Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

March 5th, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports
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photo credit: Twitter

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by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail

 

Good morning sports media watchers, network executives, and program directors. Thanks to everyone who participated in a great discussion last weekend on the media coverage of the Bautista story.

 

The major story this week was the NHL trade deadline and the annual measuring contest between TSN and SN. To better understand the issues and finances involved I reached out to Globe & Mail sports media writer Dave Shoalts who agreed to answer a few questions. Here is our discussion.

 

5 Questions with … David Shoalts (G&M)

 

Q: After another quiet trade deadline and shrinking TV viewership, are we seeing the end of the NHL trade deadline as an all-day television event in Canada?

 

DS: Not yet. Both Sportsnet and TSN can blame the falling ratings on the number of trades made before deadline day. But I suspect they can still justify the expense of doing the shows because the total number of viewers over the 10-hour day are still somewhere close to a million even for Sportsnet, which once again got creamed in the ratings. It's the type of show where people tune in and out or drop in for a quick look on a slow day like this one. If Numeris ever comes up with reliable mobile ratings then they might play a role in keeping the networks on this.

 

Q: Both TSN and Rogers are rights-holders. Can you envision them going to the league and asking Gary to reorganize the trade deadline in order to reinvigorate it for the networks? For example, a trade freeze 1 week ahead of the deadline, followed by a thaw in prime time?

 

DS: I would be surprised if those discussions have not already taken place. It's a natural move for the networks and I also wouldn't be surprised if Bettman kind of likes the idea. He's always had an eye for creating buzz around the game. I know some people at TSN and perhaps Sportsnet as well, would like to make it like the draft where you have the trade freeze and then gather all the GMs and their scouts in a big room for deadline day. But I think the general managers would or are already pushing back hard. That setup would put too much pressure on them to make a deal just for the sake of making one.

 

Q: Does the new focus on "digital impressions" give an advantage to one network or the other?

 

DS: I'm not sure. I think TSN does have an advantage here because guys like Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger have huge numbers of Twitter followers compared to the people at Sportsnet. And McKenze is still the go-to guy on Twitter for information.

 

Q: Given that Sportsnet has pulled even or ahead in web hits and overall network ratings, is there any serious solace for TSN in winning trade deadline day?

 

DS: Yes, I think winning the actual ratings on that day is worth something. Plus, even though TSN lost the national NHL rights it remains quite profitable, thanks in no small part that it is not paying the NHL $5.2-billion over the next 11 years.

 

Q: We didn’t see any changes at Sportsnet in staffing or general approach to hockey coverage after Year 1. With the prospect of another ratings disaster on their hands, do you expect changes after Year 2?

 

DS: This is a tough one. I'm inclined to say there will not be any major changes even though some contracts, like Don Cherry's, will be up at the end of the season. Rogers has always been the company that likes to shuffle its lineup but I think there are enough excuses for the poor ratings – poor seasons by the Maple Leafs and the disaster of having probably no Canadian teams in the playoffs – that Rogers may hold off on anything major. However, I do think you will see at least some of the lesser on-air faces change.

 

Q: Any first impressions on the new sports radio shows?

 

DS: While I miss Mike Richards in the morning and wish he had been made part of the new crew, I like Naylor and Landsberg so far. Landsberg is a high-energy guy who probably rubs some people the wrong way but I like that he is quick to call out someone he thinks is wrong and that he is unpredictable. I like the TSN drive-time guys because it's like listening to a really good bar conversation about sports.

 

Q: How have you found the transition from covering mostly hockey stories to covering mostly sports media and business of sports stories?

 

DS: I quite enjoy it. Covering the Maple Leafs and the NHL was becoming too dull and difficult, mostly because the league and teams are limiting access more every year and there are more players every year determined to say absolutely nothing.

 

Q: If you are Fan590 PD, what is your strategy for life after McCown? Do you try to give the audience something similar or do you try for something completely different?

 

DS: You are never going to replace McCown but you really shouldn't worry about doing that. Look around for the smartest broadcaster who is versatile and skilled enough to keep a conversation on any topic going. It is the quality of conversations that drive the show, not the star quality of the guests. This is not going to happen because he's such a big part of the hockey broadcasts but my first pick would be Elliotte Friedman. I think TSN moving Bryan Hayes to drive-time (and giving him a nice raise) was at least in part due to heading off any possible threat by Rogers to poach him for that spot.

 

Q: What motivated you to try stand-up comedy? (Youtube Link to Dave's debut)

 

DS: The impending implosion of my journalism career.

 

Q: Are your home renovations done?

 

DS: Anyone who is married knows home renovations are never done. I can say the major ones are. But that's as of today. Madam has far different ideas of what constitutes done.

 

—-

 

A big thanks to Dave for agreeing to do this, and for his candid answers. After a long drought of sports media coverage by the papers it is phenomenal to have a professional back on this beat.

 

Over to you: are you done with Deadline Day? Would you tune in for a prime time trade window? Why is TSN still winning despite not having the rights?

 

Table Scraps

 

So here are the facts that matter: TSN drew an average of 180,000 viewers vs. 76,000 for SN. This is down somewhat from 206,000 vs 78,000 in 2015. As Chris Zelkovich of Yahoo! writes, "When Rogers mortgaged its future on the NHL two seasons back, many predicted doom for TSN, hockey being the lifeblood of Canadian sports television and all. Sure enough, TSN has gone from dominating the sports landscape to second place. But it has continued to rule the day on trade coverage."

