Ranking Houston AM Sports Hosts – I’ve Got An Algorithm and Shit

Helllooooooo Houston Sports Fans!!!

Helllooooooo Houston Sports Fans!!!

Editoral Preface – Sometimes we at Fourth and Fifty say things that are controversial, illogical, and flat-out lies.  But we don’t do it for the attention, or the fortune and fame.  We do it for the birds, to paraphrase the Beatles.  The birds are a “metaphor” for “promiscuous women”.  So if you don’t like what we have to say, then we probably didn’t want to have sex with you anyway.  It’s the interwebs, bitches!  By the way, we are absolutely willing to do it for the fortune especially riches beyond belief (e-mail me so you know where to send the check).

In this ADHD world, we seem to be so lazy and dumb that even si.com provides bullet points of each article it posts, in case 800 words is too much to bear.  In the spirit of acquiescing to your lazy and dumb asses, here are some bullets:

#1 – Lance Zierlein – The Best, Around

# 2 – John Harris – The Happy Warrior

# 14 – Matt Jackson – Too Ugly For Radio

# 15 – Ken Hoffman – Worst of the Worst [Ed. Note – Geez, we really don’t let up on Ken around here.]

By category, ranked from top-to-bottom, here are the Houston AM Sports Hosts.  This is a very scientific ranking – I have a super secret formula that is, like 10 times more complicated than Hollinger’s PER. You wouldn’t understand so let’s move on.

The Best, Around.  Nothin’s Ever Gunna Keep Them Down!

1.  Lance Zierlein

Consistently the best.  No one matches the wit and ability to churn out random analogies.  At his best, he is Kobe.  At his worst, he is like The Franchise circa 2001, dribbling for 23 seconds and then hitting an off-balance 19 footer.  This does happen to LZ sometimes – he seems to forget what he was talking about and stumbles for a minute, but then still pulls off his point in the end.  Everyone at 1560 is guilty of spending too much time talking about personal minutiae, like the speeding ticket they got 4 days ago, but all things considered, he’s the best in the game.

2.  John Harris

You want to talk about upside?  If LZ is Kobe, then John Harris is LeBron.  He’s a happy warrior – no one exudes more passion, joy, joie de vivre, whatever you want to call it.  He’s like Rick Kamla (see below) on steroids.  By the way, can we find a replacement phrase for “on steroids?”  His depth of knowledge, albeit college football-heavy, is incredible. I figured he’d be so happy from leaving the accounting gig that he’d maintain his enthusiasm for 6 months, and then settle into a zone of medium happiness.  Not so fast, my friend!  Over a year later his mojo hasn’t waned in the slightest. Watch him challenge LZ for the crown over the next few years.  This isn’t a man-crush (I’m still man-betrothed to Bill Simmons); I’m just big on Johnny’s upside.

The Icemen (from Top Gun, not Chuck Liddell, meaning they are great second fiddles.  Maybe I should have just called this category “second fiddles”)

3.  Sean Pendergast

Sean “puts in work”, as the kids say.  He is great on his own, but he and John together are the most natural team I’ve ever heard in radio.  You know Sean’s street cred, so we don’t have to go over it.  The one negative I will say is it seems to take him an entire segment to get through random stories more often than not.  I’m sure this is purposeful and a good way to get through 15+ hours of on-air radio per week.  Everyone has their tricks, like Rome’s 3-second pauses followed by repeating the same exact sentence.  I’m not trying to hate on Sean, just explaining why he wasn’t in the top 2 of this very scientific ranking system.

4.  Adam Wexler

I’m not going to lie to you: Wex is growing on me, for the same reason that Rick Kamla with NBA TV did.  Kamla is a white dorky guy from Minnesota.  But he knows it, and he loves him some basketball, and his passion really shows in his work.  I highly recommend Kamla’s Fantasy Insider show on Monday mornings – he almost wets himself talking about Udonis Haslem’s week splits, and you have to respect that.  Seriously.  Same thing with Wex – he loves sports (especially the Rockets), does his homework, knows he is a dork (doesn’t try to hide it), and does the dirty night in and night out.  I was about to use a Battier analogy here, but Ryan Bowen works better.

