Radio Report Card – Fall 2016


by mike in boston (@mikeinboston) & TSM (@yyzsportsmedia)


With the summer ratings wasteland season wrapping up and back to school about to begin TSM and I thought this weekend might be a good time to give some detailed commentary on the state of the radio lineups. As you’ll recall both stations shuffled things up in early 2016. The FAN also made some major changes in early 2015. And TSN1050 recently parted ways with Day 1 host Mike Richards. Read on for very subjective grades that reflect our opinions on the quality of the shows as we head into the important fall ratings period.


Please leave your own grades and comments below, and make sure you click on the polls. Both PDs will be checking in often to see how their shows are faring, so this is a real chance to have your voice heard.


Ed Note 1: Had a lot to say … this is pretty long (Mike)

Ed Note 2: We always appreciate having our mistakes corrected. Please be in touch if something is not right.


Dean Blundell & Co


Mike: Depending on how you look at it, we are either living in a golden age of bro-talk or we are suffering under the worst deluge of bro-talk in recent memory. This era began back in early 2015 when Don Kollins came up with one his Kollins Genius Ideas (KGI™) and, with Scott Moore’s blessing, axed the FAN’s most successful morning show ever — Brady & Walker — in order to hire disgraced shock-jock Dean Blundell.


Dean was for a long time Toronto’s Bro-in-Chief over at 102.1, earning recognition for representing the bro-worldview on women, homosexuals, and strip clubs. Sports was only a small part of Dean’s brofolio but this did not deter Kollins from ingeniously hiring him to anchor the most prominent sports radio morning show in all of Canada.


As we all know by now this was a terrible idea. The ratings were a flop relative to the promises Kollins made to his bosses. Kollins (not his real name) quickly jumped ship to sunny California. The decision to hire Dean also cost Greg Brady his job, as he ended up being very expensive for the 1-4 timeslot at a time when Rogers made a lot of cutbacks (due in part to to failing hockey ratings). It also set back Andrew Walker’s career, as he is now working in an irrelevant timeslot rather than establishing himself as a household name on the FAN morning show. Other than that, it was a pretty good decision by Kollins & Moore.


Back to Dean Blundell & Co. Within a few months of launching, the FAN ditched the “&Co” concept, awkwardly firing Kayla Harris (wife of longtime PTS producer Ryan Walsh), relegating sidekick George Rusic back to a minor role, and (oddly) increasing the amount of time producer Ryan Fabro spends on air. Thankfully Halina Balka’s role has not been affected. There was a brief time in 2016 when Dave Cadeau tried to rotate in celebrity sports co-hosts with Dean, but that was also short lived. Since then, the show has stumbled along to unimpressive ratings.


Dean is now in the lame-duck year of his contract and might be headed back to music in the near future. This would open up the FAN to any number of options: 1) reuniting Brady & Walker … just as Brady’s severance would be running out, freeing him to jump over to TSN, 2) hiring Joey Vendetta full-time, 3) finally giving Ben Ennis the shot he deserves, 4) “Mornings with Mike Wilner”, 5) moving Tim&Sid back to radio but in a major timeslot … and any number of other better and worse ideas.


I’m sure some people enjoy Dean’s brand of humour and surface knowledge of sports, but it’s not for me. Here’s a question: name one sports topic/event for which you would be excited to tune into the Dean Blundell Show?


Grade: I couldn’t possibly give this show a grade because I have not listened to it more than a handful of times.  What’s the letter grade for “un-listenable”?


TSM: So I had written such a great opinion piece on the topic of the morning show that is, at The Fan 590 and then I read this gem from MIB: “Thankfully Halina Balka’s role has not been affected“.  That just about sums it up.  “Thankfully Halina Balka’s role has not been affected”.


What Mike has forgotten (and with good reason) is the disaster at the Fan before DB arrived, namely one Andrew Krystal.  That was the start of the aforementioned “Bro-Talk” at the Fan.  That, my friends was the TSN turning point.  Dean has been not much more than Krystal lite.


If you read what I have to type here or on Twitter this won’t shock you; I do not listen to the Fan morning show anymore.  That’s not anti-Dean per se, in fact it’s more about me than him.  My time in the AM is short.  I listen in on the drive to work and all I really want is an update on what happened the night before or in the early mornings before my drive.  That’s it.  I don’t get that from the Fan morning show.  In my opinion, none of Dean, George or Ryan have insight that I am particuallry interested in and therefore the show as it is currently is formatted doesn’t suit my needs.  “I really wonder what the guys on the Fan morning show think about last night’s game, or the big trade” … said no one. Personally, I don’t find it funny either, so I am clearly not the intended audience.


The question is, what exactly do the powers that be (whomever that may be) want from the show?  Only they can answer whether it is fulfilling the goal.  By all accounts Dean’s contract will not be renewed. However the show is his until he’s told otherwise.


I will grade the show a D+ but only because:


Naylor & Landsberg


Mike: I have had concerns about management over at TSN in the 5 years since 1050 launched. The TSN website is a jumbled mess that makes it very difficult to find their good original content. (Having RSS feeds for your columnists would help a great deal). Their podcast management is completely unprofessional overall.


On the radio side they have made a lot of bad decisions since Day 1. You are leveraging the TSN brand to launch an alternative to the FAN, so who do you bring in to anchor the morning show? A FAN employee from Calgary. Doesn’t make sense. As we all know, sports radio is local and they needed to have someone with local sports credibility.


You know who would have been a great hire for Day 1? Michael Landsberg. Five years ago it would have made sense to have one of the most recognizable TSN personalities anchoring one of your major radio timeslots. He could have done his radio show and his TV show on the same day. If they wanted to cancel the TV show he would already have established himself on radio. Instead, they canceled the TV show and were left holding an expensive contract. Plunking him into radio with Naylor was making lemonade out of lemons. Not exactly the best way to relaunch your morning show after getting your head stomped every ratings book since you entered the marketplace.


The bad management decisions did not stop there. TSN1050 PD Jeff McDonald decided it would be a good idea to let Landsberg hire his son Corey be part of the production team for the radio show. Corey worked with his dad on OTR so it is not as if he unqualified. But does it seem like a good idea to anyone to put the father-son team onto the new radio show, especially when both were just let go by the TV side? Seems like a lot of baggage to force onto a new show.


Lastly, for some reason they also decided it would be good for Naylor to start at 5:30am but Landsberg Sr to stroll in at 6am. Who does Naylor co-host with for that first half hour? Landsberg Jr. I have no issue with TSN giving Corey some airtime — I advocate for young guys getting a chance often in this space — but does it really have to be on his dad’s show? From the outside, this all looks like an unnecessarily cumbersome work environment.


All of that say that this new morning show was not well-conceived at the conceptual stage. How is it working out?


It has been rough. The pairing of Naylor with Landsberg needs a lot of work. Let’s start with the good. Both guys have a lot of sports knowledge and tons of experience covering all kinds of sports. Both also have lots of broadcast experience.  They also get good ESPN guests. The show seems well-produced. It’s not my thing, but their comedy bits are short and not too intrusive. Their regular segments are fine too.


