The news today on TSN Radio is interesting. We told you about Richards a long time ago, so there was no surprise there. The fact that Richards is the only “local” personality to be named in the TSN 1050 release is mildly shocking. There may, however, be a reason for it.
For those who are kind enough to visit this site on a regular basis know that I am a big Dan Patrick fan. Having lived in the U.S. of a for the better part of 15 years and being a sports radio junkie, I’ve heard most of the national guys and Patrick is by far my favourite. He knows his stuff and is able to talk intelligently on all of the major sports. He has a great sense of humour and most importantly, he gets great guests.
On the flip side, I am not a Rome guy. Jim Rome is one of those on air personalities where there are only two groups: those who love him; and those who hate him. I don’t think there is such a thing as a casual Jim Rome listener. I am not a fan. It’s nothing personal; it’s not that I don’t think he’s talented or smart. I just don’t like the style.
There are a few reasons I’m surprised that TSN is going with syndication. The first and easiest reason is that both shows have been on in Toronto before, but with little success. Secondly, both shows are available in Buffalo on WGR 550. So this isn’t feeding an under-served audience. The biggest reason I am surprised is that these guys simply don’t fit the market. The content on both these shows is going to be relevant to the Toronto audience less than 10 per cent of the time. (10 may actually be a stretch)
When I lived in Miami, no matter what any other team was doing, the sun rose and set with the Dolphins. With the lone exception of when the Marlins won the World Series, it was Dolphins, Dolphins, Dolphins. It’s no different here with the Leafs and hockey. The problem is that neither Rome or Patrick talk much hockey, let alone Maple Leafs hockey. The question is, what will the Toronto audience do when both are talking NCAA football and/or basketball? If Sportsnet The Fan 590 is talking hockey playoffs or NHL trade deadline, what kind of audience will TSN 1050 radio have when their talking NCAA basketball?
This isn’t a knock on basketball. The same will be true when they talk NFL football or non-Blue Jays baseball. Ninety percent of the talk on both those shows will be totally irrelevant to the sports radio audience in Toronto. I love Patrick’s NFL talk. I love when he has Peter Gammons on. He gets great non-hockey guests. However, so little seems to be relevant here.
So what does it mean?
To be honest, I think it doesn’t mean much. TSN 1050 radio comes on air April 13. My bet is that by the time fall comes around, they will have their fill of local personalities. Summer is the season when radio goes on holiday. Why pay for new guys when both the talent and the audience is away? More importantly, if they are going to try to grab talent with any type of non-compete clauses they will need some time before those folks are free to go on the air. I don’t know this to be the case, but I’m thinking this is a short-term solution. Soft launch with Richards in the a.m. They will have an afternoon prime-time show too. Both shows will be full of TSN personalities. Come fall, when the Leafs are in training camp, I’ll be surprised if they haven’t filled out their local talent roster.
What the Jack?
Do you remember the day that Chris Bosh left the Toronto Raptors? Do you remember the first interview he did locally? He was on the radio with Eric Smith and Jack Armstrong. It was really weak interview. Puff ball question after question. Over the last couple of days, with Bosh’s reunion approaching, Armstrong was on the air quite a bit telling both various hosts and listeners how much he didn’t like “the way” Bosh left Toronto. What? you can’t suck and blow at the same time, Jack. You can’t throw the softball questions at first and then come back after the fact and be critical. The time to be critical was then when you had Bosh on the air. You don’t have to be rude about it, but rather fair and balanced.