Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

March 12th, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports

photo credit: here


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning sports media watchers, Dean Blundell, and our new readers from out West. Thanks for dropping by. Please contribute to the conversation by commenting below. As always, you can DM (even if we're not following each other) or email to let me know of any story ideas or errors.


The big news of the week was the cutting of the Sportsnet Pacific bureau. This move means job losses for some recognizable on air personalities as well as the behind the scenes production team. Regular readers know that we focus mostly on radio and print in this space, so I decided to reach out to someone who understands the TV side of the business to help break down what this move means for Sportsnet and the industry.


Jim Van Horne worked at TSN as a sports anchor from 1984 to 2001, and then at Sportsnet from 2003-2006. He is currently the television coordinator at the College of Sports Media. Here is our conversation.


5 Questions with Jim Van Horne


Q: You started at TSN in 1984. How radical was the idea of 24 hour a day sports back then?


JVH: Nobody thought it would work. The first reaction I heard was "what are they going to show, Tiddlywinks?" … People laughed at us when we would show up at press conferences with our TSN jackets on. It's changed a little bit since then.


Q: How quickly could you tell that this model was viable?


JVH: To be honest I felt it right away when they approached me to join the network. For TSN itself, I think you would have to point to the 1988 Olympics in Calgary when people in the industry really recognized that we were serious and could do good work.


Q: How do you see the place of the traditional sports desk type show in 2016?


JVH: When I first started doing it back in 1984 there was no internet so people had 3 places to go for sports news: TV, radio, or print. And if they wanted it immediately then they would go for TV or radio. So back then we were the main places for up to the minute info. For lack of a better term, it was a much more closed society. Today it's completely different. I think the role of the sports anchor has changed where the audience is not relying on it as much as they used to. It's certainly reduced the importance of the highlight show. Whether it will ever go away? I don't think so. It will just become more of a niche product.


Q: How did you approach your role? Did you try to give the audience access to your personality?


JVH: Sports differs from news in that you can add a little personality. I've never been one to believe that I was the star of the show; I was more of the conduit. Every once in a while I would throw something humorous in but I was more interested in letting the viewer or the listener soak it in. I wasn't trying to pretend to be an expert.


Q: Some of the people I speak with in the industry complain that sports anchors now are mostly just in the business of reading teleprompters and are much less knowledgeable than people on radio or in print. Do you think that is accurate?


JVH: I never considered myself a news-reader. I always did my own research. I spent a lot of time during the day on the phone calling agents and teams and getting information.


Q: Shifting to the news of the week, Sportsnet has shut its Vancouver office. This struck me as an odd move for a network that is pitching itself as a national broadcaster. How do you see the relevance of regional bureaus for sports networks?


JVH: The reporters are still there and will be filing stores for SN. So it's not like they are shutting down Vancouver. They're just switching to the same model as TSN, who have had reporters in Vancouver since day one but never had a bureau there. This is just a cost-cutting measure.


Q: What's the loss to the consumer by shifting the entire operation to Toronto?


JVH: The loss to the Sportsnet Pacific viewer is that they no longer have a show that is primarily focused on their market. That's not to say they won't get their share of coverage. When I was at Sportsnet we would do 5 different versions of the show a night. We catered very show to the market, so the lead story in Toronto wasn't necessarily the same everywhere. They are still going to get their coverage, but it's a perception they are losing the Western focus. They aren't.


Q: With the recent job losses in print many people decried the centralization of news offices. CBC referred to this as "news poverty" when local communities lose their own offices. So at least outside of sports some people are really worried about the loss of local news.


JVH: Oh sure. If you shut down a station then you certainly lose. And people want to be informed and need to be informed. But it's different with sports. Sports takes us away from our every day anxiety. And even though there are billions at stake, it's still entertainment. So Sportsnet is not closing down anything. And this is a phenomenon that is happening across both BCE and Rogers as they try to adjust.


Q: Do you think the sports media industry has been slow to adjust to the changing economy around how people get their sports news? Both networks hired a ton of people to generate content for their websites and channels, and now they are cutting back. Did they overextend themselves?


JVH: No, I don't think so. They expanded at the rate they thought was appropriate. Nobody expected TSN to be as successful as it turned out to be. If you look at the industry here and in the US where you have so many regional networks, the popularity of sports is incredible. It's all about live event programming. So I think the cuts we are seeing is about the maturing of the medium itself. It's the industry trying to evolve. And the job losses are a tragedy. I tell my students every day, the industry will always crave good people. But, the days where mere rudimentary knowledge of the basics of writing and broadcasting are enough are long gone.


Q: Are there too many people going to school for broadcast jobs?


JVH: I don't think so. One of the good things is that people quickly discover that being able to talk sports with your buddies and being good on air are totally different. And lots can't do it. So they start to work on other skills, like editing, directing, producing, camera … so a lot of them will become very good at the behind the scenes stuff. But to be honest I don't think there are enough good broadcasters to fill the existing jobs in this country.


Q: Nelson Millman once told me he thinks one of the biggest problems is that we don't have a farm system in this country. Do you agree?


JVH: Absolutely. And adding to what Nelson said, I think a lot of broadcasters coming out of school today have the expectation that their degree will get them a job at the majors right away. And that's just not going to happen. But you need to get experience. And it takes a lot of time. I was in the business for 15 years before getting my break at TSN. There are very few people who can step in to that job right out of the gate. It takes time.


Q: Does Canada lack a national sports culture? In the US there are several national radio shows – guys like Rome, Mike&Mike, Cowherd, Patrick – while we don't have anything close to that here. Outside of the Olympics, the World Juniors, and maybe the Grey Cup, are there many sports topics that you can discuss coast to coast?


JVH: Outside of hockey, I think you're right that we don't have much to unify the country. We tried it on the TEAM [sports radio network] when CHUM still owned it and it never worked. We tried to be national but I think sports radio in this country is more regional than anything else. People in Toronto want to talk about the Jays and the Leafs. If you're in Montreal, you hate the Leafs and only want to talk Habs or other local stories. I think it's the same across the country. It's interesting you mentioned the personalities from south of the border. We don't have anything like Jim Rome in Canada. I'll give you an example. Stephen Brunt and I  interviewed Martha Burk who led the protests against Augusta golf course for excluding women. At the end she said "I'm really shocked. Whenever I go on a radio show in the US they are screaming and yelling at me and trying to put me down, but we had a sane conversation here." Welcome to Canada. So I think there is a difference in how we do things here. There's not as much appetite for that style.


Q: The rivalry between TSN and SN is pretty intense right now. When you were at TSN the network was clobbering SN. Are you surprised they have caught up?


JVH: Not at all. Years ago SN was worried about what TSN was doing. They would react. Today SN is marching to the beat of their own drum. They don't care what TSN is doing, and that change came when Pelley and Moore took over. They decided they didn't want to run scared anymore. Of course they were both trained at TSN so they knew exactly what they wanted to active, plus for all the grief they are taking over the NHL ratings, do you think it's a coincidence that they pulled ahead when they got the NHL package? Of course not. And all the griping about the coverage would be way less if the Canadian teams were doing well. If your team is winning you wouldn't care who is calling the games. But don't forget that even though TSN doesn't have the national rights, they also aren't paying that huge sum of money that SN is. They are free to buy other rights and make money off those.




Thanks to Jim for taking the time. It's great to hear from someone who knows the business so well, and from both sides. Follow Jim on Twitter @jvanh.


Forum: Coast to Coast?


