Written by: LM
THE PROPER GENTLEMEN
Unless you have been living under a rock, Sports Talk 790 released Matt Jackson and Adam Wexler. I will not front like I was a Big Show fan as of late but I did come to appreciate Wexler.
However, I like to focus on what's popping on air. Adam and Matt will get their fair share of coverage and I wanted to focus on Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton ie "THE PROPER GENTLEMEN".
I reached out to Adam and Lance to get a few questions answered. Below are their responses and I would like to thank the guys for taking time to address a few lingering questions.
Lamont: Was your show predetermined before the both of you knew? If so, what were your thoughts of the new show.
Lance: The decision about the pairing and the show as a management decision although it was probably the easy decision based on the rest of the construct of the station and what Clanton and I both do best.
Adam: If you're asking "were we paired as opposed to asking to be put together," the answer is yes. And I can't speak for LZ, but as far as I'm concerned he was the No. 1 guy in the market I wanted to work with.
Lamont: When did you guys find out you would be hosting the Morning Show? Is it fair to say, if you guys knew before Thursday, then you knew Matt and Adam would be released?
Lance: We did not know. I found out shortly after they were released.
Adam: I found out literally minutes after Matt & Adam were let go. Like, 10:30 a.m. Thursday
Lamont: I do not see Adam Clanton in a serious sports radio role. How will you guys make sure you have a Sports Show and not a 3 hour slapstick sitcom?
Lance: We've talked about that on a couple of occasions already. It is important for me to serve my fun side and my serious sports side and I think that is what the general public likes as well. We both know and understand how important that is and that will be a big part of what we do which includes how we prep for the show.
Adam: Define "serious sports radio role." Does that mean I have to be serious at all times? Does it mean I always have to take LZ seriously? WHY SO SERIOUS??? Serious sports is boring anyway, if you ask me. We want to do a show that no one else in the market is doing. If that's described as "slapstick," so be it.
Lamont: Adam, Lance sports acumen is superior to yours, are you nervous competing in a high profile time slot? Some hosts can be made to look like a dumb ass if they are partnered with someone that's better than them.
Adam: Why would I be nervous about anything? I've been in mornings before, I've been in afternoons, I've been in evenings and I've anchored sports television--all in a major, Top 10 media market. This isn't the place for "nervous" people. Nervous people belong in much smaller markets. And LZ and I don't look at it as one is better than the other. You're supposed to highlight each others' strengths. It's something that isn't done nearly enough in this market, and a problem I've personally faced in previous stints.
Lamont: Is this pairing permanent or a quick fix solution?
Lance: I don't think management considers this a quick fix solution at all.
Adam: It's as permanent as any radio gig can be. But I highly doubt they'd put multi-year deals in front of us if we were considered a "quick fix."
Lamont: What’s going to make your show different from the Big Show?
Lance: I think we'll be bringing a different tone and a different look at the headlines. I don't want things to get too bogged down on one subject, call or one tone. I think our pace will be much faster and I think we will really concentrate on entertaining people with energy - whether the topic is fun or serious.
Adam: One day in, I can clearly say that...I have no idea. I don't worry about what other people have done before me or what other people are doing now. All I can do is what I do--to the best of my ability. Then let the chips fall where they may. I'm not for everyone; LZ isn't for everyone. And that's just fine. If everyone "likes" me in this market, I'm not doing my job well...
Lamont: What are your thoughts about Sports Radio 610 “In the Loop” reluctance to make the audience a part of the show with caller dialogue?
Lance: That is becoming more and more common in this industry and I understand that. There have been plenty of studies that show that callers don't equal ratings. I get that. I also understand that there is a difference between good callers and bad callers as well as how you handle your callers. I think the old format of just lining up callers and taking them and letting them drive the show has continued to die off, but there is still a place for interaction with the audience in my opinion.
Lance, I noticed you get a little “long winded” with some of your takes and leave callers on hold for extended periods of time, any chance of you working on that?
Lance: It just depends on how things are going for me and for the topic. The callers can't drive the show. I can't just cut off whatever we have going just to make sure that we work a caller in because many times a caller can kill momentum. I've been part of that with Charlie's show. We would have momentum going in one direction and then a caller would slow everything way down and maybe bring up a topic that people didn't really want to hear about. I've found that pretty much all program directors in the business want callers to supplement the show rather than be the center point.
Lamont: Lance, what really happen with your departure from the Big Show? As a fan of the original Big Show (Adam, Matt, Lance), it appeared that Matt Jackson was really “different” with you. Can you elaborate?
