Seen & Heard – Express Weekend Edition

July 23rd, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Express Weekend Edition
business of sports
59

photo credit: The Star

.

by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail

 

Good morning sports media watchers. Jonah and I are both away at sports media blogger camp so I'm throwing this one up on the fly. Please go ahead and treat this as an open thread to discuss whatever is on your mind. 

 

Stick to Sports

 

Eric Koreen (73K tweets, 25k followers) prompted a good discussion on Twitter the other day when he said this:

 

 

Here's the question I'd like to discuss this morning: what is the appropriate use of Twitter if you're in sports media?

 

Almost everyone in the media is on Twitter. There are a few who are not (Stephen Brunt), or who almost never tweet  (Cathal Kelly: 16K tweets [0 in last 200+ days], 20K followers).

 

Then there's those who basically use Twitter to link to their work but not much else. Dave Feschuk (2650 tweets/10k followers) is a good example of that.

 

Finally there are those who spend a lot of time on Twitter. This includes the local heavy weight columnists like Damien Cox (44K tweets, 73k followers), Bruce Arthur (213K tweets, 123K followers), and Steve Simmons (16K tweets, 59K followers). The leader by a country mile is Bob McKenzie of TSN (33k tweets, 1.3 MILLION followers). Some people tend to be pretty popular without tweeting very much, see e.g. Kate Beirness (7600 tweets, 121K followers), Dean Blundell (199 tweets [he deleted all past tweets some time in January I think], 81K followers) and Nick Kypreos (2700 tweets, 288K followers).

 

The best follow in all of sports media is, of course, Jeff Blair (27K tweets, 42K followers). 

 

 

All of the above people have verified accounts, which certifies that the tweets are indeed coming from the person in question. Here's Twitter's official explanation of who can apply for a verified account (note: they just opened it up to anyone willing to pay/apply):

 

"An account may be verified if it is determined to be of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by public figures and organizations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas."

 

The rumoured cost for verification is anywhere from free, to $5,000/month in ad buys, to a $15,000 one-time fee. I have no idea what the facts are in each case but it seems plausible that major media outlets would have worked out a deal with Twitter to have their public-facing employees all be verified. You'll notice that SN fill-in radio host Ben Ennis (33.5K tweets, 6300 followers) and "digital host" Donnovan Bennett (20K tweets, 9300 followers) are both verified, but producers Ryan Walsh (4255 tweets, 1300 followers) and Matt Marchese (5450 tweets, 859 followers) are not. Joey Vendetta (4200 tweets, 10k followers), who also appears on air for The FAN, is not verified. 

 

In my discussions with various sports media people over the last week three main views have emerged:

 

1) Tweet whatever you want. People can unfollow if they don't like it.

 

2) Stick to sports. That's why people follow you. Start another account for your non-sports takes.

 

3) There's a line between use and abuse of your verified Twitter account

 

I'm reluctantly in camp 3. I say reluctantly because "stick to sports" has historically been used to silence athletes who use their celebrity to draw attention to social issues. It's a very good thing when people use their fame to speak out about injustices and discrimination against marginalized groups. So whether it's I can't Breathe or Black Lives Matter or LGTB hockey tape or black armbands,  I fully support the efforts by athletes to speak to their fans about problems in society. Of course for every LeBron James there's going to be a John Rocker or Curt Schilling. In order to be consistent you have to take the good with the bad. That's a price I'm willing to pay. The audience can decide whether they think the cause is worthwhile.

 

This leads to the next question: why not take the same attitude towards sports media? If athletes and musicians and reality TV stars shouldn't have to "stick to sports" why would there be a different standard for sports media?

 

It's a hard question to answer in a fully satisfactory manner, but I do think there is a difference. First things first. Even though athletes have employers and are represented by unions, they are very much working for themselves. LeBron is his own brand and he sells it to the highest bidder for a period of time. The risks he takes will mostly affect his brand, and only secondarily his employer and sponsors. The same isn't really true of sports media. Yes, Bruce Arthur became a free agent and went to the Star, but as a Star employee he is representing the paper as well as himself. The risks he takes on Twitter are also significantly borne by his employer. Yes, some people might call the Cavs and complain about LeBron, but few will cancel their season's tickets. The same is not the case with a print sports media member. The verified account is an extension of the paper. Their non-sports takes could lead people to cancel their subscriptions with the paper. That's bad for business. 

 

This is why it would be reasonable for a media company like TSN or SN or the Star to have rules of conduct for how their employees use Twitter. ESPN, for example, adopted guidelines regarding political tweets after some high profile controversies. To be clear, I am not saying Bruce of Damien or anyone in the media shouldn't tweet their opposition to Trump or their views about abortion or marriage equality or police brutality or carding.

