Saturday Toronto Sports Media Roundup

By TSM @yyzsportsmedia

Happy Saturday

With the World Juniors being overseas I’ve decided to hold off on the QA with Ray Ferraro until the New Year.

Couple of things that have interested me over the last couple of weeks in the world of Toronto sports and Toronto sports media:

– Mark Shapiro continues to throw cold water on the relationship between the Toronto Blue Jays and it’s fans. Cathal Kelly wrote a really good article on what life has looked like post Anthopolous:

Shapiro’s been on the job for a month and the guy’s already moved beyond ‘next year’ talk to ‘the year after next year’ talk. That is some solid businessing right there. If Rogers has an employee-orientation handbook, it ought to be titled What Sisyphus Can Teach You About Management.

Shapiro went a step further in throwing sand in Jays fans when he proclaimed that the Paul Beeston led project to finally bring real grass to the dome wasn’t a priority in his mind.

Rightfully or, more likely wrongfully, since his arrival to Toronto Shapiro has been blamed for Anthopolous’s exit and it’s been a downward spiral since. Even McCown has been especially critical of the current state of the Jays, with a special focus on his bosses at Rogers, the owners of the club.

Interestingly enough, it appears to my feeble mind that Shapiro has been following Tim Lieweke’s playbook on how to get a new city to hate you from day one almost word for word.

Today, Kelly has an interesting read on the short time Lieweke has in Toronto and it feels very Shapiro to me still.

Having got used to a string of vanilla executives, Toronto didn’t know what to make of this slick visitor. He was instantly a love/hate proposition. That tension flowed up, as well as down.
“I probably should have fit in better to the culture, rather than thinking the culture was going to fit better around me,” Leiweke sighed.
“He made one mistake while he was here,” former Blue Jays president and friend Paul Beeston said. “He didn’t own the company.

– Dean Blundell had a very funny bit this week in response to the new Blue Jays regime announcing that it was most happy about how well things were going with the office staff at the Blue Jays. “ They have the best staples!” it was a funny bit and summed up pretty well the Shapiro experience so far.

-The Fan issues listener surveys every once in a while where those who have provided emails to the station are presented a list of on air talent and guests and asked if the listener is aware of the person, and then if so to rate the person.

So, for example it could ask, “ Are you familiar with Mike Wilner”. If you answer yes, it would then give you 4-5 adjectives to describe how you feel about Mike Wilner, things like, “Want More”, “Trusted”, “Dislike” etc. Lastly it asks for comments about the person.

What was interesting about the one they issued this week is that it started with Jeff Blair who has been experiencing some ratings pains of late. In addition to the full list of hosts on the fan and the regular guests, this panel also included all the TSN 1050 hosts too.

There’s a survery I’d love to see the results from…..

– On the topic of Sports Radio, did you happen to catch Fan regular Richard Deitsch’s article in which he interviews producers from the top radio programs in North America including the current producers of PTS Matt Marchese.?

It’s an interesting read for sure and provides an interesting look behind the glass at some of the best sports radio shows around.

For the PTS fans out there Marchese sheds some more light on what occurs in McCown land:

Deitsch asks the producers to explain in their own opinion how important the role of the producer is to their shows. Here is Marchese’s response:

The role of the producer on Prime Time Sports is extremely important, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in that position. My predecessors would agree that Prime Time Sports is a totally different animal in the sports radio industry in that the host has no idea what’s on the show until he gets there. Bob shows up about 15-20 minutes before the show starts and has entrusted Jeff, myself and all the other producers before us to be creative and put together the best show possible every day. When news breaks, then Bob may give his input on who we should get on, but for the most part, he stays clear of booking the show. I can’t recall in my four-plus years on the show ever having a pre-show meeting.

– Did anyone happen to hear Nick Kypreos on with Andrew Walker a few weeks back? Walker asked Kypreos what the NHL insider thought of the Jays not resigning David Price.

They totally blew it!” was Kypreos’s surprising response.

Kypreos went on to say that in his opinion Price was the rare superstar who everyone on the team loved. He wasn’t a polarizing figure in the room and all the players around him appeared to really like him.

Kypreos opined that the Jays likely would have gotten some sort of home town discount but more importantly stated that if Price was able to get the Jays back to the playoffs for 3 years the money Rogers would make would make the price of the entire contract manageable.

It was a good interview for two reasons. First, in my opinion it showed again that Walker and Brady are better when split up. Secondly I had no idea Kypreos could talk about anything more than pucks.

-While driving to work this week I mistakenly landed on Am 1150. I was very pleased to hear Mike and Mike as a new sports alternative on my morning drive. It is really fascinating how radio programming can differ so dramatically between two neighboring countries. I flipped back and forth between 590,1050 and 1150 all week and there was next to no duplication of coverage between the two Canadian stations and ESPN. I know the why… no need to tell me that. ESPN spent an entire hour talking about an NCAA basketball coach surprising mid-season retirement. The story wasn’t alluded to on either Canadian network. Oddly enough the “Bernier can’t stop the puck” clip that both stations played all morning up here never was discussed on ESPN. Not better, just different.

-With the holidays upon us it’s an interesting time of reflection. So, let’s get this straight:

The Blue Jays were 1 game away from the world series yet their fans are depressed and stressed out about their future.

The Raptors were a playoff team, and are above .500 but still there is not a ton of confidence in their ability to win

The Maple Leafs are literally at the bottom of the league, where they said they would be, but the fans are perfectly content with the nature of things.

What a city.

Lastly, first it was TSN and Rogers that cut employees then it was CHCH. Mark Hebscher a long time presence in the Toronto sports media scene has a chilling account of his final hours at the station. It’s a great read.

For all who were let go in the business over the last couple of months may you find enjoyable work soon.


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