Lance: A decision above me was made to move me in with Charlie because they wanted to have partners on almost all the shows and they thought I would fit in okay with Charlie. I didn't ask to be moved at all. Matt and I got into it from time to time, but I also think the show worked fairly well on some levels with the three of us.
Lamont: The “On the Mobile” bit is dry to me, will you’ll incorporate a lot of it in your show?
Lance: Not too much of it. We'll do some imitations here and there, but it isn't going to run the show like people think.
Adam: When it fits and when it's sold. (Yes, when it's sold--people do pay us for those voices.)
Lamont: Adam, how did you get picked up so quickly by 790 after being fired at Yahoo Sports? Was it a hook up?
Adam: I resent the term "hook up," just like I resent people who don't know their head from their backside going around and claiming I got any of my previous gigs "because my daddy is in broadcasting." Nothing could be further from the truth. I've worked extremely hard to get every job I've ever had, and until a few months ago, I'd never been fired from a single one of them. I took classes in high school for this, graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism for this, and I've earned everything that's come my way. How did I get picked up so quickly after I was fired? Simple: Bryan Erickson picked up the phone and called me within hours of my dismissal. And he'll verify that if you ask him. It's nice that someone finally asked me that question, though. Too many (wrong) assumptions out there.
Lamont: Lance, you have been at 790 for two years and you have bounced all over different shows, are you happy at 790?
Lance: Sure. Moving from time slot to time slot has it challenges on the personal level and there is no doubt that moving back into the 6 AM time slot is going to take some getting used to. With that all said, my bosses and the sales staff at the station are the best I've worked with.
Lamont: From the outside looking in, it appears that Matt Jackson and Adam Wexler were fired because of ratings. Are you guys at all nervous of suffering the same fate?
Lance: I can't speak to why changes were made as that is a question for the people above my pay-grade, but I'm not worried about getting fired. I haven't been over 16 years of radio, but I know I will eventually. Everyone does. I'm involved much more heavily with football writing than I was in the past when I was first involved with radio and I never want to have my eggs all in one basket because I know that it can be a tough business. With all of that said, I don't worry about getting let go. I do my job and try to do it well.
Adam: Again, this is the wrong business to be in for that. That's like asking if a new NFL head coach is nervous about getting fired. If we were, what would be the point of taking the position. Instead, I look at it as a challenge for LZ and I to put the morning show at Sports Talk 790 where it belongs: Ahead of the competition.
LM's RADIO THOUGHTS
Thanks to Lance and Adam for taking time to answer a few questions.
I will not fake it, I thought Matt and Adam Show became extremely boring after the departure of Lance Zierlein from the Big Show. With that said, Lance Solo hour and that Charlie Pallilo pairing was beyond horrid as well. I will not kick Matt and Adam while they are down but I think Lance and Adam Clanton will have a better show.
I think they will bring energy to mornings however, I do have my doubts about Adam Clanton in a Prime Time role. I can listen to Adam in a "Comedic/ Pop Culture" sense but Mornings when I want my "sports", I can do without the "fart joke humor" 24/7. I love comedy sports but in certain dosages; as an avid listener, I demand more out of certain hours of the day. I want to see Adam rise to the occasion.
As for as Lance, I feel, he is trying to prove he can survive without John Granato while at the same time trying to eliminate the tag of "Washed up" levied on him by a few competitors. This has nothing to do with BEEF between the two stations but I notice Lance going out of his way to prove "I am still the man". Lance needs to do radio and stop trying to prove he's god to Houston. He is back in mornings and needs to make it "do what it do"
Will Lance and Adam beat Nick Wright and John Lopez, NO. However, I say it with a governor, if the Texans come out flat and the Rockets hit the fans like an anvil, then it's very possible. At this point, the markets ratings and particularly, Sports Radio 610 are tied to the Texans. When you hear these host say "IS IT SUPERBOWL OR BUST FOR THE TEXANS" they are really talking about themselves. It's not Superbowl or Bust for the Texans, It's Superbowl or Bust for Houston Radio in ratings if the Texans suck.
The Jay Mohr (11-2) to Houston, is beyond dumb. It will be more interesting to see Matt Thomas (on after Jay) build up an audience after a national show. This particular move means little to me because I listen to John Harris War Room.
With 1560/Yahoo Sports leading the way, it appears, Houston has given up on "Local Only" and reverted back to that nectar of National programming. No station in this town as of August can say they are all local. National Programming has slowly creep-ed back into Houston.