Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: The Star


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning readers. Sorry for all the boring CRTC talk last week. Thanks to all of you who wrote to me to complain. This week brought us a more conventionally exciting mix of sports media stories, so let’s get to it.


Countdown to Brady & Walker PM


It has been several months now since Mr. Don Kollins dropped the Blundell bomb on the FAN radio line-up. As you’ll recall, that tactical decision took several twists and turns and several emergency try-outs before the dust finally settled on the current cadre that make up Blundell &Co. The rebuilt morning show has now been running for a few weeks, and if you follow Kollins on Twitter you’ll notice that the daily downpour of retweets of people singing Dean’s praises has dwindled to a few drops here and there. To his credit, Dean managed to make it through the first month without committing any fireable offences, and that has to count as a win over at Rogers HQ. Now begins the long grind to getting the kind of ratings that justify all the mess this decision left in its wake.


We have spent a lot of time debating whether blowing up what was a pretty successful line-up was the right decision. The fall 2014 ratings still have not leaked in full, but unofficially all of the FAN shows were down from their spring 2014 ratings (which were massive), and most were down from Fall 2013. So, if that’s true, there is some plausibility to the theory that Kollins’ changes were motivated by sagging ratings rather than a lust for the younger meat that Blundell could hypothetically bring.


What I would like to discuss this morning in reference to Brady & Walker PM is what to expect, what to hope for, and what to dread.


By way of personal background, I’ll say that Brady & Walker was the first morning sports show I have listened to on a regular basis. There have been a dozen or so Toronto morning sports talk shows in my lifetime, and none of them appealed to me. The way Brady & Walker hooked me was by being a sports show. My biggest complaint about morning sports shows is that in mixing in the obligatory traffic, weather, news, water-cooler talk, and generic pop culture items, they tend to do so at the expense of in-depth sports talk. I understand the theory that says people are just starting their day and don’t want to think too hard. That kind of radio show may appeal to some people, but it doesn’t do anything for me.


So let’s start with what to expect. The hosts are the same so there should be no surprises there. If you didn’t like B&W AM you probably won’t like B&W PM. It is worth pointing out they will now be working without the talented Ryan Fabro. From what I can gather, Fabro seems like one of the hardest working guys in the business and I have a suspicion he is working even harder under Blundell. It will be interesting to see how Brady & Walker gel with Tim & Sid producer Jeff Azzopardi. To my ears, T&S was always a well-produced radio show so things should not take a noticeable downturn in that area. If anything, they’ll have more time before the show to work out how things will unfold.


While B&W AM spent time on traffic and weather it wasn’t significant, so I doubt the format of the show will change much. The main thing I am hoping for is better guests. At 7am you are kind of limited in who you can ask to show up and be coherent. Not so at 2pm. Hopefully they can work to develop good relationships with interesting guests. One of the banes of T&S was the extent to which they relied on Sportsnet personalities to fill out the line-up. There was way too much Wilner, Zaun, Shannon, etc. for my tastes. I understand that when people write original content for the magazine or the website then you want to have them on to promote it. I have no problem with shoehorning Grange or Friedman in for that purpose. But T&S took the in-house promotion mandate too far and caused me to tune out. I’m hoping B&W can resist this to a greater extent, and will look outside the box for interviews and stories.


As far as interview skills, I don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other about B&W. Neither strikes me as especially good or bad. I have not heard enough to have an informed opinion. It’s safe to say it will be better than T&S in that department though. Here’s a somewhat related question for you: who are your favourite interviewers on either station? McCown is the obvious default answer, but I wonder if anyone else is notably good or bad. Anyway, I’m hoping for lots of good interviews with fresh voices on B&W PM.


Here’s what I’m dreading: call-in segments. You can criticize T&S all day and most of the night but you have to give them credit for doing their show without taking calls. In today’s golden age of easy to access content, I have no idea why anyone would listen to call in shows on radio or TV outside of a post-game show. B&W took calls every now and then on their old show and it was not good radio. Part of that is Brady’s fault. He loves to argue with straw-men and would cut callers off quickly and then lambaste their half-opinions. This complaint goes back to the previous morning show which far too often consisted of Brady screaming at a muted Lang. Arguably the root cause goes back to Brady’s show with the erratic Bill Watters, where exasperation at the claims being proffered was often appropriate.


My request is the following: just try going without calls and see if you need them. The default assumption that you have to get people involved is, I think, a hold-over from a previous era in radio. People can now interact on Twitter if they really want to. That said, I’ll grant that some high profile American sports-talk shows do incorporate calls in entertaining ways, so it’s not impossible to do. To me the risk is greater than the reward.