 

With not much going in terms of actual trades lots of ink was instead directed at the personalities who light up our screens and our lives from morning until night on deadline day. Here is Scott Stinson of Paul Godfrey's National Post (2 auto-play ads in the same article!) writing about TSN host James Duthie. There are some good Duthie quotes in the article: "As we all try to figure out why we do this and why we watch it, it may be the single greatest testament to the passion for hockey in this country is that people watch knowing that nothing might happen."

 

Dave Shoalts has a nice profile on the Godfather, Bob McKenzie. Shoalts writes: "McKenzie’s title is hockey insider, a role he pioneered in Canada in the late 1990s as his role at TSN grew to a full-time position. Its meaning is clear – someone who has connections to the important people from top to bottom who provide the most reliable information. It is a title, however, that is easily tossed around in today’s world of Twitter, other social media and on seemingly every second radio or television sports show carrying the word “insiders.” There may be many imposters in the role, but McKenzie is not one of them."

 

Shoalts also has a fun behind the scenes look at TSN's deadline day coverage in this article, which includes several tidbits. TSN poached freelancer Josh Rimer from SN to help with chasing down players and agents.

 

Rounding out the reporting on the reporters is Lance Hornsby of the Sun writing about Nick Kypreos. The latter muses in the piece about how things aren't like they used to be: "Everyone’s got Twitter feed, instant platforms and broad access. There are so many other people involved in covering the deadline, too. We have the national rights and my role has changed with the arrival of (career reporters) Elliotte Friedman, Damien Cox and Chris Johnston. Those guys and the guys across the street at TSN are so good at what they do. As an ex-player, it’s great to be working with them."

 

Jay & Dan Struggle at FS1

 

The plucky Canadians are not getting great ratings in the U.S. This is old news but as the sports media landscape in Toronto continues to evolve, with possible big changes on the horizon, it is worth keeping an eye on just how bad things are down south.

 

About a month ago Fox announced it was cutting its late-night news and highlight show featuring Jay & Dan as anchors. Richard Deitsch of SI gives the full run-down on what Fox Sports Live promised and the tiny ratings it drew. Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing writes that while FS1 pitched itself as an alternative to ESPN and its hot take mandate, the network is in the process of succumbing to the same fate. The Big Lead reports that Jay & Dan were not exactly shy about expressing their displeasure with their employer when their show was cut and re-imagined.

 

Questions for you: do you want Jay & Dan back in Canada? Would there be a bidding war between TSN and SN for their services?

 

This week we learned that 21st Century Fox, Fox Sports' parent, is looking to make some fairly deep cuts to its staff and offering buyouts to be followed by layoffs. John Ourand of SBJ has a comprehensive story with the following details: "According to SNL Kagan, distributors pay Fox a license fee of 98 cents per subscriber per month for FS1 and 28 cents per subscriber per month for FS2. By comparison, ESPN brings in $6.64 per subscriber per month and ESPN2 83 cents."

 

This is interesting. Notice the huge inequality in what ESPN gets vs FS1. As we have discussed many times, that bubble is going to burst with cord cutting, streaming, and a la carte channel purchasing. There is simply no way ESPN can command that fee in a world where consumers – grandmas etc. – are not forced to buy ESPN as part of a cable package. ESPN already cut a massive amount of jobs in the last year. How much more bleeding will come when the subscriber fee gravy train comes to a halt? This is a general question about the industry in both the U.S. and Canada. Sports networks employ so many people to generate content for web, radio, print, and multiple TV channels. A lot of these jobs are propped up by the current business model which seems on its way out.

 

As cable inches towards being a truly free market, which jobs will be the first to go in sports media?

 

Quick Hits

 

The Boston Red Sox media continues to resemble an episode of the Bachelor as yet another female sports reporter has been linked to a player or coach. While the individuals in question are of course free to do whatever they like, female sports reporters everywhere must be grinding their teeth. This does nothing to help the struggle for gender equality in the locker room.

 

Speaking of diversity, apparently the lack of it is not a problem unique to sports departments. Canadaland has a report on ethnic and racial diversity in newsrooms and the results are pretty much what you'd expect, but not what you would hope for in a country that regards multiculturalism as a national policy.

 

Still with the news industry, TorStar remains in big trouble. James Bradshaw of the Globe writes about the latest news, including the fact that StarTouch (the Star's awesome iPad newspaper app) has not generated the anticipated numbers. For a rosier version of the facts, here's the Star's take on its financial outlook.

 

Eric Koreen ex-of the National Post has resurfaced at Vice. Here's a piece of his on the end of Anthony Bennett's tenure as a Raptor. Vice has done a great job giving people a soft landing after being let go, but one wonders whether anyone is earning a living writing for them. They publish a lot.

 

Ken Dryden talks about his failures while with the Leafs to properly handle the sexual abuse discoveries. "I wish I had acted sooner."

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • I didn't manage to find time to listen to much radio this week so I'll rely on you to fill in the gaps on who said what.

 

  • TSN promoted Overdrive producer Steph Apolito to Assistant Program Director. This is the role that Jason Rozon holds over at Sportsnet, though she will keep her producing duties. Sounds like two full-time jobs to me.

 

  • I'm not sure if this is cutback related or not but The FAN axed its NBA/Raptors podcast Free Association hosted by Walker Show producer JD Bunkis and Sportsnet magazine's Dave Zarum. Seems like an odd move since this is cheap to produce, and the Raps are the main story for the next few months.

