Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: #RobFord2018


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Happy 2016 everyone. There is still time to get your awards in for the best and worst of 2015. We had a great time debating the merits of all the nominees in last week’s thread. Today’s column will mostly clear out the queue on 2015 and look ahead to what we can expect in the year ahead. As always, feel free to take the conversation any direction below, and please let me know via DM or email if there are stories you want to see covered in this space.


Ok, let’s go.


Closing the Book


The Jays making the MLB playoffs for the first time in 22 years was by far the biggest sports story in Toronto in 2015. However the team’s success was only one aspect among many that made this story as big as it was. One other major plot line involved the machinations of the meddlesome media mogul Ed Rogers. As everyone knows by now, the board at Rogers decided to move on from Beeston prior to the 2015 season, and sought to replace him without giving him the courtesy of letting him know. All of this went very public — here’s Bob Elliott’s (Sun) version of the events, and here’s Scott Stinson’s (Post) take — and ended with Beeston sheepishly returning to the team for 2015 as his final season before “retirement”.


The closing chapter in this saga came when Beeston appeared on PTS (Dec 22nd). You can listen on the FAN’s website but it’s kind of a waste of time. The much hyped interview was as dull as dishwater. When the whole Beeston fiasco was unfolding Bob promised the audience that as soon as Beeston’s contract was up, he would have him on the show for a tell-all, and that Beeston couldn’t wait to do it. Measured against those expectations, the end result was disappointing.


Beeston has clearly mended fences and forgiven the relevant parties at Rogers and had no desire to rehash old transgressions for our consumption. His answers to Bob’s questions were polite and brief and often led the conversation down the dreaded “remember when …” rabbit hole. Bob tried his best to get the answers Jays fans wanted, but it proved futile and the two old friends enjoyed a pleasant chat.


I can understand why Beeston chose not to air his grievances (even though it was Festivus after all). He is a rich man thanks to Rogers and the Jays, is probably collecting an amazing pension, and still gets to work in the building and be part of the team. The problem of course is that Bob must have discussed the interview with his pal Paul many times in the preceding weeks. Bob must also have sensed that Beeston wasn’t interested in the kind of interview the audience was primed to expect. Beeston may have even told Bob that certain issues were off the table and not to press him too hard. If that is indeed what happened, then why go through with a 43 minute interview?


Bob appeared on Brady&Walker (Dec 23, Hour 3) to discuss the interview with solo host Andrew Walker. Aside 1: I wonder if Bob appears on the show if Brady is there? If I can remember some of the shots Greg took at Bob while at 640 then I’m pretty sure Bob does too. Bob’s not known for his thick skin. Aside 2: Bob has finally acknowledged that Brady&Walker exist. It only took 10 months. Once bitten twice shy by the whole Tim&Sid experience? Who knows.


Walker’s interview with McCown was excellent radio. Aside from Wilner there are probably no two bigger Jays fans among the Toronto media, and this made for great rapport during the discussion. Walker did a good job of letting Bob talk. One could hear the disappointment in his voice at how the Beeston interview went. Bob’s attachment to Beeston is clearly part of the explanation for why Bob has been so hard on Shapiro. Walker on the other hand is in the driver’s seat of the “he’s not that bad” Shapiro bandwagon. Again, this made for good radio. Walker also had a good solo interview with Stepen Brunt the day before (Dec 22) where both men laid out their case for why Jays fans need to embrace the Shapiro era.


So this closes the book on Beeston. He will stroll sockless into the sunset, with his name forever flying high above centre field. Here are my final two cents:


  • I was happy to hear the Jays were moving on from Beeston at the end of 2014. His fatherly relationship with AA was endearing but did not appear to lead to good organizational structure. When you combined that with AA’s protective relationship with Gibby, I thought the team would benefit from a more clear separation of powers between the various offices. That said, the way (Ed) Rogers went about it was dishonest (not to mention dumb), and didn’t do much to combat his terrible public image.


  • The false dichotomy trap into which many have fallen is that one must choose between being angry that AA is gone, and giving Shapiro a chance to be evaluated on his own merits. I’m choosing to do both.


Over to you: are you ready for a new chapter in Jays management? Is Gibby on the chopping block if the Jays struggle out of the gate? Did the Storen trade rekindle your faith in Shapiro? 


