Update on Toronto Sports Radio News

I wrote this about 5 days ago and have been sitting on it- I am hearing changes are in the air – perhaps as we speak- stay tuned….

So, as I told you the bird dogs have been chirping of late about the fan590 and changes that may be coming this summer or fall. Bill Houston speculated earlier this week about the possibility of George Stroumboulopoulos taking over the morning show and I told you that the folks who are kind enough to speak to me said nyet on that one. I personally don’t think they have the budget to make that hire.

The name I have heard on multiple occasions coming to Toronto is Andrew Krystal. The reason I haven’t written about it that I have heard conflicting reports on Krystal. Several people have suggested to me that Krystal may in fact have already inked a deal with the Fan. At the same time reliable folks are telling me that 640 is talking to Krystal as well. Hence the conflicting stories and the delay in writing this piece. Krystal is currently out east on another Rogers owned station, News 95.7 Halifax, doing a morning show from 9-12am where he is apparently the leader in the young male demo. (“The Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) indicated in the spring of 2010 that “Maritime Morning with Andrew Krystal” continued to be the highest rated of any day part on News 95.7. The program recorded a 12.3 share among men 25-54, second place in the market in only 5 years.”)

The Fan hiring Krystal would seem to gel with something Bruce Dowbiggin wrote in his column:

“Part of that process is to diversify the tone and subject material of the programming. The successful Vancouver afternoon show on the Team 1040 — which regularly strays into lifestyle, entertainment and politics — is a ratings winner. The Mike Richards Show on the Fan 960 in Calgary — another ratings success — is a comedy program with sports thrown in. Look for something closer to a combination of the sports format with the MOJO brand that was tried last decade by 640. ”

Krystal appears to fit that bill to a T. Now keep in mind that Dowbiggin is based in Calgary where Mike Richards is. Does 2 and 2 = Toronto? Who knows…

On the 640 side- Krystal could make perfect sense if they are abandoning sports with the exception of the Watters show and the Leafs games. He is a not so dissimilar in style to many of their hosts. It would at least allow them to further the identity/brand I believe they aspire to have.

Confused yet????

Well, we reached out to Krystal directly and he has declared himself out of the running for either gig:

“I am happy here in Halifax. I have taken News 95.7 from its first broadcast to number two in the market for men 25-54, nipping at the heels of the classic rock station, in less than 5 years.

My young wife’s family are from here. We have a great home with great friends.

I enjoy being talked about — but I am from Toronto. I was born there. The city, by itself, is not an inherent victory for me.

I was happy that while on MOJO in 2003 and 2004 that I had the best day parts in terms of market share at the station. They blew up the brand and I became the brand so there you go…..Now, I am the brand here.

Rogers gets it. I am the quarterback for all the Atlantic stations.

I am proud of what I have accomplished in radio there and I proved it was no fluke here — with a more serious format.

Now excuse me while I go to my sailboat without traffic and eat some fresh smoked salmon.

Thanks for the inquiry. I wish everyone well in TO.

“Krystal Nation Awaken”

Now where it does get quite interesting is the name Greg Brady. Two reliable sources last evening told me something that seemed to gel with what others have been whispering. Brady, could be on the move over to 590 himself. The sources separately told TSM that Brady could be taking over hockey central at noon, replacing Darren Millard and then manning part of the afternoon show as well leading into PTS.

As for changes to PTS, I don’t have enough information to give you anything more than I have and that is that change is coming.

When asked about potential changes at 640, Program Director told TSM to “Stay Tuned”

Read into that what you may.

Attempts to reach Fan 590 Program Director Don Kollins were also unsuccessful.

Now the fan is circulating yet another survey asking people to rate the following personalities:

Darren Millard
Doug Richie Rich MacLean
Paul Jones
Peter Mansbridge
Stephen Brunt
Ann Rohmer
Ron MacLean
Jeff Blair
Nick Kypreos
Barb Digiulio
Ben Mulroney
P.J Stock (listed as P.J. Scott

As I wrote yesterday there is no love lost between Bruce Dowbiggin and Bill Houston and as expected Houston returned Dowbiggin’s serve this morning:

“Well, that was unfortunate. Bruce Dowbiggin gets a little scoop, which was nice, but then he drops the ball by confusing the facts. Yes, AM640 Toronto’s Leafs Lunch will be canceled, as Bruce breathlessly reports in today’s Globe and Mail. But it will be Mike Stafford taking over the noon hour slot, not Charles Adler. Here’s a clearer report, I think. (I was given the information yesterday, but incorrectly assumed Bruce would be doing Part 2 of his series on NBC hockey playoff audiences, so didn’t think there was any urgency.)”

LOL- this is going to be fun to watch…

Meanwhile, Houston confirms what I suspected about why Leafs Lunch was canceled:

“The show, in the early years, had good numbers, but over the past year they declined. Stafford’s mid-morning show (10 a.m.-noon) has been producing an audience share of 5.7 per cent in the male 25 to 54 demographic. But for the hour between noon and 1 p.m. (Leafs Lunch), the share had dropped to 2.9 per cent. When Stafford came back for the final hour of his show from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., the share climbed back to about 5.9 per cent. Over at the Fan590, its noon to 2 p.m. show, Hockey Central, has been up close to a 6 per cent share.

So, those are the numbers and they help explain why Leafs Lunch was dropped, and Stafford and Alder will handle AM 640’s daytime programming. In his internal memo, program director Gord Harris stated that Leafs Lunch will resume in an abridged form in September.

He said opting for news talk throughout the day will provide consistency, and he gave thumbs up to Stafford and Adler.”

I think are going to be lots of surprises in the next two months in the Toronto Sports radio scene and I will try to keep you up to date as I hear stuff.



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