I have been hanging on to this topic for a while and now seems as good a time as any to roll it out. Here's the question I'd like us to discuss this weekend: why are there no national sports radio shows in Canada?


One of the nice things about travelling through the States is that whether you're in Texas or in Florida or in Oregon you can flip on the radio in your rental car and find a recognizable voice talking about sports topics that aren't the local college teams. Not only that, but if you don't like Rome, then you can usually flip around and find Patrick or Cowherd or some other national voice. This is an embarrassment of riches for the sports fan on the move. The other thing this does is expose you to stories from other parts of the country that you would miss if all that existed was local sports talk.


The striking thing is that we don't have anything remotely close to that in Canada. With all due respect to Bob McCown, PTS is on a small handful of stations, and the only major one outside of Ontario is in Calgary where Rogers' other all-sports station carries the 6pm hour. So despite the claims that the show is on "coast to coast" that's pretty far from the truth.


What I would like to discuss is why this is the case. As Jim mentioned, the TEAM sports network tried to have a national sports conversation and it failed. We can discuss the reasons why that whole experiment was dead in the water some other time. Stephen Brunt got a nice house in Newfoundland out of the deal, so it wasn't a total loss. The specific topic I want to focus on is why Canadians seem to have little appetite for what is going on in other markets.


I'm always shocked that Jim Rome will spend twenty minutes talking to the Kansas University basketball coach in January. I could not possibly care less about this but evidently that is not a turn off for most of the audience. Can you imagine a national sports radio show in Canada spending time interviewing a 3rd line player on the Edmonton Oilers? Or the head coach of the Alouettes? Why would anyone outside of those markets care to listen? Yet somehow the American shows are able to devote time to local stories despite having a national platform. Why does that work?


The other reason this is interesting to ponder is that TSN now has seven all-sports radio stations across the country, spanning Montreal to Vancouver. So they are in a good position to try out having a national sports conversation. It would be interesting to see them try a radio version of The Reporters where they try to generate an interesting national conversation between local stations. I wonder if Canadians would go for it.


Over to you: would you listen to a national Canadian version of Mike&Mike or Dan Patrick? If not, why not? 


Quick Hits


In the Gammons piece on Bautista there is the following buried nugget: "Understand that Jose Bautista was a 20th round draft pick in 2000 who after being waived, Rule Fived, bounced in a three-way trade, waived, claimed…then, in his 11th professional season, hit 54 home runs, only to have a blogger who’d never met him suggest it must have been steroids." Is this a reference to Damien Cox and his "gotta ask the question!" routine from a few years back?


Richard Deitsch at SI ran a series of interviews he did with female sports reporters and broadcasters on how the Erin Andrews case has affected their personal safety habits while on the road. Chilling stuff. The NY Times also weighs in. As digital privacy has dominated the news lately with Apple v FBI this underlines just how damaging a loss of privacy can be to a person's well-being, and also the deep connection between privacy and personal security. Important topic.


The CBC has been running a series of stories and forums on the issue of culturally appropriative mascots. As we have discussed before, some logos are clearly racist while others are less so, and lumping them all together muddies the waters when trying to debate the issue. It's striking that this conversation has been going on for decades now with very little actual change. We still have the Redskins, Braves, Eskimos, Indians, etc. It will be interesting to see which league/city/team is the first to come out and say that it is time to retire its logo and try something new. Here's hoping Edmonton can be a leader.


TSN is hiring to replace Jonas Siegel in the Leafs beat reporter role. If you have been waiting for your big break, this is great news. You probably won't go on the road very much, but you will appear on TV, radio, and be expected to generate a lot of web content. One small thing: the posting went up March 6 with a deadline of March 9. Bad news … they already have someone in mind. Oh well, maybe they will be hiring another Senior Blogger soon.


A PPP writer is embroiled in a controversy with surrounding whether or not SI pulled a story of his they agreed to publish (for no pay) after he started tweeting critical things about this controversial article. Confused? Me too.


Finally, a federal investigator is looking into the facts surrounding CHCH's bankruptcy filing and the possibility that it owes further compensation to its fired employees.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • You may have missed this due to a combination of having both guys on mute and/or being blocked, but Dean Blundell and Bruce Arthur continued their playful and lighthearted media feud this week.



  • This was one of several tweets, some of which have since been deleted, including one taking a shot at Steve Simmons. I think at some point Dean referred to Bruce as a bag of milky mashed potatoes before realizing that he had crossed a line. The "wet noodle" blast remains up there for now.


  • The Goose Gossage media circus blew through town this week. TSN Overdrive had him on to discuss his comment that Bautista is a disgrace to the game. Bryan Hayes is on vacation so television personality Derek Taylor (at TSN since early 2015 or so) was given the host chair. After introducing the guest, here was his first question: "Jose Bautista, a disgrace to the game? Realllllllly?" It was embarrassing, and the interview quickly went off the rails.


  • Memo to PD Jeff MacDonald: if you don't take the show seriously, neither will the hosts or the audience. The interview would have been so much better if Steve Simmons had been brought in, as he has been in the past, to host TSN's afternoon drive show. This is a general mistake that both PDs make all the time: just because someone can read news on TV doesn't mean they can host a radio show.


  • Doubling down, TSN radio put Gossage back on the air with Landsberg & Naylor 12 hours later. Landsberg also botched his first question but the overall interview was much better. Naylor came equipped with examples and distinctions that helped draw Gossage out a bit more. But the end result was largely the same: a pretty dim guy contradicting himself left and right and getting angry when pushed on it. Spring training can't end soon enough.


  • They say great minds think alike:





thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)



  1. Alex says:

    I believe people asked Cox on twitter if that was a reference to him and it apparently was in reference to someone in Philly (dont know who).

    A good segment people may have missed this week was Blair and Brunt having David Epstein (writer of the sports gene) on to discuss the Sharapova story.

  2. Brian says:

    Agree on the Landsberg with Naylor version of the Goose’s interview. Michael started off very weak, but in the end it was not a bad interview with Gossage.

  3. Art says:

    I don’t live the idea of a national radio show.

    I hated when the Dan Patrick show was on TSN at 9am tather than Scotty Mac. Reason why Is I wanted it hear about local sports. I used to laugh when you would here the promo TSN 1050 “we’re talking Toronto Sports” and then there is the Dan Patrick show talking about some NCAA Basketball team that I couldn’t care less about.

    Then again atleast a Canadian National sporta show would probably focus on hockey. I would probably get more Habs talk which is a good thing for me as a Habs fan.

    My worry is it would be like every other national TV sports show. It would be based in Toronto so they would force Leaf talk down the rest of the counties throat.

    This might sound like a good idea here in Toronto especially since TSN 1050’s sched leaves a lot to be desired, but the rest of the county may not like this idea. As a somewhat listener to TSN 690 Montreal via online stream, I can tell you they don’t need to take part in a national show. TSN 690’s sched is working their lineup is solid top to bottom. And in Montreal they just want to talk Habs all day every day. They would rather talk about firing Therrien from 6 am to 7 pm than take time to discuss other teams.

    I imagine the other cities might like their line ups too.

  4. mario says:

    Thanks for the read also to JVH for adding his thoughts. Some very good insight on how thing work on the inside of TSN and SN. As for having a national sports show that would be great but as JVH points out there is very little interest what goes on the either side of the coasts or in Ontario. But maybe given the right host on a national platform is worth the gamble.

  5. Art says:

    Oh and about that Seigel job…. I hate to sound like a broken record (that’s a lie I love it)


    For the love of God TSN please rehire David Bastl!! I love the Bastl’s Bytes podcast but I want him on the air more that just 30 mins a week.

