Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I wrote an article a while back calling Nick Wright "THE NEW BLACK ACTIVIST: NICK WRIGHT".  In that article, I asked Nick Wright, if he could explain why there is only one minority in a full time position at SR610 and he replied with the following.

So I have been asked my thoughts on SportsRadio 610 not employing any black full-time talk show hosts, and I promised my full thoughts, and here they are later than promised, but still here they are.

                I believe this to be an industry wide issue. That is not meant as a cop-out, and that doesn’t absolve SportsRadio 610 of responsibility, but I think it is important to discuss the industry wide issue first.

                Here’s the thing, sports media, like essentially all forms of media these days, is driven by advertising dollars. And most advertisers, in my experience are going after suburban, white dollars. Advertisers also, again in my experience, are looking for “safe” hosts that won’t alienate their customer base. Unfortunately, and without merit I might add, many advertisers, and thereby many radio executives, don’t feel black sports radio hosts fit this bill unless you are in an overwhelmingly black market.

                Now, my personal opinion is that this is all bullshit. I think people are afraid to try new things, and since sports media has been dominated by old, white guys basically forever, it is just easier to keep this trend going. Hiring a young person is looked at as a “risky hire” (I can attest to this personally), and hiring a minority is often looked at as an EXTREMELY risky hire. Again, I don’t believe there to be any merit behind these beliefs, but they certainly exist.

Look no further than Bomani Jones’ lack of full time radio employment, despite the fact that he has an enormous following and is as talented as anyone in sports media today. If there were a white media member who had hosted a very successful national radio show, was a regular on ESPN, a brilliant economics major who went to college at 16 and has two PhD parents and has a tremendous social media following, he would be getting job offers left and right. Instead, as Bomani told me a few months ago—and this might have changed since then—in the months after his Satellite show ended (the station he was on changed ownership), he didn’t get a single offer to do full time radio. This simply does not happen if Bomani Jones is white. By the way, if you want to read Bomani’s much more eloquent thoughts on a similar issue go right here http://www.bomanijones.com/bwb4/

Now, as far as my radio station goes, SportsRadio 610, here’s my thoughts: I believe my boss, Gavin Spittle, has done a TREMENDOUS job in scouring the country for the best talent, especially young talent, in sports radio. Josh Innes, who is as talented as anyone in the business under the age of 30, was plucked from Baton Rouge. Mike Meltser, who will be a network talk show host at some point if he so chooses, was plucked from obscurity in Connecticut. And Gavin found me in Kansas City.

I am certain that Gavin is looking for the best talent anywhere, and I am also certain that Gavin does not share the reservations that many of his colleagues nationwide do about hiring minority talent. Thus, the question is, why doesn’t 610 have any full time black talk show hosts? I would harken back to my previous paragraphs as at least partial reasoning. Gavin is looking for the best hosts to come to a major market and make an immediate impact. These hosts need experience before they get to Houston, and there are not nearly as many young black hosts getting the opportunities in smaller markets—like myself, Innes and Meltser did—and therefore there are not nearly as many young black hosts that have the reps and training requisite to get a job doing full time major market radio.

This is all very problematic on a meta level. The sports fan is done a disservice when the sports media is not as diverse as the teams that they are covering. Having a bunch of upper middle class white guys talking about potential off the field issues that a bunch of black guys—usually from very depressed environments in their youth—deal with is not going to be as informed of a discussion as it can be. Is there a solution? Sure. Stop catering sports talk, and sports media in general, to simply the “white sports fan” as I believe it currently is, and start catering it to “sports fans” in general. The advertisers will be there if the audience is, and if you do it right the audience will be there.

I could not be happier or prouder to be working for SportsRadio 610, and I do believe that 610 has a commitment to diversity that dwarfs much of its competition, locally and nationally. I also believe that this is an industry wide issue, and it would delight me if my radio station took even further steps to bucking this trend and setting a new industry standard.

Apologies for the rambling nature of these remarks. Again, you can read more informed opinions of this issue all over the internet—I linked to one earlier. But, I was asked for mine, and there they are.

I like to thank Nick for his opinion on this particular issue.  In the future I will have a rebuttal but for now, felt it would be pretty cool to see Nick's views on an issue some want to ignore.  Full disclosure, Nick wrote this in July but I am pretty  sure his views are the same and again thanks for the ink.


Nick Wright
Station: Sports Radio 610 (6a-10a)
Twitter Handle: getnickwright


Tony B said...

Nick brought it, but it still do not explain why there are very few minorities in a full time capacity at his station. I like the post.

Angelo Lawford said...

I think that when it comes to sports stories and serious stories when reported by media of any kind, the media is there to give the people what they want more than what the people need if that makes sense.

There is usually a story or two within the story that is initially reported, that is not brought to the surface more often than not. For whatever the reasons, the public doesn't like a story that digs deep and discuss the stories within a story because what might be unearthed, has the potential to challenge the core of who we are and the things that we believe and the reasons that we believe them.

That is what diversity brings about the most in everything where diversity is allowed to exist. There is the potential for too much information and too much thought. Information and thought that much of the media consuming public doesn't want or think that they need.

