Almost Happy Anniversary To TSN Radio


So, the 13th of April will mark the one year anniversary of the launch of TSN radio in Toronto.

Here’s the quote from press release just prior to launch:

“TSN’s mandate has always been to be Canada’s Sports Leader and TSN Radio 1050 gives the network yet another platform to deliver industry-leading sports coverage to Canadians across the country,” said Phil King, President of Sports and Executive Vice-President of Programming, CTV. “The powerful combination of TSN’s all-star broadcast team and CHUM Radio – one of the most successful radio organizations in Canada – enables TSN Radio 1050 to make an immediate impact on the sports radio landscape.”

I will do more on numbers and all that a littler later.

I personally couldn’t be happier that the station is around. Whether or not they have achieved the ratings they thought (and I highly doubt that they have) I think there mere presence has made The Fan 590 up their game. I think it forced them to make better hires (Tim and Sid), improved certain shows and simply pay more attention to detail.

As a fan, I love choice. You’ve read me enough to know that I am a constant flipper. I like what I like and when I don’t, I flip. With 2 stations I have choices. Even here from Seattle I listen to both stations and a lot. Still do a lot of flipping as the apps I use to listen allow me to program the stations I like.

I don’t like the TSN morning show. I apparently fit what the really lame radio demographics show. Most males my age don’t like the Richards show. The younger males do.

I think the Scott MacArthur show is ok. Not great, not awful. It’s a vast improvement to the old Hogan/Toth shows down the dial.

I like the Dan Patrick show. I think the move made a ton of sense when the Leafs were in the thick of things. It made less sense when they weren’t. Having said that you can’t program based upon how the buds may or may not be playing.

I like the Hayes show. He talks all the majors, he has an opinion and he gets good guests. Yeah, he’s young, yeah perhaps he isn’t all that accomplished, but that’s okay for me. I am more entertained by him than I am interested in his opinion.

I think the Cybulski show is the most improved show on the air. I think it fell out of the gate simply by trying to hard and I think it’s settled down to a viable alternative to McCown. It’s not the first thing I select to listen to but it is a good replacement. The test for me is simple. When it came on the air, I used to flip and listen to a small segment and then constantly flip back to the Fan to see if McCown was either back OR talking about something of interest. Today, when I flip, I stick around a lot longer.

Jim Tatti and Hogan are on the night time and to be honest, I like Hogan much more in this role. Tatti seems to drive and Hogan provides some filler. I think he’s so much better in that role. I don’t listen all that much at night, except to be honest when I drive home from work unless a hockey game is on, that’s what I hear.

So, I’ll deliver the details later, but all in all a decent first year.

I think things get really interesting in the fall, assuming a new CBA when the Leafs split half their season on both TSN radio and the Fan. This will change things simply because those who listen to Leaf games will have to do so at least half the time on TSN radio, a station they may not listen to at all or quite frankly know exists.

I imagine new pre and posts game shows to be in the works and a whole new focus.

Getting Leaf games on the Fan is important in that TSN didn’t get the whole season and 640 no longer has them, It’s much more valuable to TSN. People who listen to the game on their car radio will keep it on that station when they pull into their garages at night. It will still be on the dial when they turn on their cars in the morning. The question is, will they keep hearing Richards in the morning.

I’ll be in Las Vegas through the weekend. Type at ya from Sin City.


photo from here

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April 12, 2012 3:47 am

I think Leaf rights was sort of a bit opportunity for TSN Radio to differentiate itself from The Fan (like 640 did). With The Fan and TSN splitting the rights, it seems like nobody gets the advantage there. A stalemate.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
April 12, 2012 7:40 am

i agree with TSM — getting half the Leafs games will be a huge benefit for TSN RADIO. Radio loyalty is, for most, listeners about familiarity and inertia. By switching to TSNR in the car some people will get to know their personalities and will find them more appealing simply by habituation. On inertia: I had a boss when I was in high school who would leave the radio on all day and every now and then would get pissed off at something and change the station and then it would stay there for 3 months until he got pissed off again and changed it once more.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
April 12, 2012 7:56 am

screwed up some commas in the other post. sorry.

i podcast Hayes and Cballs. Hayes has not improved much, but he’s basically fine. Very wooden, and doesn’t have a natural sounding cadence, but his opinions are good and he is sufficiently informed on the relevant topics. I skip a lot of his show, but the interviews are usually strong.

Cybulski is dead weight on his own show. As mentioned in a previous thread, the show would be so strong if they went with Naylor and Mackowitz, with Arthur and Feschuck in some kind of rotation. Cballs’ concern with injecting sophomoric humour at every opportunity ruins most interviews. I recently listened to him interview JP Arencibia and he kept asking how much they spent on dinner last night, and whether anyone ordered expensive Sake, etc.. It was painful and embarrassing. His interview with Bettman was worse. Move Cballs to the morning.