TSN’s Terrible 2015


Since Gary went for the gold and gave Rogers exclusive national rights to the NHL, things have not been pretty for TSN or their parent company Bell. On the company side, Bell’s president was caught interfering with the news division and was eventually fired. That probably won’t help the credibility of CTV News in the short term. On the sports side TSN has seen Sportsnet overtake them for #1 sports channel in Canada. That’s the culmination of a 20 year fight for credibility from the network that once hosted a pizza party as part of their NHL trade deadline day coverage.


On the radio side, David Shoalts chronicled in a series of tweets the continued lack of market share for TSN1050 in the fall ratings book. While TSN’s TV heritage brand status proved surmountable for Sportsnet, the FAN’s heritage brand status on the radio side has been an impenetrable fortress.


The net result is that Sportsnet is now claiming Canadian sports media domination on radio, TV, and the web. One has to give a lot of credit to the strategic minds at Rogers who made this all happen. This did not happen overnight. One also has to point fingers at management at TSN/Bell for squandering such a huge lead. While Gary’s “all-in on celebrating the game” partnership strategy for TV rights is partly to blame, TSN clearly lacked a back up plan in case this worst case scenario came to pass. The results speak for themselves.


The annual World Juniors hockey tournament is the one date on the calendar when TSN has the nation all to itself. They have masterfully created a well-hyped event that gives families a reason to tune in to to TSN together during the holidays. Unfortunately, in a year where TSN needed some good news, the hockey gods were not in a generous mood. Canada’s team flamed out in the quarterfinals, depriving TSN of two more nights of sports ratings domination. As it turns out, the remaining games were exciting and led to a good tournament overall. However the ratings (and revenue) loss to TSN will undoubtedly be significant.


So here are my questions for you this morning: 


  • If you’re named the head of Bell Media, what is your plan for TSN? We’re in Year 2 of the NHL deal so you need to keep the brand afloat for another decade before you get a chance to bid for hockey again. Where do you invest? What’s your identity?


  • The TSN radio line-up has been fairly steady since the station’s inception. Do you hold the course or is it time to try something radical?


  • How have your consumption habits changed over the last 5 years? Sportsnet is claiming the crown. Have they drawn you over for TV and web? If so, other than live sports, what/who are you watching/reading?


Ratings Ruminations


In light of TSN’s fall from the #1 spot, it is interesting to think about whether ESPN could ever suffer the same fate. TSM favourite Richard Deitsch has a cool article on ESPN’s bad year and what they can and should do to turn around the network’s image. It’s hard to quantify just how devastating the impact of Bayless and A. Smith has been. The ratings are still very good. However those two have, in my opinion, hijacked the identity of the network and this could eventually bring bad results. You can only dance with the devil so long without becoming one yourself.


Speaking of ratings, I often check in on my previous hometown of Boston to see how upstart sports radio station The Hub is faring against the established giant WEEI. It turns out in their 6 years in the market they have overtaken WEEI and claimed number #1 spot for 11 out of the last 12 books (according to this article from September). Note, that is #1 overall among males 25-54, not just #1 sports station. 


Here’s a crazy quote from the above link: “From 6-7 p.m., The Sports Hub’s “Baseball Reporters” hosted by Tony Massarotti was first with a 13.4 share. In the same window, WEEI, which typically has the Red Sox pregame show in that hour, was tied for sixth with talk station WBUR (4.9).” The radio station without the rights is trouncing the rights holder in pregame ratings. That’s nuts.


A couple of further thoughts about this: 1) if I’m TSN PD Jeff McDonald I am getting on a plane today and spending a week at The Hub, trying to learn as much as I can. 2) Maybe Toronto is not such a great sports market after all. Boston can support 2 all sports radio stations with very healthy ratings. TSN is barely registering, and despite its dominance, the FAN is often far behind the music stations. Who do so few people listen to sports radio in Toronto relative to Boston? 


Lastly, after much shuffling and vacations both radio stations will have their complete line-ups back in the game starting next week. Bobcat comes back, Vendetta goes back to California, Blair goes back to mid-mornings, Naylor is back full-time as are his regular co-hosts, and Brady & Walker are each done with their vacations.


So the spring 2016 rating book will be a good measure of the worth of each station (insert usual caveat about the statistically laughable sample sizes being used to generate the ratings). Both stations have most of their regulars back, they share the Leafs and Raptors, and there is no Jays playoff run to artificially inflate various timeslots. If I’m a betting man, the spring ratings book will be the last one with these two lineups. I expect major changes by this time next year. Remember that 2016 is scheduled to be the last full year of Bob’s tenure on PTS.