 

  • Greg Brady never appeared on PTS when Brady&Walker moved to afternoons. Andrew Walker got his first shot just 2 weeks into his time as a solo host.

 

  • Richard Deitsch answering a question about why networks keep trotting out people the audience hates: "Because many people in sports television management are stubborn, hubristic and, worst of all, allow personal relationships to interfere with judgments of performance […] Always remember that removing broadcast talent is an indictment of the person who choose the talent in the first place."

 

  • Lastly, a huge thanks to those of you who help me fact-check these columns, and to those in the media who reach out off the record to offer guidance and advice.

 

—–

 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

79 Comments

  1. mario says:

    Thanks MIB for all your hard work and a good read. I personally could not care less about who wins in the ratings at the end of the day on trade deadline day. TSN has always done a terrific job seeing its been at it for many years, and Sportsnet is getting much better at it. At the end of the day viewers just want to be entertained and they both achieved that. Who really care if one got it seconds before the other.

  2. Jim Van Horne says:

    It’s interesting for me to see how trade deadline day has evolved over the years. When TSN first started covering “the day” I was alone preparing for early Sportsdesk. When a trade would break I’d hop over the the desk and give the details, then it’d be back to writing the show. On year two Bob MacKenzie would join me to break down the trades. After that it started to grow to what it is today, “the all-day-prime minister racing- big band-cast of thousands epic that it is. In my humble opinion, there is no host in Canada who can hold a candle to the work James Duthie puts in on that day alone, sometimes with little or nothing to work with.

  3. Andrew L says:

    Interesting last point from Deitsch “networks keep trotting out people the audience hate”. I think Strombo is a perfect example of this, and to a lesser degree Kypreos. Regarding Strombo, the majority of people who tune in to the pre-game shows are looking for a dose of professional hockey insight, not to watch a specific personality. This is where TSN sets itself apart from Sportsnet. I would much rather watch 30min of Duthie, Dreger, McKenzie and O’Neill sitting at a desk than 30min of Strombo and Co. playing around on a colorful disco dance floor. In my opinion Sportsnet Hockey Central has made a mockery of what CBC HNIC had developed. A couple examples that come to mind, the Kypreos bear-claw and Darren Pang dancing on set.

    Am I the only one who feels this way?

    Bring back the good ‘ol day!

  4. Len says:

    As a Maple Leafs fan for many years and general fan of hockey, I have to say that between the trade deadline coverage and the World Cup of hockey announcements this past week, I could barely listen to anymore sports radio by the end of the week because it was hockey overload.

    I don’t have a particular issue with either TSN’s or Sportsnet’s trade deadline coverage but rather the whole concept seems flawed. They are trying to make something out of nothing. At the end of the day, it’s a few non-consequential deals being analyzed to death. I’m more than happy to scan the deals on a list at the end of the end.

    Agree with Shoalts (who I wish would appear on PTS again) about Elliot Friedman being the best choice to take over PTS. He is a solid broadcaster who has a strong general knowledge of sports and a good sense of humour.

    As someone who listens to a couple hours of sports talk radio via podcasts a day, I wish the Raptors received more attention. They seems to being going under the radar given the strong season they are having and how there is really nothing to talk about Leafs-wise in Toronto right now.

  5. Shwaguy says:

    Deadline Day – I stopped watching/listening to this ages ago. I’m far more interested in the articles a few days after the deadline that really take stock of what each team was trying to accomplish. Hearing the stories behind the trades or hearing ‘a team official’ speak about what they were thinking when they made the deals they made is way more interesting than the deals themselves most of the time.

    Jay and Dan – they’re Tim and Sid. Except Tim and Sid actually have the perfect show format for what they are. Jay and Dan should basically copy Tim and Sid for their revamped FS1 show. You can’t deny the format works for their personalities.

  6. Shwaguy says:

    @Andrew L – you’re right about Sportsnet and HNIC. When I see grown men in suits trying to demonstrate something on that floor I cringe. Telestrators were invented for a reason. Strombo should have been brought in to do a different take on hockey interviews. He’s brutal as a host but he’s still an excellent interviewer – which is wasted in his current role. I wonder how much the hate between Ron McLean and Gary Bettman had to do with his exile to Hometown Hockey. Which reminds me – does anyone ever watch that? Sunday night tv is excellent these days (AMC and HBO in particular). Was Sunday Night Hockey a mistake or did they really think they could capture what NBC has with Sunday Night Football?

  7. Darrell says:

    Greg Brady always acted so arrogant and pompous with the listeners. I am not surprised that Brady never got on PTS.

    Andrew Walker, while he is not my personal cup of tea, is actually tolerable on his own hosting the show and was not trying to outshine the other guests last night on PTS.

  8. Brian says:

    It’s fascinating to me that while Sportsnet, both web and TV, has made gains vs. TSN, that it’s essentially content related. Once you remove content (NHL rights, web columnists, video, etc.) on trade deadline day, that TSN beats Sportsnet (SN) like the NFL ratings beat those of other sports leagues.

    When SN bought the NHL rights, TSM reported here that TSN renewed the contracts of all its key hockey personnel: Duthie, McKenzie, Dreger, Lebrun, Cuthbert, Ferraro and Miller. The message was that while SN may have NHL rights, that the rival network wasn’t going to poach and leverage TSN personalties to build the SN brand. That move showed plenty of foresight.

