Changes Coming At The Fan 590?

I don’t usually pay attention to my spam folder. However an email today from Mike S pointed me to a real gem from the good folks at the Fan590. They sent out a listener poll asking folks to rate local media personalities that I would have missed had it not been pointed out to me.

There were roughly 20 questions in the survey. The first portion of the survey asks you to listen to clips from several on air personalities and then rank how much you like or dislike that personality on a sliding scale from like to dislike. If memory serves me correctly the clips were from Don Landry, Gord Stellick, Mike Hogan, Bob McCown all from the Fan 590. Also included were Bill Watters, Greg Brady and Andy Frost from 640 Toronto. Added to the mix were John Tory, Kathryn Humphreys , George Stroumboulopoulos, Norm Rumack and another personality whom I think may have been John Moore. I may be missing a few and I am not entirely sure on the last one. The second part of the survey used the same ranking systems and the same personalities but this time users are asked to rate the personalities based upon names only. So the question would say something to the effect of how would you rate Gord Stellick as an on air personality and then the user would answer somewhere between the range of like and dislike. The funniest part of this segment to me was the fact that they misspelled Greg Brady’s name and have him listed as Greg Brody.

So, what should one make of this little survey? In all likelihood probably about as much as Chris Bosh’s twitter feed. However, it’s hard to ignore which personalities are included in the survey and which are omitted. For instance, I am curious why users weren’t asked about the hockey central guys or the game plan guys. With the exception of Mike Hogan (Argo play by play) none of the folks involved in actual team coverage were listed either. None of their “beat” reporters were included. I find it interesting that Rumack is included but Toth wasn’t. I find it extremely interesting that John Torey would be included. Where does Kathryn Humphreys , George Stroumboulopoulos and Moore fit in that survey? Why not include the other regular guests in addition to Humphreys? I mean why not Jeff Blair, Stephen Brunt, Bruce Arthur, Scotty Bowman, Glen Healey, Nik Kypreos etc?

I know there is a new program director at the Fan590. The survey is signed by him. It can’t be a surprise to anyone that he is taking stock on what he has and doesn’t have. One would think that the ratings books he gets would tell him all he wanted to know. I give lots of credit to the powers that be at the Fan590 for at least asking the question of those who listen to the station. How much credence the results are given will never be known. To me it’s just another sign that changes are on the horizon.

Lastly, a couple of good articles worth reading…

First Bruce Arthur’s article about tasering is pretty funny.

Jeff Blair’s article on Chris Bosh twittering is good too

Really sad to hear of the passing of Ernie Harwell. I lived in Detroit for a spell and always loved listening to him call games. Harwell’s passing is a sad reminder of a time where radio play by play was an art enjoyed by people who just weren’t in the car. People used to listen to entire games because it was the only way to follow the game live. Harwell was a storyteller. Listening to him calling a game was as if you had invited him into your living room to describe the game. You felt like he was talking to you. There won’t be another Ernie because the medium no longer requires it. It’s too bad.

From Atlanta,



you can read and take part in the survey here

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May 6, 2010 8:29 am

Dear Fan590:

fire hogan, bring back rumak.

Al from Burlington
Al from Burlington
May 6, 2010 9:37 am

Why would changes at the Fan be so surprising. It is WAY OVERDUE. This station is old, stale, repetitive and BORING!

mike (in Boston)
mike (in Boston)
May 6, 2010 10:17 am

my 2 cents, after having lived in a city with up to 4 full time sports radio stations at one point (it’s now down to 2)

– the morning show is a disaster. the bits are awful and there is nearly no compelling sports talk or opinion. it’s unlistenable either as a general entertainment show or as a sports show.
– Hogan seems like a genuinely nice person but lacks personality to carry a whole show. His insights are bland, his opinions predictable. Perhaps he could be a decent complement to someone else but right now i never listen to his show.
– the hockey show is fine, but it should switch back to Wilner for the summer
– Jack has no credibility speaking on anything other than basketball. Eric is ok.
– McCown is untouchable however i could do with less banter with the regular guests. the first few minutes of every interview are often wasted. 2 roundtables a week is 1 one too many.
– evening programming has been a trainwreck for years. try to install someone young rather than the old guys they’ve been trotting out for more than a decade.

May 6, 2010 11:55 am

I’m not sure I’d read much into the survey. I also doubt they make a change before the fall ratings period. That’s when it matters. So many people will be starting lengthy vacations in a month like McCown, Watters, Dreger, Brady, Millard/Kypreos. So if the heavy hitters are all gone, why make changes in July or August when the ratings don’t mean a lot.

But yes I’d be shocked if they keep their morning show as is going into the fall, and I’d be shocked if they didn’t add a partner for Hogan. Some of you like the 2pm show. I don’t. These guys know one sport, and it’s a sport more people than not don’t care about. They expose themselves greatly when talking hockey or baseball.

