Sure To Be An Interesting Year

We are at a time in the sports media business in this city, this country that could get very interesting. Big changes appear to be on the horizon effecting multiple outlets, multiple mediums and us the consumers.

For months, perhaps years the rumour of TSN getting into the sports radio business has circulated. You’ve read about it aplenty in this space over the last couple of months. Dowbiggin in his column today has a quote from TSN at the very least admitting the consideration of radio. Multiple sources have told me that TSN radio will happen and will be on the air before the summer.

CTV owner of TSN would be taking on the Fan 590, owned by Rogers in the sports radio business. The battle between Sportsnet and TSN would continue. Think about all the TSN talent currently heard on various radio stations, that would stop with TSN becoming the exclusive home for TSN talent on the radio. You know the roster of TSN talent. It’s deep across the board.

Someone would need to run TSN radio. There aren’t that many people in this city who have successfully done sports radio before. Then there is the issue of the on air talent. There isn’t a glut of on air folks capable of being on the air in Toronto, talking sports 24/7. Bodies flying from one “team” to another would make for many a blog posts to say the least.

The topic gets more interesting when you consider the potential acquisition of the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund’s shares in MLSE by Rogers. Forget for a minute the TV rights to the Leafs (and Raptors), think about the implications on radio. If the Fan takes the Leafs back, what effect does it have on 640? You imagine that they would be 100% out of the sports business. Whither Bill Watters at that point?

If Rogers owns all the major teams, does it matter that CTV has now gotten into the radio business? Add the complexity of who is going to be running MLSE into the cauldron and well things just got a hell of a lot more interesting. The who, will replace Richard Peddie is perhaps one of the most fascinating questions to be resolved over the next 11 months or sooner. Will it be someone from Rogers (Pelly, or maybe even Beeston), someone from MLSE (Anselmi, Burke, Colangelo) or someone from the USA? Know this, it will be a name.

On the talent side, as Dowbiggin discusses, the scenarios are quite varied. They do however start with Bob Mccown. Mccown is the trump card in much of this. Rumor is that at least on a few occasions CTV/TSN has unsuccessfully tried to lure Mccown away over the least 12-24 months. His contract is up in December. So little time. What would happen if Mccown were to pull a Stern out of the hat and jump to Sirius Satellite radio? Word on the street is that Sirius has made overtures to Mccown about that very subject not that long ago. What would happen if Mccown were to accept a potential offer? The Fan would need a new drive home host and I guess CTV/TSN would consider the playing field leveled at least in that time slot.

The Watters show has failed to make a dent in the Prime Time Sports audience. Can you imagine 2 stations now trying to compete for that audience if Mccown were gone to Satellite? Who would the hosts be?

Tons and tons of balls up in the air. How they land were not sure. Things are about to change, by the sounds on the street it looks like the changes will be significant. There will be new leadership at MLSE. It certainly sounds like there will be new competition int he sports radio world, just as the current competition appears to bow out. It appears there could be new ownership for MLSE. All of these potentially on the horizon. All dramatically effect how we get our sports news, who we listen to and who we watch.

These are interesting times indeed. Great times to be able to write about it from 10,000 feet.

So, Richie Rich MacLean didn’t like that I pointed out Brian Burke’s apparent disdain for MacLean’s interruptions. If Richie Rich doesn’t believe me, he should listen to the tape. Burke’s “LET, ME, FINISH” was classic radio. Personally Doug, I think you do a great job on the air. I think you are one of the few on air talents in this town who are absolutely true to who you are. There is no phoneyism with you. There is no question what you believe in, or your thoughts on any subject. So who cares if Kyproes wears cooler threads on TV. You, it sounds like drive nicer cars. As for me, “the blogger”, I’m flattered you read this stuff.



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