Fan 590 Scheduling Shuffle

Round and round we go, where she stops nobody knows.

While lots of concentration is on the folks over at TSN Radio, those at the old, or shall I say existing sports radio station are still trying to figure out their own lineup.

Plan A was Richards, who is now headed to TSN Radio. Strombo? Blundel? They were amongst others who were apparently in the running. Plans B, C and D? Then as you know Andrew Krystal was brought back from the east coast and snatched from the 9-12 slot where he originally landed and put into the morning slot. Plan E?

Despite what I am told incredibly good ratings vs. the competition, Krystal in the morning was put out to pasture. The morning show is now The Fan Mornings Show with Greg Brady and Jim Lang. Reliable sources told me, and continue to tell me that this move is temporary until a permanent team is found to own the morning slot. Plan F?

Well, as I told you before, the first choice for that slot was Joey Vendetta. It appears that the same problems that plagued the original plan A, the Richards one has stymied Vendetta too.

Sportsnet The Fan 590 is back to the old drawing board. What it all means now, we don’t know quite yet. We will find out sooner rather than later.

Question for you all: I know the media is supposed to be impartial, but since when does impartial mean being overly negative to the point of rooting against Toronto teams? Have you noticed certain members of our Toronto MSMers who do little other than nitpick and highlight all that could and may go wrong with our teams? You know who they are, they pull out all the negative stats, the potential pit falls in their never ending search for negativity. I get media members aren’t supposed to be cheering, but do they have to be so damn negative? Can’t they find a happy balance- true impartiality.

Wow do these two guys look alike or what?

More rumblings from the Fan, we’re told, yet again that Norman Rumack will very likely be back on the Fan airwaves, at nights on weekends. I’m told that another Fan personality will be handling the over-night duties during the week. Should no more in a day or two.

I am hearing more and more that the end of 640 Toronto as a player in the Toronto sports is near. Whispers are abound that it’s looking like when the Leafs are done this season so to could 640 be in sports. With one year left on the current Leafs radio deal, look for the last year to be flipped to the highest bidder- hello TSN radio or The Fan… A couple of thoughts to keep in mind: 1. What will happen to Mr. Watters, who also has a year left on his contract and 2. What will happen to those on the Leafs broadcast? All I know is that suddenly one Brian Hayes could be in demand.

“Is it okay to suggest now that James Reimer may be getting a bit tired?

In this space last week, that very suggestion was made after the rookie goaltender yielded nine goals in two games.

Leafs Nation, naturally, went ballistic. To suggest such a thing, apparently, is worse than invading the Crimea.”

Ummm, no, it’s not okay to suggest that Reimer is tired. It’s nuts and totally ludicrous. This isn’t a college basketball player entering the last couple of weeks of his first NBA season.

No media outlet has done more to improve of late then the Toronto Sun. Most days the sports section is more than 30 pages long. Having said that articles like this by Steve Buffery (and numerous by Lankhoff) make you sometimes wish it were a few pages shorter…

Lastly, keep your eyes and ears on the radio beats. I am told there could be big changes there in the weeks and months ahead.



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March 7, 2011 1:55 am

Nice work TSM.

Am I the only one who doesnt get why they dont just stick with Brady and Lang in the AM? Seems to me like a funny, young, edgy show. I think they could build around Brady in particular.

After SO long of looking for a morning host, and the Krystal thing, it seems like a slam dunk obvious choice to me. I mean, what are they looking for here? A crossover, non sports guy maybe? (like Strombo, Blundell, Vendetta)

Is it really that Brady just isn’t interested in the slot? I I find that hard to believe, but maybe that’s it.

Interesting that Krystal did well in ratings. Maybe it’s one of those things where it’s better to be hated than ignored in radio.

