James Cybulski Leaves TSN

Multiple sources tell me that James Cybulski has resigned from TSN where he was apparently set to return to TV after the recent change in TSN’s drive home radio show( David Naylor is set to take over)

Ill do some digging but this is sad. James is a great guy.

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mario
mario
February 15, 2013 9:04 pm

Thats to bad , always feel for someone who
gave it his best shot but did not work out.
I am sure he will land on his feet. Maybe at Rogers

Sean
Sean
February 16, 2013 7:01 am

For the many reasons discussed on this site, I stopped listening to McCown a while ago. I hated the fact I was listening to a show where I knew more than the host..you have covered this with much more detail than me, but the point is I gave Cybulski a try. I know he was not for everyone and I respect that, but i enjoyed him. I did find that something changed a couple of months ago, I do not know if he started to feel comfortable or was told his show was already done, or he simply stopped caring but he changed. Specifically my friends and I started calling him McCown jr, as his once researched facts were now wrong and he focused more on being the ‘contrarian’ that Cox has made so famous. It went from a show I enjoyed, to a show that frustrated me. I do not know why this change happened, but it was a shame. I know my circle of friends lost interest.
As side note, I really feel sorry for James, I agree with so many that RIchards is a train wreck. I have never found anyone that has listened to that show. Cibulski was essentially told it was his fault and sold down the river, while Richards is rewarded with a show on TV? Has anyone caught richards commercial on tsn? His show is going to be different and be a morning show we have never seen! You know since poorly done imitations, lame songs, bad jokes and talking to a sports experts for a segment is all revolutionary!
Finally, as I rarely post, but always read, thank you to the regulars that keep this site going. I agree with what most of you say (sorry Roger, not so much with you)

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
February 16, 2013 8:11 am

good post Sean … post more often.
.

i wonder if TSNR approached Cballs to be Richards’ co-host. I’m sure they must have considered it. Can you imagine the vortex of suck that would have been? best of luck to James in his future endeavours.
.

Ill do some digging but this is sad. James is a great guy.

in real life or just on Twitter?

Julian
Julian
February 16, 2013 9:56 am

Have to think Cybulski is Rogers-bound is some way, shape, or form. Would guess tv-wise it makes sense. Rogers either hasn’t been interested enough, offered enough money, or it’s some kind of policy to get TSN people off TV and onto Sportsnet.

It’s been debated a million times here and many have been right about this.

TSN Radio is doomed to mediocrity at best without taking personalities from The Fan, and Sportsnet and their Connected brand can’t make it work without taking some folks from TSN.

If indeed Rogers enticed Cybulski, that’s a start. He did a very good job anchoring TSN’s March Madness coverage.

As for the other post related to TSN Radio, I can assure you they’re losing money and their ad revenues per spot and total are way less than what 590’s are. That only makes sense. If I own a car dealership and The Fan charges me X dollars per spot, why would I give TSN the same money for the spot knowing they have 4x fewer liisteners? So The Fan is bringing in far more revenue than TSN, and obviously with the 400 thousand dollar a year deal Richards got, TSN badly underestimated how well he’d do. Richards clearly sold them a bill of goods on how well he did in Calgary, only problem being: it’s Calgary, a much smaller market, and the fact he had no other direct competition in the market from a sports morning show. So how the hell can anyone judge?

If you want to carve up Rogers and The Fan for giving Krystal the morning show, at least give them credit for ending it after only a couple months. Richards is going into his 3rd year of no one listening to him.

He’s been an abject failure and I’m guessing the Rogers folks aren’t giving his “tv show” a second thought in terms of being worried.

I’d also say TSN Radio misfired in having a chance to hire some people but not others. Yes, they should have snapped up Tim And Sid. I don’t think their show is perfect, and I think they’re a better fit for afternoon drive than they are for mornings. I don’t listen all the time but they’re clearly being patterned to succeed McCown when he’s done in a few years. Brady and Tim And Sid are younger, more well-known, and now more established than anything TSN can put on the air and TSN’s powerless to do anything about that.

