Saturday Toronto Sports Radio Musings

September 12th, 2015 | by torontosportsmedia
Saturday Toronto Sports Radio Musings
sports and toronto


Happy post Labour Day!!

We’re busy at Toronto Sports Media working on content plans for the upcoming season.

The dog days of summer are now behind us and from a sports content consumer it couldn’t have happened a minute sooner!

On almost all platforms, it is hard to say that the summer was anything less than a complete write off.

Even with the Blue Jays being as incredible as they were it was another dark summer media wise.

The switch back post Labour Day was almost immediate. Print, web, radio and TV all improved dramatically.

Mike Richards came back after a leave and disclosed he has been battling cancer.

Dean Blundell, as Mike reported, was Dean Blundell.

The other shows returned back with hosts back in their normal slots.

Jeff Blair and Bryan Hayes both were back in the normal slots.

Bob McCown, who when he was on this summer was at his best.

Naylor also returned.

Life is good.

So ratings for the summer book are out.

Traditionally the summer book is not looked at with a whole lot of importance. The pressure is on now as we look at the first Fall book.

I don’t have all the details but here is what I’ve heard in the key male demo:

The Fan 590 morning show earned a 5.7 share up from a 5.6 in the last spring book.
TSN 1050 morning show earned a .4 share
The Brady and Walker show earned a 6.8
Fan is out rating TSN by massive amount

That’s all i have right now.

If true, here are my thoughts:

I am not sure if a sports radio morning show has ever been out rated by a mid-day show as appears to have happened here.
It’s hard for me to believe that the Fan morning show was only up .1 given the success of the Blue Jays.
TSN pulling a .4 even without Ricahrds is REALLY, REALLY low. Simulcasts of CP24 were barely lower than that.
The Brady and Walker # is big. Especially big when there were extended times where each guy drove solo.

Also this week, Dave Cadeau took over the Fan Program Director role. Big congrats there.
Nelson Millman, who was the interim PD has shifted over to Satellite NHL radio as PD. Big congrats there.

It will be interesting to see how the Leafs first media world works with the Blue Jays in a pennant race.

Lots of things to keep our eyes and ears on in the coming weeks.

Happy weekend



  1. WouldStaley93 says:

    It will be interesting to see if TSN 1050 makes any changes on the radio side of things. With the change in management at Bell Media Radio Division I can’t imagine the low ratings are looked upon fondly. Think TSN 1050 PD Jeff MacDonald would think about seriously shaking up his lineup ? Or will it be continued status quo?

    Also Bob Mackowycz still MIA

  2. mario says:

    Things would never impove at 1050 unless they blow up pretty much everything. I listen occasionally but not much that keeps me around to long.Now they also have a station in Hamilton why?

  3. Darrell says:

    I am sorry but on the radio side of things (at the FAN) there is not much of anything to get happy about.

    I would hope that the new PD Dave Cadeau cuts ties with Dean Blundell, if you are content on keeping Brady + Walker (move them back to the mornings or move Tim + Sid in the morning show slot).

    Get rid of CBS Radio and Scott “swallowed a pencil” Farrell and don’t be so cheap and make Toronto’s sports radio to have 24 hours a day local coverage. Rogers certainly has money and just so sick and tired of their thrifty route.

    Granted this year, they have finally invested in the Toronto Blue Jays but it is almost 15 years too late.

  4. mario says:

    As for the Fan 590 the ratings are also need some changes as well in the early morning time slot

  5. Rob J says:

    Former FAN guy David Alter appeared on the torontomiked podcast and was quite critical of the Kollins era. He gave a lot of insider info re: the FAN without sounding bitter. Worth checking out.

  6. Daniel says:

    It’s funny… I would say the comments on this site are more pro TSN and anti 590… and yet, for the general public, 1050 clearly seems to have been a bit of a flop.

    I’m glad 1050 is there, but there honestly isn’t one time slot that I prefer the 1050 offering to the 590 offering (with the exception of evenings sometimes, which are pretty unimportant).

