Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition


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


Game On


I reluctantly joined Twitter a few months back. The reason for doing so is that this is where many the good media stories originate. This week’s story is the PR battle over the most recent ratings book, which was released on Thursday. TSM and I are working on getting a complete picture, but some of the details have already leaked out here and elsewhere.


We have discussed the morning shows in this space recently. As I see it there are several camps:


  • those who miss Lang
  • those who prefer Walker
  • those who dislike Brady
  • those who dislike Richards


That covers the bulk of the comments, with very few people chiming in to say that they really like Brady or Richards. Well, from what I’ve been told the numbers for the spring shake out like this for males 25-54:


  • Brady & Walker – 8.5
  • Richards – 4.9


[Richards’ number has been edited to reflect new information]


This led to the following on Twitter




As you’ll see if you click on the tweets and read the threads, Richards’ comment prompted more of an outpouring from the listeners than Brady’s did, but both were met with polite congratulations on a job well done.


Here is where I will put my usual disclaimer: I don’t believe that the PPM sample sizes used to generate these ratings are large enough to yield statistically reliable data. Many people have told me things off the record about this, and there is no public disclosure of just how many people are wearing PPMs and how many of those are males 25-54 and how many of those listen to sports radio primarily. Absent that information, specialty radio ratings should be regarded with suspicion. PPMs are probably more reliable when it comes to music stations since more people listen to music radio than to talk radio, though a lot of that music is in dentist’s offices and elevators. That said, this is the best info we have, so we will have to make do.


Let’s start with the FAN’s morning show. The ratings are very very strong and show growth over the 6.3 that TSM reported back in December. Let’s also remember that the switch from diaries to PPM lifted all boats, so all numbers at the FAN will look huge relative to their books from before the use of PPM-based ratings. So that should provide some context for Brady’s proclamation of the best ratings ever for the morning show. Year over year, the addition of Walker seems to have provided a bump vs. the Lang era. It will be interesting to review this a year from now and see if that bump was novelty or sustainable growth.


Richards’ overall number is not impressive. Radio people can comment in more detail about what a 4.3 means in objective terms. But his improvement is hard to ignore. In 3 years he has managed to steadily build and, more impressively, keep an audience. I won’t rehash the reasons why I think Richard’s’ show belongs back in Calgary … in 1993.


Now, it’s pretty obvious that Richards’ performance falls short of virtually “wiping out a 22 year head start” by The FAN. I suspect that comment angered a few people at Rogers, and rightly so. That said, it will be interesting to see if and when any TSN Radio show overtakes its counterpart at the FAN. In Boston, where there was a similar upstart radio station taking on the established giant, it took 5 years for that to happen.


Question for you: which TSN show has the best chance of winning a ratings book vs. The Fan in the not too distant future? Which has the least?


Quick Hits


The story of Qatar’s corrupt world cup bid has exploded and now England and other countries are vying to have the award annulled and redone. FIFA claims to be investigating the corruption end of things, but there is good reason to believe that will as much a sham as the original process that led to Qatar getting the bid in the first place. If you care about the actual games, the always excellent Richard Deitsch has you covered.


The embarrassment that is Dan Snyder, owner of Washington’s NFL team, continues while pressure mounts to change the team’s name to something less racist, or perhaps even not racist at all. A lot has been written about this story but the linked piece does a nice job of breaking down some of the issues. I especially agree with the point that players have a huge role to play in bringing the needed change about, as NBA players did in the Sterling saga.


Dirk Hayhurst pens another enjoyable read, this time on baseball’s unwritten rules. He makes a compelling case for why it is time to turn the page. As with all Hayhurst pieces, it is as much about Dirk as it is about the story he is covering. He writes about interesting issues and as he grows as a columnist I hope he finds ways to talk to more people and be part of a conversation, rather than generalizing from his own case to what must therefore be true.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • The Star has Arthur almost exclusively on hockey so I have not been reading his column with the same regularity since he made the move. Hopefully they encourage him to branch out more and do some more original things.


  • Blundell was on a Bell station this week (how embarrassing for Steve Simmons). I’m not sure what that means for his future with the FAN but it seems plausible that if he had impressed them, then he wouldn’t be working for the competition. I’m sure he will land somewhere. I hope it is not in sports radio.