Mike S
Mike S
March 7, 2011 1:56 am

Maybe if the sports teams in this city were performing better the media wouldn’t be as negative as TSM says they are……………but it’s hard to fault them given the fact that over the last few years Toronto sports teams have done worse than just about any major city in North America

I agree with TSM about the Toronto Sun sports section………… is shocking how much they have expanded it, give that most newspapers are cutting back these days…………I thought the recent full page coverage of the CFL combine and the Brier was a bit much, but in general their coverage of all sports has been amazing

Chris F.
Chris F.
March 7, 2011 2:43 am

I agree with Daniel while it’s not TOTALLY my cup of tea I do like listening to Brady and Lang in the mornings. If Brady isn’t interested in the slot than maybe the suits can throw more money at him or give him some kind of promise like they did with Stellick when he first switched to mornings (which he was against doing) whereby he was promised the coveted PTS slot when Bob retires or whatever. They can do something similar for Brady.

As for the overnights, I sure hope the “other Fan personality” isn’t Roger Lajoie. I think they should keep it young and go with someone like Zack Cooper or Alex Seixero (sp?)

March 7, 2011 4:08 am

Wow why this seems to be getting really complicated…. why is it that is so hard to find good personalites to do good radio both on the Fan and TSN?… I think TMS is right there is a lot of nitpicking going on….I do like Brady and Lang too in the morning but a guess Brady does not want the morning time slot… How about Stellick and Lang? Heard all three of them this past Friday and it was outstanding .Kollins should just admit he made a mistake after all he is bringing back Rumack! agree or disagree ..As for the leafs broadcasting if 640 does give up and is out of sports…. the Fan will have to to some lineup shuffeling if they want the Leafs and we all know they do they would have to move the Raptor broadcasting somewere else (TSN )radio)….there seems to be alot of good people out there we all tend to be to critical at times….Hayes will be a good call who ever gets him…

Sam In Scarbrough
Sam In Scarbrough
March 7, 2011 5:42 am

Fan/590 is a total mess and has been for a year now.Toronto people deserve better.
All the mis-management has gone on far too long for any business.
I am starting to think now It has become a plan.Face It they are mentioned on TSM at least two-three times a week and also 3 out of 4 weeks with dowbiggin.
Bad press yes,but still constant write ups every week.If they had a stable lineup with good hosts would they be getting even a quarter of the press they do now?

March 7, 2011 7:47 am

They should have put Brady in the morning slot right away. He has the right mix of smarts and a good sense of humour. Jim Lang, a veteran from Q107, is a very able sidekick. Krystal should have been kept in his 9-12 slot.

I’m also hear TSM on all the negativity about Toronto teams. Even in the latest Leaf run there has been amost a sneering attitude from many talk show hosts.

The Meatriarchy
March 7, 2011 7:54 am

Did anyone notice how good Gord Stellick sounded when he was on in the morning last week? Why they shuffled him out of the morning slot is beyond me. Change for the sake of change I guess.

@Mike S. when Pat Quinn was managing the Leafs they regularly rattled off 100 point seasons and went deep into the playoffs. Yet if you had turned on the Fan esp PTS (McCown and Cox at the time) you would have thought they were the worst team in the league that’s how unrelentingly negative the commentary was.

The sports media here in this town is very negative and they encourage it from their fans as well.

As a contrast listen to some US stations occasionally (they are all on-line) you will see a remarkable difference.

Case in point I was listening to WGR 550 in Buffalo a few years back and a fan called in and said something like “the owner of the Sabres and the GM are the stuipidest people in hockey”. The host not only disagreed with him but tore a strip off him saying it was an idiotic call. And he was right.