    The hosts on 1050 just don’t have enough personality to have broad appeal in my opinion. For example, Naylor and Hayes know their sports but they’re awfully dry.

  7. Mike S says:

    “I am not sure if a sports radio morning show has ever been out rated by a mid-day show”

    I think when Tim & Sid first started in the 1-4 timeslot they often got a higher rating than the 590 morning show (Brady & Lang) at the time………..but both of those shows had good ratings

  8. Carl A says:

    Hopefully Prime Time will get rid of the dead wood posing as co- hosts. Reid &Shannon can easily ruin a broadcast. As for late night, I enjoy hearing what is going on outside of Toronto(college football I could do without).

  9. DJ says:

    Really need a lot more information to have an informed debate on this. What did each slot do? What was that compared to the last period? What was it compared to the same period the year before? what has changed at each slot for each period?

    Interesting that Blundell didn’t get a Blue Jays bump….but if the morning show had a huge hit in the summer of last year because….its the summer…then static could be normal with a Blue Jays winning bump.

  10. Rob in Aurora says:

    To my knowledge,and I’m going from memory, the summer reading book means nothing to most people in the industry… Big indicator is the fall ratings book… its pretty hard to decipher any meaningful indication of performance in a line up on both stations where there’s nothing but fill ins and effectve “garbage” content – for lack of a better word

    I do not believe that ratings have anything to do with quality of content… TSN 1050 has done a terrible job of establishing themselves in this market. The fans’ content is very weak in my opinion… Having said that, there are a lot of weaknesses in the TSN lineup… where TSN excels is in the quality of their insiders and reporters. The fan can’t touch them. So I will put up with poor hosts if the quality of the information is superior.

    Macko and Cauz and Leafs Lunch really are worth listening to. I listen to 640 in the am now. Both stations suck in morning drive Time. Naylor gets good guests, so I put up with him interrupting guests, telling awkward and meaningless stories about himself (cringeworthy) and his nervous stuttering.

    Cauz mentioned on Friday that Macko ” will be back soon”…and that he’s “feeling better” (whatever that refers to)…Cauz said that he will be working this week, then take a 2 week vacation in Europe, then he expects that Macko will likely return when Cauz does or soon after…

  11. Alex says:

    Surprised they let a host take a 2 week break right now, just as nfl starts and mlb pennant race and nhl training camp.

  12. billyjoejimbob says:

    Whoever says the summer ratings book doesn’t matter is spinning hot garbage. I deal with media buyers.

    It matters.

  13. Mike S says:

    I assume they are letting Cauz take a vacation during the fall ratings period because he filled in for Richards all summer on the morning show

  14. mickey b says:

    Just a few thoughts on the sports radio topic… I fully admit that I used to listen to Blundell on the edge for many years. All my friends did and that would be water cooler talk for a long time. Only time I ever hear his name anymore is on this site as nobody is talking about him anymore (at least in my circles). No need to give him a hard time as he’s doing a good enough job of embarrassing himself these days. Tried him a bit on the fan and like anybody else I know would never go back so whatever about him. I’d assume it’s only a matter of time before he’s gone. I like Mike Richards and want him to do well as he comes across as a great guy. His bits can be great but it’s the same old stuff in between. I think he’s desperately lacking a good wing man that can add something substantial to the program. It just seems like the same old same old on the days I flip into him. I listen to a lot of satellite these days but have tried Mike and Mike on 1150 (I work in North York and get this channel crystal clear). I’ve been really enjoying them and would say if I were to listen to morning sports radio they’d be my number 1 choice. Moving on, the radio show I find by far the most entertaining is Leafs Lunch. This is also the only show that I hear spoken about by all guys at weekly beer hockey nights. Glad it’s back now. McCown is a pure genious as he’s able to keep listeners let alone keep the show entertaining with some of the worst co-hosts in the sports media world….reid, Shannon, cox, etc. Good on Bob!

