Saturday Toronto Sports Media Mash

August 13th, 2016 | by torontosportsmedia
Saturday Toronto Sports Media Mash
sports and toronto


Happy Saturday! Not much of a theme today, but rather a bunch of different items to rattle off: First off is the passing of long time ESPN journalist John Saunders: Saunders was as good as they come at the World Wide Leader and from all accounts a super guy. I enjoyed watching him and will miss his coverage. There were countless tributes, none better than the one above in my mind. Oh, and yes he was Canadian. Topic: Mike Johnson has left Rogers NHL hockey:

Not a whole lot of substance around this one. I've heard it was about $. Then I heard it wasn't about money. I've heard he was hard to negotiate with. Then I've heard nothing. Here's what I do know. This is a big loss for Rogers. Johnson is a good analyst who is only getting better. He will be missed on Rogers. Someone will pick him up. Topic: The Toronto Star slashes jobs

Who would thunk that a tablet only version would cost as much as this beast did???? What a disaster. Topic to discuss amongst yourselves, how much longer does the print version of newspapers have???? The answer BTW is not much longer…


Yours truly was on the DSR talking about this site and Toronto vs. Detroit as a sports media market.  It's good fun.  Take a listen.

And yes, the final topic of course is the Elliotte Friedman swimming story. As I've said before I am not watching the Olympics so I will say I didn't see the gaffe and I haven't watched it only. I've seen all the commentary and I've read all about it on Twitter. The best thing you can read about it, in my opinion is from south of the border and via Michael Rosenberg which you can find here.


Others have written about it, but here's my two seconds worth.  It's very refreshing for someone who screws up to accept responsibility.  Elliotte has done that.  I have not seen any criticism myself and I can say it's unwarranted.  He made a mistake, and he's accepted responsibility for it so move along. Elliotte won't be the first to mess up and he won't be the last either.  He may be the last to screw up and admit it that's for sure.



Finally, late breaking as I write this: The DSR folks bring this story:

What does this have to do with us???? Well, I wonder if the former PD for WDFN the Fan in Detroit is returning to Detroit. Inquiring minds want to know if this could mean the return of one Greg Brady to the D after being shown the door at Rogers. Hmmmmmmm it's only a short stint down the 401, or could Brady pull a Mccown and broadcast for Detroit in Toronto??????? Time will tell sports fans Happy weekend. TSM


  1. NefCanuck says:

    Heard the news about John Saunders and was surprised as the last time I had seen him on TV he looked to be in good health. Being on ESPN of course meant that we didn’t see him as much north of the border but when he broadcast Raptors games, I thought he was great.

    Re: Elliotte Friedman – Compared to the mess up that his swimming broadcast colleague made (and since had to apologize for on air), this is “Much Ado About Nothing” Names get messed up in the heat of the moment and remember this is not Elliotte’s event of choice but he’s acting as a replacement for Steve Armitage who is ill.

    Cripes, I make more mistakes during my broadcast in one show than Elliotte will ever make in his entire broadcasting career

    Mike Johnson – Not necessarily a fan, but doesn’t this leave Rogers with fewer on air staff than they expected? After the bloodletting that has already happened at Rogers, they may find themselves scrambling now.

    Toronto Star job cuts – To be honest I actively avoided their digital products for the sole reason that they kept advertising it on the Fan 590 to the point that I was sick of it without having given it a shot (Sad because theirs is the only product that I know of that might compete with the USA Today tablet edition (which is free, not sure that the Star’s product is)

  2. mario says:

    Thanks for another good read. What us Rogers thinking by not signing Mike Johnson like they can afford to lose him, one of the best up and coming talents. Hopefully it’s not to late. Friedman class act.

  3. Steve Jones says:

    No question I give Friedman a pass on his gaffe. And I will admit it’s because I like his work. He seems like a really good guy. Would I be as forgiving if it was,say, Kypeos? Honestly no. Bias lives.

    Hope Brady gets the Detroit gig. Anything to keep him off the air here.

  4. Carl A says:

    So sorry to hear of John Saunders passing. I’m old enough to remember him on CP24 when they were good. Now it’s difficult to listen to the kids talk about sports on that station. John knew his sports so he could talk to anyone. He was a good example of somebody from this area succeeding on talent. He didn’t have to go to clown college. John Saunders will be missed on both sides of the border.

  5. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    What else could Friedman have done but own up to it – People make it out as if he was some kind of saint for admitting he did it – What was the alternative? Deny it happened? Gaffes happen all the time – Who cares?

