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Sports Radio 610 Climbs In Houston Winter Ratings

“Sports Radio 610 doubled its year-over-year performance to win the quarter in the Houston sports radio battle.”

Brandon Contes

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With three sports radio stations vying for listeners in one market, the Houston ratings book is always interesting to look at. 

Traditionally, Houston’s numbers are lower than most of the Top 10 sports radio markets, but that doesn’t make the local competition any less pressure packed. For the winter book, according to Nielsen Audio, there was a clear picture of who shined during 2020’s first quarter, and it was Sports Radio 610. Program director Armen Williams made lineup changes last year, and the latest results have to give him and his team confidence that they’re on the right track. Though SportsTalk 790 and 97.5 ESPN Houston had quarterly declines, they remain formidable competition and could turn things around quickly, so nobody in the market should feel comfortable. 

Beginning with the weekday shows, 610’s morning show with Seth Payne and Sean Pendergast cracked the top-10 with a 3.1 share between 6a-10a. The station’s morning show was ranked 22nd at the same time last year, a big jump for Payne and Pendergast. ESPN Houston produced a 1 share, while 790 did a 0.7. It’s important to note that ESPN Houston breaks up the 4-hour window by offering a combination of Golic & WingoThe Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein (7 – 9a), followed by John & Raheel with Del (9 – 11a). SportsTalk 790’s morning show with Sean Salisbury fills the full 6 – 10a window.

In middays between 10a-2p, John Lopez and Landry Locker produced a 3 share, good enough to lead 610’s In the Loop to an 11th place tie. Similar to the morning show, the middday crew enjoyed a massive jump year-over-year rising up from 23rd place. SportsTalk 790 finished the 10a-3p daypart in 24th place. 790 features a combination of In The Trenches with ND Kalu and The Matt Thomas Show during that 5-hour block. 97.5 finished in 27th in the 10a-3p daypart. Their on-air programming during that time includes John & Raheel with Del, Charlie Pallilo and The Usual Suspects with Joel Blank and Barry Laminack.

In afternoons, Clint Stoerner won the quarter by generating a 2.9 share to earn a tie for 15th place. ESPN Houston’s performance in the traditional PM drive daypart (M-F 3p-7p) was a 1.2 share. The station aired 1-hour of The Usual Suspects and The Blitz with Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman during the full daypart. SportsTalk 790 was third among the sports stations in afternoons. The A-Team w/ Wexler and Clanton (M-F 3p-6p) and The Nightcap (M-F 6p-7p) delivered a 0.7 which placed 790 in 25th place.

In weekday prime (M-F 6a – 7p), 610 was 14th with a 2.9 share, doubling their year-over-year performance. ESPN Houston and SportsTalk 790 finished 24th and 25th respectively, both earning below a 1 share.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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