Toronto Sports Radio Review

So, finally a new day at the Fan 590 today. While it was great to hear some new/old voices, we still need to hear someone really new in the am to replace the current host, who is just not very good.

So, let’s talk about the Andrew Krystal show. My initial reaction is that I liked him. But wait, there is more. I liked him, just not on the fan. The best part of the Krystal show was when he talked about MMA from a political perspective. When he talked about the politics of Dalton Mcguinty he was hard hitting and opinionated. When he talked Tomas Kaberle, when he talked Buffalo Bills football with their head coach it wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t good listening.

There were two good parts of his interview with Richie Rich Maclean; first, when about 30 seconds in and he had MacLean bitch about how money he (Richie Rich) makes and two when he hung up on Maclean. I don’t care if you think his opinion is right or wrong on the Kaberle non-trade, he’s clearly not a sports guy, he’s a fan and it comes across when he talks sports. If you are looking for the all the stats, all the insight you aren’t going to like Krystal when he talks sports.

Krystal is a shock jock, while plugging his show with the morning guys, he referenced HItler and Nazi’s- I wasn’t surprised- that’s what he does. When he talked about the Kessel deal he flat out said Brian Burke is “lying” when he says he is happy with the Kessel deal. Krystal will say things to garner a reaction, to get people heated and to call in.

I mean no disrespect to John Derringer, or to Krystal for that matter, but I think they are quite similar when it comes to talking sports on the Fan. I really liked John Derringer when he co-hosted the fan morning show. He isn’t the prototypical sports guy. He can talk news, politics and pop culture with the best of them. It’s why he is so good on Q-107.

In summary, I liked what I heard, I would just like it better on 640 or 1010.

With Greg Brady, he is exactly what I heard when he was on in Detroit. Brady IS a sports guy. He is the stats guy. He is the guy who knows all the teams, all the players in all the major sports. However, he can talk pop-culture too. So while I think he rambled too long in his intro, and I know why he did, Brady got to do what he couldn’t do at 640. Yes he talked Kaberle. That was 640 Brady. I thought he was good with Kypreos. But when he talked baseball, when he talked Chris Chambers, when he talked to Jon Wertheim of and Jayson Stark of ESPN he should have showed those who thought he was just a hockey guy that he isn’t.

I thought he sounded a little nervous, first day jitters perhaps. I thought he is going to need mucho guests as I don’t think he can drive alone. Hockey Central will take care of most of that, but in his solo hour I think he will drop the hockey chat and bring in other sports guru’s to banter about the hot topic of the day.

I liked Mccown’s comments on the intro, I thought he was polite and supportive. Paul Jones was in the co-pilot seat today and he was good with Mccown. He let Mccown be Mccown, without being the typical Ed McMahon that many seem to think they have to be when they co-host with Bob. The interview with Burke was as good as it always was. Mccown asked every question I wanted asked. The one thing as a fan I really didn’t like was when Burke said that the current roster was likely the team that he would take to camp.

Meanwhile up the dial, it became ever so evident that it’s just time for them to move on sans Wilbur. The man is just so predictable. They took a lot of callers and Watter’s comments have been replayed as many times as McDonald’s serves people. I mean, enough already on the ownership crap. Some poor sucker called in and said that he thought Burke deserved credit for dealing both Toskala and Blake. Hayes totally agreed. So do I for the little that it’s worth. Watter’s response is that no one should have been surprised, he traded away 7 million in 2 guys and brought one guy back who makes the same- it’s simple he said! I mean enough already. EVERYONE with a brain said Toskala and Blake were unmoveable. Not only did he move both but he did so in a way that appeared to have dramatically improved his hockey team. The worst part is that Watters turtles. He carves Burke in one sense and kisses his ass the minute he takes to the air.

