The Ups and Downs Of Toronto Sports Radio pt1

Top O the morning all. Sorry for the delay in posting, but I was too tired last night and hit the hay EARLY. In any event, a couple of interesting things have happened this week and of course I thought I would share:

First, the god awful interview of one Chris Bosh on the Fan 590. Now, lets get one thing straight. The three guys were in a tough spot. All of Jack Armstrong, Eric Smith and Paul Jones are part of The Toronto Raptors “family”. All three are on various broadcasts of team games. So, for the three of them to be the only guys interviewing Bosh in my opinion is unacceptable. This interview is the primary reason why you need at least 1 unbiased person in the studio asking questions. Secondly, I fully appreciate the notion that when someone is on your radio program or your tv program they are referred to as a “guest” and there may be a certain expectation of treating them as such.

With both of those in mind, the interview with Chris Bosh, to quote Judge Smailes, SUCKED. It was almost an entire smoochfest. Seriously, it was almost as if no one listening really ever cared about the Raptors OR Chris Bosh. There was one exception in the interview; Eric Smith at least had the balls to say to Bosh that he felt the way Bosh conducted himself could have been better on twitter etc. Thank god someone said it! I mean read the message boards, listen to the call in shows- hell read the opinions around the globe on Bosh and his tweets and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this whole thing out.

Jones’s questions were mild at best and Armstrong’s questions and comments were total suckjobs. Although many predicted Bosh would leave and thus his eventual departure could be described as no real surprise to many this was an emotional (as emotional as one can get when it comes to sports) outcome. Blame him or not, the fans have supported Bosh in the 7 years he was here. Many (not I) viewed this as a slap in the face. His comments to ESPN upon signing about being a caged animal certainly should have been raised but well, that would be confrontational. The interview was plugged on twitter. The interview was replayed on PTS. In truth, the preview should have been, come listen to the Raptor guys kiss Chris Bosh’s ass.

There are ways to ask hard hitting questions, the ones the fans want to hear without being disrespectful of their “guest”. The question about being booed was the right topic, but certainly a total fluff ball one. “Hey Chris, when you back, you are prepared for a chorus of boos right, I mean you know it’s coming- how will that make you feel?” After Smith asked about the way in which Bosh handled things and Bosh gave an inane response of I think I handled it right- someone- not Smith should have hammered him on it. Hey Chris, can’t you see that your approach really pissed people off in this town? “Hey Chris I don’t remember any other superstar in the NBA dealing with it as you did- what were you thinking, what was your motivation????”

I’m no fan of Jim Rome. However I can’t for one second seeing him ask questions like that if a star left his home town. Bosh, you may recall in Miami said that this coming together of the 3 amigos had been in the works for some time- more than the “days” they’ve been telling people. An interesting article appeared in the Cleveland newspaper about hos this may have been in the works for years. Ya think, maybe Bosh should have been asked about it? Numerous articles were around suggesting that at the end of the whole process, Bosh was the most important domino, that the deal didn’t come to close until he decided he was willing to go to Miami- that’s a pretty big story, at least I think so- yet it wasn’t asked.

Look, I get the position these guys are in. They spend time with the players. They spend time in practice, in hotels on the road with the guys. Hell, I’m pretty sure that at least part of their salary is paid by the Raptors. If they can’t ask the questions that need to be asked, then do the interview on Raptors TV- ask them on a pre-game show, post game show or during half time. In my opinion, and judging by the number of emails I got expressing the same sentiments, this wasn’t a good interview. I didn’t want to hear Jonas, Jim Ralph, Joe Bowen or anyone on leafs tv interviewing Sundin. I want someone who can ask hard questions, the ones that may make the “guest” a tiny bit uncomfortable. One doesn’t have to be disrespectful to ask the questions.

I think if guys who are on team broadcasts are going to be on the radio at other times – interviewing members of the team in which they work for, there has to be an unbiased voice on the air. Otherwise there may not be any credibility. Just because a station is a rights holder shouldn’t mean the station has to be biased. So, if your going to have 1, 2 or 3 guys interviewing a team guy you need another voice in there. There is no finer example of a guy on the rights holder’s station going after a team than Bill Watters, who clearly goes to the other extreme. Mike Wilner has gone that way lately, having had his hand slapped for doing so.

I’ve rambled long enough for now….I’ll talk about the 2nd topic in the next post…



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