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A Look Inside The Lineup Changes At Sports Radio 610

Jason Barrett

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Sports Radio 610 has enjoyed a long storied run as the premier sports radio brand in Houston. But in recent months, local competitors have been making their reign at the top a little unsettling.

When Nick Wright announced plans to depart the radio station to join Fox Sports 1, it created an opportunity for Program Director Ryan McCredden to take stock of his inventory. The lineup was performing fine, but with a couple of adjustments, could the brand ascend to an even higher level?

One way to get a read on how the audience felt about the radio station’s personalities was to give them a chance to express it by taking part in a promotion titled “Trade Deadline”. The station received tons of feedback, and for one on-air broadcast day, mixed up their lineup combinations, and placed a few of their key people in different timeslots, and roles. This served as a great opportunity for McCredden to hear some of his key people in different situations.

Over the course of the next two months, McCredden would exhaust numerous options to retool the lineup at Sports Radio 610. Internal candidates were given a look, in-market options were discussed, and out of town personalities were talked to, and flown in for auditions. Many of them with proven track records in other top markets. BSM is aware of at least eight candidates who received consideration.

“As a programmer, it gave me a lot of joy to know that there were a lot of really strong young talent out there”, said McCredden. “The process was extensive, and I learned a lot about a lot of people, but ultimately I felt like we had a lot of the answers under our own roof. Unfortunately there isn’t any silver medal available for the person who comes in second”.

610 has done an excellent job at developing talent over the past few years. No better example exists than that of the station’s former midday show “MaD Radio” hosted by Mike Meltser and Seth Payne, which is now moving into mornings. The program earlier this year was identified by Barrett Sports Media’s panel of programmers as one of the top 20 midday shows in the country.

What convinced McCredden though that the duo would be well suited for a move to the earlier timeslot?

“Mornings tend to be a timeslot where people want to laugh and be entertained,” said McCredden. “Mike and Seth can certainly make you laugh, and their chemistry is excellent. There were a few days when John was off, and I moved them into mornings, and I heard the energy, and the fun, and they sounded like they belonged in there.”

By moving up Meltser and Payne though, that would create a hole in middays, and leave John Lopez in limbo. McCredden tested Lopez with some out of town personalities, and had to decide whether to bring in a more polished out of town host, or roll the dice on a young talent inside his building.

The one personality that jumped out the most from his roster was Cody Stoots. Lopez and Stoots had a great relationship which helped, but it was something Stoots said during the process which struck a chord with McCredden.

“Cody told me, the Astros took a chance on a young shortstop Carlos Correa and it’s paid off. The Texans are taking a chance on a young Quarterback (Brock Osweiler) who doesn’t have a lot of experience, and they’re hoping it pays off. I just hope you’d be willing to do the same with me because I believe it’d pay off”.

Feeling good about Stoots and Lopez, McCredden still had a hunch about someone else he spoke to during the process. That person was Houston native, and former Texas A&M Aggie, and former NFL wide receiver and special teams superstar Dante Hall. The questions though were whether or not Dante could transition into talking all-sports five days per week, where would he fit best, and would a trio be the right mix in middays?

McCredden explained his logic. “The way the mornings were set up, I didn’t think that was the best fit because then we’d have 5 voices on the show, and that’s too many (Jim Mudd, and Robert Henslee are also involved as contributors). I also felt Mike and Seth were ready for that jump”.

“When it came to Dante, his confidence gave me confidence,” McCredden continued. “His desire to do this was overwhelming. The positivity he has is impressive. He’s personable, and although our listeners don’t know him well, I think he’s going to really connect with them. He may be raw but he has a lot of natural talent and energy, and I think he’s going to have a bright future with us.”

After giving it a lot of thought and talking to a large pool of candidates, it became clear that “In The Loop” with Lopez, Hall, and Stoots were the fit McCredden was looking for in middays. The show may not have the immediate polish of Meltser and Payne, and it may lack experience that a few others have, but that hasn’t reduced McCredden’s enthusiasm.

“There were guys who were more polished, but everyone needs an opportunity to show what they’re made of,” added McCredden. “Cody has the skills to do great work, and with John and Dante involved it will help him grow even more into the position. Lopez is a big fan of Cody’s, and sees him as one of the fastest growing young talents in the market. What I really love about this show, is that it’s a hardcore Houston show. I think the audience is going to enjoy it”.

The final layer of the 610 puzzle to solve was finding a way to further capitalize on the relationship between the radio station, and its flagship partner, the Houston Texans. As they worked on stabilizing their daytime lineup, conversations also took place with the football team to make them a bigger part of their daily programming.

The result was turning “Texans All Access” into a nightly program from 6pm to 7pm. The voice of the Texans Marc Vandermeer will continue serving as host of the show. Vandermeer is also a former weekday host on Sports Radio 610.

The afternoon show (Triple Threat), featuring Rich Lord, Ted Johnson, and Sean Pendergast, and the evening program (Gallant At Night) hosted by Paul Gallant remain unchanged.

As Sports Radio 610 celebrates their new day today, they do so while knowing that a long and extensive process was necessary to make sure the right formula was discovered. If McCredden’s instincts are right, the real winners in all of this will be the Houston sports radio audience. It’s now up to Meltser, Payne, Stoots, Lopez, and Hall to prove him right.

