024: Talking Touchdowns, Two-Pointers, and Triple Plays with Adam Clanton
It all started with a box for a Houston Rockets sweepstakes for kids at an Olive Garden. Be sure to listen to this episode to hear about Adam Clanton’s love for all things Houston Sports and how he got into sports talk radio. You’ll also learn plenty about how the internet and social media have changed sports media in big ways over the years.
Key Points + Topics:
- [1:35] Adam Clanton is a sports radio man. He has worked with various Houston sports teams in a few different formats. But he’s been all Houston sports, all the time, since he graduated from college. He went to Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Huntsville, TX, just north of Houston. He picked SHSU over the University of Houston because he liked the smaller class sizes. He knew he had ADD and struggled in high school, truly learning to study. He took a class meant to weed out the less devoted students from radio broadcasting three times. Studying was very challenging for him. At one point, he threatened to drop out of SHSU and transfer to the University of Houston, but his father hand-wrote a letter convincing him to persevere, which he did. Ultimately, this shifted his college timeline, and he ended up graduating six years after starting, rather than the “normal” four. However, that shift in timing meant he got an internship (that developed into his first job) that might not have been available two years prior. It also meant he started networking right as the Texans began as a football franchise and got a job working on the sidelines for them. He knows he had a fantastic experience at SHSU and still draws on his education to this day.
- [8:05] Adam Clanton would not be doing what he does today if it weren’t for the Houston Rockets, and Olive Garden. At a dinner when he was eleven years old with his family at an Olive Garden, he noticed a registration box for some prize with the Houston Rockets basketball team. As they were waiting on an available table, he stuffed the box with entry after entry – and he won! He got to be a ball boy in February of 1994 at a Rockets Basketball game. Somehow, he was late to the game and was given a too-small jersey and shorts set to wear. He was then introduced into the crowd in embarrassingly tight shorts, but ultimately, he was hooked. He started following the team’s progress, and they won that summer and again the following year. When that’s your introduction to a team, especially as a kid, you get the feeling it will be like that every year. And that is what sparked his love for basketball. High school football in Texas is no joke, and that introduced him to the world of the NFL. And finally, the Astros happened to be doing very well at that time, so he found himself drawn to baseball. He started to wonder if there was a way to get paid to talk about these things.
- [11:25] To Adam, a mentor isn’t something that is constrained to a particular job title or industry. A mentor is someone who makes sure you’re going down the right path based on your skills and strengths. They help minimize or overcome your weaknesses in the most selfless way imaginable. It can be easy to build up unrealistic expectations of someone you want to mentor you. Many times, this can lead to disappointment. So, he says to be careful about setting achievable expectations but don’t let those hopes keep you from reaching out to request mentorship.
- One of Adam’s notable mentors is Marc Vandermeer, the Houston Texans’ play-by-play voice man. He calls him his second radio dad (after his actual father, who also works in talk radio). Adam has learned in radio it really is about WHO you know. And Marc knew Adam’s father and liked him a lot. Many people who knew Adam’s dad through radio and then met Adam find he is a lot like his dad, but there are some ways they differ. Adam’s friendship with Marc became Marc-and-Adam’s relationship, as opposed to Marc’s relationship with his colleague’s kid. He’s given Adam a lot of advice on business and life. Eventually, there was an opening on his sports talk show, and he called and offered the position to Adam, and that was how he first got his foot in the door.
- These days Adam mentors many of the producers at the radio station. One of the current producers is a very positive and nice guy who was thrown into the position with little experience. Adam knows the producers and other behind-the-scenes personnel are the true gatekeepers of the business and are often overlooked and underappreciated. He always tries to treat them well and knows how you treat people can go a LONG way, especially in this business.
- [21:40] Adam has been working in sports radio basically through the internet/online renaissance. His platform of choice these days is Twitter. He finds it very interesting and notes it can be a bit mercurial. He first joined the platform in 2007ish, and after letting his account languish untouched for about a year, he truly started using the platform after being asked a favor. Daryl Morey was the general manager of the Houston Rockets at the time, and they were trying to recruit Chris Bosh (a highly sought-after player in the NBA at the time). Daryl asked if Adam would tweet about this. And after that tweet, Adam never really stopped. As someone subject to some of the brightest and darkest parts of the internet, Adam is a huge proponent of the MUTE button on Twitter. It’s different than blocking someone. When you block someone, they can see it and garner a tiny bit of satisfaction knowing they succeeded in bothering you. The mute button, however, simply blocks them from the recipient, with the sender being none the wiser.
- [28:45] One of his favorite parts of his job is giving away tickets for free. The Rockets set aside a certain allotment of tickets for employees. It’s first come, first serve, and you can do whatever you like with them aside from selling them. And he loves giving them away on social media. He particularly likes finding people who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to go to a game and whom he knows will enjoy the experience.
Guest + Episode Links
Danny Gavin 00:05
I’m Danny Gavin, founder of Optidge, Marketing Professor and the host of the Digital Marketing Mentor. It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Adam Clanton, broadcaster and sports talk show host, with iheart Media. Adam has been a staple of Houston sports journalism for nearly 20 years. He’s written about sports and talked about sports and talked some more about sports on TV radio and podcasts. Currently, he cohosts the 18 weekdays from three to six pm central on sports talk seven ninety. Flagship of the Houston Rockets and world champion Astros. He’s also host and color commentator for the Rockets radio network. In truth, he’s just an all-around good guy. In Yiddish, we call them a Mensch and that’s really what Adam is. Adam, how are you?