Quick Hits


Skinny cable bundles are on the way this March thanks to a CRTC ruling from last year. This will lead to a loss of revenue for the cable industry, and possibly an increase in complete cord cutting as people see how few stations they actually watch. No one really knows what the downstream consequences of that will be but the unions are already sounding the alarms.


John Lott continues his stolid and under appreciated work for the Post. Here is his long piece on Shapiro. As usual, a great read.


Cathal Kelly got his year off to a very good start with this article on AA’s departure for Los Angeles, and on Shapiro and the “truthers” at Sportsnet who back him.


I had never heard of The Cauldron until this week. They published a story on how certain websites “use social media as a weapon” by releasing their army of angry misogynistic and homophobic followers on those with whom they disagree. As blogs become more and more part of the mainstream media, there are some complex issues here worthy of further discussion.


Lastly, Vice continues to publish interesting stories. Here’s an inside look at what it is like to teach “student athletes” at a Division I school. I have no idea what it would take to force US schools to abandon the farce that is referring to these athletes as students. There’s a lawsuit brewing against UNC by those who feel their degrees were tainted by the school’s academic fraud on behalf of athletes. Something like that, but on a much larger scale, might force some change.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • This Week in “Strange Bedfellows” Twitter: Bruce Arthur and Andrew Krystal getting along



  • This Week in “No Matter Who Loses, We Win” Twitter: Rob Ford v Dean Blundell


  • Dan Riccio seems to be getting more opportunities under new PD Cadeau. Hope he makes the most of it.


  • Popular US host Dan Lebatard was on TSN Drive this week and delivered a complete dud of an appearance. Despite Arthur’s efforts to shower him with praise, Lebatard could not have sounded less interested.


  • Greg Brady tells lots of jokes. A lot of jokes. Some of them go over my head. He made a reference (Jan 6, 3pm, last segment) to TSN radio’s signal issues as part of a complicated thought experiment whereby Colin Cowherd is brought in to compete with his show. If anyone can piece the joke together for me, please do.


  • Tim&Sid fans. Question for you: how are you liking life now that the boys are back on TV and off radio? I tried to podcast the TV show for a while, but with all the visual gags it is no longer designed for an aural medium and I had to bail. Is the TV show what you were hoping for? Do you miss the old Score podcast?


  • If you had any part in writing or approving this headline about Canada’s loss at the WJC you’re a real jerk. The jingoism around this made for television tournament — it’s not the Olympics, remember — is hard to bear when things are going well, but we should shut the whole thing down if the media can’t keep it together when Canada loses.




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

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January 9, 2016 11:07 am

I am probably in the minority but I don’t like Andrew Walker at all on the FAN.

Tim + Sid – I miss on the radio. I always tried to listen to their show driving around 1 to 4 PM vs. the jokers on the FAN in that time slot now.

Sorry but Brady + Walker do nothing for me at all. Next to Wilner, they are Rogers kiss-ups.

Rob J
Rob J
January 9, 2016 11:10 am

Why do so few listen to sports radio in Toronto compared to Boston?? Just gonna be controversial for a minute here, but there has been just a tiny discrepancy in the quality of the teams over the last 20 years. Toronto teams have largely been horrible (with winning one playoff round cause for massive and embarrassing hoopla), while Boston has had consistent winners in all major sports with legendary figures in terms of players, coaches and management. Here, we have…..?

January 9, 2016 11:44 am

Re “How have your consumption habits changed over the last 5 years?”, and “an increase in complete cord cutting as people see how few stations they actually watch”:
Less than 4 years ago, I still had only dial-up internet and cable TV at home.
A few months back I finally cancelled my TV subscription and have not missed it (not sure that counts as “cord cutting” since the modem certainly has a cord). Eventually, even as a middle-aged and slightly techno-phobic guy, you learn how to find everything you want on the internet, including a lot of stuff more specific to your particular interests that’s not on TV channels (which become pointless to you). I still listen to 590 and 1050 some days, but otherwise might forget TSN and Sportsnet exist. I don’t understand the obsessive mental disorder one or two of the commenters here seem to have, complaining about somehow not being able to get away from them because they control everything. If you’re posting here, you must know how to use the internet, right?