You call into the Fan and say that and they’ll give you your own show.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 7, 2011 8:51 am

Despite what I am told incredibly good ratings vs. the competition, Krystal in the morning was put out to pasture.

i find this hard to believe, and hope that someone with access to the numbers publishes them (hi Bruce!). if the show was doing well in the book, then why cancel it? Kollins’ whole explanation of the sackings was that he believed certain shows could get stronger ratings (by talking about bike lanes and the new Twilight movie …)

i suspect that it was doing well enough relative to non-sports morning shows, but worse than the previous FAN morning show.


i don’t see how the FAN can take on the Leafs radio rights when they have the Jays and the Raps already. Those teams will create scheduling conflicts for a third of the Leafs broadcasts. if 640 were to drop out of the Leafs a year ahead of schedule i would guess this benefits TSN, because the FAN won’t have enough time to get out of their Raptors deal. if TSN gets the Leafs then it will accelerate their ratings takeover from the FAN.

March 7, 2011 8:56 am

I agree that Stellick fit in great on Friday morning’s show. Brady, Lang and Stellick would keep me listening. CHFI brought back a host that they fired. The Fan (also a Rogers station) should do the same with Stellick. I hope the program director’s pride isn’t getting in the way.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 7, 2011 8:58 am

The Meatriarchy Says… I was listening to WGR 550 in Buffalo a few years back and a fan called in and said something like “the owner of the Sabres and the GM are the stuipidest people in hockey”. The host not only disagreed with him but tore a strip off him saying it was an idiotic call. And he was right.

You call into the Fan and say that and they’ll give you your own show.

Zing! Line of the thread so far.

I’ve always assumed that the “over the top” negativity was overcompensation by writers who grew up being die-hard Leaf fans. Once they become part of the media they feel they need to be objective, and this comes out as negativity so no one suspects them of cheering on the inside. Berger and Cox are obvious examples of this syndrome.

March 7, 2011 9:01 am

Hey TSM, you refer the to the” same problems with that plagued option A stymied the hiring of Vendetta”. What problems? Is it money?

March 7, 2011 9:04 am

The day Rumack is brought back is going to be the last day I listen to the Fan.

Funny how we’re discussing the excessive negativity of the TSM and then discussing a guy who shits on and revels in the struggles of the local teams except the Leafs.

Chuck C
Chuck C
March 7, 2011 9:19 am

The FAN lost out on Richards due to money, and it looks like they have lost out on Vendetta for the same reason. Are they now limited in who they can attract because they have to be cheap in negotiations because they have Krystals contract to pay for the next 3 years while he works on “special projects”. Does anyone know roughly how much a decent sports radio morning show host earns.

In terms of Krystals ratings being good, without proof, I find that hard to believe. The reaction to him was unanimous in terms of how bad and unlistenable his morning show was.

March 7, 2011 10:06 am

“i don’t see how the FAN can take on the Leafs radio rights when they have the Jays and the Raps already.”

Rogers own three other radio frequencies in Toronto…

The Meatriarchy
March 7, 2011 10:25 am

@Mike in Boston

You’re right. About Cox and Berger (I think) and my briliant zingers!!

March 7, 2011 10:32 am

I think Vendetta would be as big a mistake as Krystal was. I need some insight from sports radio. I know a fair bit about hockey and golf and I have a very good memory for sports trivia – and have only casual interests in football and baseball. But when I know a lot more than the hosts about mosts sports, I can’t listen.

That’s why I have enjoyed Brady so much – He has so much to bring to the table, most of it is good general knowledge (his sports trivia blows me off the map) – very little is commentary/criticism and I appreciate that. Another reason I have a hard time with McCown. Give me the facts and let me formulate my own opinions. I really don’t care about yours, whether I agree or not…

The Meatriarchy
March 7, 2011 10:45 am

@PBI Rumack “turned heel” a few years ago and started cheering for the Sabres and shitting on the Leafs. Very few noticed because for the most part no one was listening to him anymore.

Chris F.
Chris F.
March 7, 2011 11:27 am

@ The Meatriarchy Rumack lost all credibility (what little he had) when he was teamed up with Marty “Rumour Monger” York and then even worse, he backed that up with a stint with Lajoie!

The last couple years of Rumack’s run on The FAN was brutal as hell especially after the “heel turn”.