Adam Clanton 01:06
I’m good, Danny, that’s quite the intro and i’ll be called a Mensch by you anytime.
Danny Gavin 01:13
Yeah, Adam and I have known each other for a couple years now and he’s always been so wonderful to me, to my kids, just in general. So it’s a real pleasure to have you on tonight.
Adam Clanton 01:22
Your family’s been fantastic to me and I bought my engagement ring from your father, so it we go way back with some very seminal moments in my life, so you’re practically family to me.
Danny Gavin 01:34
I feel the same way. So that’s awesome. Adam, let’s first talk about your educational background. I know you went to Sam Houston. Tell us about that experience.
Adam Clanton 01:41
I did, you know, some visits and I really thought I was going to be going to U of H because I’m very much a Houston guy, as you know. But Sam Houston gave me the ability to be in a much smaller classroom setting, which I thought was you know, something that I needed. I’m a I’m a champion of the ADD movement, if you will. I am. I was not a very good student. When I say that is that when I was younger I got into a lot of advanced classes because I was just. Naturally smart about, you know, rudimentary things. It’s not like I’m bragging here, but I just, I caught on quickly. I was programming our VCR when I was like 6 years old, that kind of thing. But what I found was the attention deficit disorder struggle is real because of that ability to kind of pick up on things very easily, I never really learned how to study. Like truly study, like sit down and, you know, actually absorb because I didn’t have to. And so by the time I got to like, you know, middle school and especially high school 1 by 1, some of those advanced classes start falling because I would rather, you know, watch a Rockets game or read the sports page at the time. For those of you who knows what, know what a sports page is still. And I, you know, I just, it was one of those deals where I knew that I wanted to do what I do today and I knew I had to. Probably go to school to give myself a better chance, even though what I do and in the industry I’m in is so much about networking. And my wife and I have this conversation all the time, and she gives me a hard time because she’s wildly successful in the same industry as I am. And she’s, you know, a quote unquote college dropout. But she makes three times what I do and is on probably 20 times as many avenues of broadcasting as I am but it’s what I learned about is that it was about the completion of that process and there was a time probably about midway through my education at Sam Houston State that I was in a class. It was an introductory class to the broadcasting you know the entire broadcasting department and it we had a professor that I’ll just say without naming names it was a weed out class it was. 150 questions fill in the blank. That kind of thing. Like it was very We’re going to see if you’re serious about this. And I had to take that class three times because you had to make a C Okay that was to get a C. First time I failed. The second time, I made a D by, like, this much. But it goes back to what I’m talking about. It was not good at studying. So somebody like me, I was like, okay, how bad do you want this? And I was like, that’s it, I’m done. This guy’s out to get me. I’m going to transfer to U of H and I’ll do the rest of my college career at U of H where this kind of stuff doesn’t happen. That’s the stupidest thing you could ever. And my dad, who’s in the broadcasting industry as well, he wrote me a handwritten letter about why I should stay at Sam Houston State. Why I should stick it out, why I should finish what I started all that and I did, and you know, to his credit, not only did that teach me a lesson, but the timeline of that pushed me back and I ended up being on the six year plan, if you will. And because of that timeline, I got an internship that maybe I wouldn’t have at Channel 2. That became a job. I just never left my internship. And I was also doing radio and I was networking at a time where the Texans had just began as a franchise and I got a job working on the sidelines with them. And I’m meeting people throughout this process where I’m still using those connections today. I’m still, you know, i met Bob Ford, who is the public address announcer for the Houston Astros. That’s a good guy to know these days and a good guy to be friends with. And he was able to do some voice tracks on a video. I just did a video that is now sponsored. That’s a hype video for the Astros that I do on Twitter. It’s kind of one of my gimmicks online. So I just it it’s the long winded way of saying, you know, that’s that was the process that I went through. That was the experience that I went through. And it’s such an individual thing, whether it’s, you know, high school, whether it’s an associate’s, whether it’s a four year degree, a Master’s, PHD whatever you do. Everybody is so individual and everybody’s journey and their path to whatever they’re going to end up being is so different. And I definitely had a unique way of finding that out and learning that maybe the hard way. But I would never trade in my time at Sam Houston State and how I learned about what I do today with a very handson way of going about it, by the way, which is the main reason I picked Sam Houston State. That was a fantastic experience and something that I still draw on to this day fascinating we’re going to talk a little bit later more about your dad, but I’m just wondering, do you still have that handwritten letter?
Adam Clanton 06:30
Oh my goodness. You know, I might if I have an idea of where it would be in my house if I do have it. But I have not been in that corner of the house for a while, so I’d have to go digging. I do know that I didn’t memorize it or anything, but it’s definitely something that I think about more often than I thought I would at the time, for sure, and even more so than I thought I would even later in life. You know, it’s just my dad’s like. He’s my dad, obviously. But when it comes to the career that I do in the world that we’re both in every day, it’s. I learned so much from him that you can’t learn in books and you can’t learn by necessarily experiencing it. But you can be ready to go through some of those experiences because of the, you know, information that I got from a guy that is so experienced in this business before me.
Danny Gavin 07:22
Yeah, that’s really amazing. I never knew that he was in the biz. What a lucky.
Adam Clanton 07:25
Yeah, he’s not. And he’s like he sports are the furthest thing from it. Like he was in music, he was in programming, he was in promotions and marketing. We could not have more different pathways in this same business. But as you know, this business has so many different genres and so many different, you know, avenues that you can go down that he, you know, doing what he did. The way he did it, how long he had done it and then being able to, you know, pass along some of that information to me, yet me go down a completely different path, is that use the word fascinating. That’s the fascinating part of the industry that we’re both a part of.
