever the powers that be that can maybe incite change and has an ability to create a tangible mechanism that can further advance the scope of the game on behalf of a public that seemingly desires the game, learned what I did. Though I hate to think it has to be the case, because four years is a fairly long time, the real hope for me is that there will come a strategy that builds upon the goodwill that is sure to come, come World Cup 2018.
There is no better time to strike, than while the iron is hot.
Angelo Lawford
HMW

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

IN THE TRENCHES BETTER THAN MAD RADIO BY LM

GREG KOCH & ND KALU

MIKE MELTSER & SETH PAYNE



IN THE TRENCHES BETTER THAN MAD RADIO
Written By: LM
7.22.2014

Currently, I've been actively listening to Sports Talk 790 In The Trenches and Sports Radio 610 Mad Radio.  Currently I'm digging both shows.

MAD Radio, I get intellectual well though out takes.  Guilty, Mike Meltser has grown on me.  There was a time, I thought he was too robotic but once you get pass that, Mike will give you the debate you want. Seth Payne uses his intellect as humor. 

In The Trenches is one of the most local interactive shows.  I will not front, there was I time I thought the volume of callers was a direct reflection of not preparing a show but then I thought, Talk Radio is about the fans too.  Greg Koch and ND Kalu gets it, they realize Sports Talk includes the fans and they go out of their way to be inclusive.  Just today, I heard Lance leave an annoying caller on hold for almost two hours.  Lance was clearly making an example out of him. The annoying caller bled over to In The Trenches and they allowed him to speak.

That's what talk radio is, good, bad boring calls/takes should all be heard.  I am guilty of saying ban certain callers with dumb ass takes but at the end of the day, its more fun to crack jokes on their takes.

Rather you like it  or not, In The Trenches promote their fans.  They are not reading anonymous texts and they actually take phone calls and dialogue.  In the Trenches also allow topics to marinate before moving on.  They actually can see a topic with traction and they stick with it. 

MAD Radio change topics every damn segment.  Good luck if you are a caller to MAD Radio.  If you are lucky enough for them to hug a topic for two segments, you may get in on a topic but do not expect dialogue.  If you call, they will allow you to make your take then get you off the vine and respond to your take when you are off the phone.  Seth and Mike seem more comfy amongst themselves like most of Houston Sports Talk Shows these days.

In The Trenches are more intimate with their audience than MAD Radio.  Both shows are solid but In The Trenches is "down home" "down to earth" and loose with their audience.

All in all, In The Trenches value their audience's input.

 LM


Saturday, July 19, 2014

SPORTS RADIO 610 TRY TO RECREATE JOSH INNES BY LM



PAUL GALLANT AND BRIEN STRAW


SPORTS RADIO 610 TRY TO RECREATE JOSH INNES
Written By: LM
7.19.2014

Sports Radio 610s Program Director Ryan McCreeden created a challenge amongst the shows.  For five consecutive days, each show had to compete in a challenge.  At the end of the week, which ever show won would be compensated with a day off.

Some of the challenges were typical College Frat Boy pranks but others were gay.

Wednesday, while the 610 Host challenge was in full swing, Brien Straw and Paul Gallant of the Night Show talked about two hosts from Boston that berated Erin Andrews.  In the audio below, you will hear Brien Straw say the Boston show is reaching and pulling stunts.



Check this out on Chirbit


Brien was correct however I couldn't believe he said it in a week:

Sean Pendergast is getting his back waxed.  Nick Wright sucking Dorito Dust off of John Lopez's finger.  Ted Johnson and Sean Pendergast sharing a pretzel, mouth to mouth with practice wrapped around their face.  Paul Gallant and Brien Straw licking something off one or the other's neck.

None of the challenges actually appeared as disgusting as verbally described on the radio but they were going for "shock" value. 

What Program Director in a genre dominated by men, actually thinks this is a good idea, Ryan McCreeden, that's who.  Since McCreeden has been Program Director, some of the hosts have made jokes about him being gay or having a dark-side and even this week, some of the hosts were questioning his games.

Easy, is to say Sports Radio 610 is gay but it's much more.  They are mocking "gay" and will be the main ones that crush others who say one word.

It's clear that Sports Radio 610 is also trying to recreate the environment Josh Innes created at 610.  I thought I was the only one that noticed, but Mannifresh picked up on it as well as he mentioned it on his show.  The problem they are up against, Josh Innes was predictably unpredictable and all of these goof ball antics are not.

