What’s Eating Bob McCown?

image via http://twicsy.com/i/DyzcD


With all due respect to the field, Bob McCown has owned the Toronto Sports Media sports radio landscape for years.

The ratings show it. The guests show it.

When it comes to sports radio in this market, or in all of Canada for that matter he is the man.

Given those facts, not opinion but facts, why does it appear that Bob McCown is a little sour these days?

For the second time in a few months, David Shoalts has written a piece on McCown where the Winemaker doesn’t exactly sound thrilled with his current lot.

The first article strongly suggested that McCown is bored.

The article he wrote today certainly sounds like Bob, to use a Bobism, AINT happy right now.

The times they are a changing.

That’s why.

The fine folks at Rogers have realized that in the grand scheme of things radio is second fiddle to TV and the internets.

Radio, AM radio, Sports AM radio just isn’t as important as it used to be. Until the CRTC relaxed the ownership restrictions talk radio will remain on AM and remain the ugly step sister to the FM stations.

AM sports radio is not where the money is today and as a result it’s not where the investment is going to be made.

If you need any more proof, look up the dial at TSN.

Radio is by far second fiddle to TV. TSN on tv is first, second and third compared to radio.

The issue for the Fan, and McCown is that Bob is still in the chair and he has earned the throne.

Back in the day, Bob got what Bob wanted. They needed Bob to be happy because he was delivering big numbers and big revenue.

The landscape has changed. He is still delivering big numbers. The revenue on the radio side compared to the tv side simply dwarfs the radio revenue.

It is not exactly an apples to apples comparison, Bob is on the air 4-7 and one hour is national. TV is national. The TV work that generates revenue is produced for TV; it’s not a radio show simulcast on tv.

What’s odd is that McCown didn’t just voice displeasure with Rogers he took aim squarely at Stephen Brunt- the “he” in the following quote:

The issue is his deal is 20 weeks and, truthfully, he probably didn’t work the 20 weeks last year. I think he felt he had other things to do, TV commitments or whatever, so he took days off when he was supposed to be with me.


I am not sure that can be viewed as anything but a swipe at Brunt.

It’s one thing if McCown said something like, I wish I had Brunt more than 20 weeks or something purely subjective; however he questioned Brunt’s compliance with his contractual obligations. Them’s fighting words.

Brunt, for those of you who read this site frequently already know, I believe is vastly under-utilized at Rogers.

If McCown is the best radio host in the country, Brunt is his equal in print.

As a consumer I do not get enough Brunt.

I realize that Stephen doing a a tv segment involves things like preparation, editing, travel etc. While the end product is great, the frequency isn’t there for me.

So, where do things go from here?

McCown has made his beef very public.

How do new new PD Cadeau, Scott Moore and new head hauncho Rick Brace respond?????

Let’s look at few interesting tidbits:

Bob McCown, the ringmaster of the afternoon drive-time radio show Prime Time Sports since it hit Toronto’s airwaves in 1989, says he has no plans to continue with the show when his contract with Rogers Communications Inc. expires in early 2018.

That’s from Shoalts’s first column. So, assuming the accuracy of the piece, Bob is under contract for another 2 + years.

No one will speak to it on the record, however word is McCown is one of, if not the highest paid broadcasters in the country.

Prime Time remains the top rated sports radio show by a country mile.

The roster of co-hosts was shaken up, with Brunt and Damien Cox, who once alternated as co-hosts, heard less and less. Appearances on Sportsnet’s hockey broadcasts mean Cox no longer has time to be a co-host and Brunt’s television obligations mean he will only be at McCown’s side for 20 weeks this year. Also limited is Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Elliotte Friedman, who, like Cox and Brunt, has good chemistry with McCown.

The roster of co-hosts has been jumbled for a long time. As one insider said to me today, “let’s face it the number of print guys around let alone those who can commit or are willing to commit to a full time sidekick role is not what it used to be; There just aren’t that many print guys around anymore.

McCown is right about one thing, the show simply isn’t as good with the constantly rotating co-host seat.

The most frequent side kick of late has been Ken Reid, and I am not going there.

Elliotte Friedman did some shows this summer. Matt Devlin, Arash Madani are some others who have sat in the seat. Gone are the old reliable Shaky Hunt, Jim Kelley, Rob Faulds and John Shannon. Damien Cox, as Shaolts wrote is covering hockey.

The fact remains, that when Bob is engaged (Blue Jays) he is the same old awesome host. When he is not interested, it shows and the show is, to use Bob’s own words, BORING.

The show needs a permanent co-host.