    I would it if he was a regualr guest on the Ricahrds show talking Leafs. Small olive branch to Richards Nation

    Do it!

  6. Mike V says:

    I think the reason there isn’t a national radio show is scale. Patrick, Cowherd and Rome are across enough markets that they can add up to listeners in the hundreds of thousands but I don’t think they are #1 in many markets. Like they all lose big to WFAN in NYC, sports hub in Boston etc. In Canada it’s probably not worth it to produce a show that’s going to be #2 well behind the locally focused show. Plus, I can only imagine the complaints from the rest of the country that the show is still too “Toronto centric”.

    I also thought the Gammons line was a reference to Cox. If it was about someone else, maybe it should be changed to say two bloggers.

  7. @WouldStaley93 says:

    @mikeinboston good read as usual. Interesting insight from Jim Van Horne. Always watched him back in the day on TSN host the 630 edition of SportsDesk. Great broadcasting legend.

    With the latest round of Rogers cuts I wonder where the now released/terminated James Cybulski Hugh Burrill and Jamie Thomas end up?

    Did anyone hear PTS last night @FriedgeHNIC guest hosted and did a good job. The panel was nothing amazing. Gord Stellick Michael Grange and Damien Cox.

    With rumours of more cuts coming at the conclusion of the NHL season which of the following so called Insiders/Anaylists do you all see being cut ?

    1) Scott Morrison
    2) John Shannon
    3) PJ Stock
    4) Leah Hextall
    5) John Garrett
    6) Doug MacLean

  8. Rob J says:

    Thanks for quoting Marty, MIB. I noticed you follow him on twitter as well. Always loved his contrarian opinions back in the Globe’s heyday, and he sure does bring out the worst in the ‘Jays Junkies’.

  9. Sam says:

    Alex thanks for the Epstein rec

    Talking about the Blair show, does brunt come on everyday at the same time?

  10. Steve Jones says:

    I think the reason national shows work in the US is they have strong personality hosts. They are guys who can work all the majors sports with good depth and primarily they have national figures who have something to say. They also have a huge pool of guests to pull from in a nation that loves it’s sports. So this with as already mentioned, the scale of the US market, means they can pay those high profile hosts a lot of money. No doubt they hit a niche audience, but it’s a large niche.

    For perspective look at the Talkers Heavy Hundred sports personalities. The top two shows are on WFAN and the next three are syndicated, Rome, Patrick, Cowherd. Of course this is Talkers opinion but it does show they are delivering a large audience of people who, in my opinion, want to hear something other than the same discussion about the same teams over and over. Aren’t you sick of Bautista already? I sure am.

  11. Alex says:

    When brunt is on, hes usually on only in the 10 and 11 hours.

    I believe both blair and brunt are in FL next week for spring training.

  12. Sam says:

    I remember one time I was listening to Blairs show I think it was the 9am segment. No mention of brunt til about the 25th minute when he just started talking. That was annoying

  13. Rob says:

    I agree with JVH, Bell has lots of operating equity to secure local hockey rights and get other valuable properties like NFL, NBA, PGA golf etc…I really dont think they are suffering at all.

    They obviously miss having more hockey than they currently carry, but they will eventually get it back. In the meantime they remain the best in the business, (by far IMO) – and they now offer variety not available anywhere else…

    …and to wouldstaley: I would cut loose
    1) Scott Morrison (too bland, no longer relevant)
    2) John Shannon…useless
    3) PJ Stock….same
    4) Leah Hextall…who?
    5) John Garrett….(see PJ Stock and Shannon)
    6) Doug MacLean…(insufferable blowhard)
    ….As a good start…. Right after gonging Strombolopoulis that is

  14. Tighthead says:

    Great picture. There is great YouTube video of Gossage telling Dick Williams he could get Gibson out. First base was open. Lance Parrish on deck. Sparky is yelling at Gibson “he thinks he can strike you out”.

    Second pitch, second deck, second 4 banger of the game for Gibson. That was a great team and game 5 was a dandy.

  15. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    If only one guy gets cut anywhere in Toronto it has to be Wilner – How that ass kissing no talent doorknob keeps his job is beyond me – As a PBP guy puhleeese give me a break – He is brutal

  16. Hans says:

    With regards to the Goose Gossage stuff, it’s not really new. How often have we in Canada seen/hear the hockey guys like Cherry, Kypreos, McClean, etc go off because some young guy is doing something “disrespectful” to the game. Honestly, I think others her said it best: just an old player looking for some attention. I’m sure Goose has a book in the works or something.

    On the Rogers cut, again something I think someone else mentioned: How were they able to keep it so quiet? Is it because of the seemingly staggered announcements as opposed to one giant list of cuts at once? Also, do we have more to come or is this it?

    I also have to wonder after this week of PTS and the guest hosts, if this is a test run to see what life without Bob would look like? I mean, both Blair and Friedman getting their own intros? you don’t do something like that for just a simple “guest host” right?

  17. GreyCountyMike says:

    Who exactly appointed Bruce Arthur the arbiter of all things moral anyway?

    Like all true prigs, he can dish it out alright, but can’t take it coming back. That’s why it’s always great when a fellow media member, even an annoying one, takes him to task.

  18. PB says:

    I listen to SiriusXM and they have a variety of channels dedicated to all sports. NHL Radio has Stellick, Laughlin,Kouleas,Barnaby plus they talk all 30 teams so you won’t get the same blah blah Gino from Woodbridge talk.

  19. Rob J says:

    Reason #4561 why non-Leaf hockey fans despise HNIC and its favourite team: announcers that gush and glow and wax poetic about Tor minor leaguers NHL debuts as if every other player in the league just magically materialized from who-knows-where. These new Leafs’ parents aren’t even as proud as Healy sounds. Pass the barf-bag.

  20. Not that Chris says:

    I keep reading people on this blog saying “TSN will eventually get more NHL hockey games to air” with absolutely nothing to back the claim up, except Rogers will somehow be desperate to sell them off games. Why would they? Is Rogers losing money on the NHL deal right now? Maybe. Every Canadian team stinks right now and the ratings reflect it. However, that NHL deal has vaulted them to have the number one sports network in the country, and will continue to for the next decade. Anybody who thinks Rogers will give Bell (TSN) a lifeline by handing them a handful of PVR proof programming, and make themselves look weak in the process is out of their minds. Rogers would cut a deal with Corus, CBC or an independent first.

  21. Original Mitch says:

    With respect to JVH, he’s dead wrong about SN and their hockey production team. All canadian teams could be 82-0 and if Romanuk or another plug calls the game and they go back to George during intermission, people would tune out. they are insufferable.

  22. Not that Chris says:

    No they wouldn’t. CBC had horrific coverage for years, people ate it up.

  23. Rob J says:

    But without Gino from Woodbridge, how would we know the leafs should have traded Morgan Rielly for Steven Stamkos? These brainstorms don’t just happen by accident.

  24. Big G says:

    @Not that Chris

    the ratings that pushed Rogers ahead of TSN in the ratings war is certainly not guaranteed for the next decade, especially with the rapidly changing demographic,viewing habits/cord cutting and poor performance by Canadian teams. The coming years could be pretty problematic for Rogers, are the flames, Canucks, Jets, Leafs, Canadians, Oilers built for playoffs over the next decade? or is it that the Canadian teams are in building mode.
    There is no ROI without playoff money.

  25. Cirroc says:

    I have to give Glenn Healy credit. He personally caused me to change the channel to the punjabi HNIC. Does Rogers not consider likability when putting together their broadcasts?

