Monday Morning Musings


photo by Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press, courtesy cbc.ca

by Rob Gregg

This past Friday on Sportsnet 590 The FAN was interesting listening for me, driven primarily by diverging opinion on the Roberto Luongo situation.

On the Jeff Blair Show, I tuned in when Jeff was on a call with a gentleman exchanging their respective opinions on what the Vancouver Canucks could fetch in a trade of Luongo. That exchange morphed into a debate on the relative merits of the Vancouver sports media versus the Toronto sports media, specifically who is tougher on their teams. I can’t speak to that particular issue – perhaps TSM and some of you out there can, and I’m interested in your opinion regarding that. The caller challenged Blair’s opinion that the Toronto media is just as tough, if not tougher than the Vancouver media. The caller further suggested that Blair isn’t exactly unbiased in his assessment, given he’s part of said Toronto media.

What I found particularly interesting was what Blair and this caller agreed on. Their belief was that to get Luongo, the Leafs would have to trade their 1st round draft pick this year, plus Jake Gardiner. In their opinion that was a starting point in this alleged trade. I couldn’t disagree more, and my opinion on this was backed up later in the day during the roundtable on Prime Time Sports, when both Damien Cox and Stephen Brunt agreed that Vancouver will be lucky to unload Luongo. His contract is an albatross for GM Mike Gillis, and Luongo further tightened the noose when he said he would waive his no-trade clause. Gillis will do well to trade him and that contract, let alone get something of use in return. He is not dealing from a position of strength.

A further thought crossed my mind from that exchange on the Blair show. I’m a Blair fan, when he talks baseball. When he steps out from his bailiwick, his shallow understanding of other sports comes to the fore. I don’t expect expert opinion on every sport from the radio host, but I would have thought Blair would have a better feel for this particular situation the Canucks are in.

It’s why I agree with Nick Kypreos and Doug McLean when they mockingly chastize Daren Millard to be a host, because he’s not an expert. Unless the host has a good base of knowledge of a particular sport, he/she should steer the show, setting the table for the insiders to chime in with their opinion. I concede that the Blair exchange was during a call-in segment, and that brings me to my final thought. I don’t know about you, but call-in segments usually means a move up the dial, or on to satellite radio for me. I think the only sports show (terrestial or satellite radio) that manages call in with any degree of competance is the Dan Patrick Show. They have a good feel for weaving the odd call into the show amongst the guests they have and/or the internal banter DP has with Dannettes.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 23
  • comment-avatar
    Stephen 7 years ago

    Yes, I also turn the dial when any call in segment starts.

  • comment-avatar
    Don Mandrie 7 years ago

    Easiest, laziest, and most pedestrian way to do talk radio is to “go to the phones”.

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    mike (in boston) 7 years ago

    nice post RobG. this is well written and raises some interesting opinions. i’ll comment on one of the questions you pose.
    .

    from a Boston perspective, the idea that the toronto media is tough is risible. the Beckett/golf story never gets written in toronto. similarly, the red sox chicken+beer fiasco probably does not make the papers. boston baseball media use every single post-game scrum to question line-ups and pitching changes. this barely happens in toronto, especially after tough losses. all boston coaches and managers are grilled constantly. most of them have weekly radio shows where the hosts always ask some tough questions. the boston media make fun of their own members who ask softballs. compare this to the “Burkie treatment” of most toronto GMs and coaches …
    .

    Boston has a culture of media accountability, and that sometimes swings too far. For example, some media members asked whether John Lackey’s performance issues were linked to his wife’s breast cancer and their eventual divorce. There was a debate amongst media and fans about whether that was fair game or not.
    .

    Some members of the media clearly have the view that they should protect coaches and players. Remember Blair is the guy who backed Cito and the Jays when Wilner was suspended for questioning Cito after a bad loss. He argued that it’s not the media’s job to do that in a scrum in front of everyone. I don’t agree.

  • comment-avatar
    mike (in boston) 7 years ago

    Raju seems to be inching closer to getting the hang of writing a media column, but he needs to learn not to use his conversations with his wife to make general points. No one cares:

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/tvradio/article/1201410–mudhar-cbc-s-while-the-men-watch-misguided-attempt-to-reach-elusive-demographic
    .

    also, if you have time, hunt down the podcast from May 18th of Mackowitz & co interviewing JP Riccardi. Excellent interview with lots of great Blue Jays insights.

  • comment-avatar
    Another Steve 7 years ago

    It’s really sad that TSN can’t figure out a way to show the Raonic match live right now. Instead they are showing the feed of the Simon/Harrison match, which has little appeal to Canadians.

    If they are going to show the majors, you’d think they could move some money away from hockey to cover the top Canadian.

    I hurried home from work for this. Thanks a bunch, TSN!

  • comment-avatar

    The idea that you need to trade all that for Roberto Luongo is video game logic. In sports video games, it’s just about a player’s rating and making a package work to match that (it’s also my theory why we have all those callers who suggest to Mike Wilner you can package 5 or 6 mediocre players for one star) so the value of the player is always fixed. In real life, the value of anything is worth what people will pay for it. You can have the fanciest car in the world, but if nobody wants to buy it, it’s not worth whatever it is on paper.

    Even assuming the Leafs want Luongo (and I wouldn’t) why would they have to give up a 1st and Gardiner and XYZ? Who are they competing with? Who would even offer slightly less to Vancouver that would force the Leafs to do that?