  15. Dros says:

    So, everyone on here says TSN radio is superior, but the numbers say that no one actually listens to 1050…

    Furthermore, you have people on here saying summer ratings don’t matter…which is just not true.

    There will be significant shakeups coming; A station can’t continue with that low of ratings. If it weren’t owned by Bell, it would’ve gone under by now.

  16. Mike S says:

    Blair said today that Brunt will be the co-host all week on the first hour (11:00 AM to noon) of Baseball Central

  17. yaz says:

    Good to see Brady & Walker held on to a significant chunk of the T&S ratings – no risk of them losing their jobs in that new time slot which I guarantee everyone was worried about. Also someone who doesn’t have to worry is Blundell. I don’t like the show, wish B&W were back, but 5.7 is very solid and he isn’t going anywhere – especially when weighed against the moribund Richards ( Cauz) ratings in the same slot. I wonder how much the Jays have had to do with Blundell’s ratings – carry over from night before?? TSN talks a LOT of Jays as well.

    Cauz has to be disappointed. I really don’t get the .4 rating. Cauz drew me over to TSN. Now I’m gone again as Richards is back. ( though I will listen when TSN insider is talking hockey or if Hayhurst is on ).

    Bobcat has got to be LOVING a Jays pennant race just as he is about to renegotiate. His ratings will jump.

  18. Daniel says:

    It’s interesting how The Fan seems to mine it’s Calgary affiliate for talent (Walker), but 1050 doesn’t poach hosts from smaller markets. Seems like TSN radio has higher profile hosts in smaller cities.

  19. Dave in Bolton says:

    anyone hear about a shake of TSN radio if it’s coming?

  20. Jim from Abroad says:

    When will Stephen Brunt finally be back on PTS, can’t even remember the last time he was there. Apparently the criticism of Ken Reid on this site has not impressed the policy makers, because he makes his return today. North America is the continent of the great, deep, radio voices and I am just not fond of his voice.

  21. William D says:

    A TSN 1050 shakeup is inevitable. TSN’s radio talent assessment has been very suspect. Richards and Bastle in the morning, Cybulski and company, Naylor. Since the TSN Radio inception it has been awful and the ratings bare that out.
    1050 needs a complete programming and talent overhaul. The lack of success on the radio side along with some programming struggles on the TV side hurts the once unstoppable TSN brand. A shakeup is Mandatory.

  22. Bobby G says:

    If the summer ratings book didn’t matter at all, they wouldn’t go through the trouble and expense of putting it together.

  23. Alex says:

    A source close to the situation said to not expect Brunt back on PTS anytime soon. 🙁

  24. William D says:

    Great interview Bob had with the producer of NBC sunday night football Fran Guadelli. Bob asked him about the merits of rights holders being slaves to the leagues in which they hold rights, slaves to the point where they are prohibited by the leauge from touching certain topics. Gaudelli decided to be a smart ass about it in one part of his answer by telling Bob that he has an obligation to be informative to tens of millions of viewers and suggested that Bob is a talk show/entertainer almost to say Bob can act he can’t. Bob face did not look to impressed by Guadelli’s I do what ‘s right by the customer/holyier than though attitude. Guadelli intellectually shot down the notion of being a slave to the NFL and suggested that Bill Simmons was not smart in his attack on the commissioner wher he called Goodell a liar.

  25. William D says:

    Pardon the poor spelling

  26. alex says:

    After no showing his last appearance, i wonder if he is close to being put in bob’s black book.

  27. Rob J says:

    Don’t tell Blundell about the poor guy who shot himself at a Bills tailgate Sat night…

  28. Franklin says:

    “Whoever says the summer ratings book doesn’t matter is spinning hot garbage. I deal with media buyers.

    It matters.”

    LOL … media buyers. Media buyers barely care about the ratings between 9 and 4 most of the year because those people are listening to the radio rather than working to make the $$$$ to buy their products. Why would they care about the summer when lots of people are at the cottage?

