By Ami Angelwings
Primetime Sports – August 7, 2012
4pm Hour – Listener’s Phone Calls taken by Bob alone
- Most calls were about the Women’s soccer match, one was about the Blue Jays
- Bob repeatedly says he doesn’t know anything about soccer, but that every single person he’s talked to says the officiating was fine
- Bob disagrees with every caller who complains about the officiating (which is all but two)
- The Blue Jay call was about the Snider trade, and Bob doesn’t really give much of an opinion other than he likes Snider, he complains about Rajai Davis
- Bob’s stance is that we should be happy that the women got this far
It’s pretty obvious that Bob doesn’t want to be on the radio during the summer. He doesn’t seem to really like Summer Olympics (he’s said as much before), and we all know how he feels about women’s sports and soccer. So, his stance about this subject shouldn’t surprise anybody. In fact, I was kind of cringing about him returning when this is the hot topic on everybody’s mind. Bob didn’t sound like he even watched the game, since he didn’t say anything about the specifics, nor did he mention Christine Sinclair’s heroics. You would think that if Bob was trying to counter criticism of the officiating he’d say that they’re doing a disservice to one of the greatest individual performances in a team sport, or that Sinclair carried the team on her back. He would say that if it was hockey or basketball, or a sport he cares about.
It also seems weird to me that he says, “I don’t know anything about soccer” and then basically, “You’re wrong.” For the first couple callers, he said he talked to people who knew and they were unanimous that the officiating was fine. (I don’t know who he talked to, I’m guessing not Michael Grange, Tim Micallef or Sid Seixeiro.) But, then after that, all Bob basically did was just say, “I don’t know anything about soccer, but you’re wrong.” I’ve seen Bob say, “I don’t know anything about XYZ, so you might be right, but I don’t know.” to a lot of things in the past, so it’s clear he does believe he knows despite saying he doesn’t. Again, if this was a sport he cared about, my experience listening to him says he wouldn’t just say, “We should be happy to be here” even if we weren’t expected to win.
Bob really went off on a tangent about Rajai Davis. The caller didn’t even mention Davis. It’s clear to me that Bob would much rather talk Blue Jays right now than the Olympics. Especially not soccer, and especially not WOMEN’S soccer. Unfortunately, that’s the hot topic, which is why I wish they had somebody who had a little less disdain for that subject hosting Primetime Sports right now.
Besides, I’ve always been a proponent that Bob take long summer breaks, because I find he’s happier when he returns. In the summer, he’s a lot grumpier and obviously doesn’t like having to work when it’s so nice out and he could be golfing.
5pm Hour – Bob McCown (Host of Primetime Sports) hosting, John Shannon (Sportsnet Hockey Insider) co-hosting
First Segment: Interview with Brian Williams, Olympic media coverage host for Rogers/Bell Media
- More talk about Women’s Soccer
- Williams doesn’t believe it’s about whether the calls are right or wrong, it’s about when they’re made
- Williams says that FIFA investigating the Canadian team for comments is rubbing salt into the wounds of Canadians
- Bob asks how Williams would rate Canada’s performance at these games, Williams predicted 19 medals but says that Canada is probably not going to reach that, notes Mary Spencer as a disappointment
- Shannon says that Mary Spencer needed Canada to beg her into the games, Williams corrects him that she properly earned the Wild Card
- Bob and Williams discuss that it’s sad to see Simon Whitfield not finish the race
- Discussion about London as a host city
- Williams blasts the IOC about not respecting the victims of the 1972 Olympic Massacre and links current Olympic security to that event
- Shannon jokes about Bob having a security escort in Vancouver
- Bob asks Williams if he has plans to re-join the CBC for the Sochi and Rio Olympics and he says definitively, no
- Post-Interview, Shannon tells Bob that he thinks Ron MacLean is going to be the face of Sochi and Rio for the CBC
Not much to say here. Decent interview. I expected Williams to be talking about how great everything’s been, and that’s exactly what it was. No hard questions, and Bob didn’t seem eager to continue the Women’s Soccer discussion. I think another host would have asked Williams his thoughts on the game, or on to elaborate more about Christine Sinclair. I would have liked a few more specific questions about how Williams felt about specific incidents, athletes or events at the games, but they were all just general questions and they got answers like we’d expect. (Like he’s really going to trash the host city.)
Shannon not knowing exactly how Mary Spencer got into the Olympics is probably not a surprise to his detractors who often point out how little he knows about sports that aren’t hockey.