Danny Gavin 08:03
So growing up in or near Houston, do you think growing up in an area where sports, both professional and otherwise, are so abundant influenced your career path?
Adam Clanton 08:11
Yes, and I’ll tell you why I would not be sitting here doing this podcast with you if it weren’t for the Houston Rockets. And I’ll explain that as quickly as. I can, so I tend to give long winded answers about this kind of stuff. But when I was, geez, I was in middle school, I was in seventh grade and we used to go to the Olive Garden. We’d go to different restaurants after church on Sunday and we wound up at the Olive Garden. There was a. They box their registration box, and I wasn’t even a really a huge basketball fan at the time. I pretty much just watched football because again, i grew up with two parents who could not care less about sports. So it’s kind of a minor miracle that I do what I do for a living, but I would stuff this registration box with like. Entry after entry. Because while we were waiting to be seated at our table, I would just fill them out. I’m a 13 year old kid being a punk like you know, 13 year old punk kids do. And I won. And the registration was to be a ball boy for the night at a Houston Rockets game. Well, this is 1994 Okay. So February fifteenth nineteen ninety, four day after Valentine’s Day, I am scheduled to be the honorary ball boy for the Houston Rockets against the Atlanta Hawks. And I’m late to the game. So I get there. And I’m somehow late to this fantastic opportunity and because I was late, the jersey shorts combo that the winners went, you know, they wear for these types of things, it is a little snug. That’s putting it lightly. I think they were expecting maybe a nine year old. So I get there and they’re like literally supposed to introduce me to the crowd and I’m like holding up the game. And so the guy that was like my handler that night, he’s like, we got to go and he’s like, I’m like these shorts don’t fit, you don’t understand. And he’s like, doesn’t matter. He Yanks the shorts up. They’re basically the equivalent of John Stockton shorts, if you know what I’m talking about. So I’m introduced to the crowd and he’s embarrassingly short, tight shorts. And only after the spotlight has been on me and everything am I taking back to the. Back and give me a pair of shorts that actually fit. But all of this to say Rockets win that night, I start following them because you’re kind of bit by the bug and they win a championship that summer. And then they do it again the next year in a very spectacular way from the sixth seed, which no team had ever done and no team has still done to this day, winning it from that low of the seed. And so you just think it’s going to be like that every year. And it’s obviously not. And they’ve been trying to win one ever since. But that is what got me into a passion for the NBA And that kind of turned into Okay, NBA National Football League. When I got into high school, the Astros were, you know, that was back in the era of the Killer Bees, the late nineties, and then they trade for Randy Johnson. So I was kind of like a part of all three. Very quickly I was swooped up by the emotion of it all on the pageantry of sports and all that kind of stuff. So that’s what kind of got me into, you know? Loving it as much as I do. And then, all right, well, let me figure out a way that I can make money covering this. And if I can get paid to watch games and talk trash with other fan bases about the games I’m watching, what better job in the world is there than that every guy would want to do? And so that’s what I do, and I’m very lucky to do it, and it’s been a lot of fun over the years.
Danny Gavin 11:23
All right. So let’s segue into mentorship. So Adam, how would you define a mentor?
Adam Clanton 11:28
You know, a mentor to me is. Not constrained to what job you’re talking about or what it’s It is basically someone who is making sure that you are going down the right path based on your skills, your strengths, playing up those strengths, minimizing the weaknesses, or helping you overcome those weaknesses in the most selfless and positive way possible.
Danny Gavin 11:55
That is a really good definition.
Adam Clanton 11:58
I just came up with it, but that’s how I feel so.
Danny Gavin 12:01
Are there any traits that you personally would avoid in a mentor?
Adam Clanton 12:05
Oh, OK. So that’s a good one because sometimes you want to have someone that you really look up to be a mentor, and you want somebody that you look up to, maybe even in the same field that you want to go into, for example, or just whatever it is. And sometimes you can build up expectations that are unrealistic because as. Someone who needs to be mentored you don’t have the full understanding or knowledge of sometimes what it takes to achieve what you want to and you can kind of set yourself some high expectations and a lot of times that’ll happen i’m ironically going to talk about my dad here I. Hold him on such a pedestal like he because he’s just so he’s so smooth, his voice is fantastic and he’s so able to kind of be a chameleon in so many different ways in the same business. He’s taken on so many roles, worn so many hats and. A lot of times you can sometimes build somebody up and then they’ll disappoint you for whatever reason. Not necessarily in a negative way, but just, you know, maybe it wasn’t what you thought. Kind of like meeting an athlete who ends up being a jerk and you just wish you hadn’t experienced that, you wish you could Unsee it. So that’s sometimes something you want to be careful to avoid. I don’t know if it’s something that should keep you from reaching out to somebody, though. So i I’m not trying to ride the fence here with his answer, but i think that’s sometimes something that I’ve noticed, maybe somebody that I wanted to reach out to and they were not what I thought they would be. And so you kind of learn that lesson the hard way and you move on and you keep a safe distance. Dad, for the record, is not one of those people. So he doesn’t he doesn’t ever disappoint.
Danny Gavin 13:48
So let’s talk about someone who was or is a good mentor. So Mark Vandemeer, Houston Texans, played by a voice. When you told me about him, I was a little, like, surprised. Who interesting that you find him as a mentor. Tell me about that.
