Online readers respond to "KGOW'S KAPOW KAPOW," by Jeff Balke, March 31:
Accurate story: John Granato pays me to be his friend. Having disclosed that, this article paints an accurate picture of what he and the rest of the guys are like away from the station. They are the same people on air as they are stumbling drunk...and that's the reason why 1560 has a loyal and supportive fan base.
Not a fan: I think KGOW's main problem is that their shows suck. The commercials all of the stations host are pretty lame. You still hear the same static in the background that you heard when they first started. I used to listen to John and Lance way back in the days, late '90s and early 2000s, when they were at 610. They were pretty cool then, but since then they have gotten stale. They use the same gimmicks that they were using back then and haven't changed up anything to improve their show.
Houston's local sports talk overall is pretty weak, and KGOW is bringing up the rear for a reason. The only local person that I can stand to listen to on a regular basis is Barry Warner on 610 AM. Most of Houston's sports talk is overrun with a bunch of dorky white dudes. Let me clarify that statement by saying that them being white is not my issue — it's that they're a bunch of dorky dudes who are just not cutting it.
Great article: I listened to Lance and John when they were on 610 and was lost during my drive into work after they left. I found 1560 the first week they were on air and have tuned in exclusively ever since. There is no other sports station in Houston that comes close to 1560. Double Rods!
Nice article, Jeff: That's the kind of story I'd write if I weren't busy stalking Jim Nantz and covering figure skating.
One area you could shine more light on: Do the local sports-talk stations, and 1560 in particular, make money? Lots of people on the payroll and low ratings seems like a formula for failure, kind of like the Texans' pass defense or the Chronicle. Do the loyal advertisers really pay enough to reach the coveted Brad in Spring Branch demo to float the boat? Do Brad and the dozens of likeminded listeners buy enough Cadillacs and carpet cleaning to keep Mr. Gow from playing X-out golf balls?
Got to run. Working on a feature about the Jim Nantz and Freddie Couples friendship (they may make me the new Third Amigo if it's good). Also waiting on an e-mail reply from Tara Lipinski. Keep up the good work.
An imitator: The true tribute to the show is the shameless way 610 KILT has been ripping off 1560 KGOW for the past year. And it fails gloriously. The reason? Those guys aren't funny. It seems forced and fake and insincere. Case in point: KILT never used to have the producers interact during the shows, as KGOW always has. Now it's commonplace. KILT attempts to have the casual, freewheeling type of shows that KGOW pioneered here, but they just fall flat and seem uninspired. To them, oohing and aahing over some scantily clad, butt-less chick-of-the-day is good radio.
1560 family: 1560 is the only true open forum where everyone can express their opinion no matter how dumb, uninformed or insane. Real, fun, crazy people are hilarious, and 1560 is the only place they are allowed to get on air. After being surrounded by corporate and humorless people all day, listening to 1560 is a refuge from that seriousness and loneliness. 1560 is a big, fun and dysfunctional family, but I would not trade them for anyone else in the whole wide world.
Too many ads: This station has easily the best talent hosting shows, as the article relates, but it has a very mediocre product because of the unbelievable deluge of commercials and promos and bumpers. All the local sports stations are bad in this area, but KGOW takes it to another level. They really need to fix the problem if they ever want to get better ratings. Listeners know they're headed into a long break, switch to a competitor and may, or may not, come back. Advertisers should realize that the ratings, low as they are, don't really reflect who is hearing their ads. The bottom line on KGOW is that they do great shows — just not much of them.
Good guys: The reason I like John and Lance is because I could see myself hanging out with them outside of just listening on the air. Besides the joking around and the impersonations, Granato is one of the most knowledgeable baseball commentators and Lance has the most football knowledge, hands down. They made my wife's Valentine's Day a great one by calling her and putting her on the air, and I was also given a tour of the station and an opportunity to get on the air to share my displeasure about the worst player in Rockets history. How many stations in Houston would let Joe the fan into the station and hang around for a few segments?
Online readers respond to "Why We Can't Be Friends on Facebook," Hair Balls blog, by Craig Hlavaty, March 30:
Drinking buddies confirmed: I made a recent post on my Facebook page that received a lot of likes: "Seriously, unless we got drunk together, share similar musical tastes, were fetchin' roommates, got drunk together, DJ'd together, played sport together, got drunk together, traveled together, danced in a drug-filled haze together ... erm ... drank together, then guess what? We're not Facebook friends."
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Dropping "friends": When I first joined Facebook, a friend of mine had encouraged me, saying I could catch up with old high school classmates from twenty-something years ago. Since then, I've dropped or been dropped by a lot of those people, as I never stayed on the prim and proper Christian path they chose. Sorry, I have a big mouth for a reason. God wants me to use it to the best of my abilities.
A sales friending: Shortly after I joined FB, a dude I went to high school with friended me, then sent me a "Hi, how are you?" message that ended in a sales pitch, because I guess he saw on my profile what I do. I didn't reply to his message, just un-friended him. He was a nice guy, too.