More on Changes in Toronto Sports Media

So, Zelkovich has more on the changes at both Sportsnet and The Score. As we told you earlier, Sportsnet gonged the early edition of Connected here in Ontario to bring you 2 hours of Mccown’s PrimeTime Sports. As you know I am a huge Mccown fan, but 2 hours of sunglasses????? I just love the comments from David Akande over at Sportsnet:

“`My job is to increase ratings,” says Sportsnet programming head David Akande. “Prime Time Sports is doing very well and this should bring more viewers to Connected.”

Akande insists this is not a cost-saving move and that no jobs will be eliminated. Connected will run in its existing format on Sportsnet’s three other channels, although Akande is looking at the possibility of duplicating the Ontario experiment in the East.

This is not, Akande says, an admission that Connected is failing. It’s more a sign of the changing times, he says.”

Now wait one minute. His job is to bring more viewers, in doing so he is removing a show with lower ratings and replacing it with one with higher ratings….ummmm, I know I’m an idiot, but wouldn’t that suggest that it’s, ummmm FAILING????!!!

In addition, I don’t care what they are paying Mccown, as the last I heard he owns the rights to his show for TV, there is no way those remote camera’s cost 1/10th as much to produce an additional hour of PTS on TV as Connected did. If it isn’t failing, you wouldn’t yank it. If it wasn’t money related you wouldn’t yank it. If you had anything better than Mccown you would be showing it.

This game, however is contagious, as up the dial at The Score the folks there are singing the same song:

“If you’re not moving, you’re standing still,” Score president John Levy said yesterday. “If you’re standing still, you’re falling behind.”
Nine Score staff were affected, with five losing their jobs. The others, Levy said, are being reassigned and some of those positions may change from full-time to part-time. As for the jobs, two on-air staffers are gone. Ten-year veteran announcer Tony Ambrogio and basketball host Nikki Reyes were axed along with three behind-the-scenes people. It’s never a good thing when people lose jobs, but Levy insists the moves have nothing to do with cost-cutting. They’re about giving viewers more accessible news and features, he says.”

Now why would you let people go if you weren’t cost cutting?? People lose their jobs for two reasons, they aren’t producing OR the employer is cutting costs. Now, in that business it can be a little bit of both. If a show isn’t doing well then costs have to be cut. The question is what were those who lost their jobs told. If I were a betting man, I would say that these moves were cost cutting moves. Then, the question is WHY NOT ADMIT IT?

The Fan let Norm Rumack go. I can’t fathom what he was making for the graveyard shift. There is no way a guy who was around that long was let go for performance reasons. I don’t buy it. He was let go for money reasons. Times are tough out there. Not everyone gets 18 bankable sick days. Radio ad revenues are down and the fan had to cut somewhere.

The truth only hurts when you lie about it. We aren’t idiots, I am, but we aren’t. When you say that moves aren’t made for cost reasons than you are, in theory throwing good people under the bus. There is no shame in admitting cost cutting moves…


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July 30, 2009 11:26 pm

I’d rather watch mccown on primetime than sportsnet connected anyway.

July 31, 2009 12:57 am

exactly. i have found myself PVR-ing McCown on multiple channels and at strange night hours to get the full two hours whenever there are a good group of guests on.

still though, i won’t miss nikki reyes – the morning show, while it netted me an Xbox, was atrocious; but it is too bad she couldn’t take a couple more from the score with her, starting with gerry dee.

i agree that admitting to cost cutting isn’t a bad thing. viewers are savvy enough to know that many a media company is in trouble. it is not like we are surprised when one admits it isn’t making money. heck you could even deflect your short comings by blaming the economy. david miller is doing it everyday. add in reducing viewership and we have low expectations for all of this.

but isn’t the bigger question that as fans are able to access highlights, information and opinion from a multitude of websites, maybe some of this broad programming isn’t necessary anymore as it isn’t offering a competitive product. if i want to follow a team or understand a game’s outcome, i would never turn to any of sports channels; however, if i want to see a hodgepodge of base highlights centered around an entertaining mix of “jokes” and interest stories, i would.

perhaps it’s because sportsnet connected, the score tonight and sports centre are disassociated from any sport that isn’t played on ice – the curling coverage is also usually excellent. why don’t these sports networks offer a program on baseball like baseball tonight in the states? why isn’t there a program on basketball like inside the NBA? it’s really too bad that financial folks look at the large cost of producing such a show and the small number of possible viewers.

blogs, .com’s and the rest of new media were supposed to make tv, radio, and old media better. while i would argue that the internet side of these companies are continually improving and offering some engaging stuff, the tv side sticks us with lots of mediocre programming that aims to do everything for everyone but really offers nothing for anyone.

all of this has been said before, but it’s funny that, as a pretty engaged sports fan who follows all the sports and grew up viewing these channels as the first place for information, i don’t bother watching any of the highlight shows anymore.

so yes, lowered expectations, all around.

July 31, 2009 1:51 am

Agreed. I used to go out of my way to watch highlight shows, but now with the internet I pretty much never watch any of those shows. Ever.

i think the same should apply to the fan. i think one sports update every hour would be good. every 20 minutes is ridiculous in this day and age. I check the internet for scores now. Especially during mccowns show, say. give those extra few minutes an hour to him.

a baseball and basketball show would sound good to me. the hockey coverage is oversaturated beyond belief.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x