Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

by mike in boston – @mikeinboston – hatemailaccount /gmail /com

 

I have a bunch of things in the queue to discuss but those will have to wait since this was a busy week in Toronto sports radio news. Hopefully people will still want to talk about the Sterling saga and Mark Cuban’s comments by next weekend.

 

The two big stories are: 1) Brady’s very candid appearance on Toronto Mike’s podcast, and 2) Dean Blundell’s try-out by the FAN as Blair’s co-host.

 

Jim Lang Speaks

 

Not much backstory is needed here. Brady & Lang replaced Andrew Krystal in 2011 and remained in that slot until fall 2013, when Lang was let go. Andrew Walker was brought in on a trial basis and has been Brady’s co-host ever since. After listening to the Toronto Mike podcast I reached out to Jim Lang to see if he would like to set the record straight on his time with Brady and the end of his tenure on the FAN’s morning show. Here is his reply.

 

JL: Before I respond to your questions let me make one thing perfectly clear, Greg Brady is one of the most talented broadcasters I have ever worked with. Bar none. When Greg is in a zone he is one of the best this country has to offer. And yes, sometimes even better than Bob McCown. A few months before he started at the Fan while he was still at 640 Greg did a 5 minute commentary on the passing of Ernie Harwell. It was good as anything I had ever heard on Toronto sports radio. So while some may not like Greg and his style at times, you can’t question the man’s talent. I don’t, and I was glad to have the opportunity to work with him as long as I did.

 

Q: A commenter claimed that you left the morning show for family reasons. Is that true?

 

JL: In no way, shape or form did I quit. I have never quit a job in my life. The date was Monday, September 9th, 2013. We had just finished the morning show and we made our way over to Don Kollins office for our usual post-show meeting. Don asked Greg, Andrew and everyone else involved in the show to sit in a boardroom and wait. Then Don called me into his office and broke the news.

 

Don was a complete professional about the whole thing and could not have been more empathetic about what he was doing. Goodness knows Don and I didn’t always agree on everything, but I will always be grateful how well he treated me in the dismissal process and the usual legal issues and paperwork that come with these kind of moves. Don also taught me some things about the craft of being a good broadcaster that I also greatly appreciate. As I understand it, after I left, he went into the boardroom and broke the news to everyone.

 

Now is my family happier that I am not on the Fan morning show anymore? Yes they are. Staying up until 11:30PM to watch an over-time playoff game then getting up at 4AM to drive downtown to work is a killer. But my wife was always very supportive and never once pressured me at all to make a change. So to make a long story short, no, I did not quit for family reasons.

 

Q: Brady cited a lack of chemistry between you two. Was that your impression as well?

 

I listened to what Greg had to say and I can’t really disagree with any of his theories why there was a parting of the ways. Greg used the analogy of a band splitting up for artistic differences and in this case, it fits. My idea of sports radio and Greg’s idea were different. Anyone who listened to us could hear that we had very different on air styles and a different way of getting results.

 

Greg was also correct in his assessment that, at the end, the show just wasn’t clicking the way it could or should have. That isn’t a reflection of the talent of either one of us, it was more of a case that the time of the two of us working together, as Greg noted, had run its course. It happens in radio, life, marriage and business. You deal with it and move on. I know I have and so has Greg. I enjoyed my time there and, most days, loved working with Greg on the show.

 

But by the end I knew Greg wasn’t totally happy with the sound and the direction of the show. That causes tension and when you are part of an all-sports morning show that tension is a killer. You are sleep deprived to begin with and juggling a family, life and the stresses of trying to host what you hope is a successful morning show can weigh on you. Greg mentioned that he is happy now and find the chemistry that he has with Andrew is better. That’s good. That is the way it should be.

 

I am the morning man at a new FM station based in Markham, 105.9 The Region. I know what it means to have good chemistry. It makes the pain up getting up at 4:15AM every day so much easier and it makes it a lot more fun to come into work.

 

The best way to sum it all up would be Michael Corleone’s line from the “Godfather” – It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business. That is all this was. A business decision that Don Kollins and the Fan felt was in the best interest of the morning show and the station. In this business decisions like that happen all the time. I was more than fairly compensated for my time on the show and I like to think there was a segment of the audience who like what I did and liked my style.

 

The cold hard reality of this business is not everyone is going to like you. Usually 40% of the audience likes you, 40% hates you and remaining 20% are indifferent but they listen anyway. As Greg also pointed out in the podcast our ratings were solid. I like to think I played a role in those ratings. So I left the show with my head held high and proud of the work we did there.

 

—-

 

Pretty classy and forthright response by Jim. I wish him all the best in his new venture. You can follow him @jimlangsports

 

Morning Radio

 

We’ve discussed the peculiar nature of morning radio a lot on this site. I am not its target audience. I’m not stuck in the car, I don’t need to be caught up on the top stories from last night, and I don’t need news and weather updates. So I am not part of either 40% or the 20% that Jim mentions when it comes to the current offerings on TSN and the FAN. That said, I have listened to the morning shows occasionally in order to stay on top of things for this site.

 

As I am typing this on Friday, Mike Richards is reading from the phone book and doing a Donald Trump impression. How this show has an audience, I can’t understand. I thought hiring him was a huge mistake by TSN … essentially Krystal 2.0. But I have been proven wrong so far, and TSN has committed to him for another 3 years. He has managed to find an audience and seems to be growing it. In my opinion, the show is unlistenable.

 

Down the dial, my recollection of Brady & Lang was that one person did a lot of yelling and the other person tried to calm him down. So I agree with Jim that he and Brady have different styles and theories concerning what makes for good radio. The pairing of Brady & Walker has a much faster pace, but as TSM ranted about, this is not everyone’s cup of tea.

 

When I tuned in this week I was surprised to learn that Walker does the updates as well as co-host the show. Was that true of Lang as well? (Someone please fill me in). I think this confirms something that was palpable during the Brady & Lang days: the station views the morning show as Brady & a supporting cast. Personally, I think that’s a little unfair to his co-host — how can you hold your own on the show when there’s a clear statement to the audience that you’re not equals? That said, I think Walker does a good job handling Brady. I suspect his time with Mike Richards in Calgary prepared him well for his current gig.

 

It will be interesting to see if Richards’ show gives back audience share or continues to grow against Brady & Walker in the next couple of years. I doubt the ratings have changed much as a result of the new pairing — people who liked Lang aren’t going to run to Richards, and people who dislike Brady aren’t going to come back to listen to Walker —  but I’ve been wrong about Richards’ appeal so who knows.

 

Overall, neither Lang nor Walker have generated a lot of response on this site. By contrast, Brady does seem to fit the 40/40/20 model: the most common complaints are that he is loud and aggressive, and many people find his Detroit references nauseating. As someone who doesn’t listen often it’s hard for me to evaluate Brady fairly. He was the star of the Brady & Watters show, but that had more to do with Bill’s penchant for complete and utter incoherence. It was not hard to shine against that backdrop. I have no real memory of the short lifespan of the Greg Brady Show from 1-3pm before he moved to mornings. But he’s clearly the lead on the morning show, and that has remained true in the transition from Lang to Walker.

 

Here are my questions for you this weekend: do you listen to one or the other morning show or do you start listening/podcasting later in the day? If you do listen to morning radio, which show and why?

 

Dean Blundell joins the FAN

 

Warning: I have a lot of thoughts on this move by the FAN as well as the media coverage of Blundell’s return to radio. Now might be a good time to get a 2nd cup of coffee.

 

Blundell made his debut this week on the Jeff Blair show. He’s being billed as a special guest host but there is a possibility that this will become a full-time gig. My first reaction on hearing the news was that Blair & Blundell might actually be a good match, given Blair’s history of making racially offensive remarks. I listened to the thursday debut of Blundell live, and one thing is obvious: he is very easy on the ears — smooth, even, and very professional in his delivery.

 

Who is Dean Blundell and how did he end up at the FAN? The short answer is that he hosted a morning show on Toronto music station 102.1 for 13 years. He was fired on January 6th of this year as a result of homophobic comments he made on the air.

 

Let’s start with Don Kollins’ decision to hire Blundell. There are a lot of angles to this move. Recent ratings suggest that Blair’s show is not really thriving, and so the decision to bring in a co-host makes sense. There may be a silent majority who love the Blair show, but people here have commented that Blair’s reliance on call-in segments as well as his tendency to stammer and interrupt himself and others make the show eminently missable. Macko & Cauz over on TSN Radio provide a decent alternative. So, hiring a co-host is totally understandable as a business move.