January 9, 2016 12:09 pm

Rogers is #1 according to…Rogers? I would expect a media reporter to do their own due diligence instead of taking the word of a biased party.

Jonathan Giggs
Jonathan Giggs
January 9, 2016 1:04 pm

The Vancouver article reports that many people were blaming the Canuck rookie for Canada not having a chance to win the Gold medal. Sounds like an appropriate article after Jake Virtanen is assessed two penalties on one play and Finnland scores game winner on ensuing power play eliminating Canada. Meets the criteria of a goat.

I’m uncomfortable because they are teenagers, but plenty goes with the territory of playing at that level that isn’t pretty as Steve Kouleas notes. Or we could take it easy on everyone and blame the referees or TSN for the hype…

Not That Chris
Not That Chris
January 9, 2016 2:00 pm

The biggest mistake Bell made with TSN when Rogers secured all NHL rights was, they decided TSN was still all-in on hockey. They handed out new deals to all of their “insiders” and play-by-play guys so Rogers couldn’t steal them. But, for what? A handful of regional games a year? Putting on pre and post game shows that eventually nobody will be watching? Sports viewers will always go where the content is, and usually, they’ll stick around for the post game shows and or nightly highlight shows. TSN was still the #1 sports media brand in the country when Rogers won the NHL rights – THAT was when Bell Media had to strategically start re-branding TSN. They could still cover hockey, but they had to go big on basketball, maybe the NFL and NCAA content, too. With the hockey talent they would have lost, they could have hired hoops insiders and NFL insiders. They desperately needed to create themselves new content while they still had lots of eyeballs.

Now that the NHL deal is in year two, and TSN is in a distant second place to SN, I’m getting out of the “TSN is everything hockey” business. The TSN website today is nothing but NHL stories, sans a small clip of the Jays trade. I’m no longer dedicating all of my talent and resources to cover a sport my competition has the rights to for another decade. They have to be different. If I’m Bell media, I’m also be kicking tires in MLB about possibly purchasing and relocating a MLB team to Montreal. The content alone will be worth the purchase price.

TSNR needs to be completely blown up. It’s been an abysmal failure since it’s launch. You either scorch the earth and start fresh with all new talent in every time slot, sans Hayes, I’d keep him, possibly in PM drive. Everyone else has to go as they’re associated with the failure. Once they have a new lineup in place, Bell Media has to do whatever they can to find a frequency on the AM dial that doesn’t completely suck, and find a way to purchase it and move the station there. Telemedia was able to do it with the Fan in the 90’s when they moved from 1430 to 590, there’s no excuse for a company like Bell to not be able to do the same. People who commute daily in and out of the city never have TSNR on when they get in the car in the morning, because they have to turn it off on the drive home because the signal drops outside of the GTA.

I’m not sure those moves will fix TSNR, but it should give them the ability to at least compete.

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)
January 9, 2016 3:35 pm

Sadly, Tim & Sid has lost the appeal for me with the switch from radio focused (with tv simulcast and radio podcast) to tv focused (with podcasts and segment clips disseminated everywhere).

The three hours from 1-4 allowed the show to breathe, with guests able to get into the nuances of stories and go deep on them. Additionally, Tim and Sid were able to not keep to script, like they are now, and go in different directions, as they were not timed like they are now second to second.

The podcast is useless to listen to, even though it is readily available, as Mike mentioned, due to all the visual gags and highlights being shown.

What I do like is when I am preparing supper, I use the sportsnet app on my iPhone and can watch them in the kitchen.

January 9, 2016 4:21 pm

Thanks for a great read.. I enjoy Tim and Sid as well, if they aspire to take over PTS one day the sound effects have to go. And are well informed on many sports topics.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
January 9, 2016 4:32 pm

I sent my favourite radio host an email over Christmas asking if he’d be interested in working in Toronto. Mitch Melnick was apologetic for only getting back to me this week but did say that his mother and daughter live in Toronto. He also said that he had serious discussions about moving to Toronto a few years ago. Nothing against my hometown but if there’s a sports station in need of talent I’d go to Montreal to get it.

January 9, 2016 4:49 pm

Before Xmas Bob said he would have Shapiro on the first week he’s back so look for it. Bob will get past Shapiro’s filibustering bafflegab – to what degree I am eager to see. Through all of the Rogers/Jays blathering over the last month, Bob is the only one who specifically mentioned Guy Laurence, a person who does not like his name in the media – something Bob is well aware of.