As far as the hosts, what can I say?  If your boss wants you to perform weirdo acts, its not like you can actually say ummm, NO I will not do that.  I'm curious, what if Ryan McCreeden asked the hosts to dress up as Black Face would they?  Of course they wouldn't because they know it's not cool but they have no problem at all joking about gay.

 I am glad no other stations in town are scraping the bottom of the barrel for show content. "It's a slow time in sports" is not an excuse.  Since Gavin Spittle's departure, Sports Radio 610 has dropped off big time in terms of entertainment.  Sports Radio really needs the Texans to return in a hurry or these Ryan McCreeden may just have them performing sex acts on air because Sports Radio is WILD AND WACKY.

Brien Straw, did Sports Radio 610 "reach" or "stunt" this week or is it routine workplace behavior?

 LM

Thursday, July 17, 2014

SPORTS RADIO 610 MISPLAYED TRAVIS JOHNSON Craig Shelton 7.17.2014



TRAVIS JOHNSON




SPORTS RADIO 610 MISPLAYED TRAVIS JOHNSON

Craig Shelton

7.17.2014
It would stand to reason with the ratings success of former NFL players, ND Kalu & Greg Koch, on their show "IN THE TRENCHES" on Sports 790, the think tank at CBS Radio/Sports Radio 610 (610) would have learned a competitive lesson.

Kalu and Koch bolted for greener pastures at Sports Talk 790 (on the west end of the AM dial) after they became discontented with the lack of opportunity at 610 to expand their careers beyond spot appearances as guest hosts and weekend broadcast hosts. Under former 610 program director, Gavin Spittle, Kalu & Koch were not viewed as viable options (as a tandem) to host a prime time show together. Spittle believed in a "point guard - two guard" system with his talent casting system. Spittle viewed both Kalu & Koch as two-guards who'd be better fits cast alongside a "setup man" the likes of a Mark Vandermeer or to a far lesser degree, a guy like former CBS Mad Radio host, Brad Davies.

Gavin Spittle's scouting report on Kalu & Koch was accurate in theory, but it failed to account for the X Factor in entertainment likeability.

ND Kalu & Greg Koch aren't enjoying the success that they're enjoying because they're awesome radio professionals. Kalu & Koch are Houston's highest-rated sports talk show because they're former NFL players who happen to be really likeable guys that cater to their listener base.

You can't account for those attributes in annotated charts or graphics. They don't teach likeability at Syracuse University's School of Broadcast Journalism.

Purely for purposes of full disclosure, admittedly, I'm not a guy with the tough guy-street cred cache, that some noted local sports talk hosts enjoy. If I did enjoy such respect in the dark and ominous community of the gambling underworld, as Tony Soprano-like figures in the Houston's sports talk sphere command, guys like Sean Pendergast, Nick Wright, and noted Mafia hit man, the notorious Matt Jackson, I'd bet my money on former Texans first-round draft pick, Travis Johnson.

Johnson's tenure at 610 mirrored that of ND Kalu, Greg Koch, Ted Johnson, and Matt Murphy, all ex-NFL players. Of all the former ex-NFL players to get a start at radio via Sports Radio 610, only former Texans, Seth Payne and Travis Johnson, were obvious no-brainers for future success at an accelerated rate.

From the first moment Travis Johnson took the mike in evening drive as a guest, his every word was "must listen radio."

Over Travis Johnson's first couple of months making guest appearances on 610, Johnson was heard on average approximately 20 hours a week. That frequency on air coupled with Johnson's polarizing personality, made it easy for Johnson to quickly become "appointment radio".

SO WHERE IS TRAVIS JOHNSON?

According to information we've obtained at HMW, Travis Johnson was ultimately cast in the same box as Kalu & Koch, in that he's viewed as a power hitter more so than as a Jose Altuve-type table setter. The same for former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson. That assessment from 610's program director would preclude any optimism related to there being a possibility of a "Johnson & Johnson" show to challenge the Kalu & Koch beast on SportsTalk 790.

It's safe to say that was a bone-headed miscalculation by the Sports Radio 610 think tank not to take a run at Sports Talk 790's NFL player pairing with a pairing of their own ebony & ivory NFL duo in Travis Johnson & Ted Johnson. Instead, the decision to pair Ted Johnson with Sean Pendergast and Rich Lord was made, which made about as sense as the decision to hire Matt Murphy made. There's just no measurable upside to either decision.