 

Damian Goddard, Yunel Escobar, Mike Toth. What do all these names have in common? They were all let go by Rogers for making remarks that were deemed offensive, either to women or to gays. Rogers has a track record of cutting ties with people who bring negative attention to the company by making controversial remarks. We could debate the merits of each of those cases individually some other time, but for present purposes the differences don’t matter much.

 

This is what makes the Blundell hire puzzling. Bob McCown (and others) very publicly called for Yunel’s expulsion from the organization following Yunel’s use of a gay slur on his eye black. (I wrote about this a while back). So hiring a shock jock who was fired for homophobic remarks doesn’t fit with Roger’s corporate image. I contacted Don Kollins for a comment but he did not reply.

 

Simon Houpt, The Globe’s senior media writer, was all over this story. He published two pieces this week. The first was a profile of Blundell, and the second was a report on his new job at the FAN. I strongly recommend reading both before reading on.

 

There are some noteworthy aspects in both of Houpt’s stories. At the time of his comments, Blundell issued a public statement apologizing for his homophobic remarks and acknowledging them as such. But, in his profile Houpt quotes Blundell as saying “The company hired a crisis-management company and said: We need you to read this on air. I said, I don’t want to read it; I didn’t write that, that’s not from me, and I don’t find the comments homophobic. And they said: Read it.”

 

Houpt’s story is a profile, so it is not aiming to offer opinion or commentary. So let me break down this quote. Blundell tried to appease his employer by reading a statement with which he disagreed. Presumably he did this in order to keep his job, since if he felt strongly enough about it he could have refused to read it. He was fired anyway. Houpt described Blundell’s admission as one given under “duress” but I’m not buying that. He was free to stand by his principles and read some other comment, or he was free to say nothing. Further, if the duress was “say this or get fired” then presumably he would still be employed.

 

Now, since Blundell doesn’t understand why his comments are homophobic, let me explain. When discussing the case of a gay man being sentenced to 5 years in prison, Blundell said: “All I know is that you have damned a man to five of the greatest years of his life.”

 

The implication is the following. The guy who was sentenced is gay. As a gay man he likes gay sex. In prison, he will be raped by men. Since he likes gay sex, he will enjoy being raped by men. That’s why those years will be great for him.

 

The stereotype that Blundell was playing off is that gay men only care about sex. That’s why it is homophobic. (Dean: you’re welcome to contact me if I missed some aspect of the joke). See, people like you and me would not enjoy being raped, but gays love gay sex so much that they’d enjoy it even if it was not consensual.

 

If you’re not already convinced that this is a horrible comment, consider the following parallel claim: men shouldn’t be convicted for raping slutty women. They clearly like sex, so what’s the problem?

 

I have no idea whether Blundell dislikes gay people. Only his friends and colleagues can speak to that. The comment is more dumb than it is hateful. But that’s sort of irrelevant. The comment is patently offensive to gays, and to anyone who cares about the civil equality of homosexuals and thus wants to eliminate the social acceptability of anti-gay rhetoric.

 

In his second piece, Houpt quotes Rogers VP Julie Adam: “Rogers has a zero tolerance in regards to discrimination, and our track record speaks to that, and we wouldn’t have him in if we felt there was going to be any risk to our reputation regarding that.”

 

I don’t see how this claim can be sincere, unless Julie Adam agrees with Blundell that his comments were totally unproblematic. I don’t think that’s what she thinks. Rather, the truth is that by hiring Blundell you ARE risking your reputation. In fact, in hiring Blundell it looks like Rogers is OK with hosts who have a track record of homophobic and misogynistic comments as long as there is a potential for ratings gains. (If I’m Goddard, I’m asking for my job back.)

 

All of these issues are left hanging in Houpt’s article. He’s the closest thing we have to a media critic at one of the major newspapers and this is a huge media story that goes beyond sports, so I was hoping either for more balance or for more opinion from his articles.

 

When you read both of them together, they seem to be pushing a redemption angle for Blundell. See for example: in the first piece Blundell is quoted praising the FAN (recall — this is before he was announced as joining them). This makes it seem like part of the point of the piece was to help Blundell lobby for a job. In the second piece Houpt says that “critics” of Blundell will be “disappointed” to hear that he might return to radio full-time. To refer to people who find homophobic rape jokes offensive as “critics” (why not just call them “haters” and be done with it) is a tad disingenuous. The subtext of Houpt’s articles, to my eyes at least, was clear: welcome back Dean Blundell! I’m curious if others disagree with me about this.

 

Blundell spoke credibly about sports during the segments I heard. I’m sure he will do well in his new role as long as he can keep his desire to offend in check. After 13 years of trying to shock people, I wonder how he will deal with being told by Rogers to be someone he’s not. That said, I think this is an unfortunate move for Rogers. I wonder what kind of feedback they will get from advertisers. I’m also disappointed about the endless recycling in Canadian sports radio. Rather than hiring someone new and fresh who has worked his or her way up, Rogers has chosen retrograde motion.

 

Toronto Mike covered the end of the Blundell show in depth on his site. I asked him for his thoughts about the hire: “Dean Blundell’s family ties to Rogers [are] well documented. I’m not surprised this opportunity opened up. I’ll be surprised if he continues with his podcast considering how public he was with his belief podcasting is for losers.”

 

I also reached out to the always insightful Chris Zelkovich, who had this to say: “Blundell may know sports, but the big question is: Does he know sports radio? The FAN tried this kind of thing a few years ago with shock jock Andrew Krystal and it was pretty much a disaster. Krystal was who he was and couldn’t really adapt to the sports format. That’s the big challenge for Blundell. If he can tone it down, he might make it. But if he resorts to his usual MO, he won’t be around long.”

 

Questions for you: What do you think about this move? Does Blundell’s past matter or not? Will this make you more likely to listen to Jeff Blair? Is Blundell being groomed to take over the morning show?

 

as always, thanks for reading and commenting

until next time …

mike (in boston)

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 105
  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 6 years ago

    I am not for this move or against this move of putting Dean Blundell with Jeff Blair. I am not familiar with Blundell’s homophobic comments made on 102.1 The Edge; but after reading things on Twitter and social media it is obvious he ruffled feathers and for homophobic comments to made on the radio in this day and age is wrong…

    I don’t know what to make of Blair + Blundell together but especially given the Brady/Lang/Walker trio with Lang being ousted it sounds like they are giving Blundell a trial “minor league” deal (to use a sports term) and see if he can resurrect his career and force Blair out.

    I personally do not enjoy Jeff Blair’s work on air and his constant stammering and forgetting that he is hosting, “The Ah Jeff Blair Show”; but Don Kollins is making more wrong moves than right with personnel at the FAN. Outside of Tim + Sid + Jeff Sammut – there are not a lot of listenable talent on the air.

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    tbone 6 years ago

    Not that what Dean Blundell said was right in any way, but I would like to point out that there are consensual sexual interactions in prison. To automatically assume he meant that homosexual people enjoy rape seems like you’re jumping to conclusions and stereotyping prison inmates.

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    McLean_Deluxe 6 years ago

    Your view of the Blundell forced apology is very naive and reveals a lack of understanding on how every single radio company works. Usually after something controversial happens the PD will beg the “offenders” to read a fake apology on air to save jobs and a “suspension” takes place. Orders from parent company usually follow and result in the dismissal. 99% of these are fake apologies that never save their job. These parent company succumb to special interest groups that don’t make up their listeners, fire DJs, than lose 50% listeners. Just dumb.

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    McLean_Deluxe 6 years ago

    Also, there is no “new and fresh” in radio. Why? Because people complain and pick apart every offensive comment/segment/bit of shows they don’t actually like or listen to so companies go with a pre-packaged, pre-scripted, fake bit heavy schlock because it is safe, cheap and easy and precisely why terrestrial radio is dying.

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    Dean Blundell definitely has talent and a voice that is easy to listen to. If he does the prep work needed to be a good sports radio host I could see him being good, but I won’t go out of my way to listen to him. I was glad to hear he was fired from Edge 102. It seemed like whenever I would flip over he would talk about his ex-wife, dating or belittle other people and it seemed like he just showed up for work and put in no effort.

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    Amazing blog post, no, articleMIB.

    Perhaps Blundell is on a one strike and you’re out policy. Haven’t listened yet but if he can be a competent host then this could turn out really well for both.

