Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition 5 Questions with Gareth Wheeler

<span class="entry-title-primary">Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">5 Questions with Gareth Wheeler</span>

photo credit: Rogers

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by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail

 

Good morning sports media watchers. Thanks to everyone who read and commented last week on the Mirtle story. I felt like we moved that discussion forward. There were too many things to talk about this week, so I have left some bits and bites out of this week’s column. As always, if you don’t see something discussed here and want it on the agenda, post a link in the comments or email me and I’ll add it to next week’s draft. Ok, let’s get to work …

 

5 Questions with … Gareth Wheeler (TSN Radio)

 

After the shocking footage of Chelsea fans preventing a black man from boarding a train while chanting “we are racists” surfaced, I was curious to know more about the culture of European soccer and what it is that makes overt racists feel empowered to act in these ways. To discuss these and other issues I reached out to the most affable person in all of Toronto sports radio. Gareth Wheeler covers TFC/EPL/World Cup soccer and works evenings for TSN1050. Gareth graciously spent an hour with me at a coffee shop in Leslieville. Here is our chat.

 

How did you end up at TSN1050?

 

GW: While I was at Western I got involved in the radio station CHRW. The station had launched some favourites of mine – Dan Shulman, Elliotte Friedman – and it was a place where young broadcasters got started. I was doing it completely for fun while I was playing soccer at Western, and I soon realized I had a passion for it. So I went into journalism rather than law school. After university I worked behind the scenes at TSN and got a glimpse into the industry. I also volounteered at Cogeco and eventually hosted their long-standing local sports show. Then one night after my shift at TSN I stayed late and was cutting together a demo reel, and a guy I worked with saw me there and liked my stuff. He eventually ended up at SUN-TV and called me up to audition against 35 other people for their new sports talk show Grill Room. I did that for 5 and a half years and met a huge range of people and got my hands into every aspect of running a show.

 

Then SUN-TV started to shift over into SUN-NEWS and wanted me to be a political host. It wasn’t that I was uninterested in that, I just didn’t believe in the kind of product they were putting together, and since the industry is so small I didn’t want to be typecast as “that” broadcaster. Around this time TSN Radio was launching and James Cybulski called me up and asked if I would be interested in being part of the team that was being put together. Unfortunately soon after starting at TSN Radio, my melanoma returned and a bunch of tumours developed and made their way into my lymphatic system so just months after the launch of the station I had to take significant time off just to deal with my stage 3 health situation, which was disappointing. Thankfully I was able to take care of my health issues through natural and alternative methods and put myself in a good position to return.

 

How do you see the state of soccer coverage in Toronto media?

 

GW: In many ways we’re trying to play catch-up because traditionally a lot of the broadcasters came from overseas and were used to covering stories from back home. And that was true of soccer fans too. People consumed the global product and paid no attention to any of the local soccer being played. But now with TFC we’re seeing a real thirst for local coverage of why the game should matter to Canadians.

 

Has the local appetite plateaued or do you think that a winning TFC would draw in a significant number of new fans?

 

GW: There is substantial room for growth and I think that excites a lot of people over at MLSE. You’re seeing a $105 million dollar expansion to BMO, a place where there were lots of empty seats at times last year. MLSE knows that there’s an untapped market. You see that with a lot of casual fans. They like that it’s 2 hours of your life … it fits nicely into a weekend day; you go out to the pub before, or have dinner after. It’s a great social event. What TFC needs to do now – and it all revolves around winning – is get back the hardcore fan that has moved back to watching Premier League exclusively. These people were excited about having a local team, and they have since turned away because the product has not been good enough. Soccer fans are snobby – and I mean that in a positive way. They’re not going to be fooled by an inferior product. I think MLSE gets that now. I’m not sure they did before. I think they have a much better set-up now for long-term success with their academy, but they need to win and they need to win now.

 

Can MLS ever give the snobby soccer fan something that will be good enough to compete with the product from overseas?

 

GW: There’s a real opportunity because not all European teams are doing well financially. The economy over there is not good and it is changing the playing field. North American MLS owners have money to spend. The league is being smart about this. I believe in the next 5 years there will be a turning point. MLS will never be the “it” league like La Liga or Serie A. But it can be an alternative. And North American fans do want to cheer for their own too. They want to cheer for American and Canadian players. And they want to be able to go out at night to watch the games, and not have to wake up early on the weekend just to cheer for their team. So I think MLS can be a good secondary property.