Obviously, something happened with Brunt. Brunt was the best co-host the show has had in a while. According to Shoalts, Stephen has moved on: “I’m fully involved in covering the first Blue Jays’ pennant race in 20 years, I will be working with Jeff Blair a lot and I will be working with Tim and Sid a lot,” Brunt said. “I’m having a great time and looking forward to finishing out my working life at Sportsnet.

Brunt isn’t going away. He’s just going to appear on other shows- “a lot

Perhaps part of the challenge in finding the co-host is in what Shoalts wrote in article one “In the broadcast industry, McCown is famous for arriving at The Fan studio minutes before the show starts at 4 p.m. and hitting the exit equally quickly at 7 p.m.“.

Are there many out there who want to work on a full time basis with the character described in Shoalt’s article?

There simply is not a long list of potential sidekicks.

As a former co-host told me today, Bob’s best joke is that his favourite co-host is always the one who isn’t working that day.

Is it too hard to be in that sidekick role day in and day out?

I guess we will see based upon who starts showing up more often.

Is this the beginning of the end of McCown’s reign?

No, I don’t think so.

I think McCown works as long as he wants to.

However, I can’t imagine that the powers that be appreciate Bob airing this type of displeasure on the front page of the Globe and Mail. Companies tend to prefer for dirty laundry be aired internally.

Having said that, Rogers created this. They’ve benefited from and contributed to Bob’s success over the years. They’ve watched him become the star and treated him as such. The fact that the times are changing is apparently making Bob unhappy is no surprise. They can’t be surprised that he is not feeling the proverbial love from no longer being the center of their attention. McCown has taken to print to voice his dissatisfaction. The ball is on Rogers court to react.

Awesome times to be a fan of sports media wouldn’t ya say?

More to come later this week.


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Rob J
Rob J
September 16, 2015 11:44 pm

I wonder if Brunt will still co-host PTS when there’s a guest host, like Blair

Ami Angelwings
September 17, 2015 12:01 am

On Baseball Central, Blair announced that Brunt will be co-hosting the 9am hour with him now. I think he said that Brunt will be doing either the 9am slot when he’s not doing baseball central, but he won’t be doing both. But it goes to what I said in my comment on the other thread, which is that I think they’re preparing for Brunt to be Blair’s co-host when Bob leaves and Blair takes over PTS permanently. I’m pretty sure unless they hire some rockstar radio host that isn’t on the horizon right now, that’s what it’ll be because they’ve shown over and over that they prefer Blair to take PTS over anybody else, even moving him off his show for that to happen. And Brunt has been co-host with Blair quite a few weeks last winter/spring, and now this, so I think they feel that a) Bob’s ratings don’t change regardless of who his co-host is b) Brunt is better utilized making video essays and boosting Tim & Sid c) Brunt helps Blair and they can get some chemistry going for the future.

Given what Bob’s said, I also wonder if this is personal, that Bob feels that Brunt is the one who wants to go places, make video essays, etc, and not that Rogers is just deciding that he’s better used that way, or maybe Bob feels that Brunt should say no and honor his commitment to PTS even if Rogers wants him to go places. Either way, it does sound as if Bob is taking his absence personally.

Also, like you wrote above, I also want more Brunt, as a consumer, and regardless of what one might feel about Bob, he’s better with Brunt, he likes Brunt, and he’s right that PTS is hurting with a lack of Brunt. It even sounds like he’d want Brunt to be his full time co-host with no others, which would be just perfect for me. I fell in love with PTS because of Bob and Brunt’s dynamic, and now without it (and without Bruce Arthur and the late Jim Kelley, with Shannon and Reid and Friedman nonstop now), I have no reason to listen to the show. And Bob’s noticeably more cranky when Brunt’s not his co-host, so without Brunt, I don’t even listen for Bob.

I love Bob when he’s good, and I love Bob with Brunt no matter what (unless they’re arguing about steroids, then I’m just disappointed in Brunt) but honestly, if this is it and it’s going to be cranky Bob with Shannon, Cox, or Reid for the next 2 years, I’m actually looking forward to Bob retiring and Blair and Brunt doing PTS full time.

Ami Angelwings
September 17, 2015 12:13 am

The funny part is part of why I love listening to Bob and Brunt is they came off like a married couple, and I always joke about them dating and being cute together, but this situation really feels like they ARE a couple.

