The Desolation of Rods: With Release of Harris, 1560 Has Shed Nearly All Its Talent From "The Game"
Almost three years ago, I wrote a story about how a local upstart sports talk station was waging a kind of David-versus-Goliath war against corporate-owned stations, and doing it with wit, attitude and creativity. No one argued that the group of young hosts and creative staff assembled by what was then 1560 The Game was some of the best up-and-coming talent in the city. They struggled with a poor transmitter signal and a hastily organized sales staff, but they were making inroads with ratings, something that surprised plenty of people in the industry.
Today, John Harris, a stalwart of the midday slot at what is now YSR 1560, tweeted that he had been let go from the station effective immediately. With Sean Pendergast's departure from the station -- a longtime co-host of Harris in the early days of 1560 -- for a drive-time slot at 610, only afternoon host scout John Granato remains from 1560's version of the Not Ready for Primetime Players. Granato was the first at the station, brought in with an ownership stake, and was responsible for assembling the talent that brought the station to prominence.
But a series of significant changes marked what would be the beginning of the end of 1560, namely the purchase of Sporting News Radio and, ultimately, the partnership with Yahoo! Sports Radio, both of which brought in new investors and a more urgent need to demonstrate real ratings and ad-dollar progress. With those pressures came a new direction, and, slowly but surely, the heart and soul of 1560 began to abandon ship.
First it was program director Chance McClain and creative mastermind Frank Bullington, known collectively as "Chank" and as the driving force behind the station's over-the-top on-air hijinks. With the station and its new network taking a much more conservative approach to what was being said and done on the air, McClain and Bullington no longer fit the mold.
Shortly thereafter, it was like the last one left gets stuck with the check as Lance Zierlein left his morning show with Granato for 790, breaking up one of the most successful duos in Houston sports radio. Raheel Ramzanali and David Nuno, two of the station's early young guns, moved on (Nuno is now a weekend sports anchor at KTRK Channel 13) as well. Just days ago, Pendergast announced he'd be leaving for an afternoon slot at 610 with Rich Lord, and today, Harris is gone.