 

What I am saying is that it would be reasonable for a media company to ban such tweets by their employees on company-verified accounts. There is some authority held by employers to say "stick to sports … on this particular account." This would in no way prevent people from starting a blog or Tumblr or another Twitter account for their political views. However, I think we can all agree that the audience for these would be much smaller. So there is something to the idea that the people in question are taking advantage of their employer-provided status for extraneous personal purposes. 

 

Last thought. Remember this?

 

blair goddard

 

In case you need to catch up, you can read about the story here. We can debate the issue if you want, but it seems clear to me that Damian Goddard (3800 tweets, 974 followers) was fired in part because of the content of the tweet. Had he tweeted the opposite viewpoint, I doubt he would have been fired.

 

Now, as it happens, I disagree with him and am glad to see that opinion repudiated as we move towards a more politically equal society. The point to which I want to draw attention is that there is a risk associated with tackling controversial political topics and the risk is mostly borne by those with marginal views. It's easy for sports people to bash Trump without fear of reprisal from their employers. Suppose a famous Toronto sports media member tweeted out strong anti-Trudeau or pro-bill C51 opinions on a regular basis. Would that be tolerated the same way employers seem to be tolerating anti-Trump tweets? My guess is not, but perhaps that's not true.

 

All of this to say I can see some merits to the ESPN approach, which is in essence "stick to sports … and non-controversial topics." Under that rule, Bob McKenzie and Matt Cauz's wine tweets would be safe … unless they start trying to debunk terroir.

 

Over to you: who ruins Twitter for you because of their non-sports takes? How do you draw the line between good and bad non-sports tweets?

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • I have had virtually no time to listen to radio but I did catch Bob and Damien talking with Richard Deitsch for 8 minutes about whether LA or New York is a better city in which to live. Memo to Damien: you are the new permanent co-host and with great power comes great responsibility. The audience is counting on you to steer the conversation back to sports. If left to his own devices Bob would rather talk about anything else.

 

  • Ben Ennis had a great interview with ex-ump Jim McKean on Monday.

 

  • I'm not sure if the plan for Overdrive was always to have fill-in co-hosts over the summer but it's not a great way to build an audience when your two main personalities are away at the same time. Basically, people who love the Leafs Lunch crew have little reason to tune in right now. People who discover the show over the summer will get something completely different when September rolls around. 

 

—–

 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

 

59 Comments

  1. Rob J says:

    Someone tweeted at Damien to ‘stick to hockey’….in July. Also, people don’t necessarily want sports media to refrain from politics; they merely want them to tweet out opinions they agree with.

  2. Sam says:

    Great column, MIB.

    I would say views #1 and #3 are the different sides of the same coin. Basically, if a tweeter crosses the line (e.g. Arthur and the SJW tweets) then unfollow. I love Deitsch but I don’t follow him because his twitter is a firehose. I check in on him once in a while, or on Mondays when I know he’s posting a column.

    To answer your column with another question (would love to be able to BOLD this) – “Why do followers feel entitled to anything?”. We aren’t paying for the service, other than I suppose our attention. If you don’t like it, unfollow. Would you be willing to subscribe for $1.00/month any of the feeds above? I’ve signed up with a few podcasters at Patreon, will be interesting to see if that could possibly be applied to the Twitter model over time.

  3. Steve Jones says:

    Just because you’re in the sports media doesn’t mean you lead a one dimensional life. So to expect people in that field to only post about sports is absurd. And to have a second account would be way to hard to maintain. It really is simple. if you don’t like someone’s Twitter stop reading it. And if you can’t then accept that sports writers you may like might not share your world view. Personally I have good friends whose politics I don’t share. But that’s OK. I allow my friends to be wrong at times. Just the kind of guy I am.

  4. Justin says:

    I dont mind seeing peoples personal tweets when it relates to a neutral subject (ex. Matt Cauz wine tweets), but when it becomes political or emotional I would prefer not to see it. If I follow someone for their sports credentials that is why I am following them, whereas if I want political news or opinion I would follow the respective person. Unless it is their job I dont think people with verified accounts should be using their, lets call it “power” to get their personal agenda or views across. I am not a political person and would prefer to keep my twitter feed strictly sports. And while I can understand the narrative “unfollow if you dont agree” that could potentionally hurt their companies, as I have already unfollowed certain people from certain networks for their political updates. I have been trying to give my attention to the ones who stick to sports.
    Also, agree on the Overdrive point. Its my favourite show on radio, and I know its the dog days of summer for sports news, but honestly why do all 3 need to be on vacation at the same time?

  5. RobInAurora says:

    It boils right down to “go ahead and Tweet whatever you want, but if I disagree with you, I will overreact… if I disagree strongly enough, I’m going to respond with a personal attack that I’d never tell you to your face”…which I believe, was not intended purpose of Twitter as a public forum in the first place. (For an example, please refer to the recent exchange between Rosie DiManno and Joe Warmington)….And this site proves you don’t even have to use Twitter to see the same thing….

