Disclaimer: Fred Faour hosts a show on ESPN 97.5.
In case you missed it, Carl Dukes announced on The Drive on Wednesday that he will be leaving to work in “another major market.” Dukes, one of the deans of Houston radio, has been a fixture in Houston’s radio landscape for over a decade. Dukes’ last show will be Friday night in Beaumont.
His departure created several changes on ESPN 97.5. Our show, The Blitz, which I do with A.J. Hoffman and producer Jong Lee, will move into the 4-7 p.m. slot starting on Monday.
Our old 12-2 slot will be taken over by Dave Tepper and Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon.
The rest of the lineup remains the same.
First off, Dukes’ departure will be a loss for the market. He is opinionated, provocative, and has one of the smoothest voices in radio. More importantly, he is simply a good dude. He has been like listening to a good friend every afternoon, and has parlayed his skills into a major gig. It will be great for him, but he will be missed. On a personal note, Dukes has been a good friend, a confidante and a great supporter of my career. I wish him nothing but the best.
From our perspective, a chance to move into a drive time slot is a huge opportunity. It should afford listeners a nice change of pace to the current environment and give them a wide variety of choices. With Adam Clanton and John Wessling doing drive time on our sister station on 1560, veteran Lance Zierlein teaming with Charlie Pallilo on 790, and 610’s duo of Josh Innes and Rich Lord, drive time should be interesting to say the least. I have a world of respect for almost all of those guys and look forward to taking them on.
As for the noon-2 slot, Tepper and Solomon should be a strong pairing. Tepper has done a terrific job as the station manager at 97.5 and is also opinionated and argumentative, which should work well with Solomon, who is both times 10. They should put on a strong showing in middays and vie with N.D. Kalu and Greg Koch’s show as one of the better pairings in the various midday hours.
It’s also good to see Solomon back on radio. He was one of the people who helped 97.5 get started in 2007 and has been a bit of a mercenary since his midday show was discontinued. As a columnist, he has a lot of access to athletes and management on local teams. He should bring a different perspective and hopefully the Chronicle will embrace his radio career as it should be a nice companion.
Our station is in a much stronger position now that it is owned by Gow Communications. The partnership with 1560 has given both stations access to a strong talent pool. Yahoo Sports Radio should benefit as well. While 610 has the ratings monster that is the Texans and 790 has the Rockets and Astros, the Gow group has the two biggest brands in sports — ESPN and Yahoo — under its umbrella. as well as a deep talent base.
Of course, I think our show and our stations are the best option. But of course, I am just a tad biased.
Overall, the listeners of Houston are the real winners.
Regardless of that, Wednesday’s announcement shakes things up in a business that rarely stands still. In many ways, it’s good for the city, but Dukes is a big loss and will be missed.
Vaya Con Dios, Dukes.
Let the new games begin.