Lastly, it’s interesting to do a little long term speculation. Suppose Blundell bombs, either by once again running afoul of modern standards regarding sexism and homophobia, or simply by driving away the installed user base and bringing few Edge listeners back the other way. Well, it would be fairly easy to just hit the reset button and re-install the B&W AM app. But I doubt that will happen. Blundell will be given a much longer rope than Krystal was, and poor ratings will be tolerated as long as the demographics trend in the younger direction. So I think Blundell sticks around for a couple of books at least. And by that time, the clock is almost up on McCown and B&W have established themselves in the afternoons and hopefully built a brand that is different enough from PTS. If B&W can survive in the advertising wasteland that is weekday afternoons on radio & TV, they might just end up with the best time slot in all of Canada.


Over to you: Tim & Sid listeners, what are you hoping for out of Brady & Walker? Will you go over to Hayes instead? Hayes listeners, does Brady & Walker intrigue you where T&S failed to?


The Bell Tolls for Thee


James Bradshaw of the Globe hopefully earned himself a new contract and a fat raise with the awesome work he did this week. In case you missed the background to this story, the CRTC delivered a string of decisions that angered Bell (and presumably other media companies). I covered some of these rulings last week. The president of Bell, a Mr. Kevin Crull, then tried to influence how Bell owned media companies, like CTV, covered the story. He would have gotten away with it except that senior journalists at CTV balked and the gory details of his meddling eventually leaked out. The head of the CRTC, Mr. Jean-Pierre Blais, issued strong rebuke of Crull’s conduct, and the latter then issued a weak “teachable moment” apology.


Two thoughts about this story. First, the fact that this story was broken by the Globe ought to put an end to the accusations (see Damien Cox’s twitter feed) that people like the Globe’s David Shoalts are bought and paid for by Bell (15% owners of the Globe). This story has cast a dark shadow over all of Bell’s news operations, and if Bell were truly dictating to the Globe then there is no way this breaks. This makes Bell look terrible as a company.


Suppose you’re CTV and you are trying to hire a talented journalist. You now have to overcome this person’s legitimate fears of being pressured by your corporate overlords. Mr. Crull can say “it was wrong of me to be anything but absolutely clear that editorial control always rests with the news team” but his actions speak much more loudly. You can’t un-press this button in terms of public perception.


Second, this ought to put an end to the trite comments sports media people often make that “no one has ever told me what to say” as a way of demonstrating their independence from the media companies that pay their salaries. Regardless of whether anyone has ever been told directly what to say, it is pretty plausible that this kind of corporate influence is pervasive. If you’re in a lower tier position and your boss tells you to downplay some angle or to cut a certain story or to have a certain guest on rather than another, you’re going to do it. Depending on the kind of media job you have, you may not even know that this is happening.


My point is that the wall between ownership interests and editorial independence needs constant reinforcement and repair. With our beloved MLSE now owning most of the local sports teams while at the same time being owned by the main sports media companies, this wall is maximally vulnerable. Further, this is sports we are talking about, not foreign policy. So if Bell comes to TSN and says “hey, we’d like you to downplay the discounted Leafs tickets on the secondary market story for the time being” and gives you some incentive for doing so, then it’s not like lives are at stake. We would all like to think that our integrity cannot be bought for any price, but that’s just silly. There’s a lot of room for interpretation on what constitutes a breach of ethics, and under the right conditions doing what your boss asks is the most rational course of action.


If you think Crull is the exception, I would disagree. His actions are not those of someone trying to hide what he is doing. He clearly didn’t think anyone would say no. As Bradshaw describes the details of the case, Crull’s meddling was successful at all rungs along the ladder except for the last one. You don’t get to be the president of a company like Bell or Rogers by deferring to others. These people have strong wills and probably spend a lot of their time telling people what to do. To think that the sports department is immune from these pressures is, in my opinion, naive. Crull just made everyone’s life at TSN that much harder.


Side Swipes


In response to recent stories about people stalking athletes and issuing threats to Hollywood celebrities TSN1050’s Matt Cauz had this to say: “You should have to give your social insurance number to be on Twitter! It’s a public forum!”


No, Matt, it’s not. It’s a website. It’s a website that lots of people choose to use for entertainment and news. Everyone has the choice to turn off notifications, or make their account private, or do as Damien Cox does and block people who say things you don’t like. Your beef is primarily with the people who run Twitter. If you don’t like the way Twitter polices their community, then don’t use it. Or, start pressuring them to change their policies … perhaps you can come up with a clever hashtag movement.


Here’s why this is a bad take. Death threats and other communications of criminal intent are already illegal. The fact that they take place on Twitter doesn’t change that. What about anonymity? If people commit torts or crimes via Tweet then the police and the courts already have all the authority they need to track these people down. We don’t need to give Twitter our SINs in order for them to trace us. I suppose if you’re a super hacker then you can evade detection but let’s be honest: the people you are worried about are sad and lonely men and boys who are tweeting from home.


