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Jeff Marek, A Man In Demand

June 13th, 2011 | by torontosportsmedia

” I haven’t signed anything”

That’s all Jeff Marek would, politely, tell me when I reached him this afternoon to discuss the rampant rumblings filling my blackberry over the last couple of days. Speculation is everywhere that Marek is in play with both Rogers (Sportsnet/Sportsnet Fan 590) and TSN (TSN Radio/TSN) both vying for the former co-host of the Bill Watter’s show.

Marek, it would seem would fill a multitude of roles at the campus that Ted built, however, I was told emphatically that Merek isn’t in the running for the Maple Leafs beat gig formerly held by Howard Berger. Despite what many may hope, I am also told that Marek isn’t being considered as a potential replacement should there be a change in the 1-4pm slot currently held by Andrew Krystal.

Over at TSN, I am assuming (which I shouldn’t do) that Marek would replace the station’s current ratings leader Dan Patrick and go head to head against that very same Mr. Krystal, while joining what is a deep hockey roster on TSN’s TV side.

Of course Marek could hold firm and remain at the CBC.

With the NHL season coming to a head, it seems that Marek is the man in high demand. Should be interesting to see where he ends up.

I have no clue where he ends up. I’m putting my chips on Rogers, but hey I am not much of a gambler.

Stay tuned.

Sundays without Steve Simmons and Larry Brooks, just aren’t Sundays. Both had very good columns this past weekend.

TSM


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27 Comments

  1. _Justink says:

    I really like Marek at CBC. Honestly, I can see him taking over for Ron Maclean one day. Jeff’s top-notch.

  2. Mike S says:

    Even though Marek’s role at CBC and HNIC is somewhat limited these days I would probably be a bit surprised if he leaves…………but if Rogers or TSN makes him a big enough offer he would be crazy not to at least consider it

  3. Daniel says:

    Interesting. I’ve never really been a fan of Marek’s. Never totally understood his appeal.

    But, I would prefer him to Krystal. Too bad that’s not an option.

    Yeah – as Mike said, it’s a bit hard to imagine him leaving HNIC. There are some pretty sweet job opportunities there if you can work your way up the ladder.

  4. mario says:

    Marek is a very smart and up comming hockey host/insider. I too would find it hard to see him leave HNIC….But hey money talks and both Roger and TSN have shown in the past they are not afraid to throw their weight around..He left 640 am wich was a very smart move on his part seeing where it is going today…good pick up for either station…both need help in the 1-4 slot..

  5. Ron says:

    Does anyone now why Berger got canned? I wasn’t always a big fan, but I don’t think anyone had as much insight into the Leafs on a daily basis.

  6. Roger says:

    Marek seems to put more of his efforts in learning about the great fighters over the skilled players of the game. His love for Sean Avery is also very disturbing.

    Also, can someone inform Brian Hayes there is no such word as “anyways”?

  7. mike (in boston) says:

    Marek is still the guy with the awful radio show on MOJO, and the bad lackey/sidekick to Watters in my mind. i don’t watch much HNIC so my opinion is not very well informed about his current performance. i’m glad to hear people find him credible as a hockey guy.

    people here are already complaining that TSN RADIO is too hockey-centric, and adding Marek would add to that perception. i would like to see TSN seek out good radio talent (the way 640 did with Brady), rather than just grab the recognizable names from the Toronto market. This latter approach seems to be Rogers’ strategy, and i’m not sure it is a good one. Being a decent columnist doesn’t make you a good radio host.

  8. dsscpu says:

    I agree with those who posted before me in saying that I could see Marek taking over for Maclean one day. I for one enjoyed his work at CFMJ (AM 640 Toronto) and would love to hear him back on the terrestrial airwaves.

    One thing to keep in mind,Marek did have a stint from 1998-2000 as a host at CJCL (Fan 590 Toronto) before he got canned and landed at CFMJ. It may had been over a decade ago and it was early in his career, but he would probably want some sort of job security (like the security he has at CBC) to make the jump back.

    As for TSN, I also agree that they already have too many ‘Hockey Guys’ and Marek would just get lost in the shuffle. Whereas if he landed over at the Fan, he could step in and host Hockeycentral.

    The guy also has a background in Boxing/MMA/Wrestling and that more-so fits the Sportsnet mold.

  9. Gerry (Burlington) says:

    I actually don’t mind Marek, and thought he was better suited for radio than TV. TSN has pidgeon holed themselves with this whole hockey hockey hockey and then more hockey theme, mixed with a dripping of CFL.

    They also have managed to pick up a number of voices not at all designed for radio, Kouleas, Wheeler etc…
    Just seems to me TSN thought they could stick TV personalities and it would work.

    Marek would be a great replacement for Millard, who commands no respect from Richie Rich and Kypreos.

  10. Don Mandrie says:

    TSN Radio is already in panic mode. This is a big country. There are talented broadcasters outside of Toronto. Maybe it’s time they actually listened to somebody who is NOT from around here.

