In our cover story this week I take a look at the odd world of sports-talk radio in Houston. We’re not much of a sports-talk town compared to cities like Dallas, but soon there will be four stations scrambling to grab a piece of that not-very-big pie. (As for the cover….well, if my Mom were still alive she’d no doubt be thrilled to see her son’s name displayed on a jockstrap.)
A couple of things I didn’t get around to mentioning in the story: one, I realize Ralph Cooper does a sports-talk show on KCOH. It’s just not part of the battle I was writing about, so there’s no need for outraged cries of racism.
Second, there are some interesting thoughts on what will happen when the Texans radio contract runs out in five years. KILT, looking to dominate the sports-talk market, broke the bank with a $70 million, ten-year deal in the team’s inaugural season, but few think anyone will overpay like that again.
Some pro franchises have purchased their own radio stations; the Texans might do that, but it doesn’t seem likely. Instead what could happen is that the team will simply buy airtime from one of the stations in town and then put on the broadcast themselves – selling ads, having complete control over content, etc.
It’d be good for the station because they’ll know exactly how much they’re getting for that time slot, instead of wondering what the ad market will be like. It’d be good for the Texans because they’ll be able to broadcast hours and hours of pre- and post-game propaganda. It’d be not so good for one group: listeners.
You think the announcers and hosts today are hesitant to criticize the pitiful Texans? Just wait until the broadcast is an in-house affair. The mind reels.
Of course, by then Gary Kubiak will no doubt be winning his third Super Bowl with the team, so maybe no criticism will be warranted. – Richard Connelly
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