Here is what is not working. First, both guys are stuck in the past. Too often the show ends up being a story telling competition. Not everything that happened on OTR is an anecdote. It’s also not the case that you need to mention that you were at an event there in 1996 every time a city is mentioned.


Second, Landsberg’s radio persona is grating. From everything I hear, he is a genuinely nice guy off the air. This makes it mystifying that he behaves like such a jerk on the air. His constant interruptions and sarcastic tangents serve no purpose. One out of every ten of these lands its mark. The rest just make him seem like a mean-spirited person. All of this exacerbates Naylor’s worst tendency, which is trying to keep up when his co-host is spinning out of control. This was a problem on TSN Drive as well. A good host needs to be able to pull the conversation back and guide it in the right direction without participating in the hysteria. Too often Naylor ends up chasing Landsberg down the rabbit hole and 20 minutes will elapse before things reset.


This brings me back to the management issue. The show has been on the air for 6 months now and it is clear that there is no effective coaching going on over there. The fact that at this stage the OTR references, the random asides to Corey, and the belittling interjections are still raining down means: 1) either no one is talking to Lansdberg Sr. about his performance, 2) no one in management is actually listening, or 3) he is ignoring the advice he is getting. None of those possibilities bode well.


I’m genuinely torn on whether this show can be salvaged. In an ideal world Landsberg would move on to doing his outreach work on a fulltime basis, and TSN can either look for a new co-host for Naylor or start fresh. If the show is going to be around for the next 3 years then someone needs to stop in the inmates from running things.


Grade: C+, with lots of room for improvement


TSM: So this is the show that I really, really wanted to work.  However, it has greatly disappointed.  I had hoped that by now both hosts would have moved towards the middle, however the problems that have plagued the show from day one are getting worse not better. Landsberg is clearly high energy and isn’t a big fan of sharing. While it may not be intended, he exudes an attitude of it’s The Michael Landsberg show, with David Naylor.  The co-hosted format doesn’t work because Naylor is so reserved and thoughtful so it’s 99% Landsberg and 1% Naylor.  More importantly, it doesn’t work because while Landsberg is a decent interviewer he is NOT good enough to drive solo on an all sports format morning drive show.


The reason it’s so disappointing is that both guys are likeable, both are articulate, and both are entertaining.  Instead of peanut butter and chocolate making an awesome cup, we have oil and water and no, they do not mix. What makes matters worse is that the when you add in the multiple personalities they bring in on a regular basis to form the “breakfast club” they are pulling in equally as powerful characters to Landsberg and you have, generally, three folks trying to share the mic and one guy not saying a whole lot.


Where the show does do well is bringing in the guests that they do.  In those instances, Naylor rises up and demonstrates his ability to interview from a game perspective while, if the topic permits, Landsberg brings the real life topics out. Bring in one of their NFL guys, or bring in McKenzie or Dreger and Naylor asks some great sports questions. When the topic heads to the society side of sports Landsberg shines.  The problem is when the stream cross.  Where the drive home show is a good foil for PTS, this has not become the leader I had hoped for and we know how bad things can be when the streams cross.



Grade: C


The Jeff Blair Show


TSM: Jeff’s opening monolog is the one part of the sports radio day that every Toronto sports fan should listen to daily.  He writes it the same way he wrote columns at the globe and it’s really, really good. I know folks will cringe when I say it, but the show rises with the success of the Jays.  It is very very baseball centric and provided the sport is in focus in the market it’s great radio.  Brunt brings more of a rounded sports perspective to the table and Blair has enough contacts to make all of his interviews seem like friendly sports banter.  I don’t subscribe to the complaints of his “stammering” or pausing.  I like listening to the show.


Grade: It’s pretty damn close to an A, if not a B+ especially in the time slot it is.


Mike: When Brunt is co-hosting this is the smartest show on radio. When it’s Blair solo, I have a very hard time listening a lot of the time. When it’s Blair solo taking calls … I’d rather listen to Dean Blundell.


Basic advice is the same as it has been since Day One: 1) Take fewer calls, 2) Work on seeing a sentence all the way to the end. It’s hard to believe that Blair started transitioning to radio more than 6 years ago and that his delivery is still so rough. Either no one is forcing him to work on his presentation or he is refusing to take notes on a job for which he has no formal training. Blair is not the easiest guy with whom to work, and that may explain why he’s not growing as a broadcaster.


To steal an insight Jonah has made about Brunt many times on this site, the FAN is wasting Blair’s talents by making him take calls on the Leafs in a meaningless timeslot. Blair really impressed me lately on the Kaepernick story. His training as a journalist shows whenever he’s talking about bigger picture social stuff. He can break down an issue while providing clarity and opinion.


This stands in stark contrast to the very generic work he does whenever he has to talk about the Leafs and Raptors. He’s OK on the Jays, but his best days were when Riccardi was the GM. Right now there are so many baseball insiders at Sportsnet who rank ahead of him on the depth chart. He’s also not a very good interviewer with tendency to ramble, and often has a hard time asking concise questions.


If I’m Cadeau I’m looking to expedite the McCown retirement and move Blair & Brunt to 4-7. Blair would thrive with that budget and guest-list, especially with the Jays being front and centre these days. I’m guessing Brunt wouldn’t mind being back in a major timeslot for his 20 weeks a year. If that can’t happen — and it won’t as long as Brunt won’t do radio full time — then move Blair to a role where he does a daily baseball show and then guests on other shows, while also contributing to and the magazine. Asking him to do 3-4 hours of radio every day is a mistake.


Grade: Blair & Brunt – A; Blair solo – C. Overall – B


Cauz & ???


Mike: The best part about Macko & Cauz was that both guys were very likable even if you didn’t care for their sports takes. Cauz is still very likable as a radio host but he’s not able to sustain a sports conversation on his own for 3 hours at a time. No one can, except for a tiny handful of people like Dan Patrick or Jim Rome who are able to ge the very best guests. That’s why there seems to be a lot of segments revolving around Cauz ranking his favourite fruits and asking listeners to weigh in.


If Macko is not coming back then TSN needs to decide whether or not to continue with Cauz in this timeslot. The cheap and lazy option is to pair him with Wheeler. Another option would be to move Cauz to the vacant afternoon slot along with a new co-host, and start over with the mid-morning timeslot. Or, if Lansdberg moves on, Cauz could be part of a revamped morning show. If the goal is to beat the FAN in the ratings then TSN needs to start looking at different options and finding new talent. This timeslot has never registered a pulse in the history of the station.


Grade: Macko & Cauz – B+; Cauz & Wheeler – C; Cauz solo – B-. Average: I was told there would be no math.


