Two Great Tastes? Five Reasons Pallilo and Zierlein Will Succeed on 790

Categories: Sports

Photo by InspireFate Photography
The best merging since chocolate and peanut butter?
In a very funny Saturday Night Live skit from the `80s, Frank Sinatra played by Joe Piscopo was singing a duet with Stevie Wonder played by Eddie Murphy. Since Wonder had recently had a hit with Paul McCartney ("Ebony and Ivory"), it was theorized by Sinatra that they could have a hit as well, but after consulting songwriter Sammy Cahn, Sinatra suggested a song title change to "Chocolate and Vanilla: Let's Take a Bite."

Last week began the great Charlie Pallilo and Lance Zierlein experiment weekday afternoons on 790 KBME, with Pallilo describing it as his peanut butter to Zierlein's chocolate (or vice versa). As two of the most respected sports talk hosts in Houston, the idea of taking Zierlein off the crowded morning Big Show and adding him to Pallilo's solo afternoon drive spot left a lot of onlookers wondering if it could work.

So, has it? Well, it's only been about 10 days, but here are five reasons I think it is going to be a success.

5. They are both experienced.
In the first week on the air, both have been careful not to step on the other or get in the way, but that isn't just a feeling-out period, that's professionalism from two veterans in the business. Both have been on the air long enough to know that things like this don't come easy and they need time to develop. Surprisingly, Pallilo has sounded more like the guy who wants to see this work in the long haul -- at least from his on-air banter -- but both of them have the experience to assert themselves while still leaving room for the other.

4. Their knowledge is not only expansive, but complementary.
What I hadn't really considered when I first read about this new pairing was the fact that they really are focused on very different areas of sport. Zierlein knows tons, but he specializes in fantasy sports (something Pallilo hates), gambling and the hard core x's and o's of football. Pallilo is more a straight stats nerd with a truly deep knowledge of baseball. That is a balance I wasn't really expecting.

3. Diverging knowledge brings new audiences.
While some might suggest that Zierlein's offbeat humor and character voices could be off-putting for some of Pallilo's more stodgy audience, it appears that Zierlein has been cautious and introduced some of his personality slowly. It has helped bring things along without rocking the boat. Eventually, if a good balance can be attained, it has the potential to appeal to a very wide audience. And with Zierlein's social media presence -- Pallilo has avoided Twitter like the plague and jokingly mocked the station's Facebook page -- it will help keep the show relevant for a new generation of listeners.

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charlie is too accustom to being by hisself.  He is to structured, and smothers the ability of Lance to "be silly" and get into character.  the potential is there, but it will take a long time for Lance to feel comfortable enough around Charlie.  Charlie is better by hisself, and Lance works well with Wexler, i dont understand the move.  the awkward getting to know you phase of 'the drive home' sucks. 


Hopefully this improves Charlie's dull callers, which was reason enough not to listen to his show. I, too, was nervous about this mix but it seems to be working so far.


To me, the gold standard of sports talk in Houston was Rich and Charlie. This show has the potential to be even better. In my opinion, this is the best show in Houston.

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