  26. dogpounder says:


    This article ended brilliantly. Bravo.

  27. Original Mitch says:


    CBC’s HNIC had Ron, Rogers has George. CBC’s HNIC had Bob Cole, Rogers has Romanuk. CBC’s HNIC had those very cool and extremely popular montages before each broadcast, Rogers didn’t hire the guy and went with generic openings. CBC had a nice, but not extravagant set, Rogers is decadent in and your face.
    The difference between the two is the reason nobody watches hockey with a Rogers name attached to it.

  28. Sam In Scarb says:

    … And hey, whatever became of Steve Simmons and good writing?

  29. Andrew says:

    @Sam in Scarb

    Somebody come to your house and hold a gun to your head.

    If you don’t like it, don’t read it. A comment like yours says to me that you’ll never like his writing but read it every week. Who’s the fool there?

  30. Daz66778 says:

    MIB: I know Steven Brunt goes fishing every summer in Newfoundland but how did he get a house there from the TEAM sports show?

  31. Tanner says:

    I agree with Mike V. Cowherd, Patrick, Rome, etc thrive in small and medium markets. Those markets are too small to have much in the way of local talk so national guys fill the lineup. In the large markets, those guys are often on second and third tier stations and draw very bad numbers. Mike & Mike is somewhat of an exception and that’s partially because ESPN demands their carriage on many stations if you want access to ESPN.

    I don’t see Canada going for a national show and part of that just comes from population. There’s not enough of it spread across the country. On top of that, the sports market revolves so much around hockey. In the states, it’s much more diverse plus you have the rabid following for college sports. Could a Canadian sports network built up of small to medium market stations with some second tier large stations thrown in survive? I doubt it.

  32. Hans says:

    Daz – Apparently when Brunt jumped to the Team it was the classic offer, which he got, of the proverbial “Dumptruck full of money” which he said he used to buy the house.

    He’s spoken about it a few times when he was on PTS with Bob when the topic of the Team would come up.

  33. yaz says:

    Why in the hell would Hayes go on ‘Vacay’ so early into his new show. Doesn’t he see all the bodies dropping all around him in the media? Hayes is the only one on that show who has zero excuses to miss a show. He is the only continuity thread as he doesn’t do TV or call games. Bad move. The Jeff O’Neil Goose Gossage bit was run over and over and over during the course of three hours. They should only rerun bits that are funny.

  34. Robert says:

    Is the Tim & Sid show recordered earlier? It was odd flipping back and forth between them and the roundtable on Friday and seeing Grange on both in the 6 o’clock hour. It was clear that the Tim & Sid version was earlier because Grange still had his tie done up and looked fresher than he did on the roundtable.

  35. William D says:


    Vacation is obviously pre determined. I would think most of the radio guys have their vacations figured out before hand, plus in the broadcast business cuts can happen at any time vacation or not. If the station wanted to get rid of Hayes, him taking vacation would not enhance or deter that possibility. The radio business is slightly different than your average 9-5.

  36. yaz says:

    I meant in terms of getting traction with an audience for the show. I know he isn’t going to get fired because he was on vacation. Overdrive is a new show with spotty attandance. Pre-determined or not, he could have chosen not to go on vacation weeks into his new slot. I’m just saying it was the wrong decision.

  37. Not That Chris says:

    @ Big G

    The Leafs, Habs, and Oilers at the very least, will see playoff runs in this decade. Will they be good runs? Who knows. But they will make playoff pushes and appearances, and that will obviously help with people watching and staying engaged. Even TSN, with the regional rights they hold aren’t doing well with the NHL right now. Even with cord cutting, SN will stay ahead because they have NHL all winter and the only Canadian baseball team all summer.

    @ Original Mitch

    Rogers has Ron. Rogers has Bob Cole. They aren’t why people aren’t watching, or are watching (and I LOVE Bob Cole. I want him calling games until the day he dies) hockey right now. Most people in Canada aren’t watching right now because all of their teams stink. When every Canadian team doesn’t suck, the ratings will reflect it. If they don’t, then the “Rogers ruins everything” argument will be understandable.

  38. Not That Chris says:

    @ Yaz,

    I thought the timing sucked, too. However, I’d put that on management, not Hayes. They knew Hayes had vaca scheduled. If the plan is to market this show as the next best thing, launch the show AFTER Hayes vacation.

  39. William D says:


    I would bet anything that Hayes had no prior knowledge of his new role. I agree with Not That Chris It’s on management to market the show after his vacation. Hayes is not Mcowan he likely has little or no say.

  40. Jim Lang says:

    Great post as always. Loved the Q and A with JVH. I was lucky enough to work with him at Sportsnet. He was a real pro. Jim was great to work with and taught me some tricks of the trade that only someone with his experience would know. Great stuff about the lack of a ‘farm system’ in Canada. I could not agree more.

  41. Mike says:

    Judging by the comments to this post and the media layoffs one, it seems like the majority of commenters here are white stiffs in their 50’s who live on the prairies and refuse to change, and want to keep receiving their sports coverage like they did in the 80’s and 90’s.

    Just pure nostalgia.

  42. Rob J says:

    Speaking for myself, my main issue isn’t with the way hockey is produced in Canada compared to the past, but that the team that is owned by Rogers gets a ridiculous amount of coverage compared to the other 6. Its coach is the best, management team is unrivaled in any sport, its old guys are all leaders and warriors, every minor leaguer is a blue-chipper, and every FA in the league will flock here July 1. Unbiased fans know differently yet our voice is never represented.

  43. Nelson Millman says:

    Great comments from my pal JVH. One of Canada’s most versatile broadcasters and now a terrific instructor at the College of Sports Media.

    There is no national sports radio in this country because of the much more parochial nature of sports Canada. In the US there are Green Bay Packers or Dallas Cowboys or UNLV or Duke or Bulls fans scattered everywhere. They all have affiliations to a college or college teams. The much more transient nature of the US population means that team’s fans, are spread out across the country. So if I’m from Boston but live in Phoenix….I am probably interested in the teams from both cities. Add their college into the mix and they are happy to listen to Jim Rhome discuss the Buckeyes. That may be their favourite college team or the team will have impact on their team. In most cases syndicated shows won’t beat local shows…but they will perform far better than any national show in Canada. Add in the fact that in the US sports is “life and death” and in Canada sports is just a pastime. National radio in this country just isn’t economically viable.

  44. Original Mitch says:


    Wait, weren’t the ratings last year for Rogers down from when CBC and TSN had the games and yet 5 of the 7 Canadian teams made the playoffs? What were their excuses then?
    At some point they need to look in the mirror. its that simple.

  45. Art says:


    I agree with some of what you said.. but the part about Sports being just a pastime in Canada and not life and death like in the USA.

    might be true in some cases and some sports… but If you think that Montreal Canadiens hockey is just a padtime to Habs fans thatn you are out of touch. It’s a religion!

    And I am sure other fans in other cities feel the same way about their hockey team. Let’s not under value the passion that these fans have for their teams.

    Oh and @Mike White European, 35 not 50 never been to the prairies.

  46. Rob says:

    300 million people live in the states. Roughly 10 times Canada’s population. They talk NFL football 24x7x365. They also like to talk NCAA football and hoops 8 months a year. Basball always has its fans….In Canada, we love hockey like they love football. But not 12 months a year…there is one MLB team, one NBA team and only the GTA cares about those teams, with a few scattered fans throughout the rest of the country.

