TSN Radio Premiere Review

We had the hype, the over analysis, the pre, pre, pre game, it was finally time to stop talking and, go live.

So here are some initial thoughts:

Mike Richards is much more listenable than I imagined. Like Krystal, he lets his guests do the sports detail talking. Unlike Krystal he actually listens to the answers so that a follow up question that actually fits the conversation follows. Richards is a good flip alternative to those times Brady and Lang are on a break, or talking about that which doesn’t interest you.

I don’t really care about the technical glitches that occurred. The fact that many of you complained about the signal is troublesome. I am told that the station is barely audible at night. I suspect they will fix these issues.

Is it me or does Mike Richards sound an awful lot like Doug Faraway? I’m not sure if cadence is the right term, but the pauses, the way in which he speaks, man it’s scary.

I know that TSN is covering the Argos, but was Jim Barker for a whole hour really the way to go? I mean Mccown used to do all Argos all the time when his buddies owned them and it was as popular as Watters talking the Rock when sunny boy was running them. I am not bashing the Argos or the CFL, but really is that the best they could do on launch day? Personally, I would rather have heard the head hauncho of TSN on the radio. NHL playoffs are starting and Scotty Bowman and Johnny Bower??? This is TSN, the sports leader. Richards, we all know is represented by a guy named JP Barry. If the idiot writing this blog is smart enough to think that Mats Sundin should have been on the air then someone who actually gets paid to make the decisions had to have thought about it. Don’t give me the time difference crap, tape the interview! All I am saying is that the opening lineup left me wanting.

The guy that Richards had in studio, the stats geek was REALLY bad. He sounded like a very cheap imitation of one of Stern’s clowns. Couple that with the segment with the CP24 folks and it was some bad radio.

All in all it was a good start. That show, I am convinced will get better. I think Richards should focus on the nearest competition, Oakley over at 640 for now and not worry about the Fan or Q107.

The Bryan Hayes show was really good. They provided him with a really good lineup and he did a nice job. Personally, it showed how much of an anchor (the type that help prevent ships from moving) Watters has been to Hayes. It’s too bad that Wendel Clark is such a bad interview subject. James Reimer was a good guest for Hayes too. Problem for me was I had already heard him on the Blair show during the 9 hour.

I suspect that Hayes will need some sort of permanent side-kick. I don’t think there are too many people who can go solo for several hours on the radio. Time will tell.

The lunch hockey show was interesting. It was the old Leafs lunch only done better. Take out Dreger the host, insert a real host and add back in all the TSN hockey gurus. It’s just a more professional show. That’s not a knock on the hockey central guys, it’s just a different show. I suspect come next fall they will split the baby.

I am a huge Dan Patrick fan, however, it’s just not the same when you don’t live in the USA. Patrick is a great American sports radio host. When he did talk hockey it was embarrassing, “Sydney Crosby is questionable for game 1”- Questionable? You mean he hasn’t decided if he is going to watch game 1? I am not suggesting that it has to be hockey talk non-stop, but the lack of a local focus just doesn’t seem to work here. I could literally here listeners flipping when he talked NCAA sports. Also, I got that he has a cold, but how many times did he have to ask how his voice was sounding?

Having said that, it was nice to have a sports show on a local station to go up against Krystal. I really, really want to hear him on a news talk station. The segment he did with the guy from the hockey stick company was BRUTAL. I ended up on 1010 listening to the other Richards, Jim.

I was really interested to listen to Cybulski and Company. My response after day 1 is that I want to hear where this show is in 6 months. The opening monologue by Cybulski wasn’t good. It sounded like a guy who just trying too hard. I had to do my best not to flip when he said, “call me Cybals”. I don’t care what he’s wearing in the studio, I don’t care about his hair style and I certainly don’t need to call Toronto “the 416”. I want to hear the guy’s opinion and interview guests. The shtick will develop. It sounded too forced to me.

Cybulski when talking to guests was as advertised. When he talked pop culture and sports he was good. Here’s hoping he was just a little wound up.

The miscellaneous things? I know I am in the minority on this, but I really like that they have news updates as well as sports updates. Back in the day they used to do that on the Fan and It saves a flip over to 680 from time to time to know what’s happening in the world.

I liked the ESPN radio style updates with the theme in the background. I thought all the update guys were pretty good. I was very pleasantly surprised with Gareth Wheeler as part of the Cybulski show. Here he did his thing and spoke up when appropriate.

As one of you pointed out, I think they need to lose the ‘voice of the Argos’ as they’re primary promo line. I’m not sure what their obligations to the CFL were in terms of getting the Argos on the radio but TSN has to have more clout then this. This isn’t Saskatchewan. Too many people pinged me today asking why there was so much CFL coverage on their launch day. I assume it will ease off a bit.

I enjoyed hearing some new ads too. It was nice not hearing Saul or Harold or Omni for a change. God it’s so pathetic that I know the fan advertisers by name.

Admittedly, little TSM’s learning of division got in the way of me catching any of the after prime time shows, so I will look to you all to review the first night.

The Fan brought out some great guests to counter the launch. Blair with Richard Peddie was a really good interview. Blair with Reimer, as I said was good too. Blair with Farrell was great. I didn’t hear much of the Brady / Lang show, but they had Burke on as well as Beckham. Not having PTS tonight made Cybulski’s first day a little easier I am sure.

What’s odd is the lack of response from 640 at all. With Brady and Lang in full swing this am, and Richards talking pucks too, I saw Oakley tweet that he was talking concussions in sports. Okay I thought, maybe they will make this interesting. However, I still have no clue what was on the Watters show with Jim Ralph today. Mike S. is kind enough to send the lineups through for me. I can get the Fan one from the station or by listening in. 640 always posts the Watters lineup on their website around 430, 445 at the latest. As I am writing this now, they still haven’t posted anything about today’s show. White flag waived I guess.

So? Rome wasn’t built in a day. I think all and all it was a solid start. It seemed to prove to me that there is a lot more talent in this city than I originally thought. Kudos to the guys at both stations for running sports talk around the clock. Thanks to all of you for commenting throughout the day. Keep them comments coming. I do read everyone. I can also tell you that those in the business, no matter what they say are reading them too!

More tomorrow I am sure.

Lastly, have to laugh at the guys at sportsnet who grabbed a url (www.tsnradio1050.com) only to have it redirect to fan590.com all is fair in love and war!

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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