  6. Stewart says:

    Really enjoy the blog. Never comment though until recent radio fill ins
    Derek Taylor covering on overdrive has been a disaster. I am not sure where this guy came from but he is unlistenable. Tatti and Hogan have been the reason I simply,y haven’t abandoned the show. I know people hate wheeler and cauz on here, but they are light years better than him. Overdrive, mainly due to Hayes is by far the best Toronto sports radio…and I am a die hard Bruins fan.
    Speaking of Overdive, how does anyone tune into bobcat anymore? I left him as a listener due to John Shannon ( currently in a tie with Derek Taylor as the worst radio guy) and I cannot see myself returning in Damien Cox is there. I know that Overdive does get stupid sometimes, but at least they can laugh at themselves.

    Regardless, really enjoy this product you put out. Cheers. Stewart, in London

  7. (Another) Andrew says:

    Most sports journalists aren’t smart enough to realize that they are not that smart. They are not well informed either. Think of how ignorant they sound when they start talking about a sport other than the one they specialize in then imagine how ill-informed they are likely to be about things unrelated to their professions such as history, sociology, sociobiology, religion, geopolitics, economics, and philosophy. Without at least basic knowledge of all those subjects your political opinions are worthless. Usually when they talk politics they are either just virtue signalling* or they are parroting the views of more powerful people without realizing it. Bob McCown on politics is about as interesting as Noam Chomsky on the Blue Jays bullpen..

    * Virtue signalling

  8. yaz says:

    My twitter address is my full name. No symbols, numbers, or zzzz’s at the the end of it. And my avi is my actual picture. And I can’t verify my Twitter account if I want to pay? I imagine if Twitter let’s everyone pay it decreases the value of the sexy blue checkmark and their revenues would AGAIN go down. But if you want to talk to me here? Call me by my fake name yaz. Thanks.

    Bruce Arthur is king of Twitter abuse. He has blocked more people than he has followers. He likely pictures himself on the cover of Time Magazine along with a 10,000 word article about being the first media goat to get to one million Tweets. I hope they analyze his timeline. 75% of Block Arthur’s Tweets are highly substantive along the lines of ‘Ya’, ‘Cool’, ‘Thanks’, or ‘Nice shot.’ The other 24% are bashing anybody on the political spectrum left of a hunting and gathering society. The other 1 % are sports related, but only about Stephen Curry.

    For fun, enter ‘@bruce_arthur @winsford99’ as a search on Twitter. Al Strachan gets after him quite a bit. I bet most media after they retire will bash Brucie as well. #Deserved

  9. Original Mitch says:

    I feel you have to like at it from an employers stand point and think what is best for your company. it’s all about the person behind the tweet and what kind of authority they have. Like him or not Arthur has a huge following so his boss loves it, so long as he doesn’t cross a line. Same with Cox. Untouchables, to a certain extent.
    Now, when Barry Davis tweets that he’s okay with the national anthem despite obviously not having a clue on the situation, I’m certain he gets a call from his boss saying stick to cheerleading Barry.
    Personally I don’t follow Cox or Athur because I see them as sports writers, not social commentators. That said, I can understand someone who shares their point of view and want to hear their opinions on all facets of life.
    It’s the same with comedians. I follow a few to make me laugh. When they get all social and political, I respect it, but it’s not the reason I follow them.

  10. yaz says:

    Sorry, that was right of, not left of.

  11. gregg says:

    1) I don’t have a problem with sports personalities tweeting about politics if they do it occasionally. However some go overboard. It’s their right to do so and its my right to unfollow them. I love reading Deitsch’s column and hearing him on PTS but I unfollowed him on Twitter because he has so many political issue tweets.
    2) if your tweets are “allowed” under current PC rules you can tweet almost anything and not worry about the consequences. If they are in-PC there will most likely be negative consequences especially if you are an athlete or media person. This is no different than anything you might say in an interview.

  12. gregg says:

    Sorry about the type o. Should read “if they are Un-PC”.

  13. GreyCountyMike says:

    Most of us don’t have a problem with a sports media personality or an athlete speaking his or her mind on any issue … as long as we agree with that view. And then the civility goes out the window.

    Ironically, for a digital tool designed to enhance information exchange and bring the wide world closer together, the bully pulpit that Twitter has become has hardly made the world a nicer, more understanding place.

    It has, however, exposed the phonies. Take Bruce Arthur, for instance. He tries to position himself as this hip, progressive, modern, world citizen, but it doesn’t take long until the paranoid, small-town, thin-skinned mentality comes out. Telling someone to F-off and then blocking them … yeah, Arthur, that’s progressive.