  • Several commenters complained that Naylor’s opening segment is a little too scripted and wooden. Having listened to a few more, I agree. I like the segment, but encourage Naylor to slow down a little and try to make it more conversational that professorial. The content is good.


  • We’re entering the summer season so we all better get used to the sweet sounds of Rojer Lajoie and Mike Hogan. My suggestion to both PDs would be to use the summer as a time to give new or underused people more of a sustained shot.


have a great weekend everyone,

thanks for reading and commenting

mike (in boston)

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June 7, 2014 9:39 am

Hayhurst wrote a really personal the other day about not being drafted and how it effected his family. Not sure off top of my head which site it was on, since he writes for multiple places.

Since Arthur switched papers during the playoffs, makes sense he has mainly written on hockey.

Brunt only did 1 day during “his week” on PTS. Is he gone fishin already?

June 7, 2014 9:42 am

I’m thinking Dean Blundell may get on as a permanent co host for Ryan Doyle on Bell Media owned NewsTalk 1010. Did anyone hear Blundell with Doyle this week ? We’re decent talking current events. If Blundell ever joined Rogers I could only see him doing guest host gigs nothing permanent.

You are right since we are in June get ready for Roger Lajoie Ben Ennis George Rusic and Mike Hogan filling in central at TSN 1050 and Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

I wonder if Steve Kouleas might depart TSN and join Rogers to be a part of the massive 12 year NHL TV package ? His role will be limited now at TSN I would think.

Glad Paul Romanuk and Bob Cole will be a part of the Rogers hockey coverage. No PJ Stock or Glenn Healy for the love of god tho.

June 7, 2014 9:44 am

I’m one of the few I guess who really prefers Brady. That morning show was very good with Lang, but full credit for taking it to the next level with Walker. The two of them seem very comfortable together…

Another Steve
Another Steve
June 7, 2014 10:01 am

Alex – Hayhurst’s piece was in the Bleacher Report, and the link is below. He can be such an amazingly vivid writer, and his descriptions of his home life are really quite remarkable:

June 7, 2014 10:25 am

To answer your question, I think TSN Leafs Lunch has plenty if days where shows are better than HockeyCentral, not sure what the numbers are or if their close?

the morning show battle is not even a competition. Walker/Bradt make the Richards show look like a clown with a spinning bow tie at a kiddie party. Interesting to see the numbers reflect it

June 7, 2014 1:07 pm

MIB wrote:

“…we all better get used to the sweet sounds of Rojer Lajoie and Mike Hogan”

Hehe. Will be interesting to see who picks up the bulk of McCown’s vacation.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
June 7, 2014 1:19 pm

@ Sam “Hehe. Will be interesting to see who picks up the bulk of McCown’s vacation.”

If history is any indication pts is un- listenable from the last week of June until a week after Labor day !

June 7, 2014 1:45 pm

@sam in scarb
May be worth an occasional listen of tim and/or Sid host. Oh but brunt is off for the summer so that’s a minus obv

June 7, 2014 4:04 pm

I have conceded that the Fan 590, like all other Rogers assets, take their customers for granted at best, or ignore them completely. I have moved on.

What once was a great station is now merely a shill for their other programming.

I resisted for a while, thinking writing the program director, might have an impact. I was wrong. I have moved on.

I love talk radio, especially sports talk and I do not see any viable choices in this market any longer. Bell and Rogers have their ‘my dick is bigger than yours’ in the guise of hockey coverage. I have moved on.

Interstingly the new CEO at Rogers has admitted they have treated their customers poorly, will that trickle down to the radio station? Not likely, I have moved on.

June 7, 2014 4:04 pm

Interesting shot of Dave Perkins in the Blue Jays box talking to Cito Gaston during Friday’s game. Now that he’s no longer a member of MSM how does he get invited?

June 7, 2014 4:26 pm

Always find it strange when people say The Fan used to be so much better, and act as though Don Kollins ruined an insitution. I guess everyone has different tastes, but I basically had no interest in listening to Landry/Stellick, Mike Hogan, Doug Farraway etc.

I think Brady, Blair and Tim & Sid are massive improvements over what was there 5 years ago.

I’m not really sure what show on TSN could overtake a Fan show. I don’t think Naylor has a shot against McCown. He’s good, but I’m guessing far too bland to appeal to an audience outside of hardcore sports types.