5.  Charlie Pallilo

Pallilo is good, if you like listening to your father discuss sports.  And if you like reading old books by the fireplace while listening to records with your great dane faithfully at your feet.  I just don’t like no-nonsense talk radio.  If I wanted that, I’d listen to NPR more often (which is probably what we all should be doing, truth be told).  Some shenanigans are necessary in our post-modern, Jon Stewart world.  I respect that Charlie wouldn’t deign to our level, like I respect my grandfather for not buying a Wii.  I’m sure that as I get older and start wearing boat shoes and enjoying the finer things in life, Charlie will be part of that package.

6.  John Granato

Granato is hit-or-miss, mostly hit.  Sometimes he and Lance meander too far off into personal stuff, but they’re the top-rated morning show for a reason.  He’s also done a good job with 1560 The Game, with the exception of Ken fucking Hoffman (see below).  Come on Granato, you’re better than that.


7.  Adam Clanton

I don’t really have an opinion either way about Clanton, which makes him the perfect figurehead for the “meh” division.  He is a decent looking guy in real life, which means he probably cleans house with radio groupies.  If radio doesn’t win the “ugliest profession” award, then the terrorists truly have won.

8.  Mark Vandermeer

When 610 went through its shakeup, I was very excited to hear from The Voice.  Between his unique style and Texans stripes, he entertained for a while.  But once the novelty wore off, I realized that he just doesn’t say anything interesting, even if he does sound interesting when he is saying it.  If that makes sense.  If you’re still hypnotized, read a transcript of their show some time (if such things exist).  Still a great color guy.

9.  Andre Ware

I’m sorry Dr. Dre, you’re professional and competent and knowledgeable and seem like a nice guy – not to mention a legend to all us Coogs.  But would you consider drinking 5 hour energy or a Red Bull every now and again?  Don’t feel obliged to, because you get a free pass from me to do whatever you want to do for the rest of your life.  Thanks for the Heisman.

10.  David Nuno

On one hand, he works with Ken Hoffman (see below).  On the other, No Layups is ok.

Bottom Feeders

11.  Craig Roberts

Craig Roberts is still on the radio.  Who knew?

12.  Rich Lord

The one guy on radio who sounds fatter than he actually is.  He also seems to have an IQ of 75, but speaks with enough bravado that it takes you a while to realize it.  He’s like the guy in your fraternity where, when you start having an actual conversation with him, you quickly find out that anything beyond small talk is insufferable and you’re like “why did we pledge this guy”, and the other actives are like “he seemed ok when we met him.”  And then you shake your head and hope he drops out to focus on school or whatever.

13.  Brad

Some guy named Brad works with Craig Roberts.  It says so on their website.  Who knew?

Ephilates Incarnate

14.  Matt Jackson

Matt Jackson looks like the rejected Spartan in 300, the one who can’t hold a shield and then betrays his country for some mangled Persian ass and a helmet.   According to IMDB, that Spartan’s name is Ephilates, and according to me, that is the perfect name for this category.  Compare and contrast: here then here.

My real complaint is that Matt constantly comes across as condescending.  I.  Hate.  How.  Matt.  Slows.  His.  Words.  Down.  To.  Sound.  More.  Poignant.  You’re.  A.  Tool.  THIS.  IS.  SPARTA!!!  But at least he isn’t…

15.  Ken Hoffman

Listen, every radio guy seems a bit indulgent with personal anecdotes and appetites, whether it be talking about their kids, or how tough their job is, or what TV shows they follow.   I guess that comes with being a “personality.”  But it’s bad times to have girls strip on radio and trying to justify it by saying “we’ve got a webcam” when there can’t be more than 5 listeners who have the ability and inclination to watch.  If they’re on the web for that purpose, there are much better options.  Much like Ron Burgandy’s milk, that is a “poor choice”.  Is anyone really interested in listening to a porn star feel up Maurice Taylor?  The only upside is the chance that she gives Mo T. a VD, which would be karmic retribution for him killing the Rockets for years with that godawful contract.