Here’s a complete look at SportsRadio 610’s new programming lineup:

6:00-10:00AM – MAD RADIO

10:00AM-2:00PM – IN THE LOOP

2:00-6:00PM – TRIPLE THREAT

6:00-7:00PM – TEXANS ALL ACCESS

7:00-11:00PM – GALLANT AT NIGHT

Sports Radio News

Freezing Cold Takes Author Describes Difference Between Skip Bayless and Mike Francesa Hot Takes

“He has a knack for saying things defiantly and within a real brief period the opposite happens,” he said.

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Dan Patrick, Freezing Cold Takes

Fred Segal, the creator of the popular Freezing Cold Takes Twitter account, didn’t hold back
when it came to talking about some sports media personalities who are kings of the freezing cold take.

Talking to Dan Patrick on Wednesday, Segal said if there was a Mount Rushmore for hosts who
are often wrong or point out the obvious, FOX Sports host Skip Bayless would be one of the
faces.

“There’s things that he posts that are completely obvious that he can’t possibly think those things rationally,” he said.

Segal has a new book coming highlighting some of the best cold takes centered around the NFL.

“And he also has what feels to be a gimmick, his schtick, where he zeroes in on a player and decides, ‘I am going to constantly berate and say negative things about him and spin any positive into a negative.”

Segal thought of LeBron James and Aaron Rodgers as two athletes in particular that Bayless
likes to rip on.

He also said he’d add Mike Francesa to that Mount Rushmore as well, but for different reasons.
Patrick said the difference is that Francesa is just trying to be right and not troll.

“Out of all the people who try to be provocative on-air and are really concerned about being
entertaining, Francesa is completely honest with everything he says,” Segal said. “But he’s so
defiant about what he says.”

He added that Francesa has this ability of being so confident in what he’s saying, only to end up wrong nearly instantly after saying it.

“He has a knack for saying things defiantly and within a real brief period the opposite happens,” he said.

Segal mentioned Francesa saying the New York Jets would never get two first round draft picks
in a trade for Jamal Adams in 2020. Well, the Seattle Seahawks gave two first rounders to the Jets for Adams and a fourth round pick.

Patrick at least credited Francesa for owning his takes.

“He’s genuine in how bad some of his opinions are,” Patrick said.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee Announces Partnership With NFL Films

“You’re going to make our show better and hopefully we make NFL Films a little bit better as well.”

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Pat McAfee Show

The Pat McAfee Show is breaking another barrier with his program. Today he revealed that his show will be teaming up with NFL Films to feature league footage on the show. They will also team up for at least one feature element between the two.

On the show, McAfee was discussing the debut of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Detroit Lions with two of the coordinating producers of the show, Keith Cossrow and Ken Rodgers. After talking about the first episode, McAfee made the announcement.

“We will have NFL footage rights for the show every single day,” McAfee began. “We will also be creating, probably an Emmy-winning Mic’d Up type thing on the side with NFL Films. I don’t think this has ever happened before. I think this is one of the first times that something like we run has teamed up with NFL Films and the NFL.”

McAfee then told the two how happy he was to be partners with the group. “You’re going to make our show better and hopefully we make NFL Films a little bit better as well. We are very lucky and pumped to be a part of it, Keith.”

“Seeing you guys work, seeing how committed you are it reminded me of the way we are back here,” said Keith Cossrow. “What you guys have all built together is really special. What you’ve built Pat, is special. We could not be more excited at NFL Films to help build your show into something bigger. We are going to produce a weekly feature every week all season with you about the brilliance of our players in the NFL.”

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Sports Radio News

Dave LaGreca: WWE Will Improve Without Vince McMahon

“I don’t think Vince McMahon ever truly loved pro wrestling. He loved that term, ‘sports entertainment.’ He looked at pro wrestling the way a lot of mainstream people look at pro wrestling.”

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Wrestling fans have connected with SiriusXM’s Busted Open, because they trust host Dave LaGreca to be honest with them about what is good and bad in the sport. One target that he has never been afraid to go after is former WWE boss Vince McMahon.

“You can’t think about it,” he said on the latest episode of The Jason Barrett Podcast when asked how the company has responded to his criticism in the past. “You kinda have to block it.”

One of LaGreca’s most famous rants is about the appearance of zombies at a WWE pay-per-view event last year. During that rant, Dave LaGreca shouted over and over that Vince McMahon hates pro wrestling.

He told Barrett that he doesn’t regret the rant and still believes every word of it.

“I stand by that statement. I don’t think Vince McMahon ever truly loved pro wrestling. He loved that term, ‘sports entertainment.’ He looked at pro wrestling the way a lot of mainstream people look at pro wrestling.”

Dave LaGreca is a wrestling fan. He said he and people like him have plenty of reason for optimism with McMahon’s son-in-law Triple H taking creative control of the company’s storylines.

“Triple H looks at pro wrestling as an art form. He’s said it before. He appreciates it. He respects it. He grew up an NWA fan. I am very high on the next 3-6 months with Triple H at the helm of creative.”

Barrett followed that up by asking what could come next for Vince McMahon. Dave LaGreca had a simple answer.

“Watches!”

New episodes of The Jason Barrett Podcast drop every Tuesday morning.

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