TSN should have thrown a blank cheque to McCown if they really wanted to topple The Fan. Signing Tim and Sid when they were available might have changed things too. As is, I feel they’re a decent alternative, but The Fan is still the go-to sports radio voice of the city it seems.

June 7, 2014 4:33 pm

Not to say The Fan is perfect by any means. There’s lots they do I dislike (non Brunt PTS cohosts, the hockey show). Just think it’s better than it was.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
June 7, 2014 5:31 pm

Brady/Walker are excellent on Hockey and just as good on football. No one else on 590 or 1050 comes close to them on the NFL.

Was Mike Richards talking about his show or the whole station? He must know his claims could be checked. The ratings given were for 3 months, maybe he was talking about the last month.

A couple months ago Gareth Wheeler mentioned his late night show was now the number 1 sports show in that time slot. He made a joke about it, “There’s only 2 sports stations, but I’ll take it.”

So Rogers is upset with Richards’ “virtually wipe out” quote. Where have I read something similar. Oh yes, the CBC article on Netflix and why Rogers placed last had this line:

“…a spokesman for Rogers told CBC News. “Netflix’s test was done just before we virtually doubled Netflix capacity and we’ll continue to add more capacity as it’s needed.”

You spend all that time and money to “virtually” double capacity, but Netflix does the test just before. What a bad break or what corporate BS. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rogers tries to increase NHL numbers/traffic by throttling every else in sight.

Steve Jobs is probably responsible for more revenue at Rogers or Bell than any of the current suits at those 2 companies.

Jerry! Jerry!….

“Michael Hewlin ‏@TheMikeyHew 40m
@Wilnerness590 Reyes hasn’t looked right for over a week now. Just going through the motions. Making lazy plays and bad hitting approach.

Mike Wilner ‏@Wilnerness590
@TheMikeyHew That would be why he reached base five times last night, right?”

Finally, near the end of his 2pm interview with Tim Micallef yesterday, Ron MacLean compared himself to Beethoven and Shakespeare.

dave in bolton
dave in bolton
June 7, 2014 6:13 pm

Changes that need to be made to TSN 1050 for it to have a shot in hell in betting 590

HIRE ANDREW WALKER!!!!!! TSN needs to build its radio network around him. He is being waisted beside idiot Brady. Make Walker Canada’s version of Dan Patrick he has the voice very similar. Send Nailor back to the reporters and put Walker in the 4pm time time Walker will overtake McCown

– move Richards to late nights and develop the tonight show format with Richards. I always wondered why Radio networks never tried the tonight show format on radio. It would be fresh to the radio and Richards who can be funny and annoying with his skit can be set free to be crude and do his thing without annoying the audience first thing in the mourning

– hire jim lang and pair him Mike Hogan for a new mourning team.enough with the frat boy stuff in the mournings. I put the blame on crappy greg “detroit I love you” brady for what happened to the mourning show. Lang is a good broadcast and deserves another chance.

– cut Brian Hayes to 2 hrs rather then 4 hrs. I like Hayes but no way should he be on for 4hrs. Keep him on for Leafs Lunch and the 1pm hr.

Just Some changes id make to 1050

June 7, 2014 6:24 pm

Based on these numbers, The Fan has about double the audience of TSN. Maybe TSN is looking at a very specific demographic.

June 7, 2014 6:47 pm

Hey Nan. I would have to disagree. I think NFL coverage is an are where TSN is > than Rogers. Quality of guests and overall Nfl coverage is significantly better. Hayes is very good when it comes to the NFL. Harland, Florio are great guests on the TSN am show. Naylor on the drive home covers the nfl very well. Overall I prefer the fan AM, but tsn’s coverage of nfl is strong

June 7, 2014 11:34 pm

So CFL to settle labor embasse during NHL OT playoff game

dave in bolton
dave in bolton
June 8, 2014 1:03 am

TSN would be wise to try and sign Walker he has the voice very similar to Dan Patrick. Having Walker as a lead in to Dave Nailer will allow him to build an audience in which he eventually takes over the 4pm time slot and Nailor can return to TV

June 8, 2014 8:29 am

Dave Zirin has an article in the NYT this Sunday (link below) about throwing FIFA out of the game. Not a lot of new stuff for avid readers of this site. However, I was wondering, how could FIFA actually be overthrown / disbanded / forced to change? (or the IOC for that matter).