    There is no way a National sports radio show would work. The primary reason is that it would originate in Toronto, thus alienating the rest of the country. (ie: Everyone in the ROC would love to shoot Toronto into the sun)…And the show would only have a limited audience in the GTA.

    Pipe Dan Patrick into the larger markets and those of us who don’t mind all the US centric talk will listen to it. The ROC is fine with local radio or rebroadcasting certain shows nationally…Montreal’s TSN radio is effectively 100% Habs. It is amazing how they hold an audience with that as their entire content. But there is an audience who wants it.

    By the way: Tim and Sid is just awful. It’s not just what time it’s on, it’s terrible, that’s why it isn’t working.

  47. EX -SN says:

    The “Vancouver” show hasn’t been about Vancouver since Don Taylor left/was pushed out. They moved Cybulski and Cameron out there to do the Sportsnet morning show. It was actually shot at 2am EST and just played on repeat that morning until noon. Frequently the crews had to stay until 330am or so when you factor in reshoots etc.

    There was a lot of technology put in place to make that show happen cross country with the studio being in vancouver with a small crew, and the control room being in Toronto with a full crew. This was done to save having a full control crew in Vancouver or having to schedule a crew to do the show first thing in the morning eastern time. The control room crew would shoot the 1am show and then just continue with the morning show.

    The content of the show wasn’t west coast specific as it was a national morning show. Technically speaking the logistics of doing a show cross country sometimes were a pain and most people wondered why it was even necessary to have the show out west. They could do what they are doing now and just repeat the 1am version of Central in the morning – the content was basically the same.

    It’s a shame that a show was dropped and some crew laid off, but the writing was on the wall for this show. If there was an obvious place to trim some of the fat the Vancouver show was it.

    There will still be a reporter in Vancouver, much like Edmonton has Gene Principe to cover west coast sports.

  48. Art says:


    oh I agree, that national Sports Radio wouldn’t work. for all the reasons you just said. but I do think we love and talk hockey 12 months a year… Well at least Habs fans do and I’m a Habs fan so that’s what I know.

    I would suggest that if the Leafs hadn’t missed the play offs every year but 1 in the last decade, Leaf fans would be more like that too.

    All I know is when I go on twitter in July, August and September it isn’t hard to find Habs talk at all. When I listen to TSN 690 Montreal they are talking Habs all year round as well.

    Ofcorse they don’t have a baseball team of their own any more, but they do talk Jays and baseball too.

    I just don’t see the passion for the Habs in Montreal taking the summer off, just doesn’t happen.

    I am only guessing but I think it’s that way in Winnipeg too. maybe some other Canadian cites.

  49. Art says:

    I read a lot of people here commenting on how sportsnet over uses Shannon.

    Well I don’t get how people don’t complain enough about 1050’s use of Steve Simmons. I feel like I hear that guy on every damn show. And for large segmeants.

    If ever there was a unlikeable writter in this city it’s him. He is a terrible broadcaster, he’s boring, annoying amd he’s 100% full of horse crap.

    He lie and makes up stories. From Matt Sundin’s career ending hip injury (that was total crap) to Phil Kessel and his hat dog vendor far away from where he lived.

    He just makes stuff up. Probably because nobody in this city actually wants to talk to him and give him any real access.

    Why oh why does TSN 1050 give this guy so much air time. He is one of the worst personalities this city has ever seen. If anyone should be cut it’s him

  50. Mike S says:

    Arash Madani is the host of PTS today……….not the co-host but the host…………can’t remember that ever happening before

  51. Rob says:

    Art…like I said, Habs talk won’t flu in Toronto (or anywhere else other than Montreal)…same goes for Winnipeg, Vancouver, etc. Toronto has the nraptors an Jays. Leaf fans are just as rabid as Habs fans…(thus the hinking horns when they make the playoffs)….there is lots to talk about from April thru September. If/when the Expos return, Habs fans van take a retlst in the sunmer

  52. Rob says:

    …I wasn’t done yet. (I shouldn’t use my phone for this)…anyway, sports talk will need to be regional in Canada. We are a country consisting of 35 million living in a series of 3 major markets and a handful of smaller ones, all spread out over 3,000 miles…everyone except GTA residents shares a hatred of Toronto, but Toronto is where 90% of Cananda’s national media is located…(its complicated, but that’s Canada). Generally speakibg, we all like the smell of our own f-rts, but everyone else’s are horrible…and if you live in Toronto, you don’t even notice everyone else’s…

    Steve’s not so bad…he’s opinionated and tends to p..s people off. He attracts readers and no one changes the channel when he’s on TV…on radio, I find that he’s actully pretty good and provides good insights…compared to John Shannon, Steve Simmons is George Plimpton.

  53. Warren says:


    I often don’t agree with your viewpoint . . . but “compared to John Shannon, Steve Simmons is George Plimpton”

    This is the phrase of the year on this site – clever quip.

  54. Cirroc says:

    “It’s never quite made sense that in the NHL you can make a hand pass in the defensive zone, but not in the offensive zone.” – Damien Cox in a current article on I hope he’s kidding…

  55. Rob says:

    Art…like I said, Habs talk won’t flu in Toronto (or anywhere else other than Montreal)…same goes for Winnipeg, Vancouver, etc. Toronto has the nraptors an Jays. Leaf fans are just as rabid as Habs fans…(thus the hinking horns when they make the playoffs)….there is lots to talk about from April thru September. If/when the Expos return, Habs fans van take a rest in the sunmer

  56. Rob J says:

    Leaf fans are not rabid. They’re the exact opposite. They’re told by management that the team will purposely stink for a few years and the sheep unanimously say ‘ok, no problem’.

  57. Not that Chris says:

    @ Mike S

    I thought Arash was solid as host of PTS tonight. Dave Amber was “try too hard guy” but I liked that the Fan experimented with something different instead of the usual rotating fossils. I hope Arash is given more chances to do it.

  58. Mike V says:

    Art, my guess is that since more people still listen to 590 over 1050 that the complaints about regulars on there will be more. But I completely agree about Steve Simmons. How that guy can have any credibility left is a mystery to me. The Phil Kessel story should have been the last straw. He belongs in the same disgraced category as the guy who finishes this column.

  59. Sam In Scarb says:

    Not at all surprised that many others share my opinion about Simmons.

  60. Alex says:

    Simmons and Cox seem to both be cut from the same cloth: the beligerent know it all columnist (see Lupica, Mariotti, etc)

    That said, Cox has been toned down (relatively speaking) hia last few PTS appearances.

  61. Rob says:

    Art… Yeah, whatever.

  62. Art says:

    @ Rob Wow 5 replies to just 1 of my posts lol I must have really hot a nerve.

    Anyway… I agree that sports talk should be regional, I have agreed all along. My only point was that the passion for hockey is no less 365 than the USA passion for football, that’s all.

    I do want to challenge your point about Habs not mattering outside MTL. That’s just not true. They have a huge following all across the county as do the Leafs. When the Habs or Leafs play in any city their fans show up. And that’s not just travelling fans, that’s local fans in each and every Canadian city. I have seen tons of survey’s that show the Habs are then 2nd most popular NHL team in basically every Canadian city. if it’s not the Habs it’s the Leafs. I my self am a Habs fan living in Toronto. I am also far far far from alone here. chuck check out twitter there are tons of us. When I go to the grocery store every week I see like 5 or 6 people in Habs gear shopping in the say store. There is a market for Habs talk in Toronto. Obviously not more than Leafs talk but more than there currently is.

    And don’t get me wrong same holds true for Leafs fans in Montreal.