  14. Brian says:

    I recently had an exchange with Bruce Arthur that went something like this:

    BA: What a beautiful sunny evening in downtown Toronto for football

    To which I replied: So says the man paid by Bell

    BA: And here comes the block…

    I argued that he should be open with who pays him. He said it’s in his profile. TSN is indeed owned by Bell but I don’t think most people know Bell now has a direct ownership stake in the Argos. But basically he said I could delete my Tweet or get blocked. So I deleted it because, for the most part, I like reading his Twitter feed. But I guess you can bully people a little when you have this kind of pulpit.

    But surely if Bruce worked for ESPN, it would have a problem with this tweet on July 13, 2016: “Guys, I’m pretty sure Trump’s VP pick is going to be Trump’s penis in a little red hat.” https://twitter.com/bruce_arthur/status/753406530184097792

    It’s a funny tweet but these days his Twitter feed is easily 80/20 politics to sports. I doubt that’s what the Star thought it was buying when he was hired from the Post (though by and large Arthur’s politics and the Star’s politics align) I had no idea the verification process was so expensive.

  15. another steve says:

    I don’t mind seeing non-sports tweets from sport journos.
    Gives opportunity to understand who they are and what they stand for.

    But there are exceptions…..

    I took a disliking to Bruce Arthur when he joined Cybulski’s show on 1050, which was also around the time he started as a regular on The Reporters, and that pretty much sealed my contempt for the hypersensitive blow hard.

    I felt he often came across as a hypocrite, often stating/starting his position with contrarian viewpoints.

    Needless to say I don’t read his columns or follow him on twitter, but unfortunately I still see many of his inane tweets due to re-tweets.

    When he’s on TSNR, he’s enough of a reason for me to change the station.

  16. NefCanuck says:

    I’ve always felt that people are free to Tweet whatever the heck they want and it’s my right to either do one of several things:

    1) Ignore the tweet (everyone says things that someone disagrees with)

    2) Respond, but in a way that should the person choose to block me over it, they can’t cause me greater harm later.

    3) Unfollow the person if they cross the line of disrespect/decency

    If everyone reacted like this, I think Twitter would become a more welcoming place to new folks and keep people from leaving altogether

  17. another steve says:

    @Stewart
    I don’t disagree with any of your comments. Spot on.

    For me, there’s more to dislike than like, when it comes to Toronto sports radio. I’ve been a subscriber to SiriusXM, and over the past 2 years I’ve been going out of the local market for sport content more frequently.

    With that said, I’ll add this thought.

    I’ve had an enjoyable weekend listing to ESPN on TSN 1050 this weekend.
    Seems PD MacDonald has finally figured out how to get knowledgeable and talented personalities on the air that can speak to the multiple sport issues of the day.

    Using ESPN really points to the dearth of talent in Toronto sports radio.

    And it happens over at 590 as well, they often drop in Vendetta/Scolari, an out of market guy, or revert to CBS sports radio programing.

    So much for developing local talent in-house.

  18. NefCanuck says:

    @another steve

    I think we have to remember that the program directors at both the local sports stations in Toronto are likely only given just enough resources to handle the rosters that they have.

    Developing new talent takes money, time and patience something that the owners of these stations have shown that they have short supply of (at least the last two, any cries of poverty by these owners, I call horsefeathers on)

    There’s also the reality of the lack of opportunities as late night programming has in most cases been turned over to syndicated material overnight.

    Meaning there is no opportunity to ‘grow talent” on air in the wee hours (Not to mention how many folks could even take advantage of this now? Unless the pay is good you’d be looking at doing this “night shift” and finding other employment to stay afloat until you got your break.

  19. Anthony says:

    @NefCanuck

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. If you don’t like someone’s twitter feed, don’t follow them and then mute them, you’ll never see it. That said, I think there are those in this world who enjoy finding things to complain about, so a personal twitter feed is added to the list, see an above post as proof.

    Why people want to look for something to complain about is beyond me, but they do exist.

  20. billyjoejimbob says:

    I’d be really curious to know how you got the info that people pay for verification.

    After I read that..I asked a few people who are verified about it, and they said none of them paid. A few said they sent a note to Twitter about verification because of fakes, and were approved. One said the blue checkmark showed up one day –he assumed it was because of his follower count.

    I told them what was written here and they were surprised. Had never heard of that. Couldn’t imagine a company caring enough to pay for it, either.

    • mike (in boston) says:

      billyjoejimbob – always appreciate your insights. If you google it you’ll see that the facts around verification are a closely held secret by Twitter. Presumably that’s because this is one place where they have a clear revenue stream. As mentioned, my understaning is that deals are in place at a very high corporate level which would explain why some people working in the industry would get verified even without asking for it. I just followed an animal welfare guy on Twitter who has 267,000 followers and he’s not verified, whereas Scott Stinson at the Post with his 6,000 followers is verified. So is Steve Buffery of the Sun with his 4,000 followers.

       

      Anyway, my only real point in all of this is that verification is (often) an extension of one’s employer, which makes a verified twitter account a bit more like a company account no matter how many disclaimers one puts in the bio section.