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    Westdale Rocks 6 years ago

    Let’s compare Blundell to Donald Sterling, shall we? Sterling: Rogers wholeheartedly condemned his comments and will, presumably, use its 37.5% share in the Raptors ownership to vote against Sterling on June 3 and begin the process of removing his franchise from him. Blundell: Rogers gives him airtime and may give him a full time gig. For those who argue that the Blundell and Sterling comments are dissimilar….are they?

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    Wow. Thanks for clarifying the Jim Lang situation and kudos to Jim Lang for his class description of what obviously had to have been a difficult situation. I had no clue he was back on the air on FM and I will catch his show Monday. I can’t remember verbatim what Greg Brady said regarding Jim Lang at the end of his first show the morning after Lang left but the context was that the hours were too much of a strain on Jim and he chose to leave. So, until now, I have been listening to the Brady & Walker show in the context of ‘this is forced, Walker was a quick hire and this is Brady’s second choice after Lang’ – which is exactly how the show feels to listen to! Now that I know Walker is what Brady and the producer wanted over Lang, I don’t get it!

    I found a much better synergy with Brady and Lang; Lang was a great, often incredulous counterpunch to Brady. They were great partners. I guess it just wasn’t a fit for Brady though I never sensed that when listening to the show. My only wish was that they get rid of the buzz-kill junior hockey reporter ( can’t remember his name, but he went out with Lang ). The show was genuinely funny without being stupid like the insulting Mike Richards debacle on 1050. The only thing I can think is that Brady, like me, like many – saw the tongue chewing troglodytes eating their own fecies down the dial on the Mike Richards ‘show’ as an opportunity to even more clearly define his show in the Toronto market by bringing in a more ‘IBM type’ like Walker. Monkeys in a cage on 1050, serious sports talk on 590; we’ll see how it goes.

    For me 590 is too IBM now and while I never used to go down to 1050, I do now occasionally flip down to Richards but only stay there if they have a segment with Dreger or McGuire or basically, anyone except the incredibly lame Scarface or Trump or whomever impersonations. Without the leverage from TSN TV’s on-air talent, Richards’ ratings would likely be half what they are – ditto for Macko & Cauz & Naylor. Brian Hayes’ show is the only TSN radio program that can stand on its own, best show in this market. Richards laughs his ass off at material that is patently not funny; I can only believe that he is either high or drunk or both. Note to Richards: crap celebrity impersonations are barely watchable on Fallon or Kimmel, do you really think yours are funny? There just seems to be no highs or lows on Brady & Walker – just a steady drone. I’m not sure if Lang grew up in the area, but he did have a much deeper knowledge about Toronto sports and was able to throw in anecdotes about players and games etc. than Walker – unless they’re talking Red Deer Rebels at 5:40 AM.

    Brady was in Detroit a long time and is someone Rogers went out and got. It is his show and he makes the decisions. We’ll see if this is a good one. But, given his ‘competition’, I imagine he could stay on the air as long as he wants to because of all the time slots in Toronto, Richards vs Brady probably has the most clearly separated audiences with the least crossover.

    Moving on – I was wondering who the hell that voice was on Jeff Blair’s show last week. Never heard the name Blundell before reading this post. Homophobic comments are unfortunately part of our society but are on the wane as people become more informed. Blundell has paid a price for his comments and hopefully is more enlightened now. To condemn him or Rogers for life isn’t the way his comments should be approached. See @burkieycp and how he handles these kind of comments whenever they come up.

    Money talks and Blundell has a following. Rogers’ pairing him with Blair is a naked ‘purchase’ of whatever following Blundell has. I imagine Blundell is on a first year contract on the low end of the scale with a major raise contingent on ratings; we’ll see. To me, any show that has one voice for three hours can always use anybody to keep the show flowing. I have no opinion of Blundell yet – only heard him for an hour and was neither shocking or interesting. Nobody is better in this market at baseball analysis than Jeff Blair and I appreciate his candor in criticizing the company that signs his checks when it comes to Jays talk. I’m not a big baseball fan but whenever Blair is talking ball with Martinez or anybody I find it genuinely fascinating to hear them chew on the endless intricacies of the game.

    The Lang & Blundell moves are a function of the ratings pressure from TSN. Rogers had it easy for a long time. TSN is exerting pressure on previously held monopolies. Bobcat is feeling the heat the most. Hayes’ ratings are growing and if it wasn’t for the luck of grabbing Tim & Sid, Rogers overall would really be sinking. I wonder what the dollar figure is for profits lost by 590 since TSN came on the scene.

    I guess all the stoned, hungover students who listen to Richards in bed have a quick nap, then wakeup to the airhorn show on 590 from 1-4 PM. Tim & Sid are a very close second to Richards in terms of delivering offensive, ear shrilling, fecal gargling excrement. If 590 had a three hour show comprised entirely of people with long fingernails clawing on a chalkboard? I’d tune in there before degrading myself by listening to Tim,Sid or Richards.

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    @ Darrell: Jeff Sammut? Firstly, he was at the Fan before DK showed up. Secondly, he’s awful as a host. When he was doing bits on the morning show, he was often funny. But his voice is difficult to listen to for long stretches. He simply doesn’t sound intelligent. I turn the channel each time I hear him, an act usually reserved for Roger Lajoie or an Omni Jewel Crafters ad.
    I don’t see Blundell sticking with The Fan. He has little detailed sports knowledge and it makes me wonder if Dean had a long-term contract and was being paid regardless of whether he was working. That said, I’m not a fan. I stopped listening to the Edge about two years after Blundell replaced Humble and Fred. It was too rude for my taste. I think he’s an average broadcaster at best.
    It’s time to call out the so-called Don Kollins (not his real name). He replaced Nelson Millman. Millman put talents like Strombolopoulous, Marek, Friedman, and Sansone on the air. Who has Don Kollins discovered? Perhaps Brady, but I rarely listen to the morning show now. Tim and Sid were known before coming to the Fan. And my thoughts on Sammut were heard.
    The negatives: Under DK we have a lot more Shannon; Cox as a co-host on PTS; Brady in the morning (please stop yelling); a Hockey Central at Noon show that has lost its way; a struggling Jeff Blair hosting a show that ultimately gives us too much Blair (he’s much better in small doses like on PTS); Sammut in the evenings on weekends.
    The positives: Tim and Sid.
    You could certainly argue that the programming director at TSN 1050 has out-managed Kollins. Richards, despite Mike’s thoughts, has consistently gained on Brady; M&C is more listenable than the JBS, even if it’s not stellar programming; Leafs Lunch is far more fun than Hockey Central, though Hayes clearly loses to Tim and Sid once his co-hosts exit; and David Naylor is providing PTS with strong competition (I love Bob but his recent Butch Carter phase had me avoiding his show for long stretches).
    Maybe it’s time Kollins joined Lang on the sidelines.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam in Scarb 6 years ago

    @ Brian…very well written. A couple of further comments.
    Don Kollins (not his real name) VERY true and why does he NOT use his real name?? Hiding something?
    Also, you failed to add the 3 beautiful moves AKA Kollins made bbb bblair,Krystal & and moving PTS to 3 PM start.

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 6 years ago

    I am not saying that Jeff Sammut is the best because he is not; but I would gladly listen to him than hear Jeff Blair host the “Jeff Blair Show” and hear him constantly say, “You are listen to Sportsnet the FAN 590 and you are listening to the ah Jeff Blair Show!” Ah hello, it’s your freakon’ name show!

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 6 years ago

    Once Nelson Millman was gone from the FAN – the station has gone downhill fast under the leadership of Don Kollins!

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    Well, obviously Blundell has made some gross, offensive comments. But I don’t think it necessarily follows that he’s a homophobic or bigoted person. Just seems like dumb, fratboy humour to me (which I’m sure the Edge encouraged in its morning show).

    So I dunno! Unless Blundell comes on and starts being wildly inappropriate, I don’t know that The Fan hiring Blundell has to be viewed as a moral issue. From what I’ve heard so far, Krystal was waaaay more inappropriate (I seem to remember he called Ines Sainz a slut or a skank or something right off the bat?). Not that Krystal should be a yardstick for anything, but Blundell just sounded like a normal host to me.

  • comment-avatar

    What I think will be interesting, is where The Fan puts Blundell if he stays on. Even though he’s got a black mark right now, he *was* a pretty big star in the market. A lot of sports radio stations have had success putting popular rock radio DJs, who aren’t sports experts, in the AM drive. (I believe, Mike, a station in Boston had a lot of success with that?).

    Just seems as though having Blundell on with Blair 9 to noon would make less sense then having Blundell in the morning. Would they be willing to shake it up after Brady found a decent thing with Walker? Maybe the three of them host? Or maybe Brady/Blundell in the AM, Blair and Walker 9 – 12?

