CLEARING THE AIR
Written by: LM, Lance Zierlein, Nick Wright
Initially, I had planned on writing a little more commentary but Lance Zierlein and Nick Wright delivered in a huge way.
After Friday's dust up, I contacted both guys to get a statement and they replied. I believe Nick and Lance's fans will get more clarity to what's going on in the market and how things materialized. If you are unclear how all of this came about, you can read Part One with Audio Included. PART ONE
I got up to host a Texans Google Hangout with Drew Dougherty and Nick Scurfield live from the combine and when I turned on my TweetDeck, I had messages about Nick going after me regarding my Top Prospects post (either in Houston Chronicle or on TheSidelineView.com). I didn't get to hear any of it because I was busy, but quite frankly, I don't care what was said.
He can stick to his "ratings" schtick if he wants to and that is fine, but he should leave my football stuff alone. I've learned to evaluate from coaches scouts and even a general manager (Jerry Angelo) over the years and I put in quite a bit of work each year on my draft study going to the Shrine Game practices, Senior Bowl practices and usually the combine. I will have as valid if not more valid evaluation of draft prospects than most of the draft guests he'll have on his show.
I've moved on from being "radio host" like he is. That's his entire world. He lives for the ratings each month and that's fine. I've never been into the ratings even over the 13 years I've been #1 including at three different stations. I care about revenue coming in from the show (because then I get paid) and if people really like the show and vibe to it when I catch up with the listeners. That's what matters most.
I love to compete against those guys and I want to win, but my world revolves around more than just radio now and it has for about five years now. Football writing and evaluation is just as big a part of what I do now as radio and I expect to be working full-time in the football arena at some point in the future. Going after me personally about my football acumen seems kind of silly to me based on his background.
He is fake wrestling guy who likes to create "radio beef" because he thinks it is good radio. Cool. That's too TMZ for my tastes. Acting cool with me at the Super Bowl and then trying to blast me three weeks later just feels too contrived. I don't hate the guy or his talent. I just think he's a one way talent who does radio and that's it. I used to used to ball like that, now we own the ball team, holla back, now I got black cards, good credit and such Baby boy cause I'm all grown up.
(shout-out to Hova
Here you go, Lamont:
"Here's how it all went down: I follow @smartfootball on Twitter. Last week he RTed something Lance had written, which said, " After finally finishing tape study, my Top 50 draft prospects for 2012..." I found this to be particularly hilarious, because I can't imagine having the time, resources or energy to find enough tape on enough college football players to feel like I could claim to have "finished tape study" and release a top FIFTY players for the upcoming draft. I mean, Eric Fisher, a tackle from Central Michigan, was rated the #3 player according to Lance. And maybe I'm wrong, but does anyone really think Lance acquired Central Michigan's All-22 film from UCM's October 20th game vs Ball St. and is "studying the tape." Or what about players 45, 46 and 47, three guys from La Tech, Marshall and Florida International, respectively? Is this "tape" really being broken down? Maybe it is. Either way, to me, it was a hilarious concept. Either a guy who really is spending his time finding enough actual tape to truly and fairly evaluate the entire draft pool to rank a top 50, or a guy who wanted people to think he had. Whatever it was, to me, it was a funny couple minutes of radio.
Before the next segment had even began, Lance was tweeting to me, as you chronicled. He was either listening (thanks!) or had someone alert him of the slight IMMEDIATELY, because his response was swift and I got tweets from him about it before I got tweets from anyone else. And that's cool. I took a shot, so he took some shots back. That's all good. I've talked with Lance face-to-face, and when I saw him at the Super Bowl the first thing I said to him was that I was glad that he "got it." Meaning, that he understood that it's never personal, it's always in good fun, and, if I may invoke the great Omar Little, it's all in the game.
But then, things took an unexpected turn. All of a sudden, the discussion on Twitter was as if I had questioned whether or not Lance knows football. I hadn't. Yes, I had insinuated his film study might not be getting him any NFL GM jobs anytime soon, but I never doubted the man's knowledge of the game. Despite that, however, Lance was challenging me to... well, what the hell was he challenging me to? He wanted us to watch a game together and video tape the experience? Sounds incredibly exciting. And for what purpose? To prove to a minute audience that Lance can better diagnose how to pick up a zone blitz than me? I declined because that's a battle I have no interest in fighting, or winning, for that matter. Maybe to some radio is about proving how smart you are or how much you know, but that isn't what it's about to me. To me radio is about providing a product that people enjoy. And winning. Yes, radio, to me, is definitely about winning vs. the competition in the market.