  21. Island Chris says:

    Aren’t we at a point where the Goddard tweet isn’t considered a differing view point but one that is restrictive to the rights of other humans?

    RE Overdrive: I would have thought that O-Dog would have stuck it out for the summer as he at least watches other sports and could develop into a decent sports radio host. But either way, I think these guys being a part makes me look forward to the fall even more.

  22. Art says:

    Listening to the Fan 590 right now. This is so mu ch better than the Blundell show. They really need to make this the regular morning show. Finally real sports talk by guys who know what they are talking about. I don’t know ben ennis that well but he is doing a great job. So good to hear Bastl back on the radio. Nice to see him get this shot. As everyone knows I’m a Huge fan and I think he gets a bad rap by people who hate Richards. As you can finally hear he isn’t Richards and the guy is just a great broadcaster who knows his sports.

    Loving morning sports talk again. It’s been a while.

  23. Joe says:

    @Art

    I gotta agree. I am really enjoying it this morning. This pair has a lot of potential. Just simple sports talk not trying to hard to be funny like Dean. Not playing silly games or self promoting like Michael Landsberg.

    This is the type of sports talk that we have missed in the morning drive slot in this city.

    I hope Dave Cadeau is paying attention. Listeners are tired of Dean’s act. Maybe it’s time for a change.

  24. Antonio says:

    I’ve become a fan of Donald Trump mostly due to the fact Arthur hates him so much. His 20 a day tweets about how terrible Trump is has driven me into the arms of the Donald.

    For the record, I’m not being completely serious here but Arthur’s tweeting definitely is tiresome. Best to just ignore him.

    BTW, has Marty York lost his mind completely or just partially?

  25. Eric says:

    @Art and Joe

    I didn’t like it as much as you guys did. I agree it’s better than Blundell or Naylor and the OTR guy. But I didn’t feel a lot of chemistry there between Ben Ennis and Bastl. I like David Bastl a lot too and felt he did a great job, but Ennis just talked way too much. He just sounded like he was trying to hard to dominate the show. didn’t really feel like a conversation until about the half way point. The 2nd half was very good. maybe somebody whispered in his ear hey buddy dial it back a bit.

    And Somebody tell Wilner to drink some coffee before he goes on the air. he sounded like he was about to drift back to sleep.

    hope tomorrow’s show is more like the 2nd half all the way through, makes for a better day to have good sports radio in the morning. I’m just dreading Blundell’s return.

  26. Steve Clark says:

    A couple of people made comments about dearth of secondary talent. I can say as I’m going through the process of getting talk show reps that for sure there are restrictions on the amount of resources that a station manager can develop for new talent. It takes a while to get enough reps under you to feel comfortable.

    For me, I think there is good potential in some of the “underneath” voices like Ben Ennis, Dave Bastl, Andy Mac etc…

    On the topic of the article, I don’t mind if sports people tweet about non-sports stuff. Shows their depth, and you can either ignore, or interact. If you interact with them by trolling, I think you deserve to be blocked. I saw “Brian” who commented earlier responded to a Bruce Arthur comment about the weather during an Argo game by accusing him of basically being a shill. Well, he deserved to get blocked. You wouldn’t do that in a regular conversation. Why do it on social media?

  27. Antonio says:

    There was nothing offensive about Goddard’s tweet (which got him fired). Kudos to MIB for noting that had Goddard’s opinion been the opposite, he would not have been canned. Actually he would have been celebrated.

    Oh well, so much for free speech.

  28. Steve says:

    “Stick to sports” is dumb. Do we tell other people “stick to plumbing” when discussing sports or politics with them?

  29. RobInAurora says:

    Jeremy Taggart is a very good fill in co-host. He’s funny, entertaining, well informed as a sports fan sitting in and he works well with Cauz . He did a good job at 9 to noon today…. Wheeler is bad, oops I mean BACK tomorrow. So it will be back to Dan Patrick on 1150.

    This is not sports related, but it is Taggart related…so it should apply to this blog: The Taggart and (Jonathon) Torrens podcast is very entertaining for anyone over 40. Lots of pop culture and trivia for the 40+ demographic and they are very funny together. There are a lot of running gags on their podcast, so you need to go back a long way to keep up with the stuff they are doing now. (“Andrea and them” is brilliant. So are “Gord and Bernie”)

  30. NefCanuck says:

    @Steve Clark

    I’ve been doing a weekly on-line broadcasting gig for over five years now and I can tell you there are still nights when I (almost) crash and burn horribly.

    I think sometimes that why folks tune in to listen to me – IE: What’s going to go wrong *this* week*?

    So I can well imagine that trying to grow talent in an environment like the Greater Toronto Area would give most program directors ulcers given the constraints that they are working under

  31. lister says:

    My preference for company name included Twitter handles is for the Tweeter to remain on topic for their position. Separation of church and state. Being in IT I cringe every time fellow employees use company email, etc for personal things. Go get a personal whatever account and use that for personal views. For Twitter, I can then decide if I want to follow that personal account.