TSM:  I know this is a cop out but it’s hard to say bad things about a show where you actually like both hosts.  The problem is it’s just not a real show.  I don’t know why, but it has no rhythm, it’s got no theme and it always feels like a fill in for someone else or a holding pattern.  It just comes across as the show that no one loves because it always appears to be filler.  It’s a brutal time slot I give you, but Blair has been pulling numbers off the charts in the same slot so there are some listeners out there. (as an aside, yes, I know it’s easier to pull a high number in this slot because the audience size is smaller so it’s easier to get a larger percent of a small number).


I rarely listen to the show for more than a few minutes here and there or if something big happens.


Grade: D


Hockey Central


TSM: Perhaps it’s my old age, but I think this show suffers from over-exposure.  It’s simply just on too much and then what I find is that it’s very repetitive.  The “schitck” never changes. Don’t get me wrong I like listening to both Kypreos and Doug.  I think Millard works well in between them too. When there is news or there is a real story it’s great.  On day 185 of the Stamkos contract status, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Again that could be more about me than the show.  I know there are those of you out there who wish the Fan was 24/7 hockey and Leafs centric.  That’s simply not me.  In small bites I love it.  5 days a week it’s overexposed.


Grade: B+


Mike: Marek >>> Millard. Something about adding Millard to the other two doesn’t yield good results. That being said, you couldn’t pay me to listen to Doug MacLean. Why is he such a big part of a Canadian sports network? Was he ever a GM or coach for a Canadian NHL team? What’s his connection to the market? I don’t get it, but then again this is the network that thinks John Shannon is a multi-platform star. Kypreos has made a great career for himself. All of his colleagues who speak to me love the guy. Good for him.


Grade: never listen … n/a


Leafs Lunch w/ Andi Petrillo


TSM:  So this is my surprise hit.  Part of the problem with many shows is that they bring in regular co-hosts and guests who are the actual story, while the regular host can’t relegate themselves to being just the host.  Back when Wilbur was on air, it was clearly his show but he didn’t drive.  It took special talent to be a co-host on that show given Wilbur’s persona.  I bring this up because I think Andi has mastered this beautifully.  I don’t mean this to sound the least bit derogatory, but Andi has figured out her place and sticks to it.  She is the host of the show.  She steers and she drives.  However, she is not the show.  Whomever she has on air, or in the co-host seat generally is more of the “expert” and she let’s that play out.


That to me is the brilliance of a radio show. That’s what’s made the show so enjoyable. I am not going to be claiming that it’s better than the predecessor.  It’s totally different.  I am telling you that for me, it’s really good radio.  It’s informative, it has good guests and it’s doesn’t seem stale. Count my in as a fan.


Grade: Because it’s less than a year old, so there’s not a long enough history behind it, I am grading it a B.


Mike: For the love of God, someone please tell Craig Button to pipe down. Why does he yell so much?


Andi is doing a great job. She’s likable, she doesn’t pretend to know more than she actually does, and she’s a talented broadcaster with a wide sports background. I’m sure some people will complain that the old Leafs Lunch crew were better and I have no issue with that point of view. Very different shows. But compared to Hockey Central it is no contest for me. I’ll listen to Andi over the other crew 10 times out of 10. Great hire by TSN radio.


Grade: B+


The Andrew Walker Show


TSM: Remember when it was announced that Andrew Walker would be the co-host on the Blundell in the morning and then it was un-announced?  We can only speculate what happened to cause Walker to join Brady in his current 1pm slot.  However, I am left wondering if Walker did take the role if he would be driving solo in the am slot right now.


Walked has done the best he can considering it’s a one man show.  He’s tried to liven it up, he’s used some creative programming and brought both his audience and his producer in to the fold.  Walker is the type of host I want in a morning show.  When I want the 30-45 mins of here is what I missed last night he’s the type of guy I want delivering it.


So the problem Walker has, is that in his time slot it’s the show that no one listens too. If a story breaks when he is on the air, he’s a great person to listen to.  My problem is if the story is before his show it’s been analyzed already and if it’s after well, then it’s old news.  Not Walker’s fault; It is what it is.


Here’s what I will say.  If you were listening in the time slot, it’s the best of the two shows by a country mile.  When there is something going on at the moment, it’s better than both morning shows.  Where it sits now it’s irrelevant.


Grade: under the circumstances, B-


Mike: No one watches and reads more sports than Andrew. I’d venture that he is the most informed and versatile sports host in the market. Dude lives and breathes sports, and it shows. Other than Arash Madani, who is clearly in the post-McCown PTS conversation, no one has a brighter future at the FAN than Andrew. In the short time he has been in Toronto he quickly moved from being an update guy, to Brady’s sidekick, to Brady’s equal, to having his own show.


Dave Cadeau had to fire Brady due to cost considerations, which meant that Walker didn’t get a co-host at launch. I don’t really agree with this logic though I understand it. Doing good solo radio is hard. And even when done well, the results are not always entertaining. Doing solo radio when you have no budget and you’re in an unimportant timeslot is virtually impossible.


It was unclear how Walker would handle the responsibility of having his own show. In the months that have passed the show has struggled to find a stable identity. There have been lots of themed segments — Tell Me I’m Wrong! What’s In Andrew Walker’s Fridge? Match Game The List, Tucker Tuesdays (Tucker not actually in studio), What Andrew watched & you Didn’t … and many others I have already forgotten. Some of these have stuck around, as the show follows the Tim&Sid blueprint of drumming up twitter reactions from people trying to get through the workday, and then spending lots of time reacting to those reactions. It’s better than taking calls, but not by much.


The show has also settled into what I refer to as the Big Bro, Lil Bro format. Walker is clearly the big bro: big voice, big takes, big shot. Then there are his Lil Bros who help get through the show. Lil Bro #1 is the show’s unofficial co-host, producer JD Bunkis. Bunkis clearly has a future as a host or co-host and hopefully gets some reps running the mic … on another show. When Andrew brings him on, I change the dial. The same is true whenever Andrew brings on random Sportsnet players … Jeff Simmons, Jackie Redmond, Dan Riccio, Ben Ennis, etc. If Cadeau wants to stick with this format they should rename the show “The Hub” and just have it feature whoever is hanging around the water cooler that day. Gord Stellick popularized this with his Pool Parties back in the day.


Basically, my complaint is that there’s far too much of Andrew and his pals playing grabass on the air for my tastes. I like sports talk a lot more than I like bro talk. The ratio is off right now.


The show is at its best when they dig for sports topics that won’t get covered by other shows. Sometimes that’s going into the numbers behind the game; sometimes that is finding interesting storylines from the NFL, MLB, or NBA, since there is no shortage of hockey coverage on the other shows; sometimes that means dissecting plays that only serious observers would have noticed. If the show consisted mostly of this kind of material, I would listen more often.


Walker excelled when he had to keep Brady on his toes. He did a very good job of it, and the contrast between the two helped establish his own brand. Whatever else was true of Brady & Walker, I always felt like I was getting advanced level sports talk. I don’t get that anywhere on the FAN currently. I wonder if Cadeau would consider pairing Walker with someone like Blair or Brunt just to see how that sounds. Or, The Andrew Walker solo show could continue for another 5 years doing exactly what it is doing in this timeslot.