  6. Brandon says:

    It was a huge, huge mistake. It’s not misidentifying a photo finish or a winning goal (Bob Cole/Dennis Hull) or even Hughson not knowing for quite a while the Blackhawks got the winner against the Flyers to win the Cup. There were about 45 seconds for someone, anyone, beginning with Friedman himself to notice he was getting it wrong. It’s remarkable he didn’t. It’s possible he was so rattled and consumed the mistake he screwed up Oleksiak-Overholt multiple times. It added to his miserable performance, and that’s what it was.

    It tells you how small people are noting who they’d forgive for the mistake and who they wouldn’t. No one’s asking that you be objective about who you like on TV and who you don’t, but pretending the mistake isn’t the same one for all who might make it, says a lot about people’s true colours. But here I am commenting on a website post, so pot, kettle, black, etc, etc.

    Again, I don’t know what other way there was to not accept responsibility. Byron did as well noting he led Elliot astray on the call. Where’s the credit for him? It’s just like the Lance Armstrongs and Bill Cosbys and fame in general. You think you know who the good guys are, but you never really, do you?

    I’ve been told by people in the business that the supposed “awesome guys” can just tear into lower-level employees and the people who polarize a bit on the air and go after others, well, it’s an act, you’re buying in by listening, and they’re wonderful people away from the microphone. I have heard exactly that about Landsberg. Many tell me he’s a wonderful person to people he’s worked with before. I do believe Elliot is a super guy, but is it possible he let someone on the crew have it for not helping him more during the race? I don’t know that he did, and you don’t know that he didn’t. But anything’s possible. That said, I enjoy his work, but I’d feel just as bad if a Glenn Healey or Landsberg screwed up, people who seem to have their character assassinated time and time again in places like this. I might draw the line at well-established awful people like Dean Blundell or Damien Cox!

  7. mark coale says:

    People might be interested that we discussed Saunders passing on our podcast with both Joe Lucia from Awful Announcing and former ESPN producer Gus Ramsey (former Simmons podcast guest). Gus told a good story about an unofficial Xmas party Bristol staffers had one year and John’s role. We also talked about Ichiro’s 3000th hit, brief talk about Sanchez/rotation and other stuff.

    Also, TSM was on the show last year sometime and hopefully will be on again in the near future.

  8. yaz says:

    The bruhaha regarding Elliotte Friedman’s error is over the top ridiculousness. It was a mistake, a blooper; have a laugh and move on. He didn’t make some kind of an abhorrent racial, sexist or homophobic comment (nor has he ever). People should move on with their lives.

  9. Huz says:

    So, what does Rogers do now without Johnson?

  10. Andrew says:

    I’m with yaz. It was a blooper, not someone kicking a dog, but having a good reputation cuts down on people piling on.

    Not everyone cares for his Twitter posts but Bruce Arthur has been doing some great writing from Rio. Reminds me of that guy who used to be at the Globe and on Prime Time. What ever happened to him? I say this jokingly because Mr Blair has blocked me some time ago(probably over not offering a contract to David Price) and so I have blocked his show from my listening experience.

  11. Jacob says:

    Wow. Losing Johnson is huge for Rogers. He was one of the best things in their broadcast.

  12. Tighthead says:

    Call me a cynic but some of the media shout -outs to Friedman seem a little self serving.

    What is the back story on this budget international golf feed that we have been force fed. Two unnamed guys doing commentary, no on course reporter. I think the commentators may not even be in Brazil, just watching the feed in a studio like when RDS does NFL.

  13. John says:

    Elliotte deserves a great deal of critique for his call of the . It was not a simple mistake, he called the wrong lane for the last 50 metres. Look at what Tom Durkin did when he miscalled the wrong hose in the Breeders Cup

  14. Antonio says:

    So have they released a cause of death for Saunders? Just curious.

  15. Brian says:

    @ Huz My guess is that Shannon gets more airtime. He returned to the round table on the Fan on Friday and grated nerves with every word. How this geezer remains on the radio/TV while people like Healy and Johnson were fired speaks to the cluelessness of Rogers management. Shannon is the worst broadcaster in the entire shop. Ninety-percent of the contributors here could provide similar opinions similar to or better than the Shannanalysis we’re treated to.

    Other summer “gems” on the FAN include Mark Zeisberger whose face for radio is trumped only by his sleep-inducing monotone voice. Another one is Jonesy, the Raptors play-by-play man who is often the only person chuckling at his “jokes” or off-topic interjections that few seem to understand (I remain convinced he would not be hired to call NBA games in any other market. Same for Eric Smith). Rob Faulds was awful as a fill-in host, as was Brad Fay, who waffled whenever challenged on ANY opinion. I don’t understand how PTS is left to wither on the vine for most of the summer. Quite frustrating. I’m sure advertisers would feel the same.