    The top four: (Dreger, Lebrun, Mackenzie and Duthie) have a combined 3.25 million Twitter followers. The top four at Sportsnet: (Friedman, Kypreos, Doug Maclean, and Stroumboulopoulos) have a combined 1.534 million followers. If you take away Strombo, who is popular for reasons other than being a hockey insider, the number falls to 676,000. The next highest SN guy is Johnston (who does great work) at around 92,000 followers. I think this means that people like and trust folks on TSN A LOT more than the talent at Sportsnet.

    The only name at SN that could reach TSN levels (Mackenzie has 1.25 million followers, while Dreger has 900,000) is Friedman, with 290,000. Kypreos, with 275.000, is no longer the “star” at SN he once was considered to be and that’s because people do not generally believe he’s an “insider” and maybe because he has trouble making cohesive points even in small segments — and that’s SN’s top line guy. When will Rogers attempt to fix this?

    Maybe Jay and Dan, 555,000 and 392,000 followers, respectively, would bring some viewers to SN. I’d watch and I’m certain others would, too.

  9. Matty Zero says:

    I’m not sure bringing Jay and Dan ‘home’ would be such a good idea, at least not for an 11 pm highlights show. Those types of shows are slowly running their course, as more and more people have/want instant access to scores, highlights and analysis.

  10. GreyCountyMike says:

    The success of Bob McKenzie is not at all surprising. At his core, he is a reporter … not “a personality” more interested in strutting around trying to look cool. His background dating all the way back to his days at small Ontario newspapers fully supports the image of a tireless, honest journalist who not only works his long list of contacts for stories, but who has the professionalism and integrity to check, and double check, before running with the story. The guy’s solid, period. If he reports a story, you can pretty much guarantee it’s got legs. Nobody’s 100 percent in this business, but McKenzie’s as close as you’re ever going to find.

    Best thing NBCSN ever did was adding him to its national midweek game telecasts … instant credibility for hockey in the tough U.S. market.

  11. Brian says:

    @ Matty Zero I’m not suggesting that Jay and Dan come back for a highlights show — I’m suggesting they return to be on HNIC in some capacity — Rogers has invested billions there. Perhaps they could anchor the Saturday desk featuring some of the SN guys — a group that currently doesn’t work — maybe some radio time, too. Right now, Shannon is on Hockey Central at Noon, Primetime Sports, and often on hockey telecasts, especially those in Western Canada — and he’s not that interesting in any of those jobs. Why couldn’t Jay and Dan be on multiple platforms?

  12. Not that Chris says:

    @Darryl Brady was never on PTS because Bob has a memory like an elephant and holds a grudge. I’m sure he never forgot the things Brady said about him when he was hosting with Watters on 640. No surprise he’s having Walker on the roundtable now, and also making appearence on Walkers show. I would expect bothim to continue happening. It’s good business for Bob to pump his lead-in’s tires.

    • Darrell says:

      @not that Chris – I am not a fan of either Walker or Brady and I am not aware of Brady bad mouthing McCown. If anything he would make a lame Pat Sajak style joke and laugh like it was the funniest joke he ever said and then talk about Bob McCown’s show coming after theirs.

      Walker doing the show solo, is almost enjoyable. I gave it another chance when Brady was gone.

      If what you are saying, is 100% true? Would you blame Bob for it? Would you invite that family member or your co-worker who bad mouthed you over to your house for a cup of coffee to share together?

  13. Not that Chris says:

    @Darryl

    What I’m saying is true, Brady did bad mouth him a bit while at 640. I don’t blame Bob for not having him on PTS, either. I was just pointing out why he didn’t have him on, yet is suddenly open to having Andrew Walker on so quickly after Brady’s departure.

    • Darrell says:

      I believe you story about Brady. I typically would listen until they gave the Leafs trivia to try and win tickets and then tune him + Watters off.

      I don’t think Brady will get another chance at all with Sportsnet or TSN for that matter. His best bet is probably heading to the US again.

      I personally never understood the love affair for Brady – but Walker has become more tolerable on his own vs. with Brady.

      The FAN has lost its credibility for a long time now. There’s a lot of personalities on the air hosting their shows, I don’t understand and I also don’t understand how 90% of the guest ‘experts’ are all Sportsnet personalities.

  14. Daniel says:

    Re Brady – yeah he would absolutely hammer McCown when he was on 640. I remember someone here commenting that it seemed as though Brady taped every PTS and listened at night, as it seemed he knew everything McCown was saying on air.

  15. Daniel says:

    It’s funny – maybe just me, but looking back to Brady’s time at 640 and early time at 590 it did seem he was a lot more ‘spirited’ than his later days? Maybe he felt the writing was on the wall once he lost the morning show.

    Either way … I’m still shocked he’s not employed on 590 or 1050 considering some of the subpar broadcasters employed at those stations (Hello Wheeler, Shannon etc etc).

  16. Not that Chris says:

    @Daniel

    Totally agree regarding Brady losing the ‘jump’ for lack of a better term, that he had at both 640 and the Fan, after Don Kollins basically demoted him to the radio graveyard of midday. I can’t say I blame Brady, either. The station asked him to deliver ratings for them in morning drive, and not only was he doing it (with both Lang and Walker) but he was getting some of, if not, the best numbers the Fan had ever had in that time slot. He tweeted just after he was let go that ‘circumstances’ would keep him off radio for a bit. I took that to mean he was being paid out his contract, and wouldn’t be allowed to walk across the street to the competition until said contract ends.