Like from that article, and Bob’s quotes, it sounds like Brunt is the partner who keeps saying he can’t snuggle or hang out with Bob because he’s busy with work all the time, but then Bob sees him hanging out at the bar with all these other guys (Tim & Sid, the Calgary affiliate, etc…) Bob’s issue seems to be not just with Brunt being busy, but that he somehow finds time to show up on everybody else’s show when Bob thought he was the main squeeze, and now he’s acting like a jealous and hurt lover. >_>

Ami Angelwings
September 17, 2015 12:37 am

Is Shoalts unofficially the media person that Bob uses when he wants to get a story out there now? I wonder how Brunt feels about this given that he & “Shoaltsy” were colleagues and seemed pretty chummy when they were on the radio together. On Baseball Central when Blair announced he had news about Brunt, Brunt said he’s had enough news involving him for the past 24 hours, so he’s probably not exactly thrilled about the whole situation, and it’s Shoalts who got it out there and gave McCown the platform for those quotes. And given how tight lipped Bob can be, he must have chosen to talk to Shoalts about this.

September 17, 2015 1:46 am

As Ami said – on some level I do get what McCown seems to be frustrated about. Brunt should be his permanent cohost. If he wants to take summers off – sure. But it should be the Bob and Brunt show. Not Bob and rotating cohosts.

As a sports media consumer, I don’t really care about Brunt’s video essays. And while I do enjoy his writing, I don’t care about that nearly as much as I enjoy his radio work. Sportsnet should have ensured Brunt was a bigger part of PTS. They failed on this.

That said – if Brunt isn’t going to be on PTS now, I am excited by the prospect of him paired with Blair. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far of the two of them. That might be my new go-to hour of radio a day.

Maybe Rogers will find someone decent to pair McCown with. Someone that can do it full time. Maybe someone younger, who can challenge Bob when he sounds out of date. If they could poach Bruce Arthur, that could be good. I think Bob is good with Friedman, also. Could you pair him with anyone new who’s outside the box? Brady? (can’t imagine that). Jamie Campbell? I like Grange but he’s not smooth enough to be a full time cohost imo.

Will be interesting.

September 17, 2015 2:06 am

Brunt helped raise significantly the level of discourse on PTS. I didn’t always side with his opinions, but you can’t deny it was good radio/tv when he and Bob were together. Having Brunt on with the frat boys is a waste, imo. His (yawn) video essays do my head in also, but he is good with Blair. But I don’t see that as a permanent thing. There is a lot of blame for all parties here: Bob, Brunt, and Sportsnet.

For me, it comes down to ego. Both Bob and Brunt have huge opinions of themselves (Bob more than anyone). It’s a shame they can’t swallow some of that pride and play nice.

Ami Angelwings
September 17, 2015 4:03 am

@Daniel one of the saddest days for me as a PTS fan was when Damien Cox changed his mind on TSN Radio & signed with Sportsnet and then almost immediately after, TSN grabbed Bruce Arthur. I loved Bruce and saw him as the next Brunt. His chemistry with Bob during the summer of 2009 when Brunt was on vacation was great, and I enjoyed listening to them. Both Brunt and Bruce know how to handle Bob, while Shannon and Cox just seem to needle him and make him more unhappy. I also couldn’t stand Cox whenever he showed up on PTS and was so happy when I heard he was about to sign with TSN because it guaranteed that he wouldn’t be on PTS anymore, so the flip flop of Cox and the Arthur signing by TSN felt like a double blow to me: PTS was without one of it’s better non-Brunt co-hosts and they got one of the worst ones in return.

It’s also frustrating because Bruce Arthur isn’t even being used every day on the Naylor show, so I can’t even just switch to Naylor to get a weekly fix of Arthur (and TSN Radio doesn’t seem to regularly update their RSS podcasts, some days they do, most days they don’t, it’s annoying.)

If PTS could poach Arthur, he would make a great replacement co-host for Bob, but whether Bob thinks so is another thing, he doesn’t have the history with Arthur as he did with Brunt, and he might still be grouchy.

September 17, 2015 4:24 am

Thanks for a great read..I could not agree more when Bruce Arthur was on PTS as a co host I to enjoyed his work as Bobs co host. Thought there chemistry together was great , they just seemed to feed off one another.

September 17, 2015 5:38 am

Arthur is pretty much TSN’s version of Brunt. Solid, progressive, under appreciated. Although, Ami, you should be disappointed in him as well since he has pretty much the exact same, rational, intelligent opinion on the steroid issue as Brunt. They avoid the holier than thou, preachy take on it. Which is fantastic. That is the first thing that really endeared me to Brunt.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
September 17, 2015 6:25 am

Clearly Bob has chosen Shoalts to be his “Print Boy”
Bob has a 3 hour a day radio platform to display his feelings yet,he chooses to use a reporter at the Globe to be his mouthpiece??