Adam Clanton 14:00
Well, he was in my first wedding. He is. I always call him my second radio dad because my first radio dad is my actual dad. But Mark is a guy that he’s one of those people I was talking about when I first started just hanging around the business from the sports standpoint, just being around the radio station that I didn’t even have a job at yet. But my dad was actually working in the same cluster. So, you know, the way radio works is you can own several different stations under the same umbrella, but they’re all different formats. Sometimes they’re AM versus FM music versus talk, politics versus sports, that kind of thing. And then of course all the genres of music And so in that vein. My dad was working in a cluster where he was doing business and stocks and financial advice and that kind of thing. And here’s sports over here that I want to do. And so I’m in the building because my dad gives me that access, which is absolutely, I mean, just totally invaluable, but at the same time, he’s not. Into that he’s not somebody that’s like, oh, I got, you know, people think that I was handed my jobs because of that. It’s like, no, it was meeting people like Mark, which by the way, again, I can’t emphasize enough, especially in broadcasting and especially in radio. It is who you know. It’s not what you know. It is who you know. There’s a lot of people that do what I knew that could do what I could do, but they might not have had the connections. And you make those connections yourselves a lot of times because you’re networking and you can network, but you have to do something with that network. And it’s meeting somebody and getting a business cards one thing, but actually forming and cultivating that relationship and making yourself someone that they can’t forget as much as you can’t forget them. And that’s why they stood out to you. And Mark was one of those guys mark was somebody that took to me. And look, he’s a guy that, you know, he knew my dad and a lot of people that they know my dad. They love my dad because he’s such a great guy. He really is a nice guy. I can separate him from being my dad. I I’ve seen how he interacts with people and I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad about him in the business. He’s much nicer than me. So like, he’s not going to go on Twitter and get into some fight with some random fan about if he’s not that, but because of that. You know, Okay, Well, let’s see what Adam’s all about. Let’s see if he’s anything like Brent. And they find out that I am in a lot of ways, but then they also find out that I’m very different, but i still am able to, you know, form those relationships. And that’s what Mark did. He took a liking to me. But it quickly became about Okay. This is Mark and Adam’s relationship, not Bark’s relationship with Brent’s kid. It’s still in college and wants to do this. And who really listens to the Jim Rome show Way too much during the day, You know, like there’s stuff like that was going on at the time and when I met him in 2001 I guess, or 2002 whenever that was the Texans first season was 2002 He came along a little bit before that and got the job and has been there ever since. He’s a guy that just, he gave me advice. He talked about things that had nothing to do with the business life. I mean, we would just talk about things. He would have me on to do a Casey Casem impression on his show once a week. And I’m still in college and I’m thinking, this is the greatest thing ever. I’m on a major market radio station doing an impression. It wasn’t even my real voice. Nobody knew who I was. It was Casey Casem on a mobile because he heard me do it and thought it was funny and he’s like, hey, why don’t you call in and do this bit? He didn’t have to do that and he certainly didn’t have to do that early on in his tenure here where he’s trying to make his own way in this Houston market. He’s the brand new guy in town, but he did and you remember stuff like that And then you know, Fast forward a few years, there’s an opening as kind of the third wheel on the show with he and Andre Ware. They’re going to be hosting the morning show and they reach out to me to replace Jeremy Foster. I mean that’s. I wasn’t expecting that phone call. Got that phone call. And before you know it I’m working mornings on the flagship station for the Texans and I’m doing TV at night and I’m not sleeping. And it’s like, you know it, it’s you’re pinching yourself, but. Mark’s one of the people that helped make that happen.
Danny Gavin 18:07
And flipping the tables, you, Adam Clanton, as a mentor. I know that you mentor a lot of the producers at your station. Tell me about that mentorship relationship.
Adam Clanton 18:16
Our producer right now is a guy named Noah Fouts, and he produces our afternoon show, and he’s a guy that is really a positive guy, a really nice guy. He was kind of thrown into it because we had a producer who recently departed and it was, it was completely amicable. He went for, you know, better. Financial opportunity for he and his family and he was a guy that we really like. I really valued what he brought to our show every day and the things he did that were probably taken for granted. I always made it a fact and a point to you know thank him for what he did for our show and he was a guy that I don’t know if he would look at me as a mentor too. He’s a guy that i wanted to always look out for. I wanted to make sure that he was taken care of as much as I could. What little influence I had to help make that happen. And so when he left that was kind of, it was bittersweet for me. But I was excited to find out that Noah was going to replace him because I like to know a lot. I thought he was you know a good kid and I thought and he’s so young and he’s so new in the business but he’s picked it up and coming along and you know, i think me and wex. We bust chops a lot because that’s what we do and he, you know, he gives it right back. You know you try to see what a guy can take sometimes not in a bad way but like that’s part of this business. And you know I learned that coming up as well. And so like I said, I don’t know if he looked at me as a mentor but I definitely would hope that he and Joe my last producer and some of the people that are now, you know, younger than me if they. Needed help with something. If they needed to reach out to me, if it was something that I could help with in this business, whether it’s on air or off, they would feel comfortable. Josh sees another guy like that and I don’t know if he looks at me like that, but I always, I just always try to make these guys that are literally the gatekeeper for what we do like. You don’t get on. You don’t get an Astros game on the air without these guys. You don’t get our show on the air. You don’t get a Rockets game on the air without the producers, the engineers, the people behind the scenes literally you always hear about that cliche, but they are the ones that make it happen. And a lot of times they’re overlooked and a lot of times they’re underappreciated. And I just know that, and I learned this from my dad. It it’s how you treat people in this business. It so goes a long way. I know there are, there are people in this business that were good to me early on that are now not good to me for a dumb reason or for ten. There are people that maybe I didn’t know very well or misunderstood at the outset and we became friends. There are some people that, you know, you just kind of tolerate each other and it gets bad or it gets worse or sometimes it gets better. It’s you know, it’s life. And so I always like if you’re good to me, I’m going to be good to you. If you if you’re not good to me, I can be a little acidic, if you will. But I always try to make sure that when it comes to those people, the producers, the engineers, the people like that I go out of my way to make sure they know that I appreciate them. If no one else is going to, I will. And a lot of us do. It’s not that we don’t, but I just always learn that from my dad that that’s very important and they’re going to appreciate that because. I think they learn pretty quickly that there’s a lot of people in the business that don’t appreciate them. And you know, I just don’t want to be one of those people that they’re looking at that way.
