Wild Week for TSN Radio, Fan 590 & More

Busy, busy week trying to keep up with a ton of rumours and then the eventual deals that got done.

To review, TSN Radio staffed up big time. Joining 1050 am are Bruce Arthur (TV & Radio), Jim Tatti, Scott McCarther and Bryan Hayes.

The daily lineup looks like this:

Richards 6-10 a.m.
Hayes, 10 a.m. – noon (will extend to 1 p.m. after the NHL playoffs end)
Koules THAT’S HOCKEY 2DAY noon – 1 p.m.
1-4 p.m. TBD
Cybulski & Co (Bruce Arthur to appear here) 4-7 p.m.
Tatti and McCarther NHL playoffs

That’s goes up against Sportsnet Fan 590’s lineup of:

Brady and Lang 5-9 a.m.
Blair 9 a.m. – noon
Hockey Central at Noon noon – 1 p.m.
Andrew Krystal 1-4 p.m.
PTS 4-7 p.m.

As both stations sit right now, there is a hole from 1-4 p.m. Originally we heard that TSN Radio was going to have Dan Patrick and Jim Rome. Now, details on that slot are quite scarce. Both Patrick and Rome could tape delayed. I’m betting that there will be a local host in place soon. Who that is I have no idea.

At the Fan, Krystal sticks out like a sore thumb. This isn’t slagging Krystal, who is a good radio personality. He’s just not a sports personality. For years AM640 Toronto was plagued with an identity crisis. Having just one sports show in the middle of some unrelated news talk shows made little sense. Having Krystal in for 3 hours just doesn’t fit the Fan lineup. Think about a great burger spot also selling a California roll. It doesn’t work.

Here’s my take on the world as we know it.

Getting Arthur was a great move by TSN. Honestly though, there wasn’t a fit for him at the Fan with Cox’s recent hire. I’m not comparing Cox to Arthur, but where in the day would you have put Arthur? Those of us that loved him on PTS know that there’s no room there. Arthur covers all the sports and pop culture stuff too. He’s on Twitter, he’s articulate and witty. I think at times he takes things a tad too far and he likes to argue too much. All in all, though, a great move by TSN. He will work well with Cybulski.

The Fan, in my opinion dropped the ball on Hayes. Hayes is a young, up and coming host. He can talk about all sports and has proven to be versatile by working with the cranky Bill Watters. He would have been a natural fit in the mid-day slot when Krystal is moved out. Yes, I do believe Krystal will eventually be moved out.

I don’t know Scott McCarther’s work at all. I can’t speak about him. I am a Jim Tatti fan, but call that just plain nostalgia. That’s not a knock on Jim. It’s just that it’s been so long that I’ve seen or heard him. I loved Sportsline and I hope he brings some of that charisma back to the radio waves.

So who’s left for the mid-day slots on both stations should they become vacant? The one guy I would like to hear on the radio more is Michael Grange. Can he do a show on his own? No I don’t think so. I think he could play the role that Arthur will play and that Jim Lang plays on the Fan now. Gord Stellick is now available. He is doing 10 weeks on XM radio and I would be surprised if he hasn’t talked shop with TSN. After that, it’s slim pickings, at least from the known local talent. If I were a betting man, I’d say Grange gets snapped up next. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Random thoughts:

The guys over at the Score Radio are certainly making an interesting push these days. Adding Norm Rumack is another subtle jab at the market to remind everyone that they are here. For the puck heads who don’t get enough from the Fan, and soon TSN, The Puck Daddy show is one of the best hockey shows on air.  Greg ‘Puck Daddy’ Wyshynski and Rob Pizzo really bring it and I am a big fan. I don’t listen to the wrestling show they do, or some of the other shows, but they are quietly building a nice lineup there.

So Bryan Hayes tells the bosses at 640 that he is leaving the station. No this isn’t a joke, but it has a punch line never the less. What do they do? Ask or tell him that he needs to go on the air for the last 2 days of the week. Not that Bill Watters can do a show solo, but did it really matter that Watters is away? I mean, they couldn’t have found anyone else to host those two shows this week and let Hayes go? Watters, I am told, isn’t going to be back this week either. Who’s going to host next week? Won’t happen, but would love to see Jolly Jonas host. If he does I am so calling in!

I drove home the other night and listened to the Blue Jays on the radio. First thought, what did we ever do before Alan Ashby came along? Seriously, I could listen to him read the phone book and be entertained. Whoever hired him deserves a medal.

Is it me or is baseball just the perfect sport for radio? Is it because the game is slow paced? I tuned into the Leafs game the next night and, wow, it’s borderline unlistenable. With all due respect to Ralph and Bowen, the Jays radio guys are in a class way above. I don’t know why, but it seems everything on a Leafs broadcast is in on an inside joke. On the Raptors side, I don’t know enough basketball to know whether the radio guys do a good job or not. It’s not my cup of tea. (Also, I drink tea.)

Am I the only male on the planet who really could not care less about reading or hearing about professional golf? The papers today are littered with stories from Augusta and to be honest, I could not care any less.  Maybe I am in the minority, but golf coverage is one giant yawn to me.

I read with great interest and amusement Dowbiggin’s latest assessment of the recent radio moves:

Virtually all of program director Don Kollins’s initial moves as program director at the FAN have been reversed or abandoned.

Ouch! Them’s fighting words.

I am not going to get in to the Krystal stuff all over again. It was a mistake hire. The inference above is that Kollins reign as PD has been a disaster. I don’t see it that way. I’ve said from the beginning; the time of the updates to me is a big change and a winner. That’s just one thing. He hired Brady away from 640 and that’s proven to be a great move, regardless of the slot Brady’s been in. Stellick in the Blue and White Tonight, in my mind, was a success. I wish it stayed longer. Something fishy went on there and I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened, which is unfortunate to us the fans.

When a GM of a sports team makes a move and it doesn’t work out, we all applaud the exec who is wise enough to undo it ASAP. We want sports execs who aren’t afraid to make moves and also aren’t stuck with guys because they brought them to town. Radio isn’t sports, I give you that. Kollins, however, may have stumbled a bit, but from my seat he has really put together a good lineup. Bringing in Blair has been nothing short of brilliant.

I would love to know some of the thinking and perhaps politics that went into some of the original moves before throwing Kollins completely under the bus. Maybe one day we will.

The Detroit Pistons have, pending league approval, finally been sold. It’s hard to believe that Mike Illitch hired Bill Davidson’s guy, Tom Wilson, former Pistons President and still failed to acquire the team. How is Illitch going to pay for a new Red Wings arena now?

Am I the only one who doesn’t quite understand this whole issue of the lame duck coach in sports. Steve Simmons wrote the other day that Ron Wilson is likely to get a contract extension. This became a pretty big topic with both Blair and Hayes. All the experts keep saying that the primary reason for the extension is that you can’t let a coach go into a season with no term left on his contract. Why the hell not? I mean really. Are players really going to try to take advantage of the situation? Call me naive but this is another example of pro athletes being babied. Maybe I’m a total idiot, but I think that all the guys on the Leafs know where Brian Burke stands and who’s the boss of the team. This Wilson needs a new contract to avoid being a lame duck coach is total crap. An extension should be a reward for a job well done. If Burke thinks it’s well deserved that’s one thing. I really hope it’s not being given to avoid the lame duck issue.

Finally, a reader/commentator used to give me shit for talking about my travels/personal life. Those of you who have stuck around know it comes with the territory. Tomorrow little TSM kicks off the best 2 out of 3 finals in his select hockey season. Here’s hoping for great things for his team!



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