Thursday, January 13, 2011


Written by: Craig Shelton
Date posted: 1/13/2011

Growing up as a kid, my mother always gave my brother and I some great lessons in life to think about and carry with us in our lives. One comment she shared that always stayed close to my heart was when she said to me "in life situations where it appears everyone else is wrong and you are right, perhaps it's time to take a look at yourself?" Personally, I've been able to apply that helpful life tip throughout my adult life in the professional arenas, as well as in my personal life.


I listened to a local sports talk host in Houston who begins his show as he often does by going off on a rant about himself. Names are not important for this article, because the basis of my comments can be applied in general to what I hear from time-to-time from some hosts, and way too often from a separate immature minority of hosts.

I listened to this host complain to his listeners that he gets so much negative feedback from the listeners and that its bothersome to him that more listeners don't e-mail his program director with positive comments. Said host then went on to conduct a makeshift telethon on air complete with weirdo background bump music to solicit listeners to call in to his show to praise him on air.

Clearly this was an attempt at providing some comic relief, but the common sense angle here was that there was no need for comic relief. There was no need because there had not been any serious "sports" related content delivered by said host to give listeners an actual need for "comic relief".

Houston sports fans are in a collective free-fall after watching another season of Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak five years into his job, continue to exhibit his ineptness as an NFL head coach. Therefore, the Texans found themselves below .500, again leaving Texans fans out on the ledge.

In addition to another sub-par Texans' season with no playoffs, the Rockets have again lost Yao Ming for the season, leaving the team sitting at or near the bottom of their division in the Western Conference for most of the season to date.

If you take those two not so minor points into account, it's pretty elementary to determine the mood or mindset of the general sports talk listener base, right? Most folks these days are likely tuning into their favorite show/station to get the latest on the teams and more importantly RANT!

Then there's the national hot topics like this year's Heisman Trophy winner and NCAA national champion, Auburn University QB Cam Newton. The national champion was a hot point of contentious debate coast-to-coast this week that provided a safe zone for sports talk hosts nationwide to not overthink their lead story angle. Folks, you just can't go wrong leading with a story with the  level of national interest as Newton's story; Andrew Luck opting to stay in school at Stanford; recent coaching changes in the NFL & NCAA, etc.

The question becomes after taking into consideration my aforementioned comments, how could any credible sports talk host screw this up in determining an effective lead-in to a Houston sports talk show? ARROGANCE! It's ridiculous to think that a host could be so vain and consumed with the entertaining of himself that he leads a show on a major market radio station with a rant of tomfoolery, as if he's providing the listeners with what they covet? That's just asinine and a common theme of ignorance from this host and his station.


We find ourselves at this impasse because some host gets so locked into the delivery of his personal wish list of show bits that he loses track of why we're here. Sports talk is why we tune into "sports talk" stations, duh? Don't overthink and more importantly don't devalue that obvious fact.

If you as a host honestly believe that guys and gals are tuning into a sports talk station for attempts at stand-up comedy, you're a damned fool!

Who or what's funny is completely subjective, so I won't go there as far as my personal thought on who's funny or not with their bits. No, I won't do that, but I will recommend this. Take a look at those that are respected in this business and how they conduct a sports talk show. The common theme with the most successful and respected host in Houston is the timeliness of their use of content.

What you will find is that Charlie Pallilo of Sports Talk 790 talks sports and all other attributes to his show fit in around the sports talk. "John and Lance" of 1560 The Game may be the best example to follow. John and Lance commonly have funny bits on their morning show, but they're masterful at remaining sports relative and topical.

John Granato doesn't lead his show on a personal rant about his personal life or personal career hurdles. Mike & Mike on ESPN 97. 5 The Ticket have yet to my knowledge break off the "I slept on an air mattress with a male blow up doll last night" card to lead their nationally-syndicated sports talk show?

"Arrogance is ignorance" and if as a host your arrogance won't allow you to think things out professionally, maybe you should be listening closer to those e-mails and text messages from your listening base? Your listeners may not be as smart as you Mr. Genius Sports Talk Radio Guy, but somehow they've figured out that it's okay to expect to hear "sports talk" on a "sports talk" station.

Your listeners are e-mailing and complaining because they are unhappy with the product you are delivering. So are the listeners a bunch of idiots? Is this a case Mr. Genius Sports Talk Host of "where there's smoke there's fire"?

Craig Shelton
Facebook Search: Hmw Shelton

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1 comment:

badweatherman said...

Great post as always, and an resounding "Amen" from those of us in the peanut gallery. I can't really get where being a sports personality in this market is all that hard of a job. Anecdotal digressions are one thing, but most of us don't really care about what's chapping whoever's ass today. I would listen to political talk if that was what I wanted to hear. Basically (and I absolutely hate to paraphrase Rome), but I want sports personalities that have a take and don't suck. This city is awash in great topics that are all locally relevant. If that isn't enough, then the national scene is just as full. An opening diatribe detailing the latest person, place, or thing that pissed in Mr. Radioman's Wheaties is the last thing that I want to hear. Each of our own respective worlds are full of doing this mundane job, or dealing with this or that stupid thing that we have to do or whatever else drags us down in the course of keeping the lights on at home. I want to hear sport talk when I dial that station in.