Does anyone remember for years and years Bob usta say “I don’t buy the Globe because I don’t own a bird or a puppy”
Stating that the Globe should only be used to PISS on.Now it’s his favorite paper ever. Hummmmm

Bob on Brunt

“The issue is his deal is 20 weeks and, truthfully, he probably didn’t work the 20 weeks last year. I think he felt he had other things to do, TV commitments or whatever, so he took days off when he was supposed to be with me.”

Tell me if this was not a set-up fluff piece WHY oh WHY was Shoalts’s next question not

Bob “If you feel that strongly about your co-hosts how come you put up with Reid & Shannon for 25 weeks a year?? ”

Again eye roll..and Humm

September 17, 2015 7:38 am

I said it in the other thread. Hope Brunt and Blair work out because Brunt sounds like a fool on Tim and Sid. If laughing at fart jokes is Brunt’s new thing, more power to him.

I think it’s sad to watch a respected guy like Brunt hitting sound effect buttons and gut laughing at poop jokes.

September 17, 2015 9:52 am

It only proves Brunt will do anything to get a cheque. He comes across as this well respected, high-brow intellectual but in reality he’ll suck up and promote whatever/whoever pays him enough. Do you recall when he carried the Olympic torch in his previous job with the Globe???

September 17, 2015 10:07 am

According to Blair – starting Monday it will be Blair and Brunt 9-11 every day, in keeping with Brunt’s schedule:


Bobby G
Bobby G
September 17, 2015 10:31 am

That’s good news because no one needs a co-host more than Blair. Brunt on PTS is not a priority for Rogers because Brunt has more value elsewhere … pretty much anywhere else in the Rogers empire, actually. Which includes Blair, who needs someone to fill the long pauses and smooth over the grunting and other annoying tics that somehow pass for a radio show.

Steve Clark
September 17, 2015 10:42 am

A lot of people said that Stephen Brunt was under utilized, so Rogers/Fan590 has now decided to spread Brunt around and catch lightning in a boottle with the Blue Jays heading toward the post-season. It’s smart business to know we will hear him on The Blair Show, on Tim and Sid , and he was on Blundell.

As for PTS, I think that while Brunt and Bob were great together, Bob drives the bus on PTS, so to me it does not matter who the co-host. I will say that I would enjoy having a more consistent cohost. With no nod towards their other work, to me, here are the best PTS combo’s that I would like to see full time:

1. McCown/Friedman
2. McCown/Cox
3. McCown/Madani
4. McCown/Blair
5. McCown/Reid
6. McCown/Shannon

I don’t mind Bob with any of these guys to tell you the truth. I don’t have the vitriol some have for Reid/Shannon/Cox.

However, take away the Top 3 because of hockey commitments, and probably take out Shannon because of that too.

Honestly, I’d take Blair/McCown for PTS until 2018, and then Blair eases into the seat with someone else. Someone else would occupy the 9-12 slot, especially during hockey season. Who that is? Don’t know.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
September 17, 2015 10:51 am

Thanks for the great read TSM and Ami – loved the domestic analogy Ami!

I like Blair – I’m 50. I cannot imagine a 20 or 30 year old would have patience for his approach to sports radio.

Grooming him for PTS – not very visionary in terms of trying to attract the younger generation which seems to be all sports media mecca

(which I don’t understand – I have a lot more discretionary money now than I did 20 years ago???)

September 17, 2015 12:35 pm

I have largely switched over to TSN 1050 (and now 1150 Hamilton, which seems to have a strong signal…almost to London yesterday, in the car) and WGR 550 (signal is good all the way along the 401 from London to Toronto) to avoid McCown on PTS, unless the topic and guest is compelling. Unfortunately, like McCown, Naylor has a large share of moron co-hosts…such as yesterday, as I posted yesterday on another comment board:

“Dave Naylor on TSN 1050 (is) about to lose his mind during the 4:00-4:15 segment. Dealing with garbage clown Dave Feschuk re: how Gibbons screwed up last night because…Buerhle will now likely fall short of his 15th straight 200 ip season…and that will screw up Buerhle mentally. My ears are bleeding after hearing this stupidity from Feschuk. Smh…Feschuk, you are a buffoon.”

Naylor at least (usually) brings thoughtful commentary to the table, that effectively counteract silly co-host statements. I’ll take his slightly boring delivery over Bob’s “I’m just collecting a pay cheque til 2018” attitude any day.

September 17, 2015 2:12 pm

Let’s not forget that Bob and Brunt have had their spats in the past and the example I’m thinking of is when Brunt jumped to the failed Team 1050 for a time and Bob wasn’t happy about it. Even now, before this current thing, Bob would make allusions about how Brunt jumped for the money.