Any links to articles on this matter would be appreciated.

There is probably something of a parallel to the Sterling matter here in terms of the factors that would precipitate. (1) Players boycotting – but would they (2) Sponsors pulling out (3) Extreme forceful unending negative public opinion. Who knows what the weighting of these factors were to get the other 29 NBA owners to act quickly.

Also, could the overthrow of Blatter and co occur in the normal day to day governance process? Or would it have to be a cataclysmic event eg. the Sterling tape. What if a Qatari stadium collapsed and killed 200 workers… would we ever hear about it?

June 8, 2014 11:19 am

Dave In Bolton. I agree for the most part. Walker is a great add by the fan. They are (Brady and him) very strong together. wonder if they now have two really strong hosts there to push two time slots. TSN should try an get both!

June 8, 2014 11:40 am

Sony announced that they want qatar bid invesitgated.

June 8, 2014 12:39 pm

For me, the only way FIFA pulls out of Qatar is under threat from its sponsors. So I hope Sony and others keep putting pressure on that gang. FIFA needs an enema.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
June 8, 2014 2:26 pm

I thought 590 was the official broadcaster of the World Cup:

Kristian Jack @KristianJack · Jun 5
TSN radio has become official licensed radio broadcaster of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Join myself & @WheelerTSN every day of the event

590 is doing their World Cup preview on Wednesday at 11pm. Should be a good (2 hours!) show. Dan Riccio knows his stuff. Here is the TSN preview with the always excellent KJ, DeVos and Wilman.

2 must-listen shows to help you bluff your way around the pubs and bars over the next couple of weeks.

Michael Landsberg must be helping a lot of people by being so open about his ongoing battle with depression:

Michael Landsberg @heylandsberg · Jun 3
After 5 days of struggle I woke up this AM and was shocked to realize “it passed.” I always think it won’t. Why can’t I learn? #sicknotweak

Michael Landsberg @heylandsberg · 19h
How’s your weekend? What’s your number? Yesterday was a tough one for me. Today the sun shines again #sicknotweak

dave in bolton
dave in bolton
June 8, 2014 3:26 pm

@Sam Brady is awful and annoying and Walker should get away from him

June 8, 2014 8:59 pm

I would like to suggest that you offer the Sports radio ratings time-slot by time-slot. Doing that would best separate the debate. End with a 590 vs 1050 debate. Doing so would most clearly engage debate.

June 9, 2014 9:42 am

If it means anything the panel size for radio A25-54 in Toronto is roughly 550-600 people

Mike S
Mike S
June 9, 2014 1:51 pm

I believe Bruce Arthur’s first assignment at The Star was not hockey……………it was to cover the Raptors-Nets series………..he probably would have stayed with the Raptors if they had advanced………but they got eliminated so it made sense to have him cover the rest of the NHL playoffs

Ron in Toronto
Ron in Toronto
June 9, 2014 11:31 pm

On an unrelated note, I finally tried listening to the PTS Friday roundtable today. The entire first hour was Jays talk. I know it’s all Rogers, and yes, they’re playing well…but there are a few other things going on in the sporting world. And Bob’s constant dated references to the ’92 and ’93 Jays just makes him sound old and out of touch.
Couldn’t be bothered listening to the second hour…they lost me.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
June 10, 2014 11:06 pm

There was a lot of insight on the World Cup with Tim and Sid and James Sharman today. Unfortunately it was interspersed with “humour” such as how to pronounce “Uruguay” and other nonsense. Yes, how other people correctly use their language is hilarious.

June 11, 2014 7:52 am

Have to agree with Daniel, the FAN has massively improved their talent lineup. Landry and Stellick were unlistenable to me. Blair and Tim & Sid are marked improvements.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
June 11, 2014 8:53 am

When Fox got the rights to the US Open I expected Sportsnet would acquire them too as they don’t broadcast any golf tournaments. But TSN is keeping and expanding their rights until 2022.

June 13, 2014 9:06 am

Nice to see Walker getting some love on these boards. You have to wonder if the Brady era might be coming to a close, as Walker is frequently the one carrying the show. I wonder if TSN will come calling to hire Walker away, leaving the FAN with the task of finding yet another co-host for Brady.

As far as TSN shows that might overtake the FAN? Has to be Macko & Cauz? Blair is an infomercial for boring.

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