Grade: B-


The Mike Richards Show


Mike: Mike deserves a lot of credit for the ratings he put up in the morning. They were not competitive with the FAN but in retrospect they were miles better than anything any other show did on TSN1050. The writing was on the wall once he was moved to mid-afternoon and his salary became way out of whack with the norms for the timeslot. He and Brady suffered the same fate, albeit for different reasons.


My issues with his show were that I didn’t care for his comedy bits or his bro-shtick. I understand that this resonated with some listeners, as many were proud to be part of his Sex Box Crew. I wish Mike all the best in his next venture.


The really interesting question is what TSN does with the now vacant timeslot. Scott MacArthur is seemingly being groomed for a radio host job. He is no longer covering the Jays as a beat reporter and has been filling in for Bryan Hayes on Overdrive as well as other vacationing hosts. Of course there is always the spectre of Greg Brady — proven ratings winner — looming large. He can’t come back officially until spring 2017, so TSN would have to be OK with a multiple changes in the coming year if they go that route.


TSM: Once again, the shoe didn’t fit.  Whether it was in mornings or in this time slot it wasn’t a good fit for the audience.  Put Mike on FM, put Mike on XM and he will deliver.  In this city, in either time slot he was Krystal-esque.  I am surprised he lasted as long as he did (and no, none of this is his fault) and I don’t believe his appearance on Toronto Mike’s podcast helped his cause either.  I hope Mike resurfaces somewhere soon.


Grade: n/a


Prime Time Sports


TSM:  I sound like a parrot when it comes to Bob, however this some repeat info and some new.  With Bob it’s really simple.  When he’s engaged (Blue Jays) he’s the best in the business.  When it’s February, and the story of the day is the 3rd line winger on the Leafs is out for the matchup with the Blue Jackets he’s as weak as anyone else on radio. The challenge is to get more of engaged Bob and less of bored Bob on the air.


I will say that I think having Arash Madani as a more regular presence on the show is a good thing.  Personally I like Arash better on radio than I do on tv.  So whether as a co-host, a guest or guest host he is a breath of fresher air.


The McCown/Cox dynamic should be very interesting to watch or more specifically listen to.  While there are those who don’t care for Damien, he is a very smart guy and he is good on radio.  The problem I had with him the last time he was with Bob was that they both came across as very negative.  So much so that it wasn’t listen-able.  I don’t blame Damien for that as it was as much Bob as it was him.  Negativity is contagious and well it’s an easy sell too.


It will be interesting to see the relationship when Bob and his audience are 100% focused on the Jays coming out of the holiday and Damien who is traditionally a hockey guy would likely be more comfortable talking about the leafs training camp and or this tournament that’s going to be going on.  You know Bob is going to have zero interest in the tournament and he will put up with Lou, Mike, Brendan and Matthews mania, but after that neither Bob nor his audience are going to want to talk puck.


Clearly the elephant in the set is McCown’s contract. Without question it is the number one point of conversation I am asked about all the time when it comes to sports media in Canada.  What happens when the deal is up and if Bob is done who replaces him.  I am of the belief Mccown has about a year and half left on a contract that is set to expire in early 2018 ( that from the Shoalts article on Mccown being bored).  What happens as we head into 2017 and McCown in to the final 12 months of his deal is going to be fascinating to watch.


I highly doubt that anything will be said publicly but the water cooler speculation will be great fun. Do both parties want to extend? There is a school of thought that says Bob will continue so long as they are willing to sign the cheque.  On the flip side is Rogers probably would like him back but not at the current rate.  Would Bob take a cut and keep working? I would bet that he wouldn’t keep doing what he’s doing but for less money. Would Rogers pay Bob less and accept a lesser role for Bob?  I have no clue.  Conversely, is it time for both sides to just say adieu?


My 2 cent bet, with no information is that Bob will be on the air somehwere after his deal is up.  I don’t think he’s ready to retire and I am certain someone is willing to pay him to broadcast.  Where? How long? When? How often?  No idea.


Grade: A-


Mike: I have probably written about PTS more than any other topic on this site over the last 3 years. I don’t have anything new to say, or much to add to what Jonah wrote. Bob cannot do 15 hours a week of radio well at this point in time. There are too many other shows/podcasts competing for my ears, and the Bobcat mails it in too often. Part of me can’t help but think that the loss of talented producer Ryan Walsh to Tim&Sid’s TV show has also hurt PTS and Bob.


Overall, I find I spend more time deleting PTS podcasts than I do listening to them. I’ll always check out what Deitsch is talking about during his paid appearances. I’ll usually check out who the 6pm guests are. But there are only a handful of topics where I will actually make a point to listen because I want to hear what Bob thinks. That number keeps going down, since so many of his opinions are the same as they were in 1998.


I have found myself wondering what Tim&Sid would sound like 4-7. They could still do some chunk of the show for TV, but at least we would get them back on radio. Or, a more radical proposal: have Tim&Sid do their radio show from 4-6 (no TV, no calls, no Twitter outrage, no human laugh track) and then do all their goofy bits on TV from 6-7. Bob would come in from 6-7 and do one hour of radio a day — call it PTS National or something like that. No need for a co-host … just pack the show with the guests that will speak intelligently about the issues of the day, and Bob can do what he does best: conduct smart interviews.


Grade: when Bob is engaged – A; when’s he’s not – C. Overall: B




TSM: Give TSN and the OD team credit, they have stayed true to what the show was.  They haven’t changed it and it remains, day in and day out good fun sports radio.  If you ever thought it might be fun to have a microphone on in your living room or a bar when you and your friends talk sports then you will love OD.  They don’t take themselves to seriously, they don’t pretend to be something they are not.  Its a very good alternative to PTS when either Bob is bored, Bob is away, or Ken Reid is anywhere near a microphone.


Where it lacks, and where they may get in trouble is coming out of the summer and all anyone wants to talk about is Blue Jays. If I were on the OD production team I’d be getting a guy like Dirk Hayhurst in studio as often as possible.  They need a permanent baseball voice who will compliment the group.


I really enjoy listening to these guys, particularly because you can tell they really are enjoying what they are doing.  That resonates, it comes across and it’s infectious. Are they perfect? Nope.  But I wouldn’t want to listen to them if they were.


Grade: They get a B from me simple because they haven’t been in the slot long enough.  If they pull through baseball’s hot season well they get an A.


Mike: Here’s the theory: in order to reverse your 5 year history of getting trounced by the competition you take your most popular assets and move them to the most important timeslot. Here’s the rub: they are all hockey guys and you need people who can talk sports 12-months a year. That was the obvious conundrum facing TSN1050 management when they decided to kick Leafs Lunch into Overdrive. Their solution? Tons of vacation time for all hosts! It’s not the most sensible business solution, but I’m sure the hosts aren’t complaining.


Let’s start with the good: Overdrive is young and fun; PTS is old and dull. Good news for listeners wanting a change of pace for the drive home.