  • comment-avatar
    Denial 6 years ago

    @Brian: I’m with you on the Jeff Sammut thing — and as for changing radio stations, I have it down to *nanoseconds* when I hear: “Sauuuuulll Kor–“. I’m surprised those ads work, the only function I can see of them is exhibits in a clinical class on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    As for Blundell — seriously, do these shock jocks have an original thought? Are they even dimly aware of how predictable they are? Geez.

    My take on all this is that Kollins is still obsessed with going after an edgier audience — maybe because, like a GM of a team who is sensing the end may be hear, is doubling down on his “theory of what works” because it’s now or never. I mean, as has been pointed out here many times, Kollins has been something of a train wreck and if he were to leave today, his legacy would be more of an object lesson for future PDs than a case study.

    Anyway, I stopped listening to the Fan last Thursday feel good about voting with my radio dial.

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    @Brian and @Denial – I am so with you regarding Sammutt, worse thing on radio until George Rusic came along. Paired, I would rather take a cheese grater to my face than listen.

  • comment-avatar
    Denial 6 years ago

    @Ken: I appreciate what you’re saying about George Russic, and he’s on the list of radio people that I prefer not to listen to. However, I must say that, for me, Jeff Sammutt is in a category unto himself. There are times — few, but admittedly, some — where I will actually listen to Sammutt simply to be *amazed* at how much I cannot stand listening to him. It’s a kind of aural masochism.

    It’s not simply that he’s incapable of analysis (this alone would hardly make him stand out). It’s that he’s so *smarmy*. Those of a certain vintage will remember a show called WKRP, and there was this fill-in DJ named Rex…he was deliberately cast as the anti-Johnny…dripping with cliches, deriving a sense of staggering self-importance from nothing other than being on the radio.

    Whenever I steel myself up for a 10-15 second Sammut Hit, I can’t help but think that he watched WKRP as a kid as well, and while I (and most of humanity) was going “wow, that Rex sure is a dick!”, Sammut was going “that guy…that’s the guy…sweet lord above, that’s the guy!”

    For those who want to go even farther down the rabbit hole, here you go (Jeff– I mean Rex is in the first scene)

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x48kkb_rumors-part-1_fun

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    Denial 6 years ago

    ooops I meant WKRP in Cincinatti…

    “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

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    (Mike In Boston asked me for my thoughts)

    If Blundell is going to regularly be on the Jeff Blair Show, I won’t be listening anymore (and I do, occasionally, and I DL the podcasts if there’s a topic I think might be interesting to hear Blair speak about). What he said was homophobic and made a joke of prison rape (and it was about prison rape, because gay relationships can happen in ANY occupation, prison is the specific one where people joke that rape is rampant, and the “he’s gay, he’ll love it there!” is a very common joke when talking about gay men in prison, and it’s gross), and it hits hard at me as a person who doesn’t like those kinds of jokes, as a person that’s part of the LGBT community, and as a rape survivor. :\ So I won’t listen to him.

    It has nothing to do with whether I think people SHOULD or SHOULDN’T care, but stuff like this can sour me (or any other listener/consumer) on a personality and not want to listen/consume his stuff anymore. There’s a host on the FAN that I also don’t listen to because he harassed me on Twitter after we got into a disagreement. I don’t think anybody else has to not listen to him, but as a consumer it’s fair that I wouldn’t want to for personal reasons right? This is the same deal. Like the Donald Sterling thing. Whether or not the tapes were obtained legally or not, once consumers heard them they can’t unhear them, and you can’t force somebody to support somebody they don’t want to. You can’t tell me I MUST listen to Dean Blundell on Jeff Blair and I’m not allowed to tune off because of my personal feelings towards what he’s done in the past. I’m also not telling other people they have to or not, people can make their own judgements on what their breaking point is.

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    I have never listened to Blundell, and I have been here since ’89, so it is a moot point for me, since I don’t listen to Blair, coming to the conclusion that he is not a professional broadcaster due to his lack of radio acumen and it is not worth it for me to get my baseball fix in due to that, even though he knows the sport inside out.

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    Nice change of pace with Sid hosting the Friday roundtable. He keeps things quick and light, which I like. Hope he’s subbing in for Bob next week if Bob is away.

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    Sam, I agree with you. Sid was far better in this venue, where he appeared actually humble at times and even a bit uncomfortable with the format, but I will take that over the incessant air horns on Tim and Sid, which if they could eliminate, or minimize the childish props, would be tolerable. Sid can actually function without going on a rant, and just rely on his sports knowledge, something as well I would like to see less of. The panel played a big part, as the usual FOB’s were absent.

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    Drumanchor 6 years ago

    I wouldn’t want to deny a person a right to earn a living, however, shock-jock radio is the lowest of the low. The fact that Blundell is back on radio smells like a cheap stunt to attract those “edgy” 18-34 year old male listeners.

    Let’s see if it works.

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    Denial 6 years ago

    @Sam: Both Tim and Sid have talent. However, even though they have chemistry, IMO they don’t bring out the best in each other professionally. Specifically, they both have a tendency to lose sight of the primary, core fact that the Fan 590 is *sports radio*.

    That doesn’t mean that it’s all stats and highlights all the time. And it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean that they should interview mindless sports figures (something that you really have to credit McCown for identifying ages ago…athletes in general are unlistenable). But it means that they can’t, paradoxically, hijack their own show and make it subservient to their personality preferences. Only McCown can do this — and only because he has the credibility (the fact that he’s been mailing in 75% of his shows for the last couple of years doesn’t erase the fact that prior to that he was a perennial all star).

    But that’s what Tim & Sid are doing…and what’s really interesting, is that you can actually *detect* the mechanism when this is happening; you can sense that both of them see the show slipping away, but because it’s moving at such a fast pace and because neither of them wants to ‘scold’ the other, they end up adding low-grade fuel to either other’s garbage fire. This is most apparent when they (ostensibly) interview guests, who rightly cannot fully grasp whether they are part of some subtle insider joke that they don’t get. Whenever Sid backs up for one of his prototypical “ask one or two serious questions to set up the per-conceived punchline” vectors, I actually start wincing.

    Again, McCown is the master here — when he’s on his game, he knows EXACTLY when to pull back, and step aside (and one thing you really have to like about McCown…maybe the only thing at this point, is that he will almost always stay quiet and let his guests get through their point…he may strike back with a “here’s why everything you said is stupid,” but he’ll let them finish). Tim and Sid don’t have the instincts yet and so they don’t really help each other. I think Tim would would exceptionally well with Brunt, and Sid with (believe it or not) Brady.

    Wow…sorry for the long post. It’s the McDonalds coffee.

    And again, as for Blundell — let’s get some knowns out of the way:

    – Rogers has more money than most small countries and could recruit broadcasting talent from anywhere in the solar system
    – Rogers is VERY sensitive to optics and are clearly much more concerned with perspectives than they are with principles

    So in light of this, in my view hiring Blundell has to be about trying to recruit 18-25 year olds (or maybe with the growing kidult population these days, could be 18-30) into the sportsnet family. I mean, as we all know, radio is SO much about habit, and there’s money to be made in getting 18-25/30 year olds stuck to your brand; especially if you have lots and lots of shiny digital products, and you want to drill advertisers with the highest possible rates.

    So, my not listening is less to do with Blundell’s comments (I personally think he’s too stupid to be a legitimate, competent homophobe), and more to do with the Fan saying that they aren’t really interested in listeners like me…educated…critical…high expectations…don’t drink 14 Red Bulls a day, etc.

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    Just chiming in to say that Denial’s “adding low-grade fuel to [each] other’s garbage fire” is a hysterical line, and is a pretty accurate description of Tim & Sid when they are not on their game.

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    Drumanchor 6 years ago

    @ Denial:

    What an outstanding post. Absolutely first-rate.

    (Should be required reading for everyone at Rogers and The Fan.)

    D.

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    Mullah_Kintyre 6 years ago

    The “crap” impersonations from Richards, and Cauz are the only reasons I ever listen to 1050. Someone needs to make fun of all those other boring idiots and particularly the hockey pucks who take themselves way too seriously, and put me to sleep or make me want change the station. I can’t listen to either of the sports stations between noon and 1pm. Once every few months I’ll turn it on for a few seconds forgetting what’s on at that time, hear one guy call another “Noodles”, and immediately shut it off.