The problem is not the lack of identifying information. The problem is that people want Twitter to be as open as possible when it serves their promotional interests but want it to be closed when the idiot brigade shows up. You can’t have it both ways. If you want a direct line of communication to the people, be prepared not to like some of what the people have to say. Yes, Twitter could do a much better job banning users. That said, large companies have been known to use YouTube’s DMCA policies to shut down competing products rather than defend their own. So, there is also a chance that good intentions can go very wrong in practice.


In sum: let’s all agree that no one should be subject to criminal harassment but also remember that Twitter is a social network and not a town hall.


If you have recently found a Jeff O’Neill shaped hole in your life then this week was like Christmas morning and Steve Buffery was your Santa Claus. The Sun sent Buffery down the chimney and he delivered 4740 words on the intricacies of what makes O’Neill tick. You can see why Buffery wanted to write this profile. Few people in the local sports media are more complex than the O-Dog. Some have referred to him as the most interesting man in all of Toronto sports.


O’Neill is best known for his tell-it-as-it-occurs-to-me style. O-Dog fan Bryan Hayes is quoted in the piece: “That is what makes him a star in my opinion. He doesn’t have a filter. If something pops into his head, he’s going with it.”


This kind of in-depth profiling could become a whole series for Buffery. I look forward to his next piece on Gregg Zaun featuring quotes by Jamie Campbell on how being around the Zauntourage changed his life. After that, I want to know everything about Blundell &Co member Halina Balka … her political views, her analysis of the state of city planning, her favourite bars, what kind of car she drives. Everything.


Quick Hits


Ryerson hosted an event called “From the Starting Blocks to the Finish Line” featuring several prominent female sports media personalities telling their stories about working in the industry. J-Source live-blogged the event.


A federal judge in the U.S. rejected a motion to dismiss the concussion lawsuit brought by former NHL players against the NHL. When this newe broke on Thursday I clicked around both the Star and the Post’s sports sections but couldn’t find it. Odd. Maybe they were late getting to it. Rick Westhead is all over the legal intricacies of this story for TSN.


Obama’s final gift to the American taxpayer might be to ban using public debt to finance privately owned pro sports stadiums. Slate has a great story on how rather than distant cities fighting each other for teams, municipalities within the same region have been offering up public financing to woo teams a few feet this way or that.


Each of the last few weeks I have been wanting to devote significant space to Jays related matters but keep hitting my word limit. If I had space to discuss it I would talk about the Steve Delabar demotion and the current youth movement for 2015. In the meantime, read Cathal Kelly great piece on the Delabar situation.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • Bob McCown protégé Ken Reid continues to frustrate the audience and seems to be moving on to the guests as well. I’m pretty sure one of them straight-up ignored one of his silly questions this week.


  • Some people asked me to comment on Lanny McDonald’s testy replies to Bob’s questions during their interview. In my opinion, there’s no there there. He’s just a guy.


  • Best wishes to Tim & Sid as they return to TV. Their radio work was strongest as a one hour weekly podcast, so maybe this will eventually lead to the return of their formerly great Uncut show. I never listened to Jay & Dan’s podcast but from what I recall it was quite popular.


  • This week in Twitter battles featured Andrew Stoeten vs Mark Hebscher: “@hebsyman Please stop ruining my fond memories of the Hebsy Awards by being a tool. Thanks.” It’s no Pacquiao-Mayweather but we’ll take it.


  • Good week for PTS producer Ryan Walsh: Jonah Keri, Darren Rovell, Rob Becker, Richard Deitsch. This really helps break up the monotony of local celebrities, and Rogers staff. Other than the always excellent Howard Bryant from ESPN, TSN Drive couldn’t compete this week. That said, they didn’t have Shannon or Reid as co-hosts …




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

About the Author
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
March 28, 2015 11:56 am

It was really interesting to hear Bob Mccown go after Rogers last night during the 6 PM hour. Basically he was saying that the way they handled the T&S and Brady/Walker situation was ridiculous. He said Rogers announced T&S were getting a TV show before they knew what that TV show would be like and thus they had to pull them off the air for 3 months to “prepare” for the show, which is absurd. He also said the whole thing was really rushed and the way Rogers handled it didn’t make any sense. Classic Bob and great radio.

Also, the roundtable last night featuring both Brunt and Friedman was outstanding. More of that please. The show is immeasurably better when one or both of those guys are on instead of Reid or Cox.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
March 28, 2015 12:01 pm

WOW..a little long winded..half way into the piece i had to stop and go shave for the second time today.
Saying that good content i think can’t remember it all.Might have to re-read during the Leaf game tonight.

March 28, 2015 12:48 pm

Regarding good interviewers, I’m sorry but I have to break the Bob bubble. While he has a reputation for being a good interviewer, I really don’t find that to be the case anymore. Occasionally he can be good and we hear the Bob of old. But more often than not, Bob does not really interview his guests these days – he imposes his opinion on them and the audience, and if he doesn’t hear what he wants from his guest, he can turn into a petulant child. “I get that!”

