The Mere Appearance of Impropriety

The best part of writing this BLOG and it is a blog, is waking up in the morning and finding emails from many of you, those of have chosen to include what I have written in your daily lives, letting me know things, asking questions and just voicing opinions. This morning was no different as there were several asking the same question: How does a media critic end up co-hosting a radio show that he writes about? Bruce Dowbiggin it was being reported was set to appear on the Fan 590 with Andrew Krystal.

So of course I took to the blackberry and emailed Don Kollins. Kollins, who I firmly believe is a good guy and doing what he believes is best, told me that Dowbiggin wasn’t a co-host or a guest host but was only going to be on for 1 segment. When I asked a couple of times if Dowbiggin was being paid for the one segment (hence Dowbiggin pointing it out in his column, see below) Kollins asked why that was relevant.
Go figure.

So, yes, Dowbiggin was on the Fan this am, sitting in with Krystal not for “a segment” but rather for “an hour”, albeit unpaid. What did that hour result in??? An unpaid, in my opinion, puff piece in Canada’s National Newspaper which talks about how “shocking” and “controversial” Krystal is. I mean really.

Do sports fans in the city want to wake up to Krystal’s mixture of phone calls, bombast and witty innuendo? The Fan has much invested in his success after a long hiring process and failed attempts to attract other hosts for the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot.

What an odd thing to say about Krystal. Seriously, where is the bombast? I guess the witty innuendo is when Krystal refers to kicking someone in the balls. The phone calls, as mentioned previously are the new goal on the morning show.

The one segment I heard live was about Dowbiggin’s theory that Baseball is a dead sport with those under 35. The first caller called in and said I’m 34 and I watch baseball. Then a little later, after several callers expressed their agreement, another guy called in and said he and his buddies, aged 26 all watch games not only on TV but day games on illegal websites. The response- next caller.

Does this sound familiar:

Others complain that bloggers hiding behind anonymity don’t reveal their conflicts or connections to either management or players. Things that would never pass muster with an editor go viral on the internet.

I guess, there is no issue of hiding the conflict this evening. It was right out there for the world to hear. Media critic appearing as a guest for an hour to then follow up with a story critiquing the same host and show. It gets better:

Citing the September ratings, some bloggers are jumping the gun, trying to draw conclusions after one month of ratings against AM 640’s talk/sports format. But Krystal had been on the job for only a week when the numbers were taken. It will require a more thorough sampling to get definitive answers.

Don’t treat this is ego, but I am pretty sure I am the only idiot, bathrobe wearing blogger who wrote about the ratings. So it’s not bloggers, it’s a blogger, this blogger. Is that what one calls a backhanded compliment?

Now to be fair, at least to Andrew Krystal, those numbers aren’t his in the morning slot. He was still in the Hogan slot.

Does that sound like jumping the gun to you?

Now, apparently Dowbiggin like Bob Mccown didn’t read what I wrote:

Rumour is, that for the first time, in the month of September, amongst men aged 25-54 year olds 640 Toronto won every hour starting at 6am until noon. Yes, I am told that this has never happened before and that the Fan lost in every morning hour against 640 Toronto.

Mccown went on air (thank you) and asked how an 11 something compared to a 2 something is losing. Those of you who just read that, does my article say anywhere anything about the 3-6 slot??? Does my article draw any conclusions?

Talk about being misquoted. I mean wow.

First I’m accused of jumping the gun and then drawing conclusions. Isn’t that slanderous?

Usual Suspects sat in as an unpaid guest for an hour Thursday to watch the Fan 590’s new morning man challenge the rules about sports radio in the essentially conservative Toronto radio market.

Anyone out there think Dowbiggin’s latest piece couldn’t have been written from his basement. Did he have to be sitting right there to “capture the spirit of the thing”?

Oh, I remember now:

Taking shots at public figures from the grassy knoll and then sneaking away promotes a Dutch courage among many bloggers. It’s a point of honour for most MSM to show up after a tough column and let the subject have his say in person. Having to look Roberto Luongo or Dion Phaneuf in the eye after a critical column about them might produce some sober second thought amongst the bloggos.

So guest hosting- or whatever you want to call it is a point of honor after, or in this case before a tough column.

It’s hard for me to understand how neither he nor the Globe (to be fair I didn’t try to reach Tom Maloney) don’t view his appearance on the Fan for an hour as a total conflict of interest. If nothing else, it left me wondering alound, and apparently some of you too, where are the journalistic standards? Let’s see if I get this right. OK, he wasn’t paid, but he did get an hour of free air time on the station( perhaps it was an audition). The return? An article about the show in his paper. Sound about right? Did I miss anything?

Let me put it to you this way. If you listen to the hour, it sounds like Krystal and Dowbiggin are buddies. I don’t know if they are, it’s just how it sounded. If you listened to the hour, or any part of it, and I told you an article was coming up by Dowbiggin about Krystal, how fair, unbiased and balanced would you expect it to be?

This isn’t an attack on either guy by the way. I would be saying the same thing about Zelkovich (if he were doing media stuff) appearing with any radio host. If Houston was in studio with Mccown for an hour it would be equally as bad in my opinion.

It’s just hard for me to figure out exactly how this passes the smell test. Maybe I’m nuts. The minute Dowbiggin appeared on the show, live and in studio he lost credibility with me when it comes to his opinion of the Fan, Krystal and the sports radio scene in Toronto in general. I’m sure he could careless about me. How about you?

Speaking of the Fan and the Globe, today was, in my opinion the best show Jeff Blair has done while a regular host. Take a listen to the 10am hour where Blair talked about the Toronto Blue Jays search for a manager. To me it was Blair like Blair was when he guest hosted PTS. The topic wasn’t forced, or contrived. His opinions were meaningful and the dialogue was real. It’s the first time it didn’t feel like every 2 minutes I heard “it’s the Jeff Blair show- 416-870-0590”. Until today it has seemed like Blair’s been fed generic topics and being reminded to say his name and the phone numbers every 10 seconds. Today was great. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

By the way, Krystal’s interview, although it appeared to be totally scripted was the best sports interview he’s done while on the fan. Not nearly as good as when he talks to politicians or the like.



The new column is here

the old one is here

Blair’s best hour is here

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