The other shit Ken Hoffman talks about comes off as incredibly arrogant, although he tries to hide it as self-effacement in the form of mock-arrogance.  It isn’t.  He isn’t an onion with layers and shit.  He’s arrogant, boring, and perverted.  I’m sure his mother loves his show.

That’s my list.  If you don’t like it, go masturbate to Ken Hoffman’s webcam show.  [Ed. Note – Already there, bud… Already there.]

– THE Random Guy



  1. Houston sports radio is the worst in the country. When you have to use a webcam and naked chicks to make your “radio” show better (a bit ironic, me thinks, needing a live video feed to make your show better on a medium which is supposed to be auditory, not visual, in nature), you know you’ve got problems bigger problems than attracting viewers, like for example, good content and knowledgeable hosts.

    • Oh, and by the way, all these guys are retarded, save Andre (I’m a homer, what can I say?).

    • Methinks is one word you grammar butcherer. I am an ardent supporter of free speech. I have to be. I am the program director of one of the country’s worst sports radio stations. But I’ll be damned if I take criticism from an individual with limited education. Perhaps in the future you should text your thoughts to a more qualified and degreed person and let them pontificate. What am I doing? I can’t believe I took the time to resp

  2. Actually, The Donkey Show Coordinator is quite correct in his literal translation of “cogito”, the latin phrase for “I think”. It is ironical (ur welcum 4 that) that the most pure versions of language have survived in pockets of abject poverty. Like the appalachian parts of Kentucky, where Old English survives, mainly because it hasn’t been watered down by the diffusion of liberal culture via racial, ethnic, and commercial interaction. These areas are like time capsules of crystalized anachronisa.

    Besides, Chance, if his name is his vocation (speaking of old traditions), he coordinates communion between woman and beast. Grammar is the least of his many sins.

  3. I really like 1560. Jon and Lance can hang with any sports/guy talk team in the country. Sean and John have come amazingly far. They make a perfect tandem also.

    Yes, Ken Hoffman isn’t my favorite either. I’m working at that time, so I don’t have to make any radio decisions during that time span.

    610 and 790 are really spinning their wheels. Those two morning shows are amazingly boring. Charlie is ok in the afternoons, but not compelling enough to draw me away from the Sean and John show.

    • I’m with you. There’s something about 1560 that’s inherently likable. Perhaps it’s my tendency to back the underdog, but my support is definitely with the Game. Plus there’s that whole “they invited us on the radio” thing which helps.

      You have to figure that Ken Hoffman isn’t a exclusively a sports writer. He has his radio schtick (i.e. chicks with big ta-tas in bikinis) and admittedly doesn’t want to spend 3 hours talking about sports. That’s a turn-off for people that want to listen to regurgitated sports talk from 12 to 3 (or whatever his schedule is). But, if your only opportunity to listen to sports talk radio during that time-slot I’d ask “what the fuck kind of schedule do you have?”

      • I spent 5 seconds thinking about it, and it occurred to me that the connection is how relatable the group is. They have all the basic archetypes: the smart, sarcastic guy (LZ), the Italian who loves to drink (Granato), the guy who will make fun of anything (Sean), the happy guy (John), and the guy who takes everything too far (Raheel – sp?). The only thing they’re missing is the guy who hates everything.

        Don’t think I don’t hate the “guy who is always happy” archetype, Reginald Blackstone. Quit enjoying life so much.