Bob also invoked the spirit of Ted Rogers as ‘the only person at Rogers who ever understood investment spending.’ as a cue to Guy Laurence to spend more on payroll to improve the brand image of Rogers. That said, Bob was against the Price signing ‘even if the Jays payroll was at 200 million, I can’t justify spending 15% of total payroll on one player.’

There really does need to be more blogger representation at Leafs games. Leafs media should pursue this.

Too Much
Too Much
January 9, 2016 6:25 pm

MIB – you can’t compare Boston radio to Toronto radio ratings. Both are measured by PPM but in the U.S. they still “roll up” to quarter hours. In Toronto it’s reported by average minute. BIG DIFFERENCE. In Boston someone listening for 8 minutes of a 15 minute time frame would get 15 minutes credited to listening. In Toronto someone listening for 8 minutes would get 8 minutes credited to listening – about 50% of Boston.

Also, ratings and share and number of people listening (reach/cume) are all different stats. Let’s say both Boston and Toronto have male 25-54 populations of 100. In Boston, 50 males listen to radio in an average quarter hour – so radio has a rating of 50. (Rating is percent of population.) And let’s say 10 of those people listen to a sports station in an average quarter hour – so that station’s rating is 10 (percent of population.) But it’s SHARE is 20. Share is percentage of total radio listening – divide the station’s rating into radio’s rating. Now in Toronto you may have 75 Males 25-54 listening to radio. So radio’s rating is 75. There are, as in Boston, 10 people listening to sports radio – so that station’s share in Toronto is 13.3%. (10/75). Same number of people listening to sports in both markets but one has a higher share than the other…

You can have a great share but it can be completely meaningless. A station could have a 50 share but it might be because no one is listening to radio – there could be 2 people listening and since one of those was listening to your station you get a 50 share. But who cares? You still only have one person listening.

January 9, 2016 7:03 pm

Great post Mike! Thanks for the link to the McCown interview with Walker. Going to check that out.

I’m a fairly serious sports fan, and I find TSN Radio to be pretty boring (so I can’t imagine that casual sports fans would enjoy it very much). There’s just not much personality on there. People listen to McCown because he’s entertaining. His sports knowledge is secondary. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think hosts should know their stuff (hello Andrew Krystal), it’s just TSN Radio is SO dry.

I like the Tim & Sid TV show, but I’m rarely watching TV between 5 – 7. I miss their radio show quite a bit actually. I would have rather they shortened their TV show to half an hour or something, and kept doing a radio show as well.

Re McCowns contract – Bob made an offhand comment recently that he had a couple years left on his deal I believe.

January 9, 2016 7:07 pm

Good call on the LeBatard interview. I think he has the best sports radio show out there. It’s far, far better than anything in Toronto, in my opinion. But yeah, his interview on TSN sounded like he was totally on autopilot. Ah well.

Re Toronto vs Boston – I think Boston is probably a much better sports town than here, but as someone mentioned above – if the Leafs, Jays and Raptors all won championships in a ten year period, it might get pretty crazy around here too. Never mind if we had an NFL team winning loads of Superbowls as well.

January 9, 2016 8:51 pm

I wonder if the Storen for Revere trade will temper the vile many fans and media folks have had for Shapiro.

Not That Chris
Not That Chris
January 9, 2016 9:58 pm

It should but it won’t. It was a solid trade.

January 9, 2016 11:41 pm

Tim and Sid still have a show? huh.
Rogers used what they have most, $$$, to win the ratings game versus TSN. They spend more, and that brings them live content and thus ratings. They didn’t earn their “canada’s #1 sports network” they just bought it. On trade deadline day when tsn still wins in the ratings, that’s how you know what Canadians tune into when they have the choice between TSN and Sportsnet.
I will say that TSN probably should have kept some blue jays game, but the team has been average so hard to fault them.

Mike S
Mike S
January 10, 2016 2:23 am

I don’t remember anyone on 590 (including McCown) saying that Beeston “couldn’t wait” to do a tell-all interview after his contract was over

Did anyone really think that Beeston would carve up Rogers in that interview with McCown?……….I know I didn’t………..I’m not surprised at all that he took the high road

It’s disappointing that Beeston wasn’t more forthcoming but I didn’t think it was a waste of time when I listened to it…………I believe it was his first radio interview since the Jays playoff run ended so I thought it made sense to have him on even if the chances of him telling the whole truth were extremely low

January 10, 2016 1:06 pm

TSN went big on CFL. They’re trying to go big with March Madness. Does anyone have any idea how much that helps them? I know this is Toronto Sports Media but the CFL has big traction in every other city with a team, supposedly.