    I like Bruce Arthur. PTS Arthur was good. Print Arthur is mostly good. Current TV and radio Arthur is fine. Twitter Arthur went from good to downright annoying over time. I simply unfollowed him. Problem solved.

    I also have no problems with journalists, personalities, etc being fans as long as they’re up front about it.

  32. Shoot and Score says:

    On the Damien Goddard note — there was a lot more behind his dismissal than one tweet.Take the zealotry of that one tweet and imagine it in a work environment among people with differing viewpoints. The word “frightened” was heard more than once.
    Plus, he wasn’t that good.

  33. Eric says:

    Day 3 of Ben Ennis and David Bastl and they are getting better. Ennis still talks too much but he is improving. I gotta say this sounds like a morning show to me. This is clearly a better show than Blundell and Company.

    Like how they are bringing in a little humor but not being goofy. I loved Bastl admitting he missed the first 20 mins of the Jays game because his daughter had to watch Peppa Pig before bed. The story of the producer almost killing someone on the golf coarse had me crying laughing. Very fun show yet it is still mostly smart sports talk. The interviews with guests are great too.

    Argh. As I’m writing this glowing review Ennis just lost his mind and sounded like Bevis from Bevis and butthead flipping out. I’m not sure what the hell that was. This guy is bipolar or something. Just when I think he’s found his grove he goes over the top again.

    Just tone it down a bit Ben. And this could be a great show.

  34. billyjoejimbob says:

    mike (in boston),

    I think you are correct. You sound like you are guessing, especially with the word “presumably.” I’d like to know more about your “understanding.”

    Can’t find one person who knows for sure that someone paid for them to be verified. In this current climate of cost-cutting, it seems improbable — especially at CBC, Rogers or TSN.

  35. Antonio says:

    @Eric
    I echo your comments re: Ennis & Bastl. As a listener I want just two things from a show: Make me laugh and tell me something I don’t know. While they’re not experts in any field, they do know their stuff and I have no reason to jump over to 1050.

  36. yaz says:

    This morning Cauz was quite enthusiastically discussing how he has been renting out a room in his Distillery condo on Airbnb lately. (function of Cauz’ salary cuts??) I suggest this site block out 6-8 weeks and we pump everyone here on the board through Cauz’s condo on a 3 day rotation. We can drink all his wine, give him ‘three takeaway’ suggestions at two in the morning, and bitch about homerism on the Fan.

  37. Mike S says:

    MIB makes a good point about the OverDrive summer hiatus…………Hayes will be back soon but the other two are off until September………..I think this is how the negotiations went in February:

    TSN 1050 Management………..”Hey Jamie & Jeff, we want you guys to take over the 4-7 PM timeslot”

    McLennan & O’Neill:…………”We’ll do it, but only if we don’t have to cancel our scheduled March vacations and only if we both get the entire summer off like previous years”

    TSN 1050 Management:………..”Uh, OK”

  38. Another Eric says:

    this verified debate is pretty stupid. the point of verification is to stop impostors. who would pretend to be ryan walsh or any of the other behind the scences workers? and who cares if it’s paid for or not … what difference does it make? face it … the check-mark is a vanity thing more than anything else.

  39. Eric says:

    @Another Eric

    first off gotta tell ya love the name. 2nd I agree with you 100% I’ve avoided the debate because I think it’s a waste off time. I don’t even understand the point of all the talk about what Bruce Author or anyone else tweets. Follow if you like it unfollow if you don’t.

    @Mike S I know it’s a good deal for McLennan and O’Neil to have the long breaks but it sucks for the station and the show. It pretty much validates the criticism that they are just a couple of puck heads that have no value outside of hockey talk. And it kills any momentum the show has. I get hosts need vacations lots of hosts are taking them right not too, but not for a whole summer.

    It’s also kinda funny how TSN in general has positioned them selves as the hockey network despite not having the rights. I know they don’t have the Jays either which makes this time of year tough but I gotta say I don’t get having such 1 dimensional cohosts in a prime time slot.

  40. yaz says:

    I don’t think TSN really cares about radio anymore and they’ve given up. They went out of market and brought in Mike Richards and sounds like he was/is making Blundell money but it didn’t pay off or they didn’t feel like his pay check in the current climate of massive cuts was worth an extension. ( his 3 contract ends around Feb. 2017, the 3 years was after his first contract).

    So they bump Richards to 1-4 where I would guess he just leaves the station in February unless he is willing to take a massive pay cut to stay on in that death time slot – Look for Richards as the new morning guy on one of the TSN stations in Vancouver next year.

    In the same context, both Naylor and Landsberg were fired from their previous jobs and still under contract. So they accept being dished into the morning slot to give it a shot. If it works, great, if it doesn’t, throw somebody else in there.

