Ups & Downs In Toronto Sports Media Pt.2

Pardon the delay in writing this up, but the dog days of summer hit a little early and well, that provided the opportunity for further reflection and commentary.

So, I’ll work in reverse a little bit. First, I know the morning show is going to change, but I have to tell you the morning show on the fan is un- listenable right now. I thought it was bad when we were getting nothing but umms and ahhhs. Now I long for them. Did you catch Lumly discussing people who urinate on a golf course the other day??? No?? It was bad. But…. it wasn’t nearly as bad as today’s discussion about scientifically engineered rabbit penises. No seriously the dialogue was about some scientists who were able to create and successfully attach a penis on a rabit. Stimulating conversation I tell you. Where oh where is Schultz’s mustache when you need it???????

I may take it on the chin on this one, but what the hell. Why not go with 2 hosts- Lumly and Sammit, the “producer Jeff” bit isn’t funny and to be honest, Sammit is easily as talented and knowledgeable as Lumly in my opinion.

On the flip side to that (and the Bosh suckfest from the other day that inspired pt.1) I am curious if you heard Keith Law being interviewed by Jeff Blair and James Deacon. Now before you get ahead of yourself, this was a really good interview. The subject was the Blue Jays trade that brought Escobar to to town. Blair is a baseball guy. It may not be his favorite sport, but he covered the Expos and he covers the Jays here too (as part of his gig). For non baseball fans, many pundits didn’t quite understand the Jays trade from a talent perspective. The Jays gave up an older, yet perhaps proven talent in exchange for a younger yet “challenging” talent who didn’t have the greatest reputation. Keith Law is a former Blue Jays employee under JP. For those of us who aren’t up on all the details and behind the scenes moves it was a really educational interview.

Not knowing the personalities, I always thought Law was a JP guy. One of this comments in the interview was how JP would never have made a move like this. I thought that proved the notion that he was a JP guy. However when the issue became the recent signings of some young talent from the islands (16 year olds) Law was very quick to applaud the moves and went out of his way to explain that JP wouldn’t have ever made these moves. Law explained that JP used to ask for a budget to spend on foreign (non North American) talent pool yet he always then tried to spend the budget he was given on North American talent. Law kept referencing some Jays imminent signings to take place on or about August 14th. Deacon asked Law if the day had an significance as Law had mentioned it several times. It’s not overly important, yet I have to admit I was asking myself the same question as I was driving while listening.

To me that was what I want from sports radio. Interesting, informative and entertaining. Not overly technical, so as to bore me, yet enough information to be be conversational.

I have to admit I didn’t hear all of PTS tonight. Mccown came on and discussed the time change of his show. Gone is the old 4-7 and he is now on the air from 3-6. Never one to shy away from emotion Mccown let it be known that he wasn’t overly enthused by the change and that he wasn’t asked about it. Now, that may be true, but I am having a hard time believing it. I can’t imagine that Kollins’s first move with respect to the station’s money maker would be to piss off the host. It just doesn’t make sense. When I spoke to Krystal the other day about coming to Toronto he went out of his way to say how Mccown and Kollins were on his side. If Mccown was pissed about this move, it’s hard for me to believe he was consulted about that one. Call me an idiot- you won’t be first, but this looks to me like Bob may be playing the crowd. If you told me that is the case I wouldn’t be stunned, but I would be surprised. My guess is it’s an example of good show banter. I know Mccown was convincing today, I just can’t imagine that Kollins would piss him off right out of the gate….

Have you picked up a copy of the Toronto Sun recently???? The biggest addition is the subtraction of one Gary Loewen. However the sports section is bigger and better than it has been. First, the print is actually bigger- or at least the spacing is bigger making the columns easier to read. Not olnly that but there is a ton of content. Maybe all of it isn’t the greatest, but they cover everything and in bulk. As you know I don’t love how or where they place stories but you can’t argue with quantity.

Yeah yeah yeah I went after Darren Millard today on twitter. Guess what, when a MSMer puts on twitter that a deal is done, as Millard did with respect to Kovolchuck last week going to LA and it doesn’t happen, there is a little bit of the tail between the legs (see Mccown on Sundin to the Rangers). Say what you will about Millard – he lead a radio show that blasted Leafs Lunch off the air.