Note to TSNR: you are blowing a huge opportunity with Jays fans. Here’s my suggestion: find a young baseball writer and do a one hour MLB/Jays show with Hayes or MacArthur (and Ferguson if you insist on calling him a baseball insider). Do game recaps, the week ahead, Jays of the Day, key stats, minor league reports, interviews, and news from around baseball. Get this writer to do a daily blog for and do game reports. Fit in a post-game show when you can.

April 12, 2012 8:22 am

I really see TSN Radio as a disappointment after a season, so I don’t know how they got summed up as a “pretty good” start. It’s a little like the Leafs, isn’t it?

Do they have building blocks? Do they have any slot where the majority of people and certainly the important demographic of men in their 30s and 40s feel is a better show? Man, I don’t think so.

I agree with T.S.M., the competition and threat of it coming has made 590 tighten its belts. Every show on 590, despite some flaws is better than it was, say, two summers ago. People have said on here before that Andrew Krystal might still be doing the morning show. And I totally agree that Tim and Sid probably don’t get a great offer to go to 590. We’re still figuring out what some of these shows are. Does Blair need a co-host? Does Brady need a better co-host than Jim Lange? Maybe on both counts. Does McCown still seem a little out of it when talking about current teams and sports and is he better off not without anchors like Cox and Shannon? Sure, but it hasn’t hurt them so far in ratings, and based on ratings, more people are going to listen to Leafs games on 590 than 1050 because people are used to the station, and actually know it exists.

It’s a critical spring, I would guess, for TSN Radio. I listen to them very little, I must admit, and there’s very little discussion of what they do on this website, a good sign that they’re not making much noise. And I will say they looked silly pumping up Dan Patrick and not having a local show ready to go last fall when it would have mattered. Folks aren’t going to listen to syndicated radio in the daytime in Toronto. There’s no hockey talk. No national broadcaster in the States touches hockey anymore, and that’s obviously because people don’t want it.

Mornings are a disaster on TSN, despite all the tough talk from Mike Richards, he’s so clearly a small-market talent. One move I’d make is put Hogan and Tatti in at 9am, I really would. That guy in there now does nothing for me.

I was expecting a lot more from TSN, clearly a lot of people on here were, and as nice as it is to have a good second option, that’s all they really are in this market.

I don’t think there’s a real shift in superiority for ratings or prominence until McCown retires, and that’s obviously a bunch of years away. His ratings are more dominant now than they even were two years ago when AM640 took a run at him with Watters and Marek or Watters and Brady.

Raptors Devotee
Raptors Devotee
April 12, 2012 9:01 am

Thank you TSN Radio, not for your programming, which I rarely listen to, but just for being there, because as TSM mentioned, I now have Tim and Sid to listen to mid-afternoon.

The only programming I enjoyed on TSN Radio was “The Dan Patrick Show” when the programming was of interest, and there was nobody better than DP for covering major stories like Sandusky, as he had all the right contacts and brought a much needed moral message and wake-up call to Penn State. It is too bad they did not leave DP and have an alternative to Blair in the morning.

Tatti and Hogan in the evenings on TSN are quite good when I have caught them, but I rarely listen to sports talk radio in that time slot, so it is wasted on me. I would love to see them move to mornings, as I find Blair too forced on air, and he desperately needs a sidekick to make it work to lighten things up and smooth his abrasiveness.

I do find that even with two sports radio stations, I am doing even less listening. Sports talk radio pretty much consists of Tim and Sid, followed by McCown when he has Brunt in with him, and occasionally Cox when there are segment(s) I really want to listen to.

I miss Bruce Arthur on The Fan, but get my fix on Twitter. I keep forgetting to tune in to him Mondays on Cybulski’s show, where he makes his weekly appearance I believe on air. To be fair, I have not switched the dial to 1050 during Cybulski’s show, so I have no idea if it has improved as TSM believes. I will check them out during a Shannon week, who sadly has bought enough favours being a FOB to continue playing a way too prominent role on PTS.

Bottom line competition is good. TSN Radio does need to change its 1050 signal though, as it is still a weak one, and maybe moving to another station would help. One thing I would love to see is a simulcast on an FM station, which would be amazing if it can be pulled off.

April 12, 2012 9:36 am

Hogan and Tatti are excellent on TSN in the evenings Hogan should never return to mornings he’s much better at night. The rest of TSN is pretty much garbage especially the drive show and morning show.

Searching the dial next year to find the Leafs game between the FAN & TSN will be annoying and TSN’s signal sucks, stupid idiotic decision to split the games up on to 2 stations.

