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.