People don't want to be responsible for what is found when you dig deep. People are more comfortable with surface level information about the real issues. Unless you are talking about fantasy football or a point spread. Then they want to dig way down deep.

I think it is a lesson about priority of the consumer of sports media and media over all as well as it is about everything else that Mr. Wright stated and that has been stated on this site before.

When you look at who media caters to and why they feel obligated to cater to them as such, there is a reason. The way the media conducts their business is what the media consuming public wants. It isn't wrong to challenge the media in how they conduct themselves within the business of media. But the consumer can't be excluded from the equation of culpability. In my best Gary Kubiak, some of it is on me, some of it is on you, and a lot of it, is on US.

As a consuming public, we need to look ourselves in the mirror and ask if the way it is now, is really the way it ought to be. Maybe we need to consume differently is simply all I am trying to say.

Anonymous said...

This is bullcrap. The best people should be hired, period. I don't care if they are red, blue, black, white, or green. I don't believe in putting somebody in a spot who is underqualified just for diversity. Andre Ware was a great host, but left for ESPN. I wish they kept him. People should be hired based on their qualifications.

HMW said...

To Anonymous,

Andre Ware's contract was not going to be renewed with CBS due to poor ratings and his below average growth on air as a host. Ware is a good guy, great football color analyst, but was not a good fit in talk radio. Those are the facts. Secondly, I didn't see anything in Nick's piece suggesting he felt some type of "affirmative action" was a solution, as you're clearly suggesting. I find your reaction more to the evidence of being the problem, than the solution. You may disagree, but if you're capable of removing the emotion from your view, and solely looking objectively at all the associated angles, you then would become a part of the solution.

Thx for the read and comment.

Craig Shelton

Earlis said...

Much respect for Nick's comments and I must admit he is growing on me as a local host...of if you don't have good ice cream in the store you can make your own damn ice cream hence give a young black man a shot part time And all Gavin's has to do is ask somebody but hiring a fulltime black or female jock is not a priority and this needs to become priority..

Earlis said...

Nick is on point just like the church radio is lily white
And that is the way they want it to be it is so stupid and so racist..blacks have money Nielson has a study out about trillion dollar buying of black America..

Anonymous said...

great article on a sensitive topic.....well my point of view is that black journalist plainly just have to continue to work harder than there counter parts in the sports journalism world and anything in life but in reference to this article the truth is everything is marketed to white males from the 25 to 54 age bracket with that being said that group probably doesnt want to listen to a black man talk sport due to that group feeling that blacks in general are inferior. remember this is the south and there is still lots of hatred and ignorance out there. i dont even think the local radio host in this market want to work with black co-host well im willing to bet they dont. i have heard some shocking stories. now everyone isnt like this but there is a large amount of white america that isnt cool with listening to a black talk sports in this town just read some of the comments left on a Jerome Solomon article. now no one will ever admit to their bias or being a racist but the truth is the truth. anytime a black person makes the news every comment i read is about Sheila Jackson Lee or Obama....the same people leaving all these hateful comments are the same people that listen to sports talk radio in Houston. some of the comments about Nick are also cold....."he thinks he is black" dumb stuff like that...Houston is still a racist city to me and the marketing dollars are spent catering to that demographic its way different on the east and west coast but here in the south blacks are viewed as second class citizens and if a black guy is on the radio in the prime time slots like the morning slot or the drive think the white male from the ages of 25-54 will tune in thats just me though.

closing...i know everyone isnt hateful or ignorant but there is that element out there and thats all!


G-MAN said...

Race hustlers are so funny. what about Hispanics? There are a lot more Hispanics in Houston than blacks.

HMW said...

To G-Man,

First let me say, thank you for your comment.

I'll begin by saying I agree with you in regard to the magnitude in numbers of the hispanic community.

The problem with your view G-Man is actually outlined in your initial statement.

Yes G-Man, yes, YOU ARE CORRECT SIR!! Houston's hispanic community is larger in numbers than that of the African American community.
Hispanics also have a strong sense of pride, as well as a strong conglomerate or hispanic community leadership. Therefore, if more opportunities in "sports talk radio broadcasting" were important to the hispanic community at large, they are well equipped to address it.

In fact, I'm certain the hispanic community has the wherewithal to address any issue "they" deem critical as well or better than you or I ever could on their behalf. I'm willing to participate in support of any community, (blk, wht, hisp, ect) who solicits my (HMW) involvement any relevant or critical issue that will better Houston as a whole.

Its simple G-Man, the hispanic community does not need you, me, HMW, Nick Wright, or anyone else to champion a cause on their behalf.
So now the question is, unless you yourself are a member of the hispanic community, and has been ask to speak on their behalf, what's your real angle here sir?

Thx again for the read and your comment G-Man.

Craig Shelton

cxd said...


You're asking people to do something that most of them can't do.....

Leave the "emotion" out of it. That's why you're getting these wild comments....

cxd said...

Nick does have one flaw that URKS me....

He's a little hyper, then talks over people (but he knows that people will always complain).

Hide that damn coffee and energy drinks at ALL 610 sports shows. It is a MUST......