 

Moving from TFC to Canada’s Men’s national team, what is the explanation for the continued futility of this organization? In my lifetime the U.S. has gone from a soccer ‘nobody’ to competing on the world stage.

 

GW: The U.S. developed corporate relationships that brought in a ton of cash. They also centralized their training and development programs. They also have a lot more warm weather climates where it’s a lot easier to train. So they have a firm focus on developing the next generation of great American soccer players. In Canada there remains a great divide along most of these dimensions. Because of that we are fragmented. And you see that in Ontario … there are so many individuals and organizations, if someone asked me where their kid should be playing soccer, I couldn’t tell them. You see the same thing with coaches; they are frustrated by the lack of organization. There are so many barriers right now, to tell you truth I don’t know how it gets better. Success stories are the exception not the rule. The Canadian MLS and other professional teams are helping though.

 

Is there any explanation for the asymmetry in terms of the success of the women’s game as compared to the men?

 

GW: Canadian soccer was smart in that in the 80s they saw an opportunity to invest in the women’s game and quickly become one of a handful of successful programs. They put the focus on the women’s game and worked at getting a pipeline into U.S. scholarships where there was less competition from within the States. The men’s side was much harder to get scholarships. That was powerful, and it has translated to the success of the women’s game. You’ll see that this summer … the heartbreak of 2012 and losing to the Americans has really galvanized the country behind the team and the sport. There just hasn’t been anything like that on the men’s side yet.

 

Something like the Chelsea incident would be almost unfathomable in any of the 4 North American sports in 2015. Is there any explanation for why soccer continues to experience this sort of overt and unabashed racism?

 

GW: It’s a societal issue that is manifesting itself in the soccer world. It’s not a secret that there are a lot of economic and social problems in Europe right now and many of those problems overlap with issues like racism, homophobia, debates about Islam, and so on. The real difference with North America is that there’s not a group of 2,000 Maple Leafs supporters who travel from city to city to root for the team when it is on the road. That kind of mob mentality can lead to good things but it also leads to really bad things. Like here in North America, European soccer is used as an escape. But unfortunately some of the supports groups are using it to bring together like-minded people who are angry at similar social issues, and using the club as a way to galvanize that broader issue.

 

Isn’t the simpler explanation that when you put dumb people in a group and give them alcohol then you lay the groundwork for dumb behaviour?

 

GW: I think that’s what explain these kinds of incidents over here but I don’t think it has to do with alcohol over there. I think these are the true feelings of those people. And it speaks to the problems that really do exist over there. It has very little to do with soccer specifically. That being said, soccer has been its own worst enemy here. Few of the owners reflect the cultural diversity of their cities. It’s still a lot of rich old white guys who wield a lot of power. You see these same racist incidents at the coaching and ownership levels, and with the players too. The clubs stand by the players and the coaches. That sends a message to fans that is much stronger than the “stamp out racism” banners they show in stadiums. So the leagues are just reflecting a societal problem.

 

Why have clubs failed to institute zero-tolerance policies that would just get rid of the racist element from these supporters groups?

 

GW: Well, you can only really control what goes on in your own stadium, and even that is hard to control. But also you have clubs that have historically been tied to certain ideals. That’s so much different from North American sports. In Europe, because some of the clubs are so old, they have deep cultural roots. Celtic was the Catholic team in Glasgow while Rangers were the Protestant club. There are racial, political, and religious relationships between clubs and their fans and that makes it more than just a game at times. So there is a tribalism to soccer that makes it very difficult to compare to the NHL. But that is changing with advertising and TV contracts. Real Madrid got rid of the cross from their logo around the same time that they got a lot of sponsorships from Abu Dhabi. Money will change things. And a change of leadership will help too. There’s a lot of waxing poetic about getting rid of racism, but not a lot of follow through. Just look at where the next two World Cups are going to be. FIFA has been putting money ahead of all else for a long time. But the game is so strong they could be making money and taking a harder line on equality.

 

 

Thanks to Gareth for taking the time. He will be launching an interesting and unique cancer awareness initiative in the near future. You can follow him on Twitter @WheelerTSN

 

Siegel Steps Back into the Spotlight

 

It’s been a tumultuous year for TSN Radio’s Jonas Siegel. He publicly lashed out against Phil Kessel back in the fall, prompting one person in the industry to tell me that he thought this would end Jonas’ time as a Leafs beat reporter. That has not come to pass, and as far as can be told from the outside, everything is business as usual.