I noted the joke about Bob’s Vancouver escort because I notice that Shannon likes to poke fun at Bob quite often in the middle of interviews, and Bob’s high style of living at the Olympics is something that Shannon likes to bring up. I’ve never thought Bob’s really enjoyed it, and his non-reaction here seems to add more evidence to that. (In general, Bob seems to not enjoy any jokes that imply that he’s wealthy, or privileged.)
I would have enjoyed a more focused interview where we could have heard more about Williams’ thoughts on some combination of the Women’s Soccer Game, specific Canadian results, or how the IOC failed to honour victims of 1972.
Second Segment: Interview with Alan Ashby, radio color commentator/play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Blue Jays
- Bob starts off about Drew Hutchinson and him needing Tommy John Surgery, he asks Ashby if Tommy John necessarily takes 2 years to rehab, Ashby says it could take just a year
- Ashby says that he said at the time the Jays decided to rest Hutchinson rather than sending him to surgery that it was the wrong move
- Bob says he’s having trouble knowing exactly what the Jays have because of all the injuries, Ashby says sometimes injuries allow you to see players you wouldn’t normally see
- Ashby praises Anthony Gose and his speed and defensive skills and doesn’t think his poor hitting is a problem
- Bob asks about where the Jays are going regarding Yunel Escobar vs Adeiny Hechavarria at 2nd base, Bob believes Escobar will be traded but Ashby isn’t so sure
- Shannon asks about J.A. Happ, Ashby says that the Jays want to find out what he has, Bob thinks they’re forced to because of how bad the pitching has been
- Bob asks about Jose Bautista and Ashby can only say that he’s “allegedly close” to returning to the line-up
- Bob suggests that it might be better to just shut Bautista down for the rest of the season and have him fully healthy for next year, Ashby disagrees because of how many games are left to be played in the season and how close the Jays are to a playoff spot
- Bob declares that this series against the Tampa Bay Rays is important because if the Jays can sweep them they would be about tied
- Shannon asks if Ashby believes the Baltimore Orioles are “for real” and Ashby believes they are
- Post-interview, Bob says that the Jays need to string a bunch of wins together and stop playing .500 baseball
As I said in my last review, there’s no real point in talking about the Toronto Blue Jays anymore because with the non-waiver trade deadline over and all of the injuries, there’s really not much more to talk about. It was a decent interview in general, and Ashby always gives good, honest answers. I just didn’t hear anything I haven’t heard a dozen times in the past couple of weeks. Bob definitely sounded way more into this interview than the last one.
Third Segment: Talk segment about the NFL
- John Shannon brings up the upcoming NFL season and the NFL using replacement officials due to the referee lockout
- Bob laughs at one of the replacement officials screwing up the coin toss and how he previously worked in the Lingerie Football League
- Shannon says that tomorrow, the NFL has “the first female” working on the officiating crew
That was kind of a weird segment. NFL in August during the Olympics? Both Bob and John seem much more interested in talking about this than the Olympics. I prefer that hosts talk about things they’re interested versus things that they aren’t interested in, but I do wish they could fit a little discussion about the goings on at the Olympics into their discussion. That’s what most of the listeners probably have on their minds. It was a little weird to hear Shannon refer to a human woman as a “female” (as opposed to “female referee” or “female firefighter”, etc.)
6pm Hour – Bob McCown hosting, John Shannon co-hosting
First Segment: Interview with Greg Joy, former Canadian Olympic Silver Medalist in High Jump
- Interview begins with jokes and Bob asking Joy if he can jump over Bob’s desk, Joy says he can crawl over it
- Bob asks Joy what style of jumping he started with, and Joy said that he started with the Fosbury Flop while in highschool
- Shannon asks if it’s true or an urban myth that Joy had to hitchhike home after coming back from the Olympics, and he said it’s true
- Discussion about the technical aspects of high jumping and why jumps haven’t gotten any higher
- Discussion about former US high jumper, Dwight Stones, Bob calls him a “whackjob”, and Joy defends him for being young at the time
- Discussion about the changed expectations on Canadian Olympians
This was fairly entertaining for an interview with a retired athlete, at least in the beginning. There were a lot joking around and humor and I paticuarly liked this exchange between Bob and Greg: “Greg, what are you? 56?” “Yes, how did you know?” “Math.”
Also, we got to learn a little about his past and how he started jumping the way he did, which was also interesting. The discussion about why people aren’t jumping any higher nowadays was also kind of educational. A lot of the rest wasn’t that interesting though. I do wonder why “Canada’s most listened to sports talk radio program” is interviewing retired athletes instead of current Olympic athletes though.