    As for Leaf fans being as rabid as Habs fans… I’ll deffer to Rob J’s comment above he nailed it.

  63. Art says:

    @ Rob

    you were right about one thing. posting here using your phone is a nightmare. yikes those are some brutal typos in my post lol

  64. Antonio says:

    I thought Madani did a great job as host. He obviously knows his stuff, has the voice and is suited more to host than co-host.

  65. Art says:

    @Mike V

    Very good point. The fact that more people listen to 590 should equal more complaints. Hadn’t thought of that.

    But yeah that Kessel story was an absolute joke. Reporting that he eats hot dogs from a vendor out side his apartment at young and college. Meanwhile he lives 20 minutes away. That should have ended him right there. He has ZERO credibility. He just went out of his way to embarrass Kessel and turn him into a joke. It’s cheap lazy tabloid journalism to say the least.

    As for nobody turning off the radio when he’s on as Rob mentioned. Again search his name on twitter. you will see plenty of people just yesterday who turned off Leafs Lunch or Mike Richards because Simmons was on. I know I did.

  66. Derrick says:

    A lot of credit was thrown towards 1050 (and for good reason) for using a woman (Andi Petrillo) to host Leaf’s Lunch.

    We should also be tipping our hat to 590 for using two visible minorities to host their drive time show. I thought Arash was great, even with the callers. I do agree that Dave tried a bit too hard at the start, but he grew more comfortable as the show went on, and most importantly, you good tell Dave and Arash truly liked each other and the banter was fluid and enjoyable to listen too.

    I do hope we get to hear more of them.

  67. William D says:


    I get where your coming from however

    I don’t think you should tip your hat to a company that did something they and everyone like them should have been doing a long time ago, this is 2016 not the 60’s where people did not get equal opportunity simply because of skin colour. It’s a disgrace, because I’m sure that there are people of various cultures out there with potential for broadcasting yet have been discouraged and have turned away simply because of the lack of racial integration in the industry. When I watched PTS about three weeks ago I saw Andrew Walker, Elliot Friedman, and Michael Grange, racially or culturally this is a false representation of sports on the today.

  68. William D says:

    Correction in last sentence: I meant to say sports today

  69. GreyCountyMike says:

    Anyone read Dave Feschuk’s Star article today? Leaf propaganda at its best … or worst … depending on your perspective.

  70. Rob J says:

    Definitely ‘worst’ but once the leafs are eliminated from any playoff participation for the 10th time in 11 seasons (!) There’ll be nothing but similar thoughts along all leaf-media platforms. Too bad Orwell’s not around to observe the groupthink, from Shanny all the way down to the lowest reporter. The fact that literally everyone is dutifully reporting on this ‘plan’ without critique tells me its doomed to failure. Leaf-media aint too bright as evidenced countless times in their sucking-up to past administrations and celebrating every new addition and prospect as ‘the final piece of the puzzle’ only to be shocked when the year ends badly. Baaaaa.

  71. Derrick says:


    I agree with everything you said, but rather than say “It’s about time” we should be highlighting this change in a positive light (where deserved of course).

    I’m simply saying that if we’re going to hold up one of the MSM’s as an example of positive change, then we should hold up other MSM’s as well.

  72. Rob in Aurora says:

    Yeeah—nope, Andi Patrillo isn’t going to cut it…she’s trying to do the “coffee clatch” thing on a sports show…There aren’t enough woman listening for that to work. She gets on my nerves with the girlie music bumpers and tries to explain how they tie in – I can hear the awkwardness in the co-hosts when she does it. I feel like a guy feels when he has to drop into a baby or wedding shower and he’s early. You just can’t wait to leave. Nothing wrong with the women at the shower, it’s just uncomfortable and awkward and you don’t belong there.

    (It’s like TSN hired a hockey knowledgeable Marilyn Dennis to host Leafs lunch…meh. I’m out – Andi was OK as a fill-in – she’s not good at permanent host)

    Mike Richards is worse now than before – I still can’t listen. He sounds like a guy making a presentation and he lost his notes on the way to the meeting, so he’s “winging it” on the fly. He talks fast, takes conversations is five directions before finally getting to the point or asking a valid question. And the questions are always kind of odd and oblique….Again, I’m out

    I was a long time TSN listener between 9 and 4 and I have bailed on every show now. I do like Matt Cauz, but Wheeler is a non starter for me – THE most annoying personality on Toronto radio. I went to Dan Patrick a couple weeks ago and I am staying there…AM 640 is better too from 9 to noon

  73. William D says:


    Agreed. it just seems like a bitter sweet moment. In other words while it’s great it happened, it’s sad its has taken this long.

  74. Alex says:

    Stellictricity is hosting today

  75. Bora says:

    Felt like it was 1993 on PTS tonight with Stellick, Cox and Shulman. Too bad Shannon had to ruin it. I don’t know why Stellick doesn’t appear more often. I think he’d be a good co-host with McCown.

  76. Paul M says:

    I don’t know if you were implying that you have Bruce Arthur muted on Twitter, but he’s a guy that I had to stop following. I enjoy his columns for the most part and his contributions on TV and radio are also good, but on Twitter he has an annoying tendency to chime in on everything going on in the world. This mostly has to do with the fact that I am looking for quality content, not incessant thoughts and commentary.

  77. Sam In Scarb says:

    For some reason rogers has in recent years treated Stellick like a red haired,freckled faced step-son with a limp and hiccups but he chuggs right along.
    It has taken it’s toll.For the last 30 years he looked like a 20 year old.
    He was the Dick Clark of Toronto media.Sadly,time has caught up.
    Carry on Gord !

  78. Confused Chris Davis says:

    Dear Jeff MacDonald,

    If by any chance you read this, I would just like to tell you that you are awful at your job. I loved TSN 1050 an pretty much everyone on it. It was a breathe of fresh air. A nice change from a tired product at Sportsnet Radio.

    I loved Mike Richards, David Bastl, Scott MacArthur, Macko and Cauz, Leafs Lunch, Cybulski & Company, not really a fan of Naylor. But over all the line up even after a few changes was more than solid. I understand the ratings were low, but It takes time to build an audience, especially given our silly ratings system that I don’t believe is a large enough sample size to properly showcase listener habits.

    Since you took over you have destroyed this station.

    Landsberg & Naylor is just horrendous radio. Why do even call it Landsberg & Naylor? That name suggests that they are equals, that the show some how belongs to them both. Clearly it is The Michael Landsberg show. Naylor has been reduced to a Shawn Lavigne type role. Actually Shawn spoke more than Naylor does. When Naylor does try to contribute Mr OTR just cuts him off or tells him we will get to that after the break.
    The entire thing is just a boring series of stories and self promotion for a show that no longer is a thing.

    Cauz and Wheeler. Like I said I like Cauz. He is funny and upbeat. He uses social media well, I find him to be creative with topics no problem there. The problem is his cohost. It’s been said here a billion times Wheeler is awful. Last week when he was hosting by him self must have been the lowest rated radio show of all time. I bet his own momma turned off her radio.

    Leaf lunch if you can call it that. More like girl talk with Andi and a bunch of annoyed guests. The music, her shoe talk all of it just doesn’t work. He I don’t want to sound sexist. I believe Women can do this job just as well as men. I have a ton of respect for some of the ladies at TSN and Sportsnet. Kate, Natasha, Ivonka, Hedger all do great work. But the audience is male. So If you want the chair Andi you still got to talk to men about what men care about. Nobody wants to hear about your shoes. Nobody wants to hear girly music. We want to hear about the Leafs that’s the name of the show. Stick to puck talk abd you’ll be alright. if you can’t do that get out!

    the Mike Richards show. I used to listen to him in the morning. I liked the show a lot. But it’s broken now. Maybe it just works better in the AM. maybe it’s because he doesn’t have a decent cohost any more. Maybe I liked David Bastl more than him to begin with. Maybe he just sounds unhappy. Maybe I just can’t stand Shawn. Maybe all of those things. but it used to be a great show but you messed with it too much and now it’s ruined.