Danny Gavin 21:33
So definitely not dating you because we’re about the same age. You first started working right around 2004 or five, so you’ve really had the chance to see the rise and takeover of digital marketing and social media on the industry. What has that been like?
Adam Clanton 21:46
Twitter is so interesting because Twitter can. Twitter is a loaded gun, I once heard Jim Rome actually say. You can’t get that back. It’s the toothpaste that you know, you can’t get it back in the tube. It’s all of those things. And Twitter to me was something that another I would call him a mentor of mine. Alan Reed, former photographer over at KPRC That’s the NBC affiliate that I worked at for so many years, 8 years I think so roughly. And he was one of our two sports photographers. Shout out to him and Daryl George who I still talk to this day. Alan’s like you got to get on Twitter. You got any on Twitter and this is like 2007 or 8. You know when the at the at the very cusp of when it happened I think Facebook was still you had to be enrolled in college or still have your old college email address to even get on it And Instagram didn’t exist. Nothing existed except for those two and he’s like, you got to get on. I’m like, I fine. So I make an account and it sits there dormant for like a year. And then, through my internship at Channel 2 had met Daryl Morey, who was a long time general manager of the Rockets, and Daryl and i got his phone number as an intern. Still, I wasn’t even sure I was going to be working in Houston, but got his phone number when I went to go pick him up at his house for an appearance on Sports Sunday. And we were fast friends. And got to know his wife very well and his family and they were very good to me, very good to me and still are to this day we’re still we still stay in touch when the Sixers coming to town we make it a point to catch up the rocket and this was kind of like off the off the record at the time but now I can say this is when the Rockets were pursuing Chris Bosh in free agency the first time not the second time and he said hey i’m trying to get. Our word out to Chris Bosh through social media. Would you mind tweeting this? And I was like all right. I don’t really use Twitter so I don’t know how much good it’s going to do. I don’t think I have very many followers that kind of thing. And so I but I did it. I just started tweeting and I never stopped. And the thing about Twitter is you know it is a loaded gun. It can take your job. It took mine and for being honest technically it was a tweet even though it wasn’t what really happened behind the scenes and it was messy and. I got my job back, which was the cool part. But Twitter can be in social media in general, can be the best tool imaginable. I mean, it’s it you don’t. I mean, there’s so many things about how I get my information today versus even 10 years ago, five years ago, but probably more like 10 years ago. It’s just such a different. Way to live your life doing what we do for a living. And then just in general, like I know people get their news from social media and they don’t turn on the traditional newscast anymore because of that. And that’s just the way it’s going. And so digital media, social media that the digital age that we live in is both the most wonderful thing ever. And I think it’s one of the most horrible things that’s ever happened to society. There’s never been anything like it. It’s like TV being invented like. If you were alive before and after TV like that’s crazy to think about because there’s people like me, You don’t know what it’s like without TV My grandparents knew exactly what it was like or you know, so it’s wonderful, it’s horrible. It’s an enigma. It really is. And I think that it can be used for a lot of good and I think it has been used for a lot of good. I’ve personally benefited from the good. And then i’ve been a victim of the bad. And in the bad unfortunately I think sometimes outweighs the good. I do think it’s been overall, I think it probably has been probably more of a negative for society because the discourse that you that is created when you can’t just have a simple disagreement. It has to be a gang up bully mentality and it’s just a very it’s a place that I don’t want my kids to be. And if you can say that about something, even if it’s got a lot of good going for it, I think that’s something you really got to take serious. You can’t blow it off. You can’t just think it away or wish it away or just kind of ignore the problem. So I mean there’s a there’s just, I don’t know, it’s a it’s very much a struggle for me because of the good that you can do with social media but because of so much bad that’s there. I don’t, I don’t sometimes know what to do with it and it kind of depends on what day it is as to what the answer to your question would be.
Danny Gavin 26:07
You know, I like to know myself whenever I’m like getting them constructive criticism or criticism or looking at reviews, how much that affects me. I don’t know, Adam, like Someone Like You, like a public personality, getting that hate, even if it’s like it’s got a, I don’t know how you deal with it, it’s just crazy.