For a while I figured Brunt was working a “freedom 55” plan and slowly down grading his appearances as he gets ready to retire to his castle in Newfoundland. Now I wonder if it’s less Brunt himself and more Sportsnet placing him around as others have noted and Bob being mad about it and needing someone to blame? I mean, I know Bob won’t hold back as blasting Rogers but would he go so far as to publicly blast his bosses by name in an article and not in his act way on the radio?

As for who can sit with him I’ve noticed that like Bob, Arash Madani can tune out if it’s a subject he’s not interested in which could bean issue long term. Ken Reid and his act is more suited for Tim and Sid and not PTS so I’m shocked that he’s not placed there more than PTS. John Shannon is an NHL employee that’s at sportsnet to keep an eye on the broadcaster.

What I would like to see if maybe bring in someone like Evanka Osmak or Caroline Cameron to sit with Bob and see if he not only behaves but if the different view could inject some new blood and reignite Bob’s interest in the show as a whole.

Jim from Abroad
Jim from Abroad
September 17, 2015 2:43 pm

As Bob said at the start of yesterdays show, don’t believe everything you read in the paper. It might all be a bit of controversy to get the show some free publicity followed by a truce.

That said, otherwise some fresh blood in the cohost chair might also be good. I like Madani and Shannon is fine in the first hour.

September 17, 2015 3:08 pm

Ok, Brunt is good with Bob. Brunt has good chemistry with Bob. Brunt knows his stuff. Blah blah blah. Brunt isn’t available and he’s not Howard Cosell ffs so let’s move on already. Given the lacklustre cadre of characters left to choose from in this market can we not look beyond the local newspapers for talent???

It may have happened but not once have I seen Brady or Walker on with McCown. Seems to me they are the top two options as a PTS co-host. Brady carried the water with Lang as he does with Walker and wouldn’t have a problem maintaining his ratings in the 1-4 slot ( IMO, despite being asked to not use 80s references as much by his Producer).

Also, I agree with everything Al Strachan ( @winsford99 ) has Tweeted about Bruce Arthur.

Keith Murdoch
Keith Murdoch
September 17, 2015 3:23 pm

“The most frequent side kick of late has been Ken Reid, and I am not going there.”

Well, someone has to, because he ruins the show when he co-hosts. It would be one thing if he were even trying to improve, but, like other “talents” at Sportsnet *cough* Kevin Barker *cough* he’s doubling down on his dumb shtick that somehow got him the job in the first place

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
September 17, 2015 5:09 pm

If Brunt’s now Blair’s baseball sidekick then surely he can’t just take the summer off in future. And what happens when baseball ends? I know Brunt likes football but Blair’s clueless about it. Brunt adds little to hockey talk so maybe they should just give him the winter off instead of summer.

I just put on Tim & Sid’s TV show and noticed my television guide/program info says “Canada’s most edu-taining sports duo”. Oh boy.

William D
William D
September 17, 2015 6:32 pm

Bob and PTS need to get back to what made PTS what it was, Politics in Sports Business in Sports and Social issues in sports. Get rid of all this blue jay centric stuff, useless call in segments and interviews with sportsnet employees. It’s terrible radio.

Keith Murdoch
Keith Murdoch
September 17, 2015 6:39 pm

“Get rid of all this blue jay centric stuff”

You can’t do that when the team is on course for the playoffs.

Big Shooter
Big Shooter
September 17, 2015 6:58 pm

I like PTS, but Bob it seems, would rather be Golfing. (he ain’t getting any younger, and doubtful his game is getting any better)

Another guy whose profile has risen over the years on The Fan, that I enjoy listening to, is Roger Lajoie. He seems very knowledgeable on many sports (or is at least ‘prepared’)

William D
William D
September 17, 2015 8:23 pm

@Keith Murdoch

I get the fact that the team has to be covered, But when you have all the shows throughout the day on the station dedicated to the jays, I think jays talk on PTS should be kept to a minimum and the focus should be business, social and political news from around the world of sports with perpectives from journalist, politicians, former executives, former coaches etc. this is where Bob was always at his best.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
September 18, 2015 12:26 am

What if Brunt’s decision to leave McCown has everything to do with McCown publicly stating that he’s bored? Why would anyone want to work with a host who’s just coasting?