    RE: NHL Trade Deadline Day…meh. Both networks are wasting their time covering an event that is no longer one. The days of seeing big last minute deals at the deadline are done. GMs can’t hold out until the last minute to get an extra prospect or pick anymore, now a trade is all about making the money work for both teams. So when teams agree on the money, they do the deal, and it’s before deadline day. MLB is the only league left where BIG deals happen at the deadline, and it’s because they don’t have a self imposed salary cap.

  17. Rob J says:

    So crazy that last weekend, the 2 Raptor games were only the 11th and 20th ranked televised sporting events on national TV. Curling, golf, and auto racing even did better. Something’s wrong…and I’m no NBA fan.

  18. William D says:

    “Speaking of diversity, apparently the lack of it is not a problem unique to sports departments. Canadaland has a report on ethnic and racial diversity in newsrooms and the results are pretty much what you’d expect, but not what you would hope for in a country that regards multiculturalism as a national policy”

    Multiculturalism is a very sexy term that defines unity and equality but unfortunately has nothing to do the reality of the media, The roundtable this past Friday is a perfect example of Canadalands report.

  19. Sam says:

    Was looking forward to Friday roundtable with no Reid or Shannon. Was disappointed. Discussion was unfocused and too much cross talk. I’m willing to give grange some rope to make his point but he even started to put me to the test. Particularly when he asked Friedman not to jump in while taking time to make his point. Mccown should have stepped in there.

  20. Daniel says:

    Credit to McCown on the round table for saying Rogers aren’t baseball people, have no idea what they have with the baseball team, and should spend more.

    McCown can be criticized for some things these days but he’s definitely not a shill.

  21. Tighthead says:

    Shocking that Bruce Arthur would take to Twitter to be snarky about Nancy Reagan dying. I am sure several people Bruce admires could have done more to advance gay rights but he won’t dance on their graves.

    I don’t mind Bruce being socially aware, or progressive or whatever. It’s his need to be the most vigilant person on these issues that is tiring.

  22. Rob J says:

    @Daniel
    Every fan-base would prefer their team spend more in a non-capped sport. It’s not a Toronto thing. And most fan-bases of teams that don’t win think their owners are morons.

  23. Kamlesh says:

    Good article on Vice by Michael Wolff, who is the most thoughtful writer (and most hated by some) on the media.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-wolff-vice-media-why-731415

    “….Vice’s growing profits come in part because it continues to act like an outsider and pay young workers catch-as-catch-can alternative-media wages, even though it now is a richly funded enterprise.”

  24. Rob J says:

    Interesting to digest the narrative out there now that the prospects Alex traded away won’t generally amount to much, yet the prospects accumulated by the current Leafs regime (best management team in hockey, just ask them) will undoubtedly all be stars at worst and HOFers at best. Good on Grange for suggesting that if AA had made no trades the last 3 years, the Jays would be much better off now instead of having a bare cupboard of a minor system with no World Series appearance to show for it.

  25. William D says:

    Funny how Bob tries to convince people how much the Jays mean to the Rogers empire and even the stock, yet there has been so many reports over the years about how little sports teams mean to large enterprises like Rogers or Bell. The last report I read stated that the leafs which are the most valuable franchise in the city accounts for less than a percent of the bottom line on the balance sheet of the telcos, What is the basis for Bob thinking that the Jays moved the stock, if this were remotely true I do believe the shareholders would be pumping money into this thing without hesitation. If the Jays impacted the stock, in all those years missing the playoffs wouldn’t the stock be in the toilet right now or even suffered a serious hit. I see nothing of the sort. What would attract investors more an unpredictable jays team and fan base or a guaranteed customer base of 5million wireless or internet subscribers as well as a millions of home phone and cable TV subscribers all year around. No question the telecom assets rule the roost by far.

  26. Drumanchor says:

    Have always enjoyed David Shoalts’ work, so it’s good to see that he is still relevant, albeit in a slightly different journalistic neighbourhood.

    As GreyCountyMike so eloquently put it, Bob McKenzie is, clearly, without peer. Nice to see him consistently recognized as the leader in sports reporting in this country.

    Jay and Dan? Quite frankly – meh. I know their respective positions are different, but they are the anti-Bob McKenzies of sports television. The stories are secondary to the antics. At some point, I anticipate them returning to Canada with their tails between their legs and end up with a morning drive radio gig.

  27. Joe says:

    Ok Landsberg & Naylor is really starting to cost me money.

    This show is some boring I have to stop at Tim’s twice on my drive to work just to stay awake. Not to mention the money I am losing by missing Richard’s proline best bets.

    How can anyone like this show? Are people really against a little fun? Is laughing in the morning a bad thing? All these two do is talk about themselves and interviews they did once upon a time when their careers actually mattered. I hate this so much!

  28. Joe says:

    that was supposed to be so boring not some boring. see I am passing out typing this. That’s how boring these two old dudes are. They should be the late night team. That way when you are up all night tossing and turning all you need to do is throw on 1050 and you will be out in no time. no need for counting sheep or poping pills. They are even better than warm milk.

  29. Antonio says:

    Bruce Arthur is a brooding liberal punk stuck in an old man’s body. Every day he will post about 20 shots at Trump (and the other GOP candidates) and another 5 where he declares his love for Steph Curry. Its not only annoying – its disturbing.

  30. Joe says:

    I’m with Bruce Arthur on the Trump bashing. 20 shots a day isn’t enough.

    As for Steph Curry, I couldn’t care less about basketball.