It’s not that I think that current athletes have a lot to say, and usually it’s pretty generic, “I’m just happy to be here, I’m trying my best, it was so amazing”, etc… but, at the same time, this is their moment in the sun and if they don’t get to be interviewed now, it wouldn’t be topical to interview them later.
Second Segment: Interview with Stephen Brunt, regular co-host of Primetime Sports
- Bob asks Brunt about Custio Clayton’s controversial loss in Olympic boxing, Brunt explains what a “count back” is and how they decided he lost
- Brunt thinks Clayton won, Bob asks what Canada is protesting about and Brunt explains that it’s about the British fighter getting 3 warnings and Canada believing that he should have gotten points deducted under the rules
- Brunt criticizes the current state of Olympic boxing, specifically how the current boxing points system rewards non-power punchers because it rewards obvious hits over quality hits
- Bob asks if there’s anything to change it and Brunt doesn’t seem to have an answer
- Bob then asks Brunt what he thinks of the officiating of Women’s Soccer semi-final, and Brunt says that it was a really bad call, Bob says he’s heard differing views
Brunt is interesting as always. I didn’t have that many things to note because Brunt is sort of self-running and he doesn’t need many questions to talk about interesting things. I thought what he said about boxing was really informative and I learned a lot about the way matches are scored and about the effects that scoring has on the style of boxers. I really liked how clear his explanation was about why the kinds of boxers that go to the Olympics have changed so much.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have a lot of time to talk about soccer, and Bob, again, tried to diffuse the officiating situation.
If every conversation on this subject is going to be Bob saying, “Well, it’s in the rules though!”, I would prefer if they just talked about the game itself. Even without the officiating discussion, there’s a LOT to discuss about the game. I miss Brunt and his great chemistry with Bob, and I can’t wait until they’re reunited in the fall. (And hopefully Bob has had 4 weeks in a row of vacation and is rested and happy.)
Third Segment: Interview with Declan Hill, investigative reporter and author of The Fix
- Declan begins by saying that the Canada/USA soccer match was a “real headscratcher”
- Bob asks him if he thought anything was fishy and Hill says he can’t comment because he doesn’t know the referee
- Bob asks if these kinds of actions suggest fixing, Hill says that usually fixes are not so obvious
- Shannon says that fixes are usually done by coaches and Declan says this isn’t true and a lot of referees get contacted for fixing
- Declan Hill believes that Christiana Petersen was in way over her head, and that there might not be corruption
- Bob asks Hill about the Badminton scandal and Hill believes the solution is to limit each country to one team a tournament, Bob thinks you have to get rid of the round robin
Was Bob just afraid that Declan Hill would disagree with him about the refereeing, or did Brunt change his mind? This was the first time all show that he’s said that the referee made the wrong decision even though it was technically in the rule book. Given that Hill led off by saying it was a “real headscratcher”, it’s possible that Bob was worried Hill WOULD say it’s a fix, and didn’t want to be caught with his pants down.
Given how short this interview was, I thought it was a generally good one, and I enjoy hearing Hill talk because he really knows his stuff.
This was an okay show for what it was. The second hour was a lot more interesting than the first, with Brunt being the highlight. Shannon’s bad habit of talking definitively about something he isn’t versed in caught up with him twice: once about Mary Spencer, and later about match fixing. I think as the show wore on, Bob was just tired of having everybody give a contrary opinion about the match officiating, and he just conceded the point by the time the Hill interview happened.
As I said, it wasn’t a bad show, and some of the interviews were interesting. I just wonder about the choices of topics given that the Olympics are a topic rich subject. Especially, since this was the day after an epic soccer match that had so many story lines, and that the country was riveted to, it seemed odd to talk around the actual match and around Christine Sinclair’s performance.
I wouldn’t have minded talking about the match officiating if it wasn’t going in circles about, “But it’s in the rules”, “But it’s never called”, “But it’s in the rules”. The calls even indicated a lot of interest in the match, either about the officiating or about what happened. It’s not just blonde Asian girl feminists that want to hear an in-depth discussion about it. And, if not that, then more discussion about the other Olympic stories that have happened in the past few days.
Note: My friends (who aren’t PTS fans) note that I call Bob McCown “Bob”, but everybody else by their last name, and they’re worried it might imply bias on my part (i.e. Shannon gets called by his last name because I don’t like him as much as Bob). Of course, I do it because everybody else (including on the radio) calls him “Bob”. What do you guys think? Should I just standardize it and call Bob, “McCown” or Shannon “John”, or are you fine with me calling McCown, “Bob”?
Photo available here