    Over at TSN1050 the bench strength is also overtly weak. Scotty Mac is a good reporter but he speaks far too deliberately for my taste. You know where he’s going 30 seconds before he gets there. I think this style comes from when he was on air alone in the mornings and had to fill time. You can tell Hayes sometimes get frustrated with it too. Jim Tatti was on OK fill-in but Derek Taylor tries so hard that it’s embarrassing. Less is more. Noodles made a brief appearance last week and it was a welcome return after all the idiots in the guest chair. Poulin is OK.

  16. Bingo Bango Bongo says:

    @Brian You’re a real ray of sunshine. Anything you like? A sunny day? Cold beer? Perhaps something en francais?

  17. Ken says:

    @Brian Thanx for your wonderful take on how everything sucks in the world of radio. It is that kind of insightful, well reasoned commentary that keeps me coming back to this site. I’m surprised you are not a PD with that obvious natural talent you exhibit evaluating others talent.

  18. koko b.ware says:

    Great work, Brian.

    Why complain about his comments? The only difference between Brian’s comments and many others that unleashed it all at once.

    The man is a pitbull to many of these poodles in here.

  19. GreyCountyMike says:

    Big-time kudos to The Sports Reporters on ESPN for their tribute to their Sunday morning colleague John Saunders. Each of Mike Lupica, Bob Ryan, Mitch Albom and William Rhoden was gracious and genuine in his own way … that’s a self-admitted truckload of ego in one room and yet it was all set aside to honour their friend. Well done, gents!

  20. yaz says:

    Another stellar week for 1050 traffic. This gem at a couple minutes after 9 : “the obstruction on East-bound Queen St E traffic from Woodbine has cleared. ( yes, east-bound) SO-the large percentage of the 1050 demo that commutes IN to the Beach at 9 am can let out a sigh of relief and get on with their day. Phew.

  21. koko b.ware says:

    Relax already. Sports Media. You really listen to the traffic update that closely? People are willing to forgive Freidman for his glaring errors on the world stage and you come here to point out the mistake of an irrelevant traffic update. Wow!

  22. billyjoejimbob says:

    @ Brandon,

    I saw your comment and asked some of the people I know. Friedman did not blame anyone behind the scenes. And it did not go unnoticed.

  23. Huz says:

    If you had to guess, will Rogers eventually be selling off games?

  24. dogpounder says:

    I’ve noticed other Fan hosts have picked up Barker’s “HUNDERD PURRCENT.” It’s just awful.

  25. Sam In Scarb says:

    If rogers wanted to save more $$ and they do, they could gas the tag team of Barker & Mae and nobody would notice or miss them.
    Neither of them brings anything to the table.

  26. Brian says:

    @Bingo Bango Bongo Yes, I like cold beer. AND puppies. But your point is valid: my post was probably too negative.

    I stand by all my comments toward Shannon. He always tries to make pedestrian analysis seem like cutting-edge commentary. Throw in his massive ego and endless “guffaws” and his performance quickly becomes a station-changer.

    But how about some Toronto sports radio positives: Roe has done a solid job filling in on TSN, as has Ennis on the Fan. It’s good to have Hayes back, even if he has a penchant for malapropisms (the other day he said something would have a “negligent effect” when he probably meant negligible). And it’s nice that Bob isn’t taking as much time off during the summer, even if his fill-in co-hosts often provide little clever banter.

    Another positive is that Wheeler’s soccer duties have limited the days he co-hosts with Cauz.

    As for Barker, I like him. He’s different from many of the bland hosts on Toronto radio and he doesn’t soft peddle the Jays flaws like Wilner or Buck and Tabby.

  27. yaz says:

    @Kok bare – You misunderstood or I didn’t explain well enough. I was not pointing out a traffic reporting error. Wgaf. ( see my post above about Friedman) There was no error in her traffic report as she made the same report previously. I was just posting what she said to highlight the irrelevancy of traffic reports on sports radio stations. They should get rid of them. ‘Northbound Sumach is blocked at Gerrard’ was another one a few weeks ago. All the Sports radio listeners who commute through Regent Park I’m sure appreciated hearing that traffic warning if they could hear it over the gunfire. Traffic is bad in Toronto. Period. Unless a highway is completely closed, underwater or on fire, don’t bother.

  28. koko b.ware says:

    I didn’t misunderstand a thing. Your post was poorly written and unclear. Your clarification has no correlation to your initial posting.

  29. Ricky says:

    James Cybulski doing summertime co-hosting in Vancouver for TSN 1040 after being let go by Sportsnet.

  30. yaz says:

    @kok thank-you for your clarification.