Adam Clanton 26:24
Well, the greatest thing that was ever invented on social media in my opinion is the mute button on Twitter. Because the difference between a mute and a block is just astronomical if you block someone, they then have the however small it is, the satisfaction of knowing that in their mind at least. Even if this isn’t true, in their mind, they got the better of you because that’s how they’re going to look at it right now. It might not be the case, you might just literally be okay. Well, if I block this person, I don’t see them anymore. But the mute button, you get the same effect for you and they have no idea. So they can be just shouting into their echo chamber at you. I get this all the time. I get the question, the statement that you just said to me from all my like, close personal friends. They’re like how do you deal? I’m like I don’t see it. Like I it. That’s the secret. Like peak behind the curtain. I don’t care who knows this, like I don’t see it because I don’t have to. And that is taking your power back, if you will. Life is. Far too short to be sitting there and I learned this the hard way and I’m I still from time to time struggle with this. Somebody gets under your skin, they say something, you happen to see it and it at the end of the day you’re going to come home to your wife and your kids and your family and that’s all that matters. So but every once in a while you’re going to allow yourself to believe that this unknown, a lot of times faceless person over here matters just as much or sometimes more if you let them. And the day you bring that home, the day you allow that to ruin a day in your family’s life or ruin something they have going on and you realize that it is, it’s a it’s a humbling experience and it’s something that really causes you, whether you wanted to or not, to reevaluate. Okay, what are we doing here? What’s going on that is making this over here that doesn’t matter, more important that the than these things over here that do. And once you figure that out. And it took me a long time to do it and I’m still not all the way there. I feel like I’m in rehab and I’ve got like I’m in Twitter rehab and I and I’m out and you know you’re once you’re an alcoholic you’re always an alcoholic. They say that and it’s there’s no 12 step program for social media but you certainly should take it seriously and it’s not a joke.
Danny Gavin 28:44
How else have you used social media to help you better connect with fans and to connect with your favorite teams and players?
Adam Clanton 28:50
One of my favorite things to do is as a an employee of the Rockets they allow. Certain allotment of tickets to for employees to get a hold of them. Basically it’s like a free for all. Here’s how you can get the tickets first come first serve. You can use them yourself. You can give them to people in. The only thing you can do is sell them, you know, Which we wouldn’t do. But I love giving them away on social media. I love giving them to people that have done solids for me, that I know would enjoy them, that maybe wouldn’t get to go to a game. At all. Or as often as I would or some other people would. And not having to pay a dime for them. And just giving that to some kid who’s never been to an NBA game before. Or to be able to get them into a game where they wanna see the Rockets, but they also wanna see. You know another Steph Curry come to town or some other you know superstar in the NBA like that’s just that’s so cool and it’s not just the people that you know but the people you don’t know and for them to be like oh, I really appreciate you doing this. That is so cool. Like I love that part of my job and being able to do that through social media when people meet you that for example know me because I do those videos they don’t necessarily maybe even listen to the show but they know. That I do those videos or they do listen to me on the show and they heard an impression that I did or something that I said or they like the fact that I’m just die hard Houston and I always defend, you know, the teams here and they want to meet me because of that. I’m still not used to that. I’ll never get used to that. I don’t like getting up in front of crowds. I don’t like eyeballs looking at me. I can sit in front of a microphone in a room all day. I can. Sit in front of a teleprompter with something that I’ve written into the teleprompter. Worked on all afternoon and read it. Doesn’t bother me at all. Never got nervous on TV Never got nervous on the radio ever i don’t write down questions for my interviews that I to this day I don’t unless I have to get something in like a sponsor tells me to or something like that. I rarely, if ever write down any questions because I just wanted to organically happen. I wouldn’t recommend that, by the way. I’m kind of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy, if you hadn’t noticed by now, getting up in front of crowds, just people looking at me, people wanting to like why do you want to see me? You know, i don’t understand that, but it is cool to know that when they do meet you, I’m always try to take the time and be thankful obviously that they listen to you because you don’t, you know, I’m not doing what I do without the people that listen to us and buy the products that we endorse and that kind of thing. So I’m always very thankful for that, even if I’m not quite comfortable with that, if that makes sense.
Danny Gavin 31:32
Yeah, totally. And along that line, I would think that there’s no offseason for sports, radio and journalism.
Danny Gavin 31:41
Adam Clanton 31:41
How do you handle the always on mentality and balance the different sports team fandoms? Does it ever get too much or is it just part of the job and you enjoy it? No, it’s not. I look at it a different way. They always talk about the downtime of the of the sports calendar. Calendar is the dreaded All Star break in Major League Baseball. So you’re talking 3rd, fourth week of July maybe. Sometimes I think it might have been earlier last year. There is just nothing going on but. With the Astros, that hasn’t really been the case. When the Astros were losing 100 games, that was the worst week of sports, bar none. It was like, oh man, what are we going to. This is when you hear a list radio. List radio comes out, hey, let’s do the Mount Rushmore of this. Let’s talk about, all right, you’re all time starting, you know, it’s just that’s brutal. But I say all that to say that, like, there really isn’t because the Texans are not playing right now. They’re nowhere near playing. They won’t even get to training camp until late July, early August. And it’s a huge topic right now because they got they got the number two pick in the draft and the number 12 pick in the draft. So you are talking about months before they hit the field for even practice and we’re talking about them. The Rockets are about to wind down a third consecutive just abomination of a season from a basketball on court record product standpoint. Amazing crowds, despite the lack of success, amazing team of people that puts on a really fun event to go to. I highly recommend it regardless of how the Rockets are playing at any given time. But I bring that up to say in June they’re going to pick hopefully number one i would really, that would be bad if they didn’t get the number one pick after everything that’s happened. But the reality is there’s a good chance they won’t. There’s a 14 % chance they’re going to get the number one pick and there’s an 86 % chance they’re not going to. And that’s the same for the three worst teams in the NBA And that’s a topic the Astros are defending their World Series. I mean, that’s as good as it gets. So you’ve got two teams in town that are at the bottom of the seller, and then you’ve got the best of the best over here across town. And it’s just like, it’s fascinating because. They all overlap. And my wife is always like, oh, it’s baseball season. Oh, it’s football. She’s like, she sees it coming because what was fun when we first got together, She’s like, oh, you like, used to say things before the announcer would say them and she thought that was hilarious. That’s long gone now it’s okay. What pieces of furniture are you going to be breaking after this loss? What are you going to be yelling at the TV that we don’t want our young child to say, like, it’s, you know, it’s that. So it’s very much, it never stops, like you said, but it’s also content. If you look at it from that standpoint for what we do for a living, the content never ends. And then you know there somebody’s going to do something stupid, somebody’s going to say something stupid, somebody’s going to tweet something stupid, somebody is going to do something outlandish. And it’s it. There’s just always, and it’s not necessarily here in Houston, it’s nationally, it’s worldwide. There’s always something going on. And that’s the cool part of my job. And I always thought that early on, even i grasped that concept very early. There’s it always changes. You do not work in a job or an industry where it’s the same monotonous thing. I never wanted to work, you know, in a in a cubicle or a box or just a figurative box where you are going to work eight nine hours a day and you’re doing the one thing and then you go home and you repeat that for 50 years and then you retire and you die. I never wanted to be that, you know, and this is about as. Close to a guarantee of that not being the case as it gets. So it’s that’s the good part of the job by far.
