Wednesday, July 21, 2010

THE STARTING LINEUP - Craig Shelton - 07-21-2010

Written by: Craig Shelton
Date Posted: 07-21-2010

To all my fellow sports talk radio heads out there, these are not the "days of old" or "back in the day" my friends. Where we find ourselves these days folks are in the days of what I like to call the "trip & flip" era of sports talk radio. That's the term I use that in my personal opinion, best describes what we sports talk radio heads do when listening to our favorite sports talk radio shows.

The key point is that I said "our favorite shows" as opposed to "our favorite stations". When a station starts to "trip", the listeners start to "flip". That simply implies that we listeners are "flipping" the dial from station to station a lot more these days.

Once upon a time in Houston's sports talk radio culture, there was a loyalty factor by most sports talk radio listeners that benefited CBS Radio and Sports Radio 610 (S/R 610). Most of us were tuned in exclusively to S/R 610 almost 100% of the time during the John & Lance years. As time went on and 610's talent base began to deteriorate with the loss of premium talent starting with Charlie Pallilo (Sports Talk 790) and later John Granato & Lance Zierlein (1560 The Game), the behavior of the listening base evolved. Over time, listeners began to show evidence of their discontent with personnel changes by showing up as callers all over the dial.


One of the measuring barometers that I've observed is that callers that I knew to be once loyal callers to S/R 610, suddenly began popping up as callers all over the dial. I began hearing the likes of Brad In Spring Branch, Red Raider Kevin, Lamont, Mike In DA, Ocho Texto, Titan Rick, and others all over the dial calling the other three stations.

I'll take the liberty of borrowing a hip hop artist name ("Point Blank") to make my next point: "point blank", today's local sports talk stations have no loyal listeners these days by comparison to past days. Nowadays, many hardcore listeners are loyal to particular shows, but not necessarily to a particular station exclusively.

When you combine the present culture and habits of listeners along with stations having less continuity among their talent base, I feel a listening template is in order. Therefore, I put together this listing of shows that you may want to tune in to weekly for your sports talk radio fix.



The Stephen A. Smith Show

(Sports Talk 790-Fox Radio)


The John & Lance Morning Show

(1560 The Game)


The Josh Innes Show

(Sports Radio 610)

11a- Noon

The Mighty Gwinn

(Sports Talk 790)

Noon -1p

The Blitz
(KFNC - 97.5 FM)

1p -2p

Matt Thomas

(Sports Talk 790)


Hoffman & Nuno

(1560 The Game)


Charlie Pallilo

(Sports Talk 790)


Ralph Cooper

(KCOH 1430)


Shaun Bijani & Barry Warner

(Sports Radio 610)


I recommend J.T. "The Brick" & Nuny overnights during weekdays on Sports Talk 790/Fox Radio

The show is late night high energy sports talk radio. J.T. "The Brick" is an arrogant jerk at times, but he keeps it interesting and the content is always strong.

I recommend THE OUTDOORS SHOW on Sports Radio 610 as a good listen on weekends. The S/R 610 Outdoors Show is hosted by Captain Mickey Eastman & Captain Bennie Hatton. The show airs Thur & Fri 4a-6a and Sat & Sun from 4a-7a.

Plainly stated: Captain Mickey Eastman is the most informative outdoors show host "by far" in the Houston market. Mickey and Captain Bennie have the premier knitch show in Houston's sports talk market in 2010.

ND Kalu & Kyle Kennedy  (S/R 610) are a cool pair to take in on the weekend. Kalu & Kennedy do a decent job as a green tandem that appears to be developing a workable chemistry. Kalu is the key as Kennedy is a glorified "news flash" guy turned regular on-air host. The problem is, Kennedy is to robotic and just doesn't give you anything special; generically-bland, but serviceable best describes Kennedy. Kennedy in many ways reminds me of a younger version of 610 drive time host Robert Henslee, but not nearly as polished. Kennedy comes off as likable on air, mainly because he is. Kennedy is the type of guy you never really want to write anything bad about, because Kyle is a very cool guy and was a pleasure to work with in the past. Just give us a little more "spunk" my man and it's all good!

Kalu is an ex-NFL player that doesn't have to "fall in line" in a subservient mold to make a living in radio. Kalu is still maybe a year or two, still too close to the NFL locker rooms. Once Kalu exonerates himself of any self-proclaimed loyalties to NFL locker room codes of silence, he will be what their show needs to light fires consistently on Sunday nights. Stay on it ND!


The 1560 The Game's "Southbound Food is a raucously funny, no-holds-barred radio show about food (and so much more) featuring Chef Bryan Caswell of Reef and Little Bigs, Jenny Wang from and Houston Chowhounds, and Lance Zierlein, Danny Vara and Frank Bullington from 1560 The Game. 

Southbound Food airs on 1560am Radio in Houston, Texas and is streamed on Saturdays at 11am.

Hey, all I can say about this weekend feature is; if Lance Zierlein is involved it's going to be worth the listen. Besides, if you have Danny Vara in the cast, you're going to need Lance, to keep you awake.

Southbound Food is a nice change of pace if you're looking for a different vibe to get you fired up for your weekend chef duties. Weekend warriors and chefs alike, can get some helpful tips and have some good laughs at the same time.


There's only one show on weekends, that in my opinion, needs to "GET LOST!"

The Tom Tynan Show which airs weekends on Sports Radio 610 has irritated sports fans long enough. This is a clear ca$h grab for CBS. I mean, imagine being the leading sports talk station in the market year after year. Now imagine having your listeners go elsewhere to get their sports fix weekend mornings, because you're programming a freaking home improvement show?! Ahhhhh....I get it...$$$$!!! That's kewl....


I'm certain many of you may ask, why does a sports talk format continue to program this brand of show? CA$H baby, ca$h!! They either make the mother ship ca$h, or they don't cost the mother ship ca$h to broadcast them. Ultimately, "not" making the mother ship ca$h will seal your fate in the long run regardless of who you are. That's the case rather or not you're costing the mother ship ca$h to air your broadcast or not. Sooner or later, programming will come along with ca$h potential and at some point, the "bottom line" theory will be applicable to your show as well.

Craig Shelton

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