The show, when he is on is just so damn predictable. Talk Leafs, Raptors and you know he’s gonna bash MLSE. Talk Argos and he’s gonna bash the previous owners. Talk Jays and he bashes Rogers. But for Cliff, the guys he used to drink on the road with and the Dutchess he has little good to say about anyone. Watters has slowly turned into Abe Simpson.



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August 16, 2010 10:46 pm

Exellent comparison to Abe Simpson!

I havent listened to Watters since before the draft, he is old, he is tired, its ground hog day. I think they need to go more Toronto and less sports, but thats me.

As I said on the other thread. I liked him hanging up on MacLean, only because MacLean’s head is about as big as they come, especially for someone who has not done much at the NHL level. If he does that with someone like Andy Ashby, that will be over the line

August 16, 2010 10:47 pm

I listened to a bit of Andrew Krystal. Not sure I’ll go out of my way to listen to him again. I’ve never been into the shock jock thing and I don’t care if he can talk politics if he can’t talk sports. I was never much into John Derringer either for the same reason. He didn’t know sports.

Greg Brady, on the other hand, is a keeper IMO. A true sports guy with sports ideas, thoughts and opinions and seems to be well respected in the industry.

I haven’t liked Bill Watters ever since he got back into media after leaving the Leafs. He just seems to try way too hard to be controversial or hard hitting and it comes across as fake and forced and repetitive.

Beleaguered Sports Fan
August 16, 2010 10:49 pm

It was a weird, disorienting day on the Fan. I have to say that Krystal rubbed me the wrong way (I’m not looking for a shock jock or someone to call me brother), but if Kollins wanted to make a splash, I think he succeeded. So kudos for that. I actually really miss Mike Hogan, but I accept that I am one person out of a vast demographic that I don’t relate to.

Greg Brady is going to be GREAT (he already is). He’s the right age, is a great broadcaster, and has the right feel for that job. I hope he sticks for a long time.

Interesting times in T.O. sports radio. Thanks for the great coverage!

August 16, 2010 10:57 pm

Brady was great. Andrew made me think I was listening to the wrong station. I switched and rather listen to the news repeat until he was done. Won’t be listening to him.

Great job Greg!

August 16, 2010 10:59 pm

I loved Andrew Krystal today. What a breath of fresh air after years of the same tired, listless, uninspired voices on the FAN. I’m at work during his shift but will have my computer tuned to this man. He’s that good.

August 16, 2010 11:00 pm

Didn’t listen to Krystal and Brady in their entirety but; I offer this:

Brady = great. Brady and the FAN fit…Too bad he’s on at a time of day I don’t listen to the radio….still scratching my head why he isn’t the morning guy. And I think he would have worked well with Stellick.

Krystal = not for me. I don’t like shock jocks….it’s too manufactured / phony. It’s not too bad that he’s on at a time I don’t listen to the radio. That said; I’ll check it out again and give him a shot. I like the FAN so I hope he does well and drives up revenues.

August 16, 2010 11:16 pm

….PS: I did like Krystal hanging up on Richie Rich…I wonder if he did that the earn points with the Godfather of 590 (McCown). Richie Rich is running out of time slots to appear on.

Mike S
Mike S
August 16, 2010 11:23 pm

Brady was very good………..he sounded very much like he did at 640 when he was solo whenever Wilbur was away………..he knows sports very well and has a sense of humour that I like and can relate to………….and he is close to my age so I enjoy the numerous pop culture references he makes……………the noon to 6:00 pm lineup on 590 is now very solid.

I’m sure Krystal has a lot of fans, but he is just not for me………….too much of a loudmouth who likes to hear himself talk…………..but I am in my early 40’s so I doubt I am part of the younger target audience that Kollins is hoping Krystal attracts…………..I will listen off and on but not regularly like I will in the afternoon.

