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Zierlein and Granato Are Reuniting In Mornings

Jason Barrett

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Lance Zierlein and John Granato enjoyed a lot of radio success together before going in separate directions. But in the crazy world of sports talk radio, things have a way of coming full circle. Now after years apart and working at different companies, the two men are joining forces once again to try and reclaim their position as one of Houston’s best sports talk shows.

The talented duo will take over morning drive on ESPN 97.5 FM from 7a-9a starting Monday November 27th. The two men will remain on the air together from 9a-9:30a with midday host Raheel Ramzanali. Granato stays on with Ramzanali each day until 11am.

In taking over the morning slot, Zierlein and Granato gain the majority of hours which were previously occupied by ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike. Houston had been a market where ESPN Radio had performed well in mornings. The change leaves ESPN Radio’s new show with Trey Wingo and Mike Golic with two less hours of air time each day in one of its top rated markets.

“Reuniting John and Lance is a homerun”, said David Gow, CEO of Gow Media. “For years, people have asked me when those two could do a show again, and now the stars have aligned.”

Recognized by the Houston Press for Best Radio Show and as Best Radio Host, and a longtime analyst for NFL.com, Zierlein began his career at Sports Radio 610 before joining Granato for the launch of Gow Media’s 1560 AM in 2007. Zierlein had been a mainstay in mornings on SportsTalk 790 but elected to exit the radio station this past June, paving the way for Josh Innes to takeover the timeslot.

“I’m really excited about getting back together with John Granato and being part of what David Gow is building with 97.5, Sports Map and Culture Map,” says Zierlein. “John and I had the most talked-about show in Houston because of our chemistry and the fun we had on the air. That’s missing from a lot of the radio shows out there today. It’s time to bring that back in the mornings.”

Granato, who also enjoyed a successful ten-year run at 610, is equally excited about the benefits the new show will provide to his personal and professional relationship with Zierlein.

“It’s huge for me to have Lance back” added Granato. “Not only is he a great friend but I owe a lot to him in my career. And he’s one of the funniest guys I know. A lot of people woke up to us over the years. Hopefully they’ll be back and we’ll get a bunch of new people as well. I’m really excited about being in morning drive again (Except that whole waking up early thing).”

The addition of Zierlein is another big local move by Gow Media. The company previously convinced SportsTalk 790 afternoon host Charlie Pallilo to jump on board, and struck a deal to acquire CultureMap, an online social scene website that started in Houston and expanded to Austin and Dallas.

Reflecting on a busy 2017, David Gow believes bigger things are in store for his Houston-based multi-platform media company. “Lance caps off a great year for us”, observes Gow. “With Ken Hoffman, Charlie Pallilo and now Lance Zierlein joining our already-strong roster of talent, we believe we’ve built the ‘dream team’ that Houston’s sports fans are looking for”.

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Adam Copeland Steps Down as KNBR Program Director

We have great momentum, thank you to everyone in the building for your work and passion keeps us pushing forward.

Barrett Sports Media

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A photo of Adam Copeland
Courtesy: Cumulus Media

Adam Copeland has stepped away from his duties as program director of KNBR, KGO and KTCT in San Francisco, Barrett Sports Media has learned. In an internal memo obtained by Barrett Sports Media, Cumulus San Francisco regional vice president and market manager Larry Blumhagen divulged that Copeland will continue hosting his afternoon drive show, Tolbert and Copes, alongside Tom Tolbert.

“We have great momentum, thank you to everyone in the building for your work and passion keeps us pushing forward,” Blumhagen said in the note.

Copeland began working in the program director role last November while continuing his afternoon drive hosting obligations, a role he had held since 2022. He has been a member of KNBR since 2009, beginning as an intern in the promotions department before he was hired as a part-time board operator. Copeland previously produced KNBR Tonight and hosted The Leadoff Spot, while also producing and board operating for Murph and Mac. One month after he was named program director, KNBR cut several members of its staff, including hosts Paul McCaffrey and F.P. Santangelo.

A recent column by Barrett Media President Jason Barrett drew attention to Copeland’s questionable behavior on social media. The decision comes four days after the column was published on the BSM website.

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it is learned.

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Charles Barkley: ‘Morale Sucks – Plain and Simple,’ TNT Screwed Up NBA Media Rights Negotiations

“We just won the [Sports Emmy for] ‘Best Studio Show’ – but these fools turn us from Inglenook and Opus into damn Boone’s Farm and Ripple. It’s crazy.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Charles Barkley
Courtesy: Jamie Schwaberow, NBAE via Getty Images

As negotiations for media rights to the National Basketball Association continue throughout the postseason, there have been recent reports claiming that the league is formalizing deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon. The league ostensibly looks positioned to nearly triple its existing rights fee; however, the issue of Warner Bros. Discovery deciding to match an offer and the scope of such a right remains somewhat ambiguous. Nonetheless, many basketball fans are loathing a potential end to Inside the NBA, the Emmy Award-winning studio program within the NBA on TNT. Hall of Fame forward and studio analyst Charles Barkley recently appeared on the Dan Patrick Show to provide his perspective on the negotiations.

Barkley currently works alongside host Ernie Johnson and analysts Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal on Inside the NBA, adeptly blending esoteric knowledge and lighthearted repartee to the set. The program is currently closing out its year covering the Western Conference Finals on location from Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. while consistently receiving messages about its end. Patrick simply asked Barkley about the sentiment at the company, to which he gave a candid and straightforward response.

“Morale sucks – plain and simple,” Barkley said. “I just feel so bad for the people I work with, Dan. These people have families, and I just feel really bad for them right now, these people I work with. They screwed this thing up clearly. We don’t have zero idea what’s going to happen. I don’t feel good – I’m not going to lie – especially when they came out yesterday and said, ‘We bought college football.’ I was like, ‘Oh damn, they could have used that money to buy the NBA.’”

