Written by: Craig Shelton
Date posted: 10/21/2011
Allow me to begin this story with a borrowed line from the piece of work that is ESPN College Game Day analyst Lee Corso, "not so fast, my friend!"
|Lance Zierlein & John Granato|
Just when we we're all ready to crown the new Sports Talk 790 morning drive show (The Big Show) kings of the airwaves, a veteran in the game, steps up to remind us that, he'll have a say in who's actually putting on the best brand of entertainment in Houston's morning drive sports talk format. I've listened to John Granato on 1560 The Game in morning drive post John & Lance (Zierlein) breakup, as he's partnered up with Sean Pendergast, Travis Rodgers, and my personal favorite, John Harris.
I have yet to tune in to John Granato and have the immediate negative sensation that I've experienced when listening to his former co-host Lance Zierlein, when I have listened to the Sports Talk 790 Big Show. That negative sensation I speak of is by no fault of Zierlein, but more so an incorrect equation, in the inexact science of radio chemistry. Zierlein, Adam Wexler, and Matt Jackson doesn't add up in my view as a long term winner for Sports Talk 790.
Though I'm a fan of Zierlein, I almost immediately recognized the holes in him being paired with Wexler and Jackson. To the contrary, when I listened to John Granato, his transition appears a lot smoother at 1560 The Game. Surprisingly enough, with Granato, there's no immediate negative sensation or "oh oh" factor. Maybe we should have all seen it coming? When you really think about it, there's no reason not to expect John Granato not to put on a quality product.
John Granato and Lance Zierlein definitely helped start the current wave of sports talk entertainment in Houston. We accept humor injected into our sports feed largely because of what we were fed by John Granato & Lance Zierlein. Therefore, the expectation of how we expect to be entertained by our local sports talk hosts in Houston, is a direct result of the almost decade-and-a-half of success of the John & Lance Morning Show.
Take into consideration John Granato's bold move in leaving CBS/Sports Radio 610 to launch KGOW 1560 The Game, and the type of self-confidence and vision it takes to make that decision, amid the success he was enjoying at CBS. When you compartmentalize that dichotomy, it lends a look into the fiber of Granato's competitiveness.
I don't see a scenario where 1560 The Game will surpass SportsRadio 610 or the secondary market leaders in listener ratings. I say that because of the 1560/Yahoo national format dominating their programming, not as an indictment of the assembled talent at 1560. Local talk simply rules the day in Houston sports talk, it always has and always will.
THE MONEY TRAIN
Sources have indicated to me that one issue that brought the original version of 1560 down was an absorbency in structure regarding payroll. Much of that fat has been trimmed via departures of key out front personnel and less visible personnel to the public. The argument could be made that if Granato was to move on for greener pastures, it could be a "win-win" for both Granato & 1560/Yahoo Radio.
If Granato was to leave 1560 for a better personal career choice financially, who could fault the guy for that? Not me. That would leave 1560 with a hole in the morning drive slot, but Sean Pendergast could be serviceable in that slot at lesser cost. With 1560's predominantly national format, they could remain sponsor-dollar friendly, with less overhead in staffing. In effect, 1560/Yahoo can lose the ratings war, but maintain a bottom line premise of success? (Just a thought.)
What I expect to see happen in regard to Granato long-term, is speculation to say the least. But I expect that in time, a 1560TheGame competitor will make a run at Granato and throw some significant ca$h his way in an attempt to greatly improve their stations cache of talent. Obviously, I'm not inside the Granato think-tank, but based on his career resume, it wouldn't shock me to see Granato on the move if the money train comes rolling down the tracks with his bank account as a destination. Perhaps if Sports Talk 790 intends to have a true "Big Show" they'll be the ones calling and a J&L "the remix" version could be in the cards?
Let's be honest folks. We all know John Granato & Lance Zierlein can survive independent of each other and have success.
But when it comes to enjoying true chemistry in sports talk radio in Houston, the harsh reality of the situation is, the majority of us all enjoyed them both much more when they were together.