Jonathan Giggs
Jonathan Giggs
January 10, 2016 1:37 pm

TSN went big with curling too, a very big success.

January 10, 2016 7:42 pm

TSN is still doing alright tv wise, I’m sure they are more profitable then Sportsnet since they could buy rights without much competition. Both stations seem to love curling which as a fan I enjoy.

I never watch Tim and Sid, I watch PTS still which is a surprise cause I would have thought it would be the opposite.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
January 11, 2016 8:36 am

I have to (once again) draw attention to the lack of objectivity of the 2 writers of this blog when comparing TSN and Sportsnet. With respect to the “heritage brand” you mention (whatever you think that means), I am sure it doesn’t refer to being a ratings leader based on NHL games and having exclusivity to the Jays. Ratings doesn’t equal quality…Owning the “Heritage brand” implies high quality and being the acknowledged leader. Let’s not forget the general terrible quality of what Sportsnet broadcasts as compared to TSN.

Let’s also keep in mind that Sportsnet paid a lot of (read: way too much) money for the right to be able to call themselves ” #1 ” by having exclusivity to national hockey broadcasts. There is a distinct likelihood that Sprotsnet is hemorrhaging money on that hockey contract. Meanwhile, I see a good mix of content available on TSN over and above their local broadcasts which I am sure show a profit. TSN offers that 4 tennis majors, golf, curling, CFL, and far more NFL than the competition. Not only that, the quality of the highlight shows on TSN and Sportsnet isn’t comparable. Sportsnet in my opinion is unwatchable, so is their hockey coverage – ever the Blue Jay games are not good. Adding Shulman will help but only slightly.

If Boston has 2 sports stations, both with good ratings, its likely because:A) the content is good — and B) they have 4 pro teams that have won several championships in recent years…(Toronto has neither)…Both TSN Radio and Sportsnet are very weak on content. I would say Leafs lunch is the only “good” show on sports radio. (My opinion only, but I am a long time listener)…The Fan is pretty awful and most of TSN radio shows are pretty bad too (I enjoy Macko and Cauz, but Gareth Wheeler is ruining it in Macko’s absencce.

Ratings simply set a guideline for the fees for ad space…Note that Canadian Tire and Tim Hortons both chose to stay with TSN rather than pay what Sportsnet was demanding. It would seem to want to be identified with the better broadcaster…

Finally – I am always accused of being biased, or working for Bell or TSN. My only bias is I enjoy TSN and have always found Sportsnet to offer inferior content. TSN got jobbed by Bettman, perhaps through the relationship with ESPN. No matter, I am enjoying watching the ratings tank for the NHL on Sportsnet. They are chasing viewers away…

Jim Van Horne
Jim Van Horne
January 11, 2016 9:24 am

Interesting comments regarding TSN and Sportsnet. I’d argue that the “casual” sportsfan doesn’t care where his/her games are shown, as long they can watch them live. Sportsnet now has hockey, obviously, so it’s only natural they’d gravitate to them. It doesn’t mean that the quality of programming on TSN/Sportsnet is any different today then it was yesterday. Whether it’s television or radio, there will always be a pissing contest between the networks to see who’s bigger. It’s all part of the game. Always has been always will be. As far as talent its concerned, both networks have qualified people. The best commentator or the worst commentator is the one you personally like or don’t. One man’s passion may be another man’s poison. I worked at both places and they were always looking across the parking lot at each other
When it comes to comparing radio ratings between Toronto and Boston, I think you have to look at the population comparison. Just over 600,000 in Boston, 2 million in Toronto. Maybe there aren’t as many sports fans here as there on a per-capita basis, just saying’
Love the discussion here!

Dileno B
Dileno B
January 11, 2016 12:56 pm

To Not That Chris: “I’m no longer dedicating all of my talent and resources to cover a sport my competition has the rights to for another decade. They have to be different.”
Not covering hockey in Canada would be suicide, it would also look petty not to cover a sport simply because your competitor owns the rights, kind of like Sportsnet hardly acknowledging the existence of the CFL.
And as far as going bigger on NCAA, absolutely not! Whenever I am listening to US sports radio and they start in on US College sports, that is a dial turner for me.
Nice to hear from Jim Van Horne, someone I associate with TSN’s quality ‘heritage’ brand. They may have lost NHL rights but the events they do cover – WJC, CFL, Curling, they do exceptionally well.