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    Ya – forgot about HCN – I stopped listening as they are the most ‘IBM’ of all the Fan590 shows. The triumphant Olympic music intro is so over the top – and then cut to Millard with stone faced Kypreos and Maclean — they could open with talking about how Morgan Rielly sat in the press box last night and they deliver it with as much gravitas as a political roundtable show the day after 9/11. I don’t see Kypreos sticking with the show now that he’s a big cheese ‘National’ hockey reporter on Saturday night HNIC. I like Kypreos though, he knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, he just needs to be surrounded by better people.

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    Sam in Scarb 6 years ago

    The Blue Jays are sooo much better without J P Arencibia. It’s not always the players you add but,the players you subtract.

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    Denial 6 years ago

    @Mike in boston – appreciated. I sometimes lose the string on my adjectives and they float away into the ether (not unlike this one…). I’m not suggesting that what Tim and Sid do is easy. A daily open format radio show has a lot of moving parts, and there’s only so much that hosts can control. I just think that they too easily forget (and in my view this is happening a lot more frequently) that this isn’t the Tim & Sid Cable Access Show.

    What I’m saying, is that there are times when they ‘have to let the joke go’ — even if it’s hilarious, apt or pithy. They have to bring things back to sports, and sometimes, seriously talk about issues vs. use issues as mere target practice for various zingers.

    That AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL air horn is the most egregious expression of this madness…it’s like the ‘boo button’ in those table top hockey games they used to have in hockey arenas (not sure if they still do). You don’t blow your boo button load in the first period. You bide your time and wait…and wait…and wait for your buddy to try and set up the perfect one timer (i.e. ramming his center forward and hopefully smashing it in off his stomach or head) before you go hard on the boo button.

    IMO, what would really help Tim & Sid is just if they had a stronger presence around them who won’t let them get away with their Rozencrants & Gildenstern are Dead act. I mean, to borrow a phrase from music, they ‘stay in the pocket’ very well when they’re on PTS; even when Bob isn’t there, but *especially* when he is.

    Anyway, I actually like both of them (I don’t know them, but I think I’d like them if I did) and I hope they do well. But I think they need to play with other Fan 590 children for a while.

    @Drumanchor: Thank you — I don’t know if anyone reads these and takes us seriously. But they should (I’m not talking about my posts), because the feedback on this board in particular has to be a billion times more valuable than a survey.

    Does anyone know if the guys in short pants at Sportsnet read this and other blogs? I recall Damien Cox obnoxiously referring to this board once (of course he wouldn’t reference it by name or do more than make a vague ovation to it).

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    Ya Denial I agree that on PTS they are better – well, one of them. I don’t know who is Tim or who is said but the one with hair, when he’s on PTS he’s good except when he picks on one sore topic and screams in the microphone for 7 minutes in a row like he did about figure skating a while back.

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    I find myself listening to TSN1050 more and more except for Prime Time Sports when Brunt is around, just because I find TSN’s hosts way less obnoxious. They tend to just focus on talking about sports, and they might not be the personalities that the FAN have, but it means they don’t have the “when they’re bad, they’re really bad” thing that Blair, Brady, Tim & Sid, etc have.

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    First off, tip of the cap to Mike in Boston for his well-considered and valued contributions to this site.

    As a long-time Fan 590 listener, I too have started to listen to TSN 1050 more and more. I agree with many of the opinions with respect to Fan 590 hosts /co-hosts but I would also like to comment on how uninteresting / superficial / orthodox I find many of the guest experts.

    On the hockey front, Glenn Healey, Ed Olczyk, Kevin Weekes, Scott Morrison, John Shannon et al offer basically the same orthodox, traditional view; there is no advanced analytics perspective offered by the Fan. People can differ on the validity of “fancy stats”, but would the listener not benefit from a perspective other than the “leadership-culture-identity-grit” mantra offered by the likes of the Fan’s experts? Successful NHL teams use advanced analytics; how can the Fan cover NHL hockey properly by ignoring the information that the teams are using?

    With respect to baseball, I would like to hear from younger voices, such as the contributors to Drunk Jays Fans and more frequent visits from Jonah Keri. The Fan has not replaced the insights of Dan Shulman and Dirk Hayhurst.

    Bob Ryan? Really? Bob Ryan?

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    Darrell 6 years ago

    The ABSOLUTE WORSE act that has worn out it’s time is Mike Wilner! We’ve always heard the cons regarding the guy.

    Every single one of us have a particular favorite sports team that we follow. We can see the good and bad. Yet with Mike Wilner he takes calls and that’s great to get the feedback from Jays Nation.

    For the life of me – I will never understand how that guy remains at the station. You call in, share your view and you have to say everything Wilner feels. You cannot praise the team when it is going well, share your frustrations as “it’s still early” and you can NEVER go opposite to the host or you are cut free. It is SO UNLISTENABLE!

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    Denial 6 years ago

    @Bob: oh lawd…I forgot about Bob Ryan (I think repressed is more accurate). Seriously — Bob Ryan makes Michael Grange sound like Dan Shulman (say that 3 times fast!).

    Within 5 minutes of a Bob Ryan interview — which is typically somewhere in the answer to “Hi Bob, how are you?” — I feel a wave of despair at the cellular level.

    @Darrell: Wilner IMO is perhaps the most polarizing sports personality — I’ve never met anyone who was indifferent to him. Personally, I find his lack of emotional intelligence to be totally wrong for sports radio. He’d be so much better off on 640 ranting about this or that. I think Dirk Hayhurst would have been a perfect replacement — he knows baseball, he can certainly sustain a show by himself, and unlike Wilner, he sees the bigger picture and can take a stupid fan comment (i.e. “why don’t we trade RA Dickey for some kind of ray gun that can be used to freeze opposing batters”) and actually spin it into something intelligent or insightful. He’s actually almost McCownesque in his ability.

    Wilner is extremely intellectual, but he’s not particularly smart. Smart is knowing how to handle people, not just facts.

    Or…maybe one of these days Jerry Howarth will just *snap* on Wilner and tear him a new one. Let’s all meditate together on this and it might happen!

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    Denial 6 years ago

    @Yaz: Sorry, I missed your response. The one with hair (LOL!) is Sid. I think PTS just forces them out of their club house and that extra bit of awareness helps them both. They also probably know in the back of their mind (and probably the front and sides for that matter) that they are on McCown’s turf, and if they mess up he will banish them. So they err on the side of caution and I think they’re better for it (read: no airhorn on PTS).

    but…with this being said, it’s not like PTS is some kind of Mensa meeting. In between asinine chatter and a “let’s see who can be more glib and pretend to care less about this issue than the other” (this is usually a McCown-Cox ping pong match, although Bob is clever enough pull almost anyone into his caustic orbit), there’s not a hell of a lot going on.

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    People all irate at Blundell should just relax. Sure what he said was in poor taste, but it was hardly
    The worst thing ever said. Other above said or done far worse. His problem was, in his position he is held to a higher sytandard, and all media companies are frankly too scared now of any controversy and are quick to over react.

    Not justifying anything he said to get booted, but if you spent any time at all listening to him, you would know he is far from a homophobe. If anything, guilty of being too juvenile trying to cater to his 20 something target audience.

    Dean seems to be quite an intelligent guy ( ok misguided at times). But even on the Edge, when he would have real issues to talk about, he was articulate, well informed and interesting. Sports or not, he could carry his own show for sure in time.

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    Bob Ryan is a classic FOB. He seems like a decent enough guy, but man, he’s a rambler. It must be so easy to produce PTS. All you need is a small rolodex of Bob’s buddies and you’re good to go.

    Like others, I’m tuning in to TSN a lot more these days for intelligent sports talk. What Naylor lacks in personality, he makes up for in substance and brevity. Also, unlike Bob, he seems to have a lack of audience contempt.

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    Claire A Fye 6 years ago

    @Abe: There are some things that are said that get forgotten over time, and some on-air incidents as well. I think you’re right about Blundell being guilty of being too juvenile. I also think what happened to him at The Edge is not something people will forget easily. I don’t think it’s necessary to listen to him for any length of time to believe he’s homophobic. But even if mine is a minority view, it’s apparent from this site that a lot of people feel the same way. That’s why I’m surprised Rogers is giving him this opportunity. That makes it a questionable business decision as well as a questionable moral one.

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    @Ami – an (obviously) very reasonable reason not to listen to Blundell.

