The Fan 590 Loses An Original -Rogers Media Layoffs



For several months I have heard that there would be serious belt tightening at Rogers Media as Rogers Inc prepares for the arrival for a new CEO. There have been some moves over the past couple of weeks but today 94 people lost their jobs, or 2% of their total work force.

It’s never good when anyone is let go.

However, The Fan 590 today made a strange move, letting go Barb DiGiulio.

I’ve never met Barb, never spoken to her on the phone or emailed with her, but I do feel like a part of my sports history, if you will, was let go. Lots and lots of people have come and gone through the Fan, some good, some not so much, there was always Barb doing updates.

She has changed her twitter handle but has tweeted some thoughts tonight:

“It’s true. After 22 years, I’m no longer with @FAN590. I have great memories, and lots of respect for everyone I’ve worked with. Thank you.”

DiGiulio was with the Fan since 1991. She was the midday update person and you could tell those who listened felt like they had a relationship with her. When she worked on Gord Stellick’s Big Show, she was more than just the update person, she was an integral part of the show. While it wasn’t the premiere time to be on the radio, Gord and Barb had good on air chemistry and it was fun to listen to. I am fairly certain that with Barb’s departure, Bob McCown remains the last standing of the original cast of characters- certainly on air personalities. A tribute to his success for sure.

I’d be very surprised if she is out of work long. I’m sure she is on the TSN radar.

DiGiulio was let go along with other female Rogers on air personalities, Gloria Martin, also a staple in the Toronto entertainment news scene and Ann Doose. DiGiulio paid tribute to both in her latest tweet:

“Very honoured to have worked with pros Ann Doose @Newsbayb and Gloria Martin @globiz680news , who were also part of the shuffle today.”

Doose tweeted her fate as well

“Rogers Media announces round of layoffs This is where I turn off the mic and leave the building. Thanks for the ride!”

Here’s hoping all three ladies and anyone else effected by today’s moves are quickly re-employed.



  • comment-avatar

    Sad news about Barb. Wishing her the best.

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    Sam in Scarb 6 years ago

    Clearly,people are just warm bodies at Robbers.
    Just guessing here but, she will probably be replaced by a well known,experienced NON PAID intern.

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    Mike C 6 years ago

    This is a really DUMB move by Rogers Media. They had so many other options in terms of hosts/reporters who cannot due the job. Suggested names for layoffs include : Geoff Rohoman, Roger Lajoie, George Rusic, or even Andrew Walker. But of course they decide to basically let go the only knowledgable FEMALE personality at the station. The hosts are so vanilla at that station and I guess it would appear thats what Rogers wants….

    Hope TSN Radio 1050 scoops up Barb and maybe puts her co hosting with her former colleauge Mike Hogan or Jim Tatti. She’s a pro and knows her stuff.

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    TSMI’d be very surprised if she is out of work long. I’m sure she is on the TSN radar.

    is this a popular opinion? I always found Barb to be a lightweight when it came to sports. I was in high school when she was on with Stellick and enjoyed the pop culture segments she would do, but always switched to Jim Rome on WGR whenever the two of them would discuss sports.

    any news on how these moves will affect the SN magazine? several news sites are reporting that Rogers’ subscriptions are way down relative to digital gains.

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    Sam in Scarb 6 years ago

    @ mike (in boston)

    All i know is i see on pop up ads SN magazine being offered 10 issues for $10.00
    10 issues for 10 bucks does not even cover the postage costs = they are giving the mag away.Perhaps a big RED flag there.

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    Julian 6 years ago

    I’m skeptical about the magazine, too, but I think what’s lost is people thinking something on its own is a FAILURE if it doesn’t make money.

    Why does the magazine have to make money. Isn’t it like advertising for the other platforms? Yes, you can only lose so much but it’s promoting the product.

    Does a billboard MAKE money? No, of course not, that’d be stupid. But it promotes a product. I guess I think of the magazine as billboards that get mailed out full of content every couple weeks.

    It doesn’t mean Rogers can do that forever.

    As for Barb, too bad, but few complain and I bet she feels like she had a great run. Anyone who works 20-plus years in such a volatile business deserves a lot of credit.

    But it’s like Howard Berger, too. Howard got maligned on this website and others, but if you work somewhere 20 years, you keep getting raises, so he and Barb were probably pretty expensive. If that’s the only change the Fan is making, it’s probably as much financial as anything.