    I deal with media buyers ….. hilarious.

  29. Blue Jay Fan says:


    Due to the fact that content can be accessed by the consumer from anywhere
    Media buyers are now attracted to online content and have transitioned their business accordingly, . Cottages and vacations are no longer a roadblock to media consumption.

  30. Mike S says:

    Brunt was on with Blair during the 11 AM hour today………he is currently a guest on Brady & Walker………and he will be on with Tim & Sid later today…………..he is showing up on every show except the one that many of us want him to be on

  31. Hans says:

    Didn’t Brunt say near the beginning of the summer right before he left for Newfoundland that it was his last time on Prime Time Sports? I recall him saying that and thinking he was just referring to the summer before he leaves and not it being something permanent.

    Why Sportsnet is insistent on fixing what isn’t broken is beyond me.

  32. Daniel says:

    I miss Brunt on PTS, but I’ve LOVED the hour of him and Blair yesterday and today.

    Brunt really makes any show better as a co host. Crazy how Sportsnet has mismanaged his role. (Unless he’s really drawing eyes to TV/the magazine whenever he’s on).

  33. Alex says:

    Great what i assume was accidental bait and switch on PTS.

    Bob says Madani is co host at end of 4:00 hour and at 5:00′ lo and behold, its Reid.

  34. Moe says:

    It seems like Bob is royally angry at how Tim & Sid were promoted, given Brunt as a co-host, took his producer, etc.

  35. alex says:

    If Cox comes back, and Reid is back, i might just be done with the show.

  36. Pete says:

    I know McCown comes across as an asshole, or so is his “character” that he supposedly plays, but I thought his recurring comments that anyone appearing on Tim & Sid would be banished from his show were said in jest. Losing Brunt is a massive blow. I can deal with Friedman and to a lesser extent Madani as co-hosts. If it’s Reid, Shannon or heaven forbid Cox, I’m changing the station right away.

    What’s more confusing is that I was always under the expression that Brunt was the producer of Prime Time Sports.

    This isn’t the first time McCown’s been pissed at Brunt.

  37. Mike V says:

    Man, is Bob ever petty. Acting like Sportsnet never gave him promotion… Someone should remind him about all those empty dome commercials that are still seared into my mind from seeing them so often.

    From afar it looks like he’s gone down the same road as Stern.

  38. Jim from Abroad says:

    That is really bad news. Makes me sad. I listen to sportsradio in five countries and the McCown/Brunt-partnership is by far the best to listen to. They bring out the best in each other. Having said that, co-hosting a show that directly competes with Prime Time Sports is not very loyal, so I understand the emotions. Hopefully fences can still be mended, twenty weeks of Brunt is better than nothing.

  39. Ami Angelwings says:

    Bob does sound petty, and he might just be in character, but I do also feel his frustration about Brunt never being on PTS & seemingly occupied with other duties all the time. He and Bob were the best radio and the only reason I kept listening to PTS was hoping that he might be on that week. Now that I know he’s never going to be one, I don’t really have any reason to listen to PTS because Madani is okay at best, but he’s nothing amazing, and I can’t stand Reid or Shannon, and if Cox is back that’s even worse. And when Brunt was around was the only time Bob ever sounded happy anymore on the show, he had more energy and they had great back and forth, with everybody else he sounds unhappy or just angry, and I don’t like listening to angry Bob.

    My speculation was that Rogers found no real change in ratings for PTS regardless of who Bob’s co-host was, and figured Brunt was more useful boosting the ratings for the baseball show & Tim and Sid. At this point they know Bob is retiring at some point, and is paving the way to replace him. I wonder if the Brunt/Blair thing on Baseball Central is trying to see how that dynamic will play if and when Blair takes over PTS for good (as I suspect he might, they really have nobody else and they use him so often on PTS to host.)

    I’m pretty much only downloading the Blair show for baseball guests, and baseball central for Brunt now.