Ok, now on to the bad: this crew cannot talk sports other than hockey, in my opinion. I’m glad some of you enjoy listening to them talk baseball, but I just can’t do it. It’s the worst part of being stuck at the bar next to some guy going on about how the Jays should trade for Votto because he’s Canadian.


Next, Jamie McLennan’s presence on this show makes no sense to me. The jock seat is more than amply covered by Jeff O’Neill. He’s brash; he’s been in the room; he knows what it’s like to play for the Leafs; he has a neck tattoo, and he has a large collection of bro words — a brocabulary if you will — for everyday items. McLennan never played for the Leafs, and was a backup goalie for most of his career. Why would the people of Toronto want to hear his thoughts?


All of this has bad effects on Bryan Hayes. He’s a competent broadcaster but struggles to come up with interesting opinions. Here’s a challenge: name one strong take that Brian Hayes has intelligently laid out that you either agreed with or strongly disagreed with. I can’t, and he’s been doing radio in this market for a long time. When surrounded by so much testosterone Hayes becomes a 3rd wheel. If you want an Overdrive drinking game, listen for O’Neill to drop one of his jock words or phrases, then see how long it is until Bryan is repeating it like a kid who just learned a new swear word.


Here’s another place where TSN1050 is struggling under the weight of bad management. Jamie is married to Bryan Hayes’ longtime producer Steph Apolito. She is now the producer of Overdrive. She was also recently promoted to Assistant/Associate Program Director. At the FAN being APD is considered a full-time job. Over at TSN you can apparently do that job while also producing the signature show on the station.


Here’s another issue: how much coaching and critical feedback do you think the bros on Overdrive receive? Is Steph really going to say, “hey Jamie maybe you shouldn’t talk so much”? Or, “hey Bryan, maybe instead of trying to keep up with the actual jocks in the room you could direct the conversation since you have experience watching other sports”?


Again, from the outside, this looks like an incoherent way to organize your work environment, assuming your goal is to produce a competitive product. My suggestion would be to move Jamie back to Leafs Lunch to be Andi’s sidekick or let him focus on TV exclusively. Another option would be to save bro-time until the end of the week. Have Bryan co-host with a real journalist — Simmons or Arthur — Monday through thursday and then “kick the show into Overdrive!” on Fridays and bring the boys back in.


Scott MacArthur did a great job this week covering the Kaepernick story. Can you imagine the Bangbus crew trying to talk about race in America?


Grade: D on anything other than hockey or goofy sports stories; A on the Leafs, C for having 3 hosts who are over-committed or have way too much vacation time. Overall: PASS


The Future


With all of that said, the 2016-17 academic/radio year is clearly about positioning for the future. We are looking at a landscape with no more PTS (at least not the PTS we all know and have feelings about), no more Dean Blundell, and no more Mike Richards. Those are big presences and big salaries. So the lineups as they stand will almost certainly not be the same this time next year. Jay & Dan are in the process of flunking out of the US. TSN Radio has 7 stations across the country where they could be developing talent and building their brand. The FAN has only 2 but could add more. We are seeing people move between the two networks for the first time in a while. It’s a volatile but exciting time to be following sports media.


Listener Polls


Which Station do you listen to?



Best show on the FAN590:



Best show on the TSN1050:



Worst show on FAN590:



Worst show on TSN1050:





This is a time to give free advice to the program directors and show hosts so let them have it in the comments section. Also, if there is someone from the bench who you think deserves more air time, here is your chance to talk him or her up when you know the boss will be reading. #JaysTalkwithBenEnnis


As always, thanks for reading.


mike (not really in boston) & Jonah (TSM)

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September 3, 2016 5:40 pm

I’d love to see more reporters get more airtime as cohorts since they seem to follow more breadth of sports and can discuss them intelligently with substance. Cox is insufferable on social media but he’s a smart guy and I’m interested in his opinions. Bruce Arthur is a really smart guy and can discuss a litany of sports. Above all, I’d love to see Elliotte Friedman get a big radio role, but I guess he has a big role on the TV side.

I really wanted Naylor and Landsberg to work but they just don’t provide good insights. They are great interviewers, but it’s not enough to make me tune in. I think those type of personalities (like Tim & Sid, or Overdrive) are good for changing the direction of previously analyzed topics.

People with good insights should be driving conversation on the morning shows. I’m not sure why Blair is getting pegged for a afternoon show when it seems he would be best in the morning slot to start the day. Brady and Walker may have filled that role, but they aren’t big enough brands to make people tune in. I can’t recall why I never listened to them.

September 3, 2016 5:43 pm

What’s the deal with Joey Vendetta getting so much airtime on the FAN? He lives in LA. Is there no one better who actually lives in the GTA?

September 3, 2016 6:13 pm

It seems Vendetta gets more guests in a week than most in a month and actually encourages tweets/calls. What a novel concept – someone who is inclusive and topical. Oh, and why does Jim Rome have him fill in? Because he is good I suspect.

steve w
steve w
September 3, 2016 6:26 pm

Lot of thought and work in this one, well done TSM & Mike.

AM Drive: I’m listening to an out-of-market show, Mike & Mike on 1150 because Dave Cadeau & Jeff McDonald suck at programming.

I can’t think of a single reason to listen to him, or 590 during AM drive.
Blundell knows fuck all about sports, and it’s insulting that he even attempts to talk sports.
Grade: incomplete

Naylor & Landsberg.
There’s only one reason why I won’t to listen to them, or 1050 during AM drive: Landsberg. With Landsberg, well, his on-air persona lead me to this conslusion, “once a douche always a douche”. I hated OTR, he’s just unlistenable. Naylor I can tolerate.
Grade: incomplete

AM Drive recommendation for both stations: John Gallagher, who gets to him first?

Sleepy I
Sleepy I
September 3, 2016 6:28 pm

Interesting takes. I agree with MIB about Blair’s delivery. It’s bad enough that he has possibly the most annoying voice in sports talk radio (other than Scott Farrell), but his weird little quirks (humming, weird little sound effects he makes, thumping the console, etc) are extra aggravating. He even manages to makes the already unfunny Dangle Dial worse with his schtick of trying to get a word in edgewise while Dangle talks.

I don’t really get the piece’s criticism of JD Bunkis on the Walker show as he does something similar to what Walker was commended for doing when he was partnered with Brady: challenging some of Walker’s more ridiculous hot takes and generally knocking him down a notch when he gets a little too insufferable.

September 3, 2016 6:37 pm

Great read and insight from both of you . Both bring up the very strong and weak points of all the shows. For me personally I’m more into PTS and Jeff Blair shows than any other shows on either station. Only tune in to TSN when flipping the dial and if something interesting holds me there will listen.

September 3, 2016 7:00 pm

I’ll be the first to admit that TSN 1050 Radio is the last radio station I will listen to, but programming choices at the The Fan 590 are driving me to try them again out of sheer disgust and annoyance, aside from Print Time Sports (When Bob hosts, the other folks who’ve tried to fill his chair when he takes vacation time etc. are varying degrees of annoying and/or unlistenable)

Of the shows on the Fan that I listen to:

Dean Blundell is like that annoying wannabe jock in high school, he can’t do sports intelligently and his humour ranks somewhere around toilet bowl level.