January 11, 2016 3:30 pm

I heard the recently made-up buzz phrase “demarcation point” at least 4 times on Friday (listening to 590 drive to work and PTS in the afternoon). The next person who uses it deserves to be fired.


The Electricians Union of Ontario

Mike V
Mike V
January 11, 2016 4:11 pm

I find it funny that so many want to discount Sportsnet’s success this year by going with “they bought their way to #1” when A) increased ratings is the point of all content that broadcasters buy and B) it’s the exact same reason that had TSN in the #1 slot all those previous years. Fans primarily tuned into the games, not to see Duthie and the monkey or those Sportscentre hosts or just bask in the “heritage brand” of TSN because the network “earned it”.

I wonder when – or even if – password sharing (son grows up, moves out/cuts the cord, but still uses his dads TV account to stream games from the app) is going to be acknowledged as a small but growing revenue drain by either Bell or Rogers. About half the people I know do this to some extent with Netflix, and ESPN will quietly say it’s happening but appears clueless and unwilling to figure out how to stop it so there is no reason to think it isn’t there with TSN Go/Sportsnet Now. In the T&C of TSN Go it says’ it allows for 4 concurrent streams per account – that’s a lot of potential viewers not paying subscription fees every month. Yes, I get that illegal streams have always been around but you had to search for them, the quality is usually bad/choppy and the sites themselves overrun with pop-up adds. It didn’t compare to the HD channel, this does.

Not that Chris
Not that Chris
January 11, 2016 10:46 pm

@ delino b

I’m not suggesting TSN shouldn’t cover hockey, of coarse they should. I just don’t think they can continue to go all in on something they won’t have the rights to for another decade. Stop trying to be ‘all things hockey’ when you clearly aren’t and can’t be. It’s a waste of resources. If TSN wants to stay relevant, they’d better start doing something different.

January 12, 2016 12:33 am

Ken Reid is a star in the minds of the Sportsnet brass. Need we really say more about that network? Safe to say they bought their #1 ratings.

Radio Insider
Radio Insider
January 12, 2016 7:55 am

TSN Radio is such a tiny part of Bell’s arsenal. The company likely doesn’t care much what happens over there. Most of the TSN hosts have TV and web duties as well, so their salaries are paid by the network as a whole.

Don’t let Moore and Laurence fool you. The NHL deal has been a gigantic failure and advertisers and investors are pissed. Read between the lines on Sportsnet’s press release. It might as well say: last year sucked but this year is not as bad!

Lastly, Tim and Sid are out of their element on prime time TV. The show belongs on late nights.

January 12, 2016 8:04 am

The scary thought is that at the end of the day Rogers paid more in total (5.2 billion) for the Canadian NHL rights than Disney (3,5-4 billion depending on the source) did when they bought all of Star Wars. Kinda a noodle scratcher when you start thinking about it.

Regarding PTS – did it seem like Bob was even more grumpier than normal yesterday? Maybe it was the new set but he appeared even more “grumpy old man Bob McCowan” than usual.

Mike V
Mike V
January 12, 2016 10:46 am

Not really a head scratcher when you consider they are completely different things not directly comparable at all.
I would think most investors have bigger things to focus on than a deal which sees a total outflow of under 2.5% of revenue.

William D
William D
January 12, 2016 2:22 pm

@Mike v

Quite the contrary, any investor/Portfolio manager or company investing billions, will watch that investment closely regardless of what profits the company brings in every year. Every dollar counts or I should say every billion counts. An investors prime focus is to grow that investment despite it’s size. No growth equals disguntled investors, with good reason. Lets not forget the NHL package is a very sizable expensive asset with multiple layers.

Mike V
Mike V
January 12, 2016 2:56 pm

It’s not that expensive or sizable relative to other parts of Rogers though. This is not Corus where the company lives and dies solely on media. The investor base has much bigger things to focus on.

Also, if they are getting worried about the deal it’s not showing up in the stock price.