I still haven’t heard who will be working with Bill Watters when September rolls around. Is it possible that the answer is by committee? It is possible that the answer is no one- as in would 640 walk away from sports save for Leaf games? I have no clue. I can tell you that lots of people are talking about those scenarios. Me, I still lobby for Stellick to get the gig. I would hope that Rogers/Fan doesn’t hold Stellick to any non-compete and would allow Stellick to go to the 640 to join Watters. Here’s a hunch, and this isn’t based upon fact, but only opinion, I’m thinking that if 640 remains committed to hockey/sports (ie doesn’t wind things down with Watters) a certain beat guy that I am not overly fond of ends up there. Hell who knows, if Mccown thinks those who made the decision to move his show could be incredibly “stupid”- then maybe he flies up the dial when his contract ends?????????????

Jeff Blair and James Deacon with Keith Law is here

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July 19, 2010 11:24 pm

I like Stellick…and I guess he’d be ok with Waters but….Stellick seems like the #2 guy. Whenever Landry was on vacation, he seemed to struggle as the lead….My preference would be that he be retained on the FAN morning show with a new lead (not going to happen i know). As for a #1 to work with Billy? How about Marco Moro hahahha

July 20, 2010 12:14 am

Jeff Sammutt needs to have his microphone taken away. I have found no one who likes his schtick.

Bob is VERY convincing if he really was ok with the move, listening today he was very against it.

Pat MaGroin
Pat MaGroin
July 20, 2010 7:05 am

Mr. Kollins is BRILLIANT
Put crap on the air (Jeff Qwimby) and other high school radio veterans for a couple of months
Then bring in the new staff and they will look like ALL STARS!!

The Meatriarchy
July 20, 2010 7:44 am

Agree w you on Stellick I think he would be great on 640 but only as a transition to eventually bringing in someone to replace Watters. Stellick and Watters might not work but Stellick and someone else would.

July 20, 2010 10:12 am

I think Brian Duff is the guy they should have along with Watters – he has been doing a great job since Brady’s departure. I actually indicated to the FAN in the last survey they sent out that Duff would be a valuable addition to their roster.

July 20, 2010 3:10 pm

Kollins is nuts if he thinks this will work. I agree; that morning show now is unlistenable, so I just don’t listen anymore. Stellick and Landry were absolutely brilliant in comparison… I miss those guys. McCown should go back to the old timeslot. This sucks too. Who is Kollins trying to appeal to with this stuff anyhow?

July 20, 2010 5:13 pm

Who knows what he is thinking. Mellman would be on the radio talking about it, this guy….?

July 20, 2010 5:44 pm

I agree with you about Blair, TSM. I don’t know if there’s room for him, but I’d like to see him with a show somewhere on The Fan. With Arthur would be good (how about 6-7?).

Hard to know what 640 will do at this point. It really seemed like they grabbed a rising star in Brady, someone who they could build a young audience around to perhaps one day compete with McCown. I’m pretty shocked they let The Fan take him away.

Now The Fan seems really strong from noon to six, and 640 seems really lost, sports wise. Even if 640 did snag Stellick, is that really something that would compete with McCown? Even when McCown was doubling 640 ratings, their bright spot seemed to be that they did well in the youngest demographics. You have to think that was due to Brady, and it’s hard to imagining those demos sticking around with a 70 year old host and someone like Hayes or Stellick.

The teams in this city have been so crappy, maybe one or two of them have to get good, or an NFL/2nd NHL team has to come to town for us to get a real 2nd sports option.