  31. yaz says:

    @kok thank-you sir for your clarification.

  32. mark coale says:

    Did sportsnet up their sioccer rights? Cant imagine bob having this many futbol segments on PTS without an editorial mandate.

  33. jackbee says:

    Penny Oleskiak is on e smart teenager based on her radio interview selections on Aug.15. Newstalk 1010 had her on from 730-745 am and did ok job for non sports station, though John Moore acted like a best friend talking to Penny, rather than a serious interviewer.

    Tsn 1050 radio had Oleskiak on from800-815 pm and surprisingly Landsberg and Cauz did credible job getting to the point of her swim medals achievement and finding out more about her as teenage swimming athletic star.

    Spotsnet 59o radio promoted near 900 am on Blundell and whoever that Penny would speak with Jeff Blair right after 900 am. The fact she didn’t speak with pedantic and juvenile behaviour of Blundell, is kudo to her. Not speaking to blowhard and over the top know it all Blair, is big media slap at Spotsnet 590 being all sports topic radio, for at least 1 day.

    Sad ot hear of John Saunders passing away as I remember his start in spots broadcasting when CITY hit the tv airwaves, and enjoyed him on ESPN on Sunday morning especially with The Reporters show.

    As for Friedman — he made a gaffe live and on air and apologized for it right afterwards, so no harm no foul.

  34. Anthony says:


    I think he was shocked, justifiably, to see someone on a sports media website complaining about traffic reports…..traffic reports? Who cares?

    This literally has turned into a ‘lets complain about everything’ site.

  35. yaz says:

    The traffic report is on a sports radio station. Hopefully the rumoured all traffic station comes to fruition and everyone else stops reporting it.

  36. MjwW says:

    So, how long do we think before Cox is done on PTS? He’s not improved from the last time he co-hosted. Honestly, I might take Reid over him.

  37. Hans says:

    MjwW – I suspect Cox will be there till his (or Bob’s) contract runs out and then who knows. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cox either tries for TSN again or just go into podcasting. I doubt he would be given a shot in the Us for hockey or would he?

    I don’t think anyone will have a bad thing to say about John Saunders. All I’ll add is that his passing must have been sudden as I don’t recall hearing he was ill or anything beforehand.

    On the Friedman front: he’s built up his cred and this mistake will be taken as his mulligan. I think the key for him was that he immediately owned up to it. I also agree with others had it been someone like Mallard then the mood would be very different.

  38. Bingo Bango Bongo says:

    @yaz There’s a reason for traffic reports in a city like Toronto. Traffic is one of the things people actually listen for and research is that in the morning, traffic, weather and the time are the three things people need to hear. That’s why every station does it. If you don’t have it, listeners will go looking for it. It’s much more important now than at any other time in Toronto. For one, traffic is terrible at the best of times. And two, the bulk of listeners are in their cars. I guarantee if (or when) a station goes to an all traffic format, timechecks and frequent weather updates will also be formatted. I would guess the reason it hasn’t happened yet is it would be pretty expensive to do properly. It’s an awful lot of time to fill when not much is going on. And it’s really important to do it well; if you did it cheaply, people would stay on the stations they listen to now. The other thing holding someone back from doing it is there’s nothing holding back other stations from poaching whatever traffic is reported from a traffic only station. So you’d be spending a lot of money and most likely helping your competitors.
    BTW, this has to be by far the longest post on traffic that has ever been posted here.

  39. Alex says:

    I hope no one tells Landsberg that Richard Deitsch compares him to Roy Firestone on PTS. And called him Landsberger.

  40. Matty Zero says:

    Landsberg was a lot like Firestone, but with puffy shirts.

    Really getting old hearing Bob prattle on about pitcher wins. It also has been proven many times by the sabermetric community that there is zero evidence that Jack Morris ‘pitched to the score’. What’s next, should they bunt more? I’d rather hear Vegas stories or the one about Bear Bryant.

  41. Alex says:

    I think we could have a new pts bingo card just for bob’s baseball opinions.

    Pitchers babied
    4 man rotation
    Wins matter
    Jack morris
    Old jays in bullpen


  42. yaz says:

    I really wish Overdrive would come back on the air. Hopefully the Tuesday after Labour day they’ll be back. PTS was pretty good today.

  43. Matty Zero says:

    @Alex – if that was a drinking game, we’d all pass out at 4:15 every day.

  44. Alex says:

    During the 4:00 hour, a caller asked Bob about Elliott’s gaffe and bob said this was the first he had heard of it.

    Believability level? I’m tempted to say zero, but he seems to be watching a lot on nbc instead of cbc. But hard to believe he hadnt heard about it until a week later.

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