Danny Gavin 35:22
All right, it’s time for Adams. Top five. Who are your top five athletes? And I know that you’re a big wrestling fan, so if you want to throw a wrestler in there, you know, I guess we could debate whether they’re an athlete or not, but I’m sure you could throw one or two in there if you want.
Adam Clanton 35:36
Well, you know, like it. It’s funny you bring up wrestling because that is, it is scripted, but. You don’t fake getting thrown out of a ring on your back. You don’t, you know, like that kind of stuff is very real and they are very much athletes. But i think that when it comes to calling them athletes, it’s and I’m talking about any sport or any genre, it’s there’s so much more to it. What’s your box office draw? You know do people pay to come see you whatever you’re doing? Because that’s at the end of the day, money makes the world go around in every single avenue and so. I think you have to look at it that way. And so in that vein, you know Hakeem’s always going to be at or near the top of my list because when I was 13 years old and 14 years old, he was the best player on the planet at that sport. And then Jordan’s right there because Jordan is Michael Jordan. He’s everybody’s number one in a lot of ways. He used his platform to, I think, spread the love of the game without, in my opinion. Spreading a lot of the negative or the residual that has nothing to do with necessarily sport. Now that’s some people criticize him for that. Why weren’t you more of an activist? Why weren’t you more political? Why won’t and I remember him saying you know Republicans buy sneakers too and he was right. And if you want to call him a sellout or if you want to call him whatever. He’s laughing all the way to the bank and he’s made far more in endorsements and branding than he ever made playing a kids game. And so I admire him for that. I know that The Last Dance, that documentary on Netflix, really shed light on how he could be off the floor. I’ll be honest with you love him more because he was that ruthless, I mean sociopathical, competitive. Maniac, that is attractive to me. That is that guy was a win at all cost guy. I like that and that’s why he was so successful. So Jordan and Hakeem are like maybe one and one a, that kind of thing since you brought up wrestling. And I’m not doing these in any particular order. I’m just the biggest Stone Cold Steve Austin fan there is. And he’s a guy that if you think about his career, it was really basically like his career in WWE which was WWF when he got there. He was maybe there from 96 to 2003 That is such a flash in the pan. That’s such a short relative. Like when you think about guys like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair who have done it over half their lives, probably 3/4 of their lives and they’re still doing things revolving around that business. And I just think that he was such a white, hot, electric personality that was. As much a beneficiary of the time in which he was popular, where social media wasn’t quite there yet, and yet he was able to do this number over here and he was able to take advantage of pop culture and a time in the late nineties when it was just a perfect storm that made him popular. And he still resonates that way today as far as like athlete, I think. Bo Jackson was another guy like Steve Austin where relatively short amount of time at the top of his game if not for that hip injury like he’s probably goes down as like close to Michael Jordan. I don’t know if the endorsements and the charisma would have been the same level. I mean there’s Jordan’s just so untouchable in that way. But Bo Jackson I thought it was cut it was he was cut short and then Tiger Woods who’s fascinating to me like he was so dominant and. Made people that would never even care about golf watch hours of it. Like that’s there. I don’t know that there will ever be somebody like that golf still trying to replace him. And that was the thing about Jordan until LeBron got there was that purgatory from like 98 until 2001 really when Jordan came back and he and LeBron were playing at the same time for a little bit. But like LeBron was the guy that really like Kobe Bryant bridged the gap between the two but the just. All around monster fame superstar and tell LeBron it was Jordan and I think that Tiger. They’re still looking for the next Tiger and I just don’t know that there is there’s ever going to be a Tiger. Because he wasn’t the most captivating personality. He’s a horrible guy off the course. He has fallen from grace so many times and then gotten back up so many times. He’s a fascinating character but at the end of the day before. Things physically went wrong for him and mentally went wrong for him. I mean, this guy was like, you would fear him on the golf course. That’s an individual sport. That’s not a team sport. And people are still afraid of this guy. Like teams were of Jordan. You’ve never seen anything like that in a game like golf. And the reason that he’s really at the top of this list or near the top of the list, one of my 5 is because golf, I think probably more than any other sport. Is such a mental juggernaut. It is so i mean it is really when they say it’s 99 % mental and it’s 1 % physical, that is the epitome of it. And to have the success that he did in those pressure cooker situations, cause that’s one thing to be in a free throw line and your team’s depending on you, but when you’re just a one of one, you’re all alone out there and you’ve got to make that putt. And it everybody’s watching you. Everybody wants you to every or some people are not wanting to and you have the pressure like that on you and you routinely succeed by leaps and bounds and you’re lapping the field as just if you were able to watch Tiger in his prime. You know what I’m talking about. It was the most. Riveting, captivating stuff I had actually seen since Michael. And so i always put him up there. Not only because of that, but because of the just mess that his life has been in so many different ways off the course, and yet he still finds ways to reinvent himself, come back and be relevant.