By his own admission, Bob does not prepare for his show. Back in the day – when he was engaged in the sports world – he could get away with it and be good. Not now. Often, he’ll ask the wrong question or not even have his facts right when interviewing a guest. It’s embarrassing to listen to at times. A good co-host can often bail him out, but that is NOT Ken Reid…

The radio interview is a lost art, in my opinion. I can’t think of anyone in the sports arena who nails it. (Brunt can be good.) But, I don’t mind Naylor. He asks succinct questions and rarely cuts off the guest (a pet peeve of mine).

March 28, 2015 1:01 pm

“It’s the same five guys every f—ing time and they’re usually drunk and they have no idea what they’re talking about, so why would anybody put them on live radio?”
“I’m at a point now where I’m like, ‘Just hang up the phone, I’m not doing it.’ Because it’s idiotic. It’s f—ing nuts.”

-Jeff O’Neill on call-in radio. He is right.

March 28, 2015 1:54 pm

Did anyone else find Brunt especially annoying in the first hour, especially about Ortiz and the Players Tribune site ? Constantly interrupting Friedman and McCown to defend Ortiz again and again. Reminded me of Shannon. Brunt’s overwhelmingly bias that the players can do no wrong and that the owners and management are evil Satan worshippers drives me crazy and really destroys any respect I have for him for his writing talents.

March 28, 2015 2:18 pm

McCown was in good form at times this week. I think it was yesterday during the round table that somehow his time doing the morning show back in the 1990s came up. Someone else asked who else was on it with him, and he awkwardly tried to come up with names while avoiding mentioning the guy now on the competing station’s morning show, when someone blurted out “Mike Richards”. McCown immediately responded, “Yeah, when he was still funny”.

A cohost brought up driving past BMO Field and seeing the towering new east side stand, and said something about the Argos playing there. McCown then asked him if he noticed any work being done to move back the north and south ends to make room for a CFL field. (Not only are the existing north and south end stands being left as they are, but a new elevated concourse level is being built right at the back of the south stands.)

March 28, 2015 2:45 pm

So nobody seems to like Ken Reid as a PTS co-host, which I agree he’s aweful! So why has Rogers ignored the feedback?bdo they not care or the ratings for PTS so high who cares? It just seems weird the continue to use him? Last nights PTS was very good! So what can TSM find out about Reid?
Love the blog, keep it up! I love the Brian Hayes Leaf lunch! Odog, Noodles and Ferraro are awesome. Stopped watching Hockey Central and could never understand T&S!

March 28, 2015 2:48 pm

“Each of the last few weeks I have been wanting to devote significant space to Jays related matters but keep hitting my word limit.”

1. Its the net. There are no word limits. (Ask posnanski or bill simmons)

2. Does TSM only let you write one column a week? Id think you could write more often if you wanted. 🙂

March 28, 2015 3:10 pm

As always, mike (not really in boston), great job! You have once again provided the Read of the Week.

You covered a lot of ground this week, but I’ll reserve my feedback to just one topic: In reaction to Cauz, your comments on Twitter are bang-on!

Hugh, I too found Brunt annoying yesterday … and too many days recently for that matter. I know Cox is not popular, but I loved that little shot he gave Brunt during the 6 o’clock hour last night when he asked if Brunt, ever the Blue Jays’ booster, was predicting 103 victories this season.

March 28, 2015 3:26 pm

Link to Dan Shaughnessy’s open letter to David Ortiz

It’s getting a lot of thumbs up from several MSM types on twitter

I hope someone sends Brunt a link LOL

March 28, 2015 5:40 pm

I never listened to Tim and Sid so I am looking forward to having an alternative when Ferraro is saying something stupid over on Leafs Lunch. My guess is B&W ratings will be lower relative to Tim & Sid and the 2-4 PM Hayes ratings will continue to stagnate. Both Brady and Walker I imagine will be loving life a lot more without having to get up at ungodly hours and go to be early.

I always listened to B&W and have eagerly awaited their return. Given their quick success and historic morning ratings I expect very little to change except, as suggested above, the quality of the guests ( and less, if any, traffic and weather ). B&W gelled quickly then had their legs cut out from under them by the Blundell insertion. We’ll see what happens.

Ferraro and O’Neill also had an exchange about Twitter ‘everyone should be forced to have their names attached’ then ‘ you could go in and have someone fired for saying something about you.’ Note to Ferraro – Twitter has toppled governments, it isn’t just used to chirp retired NHL players, poke your head out of your bubble.

March 28, 2015 8:39 pm

Drager told a story the other day about he was being harassed on twitter to the point where the police got involved.