    Macko & Cauz has been a train wreck with Cauz & Wheeler or Hogan or Roe or Taylor or Wheeler or Feschuk; talk about discontinuity.

    Then to Overdrive where you would think they would give a shit about continuity. But they don’t. By ‘they’ I mean both the on-air guys and the Producers. If the guys gave a crap, they would at the LEAST rotate ONE of either Hayes, Noodles or O’Neill so that there was the minimum amount of continuity. If the Producers gave a crap they would pay Noodles and/or O’Neill to be on the air in the summer. They want time off but if the money was there, they would be on the air right now. To not even do that screams ‘I don’t give a shit’. O’Neill whining about working such long hours. Give me a break. This is the first year of the show, not the tenth. They should be showing they have an interest in the success of the show. I wouldn’t be down the dial on PTS if Overdrive had some semblance of the show on the air. Really disappointed.

  41. RobInAurora says:

    I don’t know if people commenting on Overdrive actually listen to Overdrive, but this whole “one dimensional host” concern is kind of an odd thing to be concerned about. Anyone that enjoys sports can do that job. If you use the same logic, then Bob McCown is a “no dimensional” host. He doesn’t watch much of anything and refuses to have players on for interviews and he doesn’t really stay all that current on what’s happening in sports any more. I get the feeling he relied on his inner circle to keep him informed enough to do the job.

    What it boils down to is who do you want to listen to? I can’t stand Damien Cox and will disagree with anything he says because I just don’t like him. He bugs me. And I have absolutely no use for Ken Reid or John Shannon at all and most of what they say is “not well conceived” I wanted to use stronger language, but I find that this comments section can sound liek a bunch of “mean girls” at times. O’Neil and McClennan can ask intelligent questions and make salient points, yet they don’t try to pretend to know anything about the sports their guests are on to talk about. Anyone can discuss a particular game and the results. Hayes staye current and provides all the commentary required about the big 3 sports. O’Neil is a scratch golfer and an all around sports fan like I am. I can relate to him. Other than Bob Weeks and any players they have on the show, I would defer to his knowledge of golf. I find they don’t leverage that enough.

    All three co-hosts can comment on the big 3 sports because hockey is their sport, Basketball is a hot topic in Toronto and so are the Jays. The guests are who provide the “knowledge transfer” and analysis for the listening audience. Guys like Bob McCown, Dave Naylor and especially Michael Lansdberg provide me with little or no value other than steering the ship and hopefully asking good questions. I don’t believe I will learn anything about my favourite sports from listening to them, nor do I expect to.

    The issue about the summers off is a strange one. But O’Neil and McClennan do an awful lot of TV work, so something has to give somewhere. I don’t mind a rotating cast of co-hosts in the summer weeks. But that also depends on who the co-hosts are. That guy with the lisp (name escapes me) is TSN’s Ken Reid. He is truly terrible and needs to go.

  42. koko b.ware says:

    @yaz
    I appreciate the comments, but it works better to leave out the “thoughts” of the players. You can’t really say O’Neill and friends don’t give a shit, or that they would take the money, etc.

    People in the public sphere have lives with many complex relationships. So unless you have inside knowledge of why a particular individual needs/w wants or has time off, it’s probably better not to comment on it.

  43. DJ says:

    So, as has happened in the past, Ryan Pinder is on 590 during the summer. I thought he was good last year. Similarly, the small amount I listened to today was good as well.

    While I STRONGLY believe one man radio is awful (not that the host himself is awful but there is no one who does a 1 man show that grabs my attention), I have found Pinder to be a new voice. Nothing dramatic by any means, but just a smooth delivery.

    Wonder if they would ever try putting him with someone to see if the chemistry exists. Or if they ever plan on moving him to TO full time.

    Either way, for me, it is refreshing to hear a new voice.

  44. yaz says:

    @koko love how you both appreciate my thoughts but also warn me not to bother to comment in the same pragraph. Lol.

    Every other time slot has hosts in the public sphere who are not taking the summer off. Noodles and Odog made a choice. And you can be sure the continuity debate came up and was discussed. Their absence is proof that they value their time off more than the success of Overdrive.

  45. Tighthead says:

    I unfollowed Dowbiggin, who may be crazier than York. I am better for it. Following someone you hate is an easy trap to fall into, but it is also easy to remedy.

  46. Alex says:

    Good hour of PTS today with Dietsch and then John Amaechi.

  47. koko b.ware says:

    @yaz
    Why do you hate O’Neill so much?

  48. Joe says:

    It’s a damn shame that this morning show is ending tommrow. I think Ben Ennis, Ryan Fabro and David Bastl are knocking it out of the park this week. Today’s show has been so much fun. I know it’s a sports show and they have covered all the sports news really well, but at the same time I like a little off topic stuff. The Bourne movie is coming out today so they threw out a poll about the best action movies and chated a little about that. That brought up that David Bastl had been in a B movie called Category 7 end of the world with Janeane Garofalo. Ha ha so random.