Someone posted TSN could have got Greg Brady there but I don’t think that timing works out. He was already at The Fan, if I recall, long before TSN Radio announced they were starting up. It was a real domino effect at AM640, given Brady left, and then months later, they weren’t allowed to use Darren Dreger or McKenzie anymore as hockey insiders. That combined with Watters’ advanced craziness and all made for a quick funeral for that show. True, Brady wasn’t doing mornings, but if they’d already hired Richards, and I think Richards was hired before Cybulski even switched to radio, then I’m not sure even if Brady had been a free agent what they could have offered him.

Lots of rumours about how much TSN Radio talked to McCown but Bob had everything to lose and nothing to gain by leaving, so I doubt it was that serious.
People who left The Fan like Bruce Arthur might be pretty active on twitter but it’s almost like he doesn’t exist on the radio anymore.

I share the same reservations about Naylor that it won’t be very successful. That there’ll be lots more CFL talk than the average sports fan wants, that he’s too “white-bread”.

I agree with others that the lack of minorities should be a concern for sports radio, but even in markets like Philly and Detroit and Chicago, it’s often like that. Advertisers must want a certain type of show to sell their products, I used to work in sales, so I’d guess they carefully craft a product to a demographic.

I don’t think Toronto or Canada as a whole is discriminatory with regard to news coverage, but minorities in sports here seem specialized and mostly on TV like your Kevin Weeks, Sherm Hamilton, Duane Forde. Is Arash Madani a “visible minority”? I’d argue he is and he makes tons of radio appearances but doesn’t have a full-time show. If there’s a minority being “held back” and is good enough, I doubt either company would be discriminating against them. That’s my thought.

Scott G.
Scott G.
February 16, 2013 11:31 am

This is confirmed by James twitter: Thanks for the kind notes the last week. I have decided to leave TSN to focus on family & for an incredible opportunity. Stay tuned. Cheers

sam in oshawa
sam in oshawa
February 16, 2013 11:37 am

He grabbed his c-balls a went home…

Lance D.
Lance D.
February 16, 2013 11:39 am

Cybulski was a disaster on radio and in my opinion should not work in a position that requires him to show his personality. Despite that I wish him well in his future endeavours whether he is still at TSN or not.

Richards is even worse so I have no clue what his future is but I know I won’t be a part of it. I’m not even slightly inclined to listen to a single second of his radio show going forward, let alone watching. I don’t want to feel 11 years old again.

I’m cautiously optimistic that Naylor will deliver a solid show but agree with others that the CFL talk must be kept to a minimum. I think he will also need some strong and reasonably entertaining co-hosts to make it work well. I tired of PTS and don’t listen much anymore so I will giver Naylor a very fair chance.

Thanks.

sam in oshawa
sam in oshawa
February 16, 2013 11:41 am

oops, He grabbed his c-balls and went home…

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
February 16, 2013 1:51 pm

Julian – great post. In the spirit of debate, here are some counter-points.
.

1. I agree that there must be some financial benefit associated with winning the ratings battle. But just what is that worth? You hypothesize that it’s worth a 300% increase in what you can charge. But perhaps it’s worth 10% or 5%? who knows … i’d be really curious to find out what TSN’s morning show rates are compared to the Fan’s. But to insist that there is a strict correlation between the ratings differential and the ad rates seem implausible.
.

2. I can assure you they’re losing money …. ??? why ??? how does getting thumped in the ratings book = not making money. Presumably they are able to fill their ad slots … I haven’t heard much dead air or ads for charities. Maybe that’s not enough to cover their costs, but i really have no idea what their operating costs are, and neither do you.
.

3. [Tim & Sid are] clearly being patterned to succeed McCown when he’s done in a few years. Have to disagree with you here. I think there is likely little overlap between the two audiences. The hashtag crowd and the business of sports crowd are pretty distinct, and i think that plugging T&S into PTS would alienate a lot of the installed base.
.