The most interesting thing I heard today was when Brady said that the hockey portion of his show will probably only be one hour a day and probably won’t be simulcast on Sportsnet…………..the ratings that Hockeycentral @ Noon were getting from noon to 2:00 pm were pretty good so I am a bit surprised that they would make changes, especially now that there is no hockey competition on 640 at noon

August 16, 2010 11:29 pm

First glad to see you back, I’m obviously going to give these guys some chance to see how they fit in. The only recent radio guy that was so horrible that you knew on the first day it wasn’t going to work was MacLean doing the Game Plan because he had no knowledge of any other sport except hockey, even though I am a much bigger fan of Brady than Krystal I will give Krystal a few listens.

Krystal is a shock jock, no doubt. A lot of attitude and shtick. For me sometimes it works for me really well (Rome) and sometimes it doesn’t (Cowherd) I remember the bigger attitude guy in Jason Smith took over the ESPN overnight show over nice guy Todd Wright. Which made me totally lose interest in the show. There is so few that can pull it off and not come off as total shtick IMO.

A lot of awkward moments, from MacLean (I didn’t hear the Bills coach) to the free jerseys from local sports teams (which just came off as cheesy, and why many fans are turned off by the mainstream and are more trusting blogs, I know it’s meant to be silly but it looks like they are greasing their palms right in front of everybody) To Brady joking that Krystal has “planted callers” because of locations given (but for me I was thinking that throughout the show, crazy woman calls up saying UFC is gay, right before the break?)

Brady is great, already came with an awesome story about him as an intern having to hold a 90s style cell phone for Clemens at a charity event, waiting for McCown to call and the signal kept going out. What I think Brady brings better than anybody right now is he’s a great conversationalist. He’s not talking at you, he has such a natural conversation flow. With his style I think he would be great with a sidekick (morning show style) not because of any weakness, but of his conversation style. His wit and banter I think be utilized best with somebody he can bounce off. It was nice to see him give some love to Fan vet Digiulio. I always liked her, Brady and her can be interesting pair (ahh memories of the glory days of Lady and the Tramps)

August 17, 2010 2:51 am

Well, Krystal is definitely very different from anything we’ve heard on The Fan. Derringer is a good comparison for sure.

Honestly, I liked the show a lot. Yeah, he was awkward when asking real sports questions. But I think he has an extremely strong on air presence and personality. It’s pretty clear that his show is not just going to be ‘lets check in on the Leafs with Howard Berger’ or ‘lets check in on the Jays with Mike Wilner’ like The Bullpen was. But I’m OK with that. There’s enough hours in the day of regular sports talk that it’s kind of refreshing to hear a different take.

I like that the show is personality driven. In that way, he’s similar to McCown. The Bobcat doesn’t have the best sports knowledge (though seemingly much more than Krystal) but we overlook it because ultimately his job is to entertaining above all else. And lets face it, Mike Hogan seems like a great guy, but at times his show seemed quite dull. That show pretty much could have been hosted by anyone (Lajoie, Sexeiro etc) and not really been much different. I never really felt compelled to listen to the Bullpen (even though I didn’t mind it).

As for Brady – I agree TSM, he did seem nervous. I think he’s a great, great addition by The Fan. I was really impressed with his baseball knowledge today, it’s great to hear him talk general sports. I noticed what he said about HC at noon as well, Mike S. I don’t think it will exist in the same form as it used to.

It’s very impressive that 590 was able to simultaneously shore up their middays while perhaps crippling their competitions drive home show. Hayes and Watters sound very tired indeed.

Now 590 just has to change mornings and figure out something better for the 6pm/evening slot. I’ve said it before, but that’d be a good spot for Stellick or Hogan if they’d be up for it.

By the way, for those of you who can’t hear Krystal or Brady, you can download each hour of their shows at if you want to check it out.

August 17, 2010 2:54 am

Also yeah – Paul Jones is surprisingly good as a PTS cohost. Didn’t see that coming.

The Meatriarchy
August 17, 2010 7:44 am

As I predicted both new hosts are being highly critical of Brian Burke.