March 28, 2015 9:31 pm

@Hugh, thanks for the link to the Shaughnessy article. I would have never have expected it to be such an even-handed piece based on what I heard on PTS last night. Brunt did come across as hard on Shaughnessy. According to Brunt, Shaughnessy has written some really strongly-worded columns that have rubbed people the wrong way. But again, after reading that first article, I’d want to read a bit more of his work before taking Brunt’s opinion as gospel.

AJustin, it’s interesting that you mention PTS last night. I know I said recently that TSN Drive had an edge on quality of conversation, but I turned on TSN Drive first, and Dave had Bruce Arthur as his guest. It started on the topic of the Kessel-Booth shoving match, and started to degenerate into potshot insults against the Leafs. Thank you, good-bye. Hard analysis on why the Leafs are allowing the downward spiral is one thing, smug condescension (not to be confused with intelligent wit) is another. I agree with @Curt about Naylor’s interviewing. His affability that makes him a great interviewer sometimes has him going along with his co-hosts/guests rather than steering them back on topic and off overtrodden ground.

Over to PTS. I agree that the roundtable with Brunt, Friedman, and Madani was stimulating conversation, particularly the Player’s Tribune web site. The best part about it (and about some of the better roundtables in general) is that Bob let everyone say their piece (no problem there based on the participants involved) and then made a single cogent statement: “Just because a player says it, doesn’t make it true.” Really good stuff. Also, it is interesting to see the media discuss the direct-to-public approach taken by athletes.

, you or TSM will have to write on article on to what extent social media makes traditional sports broadcasting/opinion/analysis redundant or irrelevant.

March 28, 2015 9:34 pm

Can’t agree more with Mike in Boston. Ken Reid is unwatchable. When he’s co-hosting PTS, the three generations in our family turn to TSN and watch Around the Horn, PTI and then Dave Naylor at 6:00. I swear that Reid is either Scott Moore’s nephew or he has incriminatng pictures of Moore and Keith Pelley.

March 28, 2015 11:06 pm

@Marcus… excellent comments. Too often on this site I hear folks weigh too heavily on TSN or 590. Nice to hear unbiased opinion.

Cox was good this week on PTS. Less is more with him I think.

Tim and Sid on radio was good for me. I got it. I will miss the show.

Personally, I shook my head at the end of the Lanny McDonald interview. I came away with the impression that Lanny was the wrong choice for the HoF and that he might be better served to return to the pasture while he still can.

@MiB baseball talk is good, if you feel led, write a second piece.

Raptors Devotee
Raptors Devotee
March 28, 2015 11:41 pm

I happened to tune in the middle of the Lanny McDonald interview, and have to say, was taken aback by McDonald’s reaction to Bob’s legitimate questions. It is obvious to me that McDonald has no clue as to deal with the media and desperately needs some public relations training, as he came across as petty, and someone who couldn’t care less about any degree of transparency. Maybe this worked 30 years ago, but in 2015 he is in for a rude awakening.

March 28, 2015 11:52 pm

and while i’m spilling…

Bob Ryan is the highlight of my week. Always a thought processed answer, and he generally seems to be engaged in the conversation no matter the subject. On the flip side, Deitsch reveals a different side of McCown, an imaginative enterprising character. And Deitsch seems able to contain the conversation no matter the ebbs and flows.

March 29, 2015 6:30 am

@Marcus said:

, you or TSM will have to write on article on to what extent social media makes traditional sports broadcasting/opinion/analysis redundant or irrelevant.”

Yes, I would agree with this but put a finer point on it – its the “direct to public” approach rather than “social media”.

March 29, 2015 9:08 am

Haha…..look at you all bitter that Buffery wrote an article on O’Neil… if you are the only one who comment on media…..I guess real journalists can to….and they are paid to do so…..keep reaching for the sky buddy….one day

March 29, 2015 10:59 am

That story on Bell was great, good to see some people standing up for what is right. And right on the nose about taking no calls.

March 29, 2015 1:06 pm

I will dearly miss Tim and Sid. Great entertainment (not as much education) and just plain fun. Even when some of Sid’s contrived “rants” dragged on too long, Tim keep things grounded and loose. They became my Jay and Dan podcast on a daily basis.

I wil likely listen to Brady and Walker in the afternoons – at least I will give it a try before I switch over to the dark side (Hayes). Brady does annoy me though. I find his strong opinions and obsession with arguing his stance and having the last word hard to take – get over yourself Greg.

I will say that I like to be entertained in the afternoon, since I get sober sports analysis/serious debate with Jeff Blair.

March 29, 2015 1:43 pm

I will truly miss Tim + Sid. Say what you will about Tim + Sid and topics that they would cover, they killed a total dead time of the day because when 1 PM hits in offices you are fooling yourself if you were not doing a countdown till 5 PM. Listening to Tim + Sid, they kept you motivated and not have you checking your watch.

