Is AM640 Toronto Getting Out of the Sports Business?

Pardon the lack of writing over the last few days. The winds of change are blowing for me, personally, and I have been extremely busy. In any event, never fear when Toronto Sports Media rumours appear.

A number of independent sources are telling me that high level decisions are being made at AM640 Toronto to wave the white flag to sports programming.  This, I am told, could very well include the end of the Bill Watters Show.

One source also indicates that AM640 may even forgo its final season as the play-by-play home of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey.

There are several reasons for this change. I am told that executives at AM640 realize the stations isn’t going to renew radio rights for the Maple Leafs once its contract is up.  In addition to the poor ratings of the Bill Watters Show and Keith Pelley’s move to Rogers, there is still the idea that Rogers can acquire Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan shares of MLSE and the establishment of TSN Radio.

One would think that the move at AM640 would be to solidify its identity as a talk radio station. I would guess that its focus would be find a strong host for the drive home show to contend with John Tory on CFRB 1010. Two names to replace Watters immediately come to my mind: first, Tory himself; and second, the gentlemen who currently hosts the morning show on Sportsnet The Fan 590 Toronto. But no matter whom they choose, you would have to think that Corus Entertainment will want a host who is highly opinionated and has considerable talk radio experience.

It will be extremely interesting to watch the developments as they continue to unfold in the radio business in Toronto. Stay tuned.

In other news, I was in Detroit this past weekend coaching a hockey tournament. I used to think that Toronto hockey parents were the craziest, but the fine folks from Dayton, Ohio take the cake. I have never felt more embarrassed for a group of 8 year olds because of their parents behaved publicly. Seriously, Toronto hockey fans are totally rational compared to those that I saw from Dayton.

On Saturday night I also went to Joe Louis Arena for the Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets game. The crowd at the Joe, on that given night, was no different then what I am used to seeing at the ACC. Generally quiet unless provoked.

I don’t know if it’s because I don’t listen to sports radio in the mornings anymore, but maybe I’m not the only person out there who has the worst case of sports apathy right now? I am finding it excruciating to pay attention, let alone watch much of what’s going on in the sports world (team performance etc.) these days. I thought the dog days were part of summer. And as a friend said to me this afternoon, one month till pitchers and catchers report!

After the game, our kids were taken down to the bowels of the arena to meet a few players. Kudos to Kris Draper, who signed something for every kid who made a request. I can’t say the same for Todd Bertuzzi, who signed next to none or Rick Nash, who signed even less. Worst of all was Nicklas Lidstrom, who totally ignored the throngs of kids screaming his name.

Happy Wednesday, TSM


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