March 7, 2011 11:55 am

@ The Meateriarchy,

I remember the “heel turn” but it was so laughably transparent that it turned his show into an even bigger joke than it was before it.

It just seemed like a defense mechanism from a huge Leafs homer in order to deal with the ineptitude of his favourite team more so than an indictment against said team.

Mike S
Mike S
March 7, 2011 12:01 pm

If Meatriarchy thinks that Damien Cox is always negative about the Leafs then he hasn’t been paying much attention lately………….since Burke arrived Cox has actually been more positive than most……… fact he is one of the only people who has said that the Kessel trade was not a bad one

Yes it is true that Cox was negative when the Leafs were good 10 years ago but I think that had more to do with his acrimonious relationship with Pat Quinn………..he let his personal feelings about Quinn influence his commentary about the team and that probably shouldn’t have happened

The Meatriarchy
March 7, 2011 12:15 pm

@Mike S you are right, since Burke’s arrival Damien has been much more balanced in his reporting on the Leafs. To the point that he is calling out other media members for being too negative.

I like the new Damien. Although occasionally glimpes of the old Damine slip through.

In general though the Toronto Sports Media skews heavily negative and skeptical of the Leafs (and the fans). While the Blue Jays for example don’t get lambasted quite so much (they get criticized to be sure but it isn’t the same tone)

March 7, 2011 12:32 pm

The Leaf rights are definitely a big domino, although I suppose they never vaulted 640 ahead of The Fan. Perhaps considering the speed of the game, hockey isn’t ideal for radio in some ways. Nonetheless, you have to think 590 and 1050 will be going hard for them.

I think The Fan could manage Leafs and Jays games at the same time. Unless one of the teams makes the playoffs, you’re only looking at an overlap for a couple weeks in April. I believe the Raptors are only on a one year deal, so I imagine the station that loses on the Leafs will pick up the Raptors.

A big question is … how much was there to that Rogers/MLSE story a few months ago? If the Maple Leafs expect to be bought by Rogers relatively soon, they might be more inclined to work out a deal with The Fan.

Chris F.
Chris F.
March 7, 2011 12:51 pm

RE: The Blue Jays and the media:

I think the Jays get negative press at times but not nearly as bad as the Leafs have over the years. I remember when Interbrew owned the team and that was met with frustration and grief as they would move the payroll up and down like a yo-yo.

After a couple years the media definitely turned on JP Ricciardi as well to the point that you could legitimately say he was the most hated GM in the city. That was the most negative the TSM has been in regards to the franchise as far as I can remember.

Things look really good right now only because it seems like the organization has a plan and AA is in ‘honeymoon phase” with the media. I suspect that if he doesn’t spend money (wisely) next offseason you may start to hear some grumbling from those who cover the team.

March 7, 2011 2:40 pm

I’d say the Leafs get much more negative press than the Jays, but the Leafs are a pretty unique franchise. There’s so much scrutiny and interest. And, frankly, the performance of the Leafs has been pretty bleak the last five years. When you consider the amazing support the team receives from fans and the corporate base, I can understand where some of the criticism comes from (at least recently). There’s just so much potential with this franchise, and it’s been squandered lately.

I’d say the Jays got some major negative press from the last half of 09 to the first half of 10. But it was more along the lines of ‘is baseball dead?’ or ‘does anyone care’? It was kind of sensationalistic, because I’d say interest in the team was pretty appropriate for a franchise that hadn’t made the playoffs in 17 years and just traded their star.

AA has done a great job not only with the on field product, but also to change the perception of the Jays in Toronto and around the league. I genuinely think his polite, humble, straightforward persona has helped with that.

March 7, 2011 2:47 pm

But I see what TSM is saying. The Leafs have had an amazing run, but lose a game to Chicago, and the tone turns negative. It’s over the top reactionary, for sure.