July 20, 2010 8:20 pm

Another Homerun on your ups and downs article. Agree with you fully on Blair, what really impresses me is that he’s a baseball guy but you’ll never feel it when he’s on the radio. He treats baseball like every other sport, with the same criticism for the team and the sport when it’s deserved and has enough knowledge of every other sport that he never seems like “a baseball guy talking other sports” like you hear with the guy you mentioned in the first part (E Smith) or even Hogan (who I like but you know he treats CFL nicely) and Erik Tomas (car racing guy)

Speaking of Tomas, I listened to a bit of raceline radio last night, and he was talking to the Edmonton Indy promoter and the promoter was actually being pretty honest and saying single days are okay but weekend packages are 20% down and Tomas continue to push “Everything is fine, Edmonton is a late buying crowd, the event will be great!” when the “reporter” is shilling more than the promoter, you know we have big problems.

I also agree with you about McCown, I think his anti-establishment act there’s a lot of *wink wink* with management. Now not sure he give approval to the firings (I actually doubt it) but I think McCown is in it for McCown (which is nothing wrong with it) and Gillick might have let it slip on yesterday show that the current hours is more profitable and most shows are on for those hours.

As for Sammit, here’s a head scratcher. they cleaned out the hosts for the morning show, but keep the producer? If the entire show and bits weren’t working with the previous hosts, why would it work with the new temp host or new full-time host with the same guy producing it. If they want a change, they should then do a full change and the new host bring in people that works best for him and his/her vision for the show.

July 20, 2010 8:53 pm

Is there anyone out there who actually likes Jeff Sammit?

The less that we get of him is better.

The Meatriarchy
July 20, 2010 9:27 pm

I think MLSE should look at creating their own radio station to complement leafs/raptors TV: Leafs/Raptors/TFC radio.

I would listen.

July 20, 2010 11:37 pm


Oh God – you’d be one of few that would.

Leafs TV is NAUSEATING, radio would be even worse to listen to puppets like Adnan Virk and Andi Petrillo go through the motions.

Radio’s about objectivity, opinion, and diverse thoughts, not the party line, which is what MLSE loves to feed you.

TFC Radio?? Ugh. Nice try.

July 22, 2010 2:29 pm

I can’t believe how shitty the Fan has become. I’ve gone back to Q107 and Giant FM other than McCown. The curiosity in me has not allowed me to leave the Fan totally as I still listen to Bob.

Unlike some others, I don’t find Lumby to be the worst thing on there. Sammut is hands down. They likely kept him because he seems willing to do late evenings and weekends as needed in the Fan’s totally unpredictable schedule of hosts.

And I think Sammut was behind a lot of those Landry voice impersonations and creating those ‘comedy’ bits so perhaps he knows enough about Adobe Audition to keep himself employed just for that skill.

You know it’s bad when you have no regular host on the daytime slots. Is it true that Farraway got three hours yesterday in Hogan’s old slot? Is there no justice in the world? I tuned in a couple of times and couldn’t believe that they would have the nerve to subject anyone to three hours of Doug and his starts and stops. And then they follow him up with three hours of the guy who they just canned from the 2-4 slot??

It sounds totally pathetic to hear McCown repeated at 6-7. Isn’t this embarrassing? Move Bob up to 3 to fill a hole there and then you realize that you have a hole at 6 now? Plug that 6:00 hole with a rerun of Bob’s first hour? Cheap? Lazy? Both of the above?

Of course the Blue Jays pregame has been extended now and the first few of these have just been time killers too. Wilner plays the audio clip of almost EVERY play in the game from the night before. There is hardly any drama left in an event completed almost 24 hours earlier of which the listener has been hearing about all day, so this show seems to be a failure as well.

But the true sign that this station has hit bottom is the rerun I heard last night while scanning stations in the car – Farraway’s mid-morning show from yesterday was being rebroadcast and they didn’t even bother to edit out the traffic report – they just aired it right along with the Farraway rerun. Is this not the ultimate in either laziness, not giving a shit or just ignorance of the staff?? Maybe the kiddies hyping their twitter accounts on Roger’s show might better be editing time-relevant sections out of the shows to be rebroadcast overnight?

What a piece of crap this station has become.

July 22, 2010 4:52 pm

I agree that The Fan is pretty much unlistenable right now, but you guys realize that these summer hosts are just around for another 3 weeks right? Then it’s Krystal and Brady from 9 – 3 (plus some new morning guy).

So I wouldn’t bother getting too worked up about Lumby and Farraway being on all the time.

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