I know some will argue Watters and Stellick do the same. I disagree. I think both can talk the other sports besides hockey in a credible fashion. Watters interviewed Jim Courier and a Jays pitcher (can’t remember name) this week and didn’t seem out of place at all. Armstrong & Smith do seem out of place.

Stellick may be salvagable. He just needs someone else to lead the show and his role to be more of a support.

But survey-wise, I doubt you’ll see a programming change there unless someone quits until September or October.

May 6, 2010 1:10 pm

Julian – I can’t speak as much for hockey, but I’m a huge baseball fan, and I can tell you that Jack and Eric are FAR better with their baseball discussion than Stellick or Watters. In fact, I’d say Jack Armstong might be the second most informed on baseball at The Fan, behind Wilner.

They do talk a lot of basketball, but I think a good job of covering the big 4 sports every day. I find the show kind of refreshing. Also – they’re doing OK in ratings, no? I think it had a higher share than the noon show, and must be much cheaper.

May 6, 2010 1:25 pm

I think I’m with all you guys on most points. The Fan used to be the default station I’d always have on. Now I pretty much just try to catch Game Plan, PTS and Jays games.

I haven’t listened to The Fan morning show since Derringer and Marsden. I think it could be salvageable if they replaced Landry with someone really good (as you said, Julian). I’d try to go after Greg Brady, if I was The Fan.

I think I’m one of the few who’s not into the noontime show. I would prefer general sports talk (even if it was hockey focused, like BWS). I feel like you have to be a hardcore fan to enjoy it – it’s a bit too intense for casual fans like me. Then again, this is a hockey crazy city, so maybe that’s not a problem.

How would you guys feel if The Fan worked in a bit more ‘guy talk’ amongst the sports? I notice some sports stations in the States do that.

Jessie Brockman
May 6, 2010 5:34 pm

Don Landry should have been replaced years ago!

May 6, 2010 5:41 pm

I’m not really sure if I buy into this survey, who are they asking? If their sending this survey to their most loyal listeners (the people who will join a mailing list) then wouldn’t these people be most likely to say “everything fine”. Unlike what I see many here who would like to listen to sports radio but the station is just not offering quality. Fan reminds me a lot of another Rogers product in the Jays/Skydome, both insipre very little to go to and be a part of.

I seriously don’t think the station has ever been this poor, what I actually find most concerning is that there no new talent in the station, In the past even though the establish guys have a habit of being lazy, the weekend/ part-time guys really want to establish themselves. Guys like Friedman, Sansone, Merek, Strumbo, Richards, and Mackowycz,all were very talented guys who didn’t get an opportunity in the station but you can tell they had real talent and went to do other things. With exception of few (Seixeiro comes to mind, few bright spots), but laziness as host has gone throughout the ranks. When the last time they found a talent like Shulman. Adnan Virk is good enough for ESPN but can’t find a spot for him? What’s wrong is he too diverse.

Mike in Boston inspires me to give opinion on each
^Mourning show has become so bad I actually avoid it. Stellick might be able to be carried but Landry brings nothing to the table.
^Hogan isn’t awful, it’s just there. It reminds me of the first article I read on here talking about somebody who left the city and returned just to hear the same voices doing the same thing. You have to be great to have such staying power, he’s just not that and had a good run but a fresh voice will be good.
^Hockey central, I skip it on the most part, like Dan said hockey fine but too much and overload.

^Gameplan, I like Armstrong, I think he gives a true effort, Smith on the other hand seems to be nothing more than an NBA/Raps apologist, he seems to also put down other sports to raise his, he fits perfectly in the conflict of interest audio show you had last week
^PrimeTime, I’ve lost a lot of respect for McCown, yes he’s a legend but seems to go through the motions. I don’t think it’s a coincidence he happens to get a bunch of “yes guys” as co-host who aren’t really good (Toth, Kelly, Shannon) I think it’s to make him look good. It gets predictable and doesn’t seem to challenge himself or the show anymore.

Mike S
Mike S
May 6, 2010 7:15 pm

Here are the changes I would suggest for 590:

– Get rid of Shannon. Have Brunt be the full-time co-host with McCown. If Brunt won’t do it then alternate between him and Bruce Arthur
– Keep the noon hockey show but dump Millard. If Sportsnet insists on having one of their people host then give the host job to R.J. Broadhead
– Keep the Game Plan and keep Jack Armstrong but take Eric Smith out and replace him with Stellick
– Find a solid co-host for Hogan. Unfortunately this might not be easy if they are trying to cut costs
– Get rid of Landry. Make a strong pitch to Brady for the morning show and find him a good co-host (again this might be easier said than done given the budget constraints). Hiring Brady away from 640 would improve the morning show while weakening Wilbur’s show at the same time
– Leave the other guys (Lajoie, Seixeiro, Sammut, Erik Thomas, etc) on nights and weekends so that I never have to hear them

May 6, 2010 10:14 pm

Brody (I mean Brady) for the morning show!!! And I think Stellick would be just fine with Brady leading the way. While I’m not a fan of Landry for the FAN, it’s not to say he wouldn’t make a good morning show host for a station like 640 or Chum FM. Also, instead of recycling the same names that we know (and don’t necessarily love), why not do a little scouting and find some young talent in a small town….Dear FAN Management…do some leg work.