Jeff Blair – when he isn’t being a total jerk (which is happening less and less) is a good listen, he’s intelligent, he just needs to tone down the sarcasm to “cutting” as opposed to “lop your head off and spit down the hole”

Prime Time Sports – When Bob is on and “on” his game, he hosts and directs the flow of conversation well. The various co-hosts….

I’m willing to give Damien Cox another shot but he needs to stop trying to be “the smartest guy in the room” (most times he isn’t)

Ken Reid – No, No *NO*! The man’s delivery is annoyingly nasal and he can’t put a sentence together half the time without losing track of where he was going with it.

Arash Midani – Here I’m torn, most times I find him pleasnt and inoffensive but last week with his whole pushing the Kapernick thing, trying to somehow equate him to Mohammed Ali, I found that rather… jarring (and I’ll leave it at that)

September 3, 2016 7:30 pm

These days, i only listen via pod to N&L, Blair, Baseball Central and PTS. And it depends on guest host, guest and topic.

I gave up on PTS last week when it seemed like Madani started every show with Vikings talk. Dont care.

I look forward to Brunt being back with Blair until the next vacation.

September 3, 2016 7:47 pm

Not sure what the point of talking about any Toronto FAN 590 personalities. Every time you turn the dial to FAN 590 – you hear ‘pencil swallowing’ Scotty Farrell and the other CBS Sports guests.

For me personally it is a toss up between Blundell + Blair’s stuttering as worst FAN programs during the week.

They should have had Tim + Sid on the morning instead of freakon’ Blundell.

Too Loose La Trek
Too Loose La Trek
September 3, 2016 7:50 pm

I think it’s less than coincidental that you 2 actually put some work into this posting. You’ve been pretty lazy lately, and TSM, shame on you for blaming the posters. That nonsense of this site is “up to you the audience.” That’s fine as far as to goes but the essays are what drive the conversations…and you 2 have been negligent lately.
As for the comments themselves, your opinions show a clear bias. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.. TSM, you admit you rarely listen to Cauz and ?, if at all, yet you see no problem in skewering it. That’s not fair. Listen for a while and then any comment is fair game…and informed.I’m not a big fan but I’ve listened to it. Mike’s take on Overdrive is fair but I think shows he has no understanding about what makes a good radio show. The word is chemistry. Those 3 have it. They each have a role. I hear a lot of people would like to get rid of McLennan, but I disagree. The show isn’t as good when he’s not there.
It’s also obvious neither of you have ever done a radio show. If you did, you’d understand how difficult it is to come up with material every day. That’s why I respect every one of the shows on both stations. They’re all pros.

September 3, 2016 8:40 pm

@ too loose la trek

I tend to agree with you re: Mike’s take on Overdrive. All shows can’t be everything to all people. I don’t care that Hayes hasn’t laid out a “strong take”. The chemistry is outstanding like you said and I enjoy Noodles as well. It’s just a flat out entertaining show. Mike’s description of O’Dog leaves a little bit to be desired as well.

September 3, 2016 8:53 pm

@Too Loose and @Cirroc

Agree that Noodles in small doses can be annoying (and he is at times, especially when he almost seems to take pride in not knowing anything about the other sports) but if you watch consistently you know he’s critical to the chemistry.

These guys can be pretty inadequate when discussing major sports issues with crossover impact into the mainstream (eg. social, political). But honestly, if there is a big issue of the day I, and anyone else, should have the dial tuned to 590 on the PM drive.

Mickey b
Mickey b
September 3, 2016 9:10 pm

I think pretty much everything has been said about blundell that hits the nail on the head. I honestly wonder if or how he could have a future in commercial radio. Pretty sure he doesn’t have any credibility or respect in any form of radio.
The worst program on tsn is anything with Gareth wheeler. I truly believe he must be a super nice guy but he’s way in over his head in a big market like Toronto. I think if you go to any small town Ontario and turn on the local cable channel broadcasting an oua soccer match, you’d hear the equivalent of wheeler. Anything beyond that for him is just painful. Surprising, as he’s been given a lot of opportunity to get good or at least improve and just hasn’t happened. Don’t think Toronto sports radio is a good fit for his skills and personality.
Seriously can’t wait for o dog and noodles to return to overdrive. When anything happens in sports it’s their show I want to listen to. Finally, thanks guys for the fun read!

September 3, 2016 9:29 pm

One of the options mentioned for the Blundell time slot was
4) “Mornings with Mike Wilner”
Say it ain’t so – That suggestion was tongue in cheek right?
The only thing worse then Wilner having his own show would have Joey Vendetta and Arash Madani as co-hosts!

September 3, 2016 10:29 pm


Regarding your last paragraph, I don’t disagree with you, but I’ve about had it with “issues”. These days, everything is an issue, whether it be a player’s socks or a soccer star calling another team names. It’s just my personal preference, but I enjoy light hearted discussion about sports with some old war stories tossed in.

As an aside, I know they aren’t radio, but why not have a section on Tim and Sid? I’d love to hear people’s opinions on their show.

steve w
steve w
September 3, 2016 10:49 pm

Again, I’m primarily listening to an out-of-market program: Dan Patrick on 1150 because of it’s diversity of topics, quality of guests, it’s also entertaining and informative. And virtually no hockey discussion, which I get in spades later in the day.

Jeff Blair Show
I typically catch partial segments, I switch to Blair when the Patrick show runs commercials. When Blair’s show goes to commercial, I flip back to Dan Patrick. Blair knows his baseball, he’s also good with fitting in soccer discussion, and he has Brunt as his co-host. Blair’s show moves along quickly, easy to listen to.

My only negative is when Scollari/Vandeta fills in. Hate his voice.
Also hate the fact that he takes forever to ask a question or make his point.
And then his inane ramblings, he talks sooo much, but offers nothing meaningful, engaging or interesting. These were the very same reasons why I stopped listening to him & Q107 when he was there.

Grade: B+ (A, if Scollari/Vendeta never returns)

I voted this show to be the best on 590, but the best show for me is Baseball Central.

steve w
steve w
September 3, 2016 10:53 pm

Cauz & Everyone but Macko.
Cauz, he’s a quirky little guy, I can tolerate him.
I also thought Macko was a good fit, I enjoyed their chemistry.
Before settling in on Dan Patrick, I would flip back and forth between 590 & 1050. When Macko left, that was it for me, every other host has been a disaster, especially Wheeler.
Grade: incomplete
Mid-Morning recommendation: Bring back Macko, or pair Cauz with Naylor.