TNT Sports will be sublicensing College Football Playoff games from ESPN under a five-year agreement ahead of the tournament’s expansion to 12 teams. Under the deal, TNT Sports will broadcast two first-round College Football Playoff games during the 2024 and 2025 seasons, along with two additional quarterfinal games beginning in 2026 and ending in the 2028 season. As soon as the deal was closed, Barkley thought about how the money could have been allocated to fund a new NBA media rights deal. Warner Bros. Discovery entities – which began with TBS – have been broadcasting NBA games since the 1984-85 season, rendering the venture the longest-standing rightsholder.

Patrick then offered the idea of Barkley, Smith, Johnson and O’Neal to start a production company and continue to broadcast Inside the NBA in Atlanta, Ga. with the existing personnel. From there, the program could be licensed to NBC or Amazon while owning the production company itself. Barkley replied by stating that he had spoken to his colleagues about signing with his production company and would love to do it should TNT Sports lose the rights to the league. He first saw the suggestion on the internet and thought of it to be a great idea.

“My two favorite wines are Inglewood and Opus, and these clowns I work for, they’ve turned us into Ripple and Boone’s Farm and Thunderbird,” Barkley said. “We’ve got the best studio show. It’s so funny – we just won the [Sports Emmy for] ‘Best Studio Show’ – but these fools turn us from Inglenook and Opus into damn Boone’s Farm and Ripple. It’s crazy.”

Patrick perceived Barkley to be genuinely angry, a sentiment that he confirmed in his subsequent response. He reminisced about how he has seen the crew grow around Inside the NBA over his 24 years with the network and watching their children progress as they visit the studio. Barkley remembers meeting newborn children and seeing them years later as college graduates.

The familial relationship that has been formed around the show is something he evidently cherishes, and he would be disappointed to see the program end. It led Patrick to ponder over just how TNT Sports erred in the negotiations, leading Barkley to reference a previous comment made by David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery president and chief executive officer, at an RBC investor conference in 2022.

“When we merged, that’s the first thing our boss said [was] ‘We don’t need the NBA,’” Barkley explained. “Well, he don’t need it, but the rest of the people – me, Kenny, Shaq and Ernie and the people who work there – we need it, so it just sucks right now.”

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SiriusXM Signs Exclusive Podcast Agreement with Dirty Mo Media

“We are very excited to team up with Dale Jr. and the team at Dirty Mo to bring several of the leading NASCAR podcasts into the SiriusXM Podcast Network.”

Barrett Sports Media

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SiriusXM; Dirty Mo Media
(Illustration) | SiriusXM Logo – Courtesy: SiriusXM | Dirty Mo Media Logo – Courtesy: Dirty Mo Media

SiriusXM has reached a new, exclusive podcast agreement with Dirty Mo Media, the multimedia content platform founded by Hall of Fame NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. This new deal will provide exclusive advertising and distribution rights to Dirty Mo Media for its slate of programming on the SiriusXM Podcast Network, along with opportunities for crossover events between Dirty Mo Media and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, will also air twice per week on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel beginning in early June. Both entities will collaborate on special event broadcasts during the year as well, including at the forthcoming Daytona 500.

“This is a great day for our company,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement. “This agreement allows us to continue producing the shows we want to produce and telling the stories we want to tell to an audience that values our brand of originality, passion and candor. This also brings my relationship with SiriusXM full circle. I first started hosting my own show nearly two decades ago on XM Satellite Radio. We did it for a couple years. Since then, nothing has changed other than I’m now a married father of two, I don’t race as much, XM is called SiriusXM, and I am bringing an entire media company back with me.”

Earnhardt Jr., along with executive producer Mike Davis, founded Dirty Mo Media in 2013 and has become an enduring, impactful platform in sports media. In addition to constructing its podcast network, Dirty Mo Media also created and produced a television series titled Lost Speedways where Earnhardt visited and explored several abandoned racetracks across the United States. The company is also working with Amazon’s Prime Video and Imagine Documentaries on a four-part documentary that will tell the story of his father, legendary racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. Earnhardt Jr. will also serve as an analyst for coverage of NASCAR racing for Prime Video and TNT Sports beginning in 2025, concurrent with the start of its new seven-year media rights deal reportedly worth a total of $7.7 billion.

“One of our main areas of emphasis over the past year has been increasing our collaborations and expanding relationships,” Davis said in a statement. “A lot of that is simply knowing who we are, what we are trying to be and where we can be most effective. For Dirty Mo Media, we are a relatable, personality-driven brand of content creators and documentarians. Combine that with the reach, resources and credibility of SiriusXM, this relationship will produce fruit and serve our fans well.”

SiriusXM Media, the advertising division of the company, has gained exclusive global advertising sales rights to the Dirty Mo Media lineup of sports podcasts. These include the aforementioned Dale Jr. Download, Door Bumper Clear and Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin among others. The podcasts will join the SiriusXM Podcast Network, which the company states reaches one in two podcast listeners in the United States every month.

“We are very excited to team up with Dale Jr. and the team at Dirty Mo to bring several of the leading NASCAR podcasts into the SiriusXM Podcast Network,” Sarah Van Mosel, senior vice president of podcast strategy at SiriusXM, said in a statement. “This not only bolsters the strength of our podcast offerings, but the addition of the ‘Dale Jr. Download’ to the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel enhances the programming available to our SiriusXM subscribers. This is another great example of the unique ways SiriusXM and talented creators like Dale and his team can work together.”

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