  40. Pudge72 says:

    Ami, your thoughts about PTS/Brunt/McCown echo mine almost to a T. You articulate them much more clearly…excellent post. Bob’s whining about lack of promotion is laughable…those recent commercials with a Bob ‘groupie’ were nauseating in their content and repetitiveness.

    I listen almost exclusively to Naylor over PTS, unless PTS has a compelling guest. Listening to grumpy McCown is bad…listening to bored / self-absorbed McCown is an exercise in audio self-flagellation.

    Brunt is jumping from a slowly sinking ship, and I congratulate him for doing so. I do hope the Brunt / Blair pairing is long term, and results in a revamped PTS once Bob is finally and mercifully put out to pasture. Thank goodness that Rogers is showing some sense in realizing (finally!!) that Brunt is their current and future ace talent.

  41. Keith Murdoch says:

    They wouldn’t replace Brunt with Cox, right? They know most people can’t stand Cox.

  42. Daniel says:

    I agree with Ami..

    Bob DOES sound petty. However, as a listener, I was frustrated that Brunt wasn’t co hosting more often, as well. If Bob felt the same way, I do get that. The best solution was that Brunt would be the permanent co host – and it sounds like that was something Bob wanted, but Brunt wasn’t willing to do.

    I’m seriously surprised that it would come to this, but there you go. On the bright side, Brunt and Blair together have been great. Maybe they’ll hire McCown a Cohost that works and Brunt works with Blair on the regular.

    As I said above… this seems to have been really mismanaged. Brunt is great on radio, and I’ve got to believe he impacts the radio side far more than TV or magazine. Sportsnet should have ensured that was his focus. Wasting an asset.

  43. Daniel says:

    @Pudge 72 – PTS deserves its share of criticism, but people have been writing that the show is a ‘sinking ship’ since this website started years ago. The truth is, its competition never really rivals it in terms of ratings. At this point, I think the show will probably be a ratings winner until Bob retires.

  44. Wayne says:

    Well given this break up and how upset Bob is perhaps when his contract is up with Rogers he will sign with TSN Radio/TV for the 4-7 time slot! Now wouldn’t that be interesting. I’m sure he would get his “boat load” of money!

  45. yaz says:

    God help us if Cox is the replacement for Brunt. May as well go outside the box and find someone new, we wouldn’t bitch any less. Madani is what you would call a ‘serviceable’ co-host.

  46. Blue Jay Fan says:

    There is this notion that Bob is the reason for the PTS sustained success, meanwhile there is nothing to show that Bob is the reason for the ongoing dominant ratings in that timeslot. I don’t ever think anyone has measured the difference between ratings when Bob is there vs when he is not there. Overall I think the history of prime time sports and the fact that listeners are so use to the program in that timeslot for so many years, has really helped it’s ratings. I will never say that Bob is not responsible for putting this show in a good place But it has taken off with or without him. At this point I would be surprised if Rogers is not considering a succession plan for Bob, it would be shocking if they were not, given all the ranting Bob has done recently, first Beeston now this and also his always bitching about money. I think Greg Brady would be a good test for Bob’s role. Greg has experience in both the U.S and Canadian sports markets, he’s done mornings, he done HC and now he’s back in the afternoon timeslot which he has also done.
    I would separate Brady and Walker, leave Walker in the 1pm and test Brady out on PTS.

  47. Steph says:

    The end should be near. Give Friedman or Tim and Sid the seat, they’re really the only ones with the ability to run this type of show. I agree with the notion that the ratings are high due to listener habit, and not necessarily due to McCown being any good for the past 5-8 years. Brunt might have left because he was sick of sitting there and having to put up with the caliber…

  48. Dros says:

    Television properties are way more lucrative than radio properties. Tim and Sid won’t be hosting PTS after Bob is gone because their TV show can make Sportsnet more money than a radio show can. Blair will probably be the successor once Bob is gone.