  4. This is a solid list and I agree with most of it. But Ware sucks. He’s fine calling football games and does his homework for ESPN as well. But as far as a call in show he is a douche. He turned me off so much I refuse to listen to 610 anymore and haven’t in 6 months after having listened to them since the beginning. Brad Davies is gone, thankfully, I hated that tard and only listened cause 1560 likes to sleep in.

    Can’t tell you how sick I got of Ware’s “oh yeah, well I’ve been behind closed door meetings in Bristol so I KNOW… or… you never played the game so I’m taking all my toys and going home.”

    Great list and great site. Just found it.

    • Thanks Paul. Keep coming back and let your posse know about FaF – we never lack for libel or slander.


      I keep going back and forth on Andre. He certainly is good at calling games, and every once in a while he is ok in the morning on 610, but for the most part he’s not. I get the feeling he is a really cool guy to hang out with, but you don’t get style points for being cool in RL on my arbitrary list.

  5. I have been listening to Houston sports talk since about 1996 and honestly all of these guys mentioned suck.
    If weren’t for a few national shows and Calvin Murphy keeping me laughing. I would probably eventually stop listening all together.

    • Look, he’s playing with his wenis.

      Carlos! Not at the table!!

  6. houston sports radio is a disgrace. 4 stations for a terrible sports town with terrible hosts. except for dukes and pallilo everyone else is a joke. how in the hell do two guys get two shows during the day. this is the fourth largest city and they cant find 2 guys to do the afternoon. what a joke. and they arent any good.

  7. who the fuck is john harris

  8. 610 crew:
    Marc Van Da’Boring well this dude is a flatliner
    John Lopez : OMG this dude well he’s as bad as George Lopez, Mario Lopez and Jennifer Lopez; must be a Lopez thing I guess..
    Rich Lord: well although not as condescending as Matt Jackson he’s another flatliner.
    Matt Jackson: This guy is never wrong according to him. He’s like Jim Rome; if you don’t agree with him your opinion doesn’t count. Matt Jackson is now at 790
    Adam ClantonRome: Hey Clanton; there’s only 1 JIM ROME so stop trying to be like him.
    Adam Wexler: perhaps the best thing at 610 now at 790
    Barry Warner: He’s horrible, boring and like Matt Jackson; he’s never wrong so don’t try to argue your point of view with this guy.
    The other dudes at 610 Robert Henslee and Shaun Bijami are ok .
    The best thing 610 has going for them is the Traffic girl almost climaxing on the air when giving out her traffic reports; If she cuts down on the LB’s and goes EURO and takes it all off while doing the traffic with a webcam on they might be able to save that station.

    Bottom line: if it wasn’t for JIM ROME and the flagship station for the Rockets, longhorns and Texans games 610 would be just a comparison to the 610 LOOP ( goes around and around and around and always under some kind of construction ).

    790 Crew:
    Charlie Palillo ie. Mr. Webster dictionary: Charlie is good but just like Matt Jackson this guys is never wrong according to him. Is this guy married, he never talks about wife or kids ??? He does talk about hot women in showbiz but that’s about it.
    Dylan Gwinn: I like this dude, he’s doing ok for now..

    1560 Crew:
    Maybe the best duo in the morning and somewhat descent supporting cast in the afternoon.
    Lance Z: I agree with the blogger, Lance is the best in the business.
    John Granato: A little controversial and sounds juiced up most of the time but what the hell it’s his station and he can do whatever he wants.
    Sean and John are ok in the afternoon they’re getting better with time.
    David Nuno: he’s right up there with Hoffman, Matt Jackson and Adam ClantonRome as the worst in Houston Radio.
    1560 Must improve the sound quality of their station Especially in the afternoon and evenings, I don’t know if its something technical but the sound quality of the studio is not very good.

    1560: the best station in Houston
    790: Improving
    87.5 FM I think ??? no one listens to this
    610: Like the water in my toilet: spinning and backing up due to the excessive usage of toilet paper..

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