One of Houston sports radio’s leading voices is returning to the local airwaves. After being blindsided by Sportstalk 790 last October, Charlie Pallilo is ready to make his Houston sports radio return, and it’s set to begin on August 21st with Gow Media.
Under terms of the agreement, Pallilo will begin hosting a weekday show on SB Nation 1560AM from 11a-1p CT. He’ll also make guest appearances on ESPN 97.5FM, Mondays and Fridays from 1-1:30p CT on “The Usual Suspects” hosted by Joel Blank and Barry Laminack, and on Wednesdays from 10a-10:30a CT with “John Granato and Raheel Ramzanali with Del.”
“Charlie Pallilo is a Houston radio icon,” said David Gow, CEO of Gow Media. “After being let go by 790, we were flooded with tweets and emails demanding that we add him on our radio stations. We take great pride in serving our audience, and I’m thrilled we were able to bring him on board, and give him an opportunity to once again showcase his talents and connect with the local sports audience. We are confident that he is going to make a mark at Gow Media.”
“We’re all about content creation, and Charlie is a legacy piece,” added Craig Larson, COO of Gow Media. “I want to get him in the building, promote him, support him, and get out of his way so he can do what he does best.”
Pallilo’s contributions will extend beyond on-air talk shows and segments. The station plans to feature what they’re calling ‘Pallilo Minutes‘, sixty second on-air commentaries from Charlie on a variety of local and national sports subjects. The Houston broadcaster will also write columns for Gow Media’s websites.
Although the opportunity to add a talent of Pallilo’s caliber may have Gow Media executives excited, the former 790 host hasn’t forgotten the sinking feeling he experienced last October. After becoming part of the fabric of the Houston sports community for the better part of two decades and losing his platform, Charlie is energized and appreciative of his new opportunity.
“When the proverbial boom was lowered at 790, I wasn’t sure how to take it,” said Pallilo. “I hadn’t taken a break since college, so the first few months gave me a little bit of time to catch up with people, focus on my family, and recharge my batteries. But then the itch began to resurface, and I had a chance to get to know David, Craig and the Gow Media team. As our conversations progressed, we were able to create a situation that worked well for everyone, and I’m just excited to get started.”
As Pallilo turns his attention to the next chapter of his Houston sports radio career, chatter is likely to increase on whether or not he needs to evolve his style of show. His ratings on 790 fluctuated, although his final book was very healthy. Despite the whispers of some to modify his presentation, Pallilo plans to operate the way he knows best, and is quick to debunk the notion that his show on 790 was not performing.
“This is going to be a similar show,” Pallilo added. “I don’t feel a need to reinvent myself. I’ll be hosting a solo show which will include callers and guests, and we’ll make tweaks on an ongoing basis. When I was dropped by 790 after 12 years on the air, I had the highest rated show and revenue on the station. Others may prefer to travel down the low road, but that’s not my style. I’m going to conduct myself with class, treat the audience with respect, and let the chips fall where they may.”
During the span of his career, Pallilo has earned a reputation as one of the market’s most informed and knowledgeable hosts. He’s been recognized by the Houston Chronicle and Houston Press in various “best of” lists, and has been voted multiple times by Radio Ink as one of America’s best sports talk show hosts.
For Gow Media, 2017 has seen the company make a concerted effort to expand its cross platform content strategy. They’ve acquired CultureMap.com, added a television simulcast of the Sean Salisbury Show on the BeInSports TV network, and formed a content sharing and cross-promotion partnership with ABC13 KTRK-TV. The company also plans to launch a new sports site, SportsMap.com, this September.
But despite making those investments and adding an established talent like Pallilo to the company’s airwaves, there is one looming issue that awaits. ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike will exit this fall, and be replaced by Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. Opinions are split on whether or not the new show will be a success, and making the decision more difficult for Gow Media is the company’s solid track record of generating ratings in mornings with national content. It’s that prior performance that gives David Gow reason to be optimistic about moving forward with the network’s new morning team.
“Houston has been one of Mike and Mike’s better markets,” Gow pointed out. “I have no reason to doubt the combination of Trey and Mike, and think the rhythm of their show will be similar to what Greeny and Golic delivered. Houston is a melting pot with great sports fans who enjoy great local and national content, and we think they’ll do a great job for us.”
When asked if additional programming changes were on the horizon, Gow said nothing is imminent. One name that is sure to generate additional noise is former 790 morning host Lance Zierlein. Much like Pallilo, Zierlein has strong market equity, except his connections inside Gow Media are even stronger. There may be no movement on that front at this particular time, but as we’ve learned many times in radio, never say never.
Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’
“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”
This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams.
This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host.
“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.”
As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week:
“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.”
Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though.
“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”
Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”
Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.
Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.
“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”
Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.
Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.
“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”
After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.
RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.
“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.
Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.
There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.
Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”
Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.
Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.
“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”
La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.
“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”
Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.
While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.
“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”