  31. Chris says:

    Can’t agree more with the comment about Landsberg and Naylor. They are so boring. All they talk about is stories that happened 20 years ago. Does Naylor really have to cut people off all the time? Richards wasn’t the greatest show in the world but he could make you laugh and also have great segments with his guests.

  32. Tommy says:

    @Chris & Joe

    This morning Naylor told a story about having a question for Peyton Manning after a scrum. Is was a very long winded boring nothing story about how he got a great 1 minute answer.

    All he had to say was Peyton always took the time to make sure you got a well thought out reply to your questions. We didn’t need that useless story.

    The entire point of that story and many others like it from Naylor and Michael is to remind us that they used to be relevant in sports media. It comes off as nothing but pointless self promotion.

    Nobody cares about your stupid question from 10 years ago Naylor. And Landsberg is even worse with his OTR reminders.

    I agree with Chris, Richards had his flaws but at least he was entertaining.

  33. Another Steve says:

    Jay & Dan will be back, and when they do come back, it will be to replace Blundell. I think the main enticement to get them back to Canada is that their “new” platform would be a combination of what they did on TSN late night, but closely tied to the content of their podcasts, but without the swearing.

    Over the past couple of decades, with each machination of the Maple Leafs, I’ve become less of a Leaf’s fan, but more of a discriminating fan of hockey.
    More to the point, if a team is not in the playoff bubble, I have no interest in watching a game unless both teams are playoff bound. Far too many NHL games have become, “unwatchable”!

    And I’m calling it now, for the 2016 draft lottery, Toronto Maple Leafs end up in the number 4 spot! Tanking = Karma. But let the re-build continue,….. from the London Knights, LW, Matthew Tkachuk.

    For me, my personal preference for the next permanent host of PTS is from a short list of three: Friedman; Ron MacLean; or Dan Shulman. I also have a preferred list of co-hosts, and they would each have their own dedicated day:
    Stephen Brunt; Mary Ormsby; and the remaining two from my preferred host list. Friday wouldn’t require a guest host, and only 1 co-host per week (they can rotate) joins the host and two guests that would form the weekly Friday Round Table.

    John Shannon is over-exposed on SN.
    In his day, he may have very well been very good at whatever it was he did, but “on-air”, he’s become intolerable for me as both a viewer and a listener.

    I’ve spent more time on Sports section at Vice website this year so far, than all of last year, and that added time is at the expense of time previously spent on TSN & SN websites. Content on Vice is certainly edgier with that “outsider’s” perspective.

  34. Antonio says:

    @Joe
    It just gets so repetitive and shows a lack of imagination. “oh look at me, I’m so outraged over Trump.” Such a lefty cliché.

  35. Tommy says:

    @Another Steve

    Is this a prediction on Jay & Dan or wishful thinking? Do you have any reason to believe this?

    I would imagine that is Jay & Dan did come back to Canada it would be back on TSN TV not Sportsnet Radio.

  36. Jonathan Giggs says:

    I am hoping that Jay and Dan will remain in the States, so I will not have to encounter them.

  37. Original Mitch says:

    Why would Jay and Dan come back to Canada and go to Rogers? I’m pretty sure they would be loyal to the company that gave them their break. They are years ahead of whatever Tim and Angry-Sid are doing, so why go compete on the same network?

  38. Tommy says:

    @Mitch

    Not just go to Rogers, but on local radio. And the morning show at that.

    Hard to see them going from doing National TV in the US to doing regional AM radio.

    That’s too far of a drop.

  39. William D says:

    @Antonio

    I agree with you 100%

    I’m more an independent observer to this U.S thing, but lets face it, it’s a joke that the global elite corporations and media are ganging up on Donald Trump, it’s a Joke especially because they didn’t gang up on Jeb Bush the brother of one of the worst presidents of our time, rather they gave Jeb millions of dollars for his campaign, they also gave Hillary millions despite being the secretary of state for eight years and the country is still in a very fragile state lacking the slightest improvment economy wise and national security wise. Word is Trump has the inside scoop on the billionaire club in government and is about to unleash it if he gets in, so they do anything to keep him out. Trump took nothing from any of the elite corporations to run his campaign and they hate the lack of dependency. Governments and corporations thrive off dependency.
    Bruce Arthur in his rant clearly demonstrates how far left the star is and how North American Elites in business and media has colluded against the outsider Trump. Just my view as an outsider with no horse in this race. Bruce Arthur should stick to sports and stay out of the political arena even if it’s for a mere 30 seconds. The star is looking like CNN the newspaper version.

  40. Jerry H says:

    Wow maybe I am in the wrong place. I thought this was Toronto Sports Media not US Political media.

    Bruce Arthur makes political comments on twitter, who cares? It’s not like he is ranting about it during a national sports broadcast like Don Cherry does. Or is that ok because he is a conservative?

    Let’s get back to sports gents.

  41. Mike V says:

    I didn’t realize opposing someone so grossly unqualified for the presidency as Donald J Drumpf made you a “lefty”. Someone tell the 50% of Republicans who hate him.

    I don’t care for Arthur’s column on what would happen to sports either, but seeing as how the US media has done such a disastrous disservice to the public the way they’ve gleefully covered this wannabe-fascist shitshow, I’m willing to let it slide.

  42. Joe says:

    I love how people throw around the term Lefty as if it’s an insult. I’m sure to those who actually are on the left it’s a badge of honour.

    The term seems to offend Right wingers far more than it does the left. It’s funny to watch Republicans argue over who’s more left.