    Again, I’m someone who thinks their morning show is better with Walker than it was with Lange. It was good before, now it’s better. Remember, they were paying for 3 full-time people on-air on that show, and now are paying 2.

    It’s not unusual for businesses to streamline, it’s all cyclical and the bidding war between TSN and Rogers for certain talent a few years back proves that. At the same time, there is no chance TSN Radio makes money. The Fan charges way more for their ads, that’s a well-known fact. Higher ratings always means you can charge more. TSN can charge more for a Habs national TV game than Sportsnet can for Raptors. Duh. But like Sportsnet’s magazine, TSN Radio doesn’t need to make money to stay alive if the brass are willing to take the hit and see it as a vehicle that doesn’t need to beat 590, but simply be on the map and help promote their television product.

    I don’t think either station will make another change for a long time but I’m also not sure how long people’s contracts are at either place.

    It has been great that “Leafs Lunch” is a stable part of 1050’s lineup. Like when it was real good at AM640, it’s great having two good noon hockey shows to listen to. Ratings should always be higher in that slot than mornings or afternoons where there’s tons more competition.

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    lister 6 years ago

    Back in the day I loved the overlap segment between Shulman and McCown when Barb would come on and they’d just shoot the shit about whatever.

    Odd layoffs. I’m sure all the three listed will get work pretty quickly.

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    Steve 6 years ago

    Listen, the radio business is really for young, lower paid people. There comes a time when you are just not cost-efficient for an organization. Sad, but true. I left radio in 1988….a year before my station closed. I would have bumped around up and down the dial and likely be doing weekends for 12 bucks an hour in North Bay now if I stayed.

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    good post Julian. Post more often.

    when SN announced they were doing a print magazine we all had the same reaction: why now, when the whole world is going to digital content? the word was that they believed there to be an untapped market for long-form journalism. that’s plausible to me, but i’m not sure why you can’t do that online, via the SN website or some spin-off. (see Grantland).

    I still don’t get the concept of investing in print in 2013, buy you’re right that it can serve as a promotional tool for TV/radio.

    when they announced they were going to hire journalists away from their home newspapers to work exclusively for SN we all said: wow they are serious! But we also worried that it would make certain writers (e.g. Brunt) less accessible. In my mind there is no question that has turned out to be the case — no one here ever mentions his essays in the magazine, whereas people are often linking newspaper writers and online journalists.

    And that’s why i don’t get the concept of using the magazine for promotion … you’re essentially putting the high priced talent you’ve just poached out of reach of most people. I just don’t get it.

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    MBrecker 6 years ago

    One thing that I don’t get about 590. Why do they have so many people on from the Toronto Star? Having the same people on the same shows to talk about the same things is turning you into ESPN. And since ESPN owns a share of TSN, maybe that’s why they’re behind in the ratings

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    Did Erin Hawksworth get to keep her job…?

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    I had a sub the first year but it didnt seem worth the cost (for a US reader). Lot of fluff, like the transcript of bob’s show.

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    @CURT – I certainly hope so

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    I pick the Sportsnet Magazine from time time. It’s interesting and can have some good articles, but it’s trying to be part Maxim/ part Sports Illustrated and I’m no
    t sure it hits either demographic effectively. The “columns” by McCown are just a rehashing of Prime Time Sports.

    As for Barb DiGulio, I think that she was under utilized at The Fan. TSN Radio brings in the Pop Culture/Entertainment beat reporter from time to time as a form of cross promotion and to change things up. They chould have done that with Barb. Not so much with Tim and Sid, because that would have been a bad fit, but maybe on PrimeTime or the Morning Show.

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    Correct me if I’m wrong as I don’t listen to The Fan, but does an update person not just come on a couple times an hour and read some box scores?

    If she has been at Sportsnet for 20 years, no doubt she is getting paid a ridiculous amount of money for the little work she was probably doing.

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    (Another) Andrew 6 years ago

    I’ve only seen the magazine once: My local Chinese takeaway where it’s the only male-oriented mag. Which reminds me that I’d never heard of William Houston until I read his column in a doctor’s waiting room. After that I went to the Globe & Mail site on a regular basis. So maybe if they can get places like that to replace their Sports Illustrated subscriptions with Sportsnet Magazine it will be worth the cost of production.

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    Reel E 6 years ago

    While it’s easy to dismiss the update readers at The Fan, the fact is they do double duty. In addition to 3 updates per hour on the Fan, they also do 2 more on 680 News and 2 teases there as well. Try juggling that, all the while updating what’s going on through the shift. It’s not as simple as you make it out to be.