Finally, and not unexpectedly, the conversation turned to ratings and the same old stuff about the Texans being to thank for the ratings and this myth that 610's current success is thanks to the great Lance, and that's what inspired my 5 or so minutes that you sampled on HMW, so allow me to explain those thoughts a little bit here.
Yes, I understand that 610 is currently at a competitive advantage because we have the Texans. Yes, I understand 610 is the "heritage" sports station in town, and has traditionally--almost irrelevant of the hosts--held down the #1 spot among the sports stations. However, that misses the point entirely, because, quite simply, all #1s are not created equal. Yes, Lance was once #1, but that was when you could be in 17th place overall, and be #1 among the sports stations. Since I've been with John, we've finished in the Top 4 for six straight months, and the past 4 months we have had the highest rated individual show in recorded Houston sports radio history, each month being more highly rated than the previous. This is something we take pride and I did some chest thumping. Similarly, when Josh took over the afternoons, yes the show was "#1" but it was averaging less than a 2 share for 9 straight months. The afternoon show has average better than a 4 share for the most recent 9 months of ratings. Both shows were #1, but those are very different #1s.
Should I have gone on my mini-rant? I don't know. Prior to Friday's show, David Barron had written as many posts about ratings (1) as he had about "The Mighty Gwinn" in the past six months, and HMW, I believe, has done one ratings post since John and I went on our tear four months ago. And unless I'm mistaken, there is no other publication/website that posts Houston radio ratings. I'm very proud of what we've done--and yes I acknowledge all the factors involved--and I wanted to let people know about it and Friday felt like a good time.
Finally, why did I go at the way Lance does radio? I'm not quite sure other than the fact that there seems to be some smug sense of intellectual superiority held by 790's afternoon show that they could do what we do, they just choose not to because they want to talk "real" football. And that's cool, I guess, but it just doesn't make a lick of sense to me. If you're going to be in radio, shouldn't you want to do a show that people like and that a lot of people listen to? Shouldn't you look at the research and data and adjust if your style isn't working? Or should you just keep "doing you" and when it doesn't work, just declare that that's because the ratings system is flawed or that you're just too damn smart for your audience or gosh darnit it's just not fair because 610 has all the advantages?
I don't know, but I was once on a station in Kansas City that was up against a monster heritage station with the biggest team in town and the history and all that jazz... And I didn't complain or make excuses. I studied radio, I worked on my craft, and I became the first person ever to beat them and I did it in multiple timeslots. But I suppose just because that was my method, it doesn't make it superior to the method employed by some others which appears to be, "Make excuses, claim radio isn't your end game, fall back on a crew of diehard Twitter minions to shout your praises and then challenge people to absurd competitions." But, to each his own I suppose.
I'll close with this... I will accept Lance's offer to breakdown film of the interior lineplay of Chattanooga St. as long as he accepts my challenge to a backwards unicycle competition, because, the thing is, they're about equally relevant to hosting a successful talk show in Houston, and that's all I'm really focused on.
And now, in true HMW fashion, OUT.
WRAP IT UP
BIG UPS, to Lance and Nick for providing a word for the HMW readers. Like I said earlier, I wanted to write some commentary but the guys got pretty in depth with the things they had to say and the fans can form their own opinions.
I can sum it up like this, Nick Wright shouldn't have mention Lance Zierlein if he's not going to represent and own it. Other than that, I see nothing more than two alpha personalities in a fierce competition. Yes, Nick is winning in the ratings but Lance Zierlein is still in his scope.
As far as the film breakdown bet, hell I would like to hear the two just do radio together.
Here is a twist, if we really wanted to make things interesting. If we were to ask Seth Payne to be brutally honest and tell us what which host he likes the most on radio, Lance or Nick, that answer would be quite interesting. I just wonder.