    Mind you, with Brian Burke, you never know. He seems to make life harder on himself b/c of his hockey ethics. Maybe his hockey ethics say that you need to give up a 1st and a top young player for a giant contract that never ends.

  • comment-avatar

    I agree. Caller segments = click.

    For me, its why the best sports radio (kornheiser, lebatard, bobcat, …) are generally caller free.

  • comment-avatar

    Lots of ominous tweets coming from Post Media people.

  • comment-avatar
    William 7 years ago

    It’s really sad that TSN can’t figure out a way to show the Raonic match live right now. Instead they are showing the feed of the Simon/Harrison match, which has little appeal to Canadians.

    If they are going to show the majors, you’d think they could move some money away from hockey to cover the top Canadian.

    I hurried home from work for this. Thanks a bunch, TSN!

    Direct your complaints to Roland Garos for putting Milos on a tiny, non-TV outer court. Not much TSN can do about that.

  • comment-avatar
    (Another) Andrew 7 years ago

    If they really need to go to the listeners then instead of taking calls they should just read out the best questions or comments from listener emails or tweets. So many callers are nervous that even when they do have something interesting to say they get tangled up in their words or take too long to get it all out.

    I haven’t lived anywhere else in North America but my observations of European sports media, mostly British, is that in cities of a similar size to Toronto they are closer to the description provided by Mike (In Boston) of that city’s sports media than to their very tame Toronto counterparts. In smaller cities – Buffalo or Hamilton size – they’re less critical and sometimes quite defensive when it comes to their teams and local athletes.

  • comment-avatar
    (Another) Andrew 7 years ago

    Direct your complaints to Roland Garos for putting Milos on a tiny, non-TV outer court.

    Really? Even at a Grand Slam they still have courts without any TV coverage? I’m surprised by that.

  • comment-avatar
    Another Steve 7 years ago

    I believe that every court at RG can accommodate TV cameras.

    The Italians Andreas Seppi and Flavia Pennetta played on court 17 as well, and I suspect that Italian TV found a crew to send there.

    For the non-slams I have tennis-tv, which is able to cover the outer courts on much smaller venues. For the slams I believe it’s up to the broadcasters.

    I may be wrong, but I am rather certain that they could have covered it had they provided the cameras.

  • comment-avatar

    I agree with everything people have said about call in segments. Yesterday on 590 around 2 pm the topic was “before i die i want to…”. I switched but i imagine it went like this.
    Jim: i want to see Fenway
    Host: ohh good pick, good pick
    and repeat for three hours.

  • comment-avatar

    I agree about using email/twitter/text as a replacement for calls.

    It allows for clever and thoughtful responses to be filtered.

    As i said befote, there used to be a culture of “smart funny and subcersive” emailers with the old kornheiser, from all over the world, not just people from dc.

  • comment-avatar

    It also means that those of us who don’t want to speak on the phone have other options to be heard on the air 🙂

    I liked the Game Plan’s twitter segment b/c it allowed me to join in. I was on it a few times. I was one of their token girl twitterers XD

  • comment-avatar

    With sports radio in Toronto you are not going to get 24/7 of expert opinion and you shouldn’t expect it. You are getting entertainment. Brady and Lang are not experts…they host a damn good morning show that allows experts to provide information in the morning.

    In your example with Jeff Blair you have to recognize the fact that yes, he is a journalist who hosts a radio programme and is not an expert across all sports. You’ll hear intelligent well composed thoughts on a variety of topics challenging callers to back up their opinions. That’s what his raison d’etre is.

    Bob McCown is an excellent debater which makes him one of the best radio hosts in the history of the Toronto radio airwaves. But is he an expert in any one area? No…but he has the best guests on because they want to be on the show with the greatest listener reach.

    The Fan 590s success is based on the sum of its parts rather than the sum of the whole.

  • comment-avatar
    Another Steve 7 years ago

    Sorry to keep repeating this theme, but TSN just showed highlights from Raonic’s match today, proving that there was a camera there.

  • comment-avatar

    There was only a highlight camera. It only works for 20-30 seconds every 15-20 minutes and then it blows up.

  • comment-avatar

    Why am I in moderation? o_O

  • comment-avatar
    itchy butt 7 years ago

    “Brady and Lang are not experts…they host a damn good morning show.”

    I had to read this 3 times to make sure someone actually typed this.

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 7 years ago

    Brady & Lang are far from experts; contrary to what Greg Brady may lead us to believe. I don’t think Lang comes across that way though.

    I personally enjoy the call in portions on the FAN – with the exception of Jays Talk; but that’s just me.

  • comment-avatar
    mike (in boston) 7 years ago

    a few thoughts after catching up on a bunch of old podcasts:
    .

    – Bob claims that Rogers has had a hard time selling 20,000 seats to Bills games. That is shockingly low.
    – Hayes + Ferguson for 30 mins every day on the Jays is a very welcome addition to baseball discussion in Toronto. Ferguson is still ridiculously positive about all aspects of the team, but it’s nice to listen to daily debate about the team.
    – beating a dead horse but … Brunt should be the permanent co-host. PTS covers up all of its flaws when he is on.

  • comment-avatar

    @Mike (In Boston)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYBTP8KMJuU

    Also we get segments like that! Which are adorable. 😀