  11. Gerry (Burlington) says:

    @Don Mandrie, I thought the world revolved around Toronto though? We are talking about the Toronto Sports Network afterall.

    Still don’t understand why TSN hasn’t used Vic Rauter more as a co-host on the the morning or drive home show. He is no sports genius, but provides some character. I think if he were to co-host with Richards, it could bring a different element to the show.

  12. Chris F. says:

    I echo some other sentiments that would be surprised that Marek would leave CBC/HNIC. I think the guy is pretty smart to see the opportunity of being the next MacLean though he would probably have to fight Elliote Friedman for that role.

    So why did Berger get canned at 590? He does get on my nerves at times but when he’s not drinking the Kool Aid he’s pretty much bang on with his Leafs analysis.

  13. dsscpu says:

    IMO, Elliote’s voice/style suits him better where he is now, where-as Marek could easily slide into Maclean’s spot because of the way he comes across on TV.

    As for Gerry (Burlington) saying we need more Vic Rauter, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The second Rauter is on my screen for anything but Curling is the second I turn the sound off of what I am watching on TSN.

    In regards to looking at talent outside of Toronto, its something TSN needs to do. Brady was a steal for CFMJ and CJCL stealing him from there was a major score. Last week I was in the car after 11pm and CHUM (TSN Radio 1050 Toronto) decided to pickup the CKST (Team 1040 Vancouver) 8pm PT show. I was more engaged listening to that than I think I have been to any other show on TSN Radio Toronto since it launched as it was an alternative viewpoint, and this is coming from an anti-Vancouver guy.

    Finally when it comes to Berger, I think TSM summed it up best, not just in the thread a week or two ago, but by just examining his work over the last couple of years. His personality and views at times overshadowed the story or on occasion even became the story, and sometimes you need to just make a change for a change.

  14. Rome says:

    I have a bit of a soft spot for Merek, this guy really worked up the ladder in sports media, starting with a late night friday show on TheFan, to co-host Leafs Lunch and then general sports show with Watters (well as general as 640 allows their spots coverage to be lol). Then going over the the CBC work at their online content mostly and now doing some TV work.

    I liked his work at 640, he was my second favorite Watters co-host behind Brady.

    You have a great point DSS, he could talk MMA (if sportsnet wants to take that sport more seriously) in a professional fashion (if he still follows it) Right now with guys with names like “Showdown” have the perception that they are there to shill & promoate their sport, than actually reporting on it. He is probably the only person I know who can talk about MMA as a professional manner and almost expert level with MMA not being his main identity & purpose so it doesn’t seem to be a conflict of interest & still can do other general sports stuff.

    As for TSN, Gerry hit the nail on the head (well except for Wheeler, I actually like him, not proud to say that but I do lol) but on the most part TSN plan seems to be “Hey we have a lot of personalities on TSNTV, lets just throw them on radio as hosts and guests” I’ve noticed that TV guys don’t translate too well on radio, the ratio of a good cross-over talent is so low. Print guys do the cross-over pretty well to radio, TV not so much. I just find on the most part TSN just doesn’t understand or respect the unique aspect that is radio compared to TV. They are different mediums.

  15. dsscpu says:

    Rome, you also left out that he is still hosting now over on Sirius channel 157 from 3-5pm, “Hockey Night in Canada Radio”. He is often joined by Scott Morrison or Brad May. So it wouldn’t be a large jump for him.

  16. Al from Burlington says:

    Maybe Marek is in demand because all the newspaper guys have benn snapped up….

    Does anyone know how long the current CBC/NHL deal runs, and if TSN and/or Sportnet will bid for it?

  17. Mike S says:

    I believe I read somewhere that the CBC deal with the NHL expires in 2014

    I don’t have satellite radio so I have never heard Marek’s HNIC Radio show………..is it any good?……….I wonder what the ratings are for that show

    I don’t remember Marek working for 590 at all………..he must have been on the air late at night or on weekends because I don’t listen to 590 much at those times

  18. Drumanchor says:

    At the risk of really laying into Marek, I remember one particular public episode on AM640 that revealed too much for me.

    He was doing Leafs Lunch one day (without Watters) and the night before, some professional “wrestler” had, very sadly, murdered his wife and child before killing himself. Marek knew the wrestler and went on at, relative, great length about how devastated he was for his friend. How he had not slept and his “nerves were just a bit too close to the skin” because of the sudden loss of this close friend, etc.

    Not once did he mention the wife and child and THEIR last few moments of sheer terror.

    Keep him and his 15 seconds of air time on Hockey Night.

  19. dsscpu says:

    Mike S, that is exactly when he was on. Marek first had a 1-3am show on Sunday night (early Monday morning) and then had 5-6:30pm show on Saturday before moving over to what was Talk 640.

    Archives of HNIC Radio are available at http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/hockeynightincanada/radio/

    I have no idea how ratings work for Sirius/XM. Maybe TSM can shed some light?

    As for when the CBC rights deal with the NHL expires, per http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2007/03/26/hockey-night-in-canada.html it says the television deal runs until 2014.