    @Denial – funnily enough, I actually prefer sports radio not adhere so strictly to sports. I think the best sports show in North American BY FAR is the Dan LeBatard show. Their goal always seems to be entertaining, rather than to just break down sports. Weird interviews/humour etc. So I enjoy when Tim and Sid veer from just talking sports (ie Cut/Uncut etc). McCown can be good at that kind of thing too sometimes. To each his own, obviously! I think it’s gotten to the point where I read blogs, listen to podcasts for hardcore stuff (usually baseball), and prefer my sports radio to be entertaining above all.

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    I agree with you guys, the last roundtable was great. Brunt is excellent, and I think Blair is terrific on it too. Probably better as a guest on PTS than he is on his own show. That show can be *so* good without Cox and ESPECIALLY without Shannon. Roundtables should mostly be Brunt, Blair, Friedman, Tim, Sid, or Madani’s decent.

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    Since I have never heard more than two minutes of Blundell, I won’t specifically comment on his addition at The FAN … yet.

    On the whole, though, it’s painfully clear Don Kollins is still struggling in Toronto. His small-town programming mentality may have worked in Kitchener, where the biggest headache he encountered was a buffoon named Gary Doyle, but the highly competitive Toronto market is a whole new ballgame for Kollins. His approach comes across as slow, plodding and not particularly creative.

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    Petti 6 years ago

    I rarely listen to sports radio morning shows, but when I did, I enjoyed Brady and Lang leaps and bounds more than Richards. Maybe I am in the minority, but I just don’t enjoy Richards shtick at all and never listen to 1050 unless there is an interesting guest on.
    Again, I may be in the minority here, but I never listened to Dean Blundell on 102.1. I did listen to the Blair show when he co-hosted and, as Mike pointed out, he has that polished, smooth delivery which helps offset Blair’s somewhat shaky delivery. I’ll be tuning in again.

    Great article Mike.

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    I just heard that Blundell is hosting the Blair show this morning at 9:00 a.m., and get this, Blair is going to be on Baseball Central at 11:00 a.m. Since this is not a vacation/sickness replacement, obviously it was Kollins plan all along to see if Blundell can cut it on his own.

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    Not so RD: Blair is sitting in for Bobcat from 4-7. Though you can’t blame Sportsnet for rolling the dice on Blundell – had he not made those politically incorrect jokes he would still be the #1 morning voice in Toronto in the most valuable demographic. And ratings at the Edge in his time slot are down 50% since he was fired.

    I imagine a lot of his listeners are listening today. I only listen to AM or Sirius so I literally have never even heard the name Blundell so I’m a blank slate. I’ve heard he was a shock jock. So far, I’m hearing nothing shocking or even interesting – just a guy who seems to know little about sports anchoring a sports radio show. And he sounds so damn uncomfortable. Plus he keeps giving out the phone number to The Edge to call in.

    Are Fan 590 and The Edge both under the Corus umbrella? Blundell likely still getting paid on his Edge contract. Maybe they just have him on because he’s getting paid anyway. Fan loading up Blundell with experts and his first two segments he had Brady. So far the amount of words out of Blundell’s yapper has been roughly equal to the amount of one caller.

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    So, if Blair loses his show, where does he go? Baseball Central is a seasonal gig and only an hour long anyway. Might he be the first former newspaper columnist hired by Rogers to be tossed to the curb? Hey, there’s always Sportsnet Magazine I suppose (which no one reads).

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    Since Blair only recently left the Globe to go full-time at Rogers, i doubt he will kicked to the curb anytime soon. And i presume he got a good contract to go full time.

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    Probably. But if he’s without a show, where does he go? My guess is he’ll be a full-time columnist in that rumour of a magazine.

    Off topic here, but how long will Rogers continue publishing that thing? I could be wrong and maybe it does better than I think, but I don’t know anyone who reads it. Maybe it’s worth TSM having a look and finding out what the numbers are.

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    They could boot Wilner ans make Blair pre and post gae host for Jays and have him do Jays Talk.

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    I don’t think Blair loses his show. TSM tweeted a few months ago that Blair had seen a huge recent ratings gain.

    I think if you bring in a guy who was one of the top morning guys in Toronto (Blundell), you do it to put him in mornings and hope you can bring in listeners in am drive who aren’t just hard core sports fans. The Fan did that with Derringer in the 90s.

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    I bet well see a Brady/Blundell morning show with Walker as updates/3rd guy like Farwell was.

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    Poker Guy 6 years ago

    Blundell made a boo boo this mornning when giving out the telephone number. He said 416 870 EDGE Ooops. Don’t worry Dean, I’m sure nobody caught it.

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    Denial 6 years ago

    @Daniel: On the sports content front, I actually agree 100% with you. I don’t think that sports radio should ever limit itself to just the ‘nuts and bolts’ of sports. That’s why McCown was so unique and why most people like me who criticize him now aren’t doing it from an irritated “why isn’t he better” angle, so much as a disappointed “wow, he can be SO much better than this” angle.

    Even now, when he feels like showing up, McCown is IMO the undisputed master at taking a sports fact (or set of sports facts) and abstracting back to broader issues and themes that relate to, but transcend, sports. And I don’t necessarily mean in a severe or serious way…it can be done in a hilarious way, too. And you’re right, LeBatard is great at this, but again IMO I think McCown is the best I’ve ever heard. I think this is largely because people of his rather rare personality type rarely even want to become sports broadcasters…in fact, I remember McCown once revealing that he never intended on being a broadcaster and didn’t even know what one really was until it just sorta opened up for him. It was a very interesting monologue in which McCown very humbly pointed out that the best and the brightest do not typically get the on-air jobs.

    Anyway, my point with Tim & Sid is just that I think they forget that, while they can certainly colour outside the lines (and I’ll be the first one throwing crayon after crayon at them since I’m counter cultural by nature), they still need to have an affirmation on the wall of their studio that says: THIS IS A SPORTS RADIO STATION. It doesn’t mean that it has to be all sports talk all the time, but sports has to be the ‘essence’ somewhere. I think Tim gets this more than Sid and sometimes I even notice a tension (particularly when guests are on) where Tim tries to pull the topic back to sports, and Sid is out there somewhere in the corner, playing intuitive handball.

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    Kudos to mike in boston for getting Lang’s side of the story……….Lang’s comments were very classy and professional, which does not surprise me because he has always been described as one of the more likeable people in the Toronto sports media

    Tonight is the last national NHL game on TSN for at least the next 12 years…………definitely the end of an era………..I am going to miss seeing many of my favourite personalities (Duthie, McKenzie, Cuthbert, Ferraro, etc) broadcast important NHL games

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    Curt – I thought the same thing about the SN magazine but it sells better than Sports Illustrated in Canada. Its a success. I still don’t read it though.

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    Yeah, it’s basically a free subscription though (just over a buck an issue), so I guess they don’t mind losing money on it. They probably see it as brand advertising and a decent tax write-off to boot.

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    Lee (Oakville) 6 years ago

    Last game for TSN for 12 years…more than one insider at Rogers has told me that the company has realized there is no way they can make money off this NHL deal and that changes will happen. May not be tomorrow, but a partial sale of the rights to TSN is inevitable. Remember that Guy Laurence, new CEO, wasn’t part of the NHL rights decision and with revenue from cellular and media stagnant he may look for a way to get out of the contract’s financial burden.

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    May be bad for TSN but I think it may be good for Sports coverage in Canada – all that money TSN had budgeted for hockey will go to expanded coverage of other sports globally which is a plus for the Canadian audience and athletes who will get better exposure. — TSN Ping Pong Wednesday Night Live??

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    Claire A Fye 6 years ago

    @Yaz All that money TSN had budgeted for NHL hockey is what’s known as an investment. They expected to get a return on it. Not sure that will happen with PingPong. That’s called a loss.

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    TSN made more money when the NHL was on strike because they didn’t have to pay any right fees, but always had people paying attention to the strike. So there is no way Rogers makes money on the deal, they will sell B games back to TSN.

    And I doubt Blair is going to lose his job anytime soon, he easily could have told Blundell to eff off because of his history I’m sure if he didn’t want him there Dean wouldn’t be there.

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    I like the Jeff Blair Show. Yes…it is baseball-centric but that is Jeff’s background in his previous role as a writer. I particularly like how he fields opinions from callers and provides some analysis of all sides of the arguments. I don’t think he needs a co-host. In terms of updates on the Fan previously, Mike Farwell provided sports updates from the start of the morning show to 10:00am and if Farwell was off, Lang would do them till 10am. Andrew Walker now does them till 10am (yeah…I am an avid listener).

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    Mike V 6 years ago

    Matt, TSN still made money through subscription fees but they lost out on a ton of advertising dollars from missed games so I’m not convinced they really came out ahead.