 

Siegel became the story again last week when he tweeted out that young Leafs star Morgan Rielly had said in reference to his struggles that it was important “not to be a girl about it.”

 

 

Rielly quickly apologized and expressed that these kinds of expressions need to be excised from the sports vernacular. This prompted an important and fairly civilized discussion in several corners about the substantive ways that women are still disadvantaged in what purports to be an egalitarian society. PPP contributor Katie Flynn has an excellent breakdown of the issue.

 

As we discussed last week, we seem to be entering a new era of media-athlete relations. There has been a growing sentiment that the media is unfair to athletes and stirs things up to generate content and page-views. That was certainly part of the narrative surrounding Siegel’s last incident. When this story broke, several people were heavily critical of Siegel for tweeting that comment out when he could have simply omitted the offending phrase.

 

This raises lots of interesting questions about the role of the media in protecting athletes from themselves. For clarity on these issues I reached out to the godfather of Toronto beat reporting, Howard Berger. Here is what he had to say:

 

HB: To be honest, it’s nearly impossible for me to offer a fair assessment of the situation. I can’t put myself in Jonas’s shoes because there was no such thing as social media when I was his age. I’ve watched Jonas evolve since his very first year on the Leafs beat and I think he’s become a good, balanced reporter. I like him a lot. ‎The attraction and immediacy of social media has become a real wild card in hockey reporting. There have been terrible mistakes – such as the premature bulletins of Pat Burns’ death and the unconscionable act of more than a few “professionals” who somehow did not pause and nudge Jonathan Bernier in a different direction when he mis-spoke about Nelson Mandela in December.But, there have also been triumphs of very good reporting, such as when Jonas Tweeted that Phil Kessel had told him to “get away from me,” when approached after a game earlier this season.

 

Given how young Morgan Rielly is – and that he often speaks in wisdom beyond his years – I believe I would have checked with him before posting the “girl” remark. But, it doesn’t mean Jonas made a mistake. Much of it falls on the athlete to be circumspect when talking into a live microphone. That said, the quick, mature apology from Morgan was becoming of a fine, young man that I think will be next captain of the Leafs.

 

 

Thanks Howie. I’m not sure I agree with him that there is a big difference between the Bernier/Mandela incident and this one. Both involve the choice NOT to protect the athlete. But I understand there is a lot of nuance here because beat reporters probably hear tons of unflattering comments on a weekly basis and have to choose what to report and what not to, and when to massage a quote rather than let the athlete hoist himself by his own petard.

 

Over to you: did Jonas do anything wrong here? Should he have asked Rielly to rephrase?

 

Meet the New Blundell …

 

… same as the old Blundell. Or at least that is the marketing Rogers has chosen to go with to launch Dean’s new morning show. FAN590 PD Don Kollins and Rogers Senior VP Julie Adam tweeted out a video promo which shows Blundell with duct tape over his mouth, twitching in a chair and flexing his hands as if he had just been unshackled. As the camera zooms in on his face he winks and the tagline “Blundell re-programmed” appears.

 

The implication is clear: the political correctness police tried to shut him down, but Rogers has broken Dean out of jail and is ready to unleash his blistering takes onto the airwaves. So if you were wondering if the statements from Rogers brass that Blundell was not being brought in to play to the same audience as before were sincere, this should settle that. This was a bat-signal to Dean’s former listeners: he’s back!

 

We will be spending a lot of time in the weeks to come talking about the new show, so I will keep my remarks here to a minimum. One thing worth mentioning is that the FAN decided to launch Dean’s new show on Trade Deadline Day, one of the most important days on the Toronto sports calendar. A main criticism of Blundell’s test run last summer was that he couldn’t hold his own on sports. So I see this as a big risk for the FAN: there is probably no other day when the audience will be expecting such a high level of sports analysis. In other words, Blundell’s key weaknesses will be on full display on Day 1.

 

This strikes me as a risk not worth taking. Whatever bump you get from launching Dean on a day where everyone is tuning in might be canceled, or worse, by his performance. Of course he’ll be surrounded by experts, but that might just magnify his shallow knowledge of sports. Raju Mudhar of the Star has an interview with Dean, in which the latter reassures us that he is an avid viewer of TSN’s SportCentre and also he plays a lot of golf. I guess according to his new bosses that makes him competent to run one of the most important timeslots in Canadian sports radio, and a slot that Brady&Walker were already dominating.