    And will Rogers (via CityTV/Sportsnet), BCE (via CTV/TSN), Shaw (via Global/new Shaw sports channel that has been given a license from the CRTC) or some other company come in and try to snag the rights? There is lots of speculation that they will, much of it written by Bruce Dowbiggin at The Globe and Mail, but since it is not a public bidding process, we will never find out unless it gets leaked.

  20. Walter says:

    It would appear I’m in a small minority who can’t stand Marek, unable to appreciate his “unique” style. May he remain with CBC (PVR games and fast fwd with extreme prejudice) and have long career on pay radio.
    If he does reappear on free radio I will of course listen to another station/web stream, unless of course he is interviewing anyone Leaf.
    On another issue – I am very disappointed with “THE evolution in sports radio” thus far. But will continue to listen because of my hunger for anything Maple Leaf. Minor test will happen a few days before and during entry draft and major test a few weeks before Leafs first exhibition game. Fingers crossed they focus and give unique perspective to Leafs then. A mix of information, intelligent analysis and humour, hello stations managers this is not rocket science. Andrew Krystal?? really?? the Vesa Toskala of radio.

  21. dsscpu says:

    Drumanchor, that was the day after the Chris Benoit double murder and suicide which was a HUGE story and led to governmental oversight committees in the US getting involved (although it was all just a show). When he went on the air that afternoon, it was before the information became public that it was not a triple murder as had first been believed. In fact, if memory serves Marek then went on the radio the next day, gave a brief comment about the situation and then moved on.

    The fact of the matter is the guy had a friend who died the night before, had thought it was a murder, and wanted to get it off his chest. I thought it was more humanizing that anything.

  22. Tom says:

    Not a fan of Marek on the radio and hate his segments on HNIC. Always appears nervous – like a ferret caught in the headlights.

  23. wow,praising marek just shows how bad the on air talent is in this city.dont even get me started on the hacks over on the FM side.

  24. Tom says:

    Gerry: You really think MacLean and Kypreos will give more respect to Marek than they do Millard? Did you hear how they lambasted Brady when he was host?? They give it to anyone not a “hockey guy.” ALSO: More Vic Rauter is the answer to Mike Richards in the morning? No chance!

  25. Norman says:

    I hate to see anyone lose their jobs first off. When is the Andrew Krystal era going to end. I gave up after one week when he was in the 9.00 am slot last August. He interrupts everyone. He is obnoxious and thinks he is Albert Einstein. He is a news and information guy not a sports guy. I listen to the Fan in the car except during 1pm – 4pm. Not big on Marek but at this point anything is better. Listening to 3 cds per day now in the afternoon.

  26. Paul says:

    Andrew Krystal I know won’t be going anywhere! He will remain in the afternoon time slot and I bet you a million bucks he starts doing TV stuff. Maranek might be good but he has not boosted ratings like Krystal has. Krystal even boosted the ratings big time while on the morning show and is doing the same on the afternoon show! He has only been at the Fan for a short period of time and look at what he has accomplished. I remember when he was moved to the afternoon show after leaving the morning gig. His first day on the air was impressive: hundreds of callers calling in to his new show saying that they missed him and how sad they were with the station’s decision to place him in another time slot. We all know politics get in the way and his move to the afternoon was nothing more than political. But Krystal prevails and has proven to have a very big and solid following. He is well educated and knows his sports inside and out. Krystal was the one who coined the popular saying: “Leafs Nation.” While there is always talk of radio hosts moving around, trust me, Krystal is not going anywhere period. This I know and many others know. He has a list of degrees from U of T that no sports hack who blogs from home in their housecoats could even grasp when it comes to achievement. No wonder so many sports bloggers are envious of him. His education, coupled with his long successful history as a radio host just makes people jelous because they can’t do what he can – perform and boost ratings. He boosted ratings on MOJO; he boosted ratings on Rogers in Halifax; and he has boosted ratings at the Fan 590. His huge following on social media, and via other venues is impressive. I ask everyone to take a second look when they criticize and grow up. Get over the fact he is smart and controversial. Funny though, when people here sometime are critical of him, I ask myself this question: why do you spend so much time listening to him? See what he is doing has everyone following. Krystal is amazing, talented and thank God he is here in Toronto putting pressure on teams like the Leafs and the Raptors who need to finally make the playoffs for a change. He is right in every sense. Sure we may not all agree, but get with the program – Krystal rocks!

  27. Drumanchor says:

    @Dsscpu

    Well said.

    I might admit to not remembering it as accurately as you have portrayed that incident but, ultimately, there was little, if any, mention of the murdered victims by him or anyone. If I recall, did not WWE do an hour special on Benoit the next night celebrating his career? (Could you imagine the NFL doing that for O.J?)

    I suspect that what really rubbed me the wrong way was Marek’s complete infatuation with fighting. Way over the top, I felt. That coupled with his friendship with a steroid abusing professional wrestler just did not speak to me.

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