September 18, 2015 12:41 am

Just thinking outside the box here, I am wondering if Greg Sansone would want to be an on-air personality again. He would make a great co-host with McCown. There definitely needs to be one co-host with Bob as opposed to a “cast of thousands”. The show was at its best when Watters and then Shakey were the single co-hosts that helped Bob move the show along segment by segment. Dave Perkins is another guy that I find very entertaining when he is on. Maybe he can be the co-host.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
September 18, 2015 11:37 am

I really don’t have a problem with Bob’s POV on this issue. Frankly it’s a management issue. And if I may be so bold management at Rogers has never impressed me. Maybe Bob is difficult to work with. But I think it’s incumbent on management to deliver a consistent co-host who can play at Brunt’s level. Personally I think that isn’t easy. I like several of the co-hosts, but they are not all able to talk a wide variety of sports with equal depth. Brunt was one who could. Cox can, but he can be grating occasionally. Madani is good and will push back. Shannon is a hockey guy. Full stop. Reid is a waste of time and a sycophant. I would love to see Friedman in the role, but it isn’t happening with his hockey commitments. He would be my choice to take over for Bob when he departs. I won’t even mention Blair, although I just did. I think he’s just a terrible broadcaster.

I do hope they can find a workable solution. The rotation is irritating. But I’m not holding out much hope. Rogers has so many guys on staff who can sit in the chair I’m sure they feel they can just grab a guy who’s available and drop him in. Which does prove one thing. They don’t, as has been offered by others, have any interest in or possibly understanding of radio.

Brian Gestein (Raptors Devotee)
September 18, 2015 1:39 pm

Judging by the Fan Survey I got this morning which I started to complete but only got 46% through as the Next button stopped working it is the Morning show with Dean Blundell and George Rusic which is the one that Rogers management is most concerned with.

Audio files were played and I needed to press buttons while listening reflecting Bored, OK, Too Long, Interesting, and 2 other buttons. The clips I heard were awful, one I heard when it was on originally. Both of them were brutal and I get the feeling that the Fan is looking to make a change as they spoon fed us the worst of the worst. This way they can say how badly they polled when they let them go. I may be getting ahead of myself but they were awarding 10,000 bonus points for filling it out so obviously they want to get as many people as possible to respond.

September 18, 2015 2:03 pm

I agree that talking to callers makes for some of the worst talk radio segments – but I would take callers ahead of talking to robotic, media-trained-to-death athletes. ( athletes who are still playing that is ).

William D
William D
September 18, 2015 2:33 pm

It would appear that this whole Bobcat by Day Bob Mcowan by night thing is a bunch of crap. Bob is who Bob is, Radio or otherwise, and these past few months prove it. When Bob is pissed off on air he has many times brought it to the mic. i.e Cito Gaston. Doug Maclean, Paul Beeston etc.

September 18, 2015 2:47 pm

Fan running an email survey which is at least partly about Blundell. I got punted once I checked that I never listed to him.

Carl A
Carl A
September 18, 2015 3:57 pm

The co-host needs to be someone who Bob respects like Perkins or Madani. One of the things I like about Bob is that there seems to a mutual respect with some of the big name guests. He doesn’t have to bow down to them like some people do. There is nothing worse than listening to Reid slobber all over a guest. I’m old enough to remember Jim Hunt as co-host. I felt the athletes respected him. The quality of the broadcast depends a lot on the quality of the co-host. That’s why Brunt is being wasted on the T&S clown show.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
September 18, 2015 4:18 pm

I just completed the FAN Survey which Andrew alluded to. Got 10,000 points for completing it versus the usual 500 points so they desperately want a lot of opinions. Judging by what I listened to which were brutal segments, one I caught live when it was on, and one was passable interviewing a reporter for the Flames, it seems like they are setting up to let Blundell and Company go i.e. make a change there. Just my gut feeling, and if so, good riddance.

September 18, 2015 5:00 pm

Compare this analysis by Dirk Hayhurst for TSN to ANYTHING Kevin Barker has done this past year:


Can anyone come up with any reason why they let Hayhurst go and replaced him with Barker? Barker is OK, but Hayhurst provides better analysis and is a smoother broadcaster to listen to. The decision to let him go still baffles me. I thought he was better as radio colour man than Joe Siddal as well.

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
September 18, 2015 5:17 pm

But about Andrew Walker as the co-host to McCown and have Brady fly solo. Walker as McCown’s co-host for a few years until he’s ready to hang them up and then Walker by that time can take the reins. When I hear Walker on his own I enjoy the show and his voice reminds me of Dan Patrick. Walker can be groomed to one day take over PTS.

Mont from London Ont
Mont from London Ont
September 18, 2015 5:50 pm

I am no fan of Reid on PTS and can’t understand
how he hangs in – What I would like to see(hear)
is a segment of perhaps 1 hour a week where Perkins
and Bob and maybe some other experienced sports guy
just sit around and trade stories – A couple of
weeks back a phone guest was a no show and Perk
got into telling “I remember the time stories” -I
think the host was Blair and it saved his bacon –
I thought it was great entertaining and very different
radio – Perkins is one of favourites along with Bob Ryan
on PTS-

September 18, 2015 11:12 pm

My take on this is that Bob is simply offended, because he believes to a large extent he ‘developed’ Brunt both directly (by giving him respect on the air — for McCown respect is an asset) and indirectly (clearing space/running interference for him behind the scenes).