Mike S
Mike S
March 7, 2011 4:11 pm

If many of you feel the Leafs get way too much unfair criticism it would be nice if you gave specific examples……………and please try to look at this issue objectively and not as a Leafs fan

Just who exactly are you talking about?………..please don’t say McCown because we all know it is part of his schtick………….Krystal is negative but he doesn’t know much about sports……………are you talking about Shoalts?……………..Berger?………….Cox?…………Wilbur?…………Simmons?………….Doug MacLean??

For every name you give I will probably be able to give 3 or 4 names of other media members that cover the team and aren’t overly negative

If you truly think the Toronto media is negative then you had better not move to places like Philly, Boston, or New York

The Meatriarchy
March 7, 2011 4:44 pm

Mike S all of those you have mentioned with the exception of MacLEan have been pretty negative over the past 10 years.

All of them have at one point or another seen fit to blame the fans for the state of the hockey team. All have been dirisive, condescending and snide towards any one expressing optimism about anything related to the leafs.

Example: Berger on Kulemin in his first year said (in response to a fan question) that he (Kulemin) would never amount to anything more than a third line grinder in the NHL. Also the year the leafs finished one point out of the playoffs (under Paul Maurice) he triumphantly predicted in August that they would finish LAST OVER ALL.

He wrote a column calling Toronto loser-town and laying the blame on the fans.

Which of the mittenstringers would you like me to tackle next?

Simmons who recently tweeted that he had given up all hope that the Leafs would ever be good again.
Or remember the time he tried to manufacture an injury story about Sundin in order to make it seem like the organization was engaged in some type of cover up?

Shoalts recently sneered on his twitter account that most of the Leafs prospects on the Marlies couldn’t even make the ECHL.

Watters is bat-shit crazy – just ask him about using psycological testing as part of the hiring process. You can leave the room and come back in an hour and he will still be ranting.

With all of these guys it is the entire body of work that aggrivates Leaf fans not any thing they have done for the past six months – but most of them haven’t really changed.

There is a reason there used to be a blog called “Cox-Bloc” which was dedicated to the overall
negativity of the Toronto Sports Media.

Its fine to be critical of the team – they have been bad. But trust me when the team was good the criticism wasn’t any different.

I am sure some of the other commenters here can come up with plenty of examples of the unrelenting negativity that is the toronto sports media (at least as it relates to the Leafs)

March 7, 2011 7:27 pm

it’s sports. this means escapism and (as long as you don’t actually go to a game) cheap entertainment. so who cares if it’s negative or adorned pom-poms? I listen to more coverage than I should of teams I’m not a fan of because it can be FUNNY, whether the team’s won or lost. Leafs and Bills post game shows are at the top of that list for me, which means more losses than wins, but still… There seem to be a few people on here who remember specific things that were said or written a while ago – which means those guys did their jobs. You remember it – and probably still are consumers of their output.

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
March 7, 2011 7:27 pm

I don’t think the media have been overtly critical of the local teams and would like to explain why I feel this way.

Raptors – This franchise has been completely mismanaged from Day 1 almost as a result from how awkwardly this franchise was born, through the whole Shot-gun ownership fight for control. One could argue that there first coach was the best coach and it has gone down hill from there. I could go on and on about this franchise, but without the current Deep Pocketed Ownership and the advantage to tie in (selective) mandatory ticket purchases with the Leafs, this franchise would be in even deeper trouble. I don’t believe any criticism has been overboard. (Granted some of the media covering this team probably didn’t know what basketball was prior to the teams arrival)

This organization I believe has received a generally fair shake from the media. They received their harshest criticisms when they had a turnstile for managers including those that served in Vietnam (or at least thought they had). J.P. early on was given a long leash, and only after he had started his 3rd or 4th new gameplan/philosophy did he start to face real criticism. A.A. has been given a fresh start and people are giving him the benefit of the doubt early on. He has already had to trade away the face of the franchise in his first year as GM. In alot of other big MLB markets he would already be under huge duress to have that trade pay immediate dividends.

