So while Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo was taking a flame thrower to his roster I had the opportunity to chat with the latest member of the Toronto Sports Radio renewal Andrew Kyrstal. My conclusion after talking with Krystal and reading many of your comments on various postings is that Krystal is a guy many of you aren’t going to initially like- hell some have already decided you hate him! After a tough love start I suspect (and of course I could be wrong) I think we all are going to be happy with the new host of the time slot previously owned by one Mike Hogan.
Krystal describes himself as the “stereotypical Toronto Sports fan”. He is “engaged when the Blue Jays are winning, curious about the Toronto Raptors and an avid full time Maple Leafs fan.” Way back in the day he “covered a lot of Maple Leafs game for Mojo, loved being at every home game and is a die hard Maple Leafs fan.:
I got the sense in talking to Kystal that he loves what he does, but realizes in the grand scheme of things it’s only sports. He’s the type of guy who will talk about the topic du jour, whether it’s the hot reality tv scandal a hot movie opening and yes the important news item as well. However, he knows he is on a sports station and he insists that it will be sports he’s talking about at least 85% of the time.
In the short time I spent talking to Krystal I could tell he has a quick sense of humor. He claims to be very unlike Bob Mccown in that he’s ” a really shitty golfer.” Krystal left Toronto several years ago and claims to only be open to moving to Toronto for a second stint because he is “married this time”. Known to cause a bit of a stir when he takes to the air, Krystal learned a very important lesson the last time he was here, “it’s essential in this business to have a loved one at home to go home to every night.”
While in Halifax he took a brand new show to 2nd place in short order. “My shows were like 680 news with the element of talk.” He loves to talk sports, especially hockey and our Maple Leafs. He is no fan of Brian Burke’s acquisition of Phil Kessel, noting that Kessel doesn’t seem to gel with Burke’s love for tough guys. “Burke says he likes tough guys but Kessel is a hockey player on figure skates,and he brought the Sedin sisters to Vancouver too.” He is, however critical of the Leafs only because he “wants them to win so badly.” Krystal likes the image and presence that Captain Dion Phaneuf brings to the buds. His sessions with Brian Burke should be very interesting to say the least.
So why did Krystal, who only weeks ago professed his allegiance to Halifax agree to join the Fan 590? “It makes a huge difference having guys like Don Kollins (Fan 590 Program Director), Chuck McCoy (Rogers Media Exec) and Bob McCown in my corner.” said Krystal. Speaking of McCown, who’s name came up numerous times in our nearly 30 minute chat, it sounds like Krystal has already been penciled in to fill the PTS host chair when McCown is on vacation. Stephen Brunt is the only other Fan “personality” who Krystal mentioned either being fond (and he is a Brunt fan)of or really knowing, noting that he isn’t familiar with the other new Fan family member Greg Brady.
So, there you have it sports fans. Krystal will probably be returning to Toronto around the first of August. He isn’t sure of an exact start day on the fan, but he’s thinking it will likely be some time around August 15th of 16th. My overall sense? I get the sense that Krystal is very well read, bright and certainly passionate about Toronto sports teams especially the Maple Leafs. For those that want to hear sports, sports, and more sports I think you will be disappointed when you tune in at times when he’s talking about some other hot button topic. I think he will engage listeners and guests in ways which we haven’t heard in the 9-12 time slot for a long time (if ever).
The challenge for Krystal will be to find an audience in a time slot which has traditionally been a graveyard in this market. The question will, as always come down to ratings. Hogan, Toth or whomever else has been in that time slot has struggled to capture the attention of the mid morning listener. I suspect he will draw a much younger audience then his predecessors and there will likely be far less CFL football talk too.
I have to believe Don Kollins has cashed a nice shiny chip to bring Krystal east. Will Krystal be able to raise the bar in that time slot will be the ‘shiny chip question. Nevertheless, I for one am looking forward to his debut. We are only about a month away from both his and Brady’s start and what seems to be the rebirth of the Fan 590. Interesting time indeed.
FYI- Tomorrow’s guest on the TSM Pressbox is John Wells. Questions for JW let me know.