Radio ratings based off of what 20 to 200 people are listening to in a population market of millions are a joke and are not worth the ink and paper they are reported on. So Don Kollins can jerk off all he wants and pat himself on the back ratings system don’t mean jack. Brady the lame and untalented Sam & Ted Shannon Cox Sammutt & Wong are all unlistenable.

Rick M.
Rick M.
April 12, 2012 10:54 am

Scott MacArthur has been a little bland overall in the 9-12 am slot on TSNR but I am noticing improvement. His range of topics is expanding and he is getting better guests. He has a rather deep, controlled tone and dry humour. It doesn’t jump out at you but he does make me chuckle and the show is slowly growing on me. The chats with his producer have been humourous. I still think he has potential to become a first-rate host and will be interested to see if enough listeners eventually agree.


April 12, 2012 11:29 am

TSN owns sports television in this country. I don’t understand why they don’t leverage their TV “stars” on radio in Toronto. Use Dutschy in PM drive time — much like Don Taylor, who is a local star doing both radio & TV in Vancouver.

April 12, 2012 11:35 am

Has it been officially been announced that Loaf games are on TSN/The Fan? If so, does this mean the end of Andy Frost and the never-ending loop of “Enter Sandman” during post game Leaf talk? Please?

Does this also mean that Dan Dunleavy may not still be on board? I would assume he would still do play-by-play but he comes across as minor league with his calls. I can’t tell when the opposing team scores. He’s one of those guys who claims to be a fan ( a fan of a regular paycheque) and is openly pissed off when the Leafs get scored on.

Bush league.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
April 12, 2012 11:40 am

TSN Radio has improved marginally since it opened for business. Not nearly enough. The drive home show has allowed McCown to post some of the best numbers of his career. Putting Cybulski on TSN2 is not going to change the fact that afternoons are a terrible mis-match. Once again, I find it baffling that the same media company that provides far and away the best TV sports coverage in the country cannot figure out how to do radio even half as well.

Conversely, Sportsnet has pretty much figured out the radio thing (but we still need less Cox and less Shannon and a little more bite in the morning) but cannot find the right mix for TV. Is it their goal to get every former failed GM in the NHL and turn them into TV stars? At least Maclean has some personality. Brian Lawton? You’ve got to be kidding. John Shannon as an “expert” ?Maybe on camera angles. The panel discussions during their hockey coverage is still wince-inducing on most nights. Scott Morrison is a definite upgrade, but where else have they improved?

As a Toronto area listener I welcome as many options as possible. But I’ll say it again. If TSN Radio and Sportsnet TV really want to improve their brands they should be a lot less Toronto-centric.

April 12, 2012 12:39 pm

I don’t listen to TSN much, but when I do, I usually think it’s OK.

It’s just that The Fan has gotten much better since TSN Radio came around, so there’s not much incentive to switch on my end. I’ve said this before, but if TSN Radio came about during the Stellick/Landry, Hogan, Swirsky, Farraway era, I’d have given it more of a chance.

So really, I’ll just flip over here and there. But there’s been nothing to grab me or make me prefer it to The Fan.

I think Mike in Boston is right with TSN Radio and the Jays. Unless I’m missing it, they don’t do much with baseball.

“If TSN Radio and Sportsnet TV really want to improve their brands they should be a lot less Toronto-centric.”

Disagree. If there’s one thing ‘The Team’ taught us, it’s that listeners prefer local sports issues. If TSN Radio wants to succeed they should be all about Toronto.

April 12, 2012 2:51 pm

I enjoy listening to the Mike Richards show now after finding it terrible for the first few months. I can see why his humor would appeal to the younger demo. I think he needs a better co-host to make the show better. This guy Claude, whoever he is, is not funny nor expert enough on any sport, to be the show.

Scott Macarthur is terribly bland – a bucket of vanilla ice cream set in front of a microphone. Jeff Blair should be beatable, but TSNR first puts Dan Patrick, who never talks hockey then Macarthur against him. You’re just giving the FAN a freebie at this time slot with those choices.

Bryan Hayes is both funny(especially with Steph) and knowledgeable but is too young and unpolished to do 4 hours of radio a day. TSNR which calls itself the ‘home of the hockey experts’ needs a better midday hockey show. Maybe when they get the Leaf games they can turn this show and the Leaf’s pregame/postgame shows into something to draw listeners form the FAN. Aren’t Gord Stellick, Bill Watters, Jim Ralph available. They all have tons of Leaf stories(and contacts with Leaf alumni) to spin on the radio. But does anyone not expect the FAN to blow away TSNR with the Leafs coverage too? Given their track record TSNR will do something safe, bland and cheap.

James Cybulski show is an excellent show. With their pop culture knowledge and interviews with rapper and other musicians such as Chuck D and the Sugar Hill Gang.
Cybulski and Mackowycz are funny and hip, without trying too hard like Tim and Sid or Brady. Its a excellent alternative to McCown, but can anyone really beat the king.