  43. mike (in boston) says:

    Nothing kills good discussion around here like politics talk. Let’s try to keep on topic: if you had to be stuck on a desert island with one PTS co-host, which one would cause you to swim for it?

  44. Another Steve says:

    @Tommy
    Wishful Thinking.

    @Original Mitch
    Why? My guess, would be big $.
    And why wouldn’t SN try and land TSN’s former “prized” pair if they become available?

  45. Mike S says:

    In other news, no Ken Reid on PTS again today………..I don’t believe he has appeared on PTS since Friday January 29th

  46. Tighthead says:

    It’s not Arthur’s politics that bother me. I agree with him on many issues. It is his belligerence and smugness that bother me.

    Dowbiggin is the polar opposite politically, and comes off as a tool. He lacks relevance though.

    Cherry should have been curtailed years ago. Don, your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore.

  47. Rob J says:

    @MIB
    I’d like to be stuck with Perkins, and I’d swim off if it were Jim Hunt’s ghost. I’d actually stay on the island if it were Reid, cause I’d feel so much more superior.

  48. BoJack says:

    Shoaltsy is a beauty. Old school journalist. Glad to hear his renos are done. That was always a funny bit when he was on PTS. I wonder if his new role at the globe has strained his friendship with Bob. Doesn’t sound like Bob has too many friends and Shoalts seemed like a genuine friend, or at least that’s how it sounded.

    Arthur is the Canadian Darren Rovell. So smug and confident despite being almost universally disliked.

    Overdrive is unlistenable after 15 minutes. Same jokes repeated ad nauseum followed by dumb jock laughter.

  49. Joe says:

    lol dumb jock laughter. It’s Sports radio Jocks are part of the deal. I’d rather listen to Jocks than the nerd squad that dominates TSN in the am.

    I don’t love overdrive, It has it’s weeknesses especially when it comes to non hockey sports knowledge but at least it’s entertaining guy talk. I’ll take that over the two old nerds that spend an entire morning talking about interviews they did a decade ago. And don’t get me started on Wheeler. How is Wheeler still on the air? you talk about universally hated. I havn’t seen anyone say they like that guy.

  50. Joe says:

    I turned on Naylor & Landsberg today.. I said to myself I’ll listen until Landsberg says OTR. It took 3 minutes. 3 minutes and he was talking about Rob Ford on OTR.

    It’s not getting any better

  51. Art says:

    Can we add Steve Simmons to that universal hated list?

    I don’t get how adding him to that morning show is supposed to help anything? Jeff MacDonald is sinking TSN 1050.

  52. jackbee says:

    What a silly question by TSM to request the NHL impose a trade freeze to help TSN and SN with their trade deadline shows. No other major sport would tolerate a sports network telling general managers to hold off on trades. The general manager works for his team, not for the whims of a tv network.

    Go listen to Calgary GM who closed off his Hockey Central at Noon talk when asked jokingly by the boys to hold on trades to deadline day, that he would enjoy the panel twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do. Priceless great answer by Brad T.

    If I was in charge of either sports networks and saw how much I was paying all my on air personnel to twiddle on their iphone and no trades happening for hours, I would be ticked off.

    Have the trade deadline show from 1200-500 pm as no hockey executive trades in the early morning hours. Saving my financial expenditure on talent would be my number ne concern on trade deadline day. BTW – thought TSN handled the slow day best with ‘game show’ parodies including Biron nailing Hedger with a t-shirt from a hand held bazooka cannon, reminding me when Homer Simpson shot hotdogs out of a hand cannon and accidently killed Flander’s wife.

    Save time and especially wasted expenses for on o air talent with nothing to say for hours on deadline day. Just do a few hours in the afternoon and be done with it. Would agree that TSN trade deadline shows are much better than SN.

  53. Art says:

    I really liked the goofy TV Timeout fun. The PM race was funny too. It was a lack luster day but TSN made the most of it and gave us a few laughs.

    This trade deadline shouldn’t be a judgement on all trade deadlines. These bad ones happen every few years, but it could just as easily bounce back to a epic one next year.

    A lot depends on how many quality UFA rentals are available. and who the buyers and sellers are. I don’t know if you need to cut the show to starting at 12. Historically there has been action between 10-12. Maybe start there at 10am. If this happens again next year than go to 11 and then 12 the following year if the trend continues.

    In the end, If they are not airing this Trade deadline show at 10am, what would they have on? Sports Centre for the 12th hour in a row?

    They have 5 channels maybe go TSN2 for the first few hours and then bring it to the others at 11am or something.

  54. Antonio says:

    Re: Arthur
    I don’t care if he hates or loves Trump. I just wish he’d mix things up a bit and not be so repetitive.

    Sorry if I offended any “lefties” out there. Hey, if you want you call me a “righty”. I don’t mind.

  55. Art says:

    I guess I’m a centrey? Is that a thing?

    Anyways, Mike Richards seems like he has some big plans on twitter today. he is talking about doing a road trip with listeners to the Draft in Buffalo.

    He is looking for multiple tour buses for 160-200 people.

    See this is just another example of listener engagement from Richards. Will it work out? I don’t know but he is thinking big and trying to get people engaged and feel a part of something. He is trying to bring listeners together as he did with the Sex Box contest.

    What do other hosts do? a twitter poll or two hear and there.The bare minimum, nothing creative or constructive.

    Bravo Richards, I hope you pull this off, It could be HUGE for you, for TSN 1050 and for your listeners.

  56. Alex says:

    Becker was back on pts tonight.