    Overdrive- Was great show as once too. Probably the most popular new show in the city. Then you asked a bunch of puck heads to talk baseball and basketball. and in a snap the show is ruined. Not that they have all been together much. Guest host after guest hoast. What is it about this time slot where guys just don’t want to be there. Naylor was off all the time too. O’Niel is trying way to hard to be funny now. Maybe it’s because he has more time to fill, I don’t know but all his bits are just not funny.

    And Lastly as others have said, why is Steve Simmons on every freaking show? Why is he on at all? Why does he still write for the sun? Why hasn’t he been deported? Why do people like him? WHY WHY WHY?

    So In closing Mr. MacDonald sir. I am once again a Sportsnet listener. If you can get past the morning show it’s pretty good. thanks for ruining my favourite station. How did you get this job anyway? Who are you and where did you come from? I saw your Linked In page. Why would anyone give a guy with now radio experience the job of program director?

    I just don’t understand

  79. Nelson Millman says:

    Nobody works harder than Gord Stellick. He spends 4 hours everyday hosting the morning show for me on the SirusXm NHL channel. And he hosts all pre and post Leaf games on SNET 590. Not to mention all of the events he does and now filling in on as host on
    PTS. It’s understandable that he sometimes looks a little tired.

  80. Antonio says:

    @Paul M
    If nothing else, I’m hoping Trump becomes Prez just so I can hear about Arthur’s head exploding. That way, if his head explodes, you can’t tweet every 2 minutes about Trump or Steph Curry.

  81. Art says:

    @Nelson Millman

    Does Rogers own or opperate the SirusXM NHL channel? Forgive me I don’t know.

    The reason why I ask is. Gord is already on 590. Like you said he does alot of radio. Don’t get me wrong I like him, I’m a fan and have been since the Courtnall for Kordic trade. But does he need to be on so much?

    With so many broadcasters out of work. It would be nice if Sirus could give ine of them an oppertuinity and at the same time give Gord a break.

  82. Rob in Aurora says:

    I generally agree with Chris about TSN radio…(Perhaps a little harsh). The entire line up has been either ruined or was never any good. I listened to everything except Richards. I now listen to Overdrive and that’s all…but O’Neil needs to just be himself, not Red Skelton re-incarnated.

    Simmons is annoying because he tries to be like his mentor Jim (Shaky) Hunt – Simmons quite obviously tries to replicate Shaky’s cranky, clueless, cynical, negative, sour persona – especially during Hunt’s time at CKEY and at the Globe. (I am sure he knocked years off my Dad’s life). The idea is that if you p_ss everyone off, then no one ignores you – and if no one ignores you, you will always have a job.

    When I compare Simmons to Dave Feschuk, he tries to do the same thing as Simmons. But he doesn’t p_ss everyone off because sometimes he comes up with Pollyanna columns, like his most recent one about Stamkos. If Feschuk doesn’t like someone, he trashes them. Simmons basically sewers everyone and everything. Feschuk doesn’t want everyone to hate him. Simmons doesn’t care about that, neither did Hunt. So a lot of people (like me) generally just ignore Feschuk as an idiot. Simmons isn’t an idiot – His Sunday column is pretty decent and I don’t mind most of his broadcasting stuff (he has an annoying voice, but then so did Shaky)…It’s his columns and his questions at pressers that make him look like the annoying wise-azz idiot that everyone used to punch in the stomach just for fun in highschool…. That’s exactly what shaky used to do too. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

  83. Art says:

    Did Hunt make up lies about guys eating hot dogs from a street vendor every day? Or career ending injuries?

    I don’t remember Hunt but if he’s anything like Simmons then he sucks too.

    I’ll take Feschuck over Simmons any day of the week. Simmons is not just annoying or an idiot he’s a scum bag you is totally full of crap.

    I’ll listen to Feschuck on the radio as a guest. If I hear 1 second of Simmons voice I turn my radio off immediately.

    I’d rather listen to 24 hours of Spence Diamonds ads than 1 minute of Steve Simmons.

  84. (Another) Andrew says:

    I generally agree with Chris about TSN radio…The entire line up has been either ruined or was never any good.

    Given how bad their ratings were I don’t think they’d much of a choice than to take some chances. Judging by the comments here Leafs Lunch was the only thing really worth preserving.

  85. Art says:

    that should have said WHO is totally full of crap, (not You Is) lol


  86. Mike S says:

    Stellick has talked many times over the years about when he was assistant GM of the Rangers and got fired by Neil Smith………..I think that was in 1991 and was before sports radio in Toronto had really begun……….he said his phone was not exactly ringing off the hook when he was looking for a job so he jokingly said he has accepted pretty much any offer to do work that he has received since then

    A couple of times on PTS over the last few weeks he has joked about how long the Leafs radio post game show that he does with Todd Hlushko is

  87. Nelson Millman says:

    Rogers has no involvement with SiriusXm.

  88. Art says:


    Thanks for the response very much appreciated.

    Please think about adding a recently cut broadcaster. Especially my personal favourite David Bastl. If you hire him I’ll go sign up for SirusXM lol. I just want to hear him back on the air again.

  89. Nelson Millman says:

    Hopefully David will be back in the business soon. I have the same hope for all of the casualties that had apparently been keeping big companies from making enough money.

  90. Art says:

    Ha Ha I love the way you put that Nelson. Well said

  91. Jonathan Giggs says:

    @Mike S

    I think Gord applied to be Cliff Fletcher’s Assistant GM, but Bill Watters was hired, and that opened a position as Colour Commentator on Leafs radio broadcasts, and the rest is history.

  92. Cirroc says:


    Well said, brother. They should just switch out Naylor and Wheeler that way there’s only one show to avoid.

  93. yaz says:

    Great discussion today on a fully present Overdrive panel about how boring hockey is right now and why it is the biggest problem for the NHL going forward. 4 PM hour, Mar 16.

  94. Rob J says:

    Gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that if the fave team of the overdrive fun-bunch (and the one their bosses partially own) was at the top of the league instead of missing the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 years (!), everything in the league would be juuuuust fine, thank you.

  95. mike (in boston) says:

    Great to read so many comments on this topic. Thanks again to JVH for giving so much to respond to.

    Here’s my current view on the national sports talk subject. I think a weekly or more radio show could work with the right host and the right scope of topics. My pick would be Ron MacLean. I think he has the national profile, is relatable to most Canadians, and could handle just about any topic on the majors sports, but also the business of sports and amateur athletics. I would listen to that for 2 hours once or twice a week.

  96. Art says:


    That’s a interesting idea. I like the idea of having Ron MacLean host it as you said he’s a national face. I would listen to that as well. I wonder if it would be better if it was a hockey show rather than all sports. Obviously it would have to be seasonal. The armature athlete thing is a nice idea, and it fits in to Ron’s wheel house… but at the end of the day not enough people will care. Truth be told I love Ron but I don’t watch all that home town hockey community stuff or the Hockey Day In Canada non game stuff either. We care about armature athletes every 2 years at Olympic time but really only the ones with medal hopes.