 

Lastly, congratulations to Kayla Harris (doing updates on the FAN & other work; wife of PTS producer Ryan Walsh) and George Rusic (evening host and occasional morning show fill-in) for their big promotions. I am really glad to see hard-working people being rewarded for the long hours at low pay they have put in for Sportsnet. This was a good morale move by the station. There are dozens of interns and part-timers toiling away in sports radio, and the FAN needs to set the precedent that this sometimes ends up in full-time contracts.

 

I know a lot of readers were fans of Dean’s old show. I’m not trying to shut that viewpoint down; in fact I want to hear from you. My questions for you this morning: are you excited to hear Dean talk sports? What aspects/features/bits from his old show do you hope he brings over to the FAN?

 

Quick Hits

 

Closing out the big local media stories this week, Gregg Zaun was the talk of the baseball town for his anecdote on PTS last week about being hazed as a rookie with the Orioles. This was part of Zaun’s argument that the 2014 Jays suffered due to lack of veteran leadership. Bob agreed with him 100%. Andrew Stoeten has the gory details.

 

Zaun was then shredded on ESPN by Keith Olbermann (subsequently suspended for anti-Penn State tweets) for being a hack and a baseball Neanderthal. Zauny then walked back the comments after Ripken called BS on the whole thing. Others have dissected this story further. People who follow the Jays know that this is par for the course for Zaun. The 10% of real insights he brings are washed out to sea with the deluge of self-aggrandizing nonsense that spews forth most of the time. There are a lot of talented baseball people working at Rogers. Zaun is not one of them. That said, I guess bad publicity is better than no publicity?

 

Speaking of Zaun, his mentor Don Cherry went on national television and said “never mind the concussions” when talking about the role of fighting in hockey. This comes at a time when the league is being sued and the entire sports world is working at reducing brain injuries in sports. I wonder how much of Don’s legacy will be whitewashed when he retires.

 

TSN is hiring a Senior Blogger. If you have a journalism degree and 5 years experience working for a mainstream news outlet, they would like you to blog for them 2-3 times per day, 5 days a week. Just wait until your parents find out that the last 10 years of your professional life have led you to being a senior blogger. I’m sure the other people in the press box will also take you seriously Mr./Mrs. TSN Senior Blogger. Memo to TSN: if you are trying to legitimize your online properties by hiring people with real world journalism experience and credentials, maybe consider adjusting your job titles?

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • In honour of Gareth’s sunny outlook on life, I will refrain from the usual caustic remarks found in this space and instead say a hearty congratulations to all of the Canadian Screen Awards winner for sports. It was hard to get a complete list from their website, but winners include: Stephen Brunt, Michael Landsberg, Ray Ferraro, Aaron Ward, Josh Shiaman … I’ll update this list as I uncover more.

 

—–

 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

Assistant Junior Blogger

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 27
  • comment-avatar
    WouldStaley93 2 years

    @mikeinboston great interview with @WheelerTSN. Good job.

    As for @ItsDeanBlundell I’m glad he’s back on morning radio. The supporting cast with @KaylaCHarris and @RusicSN590 should be a good fit. I was a huge fan of Dean’s old show on 102.1 when he worked with Jason Barr and Todd Shapiro. The jokes and banter made for great un filtered Toronto morning radio.

    I hope Dean brings back the Edge files segment obviously re branding it 590 Files or something like that and Wha Happened segment.

    A bunch of people at my office are pumped for Dean’s return and like I will be listening on way to work Monday morning from 530-900 on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

    PS
    I hope Dean rips into the critics and rivals.

  • comment-avatar
    HRM 2 years

    Great read once again. I really look forward to this every Saturday.

    Great job on the interview with Gareth Wheeler. His overall intelligence and knowledge of soccer really comes through.

    I believe that it was completely unnecessary for Jonas Siegel to tweet out Reilly’s comments. It served no purpose other than to create controversy and embarrass Reilly. I understand that controversy brings clicks and listeners, and if the controversy blows up twitter (as this one did) great advertising for the corporate brand, so it must be said that Jonas and other reporters are probably under alot of pressure to create controversy. But that is what they are doing…creating a story where one does not exist. To me it was nothing but a cheap shot…as was not correcting Bernier…the only purpose there was to embarrass him. That said, we live in a ‘gotcha’ culture where everyone whips out their cell phones the minute they have a chance to embarrass someone.

    I am really looking forward to Blundell. He does not need to be a sports expert. He can get expert analysis from guests. He just needs to be entertaining and fun. I for one hope he rips into critics and rivals as well….it will be nice to have a different voice from all the insufferable PC main stream media we are subjected to every day.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve Jones 2 years

    The concept that reporters should not report direct quotes directed at them is anathema to me. I see it simply, as in job titles. Reporters report, editors edit. Now, you can argue that maybe a public figure could be given the benefit of the doubt and not report something. Problem is now you’re drawing lines, maybe playing favourites, or simply just reporting only the politically correct utterings. Which means the reporter is deciding what the public should really know. I in no way want to tread into gotcha journalism ala TMZ, but I sure don’t want 60’s era reporting where a blind eye was turned to anything that would make a public figure look bad.

    There are two tangential points here. Would you want a reporter to not expose the Reilly comment if it was a prominent politician? Would you want someone with that platform to be making anti women comments? Likely not. The reason would be I think because politicians are supposed to be framing social issues in the appropriate light. Well, they can’t do it alone, so if you’re a prominent athlete, like it or not, you should be on board and using your position to advance the issue or at minimum not move it in reverse.

    The second point is something good came from both of Siegels tweets. Kessel suddenly became accessible to the media. Was it damage control? Or maybe did Kessel suddenly realize he had to step up and be a bit more of a team player. Similarly maybe Reilly, who yes is a young kid, just learned a very valuable lesson about his visibility and responsibility in the community. Maybe it’s something that helps him grow into a true leader. In both cases no real damage was done, and in Reilly’s maybe some real positives come of it.

    I guess the takeaway for me is you can ask reporters to just report the same boring stuff day after day, and then occasionally criticize them for never asking hard questions, or telling us what really goes on. Or you can accept they may ruffle a few feathers when they throw out a tidbit that isn’t maybe complimentary but was said to them personally. Sure it means lots of grey area but to even think a reporter could have his position threatened by something as minor as the Kessel incident is pure folly in my opinion.

  • comment-avatar
    Drumanchor 2 years

    I am completely convinced that the powers-that-be are, indeed, pressuring their reporters and interns to do everything they can to get “views” by creating controversy. Rogers seems to be a rather obvious offender with their “Gotta See It” video clips that, after viewing, are hardly that.

    In defence of Jonas, was he the only one to repeat what Riley said? There were other microphones around that caught the same thing and Leafs Lunch did a rather lengthy discussion on how everyone was taking about the incident. Why are we picking on Jonas?

    As for Blundell, if he properly defers to his co-hosts and other experts on his show when it comes to knowledgable sports opinion, he should be fine. Nothing wrong with letting the supporting cast do what they do well.

  • comment-avatar
    Species 1967 2 years

    That “Senior Blogger” job post “has been filled” now per the website.

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 2 years

    I’d posted in last week’s edition about Zaun and his latest train wreck. As I said, I was surprised that this story didn’t get more attention – or coverage – in Toronto. Hazing/bullying in sports today is a big issue and here you have a prominent member of the Rogers’ Blue Jays media team advocating for it. But not only that, Zaun implicates a hall of fame player as the main tormentor for when he was playing with the Orioles. And then later, Zaun downplays somewhat what he had originally alleged about Ripken.

    I’m sorry, but that just screams for some kind of follow up from someone in Toronto’s MSM (Andrew Stoeten once again shows that he’s more on top of things than most writers inside the MSM bubble). I mean, where do you want to start? Zaun’s assertion that we need more bullying in locker rooms (and McCown’s full agreement with that)? Ripken’s reaction? Was any of it true? Zaun’s meek back peddling?

    Zaun may already have reached the heights (lows?) of his idol Don Cherry in this country in that he can say the most irresponsible things and not have to be made accountable. “Ah that’s just Zauny being Zauny.” Embarrassing on so many levels.

  • comment-avatar
    Matt 2 years

    I am going to give Blundell a try, but. I really believe that Dean hasn’t changed and the show will decay into the trash that was his old show before he was fired. He said on twitter yesterday he is having his old friend Adrian on on Tuesday which likely will end up with the poor guy being made fun of for what benefit? As for bringing back Wha’ happened and other segments like that, I really hope not. Is there really a need to have people call in about fake lesbian stories, feces or erections? I get there’s a market for Dean’s humour, but the majority of people on here prefer hardcore sports talk, which I doubt Dean will provide

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 2 years

    A few people have mentioned that Blundell might end up like another Andrew Krystal. That’s definitely possible, but I guess if there is a major difference there. Before coming to The Fan, Krystal was a mid morning guy on 640, and a host in Halifax. Pretty much an unknown. Blundell had (I believe) the #1 morning show in the Fan’s target demo for years. He was arguably the most popular/recognizable DJ in the city.

    So, I’m definitely skeptical that it will work based on his trial run. And really, I’m not a big morning radio listener anyway. But Blundell has succeeded before, it’ll be interesting to see him do it again. Might be some rough growing pains.

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 2 years

    *To see IF he can do it again.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam 2 years

    Nice interview of Wheeler. I don’t care much for him on radio but I won’t change the station next time he comes on.

  • comment-avatar
    Dustin 2 years

    PTS was unlistenable this week. I wonder what role Arash is meant to play.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve Jones 2 years

    I don’t know if Bob was parroting someone else but his idea that Horton could be a flip to a cap constrained team for maybe a decent pick was very interesting. It would ultimately make the Clarkson deal even better. I had not heard anyone speculate the idea. If he did get it elsewhere please ignore my post.

  • comment-avatar
    Not that Chris 2 years

    I hadn’t heard it anywhere else, either. If the Leafs are truly in a re-build, and it sure looks like they are – they won’t be a cap team. Moving Horton’s contract to a team who is willing to spend to the cap (and over) would seem like a smart move, even if all you can get is a late draft pick.

    Dean Blundell. I expect it will be a very successful show for the Fan. As another poster mentioned, comparing it to Andrew Krystal is kind of ridiculous.
    Blundell ruled mornings in this market for a decade, and I believe was #1 in the demo they covet most. I’ve never listened to him, so this will be my first time. My hope is the show is allowed enough creative freedom, that they can drift away from usual ‘cover everything once an hour’ for the people who are just tuning in, and just do a show that flows.

  • comment-avatar
    dogpounder 2 years

    A cap team would only want Hortons contract if they were to dump a shite contract in return. I think Bob is wrong.

  • comment-avatar
    Alex 2 years

    I wonder if anyone will discussthe Sloan Conference otherr than the TSN analyics show, which had at least 3 guests live from there (mirtle, scottcullen, nick constanika (sp) from Puck Daddy).

  • comment-avatar
    Andrew 2 years

    Curt – No one at Rogers is going after Zaun because he works there and no one at TSN is doing it because he doesn’t work there. If someone outside of their sphere wants to bring it up, so be it. It would roughly be the same as someone at Rogers or TSN pointing out that Strombo might not be a good fit for hockey. It ain’t going to happen.

  • comment-avatar
    Neal 2 years

    Great column as per usual…this site is great. Just playing devil’s advocate here: perhaps the reason Blundell’s show was debuting on NHL Trade Deadline Day is to show that Blundell’s show will be a different sports talk radio show than what everyone would expect. So if you are going to have a show that will go against the grain, what better to start it on a big day like NHL Trade Deadline Day. The show itself on day one isn’t going to focus on the NHL deals with a whole host of special guests appearing (as has been advertised). It shows that the powers that be have decided to go all in with launching the show in the biggest day of the year for NHL hockey news. With the proceedings not starting until 8am anyway, listeners will get a taste of what this show will be about right off the hop. All intentional. And it should be interesting. Remains to be seen if 590 is able to attract a younger audience here or drive some parts of the older audience away. Polarizing to be sure.

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 2 years

    @ Andrew: So, that leaves the Star, the Globe, the Sun, the Post…

    Whatever, no one in the MSM wants to eat their own. Fine. Everyone is entitled to spew bullshit and not have to worry about anything. Great work if you can get it.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam in Scarb 2 years

    Humm…Jim Blundell will retire from Rogers Radio March 1.
    Seems daddy was the Rogers GM for radio & tv in British Columbia.

    In no way could there be any connection with a high level corporate executive from Rogers retiring one day before his son starts his new job as the new morning man at the highest rated sports station in Canada even tho he has no prior experience working at an all sports station.

    I have no doubt this is shirley only a coincidence as these things happen all the time.(ya know a son of a high level executive starting a new job at the company his Daddy just happens to be retiring from the day before)

    And,the Leafs in 5…

  • comment-avatar
    mickey b 2 years

    I seriously couldn’t care less about Blundell’s show in any way. Probably it will do well but just isn’t for me. From reading all the comments and stories on him through here and other sites, it does seem that he’s a smart guy that’s a real a hole in real life. One thing I can say is that would be 100% consistent with his business partner from Oakville Hyundai. That annoying guy you hear on the radio commercials all the time. He was a real condescending a hole to my wife and through talking around, she found that she wasn’t by any means the only female to have felt the way he made her feel. I’m being as nice as i can be here but wow… Definitely the old case of where there’s smoke, there’s fire…

  • comment-avatar
    Darren K Johnston 2 years

    Myself, I will give the new show a chance. The best part of the shakeup for me is simply getting Tim & Sid off my TV from 1-4, if I never see or hear this pair of assholes again it will be way too soon. There are some good options to go to during their new time slot on TV, easily avoidable now, thank you Rogers.

  • comment-avatar
    Alex 2 years

    Blair tweeted that joey vendetta will be hosting his show while he is on pts.

  • comment-avatar
    Darren K Johnston 2 years

    Why is Bob takin more time off? SMH

  • comment-avatar
    yaz 2 years

    Like Clarkson, Blundell will come out of the gate too hard and get a ten game suspension.

  • comment-avatar
    HUNTER 2 years

    Ooops moved to current thread thanks…

    Dean Blundell = Andrew Krystal 2.0

    They had better keep the ODOG on a short leash won’t be surprised if he gets his ass fired for saying or tweeting something he shouldn’t have said. Unlike the drone Ennis who has zero personality ODOG has balls and offers good experienced insight on the Leafs/NHL he’s good but needs to be careful not to cross the line.

    When will MLSE ever find an upgrade over that know it all boot licking homer Wilner arrogant talk show host when communicating with the callers.

    Bill Watters was the best co host Bob ever had bring him back to PTS way better than the current cast of rotating no talents. Watters had good chemistry with Bobcat and has a wealth of knowledge and insight on the Leafs and the NHL bring Watters back Sportsnet!!

    The Good:
    The ultra annoying Greg Brady is finally off the FAN’s morning show yahoo!!

    The Bad:
    The atrociously awful Mike Richards is still on TSN’s morning show.

    The Ugly:
    Toronto is the 4th largest market in North America and recently named the best place in the world to live. Tons of NFL fans in Toronto who desperately want their own NFL team. Yet Toronto still does not have an NFL team and a new NFL stadium. L.A. is on the verge of getting their NFL team back then it should be Toronto not London TORONTO next whether by relocation of an existing NFL team or an expansion team! An NFL team for Toronto will only bolster the FAN590’s & TSN1050’s audiences and MLSE’s bank account. Toronto’s NFL team will be a CASH COW and a license to print money so Edward Rogers & Larry Tanenbaum lets get back in the hunt and secure an NFL team for this great world class city of Toronto!!

  • comment-avatar
    Sully 2 years

    Good for Howard for speaking out about the Mandela thing. The whole media looked awful for how they behaved. Typical 3rd rate journalism. But this is Toronto … home of Cox, Simmons, and the rest of the un-firable hacks.

    Berger should be back on radio. Do it TSN!!!

  • comment-avatar

    How amazing to hear Darren Rovell back on PTS with Bob after a 3-year hiatus due to Rovell working for ESPN and no longer being allowed to be on Sportsnet with Bob.

    I am not sure exactly what changed, but it was precipitated by Rovell not enjoying his time on TSN with Naylor, and thus reaching out to Bob to make it happen, which they managed to do.

    I doubt that ESPN is too thrilled about this, but let it happen and they should be commended for doing so, as the fans are the winners.

    I just posted this and Rovell replied back to me, pretty cool:

    Brian Gerstein ‏@RaptorsDevotee 5m5 minutes ago
    Happened to catch @FadooBobcat with @darrenrovell back again on @BackstagePTS and their chemistry did not miss a beat. #AppointmentListening

    Darren Rovell ‏@darrenrovell 2m2 minutes ago
    @RaptorsDevotee thank you sir
    5:53 PM – 3 Mar 2015 · Details