  57. Not that Chris says:

    Damien Cox is also back co-hosting this week. I know some, if not most here, don’t like him, but he generally doesn’t kiss Bob’s ass and challenges him when he starts spewing bullshit. If PTS is going to rotate him and Arash (who also is strong enough to call Bob on shit) as PTS co-hosts it would be a big improvement over Shannon and Reid.

  58. Original Mitch says:

    @another Steve
    not saying rogers won’t make him an offer. I’m talking from their perspective. Why would they chose the lesser of the two, especially considering where they came from.

  59. Original Mitch says:

    Question: does it bother other listeners when hosts continually say ‘ummmm’ between words and thoughts. I know we all do, but man, listening to some on the Fan, its all I hear now. Maybe its just me.

  60. Joe says:

    We do all do it, But I guess it could be annoying if it is excessive.

    I don’t listes to the fan much, but I can’t think of anyone who I notice doing it a lot.

    The only thing that comes to mind is Bob McKenzie. Not so much ummm but he says “and that” all the time.

    Next time you hear him talk listen close. He says “and that” to end every other sentance. It can get annoying.

  61. Tommy says:

    So I turned on TSN 1050 this morning. Michael Landsberg is talking about Rap. LOL you have got to be kidding me.

    He went on about Emeniem and Biggy. Even said he was outraged that straight out of Compton didn’t get nominated for an Oscar. It was his 2nd favourite movie of the year.

    That was the most pathetic attempt to seem young and cool I have ever heard on radio. Nobody is buying it Michael. I’m just glad he didn’t break out into a story about having Snoop on OTR back in 2002

  62. Mike V says:

    I’m actually not sure that Jay & Dan going to replace Blundell would be that big of a drop now considering the future of late night highlight shows is pretty dim, how bad they have been doing at FOX (it’s impossible to overstate this point. Some nights it is as low at 20,000 viewers) and they would instantly be the #1 Sports morning show in the country. Is going back to do Sportscentre (and without the NHL lead in that benefited them before) much better?

    I get loyalty to Bell or not wanting to wake up at 4am. But from an opportunity perspective what’s better out there?

  63. Eric says:

    there is other things they can do on TV than just that 11pm Sports Centre.

    Why not do a Tim and Sid type show on TSN TV?

  64. Alex says:

    Generally, i think Cox has been less abrasive since he has started doing PTS again.

  65. Rob J says:

    @Original Mitch
    The ‘ums’ used to bother me but moreso now is the epidemic of sentences starting with ‘So’ for no reason, e.g. Why did you choose Detroit? So, I got a call from my agent…” People even start their tweets with it, e.g. “So the Leafs are in full tank-mode”. Where did all these “so’s” come from and can it stop? It adds nothing to the thought. If you haven’t noticed it, you will now (sorry)

  66. Robert says:

    @Rob J

    Ross Atkins starts every reply with “So…”. Very annoying.

  67. Joe says:

    TSM just tweeted that there might be more lay-offs at Sportsnet today. I hope it’s not true. Hate seeing people lose their jobs…

    but if It has to happen please let it be Blundell, Healy and PJ Stock

  68. Antonio says:

    @Rob J
    The beginning of a sentence with the word “so” is everywhere now. Broadcasters, legal experts, doctors, politicians, etc (essentially anyone answering a question on radio and TV. I agree its annoying as hell!

    I suppose it just replaces other dead-air fillers like “um” or “well”.

  69. Sam In Scarb says:

    @ Mike V…rogers already have a Jay & Dan they are called Tim & Sid and they are clearly mis-using them on TV from 5 to 7
    With more layoff from sportsnet today they ain’t lookin to add ANY salary never mind salary for 2.

  70. Big G says:

    @Sam in Scarb

    Were there more layoffs at Rogers Today?

  71. Kamlesh says:

    @Tommy
    Landsberg was 30 when “Straight Outta Compton” was released. He probably was listening to rap in his 20s. It would be a stretch if Naylor said he moved like Mr. Wiggles…

    Anyhoo, lets see Taylor Swift do this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afIz_G3-seM&index=1&list=PLp-uzzCTIdIRiH6Vl0y_f7uBvibkgCk01

  72. Alex says:

    I heard a podcast with some scientists talking about the “so” phenomenon. Its partially a verbal tic that gives you a few seconds to stall before giving your answer.

  73. Sam In Scarb says:

    @ Big G Many Vancouver staff,anchors, on air staff from Ontario. But of course the mind just boggles that shannon.reid and other dead weight still have jobs.
    Of course the 100 + hockey “insiders” “experts “were not touched…
    robbers just can’t admit that they made a HUGE mistake on their hockey coverage soo..they axe others.

  74. Rob J says:

    Reason #12239 why the Leaf media is so despised by non-Toronto fans: outdoor games get trashed as boring and overdone…until Toronto gets one, of course. Now it’s the ‘perfect way to celebrate the team and league’s centennial’. where’s the barf-bag?

  75. Cirroc says:

    Did I just see Kypreos jumping up and down with his hands in the air like a baby gorilla? SN should just escort their on air “personalities” into a giant zeppelin and well you know the rest.

  76. mitch says:

    i’ll pay attention to the ‘so’ phenomenon. Maybe it will help me get passed the ‘ummmmm’ that I hear from the radio personalities.
    Rogers firings. they happen every few months. Must be fun working over there.

  77. Mike V says:

    Sam, it was more of a hypothetical situation if they were asked. I understand there are reasons why Rogers wouldn’t.

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