Danny Gavin 41:57
Yeah, I think about him all the time because I drive a Genesis and all people say is, hey, it’s about the car that Tiger drove and like, yeah, it is.
Adam Clanton 42:05
Hopefully your wife isn’t backing out your back window with one of your clubs.
Danny Gavin 42:07
No, we’re OK.
Adam Clanton 42:09
All right, good to hear it.
Danny Gavin 42:11
What’s the next big project? What’s big for this year? What else are you up to?
Adam Clanton 42:14
Oh boy. Well, we’re winding down rocket season. I’m going to do my last game tomorrow night at Toyota Center. They’ve got a handful of games left, but Wax and I split those games up, and he’s got the rest of them. And then, you know, baseball, the grind has just started. We’re literally not in even a week into the season. So that’s kind of a marathon, that is. Going to have so many twists and turns and I really hope that we’re back there in November like we were last year. For me, keeping an eye on the Texans and hopefully, hopefully being reinvigorated by not so much the ownership. I’m just not a fan of the ownership very much, but I do. I will give them that group, collective group this I do think they’re trying. I think for the first time in the Texans organization’s history. They’re realizing, hey, we can’t just fart and people will buy tickets to see it. You know, like that’s you have a certain entitlement as an NFL franchise. And I think they lived on that for a long time. I think the honeymoon was far too long. And i mean there’s still people like in every team they’re going to wear the Texans colored glasses and no matter what they do they’re going to be fans of it. But I think bringing back a guy like Damico Ryan’s to the organization, hiring him as a head coach, because i covered D’amico. So I knew him as a player and I knew I had conversations with him away from the field. And I do know what a leader natural leader he is, a guy that other guys in that locker room gravitate towards naturally he’s just and he’s so easy to root for. I hope that combined with what they. You in the draft, you know, because it’s just. I just think that this city is so starved for that. I’ve seen the Astros win a championship and make no mistake, this is a baseball town now and I think the Texans are learning that the hard way. But the NFL is king. And if you are successful in the NFL that’s why. You know, my wife’s from Kansas City and man, you talk about a Midwest City that it just loves their team and was starved for the chief to be relevant again. Boom inner Patrick Mahomes and they’re at the top playing for the Super Bowl every single year and my motherinlaw is a die hard Chiefs fan. There’s just something about it and here in Texas we know what football means and they’ve just don’t want in Houston they’ve never done that. They can do what the Oilers never did. If they win that championship, I don’t. I think the odds are against them because of their ownership. I do think ownership is that important but I’ve also always said that if the Texans accidentally. Or however stumble into the right hires combination of a head coach and a general manager that know what they’re doing. They’re set because they always are the last ones to figure out they need to fire the guy that’s wrong for the job. So if they get the right guy you could look at a Pittsburgh situation where they’ve only had three head coaches in the history of the team. But we’ll see. I just I think I look at that as. You know, being interested in the Texans on Sunday again, not having to watch this terrible product because it’s my job. I would like to consider that my next project. As crazy as that sounds, I have absolutely had disdain for having to watch that product for so long that I really do look at it that way. I’m looking forward to what the Texans are going to be and enjoying covering them again. And I think people are probably with me and that they’re going to enjoy rooting for them again if they can do the things that I just talked about because it is better. I think when the NFL is good here in Houston and in Texas, ask Dallas Cowboys fans, they’re long-suffering too.
Danny Gavin 45:43
So Adam, where can listeners learn more about you and follow you?
Adam Clanton 45:47
Oh boy. You can follow me on Twitter at Adam Clanton, Instagram at Adam underscore Clanton. There’s an Adam Clanton who never uses his account. And I really don’t like that guy because I just, I want my handle. And then I’m on Facebook. I’ve got a public page, so you can look me up on Facebook. I’m kind of an open book. I don’t tweet as much as I used to for the aforementioned reasons, but i am. I’m on the radio. Three to six p m like you mentioned, I’ll be talking about life as much as I am sports a lot of times because that just bleeds into the broadcast. And then yeah, during the Rockets season, i’m on, you know 50 % of the games, along with Matt Thomas who’s a very good friend of mine. So I’m easy to find not hard to find and i’m around so and if you see me come up and say hi, i’m very approachable. As long as you’re respectful, I’ll be the same way.
Adam Clanton 46:37
Adam, thank you so much for talking about your life and how you got to where you were at, being a mentor and of course all the amazing Houston Sports Perspectives, which I love and it’s really awesome to have you here. Thank you listeners for tuning into the Digital Marketing Mentor and we’ll see you next time.
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