William D
William D
January 12, 2016 4:23 pm

Rogers stock price just recently started to move, for the longest time they were getting hammered by Bell and Telus. The customer service was sbysmal which led to an overhaul. The overhaul by the new Ceo took some time and caused some uncertainty to investors and harm to the stock.
Alot of investors had the stock on a hold rating. The stock was stagnant near the 40-50 range while their rivals Bell and Telus were surging. Rogers has opted to use it’s media division and strong content to drive it’s other businesses particularly wireless, as their own content can be bundled with their wireless packages. Over the last little while we’ve seen the joint venture with Shaw, a joint venture with Vice media and the deal with the NHL, not to mention it’s larger than normal investment in the jays and major changes at the fan. The other divisions at Rogers are a strong synergy with the media side, I don’t think the media side can be discounted, especially given the investments they’ve made towards it.

January 13, 2016 4:09 pm

TSN would show more basketball if the ratings demanded it.

For some reason, basketball does not move the needle in this country as much as many in the industry hoped. Believe me, they want an alternative to hockey. It just isn’t there.

January 13, 2016 7:46 pm

McCown did his usual act tonight with Shapiro. Once the guest is in studio all the rhetoric and anger is gone and the guest is lobbed softball questions.

Poker Guy
Poker Guy
January 14, 2016 8:03 am

I missed the Shapiro interview. Thanks for the update.

jeff in hamilton
jeff in hamilton
January 14, 2016 8:04 am

@Bora I couldnt agree more. After all of the fire that he spit in this guys direction (unprofessionally, I might add) for weeks, he fawned on him during the whole interview. He even left Arash to ask any of the “tough” questions. Looks to me like Bob wants to make sure that he doesn’t burn a bridge. To me, Jan 13th was the death of PTS as we know it.

January 14, 2016 9:16 am

Also fully agree with Jeff in Hamilton and Bora re Bob’s interview with Shapiro although was not surprised by it. Mark Shapiro has done nothing to deserve the witch hunt he has been subjected to and it is time to forget about Alex and move on. Alex, although a nice guy, did not exactly walk on water either. In the end it was his decision not to return to the Jays and I think he was planning that before Shapiro was hired. Probably more to do with Beeston,s retirement and the thought of working under the corporate Rogers on his own had a lot to do with it.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
January 14, 2016 11:16 am

Well it’s true Bob bailed on the tough talk last night. But it was never going to happen, for one reason. Marketing. Bob is a very smart guy who has built a personal brand. He uses it to his advantage. How many people tuned in to hear fireworks? I’d bet a bunch, who looked at this as appointment listening. If you actually thought he was going to take a tough tack then you don’t know how he works. As for the interview it was as boring as it gets. Shapiro speaks well, says all the right things, and every answer is about nothing. In the end who cares. If he fields a winner he’s doing his job, everything else is just PR.

jeff in hamilton
jeff in hamilton
January 14, 2016 11:23 am

@Steve Jones. I think that you ad I are saying the same thing, Steve. My takeaway though, is that I look at Bob now as all bark and no bite. If he is trying to promote the show with faux-rage, eventually people will tune out.

January 14, 2016 12:38 pm

McCown’s M.O. is total faux-rage. That’s typical of him which is why he’s lost so much credibility over the years. Sure, people, as a habit will tune in (many times, its out of curiosity like a car accident) but eventually real sports fans till tune out.

Gee, I wonder if lispy-tounge Madani would ever call him on it. I asked, sarcastically.

Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
January 14, 2016 1:30 pm

Bob has just become a cranky old man.Shoots his mouth off and whines and complains but,when he has the opportunity to confront his subject face to face he becomes the starting pitcher of a mixed softball team.
His act is not wearing out,it has worn out.

Pants Go Brown
Pants Go Brown
January 14, 2016 2:00 pm

Agree with the comments re. Bob and Shapiro. The regular powder puff interview we have come to expect from Bob after getting himself wound up into multiple levels of indignation and outrage. Toughest question he asks is about the friggin’ grass field and then he essentially answers it himself. Bob has done this many times with other interviewees. He should stick to his tedious interviews with Melnyk, Dale Tallon, and Bob ‘Nick’ Nicholson. It is only segments with the likes of Bob Ryan that make the show tolerable.

January 15, 2016 1:21 pm

Bob’s a fraud. It’s been the truth for many years now. I don’t listen to PTS much at all anymore. And I missed the Shapiro interview intentionally because I just knew…

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