Brady + Walker are definitely not even close to excitement or enjoyable radio vs. Tim + Sid.

I already listen to the FAN sparingly and now no Tim + Sid on the FAN anymore and not on Sportsnet until July!? The FAN and Rogers have shot the shows to bits. Rogers fail is Bell’s gain.

March 29, 2015 4:16 pm

@MiB on your first ‘low hanging fruit’… One instance last week when IIRC Richard Deitsch was on, Ken Reid made a reference to Ricky Henderson 1 million dollar paycheque who was left in his car never been deposited (I thought it was that he framed it as a souvenir or w/e) and Ken thought that both Bob and guest didn’t know that story… When in fact they both scoffed at him at being irrelevant… It left ken silent for the next few moments… Priceless moment

March 29, 2015 7:22 pm

My job changed recently and I am more dependent on Podcasts. Seems to me a simple thing to do. Top to bottom, Fan590 uploads within an hour every show they do to iTunes. TSN is hit and miss. As of this writing there is still not one Mike Richards Podcast up from last week – this from a show that was probably 2nd to Tim and Sid for Twitter interaction. Hayes still doesn’t have Friday up and his show is usually a few days behind. Macko and Cauz have everything up from last week but they are often a couple days behind. Naylor is usually up within the hour.

And if B&W want to hang on to any of the Tim and Sid listeners they need to up their Twitter game. B&W were pretty stingy on any faves or RTs so the Producer formed the @bradyandwalker account which was equally as stingy.

John in Bolton
John in Bolton
March 29, 2015 9:03 pm

The Bell story reminded me of this quote from the late, great AJ Liebling:

“Freedom of the press exists only for people who own the press…”

Insert “media” for “press” and you get modern corporate broadcasting…

Rob In Aurora
Rob In Aurora
March 30, 2015 7:57 am

Is Rogers paying for this blog?…all I got from reading it was the assumption by the writer that everyone reading this blog listens to the Fan. Why all the concern for their afternoon show?…That was “a lot of words” and smacks of having a bias because I never read similar pieces about TSN radio here.

You also jumped all over Bell for …whatever (it was judgy though) …followed by some some shots at TSN on air staff and then went after Steve Buffery for writing “a lot of words” about Jeff O’Neil. (You actually took the time to count the words? You must have been angry – I guess you were accusing Buffery of some kind of bias by demanding that he does some similar pieces on Rogers Sportsnet staff….hmmm).

I guess its OK to go after Bell and Buffery for their lack of objectivity – but only if you show some yourself.

….I don’t mean to be overly critical. But you started it – there was just an awful lot of bloviating going on up in here this week.

March 30, 2015 8:24 am

Rob you are so out of touch, going after a guy who provides you with free content. Tim and Sid is the biggest sports media story in Toronto/Canada right now.
Tim and Sid was also nationally televised and dominated in the ratings plus 1050 has a weak signal so even if many of us wanted to listen to it the reception isn’t good enough.

March 30, 2015 12:46 pm

After watching another PTS with the brutal Ken Reid, I finally couldn’t take it anymore and so I emailed Don Kollins. I told him what I thought of Mr. Reid and suggested that if he was grooming Ken Reid to replace Bob, he was going in the wrong direction. His only response on Reid was that he was sorry to hear I did not like him. It sure sounds like he is not at all moved by the tsunami of negative reaction to Reid.

He then suggested I shouldn’t be counting on Bob retiring any time soon.

Binbrook jeff
Binbrook jeff
March 30, 2015 2:19 pm

I think that we could all agree that the only logical conclusion is for a morning show of Norm Rumak and Spider Jones. I’ll hang up and listen….

March 30, 2015 2:20 pm

I finally listened to the Lanny MacDonald interview with Bob. While I totally dissed Bob earlier for his declining interviewing skills, he was good here. Lanny came off as a completely defensive, old boy rube – and should fit in perfectly with the HHOF. Lanny clearly expected the soft ball questions asked by Shannon – not the ones Bob asked, which required a little bit of thinking. Something Lanny, by the sounds of it, clearly doesn’t do very often.


[…] Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition It has been several months now since Mr. Don Kollins dropped the Blundell bomb on the FAN radio line-up. As you'll recall, that tactical decision took several twists and turns and several emergency try-outs before the dust finally settled on the … Read more on Toronto Sports Media […]

Mike S
Mike S
March 30, 2015 7:32 pm

The questions asked by McCown in the Lanny MacDonald interview were definitely fair………..and they were carefully worded so that they wouldn’t offend……….but Lanny was offended anyway, which made him come off really bad in the interview

I will miss hearing Tim & Sid’s sports opinions……….I am never home from 5-7 PM so I will never see their TV show……….if they had to leave radio I’m glad that put Brady & Walker in that timeslot

Is there a reason why radio ratings are so hard to access lately?………..TSM used to get them regularly but I don’t think we have seen any radio ratings since last summer…………the key Fall 2014 rating period was 6 months ago and we haven’t seen any numbers………I’m not complaining, I’m just disappointed because I always find them interesting

March 30, 2015 8:10 pm

Wow , I thought that I was the only person ,complaining to Don Collins about Ken Reid .
After reading the Seen and Heard columns for the first time ,I see that I am not alone. Ken Reid does not know what he is talking about. He has no clue about sports.
Please , people at Rogers ,don’t spoil PTS ,by having Reid on.
The best two co hosts are Elliot Friedman and Brunt.