    I do like the weekly idea because I think it’s easier to hold the interest of the nation 1 a week rather than every day… but at the same time, How do you get local stations to bump their local prime time guys once a week? TSN is the one to do it because of their 8 or 9 stations across the country. But are they really going to ditch Overdrive once a week in Toronto or Mitch Melnyck in Montreal and whoever does the afternoon drive shows in the other cities?

    I’m saying afternoon drives because where else would you do it. The weekend makes it easier because you don’t have to bump guys… but nobody listens on the weekend.

    I like the idea in theory but it also raises a lot of questions and issues.

  97. Steve Jones says:

    Gotta disagree with you Mike on McLean. My personal dislike for the guy aside he’s a relic of the past. Most notably a puck head, and he doesn’t have that edge to elevate him like the guys in the US do. He’s bland Canada. I think to establish a national personality you would need someone younger, with a solid background and the stones to create a dialogue with some substance and a bit of swagger. I don’t really have a name that I think is the guy, but I’ll throw one out even though I’m not sure he could get it done and I’m not a fan per se. Tim Micallef. Right demo, has the background background, takes positions. Just a thought.

  98. Tighthead says:

    Paul Romanuk used to host a national hockey show in the early TEAM days. He Might be interesting to talk to about it.

    Incidentally, Fox canned Tony Siragusa, which will displease few. Interesting after the recent observations here that networks hold on to bad announcers against all evidence of public dislike

  99. Rob in Aurora says:

    Man, I am time shifting and trying to listen to the web streamed segments of the Landsberg and Naylor show, just to hear their guests (such as Howard Bryant, who I really like). I just find it so awkward to listen to the two of them. It sounds like there is a lot of tension between them under the surface already. Landsberg is establishing himself as the “real star” – and meek and mild Naylor won’t stand up to him. (Someone mentioned how often he brings up the TV show, it’s really insufferable. His staff needs to tell him to quit it. He’s embarrassing himself)

    Landsberg used to manage to strut in the sitting position on his show, which I found terrible and never watched unless it was on in the background. Even with the sound off he was annoying. Now he manages to strut using only his voice. (I am not a violent guy, and I don’t want to sound like Donald Trump, but I wouldn’t stop someone from punching him hard in the nose).

    I am not a fan of either of these guys, but the strength of their guests won’t be enough to get me to listen.

  100. BoJack says:

    Blundell & Arthur are cut from the same cloth. Both guys seem to enjoy attacking others. Have to give this round to Dean though.

  101. darren says:

    Not sure who manages the comments here but not entirely sure I’d be hosting a site nor its comments that calls someone homophobic or racist. Hosting Slander and Libel is never good. And Jonah I follow you on twitter and I know you commonly post #stopbullying. So why do you and contributors do it so much on this website? I enjoy some of the insight here but it seems to me you are encouraging it. People Like Wheeler and the crew at TSN are just doing their job and there are a lot of disparaging comments were about all kinds of folks in SM. Some bordering and crossing the line into litigious. Or maybe some of the people who post here are very angry people with unfulfilled dreams of not doing jobs they tell others they are terrible at. Either way some of the comments and the fire starting by yourself and Mike are very disappointing.

  102. Joe says:


    I apologize you are right and I take it back. I won’t go as far as to say Blundell is a homophobic and a racist.

    what I should have said is hey uses or has used in the past homophobic and racist type “jokes”. I think that is fair to say since he was let go from Edge 102.1 for homophobic comments or at least taking part in a discussion that was homophobic.

    That isn’t liable that’s public record.

  103. darren says:

    I don’t know about that. I didn’t listen to his show then. Those are opinions not fact and I wouldn’t even go that far Joe. I think he was taking a rapist to task more than anything from what I’ve read but it doesn’t really matter. Things are only fair to say when based on fact. Not an opinion piece in the star. My son listened to his show and loved it and loves him now. I don’t mind him and don’t hear that stuff at all today and from what Cody (my son) said he was railroaded. I’m more frustrated with the liberties that are taken on the backs of people (wheeler, Landsberg Tim and Sid etc) that just do a job like you and I (even though i’m retired). Its very big of you to apologize though. I think more people should do that here. Its ok to not like something. Its entirely different to bully anonymously through name calling and libellous comments. as a former attorney I’d be getting concerned should i be some people who post or comment here.

  104. Joe says:

    No you are right Darren,

    I don’t necessarily agree about the legal stuff, but you are a lawyer I am not. I believe my 2nd comments were accurate but regardless it isn’t ok to run a guys name through the mud.

    I do apologize whole heartily for my comments and any other times I took part in trashing anyone in the industry. As a sports fan I don’t like it when my fav players are targets of this stuff, so why should broadcasters be any different.

    maybe it is time we all take a step back and change the tone of our comments. I think Darren is right that this place has become a bashing ground.

    I am already regretting my involvement. I don’t think I would like if someone took to the net and tried to bash me about how I do my job. I really hope these comments don’t have any impact on people who call the shots at TSN/Sportsnet/CBC or anywhere else.

    from now on If I don’t like a radio host, i’ll just turn the dail. Instead of being a keyboard warrior.

  105. Rob J says:

    I really don’t know why more people here don’t turn the dial, as Joe said. The level of intense dislike for individual personalities is way out of proportion. What’s the difference anyways? It’s all groupthink re: the Raptors, Jays, and Leafs where every prospect is a blue-chipper, every player who had a great year will do likewise, every team in the division has major flaws (except Toronto clubs), and obviously every FA can’t wait to get here. My problem isn’t with the personalities since I simply don’t listen to ones I don’t like, but the overall tone of the ‘analysis’ leaves no room for a devils-advocate opinion. But man, the beating some the talking-heads take on this site!

  106. Omar says:

    “maybe some of the people who post here are very angry people with unfulfilled dreams of not doing jobs they tell others they are terrible at.”


  107. Original Mitch says:

    Yes, lets all tone down the comments, keep every vanilla and make sure every broadcaster gets a well deserved participation medal and an ‘a’ for effort.
    Let’s make sure we treat them with kid-glove and write about how great they all are at all time. we wouldn’t want to hurt feelings or speak our minds on an internet forum.

  108. Cirroc says:

    I guess I would consider myself angry because I could probably do just as good a job as Wheeler and I’m borderline retarded.

  109. Dogpounder says:

    What about a national overnight show? I’ve been listening to Freddy Coleman and Amy Lawrence in some form or another do that half-decently for what seems like that last 15 years or so south of the border.

    I’m sure there’s someone in this country capable of that level of sports talk. Would it work?

  110. Big G says:

    I will be the one to stick up for Jonah here. This is the internet guys where free speech should be allowed as long as it is not promoting hate or violence. If someone thinks that a sports radio or tv personality is doing a terrible job, they should be allowed to express that in this type of forum. This site should not be treated as some form of dictatorship where you have to butter up what you think about a radio or tv personality you don’t like. This blog offers fair and unbiased objective opinion. As for Jonah promoting negativity on this site, I think that is a load, Jonah and Mike simply solicit opinion, regardless of what the opinion is. which is what free speech is all about. there has been no racial, sexist or any other forms of discriminatory remarks neither has there been any promoting of violence. I don’t get what all the complaining Is all about with regards to comments or opinions on this site.

  111. Omar says:

    Rob J says:
    March 18, 2016 at 12:50 pm
    “I really don’t know why more people here don’t turn the dial, as Joe said.”

    Why don’t you just ignore the comments you don’t agree with?

  112. Rob J says:

    Haha, I could say the same.

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