Changing Stations: KGOW's Creative Team Packs Up, Pendergast Goes National

bull-chance.jpg
KGOW's now former creative team of Frank Bullington (left) and Chance McClain (right)
If you have listened at all to KGOW 1560 the Game over the last month or two, you may have noticed some changes taking place that represent a distinct shift in the overall vibe of the station. Gone are the oddball promos and borderline inappropriate interludes (what some might argue are integral to the station's personality), replaced with a more traditional, bombastic sports radio tone.

These changes coincide with the recent demotion of former program director Chance McClain, who was replaced with Sporting News Radio PD Craig Larson in May. McClain opted to resign not long after his demotion and will now be followed by his creative partner, production director Frank Bullington, who will officially leave the station at the end of the week.

Neither was able to comment on the situation, but Bullington said in his exit e-mail, "As the station and network move in a new direction, I felt it was time for me to do the same."

McClain and Bullington were the creative team behind the station's unique identity that was the subject of a Houston Press cover story in March. Since that time, the clever irreverence seems to have been scuttled in favor of a more traditional sports radio approach including the frequent on-air repetition of what is clearly becoming their new mantra, "Houston's best sports talk."

Another change that would seem to belie the "Houston" part of the new tagline is the long-rumored move of midday host and Press writer Sean Pendergast to the Sporting News Radio national network beginning July 4. His show will remain in its time slot from noon to 3 p.m. on KGOW, but because it will be on the SNR network, the focus will be on national rather than local topics. Travis Rodgers, another national host broadcasting locally, will continue to air from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., making KGOW not just the only locally owned and independent station in Houston, but also the only Houston sports radio station to air no local sports talk for nearly half of their programming day.

Once Pendergast is on SNR, only seven of the 12 hours of weekday programming including the morning show with Lance Zierlein and John Granato (6 a.m.-10 a.m.), the David Nuno and Raheel Ramzanali show (10 a.m.-noon) and one hour of Travis Rodgers Now (6 p.m.-7 p.m.), will be local.

That's quite a change for a station that used to have wild, random midnight broadcasts, release dozens of crickets in the studio during shows as a gag and sponsor "slap fest" events. Much of the programming does still have an edge -- Zierlein and Granato's show has changed very little -- but there is discernible difference in the way the station sounds as a whole and what, apparently, is kosher on the air. Ramzanali, according to a source, was suspended for a week recently for saying "bukkakke" during his show with Nuno. It's hard to imagine that would have been off limits six months ago.

Ironically, all these changes have happened immediately following a fairly dramatic improvement in the station's broadcast signal, which was one of the more glaring issues facing KGOW. Unfortunately for listeners, the stronger signal will be broadcasting an awful lot of non-local programming, with the exception of the Rice Owls, who announced 1560 as their new radio partner, and we all know what a huge draw Rice basketball is.

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35 comments
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Me
Me

Chance McClain is one of the most creative people in the business.  Just saying - dumb move.

Dannny
Dannny

was the remaining staff issued black mock turtlenecks and p90x dvds after chank turned in their id cards?

Wonko The Sane
Wonko The Sane

Really disappointing, the way 1560 has been going.  Pendergast and then Rodgers just means 7 hours of Jim Rome imitators.  I don't want to listen to Rome, and I certainly don't want to listen to Rome wannabes.  I listen to John and Lance, but the afternoon shows are worthless.

The OSD
The OSD

Sean a Jim Rome imitator? Wow. You must not listen to Sean that much.  Travis Rogers a Jim Rome imitator? Obviously you don't know much about Jim and Travis.  From what I understand, Travis was the driving force behind what Rome did.

Jeff
Jeff

One thing I should note is that this move is AWESOME and totally deserving for Sean. We're very lucky to have a guy around here that is so good and such a great guy.

third and seven
third and seven

I liked those guys as much as the next personbut as long as lance, travis, and sean are still on who really cares

RIP 1560
RIP 1560

Horrible, horrible move for 1560.  Chank was a huge reason this radio station stood out.  I agree with the commenters before....looks like 1560 is turning into that Corporate Pile of Dung that they used to be against.  Way to loose your loyalists, Mr. Gow.

Jim
Jim

Oh..  the station will fail in its new format. There is nothing that really sets them apart

Baron99934
Baron99934

The station failed before...and it may or may not fail again. KGOW is trying to cut some costs and have more crossover with Sporting News Radio since they own that to... to try and keep the doors open. 

I bet six months from now almost all of Sporting News Radio shows will originate from Houston. It's probably over 60 percent right now. Chank inside joke just doesn't work in that environment..no matter how often Jeff Balke uses this spaces to blow them. Speaking  of bukkake....

Clarydelo
Clarydelo

This is Craig Larson!!! We checked your IP address! Wow what a loser! Stop trolling on message boards, Loserson.

bford
bford

I will be listening much, much less.... though I've been fortunate to work with Chance and Frank outside of the station and I really hope to have more opportunities for that now that they will be free to really unleash their talents.  