May 6, 2010 10:26 pm

@ Mike S – I like a lot of what you said.

May 7, 2010 12:36 pm

I’m not sure how happy Stellick would be being in another timeslot but it’s better than nothing.

Brady & someone younger in the morning slot makes sense. Good point by Mike S in that it would cripple the Watters Show. I have brought up before I have no idea where they’d turn with a Brady departure. However, I would think they might have him locked up for a longer period of time, which would prevent him from leaving.

Wouldn’t he have the same contract length Watters does? It’s hard to know what they do with Wilbur when the time comes. It’s one thing to fire someone because they’re not getting you the results, it’s another to just say you’re too old and getting out of touch with too many things. Sensitive subject.

May 7, 2010 5:13 pm

True, Julian. Didn’t The Fan let Jim Hunt and Pat Marsden go due to the getting old factor? Shaky Hunt and Bob were great together.

May 7, 2010 5:37 pm

I stopped listening to the fan especially the morning show when i got xm radio. Espns, mike and mike, cowherd and gotlieb make the fan look like a highschool production. Stellick and Landry can’t carry the show thats why the have
so many insiders. Eric and Jack are cool at least they don’t just talk hockey.

June 16, 2010 8:35 pm

I hope this is a sign some changes are coming. I have listened to the Fan for over decade and as much as I like hearing familiar voices it has gotten really stale.

Mccown is still the best and untouchable as far as I am concerned. The Hockey at noon is very solid and I prefer listening to them than 680. Kypreos can be a bit of a meathead but they are at least entertaining.
Jack adn Eric are ok. Not bad, not great.
Hogan show is so boring now. I really miss Toth. I wish they had gotten rid of Hogan or give Toth the morning show. I thought he was a great fill-in for McCown.
Which leaves the morning show, which is brutal. Can’t stand Landry. Stellick is okay, but the show is lame. Not funny, no interesting sports talk. Needs a new host now.

Jeff Symons
Jeff Symons
June 24, 2010 2:27 pm

I work from home, so I listen to the Fan almost everyday, all day…This is how I would rank the daily, week day programming…(Best show of all is Inside the Lines)

1. The Bullpen Mike Hogan..Great insight, good guests, its like you are listening to a friend.
2. Hockey Central at noon, with Kypreos and/or MacLean
3. The baseball at noon show
4. Morning show…I dont get to hear much of this since it is too early for me..
5. Game Plan….too basketball centric..but they do have good chemistry..
6. Prime Time Sports…very over rated…sometimes I turn away during this segment…

Also, please get rid of:
Got Game

Dan Piedra
Dan Piedra
June 24, 2010 4:33 pm

Morning show is atrocious … lost interest iover a year ago and they rarely have anything that keeps me on the station for more than 2-3 minutes. Not all listeners and fans of sports in Toronto are part of the infamous Leaf nation … give it a rest and let 640 pander to them. Give us well rounded coverage.

Hogan is solid, but needs a Toth or similar personality to liven it up. Hockey at Noon is entertaining.

The 1-4pm slot is unbearable … Jach and Eric have to go.
McCown is untouchable and makes for great radio with either Brundt, Kelly, or others.

Jeff Blair and Stormin Normin need to go to a station where sonmeone actually cares what they think. Stormin’s little charade is so old and yesterday that the only thing older is the Leaf’s dry-spell.

July 4, 2010 11:20 pm

Landry and Stellick…come now…their favourite sports are curling, CFL football, and their own slo pitch leagues…this should have happened ages ago…McG, obviously an untouchable…tells it like it is…his way…straight up…no apologies…Hogan was OK, just a little on the corny side with his forced cool talk…flicks gotta be cool to be cool…

July 13, 2010 5:04 pm

I think that the Fan needs a major overhaul! I must be the only person here who thinks that the Fan590 is waaaaayyyyy too hockey-centric.

People complain about too much basketball talk on “The Game Plan”? So what!!!! I get irritated when, following a Raptors game, the callers that call in are CLEARLY interested in talking about the game but the host of the show is making references to hockey (this does not happen if the post game show is done by Eric Smith, Paul Jones, etc). I get irritated when, in the middle of summer, I hear the non-stop Maple Leafs talk. Does the Maple Leaf organization OWN Fan590?

I thought that the Fan590 was supposed to be a sports station meaning that they do not dedicate +70% of the time devoted to hockey, most of that to the Leafs. There is this belief that is going around that people do not care about Basketball. Heck, if I listened to the Fan590 a lot I would probably think that there is only one sport (hockey). For a city that is so multicultural I find the Fan, most times, to be too one-dimensional.

I am not saying that they need to spend half the day speaking basketball but they must understand that to the sports fan that likes all types of sports, listening the hockey all day, everyday, is not interesting.

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