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    Julian 6 years ago

    Agree with the post above. It’s not simple, it does take juggling and probably writing is as important as the voice. These folks aren’t Darren Dutychsen reading off a teleprompter.

    And if you’re on that long in Toronto, you’ve done a lot of things right. It’s a big mountain to climb. I rip on the tv and radio and print talent in conversations and occasionally posting on here. I try to keep it professional and isolate it to specific things I don’t like instead of “Richards is a tool! Brady is an idiot! McCown’s finished” but if you think talent’s bad in Toronto, I implore you to listen to talk radio of any kind in much smaller cities in the US or Canada.

    You’ll be begging for some of the folks you can’t stand (but obviously haven’t stopped listening to) to come back and never leave again. If anyone thinks there’s just a brilliantly talented guy in Brandon, Manitoba or Charlottetown who just hasn’t caught the right break yet, well, I travel all over for work, not the case.

    Andrew Krystal was a big deal in Halifax, and that’s not a small city. Utterly disastrous here and even though I kinda thought he might land at 1010 or 640 or even CBC here in Toronto, it hasn’t happened. There are clearly things Richards does in Calgary that he can’t get away with here in Toronto and though I prefer the other show in the morning, I’m told he plays it much safer and/or doesn’t give a crap because his contract is guaranteed.

    Anyway, my main point was to say great news/sports anchors are hard to find but not one person will listen more or less because of who an update anchor is in this day and age. I’d wager most of what they’re telling you the hardcore fan already knows unless it just happened.

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    Chubby 6 years ago

    So sad to see Barb let go, I believe she worked at 1430 AM before it became the Fan. The Fan had underutilized her for more than a decade. Her segments with Dan and Gord were some of the best moments on that station. I can remember a string of shows in the 90’s around Christmas time when Barb and Dan had to fill several hours of airtime each day with little to no sports to talk about and it was still so great.

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    Poker Guy 6 years ago

    Always sad when anyone loses their job, regardless of what you may think for that person. Although it was true that she had been a staple there, being minimized to updates, I’d almost forgot that she was still there.

    The funniest thing I remember she had done, was on Gord and Damien’s show, and she was doing a live remote at the Ex. She was on a rollercoaster, and as it picked up speed, she was trying to keep it together, screaming, speaking, etc. and trying to do a live report while on the phone.

    I know she will find work elsewhere.

    @Curt: re Erin Hawksworth–I know what you mean. She could turn down the volume when doing the show.

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    Darrell 6 years ago

    Does that mean that we won’t hear Philly Bob calling in anymore about Barb Diguilio? I loved listening to her with Gord Stellick back in the day and even recently with Jeff Sammut.

    I think it’s that idiot Don Kollins’ finger prints all over this one.

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    Michael 6 years ago

    I don’t listen to the Fan live anymore as I now liven in England, but I was a big fan the Soccer Show. I downloaded the podcast every week but I just found out that along with these firings that it has been canceled.

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    Best segments with Barb back in the day, were the “Lunchbag Letdown” segments with Dan Shulman and Gord Stellick….that’s going back a number of years however.

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    I’m pretty sure McCown was either fired or left at some point and then they hired him back. So by my count, Barb was the longest standing original. She knew her stuff don’t be fooled. Many that have worked with her through the years can attest to that. I know many of them. She was kept doing updates most of the time while they gave others more breaks. She stuck to her guns and became a voice synonymous with their brand. They squandered an opportunity to give her the spotlight but regardless, she was/is an icon for sports radio. Rogers decides who their listeners want to hear, not the listeners. They think they can stick anyone on and listeners will be satisfied. It’s indeed a sad day. Hope to hear you soon Barb!

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    Chris 6 years ago

    I know the article was about Barb. I’m saddened about her loss. But I’m more saddened about the loss of Ann Doose. She was the best on air newscaster of the bunch. Her sense of humour and wit, made me laugh many a time. Fortunately, for me, not Ann, I caught the ‘fartin spitness’ intro as Barb D. came on for sports. It should have been ‘sparten fitness’! I’ll miss Ann.

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    Anthony 6 years ago

    Struggled with Barb’s lack of accountability on the Riley Armstrong death reporting. Never owned up to it, passed the puck.

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    Martin 5 years ago

    Heard Barb D On AM610 St Catherines Today (17)Doing Fill In Work For A Host Who Is On Holidays This Week….

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    Darrin 4 years ago

    What happened to bob mackowycz?