    Some off topic fun but then they get back to sports and have some great baseball talk well thought out and great opinions. They actauly know sports unlike the guy who usually fills that spot.

    I hope Rusic can be as good as Enis next week. Glad Bastl is staying on for another week. It’s a nice break from the shock jock crap they usualy air in the morning.

  49. Eric says:

    @RobInAurora

    I do listen to Overdrive and I generally do enjoy the show. I think Hayes and O’Neil are great I’m iffy on Jamie. my point was that there is a narrative out there that the co-hosts are just hockey guys who know nothing about other sports. And that being the case It doesn’t help that they only work during hockey season. That’s why feed the critics? If you want to disprove them put in some time during the off season get into in other sports. I would suggest that Yaz might be onto something. Maybe TSN 1050 just doesn’t give a shit anymore. either that or the guy running the place is just a flat out idiot.

    @Joe

    I was struggling with Ennis as you can see by my comments above. I feel like he was too up and down, However he seems to have found a level of balance today. much more consistent over the broadcast. I also enjoyed the things you mentioned about the movies. Didn’t know Dave played single A ball too that was kinda cool.

    What I found interesting is these guys find away to talk about themselves and their past gigs in a more humble way, and then quickly bring it back on topic and relate it back to what they are talking about. Landsberg needs to listen to this on podcast and take notes. He just shouts OTR every Chance he gets and it comes off as nothing but self promoting. much different vibe.

  50. CW says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Joe. I haven’t been listening to the morning shows lately since I don’t like either one but this week has been great. Great sports talk and the off topic stuff is good as well. I don’t mind Rusic but I find mixed with Blundell it’s too much. He should be fine with Bastl.

  51. Cirroc says:

    Simmons and Landsberg taking pot shots at each other this morning made for some good laughs. Simmons actually brought up Landsberg’s constant mentioning of OTR!

  52. Alex says:

    The segment began with Naylor saying a guy gave him some free pizza “because he has to put up with simmons.”

  53. RobInAurora says:

    Landsberg comes off as a a comllerelty self centered jerk. He talks about OTR all the time. But here is a better example. It was his bithday last Friday as he signed off before the weekend and all he did for the sign off is talk about himself, his birthday (like really, who cares?) then they cut to ads…nothing about “thanks for listening” or “have a great weekend everybody”…hes just an egotistical jerk. I never liked him much, now I can’t stand him. (His attempts at on air humour are cringeworthy). I can’t wait ’til he’s gone, it has to happen…

  54. Too Much says:

    So maybe Oneil and McLennan already had deals in place re summer hours before they got switched to 4 – 7? Plus maybe the number of people who listen to sports radio just drops in the summer, so why not let hosts off at that time? This is a forum for people who are into sports media but maybe the vast majority are not, so no big deal to the average listener who is likely off on vacation or heading to the Jays game or just not that interested in anything beyond hockey. Plus agencies don’t buy on summer ratings so what’s the loss to TSN?

  55. Alex says:

    Historically, this is when people in media generally go on vacation. The TV season runs/ran from September to May. The “US sporting calendar” runs from Sept (start of football college and pro) through June,maybe extending to the all star game in early july.

    Presumably, the only people not on that schedule are baseball people. And thats not 100% true anymore.

  56. Cirroc says:

    Good call guys…

    There is a dearth of interesting sports radio topics during these summer months, at least for me. I’m not interested in the Olympics and only have a passing interest in tennis and golf so I find myself tuning out more than I would during NHL/NFL season. Also, I can’t bring myself to listen any more of the Aaron Sanchez debate, it’s been covered six ways from sunday by both networks.

  57. yaz says:

    I would argue that the former pre-Parrillo Leafs Lunch listenership followed the guys to Overdrive. A lot of these fans likely didn’t previously listen to any radio in that time slot. Now that Overdrive is essentially off the air all summer, some of their fans have gone down the dial and developed a PTS habit. TSN radio really dropped the ball on this one.

    I listen to every time slot but I wouldn’t be listening to PTS if O’Neill, Noodles and Hayes were on 4-7.

  58. RobInAurora says:

    Right now McCown has Ziezberger as a fill in co-host. Hayes has Jonas Siegel. Last week, PTS had all kinds of fill in hosts (weak ones) – So I think the summertime works the same on both stations. Say what you want about Siegel, he’s a bright guy, good knowledge on all the major sports and pop culture as well – so he’s pretty engaging on any topic and has a good sense of humour and fits in with Hayes, as well as noodles and O’Neil. But most importantly, Siegel doesn’t make me feel 100 years old like anyone on PTS does. Hayes has his issues, but McCown is father time in comparison. I’m done with that guy, he’s a dinaosaur…This is my opinion, so please don’t tell me I’m “wrong”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin