Tuesday Morning Toronto Sports Media Thoughts

Tuesday Morning Toronto Sports Media Thoughts


One week into the new morning show on the Fan, what’s your take?

I can tell you everywhere I go people are asking me.

While one week does not a trend make, I can tell you from my perspective the Fan has moved closer to TSN radio then it ever has been before in terms of the morning show.

Let me say first and foremost, the new show is WAY better than both what I expected and the Krystal show. I honestly can’t tell the difference between the two hosts unless one of them uses the other persons name. But it’s not the train wreck that Krystal was right out of the gate.

Substantively, the show lacks depth from my perspective but that is just one persons opinion. It is selling a lot of sizzle and not a whole lot of steak. This is precisely what the TSN show is. Both shows get really good guests on. When the guests are being interviewed the shows are somewhere from good to great. In those slots where there are no guests, my hands are hitting the change station. That’s not new to TSN. This has been the Richards show from day one. That is new to the Fan. While I may not have liked, or been interested in the level of detail the old hosts went to on the old Fan morning show, or if you didnt’ agree with their opinions, there was little doubt in my mind that they new the games, the players and the facts. It was a sports radio talk show.

Yesterday morning the new host said something like, we are not going to break down the game like how many minutes did Eric Brewer get in the last game. That’s fine. There are enough websites and columns written to that level of detail. However, the show seems to go to the other extreme by default. In the absence of guests there is not much substance to the sports talk.

Don’t get me wrong, I prefer to hear from great guests. I’d rather hear what McKenzie, Kypreos, Davidi, Rosenthal, MacArthur etc. have to say then the hosts. McCown is king because he is a great interviewer. I don’t really care what he thought on any given subject but he is at least entertaining when talking about a topic. He sticks to sports.

So when asked my opinion on the new show, I say it’s fine. When the guests are good, it’s good. When no guests are on it’s not a sports radio show in my opinion and I flip. It’s inoffensive. The bits they do, are what they are. Is there a huge difference between the worst tweet of the day and the George Rusic News bit? Not really. Both are fillers. Both are better than the bits they do on the Richards show.

Clearly the theme in this market is to move away from hard hitting sports talk in the morning to high level coverage all the time with deep dives when warranted. The audience will decide whether or not that’s good enough. Personally, I find myself ending up on 680 or Q107 more mornings then I ever have before. There aren’t a lot of guests when I am in the car on my morning commute.

On the TV side of things, I am told that the Saturday Maple Leaf/ Blues game drew under 750k average fans (the Habs game on City drew 603k). No one will say so on the record, but it sounds like we have hit an all time low. “If it’s not a record it’s pretty damn close” an advertising executive told me.

Let’s stop with the Rogers is blowing hockey on tv talk though. This is as much a Maple Leaf problem as it is a Rogers problem. Fewer fans are watching because the Maple Leafs blow. 1.25 million are tuning into to watch curling because they like the event not the production of it or what network it is on. Is this hurting Rogers? You bet. Is it entirely their fault? No.

Lastly, thanks again to all of you who take the time to post on this website. Those of us who create the content do so as a passion. Some people knit, we like to write about sports media. The only rule on the site is that your comments, which are always welcome, don’t get personal. Don’t like my opinion, that’s fine. Think someone’s comment is moronic, feel free to disagree, but please don’t turn it into a hate attack.

Happy Tuesday!



  • comment-avatar
    pucksandbeer6 years ago

    I gave it an honest shot but couldn’t hold on. I appreciate an informed sports talk show when guests are not on. Now I just flip over when 640 is on commercial. This morning when I flipped over I heard George say “decent top 8 defense man”. Just reminds me of sports shows that take listener calls. I avoid those, especially when the hosts are about as informed as the callers. With Brady and Walker I would have a good idea of what I missed the day before in sports but now I am not brought up to speed on anything. I gave up on the edge a long time ago and moved to 590 in the mornings, but now its seems the Dean’s edge show is now on 590 with a sports theme.

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    I couldn’t agree me. Blundell & Co., lack the depth of Brady and Walker. This was one of the reasons I stayed away from Richards.

    Still, I don’t mind hearing DB back on the radio, and this is precisely what Rogers was hoping for from my demographic.

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    Steve Jones6 years ago

    I saw those curling numbers and it sure does say something about the business of sports. Good business. The Brier isn’t a high profile sports per se, but like the World Juniors TSN has done a nice job building it into a high profile event. I don’t know but I’m betting both deliver very strong profits given lower than professional sports league rights fees and solid ratings. Sure makes you wonder about all the money losing deals networks sign to broadcast the four majors.

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    Glad I’m not the only one who can’t tell Dean and George apart.

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    Mullah_Kintyre6 years ago

    Who turns on morning radio expecting “depth”? Do you also go to Burger King and expect to see a wine menu?

    To change the topic entirely, be prepared for an avalanche self-serving media whining some time in the next month when the CRTC announces new rules concerning the packaging of TV channels by cable/satellite/IPTV companies. They are justifiably afraid that a whole lot the present useless TV channels will be unable to survive if they will have to depend on people choosing to subscribe to them individually. You can probably expect them to soon multiply what they charge for the sports channels to make up for the shortfall.

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    Steve Jones6 years ago


    iWatch shoutout?

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    Blundell and Co. makes me laugh out loud which if that is what the Fan 590 is going for is definitely a good thing. I don’t really find Blundell all that weak sports knowledge wise – he can hold is own. I find that already in the second week the show is crisper and the rapport and timing between Rusic and Blundell is better.

    I realize the show may not be to everyone’s taste. If you are looking for serious sports talk you won’t find it…but if you want some fun in the morning with a sports theme I think they are doing that very well. If you are turning away from the show and plan B is AM 640, 680 News, or Q107 then you are not the demographic they want anyway.

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    Blair hosts PTS today with Ken Reid = a switch over to Off the Record, PTI & Naylor.

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    Thought it was supposed to be Friedman mon and tues.

    Good thing blair interviewed anthopolous in thr 4:00 hour.

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    Who listens to sports radio for box scores, its about entertainment. Mike Richards and David Bastl are both knowledgably while entertaining, making people laugh mixed in with sports and great guests.

    DB has an edge that just doesn’t do it for me

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    Rob in Aurora6 years ago

    The Leafs are hurting the overall ratings, but Rogers IS blowing it. Leafs have been terrible for years, yet ratings were never a problem until this season….Look, I don’t know one person I have spoken to who watches any of Rogers’ studio pregame and intermission ….(it’s not “content”, its “filler”). Sportsnet is simply brutal.

    Chris Zelkovich has an article (weekly blog on Yahoo) about ratings in sports…This is getting interesting, TSN had 8 out of the top 12 shows in ratings…But Scott Moore of Sportsnet still blames the ratings system and claims this week that Sportsnet is “on track to dominate Canadian Television” with the hockey package….So far that’s not happening. No one talks about ad revenue in these articles, but I’m pretty sure that is the elephant in the room when the Rogers execs meet, brave talk about “dominating” aside.

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    I don’t mind Blundell that much – its his sidekick George I cant stand. His over-use of saying “Dean” is bad enough and to add his obvious lisp to it makes him unlistenable. Between the three guys (Fabro included) they don’t have the knowledge or even the entertainment value that Brady and Walker had.

    Its obvious to me, the morning guys should be on between 1-4 and the 1-4 guys should be back in the morning. This experiment has failed. ABORT MISSION!

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    Drumanchor6 years ago

    @ Rob in Aurora. Very interesting points. You hit the nail on the head, for me. It’s all about Rogers.

    And what is Rogers about? Money,

    Making as much as they can. If it means even one more ticket sold to the Jays or another set of eyes on one of their television “properties”, then so be it.

    Listening to Mike Wilner this morning just emphasized it even more. Optically, he comes across as nothing more than an apologist for the Jays. It is like his bosses are constantly in sales mode and he has been directed to pump up the team. So, for Mike, it’s all great with the Jays all the time. Couple that with a condescending delivery, and that act has been old for many years now.

    Poor Rogers. One can’t help but get the impression that they just will never win over the public – no matter how much money they spend trying.

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    Is everyone really Blundell’s ‘Brutha’. Gnaws at me.

    Why has TSN given up on the Mike Richards Podcast? Feb 17 is last available on iTunes and on their own damn website. Bryan Hayes show is also inconsistently posted as well as Leafs Lunch but not nearly as bad as MR. Seems the simplest thing to do. Inconsistent is one thing but almost a month with no Mike Richards podcast update has to be on purpose, for what reason I do not know, especially when Mike is facing a new challenger. I just find worthy guests on MR and fast forward to them like Dreger, McKenzie etc.

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    I actually don’t mind George that much – call it Stockholm Syndrome from working nights and listening to almost every night for months. And when I do listen, I enjoy them with guests more than I do solo.

    Side note the other day I flipped on the Fan and Joey Vendetta was on, literally talking about his shits (his movements, he called them). So I guess there are worse things Dean, George and company could be talking about!

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    Great points Drumanchor, listening to Wilner is too painful he’s always condescending and kissing Rogers ass. Basically He is the anti-Greg zaun. As a result he brings absolutely no value to the Broadcast. His delivery is not as condescending but painfully boring, kiss ass and vanilla as it gets: joe Siddal. get rid of him too

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    Bring back the Score6 years ago

    We are all screwed. Sportsnet just doesn’t get it. And TSN has Jeff O’neil aka the O-dog aka the worst.
    Why can’t we just have the simple days of ‘To the Point’ with Greg Sansone, Raging red head Cam Stewart and so on.
    Sorry I know this is radio thread…

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    Brunt said on 590 today that he will be on Blair’s show every day next week…………..they will both be in Florida at Jays spring training……….I don’t know if he will be co-host for all three hours every day or if it will be a lesser role on the show

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    joe in toronto6 years ago

    Blundell has no clue what he’s talking about. Rusic is the sports guy on that show but he’s limited in his role. For some reason they have regular updates and then Kyla doing updates…seems redundant. I find myself flipping to music – both shows are unbearable. Brady and Walker were bad but in a different way. They at least had an opinion and whether you agreed or not you stayed to hear it. You listened to hate Brady and his obsession with Detroit. I’m indifferent with Blundell & Co – and maybe that’s the problem. Apathy. Kinda like the Maple Leafs….

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    joe in toronto6 years ago

    I also find it hilarious that the only time Wilner and Cox ever get on PTS is when Bob’s away. What happened with Bob and Cox anyways? I clearly missed the falling out.

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    Blundell is a colossus blunder. Fan 590 is still struggling to have a consistent quality morning show but have once again failed. Fan 590 had no competition until TSN decided to get into the radio game and in my opinion, they dominate the radio daytime market except for PTS. Naylor is unlistenable as is Steve Simmons and Feshchuck.

    Leafs Lunch is an entertaining two hours. Brian Hayes is a quality radio man and Odog and Noodles give a player prospective to many of the issues plaguing the Leafs. Combined, their knowledge of hockey in general and the Leaf perspective along with the humour makes for some good radio.

    I wonder how good would a program with Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph be? I think it would certainly be a good program to listen to.

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    dogpounder6 years ago

    Fire everyone.

    Dead air for all.

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    Sportsnet has foisted yet another moron on tv and radio: Cory hirsch. This guy has NO clue about anything and its evident the moment he opens his mouth. To boot he thinks he’s funny when he’s not. He’s somewhere between a train wreck and a dumpster fire.

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    Nan Young Lee6 years ago

    On the subject of bigotry, here’s a great article on what Serena Williams has had to put up with during her career:


    Sportsnet is doing a good job showing the CIS championships this weekend. Give them credit for trying to build something new.

    I read that Jay Maddog Michels was let go from Virgin 99.9. That might be a better place for Blundell than 590. It’s only 2 weeks in but Rusic doesn’t have the chemistry with Dean as he did with Jeff Sammutt. Maybe he was the same in the early weeks with Sammut too, I can’t remember. At least (from what I listened to) Blundell didn’t say something as cringe inducing as he did during the first week when he asked Kypreos if he was on twitter.

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    Cox was on quite often with Bob prior to the acquisition of the national hockey rights. Wilner on the other hand has never been in the studio or on the phone with Bob. I truly think there was a fallout there. Not hard to imagine though, Bob can be objective while on the topic of the jays mostly about the players while Mike is a complete and utter homer with a condensending attitude I don’t think would sit well with

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    hockeyfan996 years ago

    People still care about Canadian sports radio? The best personalities don’t have regular slots/shows on the big networks. Where are Gabe Morency, Steve Kouleas (for hockey), Marc Hebscher, and Elliote Friedman (the only time I listen to PTS)? With the exception of Friedman, to find the people listed you need to see them on lesser known networks.

    The Americans are better at it. I could listen to Scotty Ferrall, Nick Wright, and Amy Lawrence any day of the week.

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    No offense, but Scott Ferrall is a total hack.

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    Peter Ballantine6 years ago


    LOL at calling Wilner and homer. He’s a realist that actually uses facts in his debates. Sorry that you’re one of the idiots that’s called and got owned by him hahaha!

    I’ve already talked to the producer about Bob and Wilner. Baby McClown is SCARED to have Wilner on because he knows Wilner actually knows his facts and would easily own him in a debate about the Jays. McClown is an utter dumbass who CONSTANTLY gets his facts wrong about the Jays and doesn’t even watch sports, never mind the game, any more. These are the facts period

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    Wilner knows everything about the Jays, and will happily tell everybody he can how they are actually a great team who is better than their record indicates and going in the right direction, any players who don’t pan out “weren’t in the long term plan anyway”…

    But they’re still 22 years removed from meaningful baseball after August 15, a point he refuses to concede…ever…and anyone who questions him just doesn’t know shit about baseball…

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    I find myself listening to Richards in the an on TSN. Don’t like Blundell especially with his homophobic laced statements that got him outed from the edge. George is just another producer who fancies himself as a sports radio host, which he definitely isn’t.

    David B. asks silly questions that TSN experts and guests have to constantly correct him on. It’s called Richards in the morning not mention of Bast so let Richards do what he does best re interviews and voice parodies.

    MikefromBuffalo you should listen more to Richards and appreciate what good morning radio broadcaster sounds like, compared to Blundell.

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    Wilner is so full of crap, the only question I am not sure of is if he really is that dumb or just purposely gives misinformation

    I got a great example recently, he said he doesn’t think the BoSox could go from worst to first this season because it’s “almost impossible to do” and brings up the Jays of 2012 to 2013 when the Jays made a bunch of changes but wasn’t enough to win the division.

    Of course the idiot choose to ingore that that same 2012 to 2013 the Boston Red Sox actually DID go from last to first going from 69 wins in 2012 to 95 in 2013.

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    I tried listening to Blundell for 2 weeks, but that show is horrible…can’t listen to them. I’m not a big Richards fan either, but I find myself listening to that more, as well as 680 news and FM radio. The Fan really messed this one up. I go back to The Fan on the way home.

    As for demographics, I’m 34 and I’m well aware of the shock jock Blundell was trying to be. It’s a shame The Fan had to go into that direction.

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    Was never a big Brady and Walker fan but Blundell & Company is even worse. I will admit that while I’m not a big fan of Blundell he isn’t as terrible as I thought he would be. His sidekick George Rusic though is AWFUL!! Rusic is supposed to be the guy carrying the weight as far as the knowledge goes and all this guy knows is hockey. He likes to think he knows other sports but he really doesn’t. Will not be listening to the Fan590 morning show until they revamp the morning show or at least get rid of George Rusic. Rusic belongs behind the glass not on the air.