4. on Naylor: That there’ll be lots more CFL talk than the average sports fan wants, that he’s too “white-bread” — agree and disagree. If he talks more than one CFL segment per week he should be fired on the spot. But, he’s as “white” as McCown is, and that the demo they are trying to attract. I doubt those people will find him too “white” … in fact he’s a bit younger and a bit more in touch with the sports world than McCown. Whether he can survive as a lead host without some shtick is a real question. But his whiteness is likely not going to be the problem.

hope i closed all my tags …

Brian
Brian
February 16, 2013 2:21 pm

No other medium exposes a person’s knowledge or lack of knowledge more quickly than radio. Newspapers have editors; TV is often rehearsed, scripted or just plain short. But no one is editing you in radio and you get exposed if you don’t know enough or can’t speak intelligently in 10-minute segments. Few are able to do it well.
Cybulski was a nice guy who quickly got exposed on radio. For example, how many times would he win Fab Five at 5 (which was rarely actually at 5) in a month? Maybe three or four. And that was usually out of pity. He couldn’t argue; his comebacks usually consisted of “aw, c’mon” or “you gotta to be kiddin’ me.” Hardly riveting stuff.
The bigger issue is that PTS is there for the taking. It’s never been weaker during my 15 years in Toronto. Bob often seems disinterested; he even disappeared mid-show during the Rogers Christmas party. He’s like Don Draper. Shows up when he wants; does what he wants and no one calls him on it. You could almost predict it this week when he suddenly took ill Thursday and Friday (which happened to coincide with Brunt’s much-complained-about absence). His show gets ratings because the competition is weak.
Cox is OK in small doses but not as a co-host; Brunt is a great co-host but seems to rarely be in-studio, perhaps because all Bob does is run him down when he’s there. Shannon shouldn’t be on radio but is on more than either Brunt or Cox. Some guests are terrible (Becker, Ryan, Jones and Smith, and even Kypreos talks more about Greek food than hockey).
Here’s how Naylor wins. He interviews solid guests from the American sports scene: Roenick; Cotsonika; Bill Simmons; Craig Custance; Charles Barkley, Buster Olney; and interview the hockey journos in major Canadian cities; he finds and interviews good bloggers (screened first, of course); he relies heavily on Bruce Arthur to bring wit and humor to the show (TSN would be wise to hire him away the Post altogether and make a regular co-host and TSN blogger); bring on Steve Simmons more and get into intelligent arguments; Dave Hodge should be a regular, too. The show needs to give listeners information they don’t know; it needs to make them laugh and give them reasons to like the host. It needs to give the people on Twitter a voice but not so much that they take over the show (like T&S); maybe once a week he tackles a topic for an entire hour (maybe the Markham arena issue), which would attract sponsors; maybe they need to amp up the rivalry by taking well-thought shots at PTS/Sportsnet; and he has to keep the CFL info to major stories and summer-only because we just don’t care; and get into sports business stories (or maybe more business in general).
PTS is vulnerable. If TSN makes the right moves, Bob can be beaten. Hit him and hit him hard. The listeners would reward that.

Daniel
Daniel
February 16, 2013 3:00 pm

@Mike

“how does getting thumped in the ratings book = not making money. Presumably they are able to fill their ad slots”

Isn’t ‘bigger audience = bigger ad revenue’ kind of radio business 101?

Radio stations with larger audiences can charge more for ad slots than stations with smaller audiences. TSN’s ratings have been consistently very low. It makes sense to guess they’re probably hurting.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
February 16, 2013 3:55 pm

there’s a common fallacy that goes like this: since A is better than B, B must be no good at all.

the analogue of that here is that you and Julian are assuming that since TSN’s ratings are much worse than the FAN’s, TSN must be struggling to make money or even losing money. I have no basis for thinking that is true, though of course i accept that the FAN must b doing better than TSN in terms of ad revenue.

Daniel
Daniel
February 16, 2013 4:01 pm

@Mike – no, not just because they’re lower than the Fans – because they’re low period. Overall the station was dead last in the city last time ratings were released.. I imagine its a bit better than that with Men 25-54, bu still.