Its funny how chemistry or time slots work. Bob McCown and Dan Shulman are 2 of the best broadcasters but when they teamed up for a morning show few years ago it was horrible and awkward. People are wondering why Wilner wasn’t on PTS but whenever he has been on he’s been a weak guest. He’s not the same sarcastic, funny guy he is on JaysTalk. Sean McCormick didn’t work out as a co-host for Cybulski but I wonder if he couldn’t be added to another show. He can be very appealing. I remember when he co-hosted with Hogan on the Fan they had great chemistry(which was missing with Hogan and Toth). McCormick would also be good when TSNR goes on tv.

The goal should be to make to make every show as entertaining as TSNR’s Live Audio Wrestling. I don’t follow wrestling or UFC but the show is still great entertaining radio. It show what can be accomplished with hosts who have great chemistry, know their sport cold, and can deal with callers and guests brilliantly. The L.A.W. is the best show on either the Fan590 or TSNR.
Required listening in all university dorms on Sunday nights.

April 12, 2012 3:34 pm

RD – agree with you! Despite having far more opportunity to listen to sports radio I am actually listening far less. Your listening habits mirror mine with the addition of the Jays broadcasts. In my opinion, the fan has only upped its game in the 1-4 slot with the addition of Tim and Sid. PTS has actually slipped through the addition of Cox.

When I have listened to the TSN morning show, it seems aimed more at taking share from shows like Dean Blundell than it is in going after the 590’s. As a result, I rarely make it past a segment or two on those occasions when 1050 has been left on from Hogan/Tatti the night before.

For me, the Fan’s morning show and Hockey Central at Noon are unlistenable. It is a virtual tie between Brady and Millard for the worst broadcaster in the Toronto market. Sad as it may be and for very different reasons they both beat out Mike Toth or Damien Cox.

I really think that TSN Radio has gained an edge in the evenings and weekends. The shows are much better than what 590 airs with stronger hosts and guests. It is too bad they cannot continue this approach into weekdays and provide an alternative by choice and not default.

April 12, 2012 8:37 pm

Its crazy to think a year has flown by. The sports radio market in Toronto has imrpoved for all the listeners with Sportsnet 590 The Fan and TSN Radio 1050. I still think overall Sportsnet 590 The Fan has the better weekday lineup. However I think where TSN Radio 1050 beats The Fan is on the weekend lineup. Matt Cauz is awesome on Sunday mornings 10-2pm. As is Dave Naylor 3-6 on Saturdays. And of course Jason Agnew Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski an John Pollock kick ass on Sunday nights on LAW: Live Audio Wrestling. Mike Richards is terrible in the mornings as mentiuoned in previous posts. I’m shocked hes still hanging around. Brady & Lang as much as people have differing views on is the winner in the morning show slot in my opinion. I’m a Jeff Bair fan but do agree he could use a co host. I’ll tell you this I would rather Jeff Blair rant and rave baseball then here Scott Ferguson talk baseball over on TSN Radio 1050.

Another plus of TSN Radio 1050 the fact its relaunced the career of Veteran Sportscaster Jim Tatti. Jim is one of the stars of TSN Radio 1050 and he and Mike Hogan are awesome doing weeknight shifts 7-11. They beat Jeff Sammut and Rob Wong and Roger Lajoie in my opinion who do the same shift but for Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

As a sports fan its awesome having 2 sports radio stations. If and when Bell and Rogers locked up the Leafs Radio Broadcast rigthts It will be pretty damn good post and pregame shows. I have a feeling Gord Stellick will depart HNIC on Sirius Satelittle Radio to be a part of it in some capacity.

April 12, 2012 9:05 pm

Lang loses every arguement to Brady and the Richards’ comedy skits are awkwardly unlistenable. WGR 550 is not a bad choice for the morning drive. Or a CD…..

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
April 13, 2012 10:40 am


Should have been more clear. When i say less Toronto-centric I mean in their search for talent, not show content.

April 13, 2012 2:34 pm

DM – Ah. Yeah, I agree with you on that one.

April 14, 2012 2:11 pm

How can someone not know TSN Radio exists with all the ads they run on TSN?

April 16, 2012 8:23 pm

Will the Raptors be split on TSN and the Fan come next season to allow for Leaf games on the FAN?

April 16, 2012 8:27 pm

No, FAN 590 has a few more years left on their deal for Raptors. When its up then it will be split but until then its exclusive. So when NBA and NHL schedule are released, TSN 1050 will have Leafs any night both teams are playing.

June 10, 2012 2:47 pm

TSN 1050 is soooooooooooooo boring, at first I thought they would do a good job but failed, MIKE RICHARDS SHOW is awful, I stopped listening to him, hope TSN will get rid of him and send him back to Calgary.

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