Krystal going so far as saying they should fire him and move heaven and earth to get Lou Lamoriello out of NJ.

As for this guy being a shock jock he sounds like a third rate Imus and Imus was never that good in my opinion.

And the hanging up on MacLean sounded contrived.

I wonder how long MacLean will stick around with the amount of disrespect he is starting to get on the fan. Could he be a replacement for Bill Watters?

How about an evening drive show on 640 hosted by Gord Stellick with MacLean as the curmudgeon in residence? I would listen.

Raptors Devotee
Raptors Devotee
August 17, 2010 10:01 am

I caught part of another segment with Krystal now talking about the CFL and the Argos versus the NFL and the generational gap that exists between the two.

Krystal made an attempt at humour to a caller when discussing the “No Yards Rule” stating that it was created due to avoiding flatulence. It totally fell flat both for the listener, who clearly did not get it, and Krystal moved on, and for myself.

Bottom line in my short listening window. I am totally not impressed with his sports knowledge and for me, I thought I could live with a more broad spectrum host, but I can’t. I want hardcore sports talk. If you think you will get it from Krystal, you are dreaming. He has strong opinions, fine, but without the ability to back it up with knowledge and insights, he will IMO fall flat on his face for the typical FAN listener.

I predict that he will lose the hard core FAN constituency, and the gains he will make in some more mainstream followers, who like Howard Stern, will not be enough to make Kollins happy.

For Brady, his situation is totally different, as he actually is knowledgeable on dare I say it, Sports, yes sports. I know that this is shocking news, but I think that you need that as a base, and if you don’t have it, then you should not be working on the FAN, at least the FAN that I have grown accustomed to.

The new PD has with Krystal made a shift in the programming, and while some may enjoy it, I am not one of them.

August 17, 2010 10:14 am

Yesterday morning I struggled with Krystal and what he was saying and whether he didn’t have general knowledge or sports, or his attempts at humour were lamer than Ron McClean’s puns.

“Don’t diss my favourite weatherman (David Duval, great golf collapses),” and ” the no yards penalty was designed to deal with flatulence,” are two examples of his attempts at humour. He even has to use a laugh track which is straight out of the 1960’s; how lame is that.

His general sports knowledge is definitely lacking, but maybe he can discuss MNA and that will make Kollins happy. His interviewing skills on issues are very similar to what you get on AM 640. He could very easily have been interviewing someone from the U.S. about the Tea Party. More about stirring up the audience than getting all of the facts.

Bob McCown does a great job in the afternoon rush hour, although I still don’t understand the earlier time slot. An hour of pregame discussion for the Jays and/or Raptors between 6 and 7 while I’m on my way home or cooking is less interesting than McCown’s discussions and guests. I can only handle so much of Mike Wilner.

While never a Stormin’ Norman fan, it was nice to have original programming until 1 am, as opposed to the current repeat of the 9:00 a.m. show starting fifteen minutes after the end of the Jays games. Or even worse, the third repeat of the weekend for I Got Game. I realize it’s all about saving money, but late Sunday listening to a repeat of what was discussed on Friday, and ignoring all of what has occurred during the weekend reminds me of the days of programmed radio. It was cheaper, but it wasn’t better.

August 17, 2010 11:16 am

So it’s been two days with Andrew Krystal, I lasted 1 hour the first day and tuned in at 11am today and lasted 10 minutes. As a hardcore sports fan who has been listening to the fan since day one (I’m only 31), this guy is definitely not for me. I’ll have to find something else in that time slot while I am at work.

August 17, 2010 12:13 pm

Well I can honestly say that I am seriously underwhelmed with the debut of these two. Since I have never taken to 640 programming, I was not familiar with Brady. Based on what I heard with Nick Kypreos, he will be an upgrade over Millard and I will tune in occasionally depending on the guests.