September 3, 2016 11:37 pm

I gave up on the fan a long time ago… but TSN has too many weaknesses for me to be a regular listener: I can’t listen to Landsberg and Naylor. Landsberg is a douche and Naylor let’s himself get bullied or spends his time dodging Landsberg’s bullets. It’s not good radio…

I can’t listen to Gareth Wheeler at all. He should do soccer and nighttime only…. (mostly because I’m not listening to either). I like Matt Cauz with Macko. He needs another guy to play off against and Wheeler doesn’t cut it. Cauz is getting dragged down by Wheeler. Jeremy Taggart gets a lot of abuse here, but I actually like the guy. If he has the right cohost he can add a lot to a show. I like the Taggart and Torrens podcast too and Cauz and Taggart work well together. But Wheeler man, holy cow….that’s Seneca College student radio calibre stuff.

I don’t listen to the fan any more even as an alternative…. Dan Patrick is a good 9 to noon solution for me if Wheeler is hosting without Cauz.

I’m an Overdrive guy. They do fine with Baseball and all the other baseball guests and insiders carry the load well enough. The rest of the show is fine. This isn’t politics we’re covering, it’s baseball. TSN has proven last year through the playoff run that they have better baseball insiders and better coverage on radio and TV than the Fan does (Dan Shulman aside) and it makes me laugh. Richard Griffin needs more air time on TSN. He’s great baseball insider. I’m not a McArthur fan at all as a personality but his baseball work is better than Arash Madami or most (any?) other sportnet reporters. Steve Simmons and bruce arthur do well when they stick to talking about sports.

Anyway. I enjoy being entertained. I don’t need too much info or opinion from my sports station. That’s what Twitter and the MSN does for me already. TSN 1050 gets it right with providing excellent insiders and guests. They need some better hosts now…. McCown and Blair (and co) make me feel 100 years old – and I don’t need that but in my life.

I refuse to Listen to hockey central, (How does Daren Millard keep a job and Doug McLean is horrible) but I don’t find Andi Petrillo is my cup of tea either. I can miss both shows and eat my lunch without the radio on.

….Finally once and for all – where IS Macko anyway?? Is he coming back or is that it? …Cauz doesn’t mention him any more. That must mean he’s done. I so, too bad. I hope he lands on his feet.

September 3, 2016 11:55 pm

And at this point, you lost me. Simmons is hands down, the worst “journalist” in Toronto. He has strong competition, though.

“Another option would be to save bro-time until the end of the week. Have Bryan co-host with a real journalist — Simmons or Arthur”

September 4, 2016 12:02 am

I’ve been listening to the Fan since Derringer and Marsden, used to work at the three letter, and am aspiring to be one of these guys.

In the mornings, Blundell is an embarrassment. Rusic brought a creative element to the show.. Haven’t listened for a while, so I am disparaged to find out his role was reduced. I want N&S to work just so the Fan is kicked into action in that slot.

Blair is a good journalist who doesn’t have a voice for radio, but that doesn’t seem to hurt him. Cauz is funny, but very shtick oriented.. Hope Macko is ok..

Been a Bob fan for a long time, but I see the boredom stuff. For Overdrive, I’ll acknowledge that this comes from the angle of someone wanting to work in the industry, but I take issue with giving two former athletes prime time radio slots over the hundreds of aspiring broadcasters in this country. It’s the same way I feel about Buck Martinez.. How many people have grown up living and breathing baseball in this country, and you choose a former backup catcher (and failed manager) with a (put on) southern drawl to do the play by play? And to pick two former athletes from the same sport, on a network that lost the rights to said sport, seems silly to me.

It’s the same mentality behind giving Ben Mulroney the new CTV morning show. Sure we have hundreds of talented journalism grads each year, but let’s give the gigs to tired, overrated, overexposed talents..

Two last thoughts: Madani impressed me this week filling in on Prime Time. Clearly influenced by Bob, but no issue there.

2. To me, Elliotte Friedman should be front runner to replace Bob. The job he did filling in the summer before he left CBC, to me, was very underrated. He’s funny, quick, self deprecating, and very informed.

Justin L
Justin L
September 4, 2016 1:35 am

I am a 1050 supporter for the most part but will usually check up on what the Fan might be talking about from time to time.

Both morning shows are ridiculous. I will listen to TSN only if Landsberg is not there, if so its an instant channel changer. I cannot stand his arrogance and frankly sometimes I cant understand how they get well respected guests to come on, only for Landsberg to interrupt and throw veiled insults at them when he doesnt agree with their opinion. On the other hand I think everyone is on the same page regarding Blundell. He doesnt know sports as much as he thinks he does and its almost laughable when he tries to get ‘serious’ and give an opinion or quote his supposed sources. Also feel Rusic is a poor co host and doesnt add much.

I rarely get to listen during the day as I cant while im at work. When I do listen I enjoy Cauz. Dont find Wheeler to be too bad when he is with Cauz. Taggart is a channel changer right away. Leafs lunch is a bit plain for me as im not a big Poulin or Button fan. On Fan Walker is decent and has good knowledge. Blair is great for baseball talk and insight but again I find it hard to deal with his arrogance.

For the evening I love overdrive when they are all there. Its frustrating with the 2 (sometimes all 3) being off during the summer when we are in a massive Jays playoff push. I feel like they lost alot of momentum. Dont pretend to be an all-sports show and then basically close up shop when hockey season is done. Still will be tuning in every day when theyre back though. My least listened to show is actually PTS. Being a 27 year old there is almost nothing on that show that appeals to me. I havent listened to Mccown for the years everyone else has so I dont have the attatchment to it as some people may. Bob is just way to outdated and his ‘mail-it-in’ attitude is frustrating. I tuned in a few weeks ago when 1050 was on commercial only to hear Bob brag about how he shows up to work 2 minutes before he starts and is out the door 1 minute after. Turned right back to 1050 commercials. Good job buddy.

I enjoy Scott Macarthur and would like to see him fall into a permanent show when the overdrive guys are back. He provides excellent insight and I have found many times this year on twitter he has broken news on the Jays before any SN people. I also find the guest who call into TSN shows to be way more respectable. Ferraro, Hayhurst, Griffin, Steve Simmons, Steve Phillips. Outstanding. How does TSN have better baseball insiders and writers then the network that owns the team?

I wish the Fan would stop letting fans call in, 1050 barely does it, and you can tell the Fan guys hate it too. Blair, Mccown, WILNER have people call in only to 99% of the time cut them off or discard their opinions or questions as useless. Most of the time these opinions and questions definitely are stupid, but I guess what im trying to say is do everyone a favour and stop alltogether. The hosts dont enjoy it, and it leaves a bad taste in peoples mouths, mine at least.

September 4, 2016 9:46 am


I for one enjoy the insight that former players can bring to the table. They can offer a unique perspective outside of purely stats and share experiences that many of us will never have. Not to be snarky, but if the jobs they are taking away are Gareth Wheeler and Jonas Siegel types, bring on the ex- athletes en masse.