For his part, I always admired Brunt’s self-awareness of where he stood. Much like Disco Stu, “he knew his place”. There were MANY times where Brunt could have outperformed McCown — especially on any issues that involved *interpersonal* analysis (McCown’s advantage is with *impersonal* analysis, which also has its place).

What I think has happened, is that through no effort on Brunt’s part — in fact, I would even say that Brunt has deliberately held back for years out of respect and deference — the sports conversation and context is shifting to one that simply requires more EQ. This plays right into Brunt’s wheelhouse and highlights his amazing strengths. More than anyone else I would even say in Canadian media (forget just sports), “Brunt says and writes what many of us are thinking”; and he does it with an eloquence that is almost like scriptwriting.

And then there’s Bob.

Now, if this was 30 or 20 year-ago McCown, he would probably see this as an opportunity to grow — specifically, to develop his “likeability” (much in the same way that it seems Mike Wilner is kinda of trying…I imagine Jerry Howarth is coaching him on the profitability of likeability).

But Bob has zero incentive, and the people at Rogers have no way to coach him. In fact, he’d probably welcome a battle right now, just to go out with a bang.

So Bob is doing what most people in his situation would do, and is just bearing down. I anticipate that he’s going to get meaner, more surly, and more irreverent (read: more 10 minute conversations about extending his driveway or something inane)…he’s just going to slowly implode over 2-3 years, or maybe sooner if he really feels like it.

Ami Angelwings
September 19, 2015 3:29 am

Thanks for ppl saying there’s a new survey, I just went and filled it out. 10,000 points AND a chance to say no more Dean Blundell! xD

Ami Angelwings
September 19, 2015 3:32 am

@yaz, are you the same Yaz that calls into the Jays Talk?

Ami Angelwings
September 19, 2015 3:34 am

On Baseball Central with Blair today, Blair noted that Brunt was drinking Tim & Sid branded water, and Brunt said “Tim & Sid is the only water I drink now” and followed up with “it’s youthful and fresh.” Obviously he’s poking fun at the whole situation, but it’s also a bit of a dig at Bob, implication that he’s old and stale.

Also, Blair being on with Bob at 4pm at the Dome, really seems like a spot that they would normally have had Brunt in.

September 19, 2015 4:14 am

I filled out the survey. Blundell is fine. Sounds good and I like the show. A lot of my friends listen now as well. I’m positive that there is audio from other shows you won’t like as well. The forum is slowly turning into people bashing dean/bob/reid and or the flavour of the day because its simply here and you can all do it anonymously. Very brave. its amazing that you take time out of your day to fill out surveys and then post a comment about about filling them out. Some of you should really go outside or take up a cause.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
September 19, 2015 5:35 am

Dave in Bolton, I agree with you on Walker when he is solo. Radio is of course a listening medium, podcasts included, and I find Walker’s voice real easy to listen to, as close to Patrick as anybody on the station. Walker would be a candidate for me to work with Bob and eventually take over. Far better than Blair IMO. He has the sports knowledge, solid personality, and decent sense of humour.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
September 19, 2015 8:57 am

As someone who works at home and listens online to a lot of Montreal radio I find it difficult to believe that Mitch Melnick has not been brought in to help out either of the sports stations. The guy might be the best radio host in the country.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
September 19, 2015 9:54 am

Don Mandrie, I listen to Mitch now with my TSN Montreal radio app on my i-phone, and yes, Mitch is the best, and he is already helping one of the two stations, TSN radio in Montreal. He has zero interest in moving to TO, none. He would not work as well in TO either given his background, all centred in Montreal.

Jim from Abroad
Jim from Abroad
September 19, 2015 10:40 am

I must say it was not a bad week for Prime Time Sports. Bob seemed quite happy during most of the shows. Saw him smile a lot (illegal stream) and he really seemed to look forward do doing shows from the Dome. The discussions with regulars like Darren Rovell, Richard Deitsch, Don Banks and Rob Becker were very lively and entertaining. The segment with the doctor on concussions was very interesting, just like the interview with Pat Hentgen (what a wonderfully candid guest he is) and I am sure I forgot a few.