Douglas Van Horne
Douglas Van Horne

I may have come across as a bitterman ealier.  Although I have seen more 'serious' sports talk lately, that doesn't make me love both Sean and Travis' show any less.  You won't find anyone who is happier that Sean is going national.  He deserves it and I think he will knock it out of the park. Travis' show is also great and already national.  Both awesome shows and both awesome talents/personalities.  All the talent at 1560 is great, I just think we lost some of our station's innocence with Chank walking the plank.  Loyal listener since Day One and will continue as long as LZ, SP, TR, and LG are there. 

No
No

Funny how hard they tried to distinguish themselves from 610 at the beginning only to eventually turn into them. Maybe they'll hire Rich Lord now.

Mike C
Mike C

Big step in the wrong direction fellas. Congratulations. 1560 is quickly losing the edginess it once had. They actually have a penalty box for the hosts. Guys, that's pretty lame.

Mike
Mike

Total crap, listened since day one. Even when on the road traveling. I'm afraid I'll never have an actual laugh out loud moment again that can ever compare to the first three years. I enjoy Sean and Travis, but this isn't the 1560 I bought into, supported, told everyone and anyone about: a true, great, local station. They just lost two of the most creative people in Houston. I'll still listen when in town, but will doing so knowing they have also turned into a CPOD.

BT
BT

I agree. Chank was a huge part of why this station stood out from the pack. I almost cringe now when I hear that promo that ends in "take that 'The Man'" because it almost feels as if 'The Man' is who they have decided to emulate now. I hate to say this, but it almost seems like they are trying to be the new 610. I still love 1560 and the whole line-up, but the station has a completely different feel now.

I will definately miss Chank.

barleyvine
barleyvine

Mike Complete agree, I think 1560 had a small but loyal cult like following due to some of their antics.  Maybe they increase some listenership with some of these moves, but I doubt that they will be nearly as loyal.

Nate
Nate

Amen, brother, amen.

Hisjoshness
Hisjoshness

The signal still sucks. At least now it will be less listenable as well.

Douglas Van Horne
Douglas Van Horne

not cool at all. was hoping Chance and Frank would stick around and be involved with 1560 on the creative side. i am geting a little tired of all the talking heads that are brought on both Sean and Travis' show.  That started in May. Coincidence? me thinks not.  As for Raheel, he is great but saying bukkake on-air merited some disciplinary action to be taken, and I think he would agree with that.  Chank deserved a raise, not a demotion and their absence is already being felt by periods of bad boring cpod radio eminating from their signal.

sully
sully

Wonder why it sounded so boring lately. the bug spot with the flea crushing between fingernails was the only creative thing I've heard for 2 weeks. I used to love changing all radio presets in stores to 1560 - no mas. 

papabear
papabear

Pretty much done with 1560. I'll still listen in the morning and to raheel and nano...but that's about it.

Jim
Jim

stupid move. Chank were the heart and soul of that station. Now they are gone... so am I

Holly Davis
Holly Davis

I'm sad, sad, sad. :-( With Chance and Frank gone, it will never be the same. :-(

Rock
Rock

Sean and John were too college football centric...Travis rogers is good for 30 min to an hour tops.The morning show is far and away the best thing on the station, but for whatever reason I still cant pick them up on my home or clock radio

Jim C
Jim C

Sean and John were too college football centric?  As opposed to who?  Tim Brando, who had his show miked to sound like it was coming out of a college stadium's press box?

Travis Coggin
Travis Coggin

I converted to 1560 last year and listen to Travis Rodgers every day. Throughout the transition I think they've done a stellar job of balancing local/national stories on the now syndicated programs. I won't be switching stations any time soon. And congrats on their new Rice partnership. My Cougars may own them at hoops, but you have to respect Rice baseball.

Dino
Dino

There are still radio stations in Houston?  Huh.

John
John

I have listened to KGIW since the very biginning, back when the hampsters or whatever where running the signal. Sounded like they were broadcasting from a closet. Sean and John were raw but I gave them time. Soon they were really good. Recently that show was split up. Since then I have listened far less frequently. I still like the morning show although I do listen less to that as well. Maybe these changes are good for them but for me, not so much. Good luck to the guys though.

Michael
Michael

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I still love the morning show but Chank's creative side really gave 1560 an edge and some distinct polish. 

The week that Ramzanali was suspended was the week that the 10-12 show was unbearable to listen to. 

Mikehttp://twitter.com/#!/phatcent...

Chance Mcclain
Chance Mcclain

Man the Preas has gone soft. A year ago they would've put exes on Frank's eyes and photochopped a bullet hole in the center of my forehead. ;-)

You left off the lawnmower in studio. That was the apex of our inolvement. The crickets were nice, too. But lawnmowers in the studio are where the radio biz is going.

Taylor
Taylor

Wrong, bro, the apex was Granato reading the Smokey and the Bandit script...haulin' beaners...classic!

Kymberlie R. McGuire
Kymberlie R. McGuire

It was totally random for me to come over here and read an article by my best friend and see a guy I went to high school in it.  :-D

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