THE MONEY

Sources tell HMW that the 610 pay scale calls for time-and-a half rates to be paid to part-time talent like Travis Johnson. Going under the assumption that this information is accurate and the associated numbers we received are correct relating to Johnson, had Travis Johnson maintained his time-and-a-half rate, he reportedly received during the period he averaged 20 hours a week on air, his annual rate would have been in the six-figure range, had he received the same rate of pay over a 5-day work week. Hosts are paid for 6 hours who host 4 hour shows, to compensate for show-prep time. That may explain the massive drop off in hours we eventually began hearing Johnson on air after his first two months with CBS.

 

When it was all said and done, all Sports Radio 610 offered Travis Johnson, according to our information, was a once-a-week show on Sundays for three hours. This did not sit well with Johnson according to our information.

Reports say Johnson was told he'd be cast in a larger role.

Interesting enough, Sports Radio 610  found a role of advancement for Ted Johnson as the third wheel in evening drive on "THE TRIPLE THREAT,"  but according to our information,  never bothered to speak to Travis Johnson about the opportunity to fill the position when Ted Johnson moved to evening drive opened up.

Only time will tell if Sports Radio 610's alleged snubbing of Travis Johnson is a mighty George Springer-like swing connecting on a fastball over the plate,  or another untimely Chris Carter missed swing at a breaking ball in the dirt?

I'm betting on the latter (keep your eye on Travis Johnson and Sports Talk 790).





Monday, July 14, 2014

HOUSTON SPORTS MEDIA AVOIDS DWIGHT HOWARD #FREEPALESTINE BY LM


HOUSTON SPORTS MEDIA AVOIDS DWIGHT HOWARD #FREEPALESTINE
Written By: LM
7.14.2014

It's amazing we can have knock down drag out fights about
  • Washington Redskins Logo
  • Donald Sterling's Recorded Comment
  • Wiley Cooper's rant
  • Tiger Wood's Boot Calls
 All  of which are non local stories.  The following stories commanded Sports Talk Radio for whole shows but low and behold when there is a local story involving a local sports star, the media pick and choose their fights.


Over the weekend, Houston Rockets Super Star Center Dwight Howard tried to help a cause by tweeting #FreePalestine.   A fan asked Dwight Howard to bring awareness to what's happening in Israel.  Dwight Howard tried to help by tweeting a hashtag and erasing,

By erasing the tweet, Dwight managed to unite Jews and Arabs in hating him.  Below is the Dwight Howard's series of tweets.


I understand that the Houston Rockets were involved in a High pressure Free agency and naturally that would be the lead story however TMZ, Deadspin and Black Sports Online covered the story but not Houston Sports Media collectively.  Of all the local sports radio I listened to, Sports Radio 610 Triple Threat (Sean Pendergast and Ted Johnsons) was the only show I heard hit the story late in the 5 O clock hour (5:45 PM).

Houston has a nice size Middle Eastern and Jewish population and I know for a fact there was some reaction (searched out Dwight's name on twitter) so the local media cannot say it was not a story.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey appeared on Sports Talk 790 and Sports Radio 610 and not one question about Dwight Howard's comments.  I guess I have to keep in mind that Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander is Jewish.

Is this a case of Rockets Free Agency being larger than a childish Dwight Howard comment or local sports media trying to bury a story? 

Media Credentials come at a premium.  I've heard whispers of Houston Rockets being more sensitive than the Houston Texans and I've questioned that but after thinking how Houston was all over Arian Foster's lovechild case and damn near nothing with Dwight Howard's #FreePalestine comment, I wonder.

WRAP IT UP

Dwight Howard was trying to help without knowing the magnitude of choosing sides in a war that's beyond most American's comprehension.  I even tweeted Dwight Howard that I thought it was silly.

However, it still amazes me what the media deem as "news" and not news.  I've said for the longest, the media makes news they don't report news.  In this case, we are dealing with a case of media not versed in what's happening in Israel and therefore they do not want to open themselves up to that discussions.

Mooney-shot was a caller to Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman's show (The Blitz) in the 5 O Clock Hour.  The caller had a well thought out take about the Rocket's Free Agency and Daryl Morey.  At the end of his ca'l, he ended up by saying he liked Howard's Twitter Comment.  Thought it was quite telling that Fred Faour of partial Middle Eastern decent didn't address the comment.  Neither did, they addressed his sports points.

The purpose of this blog is not about what side are you on Jews are Arabs but the media's convenient approach to stories.  The truth is, no one in the media wants to talk about Arabs or Jews.   #SmartMove

OUT
LM