I’m still not ruling out it is all a ploy for publicity and Brunt will make a well publicized comeback in the fall. I do agree his talent is wasted talking to Tim and Sid or on a show that is not on during drive time locally (it is actually for me :-))

Difficult to say who would make a good co host. I quite like Madani as he seems to be smart enough to make interesting contributions to the conversations. I love Perkins, but his health issues probably rule him out. I like John Shannon in the first hour because Bob always seems to be happy around him and he is very good on sports media stories (not just hockey).

As I am not Canadian, I am not really up to date with any alternatives out there on the media landscape in your country. Bruce Arthur used to be good with Bob, but he has been a TSN-personality for years now. I would not mind hearing Mike Zeisberger more often. He has a nice sense of humour, but should be a bit more outgoing when co-hosting.

By the way, Mitch Melnick is my Canadian alternative when Bob is off to Vegas or The Bahamas. Allthough he has the same problem Jeff Blair has in interviews. Too many softball questions that do not generate new insights. But Melnick is very smart and entertaining in general.

September 19, 2015 10:43 am


I’ll let others debate whether you are actually Blundell or just his mom…..BUT how do you criticize people by saying;
“its amazing that you take time out of your day to fill out surveys and then post a comment about about filling them out. Some of you should really go outside or take up a cause.”

After you opened up your post by stating;
“I filled out the survey. Blundell is fine”

You see what you did there genius?? You took time to fill out the survey and then posted a comment on here about filling it out…

Go find a cause pal, it’s a beautiful day outside!

Blue Jay Fan
Blue Jay Fan
September 19, 2015 12:48 pm


If you don’t like it don’t post. IF your an employee of the fan, that’s great maybe news gets back to the fan that people are demanding change.

Mike S
Mike S
September 20, 2015 1:52 am

For many years now Brunt’s first day back on PTS after summer was the day after Labour Day………when he didn’t appear on PTS on that day this year I thought it was strange and wondered if there was a reason………now we know why

McCown definitely hasn’t handled this well but he’s right when he says that Brunt hasn’t been fulfilling his 20 week commitment to PTS………last year I think he worked 8 weeks in the fall and 8 weeks in the spring……..and there were a few times during those weeks when he missed some days………but I’d still rather have 20 weeks (or even 16) of Brunt on PTS than zero weeks

I agree with Steve from Waterloo………isn’t Blair getting too old to be considered a realistic replacement for McCown?……….just because he has been the main fill-in guy doesn’t mean he is the leading candidate to get the job when McCown retires

Ami Angelwings
September 20, 2015 3:31 am

Blair is only around 50 or so I believe, which would give him at least 10-15 years until retirement if they wanted to keep him as long as Bob. At the very least he can hold the fort down for a while until they find a better draw to take from another station, but I really do think that they’re planning to have him replace Bob, I think they think Tim & Sid play better on TV and to a younger audience than the drive audience, and there isn’t anybody else they seem interested in.

Ami Angelwings
September 20, 2015 4:53 am

Naylor’s wife is 50, so unless Naylor is significantly younger than her, he’s probably around 50 too, so both stations would be having hosts about the same age. TSN seemed fine picking an older person to host their main show, and I can’t see Sportsnet having a problem with it.

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
September 20, 2015 10:08 am

Blair is only around 50 or so I believe, which would give him at least 10-15 years until retirement

I think he’s about 55.

September 20, 2015 2:31 pm

Regardless of age, I just don’t think Blair is a very good host. There is no flow to his delivery – he always seems to be searching for words. Add to that, his propensity for phone-in segments, which very few listeners seem to like. But because he gets so many hosting duties at the FAN, I wouldn’t be shocked if he became a permanent host of PTS at some point. I don’t understand his appeal as a host, but the suits at Rogers seem to really like him for some reason.

September 20, 2015 8:31 pm

Blair hosting PTS, please no. He delivery is anything but smooth and he has a dry persona. He ok as a guest here and there but handing him the keys would be a move of convenience rather than actively searching for the right person. The hiring of convenience happens in organizations everywhere everyday as it’s easy and requires little effort. Often its the wrong decision. Given the mismanagement at the FAN with people behind the scenes leaving expect more stupidity moving forward.

Mike S
Mike S
September 22, 2015 11:39 am

I agree with Another Andrew………I always thought Blair was in his mid 50’s……..and that would mean he will be in his mid-to-late 50’s when McCown retires

I also agree with Curt when he says that Blair is not a very good host…………I like him better as a guest than as a host…………he does a decent job of filling in when McCown is away but I would be very disappointed if they choose him to eventually replace Bob on PTS

September 22, 2015 10:35 pm
Artemus Vandelay
Artemus Vandelay
September 24, 2015 7:18 pm

It always amazed me how McCown could be so popular while knowing so little about sports that matter.

June 9, 2016 9:47 am



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