March 30, 2015 8:18 pm

On my drive home today, I was listening to PTS at 5pm. Brunt was co-host and McCown asked him his opinion on Shaughnessy’s column. Brunt responded with ‘very weak’ (rolled eyes) and McCown immediately jumped to Bob Ryan, who like pretty much every other MSM type, praised the column to the heavens. Did McCown set Brunt up ? If so, Bravo !

I could practically see steam emanating from my radio – Brunt sounded pissed and probably was pissed. LOL He trotted out his missing-the-point crap about ‘leaks in testing results’ and ‘unfair to players – perceived guilty’ which Ryan readily agreed to, allowing Ryan and McCown to continue unchallenged about the lies that Ortiz is spouting.

I think Ryan even got a shot in at Brunt, something about ‘needing to have tougher skin, too quick to jump to the defensive’. Please tell me that others listening could hear the whiny and petulant tone of Brunt through the entire Ryan interview. I wish I could have watched it on TV, I am sure Brunt’s face was red as a beet. LOL

March 30, 2015 9:13 pm

@Hugh, LOL I did watch it and Brunt was indeed pissed. When McCown asked Ryan what he thought of the Shaughnessy column and Ryan responded with something like, “I thought it was one of the best articles I’ve read…” Brunt kind of shook his head and really didn’t say much. I also don’t understand how his default argument about the test leak has any relevance to anything. But he always goes there.

I laughed out loud when Brunt countered Bob’s assertion that athletes always have an agenda by saying reporters do also – suggesting that there isn’t anything wrong with reporters pushing agendas. Funny, I always thought that journalists were supposed to have higher standards than jocks. Not a great day for Brunt.

Too Much
Too Much
March 30, 2015 9:24 pm

Hugh, I agree. Bob Ryan was really good and brought a new perspective with his point re Ortiz and the Hall of Fame question. I was thinking as I listened that he totally skewered Brunt. I must admit I don’t get Brunt’s POV on this; it’s like he’s trying really hard to show a balanced perspective but without any grounds. Although I don’t often agree with Bob McCown these days I do agree with his point that just because it’s supposedly coming straight from the athelete’s mouth doesn’t mean that it’s the “truth”. This was really good radio; I’m glad that for a change I was listening to the FAN rather than TSN.

March 30, 2015 10:00 pm

Brunt wasn’t trying for ‘balance’. He is pro-player and pro-union on EVERY issue. That is Brunt’s agenda. And that’s what annoys me most about him. Even McCown finally had to call him out a few months ago during a PTS show. Who knows, maybe he wants to ghost-write Ortiz’s biography.

March 31, 2015 10:06 am

That was my thought as well. He’s such a shill, he would ghost write anything for anyone. If ISIS wanted a ghost writer, Brunt would apply.

March 31, 2015 11:29 am
Reply to  Too Much

It was pretty interesting that McCown asked Brunt what he thought of the Dan Shaughnessy article on Ortiz and Brunt said he wasn’t impressed. Ryan then came on and drooled all over it.

March 31, 2015 11:30 am
Reply to  Hugh

I heard the same thing and it was pretty funny.

March 31, 2015 12:04 pm

@rob I agree that there is far too much blather about PTS here though I don’t see it coming from the host of the page. Often he’ll put up something that has absolutely nothing to do with PTS and the first comment is ‘so and so was on with McCown and blah blah blah’. I can only guess most of the posters here have been with PTS a long time and the show predates any other show in this market. I don’t love or loathe PTS, it is just another show to me.

As far as Bob retiring – I remember Bob saying the day of the Tim & Sid TV show announcement that a Producer was at his door that day asking Bob to extend his contract. ( there’s my PTS blah blah blah for the day)

Good riddance Tim & Sid.

March 31, 2015 7:40 pm

Given that Ryan worked at the Globe for 40+ years (trivia note: he and Gammons started the same day), i would expect him to be loyal to his former co-worker.

I’d also say older readers of the site got used to the daily line-up posts from TSM. I know that nowadays i just post in the most recent thread about whatever happenedt that day.