Krystal IMO is just brutal. I tried to give him a chance, tuning in a couple of times on each of Monday and Tuesday. There is just not a compelling reason to listen to this guy. It is like talking sports with an obnoxious relative who thinks that intelligent debate is talking over everyone else and painting anything that is not their own view as “stooopid”. Your assessment that this type of host seems a better fit up the dial I think is bang on. The shock shtick is just plain tedious and is a format that I believe is very tired.

So far IMO Kollins’ experiment has not been a raging success. If the comments here are representative, Krystal is not a home run and runs the risk of swapping one demographic for another. I am still hearing negative comments about the shift in the PTS time slot. Up until the changes in June the Fan had become the default station in the various radios around the house and car. Except for PTS, this is no longer the case. I have found other defaults and do not see much of reason to move back to the FAN on a regular basis given the new line up. There are other avenues available to get the sports “fix”.

Tommy D.
Tommy D.
August 17, 2010 1:53 pm

I will give Krystal and Brady more time before I form an opinion. I want to comment on the timing of the McCown show. I understand the need for the new PD to make changes but he has taken one of the most successful shows in Toronto radio history and messed it up by changing it’s time slot. I have spoken to numerous people in my circle who are extremely upset that PTS is no longer on from 6 to 7. I get a sense that McCown is less than thrilled by it too. I bet he loses some of his audience because of this bonehead decision.

On baseball games days, they have a one hour pre-game show in the 6-7 slot. You can tell that Wilner (whom I do normally enjoy listening too) is stretching things out for all he is worth. When there is no game, the slot is an absolute disaster. It is beyond belief that on a major station in a major media market that a station such as The Fan replays the 4-5 hour one hour later in the 6-7 slot. I can understand replays overnight, but in a close-to-prime-time slot such as the 6-7 hour? Come on!

The whole time slot boondoggle also brings up some embarrassing scenarios such as what played out on the Sportsnet PTS broadcasts a couple of weeks ago. The Kovalchuk contract decision had already been public for at least an hour while the PTS TV delayed broadcast was still speculating about it’s outcome. On a non-game day this could very well have played out on radio too.

August 17, 2010 2:09 pm

Krystal and Brady were impressive, IMO.

Now, I have been a loyal 640 listener for years and remember Krystal from his time @ MOJO. He has not changed a bit. He was loud, brash, opinionated and in your face. I knew he wouldn’t be for everybody (especially hard core sports fans ) but I think he’s a breath of fresh air on a station that had grown stale and tired.

Brady is exactly like he was @ 640. That is, bright, informed, witty and opinionated, when it’s required. He will, for example, NOT be a water carrier for the Toronto Raptors like everyone else @ the FAN is. I predicted two years ago that Greg was a rising star on the TO radio scene and I continue to believe that. In fact, I can see him eventually succeeding McCowan on the drive home slot.

One final note on the respective Burke interviews on 590 and 640. Don’t like Hayes and agree Wilbur is probably past his best before date, but I thought their interview with Burke was much more informative and broad ranging (comments on Grabbo, Marcel Mueller) than McCowan’s

August 17, 2010 3:11 pm

I refuse to listen to Krystal but I did find the clip of him and MacLean on the website to listen what all the fuss was about.

I say BINGO to the poster above who thought it was contrived. I believe 100% it was set up that they would have a small spat and he would hang up on Doug to build up tension going forward between the two.

Maybe some people will like that but I have no interest in being taken for a fool in some cooked-up feud. We’ll see how long Mr. Krystal lasts. Hogan may have been kept on the payroll for more than just his Argos work.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
August 17, 2010 3:54 pm

LT nails it by saying that Krystal comes off as a phony. It’s the radio equivalent of trolling. I am not interested in listening to an opinion solely aimed at riling others up, nor am i interested in listening to the calls responding to that opinion. Why don’t we spare the contrived drama and just say what we mean. If you’re smart enough and articulate enough then it makes for good radio. Also, his hair plugs look ridiculous.