Lance D.
Lance D.
February 16, 2013 10:19 pm

I’ve been enjoying reading comments from many of you regarding the business aspects of Toronto sports radio. Also appreciate many of the counterpoints and analysis from Mike (In Boston). Pretty solid stuff.

Thanks.

Kamlesh
Kamlesh
February 17, 2013 10:37 am

The brilliantly funny Matt Cauz tweeting that he is moving to the 9-12 time slot on 1050.

Mike C
Mike C
February 17, 2013 11:54 am

I’m guessing that 9-12 on TSN 1050 will be Bob Mackowycz with Matt Cauz. Great team if you ask me. Cauz is my favourite host on the station he knows his sports and pop cloture. He actually interacts with his listeners ESP on social media.

I don’t understand why Mike Richards is still doing mornings. He must have a iron clad contract.

I’m liking Scott MacArthur being moved to full time MLB Reporter/Blue Jays Reporter for 1050 and TSN. A start to the brand getting better MLB coverage to compete with Rogers.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
February 17, 2013 8:59 pm

Turning over talent is easy. Discovering true talent who actually have a passion for radio with little or no desire to be on TV is what radio programmers should be focused on.

Who thought Cybulski vs McCown was a good idea? Or was he just an after thought following Michael Landsberg’s decision to say no? I think McCown would have kayoed any combination of the above.

Mike Richards didn’t sell anybody a “bill of goods”. People seem to forget that Sportsnet wanted him first.

Good luck to Cybulski who was hopelessly out of his element as a drive home host.

Mullah_Kintyre
Mullah_Kintyre
February 18, 2013 2:56 pm

If Cauz at 9 am is permanent, what TSN needs to do is overlap the first hour of Cauz and last hour of Richards, and have that be the hour they televise on TSN2. Richards could start and end 30 minutes later than he does now (instead of 5:30 am to 9 am, make it 6 am to 9:30), and have a TV hour with Richards and Cauz start at 8:30.

After seeing some of the televised Mike Richards hour on TSN2 this morning, it’s even more apparent that Richards could use a real co-host instead of just having two other ‘guys’ there for no apparent reason except to sometimes give him someone to talk to. I’m particularly mystified as to why the larger guy is there at all, mostly to annoyingly let out way too many asthmatic-sounding wheezing laughs at almost anything Richards says, like some kind of irritating laugh track on a bad sitcom. And after listening to the first 20 minutes of Cauz today at 9 am, it also seems to be somewhat of a waste to make him work entirely by himself. When they have two guys who often try to be funny, you would think it might occur to TSN to make them a morning show duo instead of having them both work awkwardly alone? There is a reason why morning show duos are common, certainly with co-hosts who attempt humour.

Pat Vaughan
Pat Vaughan
February 19, 2013 2:59 pm

PTS is crap and has always been crap. Bob’s lame strategy to make himself appear larger than life itself is to belittle everything around him that he knows dwarfs him. examples: he always belittles the NFL and the super bowl as a boring nothing event .. yet he will talk up the CFL and Grey Cup as if it is the greatest league and game. the CFL is a joke ! secondly he will always talk of the Leafs as if they are insignificant and not worth talking about or he won’t even pay attention to them nor follow them. if you talk sports in Toronto … it’s your duty to know and talk Leafs. don’t even get me started on those dweebs 590 has on in the morning. as bad as Richards is .. those 590 early morning weenies are terrible. and Jeff Blair … oh my God somebody fire this most irritating man. talk NFL and Leafs = success in GTA sports talk radio.

Il Duce
Il Duce
February 20, 2013 7:44 am

@Pat Vaughan, well said.

I find it funny that the for last two years the same usual suspects here keep on criticizing Mike Richards but he continues to be the morning guy at TSN. To top it all off, he now has a TV show to boot…. priceless.

It’s bizarre that those that are shooting arrows at Richards here are members of the sports media, some are even TSN employees… go figure. 😉

Scott
Scott
February 28, 2013 1:49 pm

Sad to see Cybulski go. Love Richards though. Makes me laugh. Hard. and not to much boring NFL talk unlike the Fan morning. Will miss Cybulski.

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