April 1, 2015 10:26 am

Thought this might interest.
A look at the fastest/slowest growing Toronto sports Twitter accounts, in terms of % growth in followers this YTD. (alphabetical)

Top 10:
1 B McKenzie
2 D Dreger
3 E Friedman
4 Globe & Mail Sports
5 J Duthie
6 Jeff O’Neil
7 J Quinn (Tor Star editor)
8 Sportsnet
9 TSN_Sports
10 R Westhead

Slowest growing
1 B Arthur
2 C Kelly
3 D Cox
4 D Shoalts
4 N Kypreos
5 M Grange
6 S Stinson
7 S Fitz
8 Starsports
9 S Simmons
10 Starsports

Bobby G
Bobby G
April 1, 2015 5:30 pm

I realize this won’t go over well with the “TSN can do no wrong” crowd on here (“I started watching TSN when I was 10 and I don’t need any other cable sports network because TSN is the best and how dare anyone think anyone can compete with TSN I just love TSN.” –It’s like they’re cheering for their favourite football team.) But Olbermann is the best of the ESPN news shows by far. It’s surpassed PTI for content and thought provoking analysis. And TSN just keeps preempting it. Today, it’s Motoring ’90 or something just as ridiculous. My guide says Olbermann is supposed to be on TSN2 at 5 p.m. But the guy with the moustache driving the Dodge says otherwise. It may be ESPN preempt end it today but as often as not, it’s TSN. And Around The Horn is on two TSN channels at the moment. Why would I ever concede anything to TSN When this is the kind of programming judgment they demonstrate on a regular basis. Oh well, back to PTS….

April 1, 2015 6:01 pm

I dont know about today, but Olbermann has been pre-empted a lot the last few weeks (presumably for basketball and/or golf).

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
April 1, 2015 9:40 pm

I wonder why Bob, on Monday’s PTS, was so concerned with potential job losses at cable companies because of the recent CRTC “slim package” edict. When Rogers laid off “several hundreds” employees last last July or when Bell let go of people at Much and MTV did he mention it?

Impressive that Bob McKenzie is approaching 1 million followers on twitter. Since the vast majority of hockey fans are in Canada with roughly one-tenth of the population of the US, I think his million is more impressive than say Bill Simmons’ 3.5 million followers. When Jay and Dan were on 1050 after they moved to LA, one of them mentioned that LA Kings highlights are not even shown on the local NBC, ABC and CBS stations’ 11pm newscasts. Does Mike Francessa ever talk about hockey? Dan Patrick only talks about hockey to say Wayne Gretzky is “the greatest player……” So put Bob McKenzie in the Hockey Hall of Fame for a great career, and put Strombo in too, apparently we have to balance everything out for Sportsnet and Bobby G.

Interesting article from Bloomberg about Rangers/Knicks owner James Dolan’s possible bid to buy the New York Daily News. The piece goes then goes on to discuss the issues of media companies owning sports teams and vice versa, and states:

“Recently, former Washington Redskins beat writer Jason Reid was set to begin his new radio show (unfortunately named “The Man Cave”) on local radio station ESPN 980, which is owned by Redskins owner Dan Snyder. As a columnist for the Washington Post, Reid was a frequent critic of Snyder, who has a famously antagonistic relationship with the media. When Reid’s show was pulled the day before its debut, it seemed clear that Snyder had axed the program to silence one of his detractors.

“The Man Cave” did ultimately hit the airwaves Monday morning. The explanation for the delay was a bizarre story in which an imposter supposedly called the station pretending to be ESPN president John Skipper and threatening financial penalties if the show wasn’t canceled. I’ll leave it to you to judge for yourself the validity of that story. It’s worth considering Snyder’s history of erasing his enemies in the media by enticing them with better jobs. In 2009, reporter Jason La Canfora, who occupied the same Redskins beat as Reid and was even more critical of Snyder, left the Washington Post to take a higher paying job with NFL Network, which is owned by the NFL team owners. Deadspin reports that Snyder facilitated the promotion after the league urged the team “to figure out how to stop the feud with the local newspaper.””

April 2, 2015 10:13 am

@chuck: very interesting. were did you get those numbers from? I’m not that surprised by it frankly. I’m not trying to pile on the TSN bandwagon cuz there seems to be a lot of people on it already but in general do find their TV and radio personalities to be much more likeable than their Rogers/Sportsnet counterparts. There are exceptions of course. Friedman, McCowan and Brunt I enjoy and conversely I do find Macko and Cauz and sometimes Richards very annoying. TSN’s hockey coverage on TV is vastly superior. Thank god they have the regional Leaf games for a while. Anyone know how long that arrangement is for?

True or False?: Jeff O’neil (love’m or hate’em) is the fastest growing star on the Toronto sports media scene.

Don River
Don River
April 2, 2015 10:45 pm

“Thank god they have the regional Leaf games for a while. Anyone know how long that arrangement is for?”

I imagine for as long as Bell owns the team.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x