    I still don’t get how people are so certain the Rogers’ NHL package will fail and they’ll have to sell games back to TSN. Sure the numbers are large, but when you break them down into the individual parts, and strip away the $1.4 billion Quebecor/TVA sports are paying for the french broadcasts, the numbers are not much higher that what people were speculating it would go for before the deal was done.

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    @Claire – That is how TSN got Duthie to stay – by telling him they were putting their money in expanded coverage of other sports. Once Duthie signed, the others fell in line. I’m not saying TSN is going to spend 500 million a year on sports to match what Sportsnet spent on NHL, but the money the money they budgeted for hockey is going to other sports.

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    I think Dean Blundell had 2 major problems with his joke about gay men enjoying prison.

    1) It wasn’t clear he was joking
    2) It wasn’t actually funny

    I think first of all, it didn’t sound like teasing, or like he was creatively crossing the line. It sounded like a joke made by a 12 year old who doesn’t know any better or a 40 year who should know better. Then the you throw in the fact that the joke wasn’t even funny or cute or mildly entertaining and it becomes harder accept let alone defend.

    That’s why Blundell got fired. Because it sounded mean and it wasn’t a joke worth defending or more importantly, worth dragging Corus radio’s name through the mud for..

    Having said that, I do think that it was a joke. I think that Blundell was trying to, failing at it, but trying never-the-less to be funny. Which is bound to happen when you’re doing the type of show that Dean Blundell was paid to do. Damien Goddard on the other hand wasn’t trying to make a joke. He was trying to make a statement. That’s the differnece. That’s why Blundell is being given a second chance and Goddard is writing lawn bowling scores for the Chesapeake Times.

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    Mike V 6 years ago

    BMO Field plans change yet again: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/football/argos-on-the-outs-in-bmo-field-dispute-between-mlse-and-federal-government/article18862832/

    The thing I find interesting in all of this is the stance from Bell. They are positioned as the long-term media partner of the CFL and clearly have no qualms about buying sports franchises or losing some money on them (TFC transfer spending). Yet they rejected an offer (some might say plea) by Mark Cohon to buy the Argos before the David Braley took control of them and seem willing, even “relieved” according to this article, to let them go to into limbo yet again over a relatively paltry sum held up by Ottawa.

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    Pudge72 6 years ago

    @Mike V…just MLSE at its taxpayer money grabbing worst…again.

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    @Mike V: I heard that from someone who is a accountant at Bell Media so I assume they were telling the truth cause they would know. They also said TSN was shocked they didn’t win the bidding this time they thought they had a strong bid.

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    @Chunky – yeah. If I actually believed Blundell was a homophobic bigot, then I wouldn’t have any interest in listening. But it seems to me he was making a crappy, frat boy style, unfunny joke. I noticed on the air today that Tim Micallef made a crack at Steven and Chris (the gay couple on CBC), and Blundell immediately backed away saying “i know those guys, they’re really great etc”. He’s clearly not touching that stuff. It’s not like this is a Rush Limbaugh situation where the host it out trying to push a hateful agenda. In my opinion anyway. And, as with Ami, if that’s enough for you to not listen then that is certainly fair.

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    Thanks to everyone for making this a very enjoyable thread. In case you missed it on Twitter, Steve Simmons just essentially called out the entire FAN590 roster for hiring Blundell.
    .

    On the idea of Rogers selling NHL games back to TSN. One thing I see as a potential issue is this. If Rogers sells the games then they are essentially conceding that they overbid. If they concede that, then some might reasonably ask “you killed CBC Sports and HNIC for what?”

    Maybe I’m overstating how much people care about the survival of hockey on the CBC, but as I have written about in past columns, I thought the NHL made a mistake in going for a single-payer deal when they could have easily spread the games around on TSN, SN, and CBC and still made a killing.

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    I didn’t see the tweet, but I guess Simmons didn’t have much conviction in what he tweeted, because he’s already deleted it. Radio is a business, hiring a guy who was the number 1 morning man in the city for YEARS is just good business. Will it work out in this format? who knows, but, it’s still worth trying if you think it can boost your ratings.

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    Can we keep in mind that the “victim” of this “joke” was a “rapist” ?

    A jury had just convicted Joshua Dowholis for sexually assaulting three men he met in a bathhouse. He is a man that was HIV positive and that there is debate whether he used a condom while sexually assaulting his victims. The irony I think of the joke is since you loved raping you must be looking forward to getting raped.

    Dean crosses lines and I think Mike in Boston is the first person to thoughtfully discuss how the comments are “homophobic”, which by the way does not mean that Dean Blundell is a homophobe.

    My issue is when a line is crossed and gets dealt with by a governing body and a corporation the result is usually for media to play it safe and eventually say nothing for hours upon hours every single day. We then find ourselves dealing with a whole bunch of be caller 6 to win some crap vs thoughtful or funny or engaging programming. Dean’s show was always absolutely laced with “mature content” warnings throughout, and the opportunity here could have been for communication and growth. Why avoid discussion? To me a chat representing Mike in Boston’s position and Dean stating his thoughts and or intentions would be far more compelling and valuable for all involved. Instead we again filter, and sterilize and give the greatest power to the Headline writers at shitty newspapers. Pretty weak
    This world needs more Mike in Boston’s and it also needs some Dean Blundell’s, and it needs them talking to each other.

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    @Daniel agreed. I’ve always thought that so called “political commentators” are more dangerous (and oddly more respected) than those crossing moral and offensive just for laughs. By the way, I google Damien Goddard.. Wow.. He really ran with the anti-gay marriage thing.

    @John I’m not sure it matters that one of the gay men he was making fun of was a rapist. Is the “I was making a gay rape joke about a gay rapist getting gay raped” much of a defense.

    I agree though, I am big fan of people who regularly cross the line and it’s incredibly annoying when the media tries to play it safe. Luckily today we have youtube, podcasts and satelitte radio. Personally, one of the most interesting and facsinating debates I’ve ever heard on radio was between shock jocks Opie and Anthony and comedian DL Hughley. They were debating the shooting of Trevon Martin with a conversation that nobody else in the media was having at the time.

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    PS.. sorry for my atrocious grammar.

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    So weird how the Jays can have fairly lousy attendance, but outrageously good TV ratings. 800k for a Monday in May is nuts for something non hockey in particular.

    https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/great-canadian-ratings-report-audiences-heat-along-blue-181535982.html

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    Hey @Chunky. Not that I was actually offering a defense just context and perhaps a different opinion. I think I think it is relevant to point out that this seemed like a “HEY get ready for an eye for an eye… Hope you enjoy it”. If this Gay man was going to jail for tax evasion then the irony of the joke doesn’t play… since he is going for to jail for forced confinement and rape I think the irony works. I guess I don’t have a ton of sympathy the rapist. The “joke” wasn’t directed at anyone but the him and it works ironically. Insensitive, unnecessary juvenile maybe, but Homophobic In this context I don’t think so. However, that’s what actual discussion is all about and if we all learn something about perspective and opinion I think it’s great. In this case no one is learning anything or discussing anything just a whole lot of judgment and condemnation from where I sit.

    As for the Opie and Anthony conversation you reference I have not heard it, but I will check it out. Thanks

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    Daniel: Once school is out and summer vacations kick into high gear, as long as the Jays are continuing to win, the attendance figures will rise across the board (weeknights and weekends). Currently, the spike is only evident on weekends. The Jays have always had strong TV ratings.

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    Matt Mississauga 6 years ago

    @ Daniel TV ratings/Jays
    Two middle of the road Jays tickets $60,Parking $20 food & drink 2 people $30= $110
    Coming from the west end Gardener & Lake Shore basically slow moving parking lots.At least 1 hour travel each way.
    Sit at home 50 inch Sony (already have) 24 in a square box $40 Chinese order in $50 lavatory mere steps away and not sitting on a cramped seat plus save $20.
    Why wouldn’t ratings be good? Plus quite a few cold ones left over for the next day.

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    Mike V 6 years ago

    I think TV audiences are always a leading indicator compared to attendance. When a team wins 5 or 6 straight it’s a whole lot easier to say “I’m going to watch it on TV tonight when I’m home” vs “At the last minute I’m going to find someone to go to the game with, buy tickets and commit a minimum of four hours of my time to go to the game in person tonight”. Let’s see how the games this weekend draw (when the streak/division lead has settled in and fans have more planning time) before worrying over small crowds.