Maple Leafs
This is obviously the real Litmus Test as it pertains to mainstream media and their treatment of the Blue Chip investment in this town. As a person who grew up out west and moved here in 92 I have watched the media love this team in my early years and be far more critical over the past decade. But can they really be blamed?

This is the largerst population base in the world that treats hockey as their #1 sport. Over the course of the last 7 years what has been done correctly? The hiring of Burke obviously brought excitement to the market. And I believe not only the fans but the media also were willing to give Burke a chance. After all, they were drooling over the fact that instead of JFJ’s completely useless interviews, they were now going to get the guaranteed headlines which Burke has always provided.

Burke then seemed to change his plan early on and make “the trade”. This trade sent a large statement that the Leafs were not only going to be better, but be better quickly. Prior to this most recent push, they have not been. This is a huge hockey market that hasn’t seen a playoff game since before the lockout. And to make matters worse, the anti-christ to leafs, their french neighbours in Montreal have been in the play-offs and even made some noise last year.

While the media needs to be careful and not preach negativity for the sake of negativity. Until this franchise shows that all these moves are going to pay dividends, there remains a show-me attitude throughout.

Cheers to all who write in at Tsm, this is such a great webpage to read everyones comments. And i know people will disagree or agree with some of my thoughts, but the respect level at this forum among contribuitors is excellent.

March 9, 2011 12:49 pm

Cripes, you’d figure that the Leafs were battling for the Cup every year by the way you guys are talking.

March 9, 2011 3:51 pm

i don’t think the media are too hard on the local teams at all. We had a good thread about Raptors here not that long ago, and it seemed obvious that most who cover the team were ridiculously soft on them. I think on the most part the Jays on field team has been positive, they do get some heat off field (ticket prices, payroll etc) but I think that’s is fair.

The Leafs have been spinning in circles since the lockout. There is so many hockey talkers that you get a pretty large variety of opinions just because of numbers. Has there been a major sports city that has worse as a whole than ours in the past half decade?

Mike S
Mike S
March 9, 2011 7:08 pm

The bottom line is this:

Meatriarchy has listed a handful of people who he feels have been unfairly negative about the Leafs…………however even if that is true there has to be between 50-100 people in the various media outlets (Sun, Star, Globe, National Post, TSN, Sportsnet, Score, 590, 640, websites, etc) that either cover the team or talk extensively about the team and the vast majority of them are fair in their criticism…………I think most people would agree with that

I am not sure why Leaf fans focus on the 5% of the media that, according to them, are too negative instead of the 95% that are not……………for every member of the media that is “too negative” there is probably at least one that is too easy on them………… fact there is one member of the media who dresses up in bad suits every Saturday night and constantly refers to the Leafs as “we”

The Meatriarchy
March 10, 2011 8:56 am

Mike S: I listed a “handful” because I was going off the top of my head. IF I sat down and really thought hard and looked through a countless columns and articles I am sure I could double the number.

And as for a certain ill suited Saturday night commenter: If I can’t count Bob McCown (as you said earlier) then you don’t get to count Cherry.

Mike S
Mike S
March 13, 2011 5:02 am

OK Meatriarchy…………I agree that if you aren’t allowed to count McCown then I’m not allowed to count Cherry.

However there are plenty of other members of the media who are softer on the Leafs than they should be………….hopefully you will allow me to count them…………I’m talking about Gord Stellick…………Jonas Siegel………….Jamie Tawil………….Rob Longley…………..Paul Hendrick…………..just about everyone (other than Cherry) at CBC…………….just about anyone at Leafs TV

Yes there are some people in the media who are highly negative towards the Leafs…………….but most of them are fair and there are even some that are not negative enough…………the Leafs have one of the worst records in the league since the lockout so if anyone deserves criticism it is them

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