The Meatriarchy is on to something with 640 offering McLean the Wilbur slot. He could probably maintain the existing audience and compete with the FAN on NHL topics. Hiring Stellick, McLean and Berger would give them instant credibility with the general public. I’m not a hockey puck so it’s to interesting to me, but a lot of people will eat up any NHL “insider” talk. That said, it’s not at all clear to me that 640 wants to be in the sports radio business anymore, unfortunately.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
August 17, 2010 4:51 pm

p.s. Congratulations to TSM for being the place to go for discussion of the toronto radio scene. it’s nice to see the comments section so full of opinions.

also, stop being such a filthy hotlinker.

August 17, 2010 5:06 pm

That Andrew Krystal show was terrible. One listen and I’m out of there. Too bad McCown couldn’t do a twelve hour shift. If they thought their ratings were bad before, this Krystal guy will bury them!

August 17, 2010 6:31 pm

Daniel said something very interesting, he said “pretty clear that his show is not just going to be ‘lets check in on the Leafs with Howard Berger’ or ‘lets check in on the Jays with Mike Wilner’ like The Bullpen was.” That was the problem with me about the Fan, it wasn’t just the Bullpen but EVERY show was like that from morning show to weekends (excluding roundtable) Every show was pretty much the same formula. Some might have an hour of open lines but on the most part it’s every twenty minute block of guests that if you heard them on another hour, are interviewed the exact same way. Now that style isn’t wrong or unlistenable, but the problem was the hosts or the producers didn’t feel the ability or skill to go against specific type of show format.

I don’t know if Krystal will ever be a favourite of mine, it’s really not my cup of tea (even though he’s on IMO the weakest hours in local radio, not a fan of Cowhard) But for now I’m not that hateful because for better or worse, at least it’s different. Tell me another sports show that seems to be going for hour long topics with guests who on the opposite side of the host and the host has no problem telling them. Some of it seems manufactured, but at least it’s different and you can start seeing specific style differences between hosts, which has always been tops in my complaint list (the lack of original style) Will it have staying power with me, that I’m not sure.

Brady is so good, where to start, He is so self deprecating and I love his radio comments (he should be a writer if another sequel of WKRP comes out ha) which as a radio geek myself I get a laugh out of it. Like a host who struggling for calls will just call out a bunch of names before a break, then Brady before his break just started to just name a bunch of “names” that are on the line lol. Or the story of the women reporter getting fired for wearing a Razorbacks hat at a Gator presser and then asking wondering if Berger can wear a Sens hat at Leafs practice.

What I like about him is that I never get the impression he’s trying to shill for a sport or an team. Even in his 640 days. Whatever sport it is, if he will say something positive or negative on it, it’s coming for him and usually pretty informed. Most sport radio hosts either seemed to have a conflict of interest or have been on for so long that have too many “friends/connections” and are too set in certain ways to change. Brady seems to have a perspective. And remember as Brady says, nothing says being comfortable with your masculinity then talking about your hot wife and how much you earn. lol

August 17, 2010 9:37 pm

I’m on holidays in the US and haven’t heard the first 2 days but Krystal doesn’t sound like he’s gonna work for me. Anyone in the Rome/Cowturd genre is just plain annoying. And to mention him anywhere near Howard Stern is just laughable. Listen to Howard actually interview someone and you’re listening to a master. From 10-12 I’m listening to Mr. Tony (Kornheiser) on ESPN out of Washington. Another show that Kollins could only dream on duplicating.

Jimmy D
Jimmy D
August 17, 2010 11:58 pm

I think Krystal fits in perfectly at the fan. He is an obnoxious asshole, and so is Bob McCown. They are both filled with selfimportance,and dont really know that much about the sports they cover. I betcha neither one could name any three of the top five hitters in baseball right now, or three of the top nba point getters last season. Then again, I gave up listening to McCown ages ago, and I wont be listening to Krystal. Better off putting in some cds in the car and relaxing than listening to that drivel

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