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    Crowds will rise over the summer as long as they keep winning. But probably not where you’d expect them to be for a first place team. As Matt pointed out, despite having to listen to the awful commentary from Buck and Pat and the constant advertising interruptions, it’s a better experience watching from home. SkyDome (yes, I said SkyDome) is outdated – never mind having to put up with the price gauging or the inevitable assholes who show up just to be assholes. As much as they try to dress it up, SkyDome is no longer a destination – hasn’t been for many years.

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    Claire A Fye 6 years ago

    One of the things that Blundell’s hiring has done is open up the conversation about what is acceptable and what is not. Several people have suggested this is another example of political correctness gone amok, and while I would agree PC behaviour sometimes dummies everything down, this case was a lot more than that. Corus had put up with a lot of Blundell’s nonsense over the years because he made them a lot of money. This time was different because the conversation revolved around the trial of a man who was convicted of several serious crimes. One of the questions jurors was asked was if they held negative beliefs about homosexuality. Apparently Welsman (the producer who was also the jury foreman) said he didn’t. The subsequent on-air conversation indicated otherwise, and that opened up the possibility of a retrial. That sort of stuff is frowned on by the authorities. The point is, this wasn’t the first time Blundell had been juvenile, but this time he crossed a line.

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    Oh yeah, I have no doubt crowds will pick up. Last year the crowds were great. I think people were pissed at the team and lack of action this offseason and didn’t buy tickets this winter. I feel like it takes a bit of time to catch up.

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    Brunt was just in studio with Sam & Ted for 35 minutes straight (from 2:00 PM until 2:35 PM)………..it was an intelligent discussion on a variety of topics……….and there were no morning zoo sound effects for the entire segment…………that must be some sort of record for the Tim & Sid show

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    Mike S, I was literally word for word about to post the exact same thing. Best 35 minutes ever on Tim and Sid. I am sure that Brunt himself made it clear that he has no desire to have his conversation steered to the juvenile direction, and he has enough clout for the producer and Sam & Ted to go along with it.

    I have to turn away from the show, even if I am enjoying the content, due to that stupid air horn amongst other sound effects that I have no patience for. Really pathetic that we have to put up with it, but I guess I am in the wrong 45-54 demographic that they are looking for.

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    Everytime someone sits in for someone on Fan 590 – they say ‘This is the Jeff Blair show… I’m such and such sitting in for Jeff Blair’ or for Bobcat.

    Blundell isn’t doing that and that wouldn’t be his decision – it would be Don Kollins’. Blundell just intros himself and the other guy. Listened a bit yesterday and today and he definitely has an easy flow to his show product of 13 years at the Edge which is like 30 years in radio time. And they’re heavy on the guests so its a good week to listen.

    Is Blair being shuffled out??? I don’t see them going with the ‘Blair & Blundell Show’. Maybe Blair just does Baseball Central and guests on other shows. But does he have any other income? I don’t know if he still writes for the Globe.

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    Mike V 6 years ago

    Yaz, I’ve heard him use “The Jeff Blair Show” in the little bit that I caught. Another Dean Blundell embarrassment that I forgot about (and so did everyone else as I haven’t seen it brought up) was his mocking of the death of Oiler prospect Kristian Pelss (basically saying he purposefully drowned in a Latvian river instead of playing in Edmonton). I remember Simmons and Arthur taking him to task on Twitter for it and Blundell defending the joke before apologizing a few days later. Maybe Steve hasn’t forgiven this and explains his calling out of FAN590.

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    @Mike V Hmmm – ya, Blundell may be ramping up to whatever his other show used to be. He did seem a little more caustic today when Ian Leggatt described Tiger’s break from golf after his domestic situation as a ‘hiatus’. I had never even heard the name Blundell before he appeared on 590 and never heard his show so can’t compare him now to what he was before.

    That’s pretty harsh about Pelss – and he would likely get more blowback for a comment like that on a Sports radio station.

    I get pissed off when the anchors interrupt each interview 5 times to say ‘This is Barry Trotz on the Jeff Blair Show on Fan 590’ but now I appreciate it because I listened to Blundell interview someone for about 20 mins yesterday and he didn’t give that info once, not even at the end ( I’m sure he must have at the beginning which I missed ) So I listened to an entire interview and didn’t know who the hell he was talking to! Maybe he was nervous and didn’t do it all because when he did on Monday he kept giving out the number to The Edge.

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    Didn’t Simmons get his back up on Twitter a little while ago when Blundell correctly suggested that Simmons is a phoney on hockey … always wrapping himself in the “I am a minor hockey coach” flag? Seems these two don’t like each other much.

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    (Another) Andrew 6 years ago

    I remember Simmons and Arthur taking him to task on Twitter for it

    Detecting political or social deviation then demanding adherence to established doctrine. Simmons and Arthur would have made good commissars. They must’ve been hall monitors at school.

    I get pissed off when the anchors interrupt each interview 5 times to say ‘This is Barry Trotz on the Jeff Blair Show on Fan 590′

    A Roger Lajoie specialty! On occasion it might be something they just say automatically to give themselves a few seconds to gather their thoughts on what to say next but it is annoying nonetheless.

    but now I appreciate it because I listened to Blundell interview someone for about 20 mins yesterday and he didn’t give that info once, not even at the end

    McCown gets this right. If he’s been talking for a while he’ll maybe interrupt once, but no more, for the benefit of newcomers then always closes with the name and association of the guest.

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    Antonio 6 years ago

    This is why entertainment (whether radio, TV or other media) is so difficult. You have to entertain without insulting certain protected groups (we all know who they are, don’t we?).

    However, if you want to make fun of Christians and/or straight white males, go to it – no one is going to complain, demand you be fired or threaten physical harm.

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    Yeah, because those Christians and white males have been persecuted for way too long…

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    Antonio 6 years ago

    @Curt
    I know you’re trying to b sarcastic but Christians certainly have been persecuted and many killed by certain groups around the world.

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    ewangelia 6 years ago

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    The PTS roundtable today is apparently Blair, Cox, Shannon, and Doug Smith………don’t say you weren’t warned

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    Mike S, I think I would rather have my fingernails removed than having to listen or watch that collection of misfits. Amazing how the Program Director allows complete dribble like that on the air when there is another sports station down the dial.

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    What a great roundtable tonight (May 30th, Cox, Shannon and the moron of all morons, Doug Smith. #CHANNELCHANGERS

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    Darren nice to see someone else that can’t stand Doug Smith though among the 3 morons you mentioned I think he’d come 3rd as Shannon and Cox are still worse.

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    @Bora, you’re probably right on that call. It is such a joke when any of the those three are on, but all 3? WOW. The endless laughing at their own stupid jokes that have nothing to do with anything regarding sports is enough to make me wanna throw up.

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    Darrell 6 years ago

    Don Kollins has screwed up the station that I used to love! Totally destroyed the station on all aspects of it. It’s painfully obvious Kollins has to go!

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    Yep, heard the PTS round table line-up and was out of there quicker than Rob Ford on a crack pipe.

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    How do the Suits not see and hear all the complaints about these 3?

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    I actually kind of like Smith, if only because he takes the piss out of hockey. The other two windbags aren’t worth talking about, let alone listening to.

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    Westdale Rocks 6 years ago

    I’m going to go off topic here and talk about radio play by play guys. You wish the Leafs had a do-over on the radio side. A few years ago, Dennis Beyak did the games when Bowen was on TV. Beyak left to go to Winnipeg, and the Leafs replaced him with Dan Dunleavy. Marlies play by play guy John Bartlett got passed over and went to Montreal as the English language guy. When Dunleavy left, Toronto was left with the eminently unlistenable Jon Abbott. I’ve heard better pxp guys on local cable stations. Meanwhile, we caught some Bennett games on TSN Radio, which made it evident the difference between him and Abbott is worlds apart. How is it that one of the most storied franchises in professional sports can have such pedestrian broadcasters?? Let’s face it, the names Bowen, Ralph, Millen and Abbott don’t exactly conjure up comparisons with Vin Scully, Mel Allen, Johnny Most or even Sam Rosen when it comes to team’s announcers.

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    Mullah_Kintyre 6 years ago

    Luckily I only caught a few short minutes of the “no-star” PTS roundtable, and heard one the other guys laughing at Shannon for asking and answering his own question.

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    Elvis 6 years ago

    Glad to see that the Blundell experiment was short lived. If you ever wanted proof that management are scumbags just re-read that quote from Rogers VP Julie Adam. Complete and utter bullshit.

    Also, TorontoMike pointed out that Blundell has a PR firm, and it’s pretty obvious from reading Houpt’s articles that the PR firm called in a favour at the Globe.

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