    As for Brunt–he’s been in the industry for 30 years, he can choose whatever projects he wants, he’s a big boy. I think the best use of him is in that storyteller mode and he lends well to the documentaries and features that they do. He’s an extremely likable guy and no one should be surprised that his only priority isn’t PTS.

    If Bob wants to act like a child (again), then so be it.

  49. Antonio says:

    Once again I’m in the minority in that I feel this is no loss to PTS. Yes, Brunt is a smart guys who knows his stuff but he is also boring as paint drying. He tends to take the side of the poor (millionaire) athlete over the evil owners way too much. He also has a tendency to play the race card which is not only annoying but also cowardly.

    Get a co-host who is both knowledgeable and entertaining – and NOT annoying and I’ll be happy.

  50. Gary Hart says:

    So then let’s address a fascinating ‘what if’ scenario: What would happen if Rogers lets McCown walk, and TSN scoops him up to be the new face of TSN radio? It seems highly unlikely (for a number of reasons) but I’m curious whether you would follow him to TSN … let’s say McCown & Naylor co-host and go head-to-head against Tim & Sid?

  51. DJ says:


    Tim and Sid are on TV. Wave goodbye. They aren’t coming back unless something goes disastrously wrong I would assume.

    As for McCown going to TSN, he would immediately bring most of his listeners I believe.

  52. Drumanchor says:

    To me, this is just Rogers playing back room games.

    They pay McCown a lot more money than he is probably bringing in. They want to piss him off in hopes that eventually he will become frustrated enough to just walk away. He certainly doesn’t need the dough and, as Ami said, they won’t likely see any change in ratings no matter who is hosting or co-hosting.

    The end is nigh.

  53. Dennis says:

    Sounds like we’re going to be hearing quite a bit more of Brunt with Blair in the foreseeable future. On Baseball Central just now it was announced that Brunt would have some co-hosting duties during Blair’s morning show. I didn’t catch how regular it was going to be (at work) but this is going to be an on-going thing with the two paired.

  54. Curt says:

    Bob’s throwing his toys out of the crib, like the prima dona he is. He actually said Rogers never promoted his show as much as T&S? Complete horse ****. Regarding Brunt, he’s not perfect, but he was the only reason I would listen to PTS. I didn’t always agree with Brunt’s opinion, but he’s the only co-host (Madani might be an exception) who had an informed opinion and challenged Bob on his often ignorant opinion.

    Bob’s contract is winding down. He’ll be drinking his wine on a full-time basis soon enough.

  55. Alex says:

    Having Shannon and Reid as co hosts today seems like a deliberate troll job today. 😉

  56. Jim from Abroad says:

    ‘That’s what newspapers do. They print stories. Sometimes they are true. Sometimes they are not.’

    There is still hope 😄

  57. Blue Jay Fan says:

    TSN needs to recruit fresh new radio talent, not recycle those who have been in the radio business for 60 years and are on their way out.

  58. Mike says:

    So. I listened to Tim and Sid ‘s Tuesday podcast which featured Brunt. Honestly, if Brunt feels he is better off laughing at Sid’ s fart jokes, than doing PTS with McCown more power to him. Brunt made a move like this once before…. And where did he end up coming back to?

    Brunt hasn’t always made the greatest career choices. Sure hope they are paying him good to laugh at poop jokes on TV. Because he sounds like a fool.

  59. BenW says:

    ‘So. I listened to Tim and Sid ‘s Tuesday podcast which featured Brunt. Honestly, if Brunt feels he is better off laughing at Sid’ s fart jokes, than doing PTS with McCown more power to him.’

    Indeed, he’s wasted on that show. I’m guessing someone higher then him wanted him on that show to continue the buzz, but thats a guess. What a waste.

  60. Pudge72 says:

    @Daniel…I agree. Ratings wise, it is not a sinking ship. But for anybody that cares about what they are listening to, the program quality has been sinking, slowly but steadily, over the past 2-3 years or so.

  61. Pudge72 says:

    @Dros and @Curt, your posts on this page are absolutely spot on, imho.

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