September 4, 2016 10:05 am

Random thoughts from a really well-done essay, and I certainly didn’t agree with all the thoughts, but to me, it was like a 3-hour radio show. Parts I enjoyed a lot and agreed with, and parts I asked “what the hell are you thinking” but that’s what a good show does:

1. It’s basically unanimous about Blundell. Big risk, big mistake. The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze, and it’s now a show few care about. I bet they do good ratings in the fall with the Blue Jays making a push, but that’s more out of habit and the fact that maybe half the radios in the demo that matters will be listening to playoff games the night before. If 80 percent leave, your morning show still gets a 10 share. But we all know it isn’t about the show.

I’d echo what most others have said, that the deal must be like a foreign prison to get out of easily, and they won’t offer him another contract, and if he is looking to get out as is written here, it only makes sense. He’s still a good broadcaster but this was a dreadful fit and Rusic isn’t worth keeping on.

The issue is does the Fan need to do something if 1050 bolsters their lineup and gets stronger. Right now, it appears they don’t.

2. Naylor isn’t working out for a second prime shift in a row and it’s time to face reality and relegate him to 9am with Cauz. That’s what I would do, and I actually think those two would pair well. As many write, Wheeler shouldn’t be doing a regular show, and neither should Jeremy Taggurt. 9-noon has needed fixing forever and if you put something solid together, coming off a better morning show, you may get noticed a bit by people flipping the dial. We all know how good Blair is when it comes to baseball, but we also know you aren’t really listening when he talks NHL or NFL. He doesn’t care about those sports and barely watches, that’s obvious.

3. I like the idea of more Brunt, but what’s in it for him to work 45-46 radio weeks a year. I’d bet he gets his cash regardless, and just needs to do some essays and write those Blue Jays 30 minute documentary things a few times a year. I just don’t think he needs the grind of the week in/week out radio thing.

4. Speaking of that mentality, as possibilities of who could work, no mention of Dan Shulman. I still don’t think it’s very likely, but was it likely he could do a chunk of Blue Jays games and squeeze Buck and Pat to the side by doing it? Probably not. But ESPN pays Shulman incredibly well, I’d bet, and why give that up to make less to do radio after Bob retires? I am not a fan of Arash or Blair taking those spots, and remember, Arash travels so much for Sportsnet and seems unattached, so why would he give up TV to do that, and Elliotte Friedman isn’t giving up less days of work to do NHL for Sportsnet where he’s very valuable to do a full-time radio thing, either.

5. Agree on the hockey noon shows. Both have their moments and Petrillo is a competent “traffic cop”. I do enjoy Kypreos and MacLean better than any regular guests Leafs Lunch have, and though Poulin has promise as a broadcaster, Craig Button I turn off instantly.

6. It was mentioned, but a big X-factor is Greg Brady. If that’s true that he has to sit until March, it must have been a great contract, but also one he can’t escape very easily. If 1050 grabs him, I put him right into mornings with Landsberg. I do think that’s the fit, Brady had his loud moments, but given Landsberg is accused of being obnoxious, mostly a radio act I’d bet, Brady is sharp enough and it might be fun to see him as the “more mellow” character on his show, something he couldn’t do with the very likable Jim Lang. If I’m 590, bringing Brady back for mornings is absolutely something I see if I can do, but I don’t pair him with Walker, I look for some fresh blood. Brady is good enough to carry others and certainly did while Walker figured out what Toronto sports was about. Bottom line, he’s in a pretty good spot sitting out given there’s a lot of mediocre shows that need to be ended or boosted right now.

To go back to my second point, this is a TSN lineup the Fan would be more worried about:

6-9am Landsberg and Brady, 9-noon Naylor and Cauz, 12-1 Leafs Lunch, 1-4 Need a two person show, possibly involving Scott MacArthur but more importantly someone to run the show and with more energy. MacArthur did do some solo shows in the early 1050 days and they weren’t good. I would bring James Cybulski back for that shift if at all possible. Then, Overdrive at 4pm. I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t like this station much better if they did all that.

7. I just don’t think you’ll ever see Tim and Sid return to radio unless they split up somehow. And you can’t simulcast their show, it airs nationally, and Toronto radio audiences won’t care about segments about the Winnipeg Jets or Edmonton Oilers.

8. I think the Fan walks away from McCown no matter what at the end of the contract. And if 1050 is committed to Overdrive and they seem to be, it’s now the only show they promote and they sense that young/old thing, there isn’t a spot for him at the table. Bob’s made tens of millions doing this but there always comes a time. It’s one thing for Don Cherry to give 5-10 minutes of passion a week at an advanced age, it’s another thing for someone in his mid-60s to give it for three or four radio hours a day.

Alex Prediger
Alex Prediger
September 4, 2016 10:37 am

The abundace of hockey talk for ten months of the year is enough to have me listening to anything i can get through a lot of staticky signals in Buffalo. It is nice that the Jays resurgence has allowed for hockey to tail off for two months out of the year. It would be fantastic if some real focus and attention could be shown to basketball. Give us a host somewhere in the schedule that can engage with a Jack Armstrong at the very least, rather than rely on the usual takes of whatever basketball guy comes in and then filling in the lingering minutes with idle chit chat or awkward attempts at trying to show some knowledge. How is there not something akin to baseball central or hockey central for basketball? I realize there are glorified podcasts tucked away in the schedules of both stations. How about more resources and attention that can be spun off into the rest of the programming throughout where a wasteland of repetitious talk about the latest upcoming hockey suspension now exists?

steve w
steve w
September 4, 2016 11:16 am

Hockey Central
At 12:00, every day, I start here.
If it’s Millard, Kypreos & McLean, I avoid it like the plague. Station changer!
If it’s Marek with Morrison, without McLean & Shannon, I’ll listen.
Unfortunately for me, McLean, Millard & Shannon are on far too often.
Grade: incomplete
Recommendation: Dump Millard, McLean & Shannon.

Leafs Lunch
I like Poulin & Button a lot.
I have no interest in hearing about Petrillo’s footwear or music preferences.
On multiple occasions, they’ve opened the show and gone 10+minutes talking about nothing related to hockey, let alone the Leafs, Marlies or prospects.
It’s definitely a different show.
Grade: C
Recommendation: Stick to hockey topics, be a show dedicated to hockey!

I tend to flip around between 590, 1050 and SiriusXM hockey options.

Andrew L
Andrew L
September 4, 2016 11:36 am

“Mornings with Wilner”…Can’t think of a worse way to start the day.

Deacon Blue
Deacon Blue
September 4, 2016 12:56 pm

I don’t think Vendetta would like either the pay cut to work full time in radio again, or relocating from southern California.

September 4, 2016 1:02 pm

Wow. Great posting. Really thorough. A lot to digest.

Overdrive shouldn’t shy away from who they are and I don’t think they do. Be a hockey centric show. Embrace it. Don’t compete for PTS listeners, bring new listeners in – and I think they’ve done it. I don’t tune into Overdrive to hear O’Neill talk about the Jays bullpen. It’s a fun and informative show. Straying into Brazzers and Bangbus terrritory is past what I think is acceptable but some like it and it doesn’t make me want to stop listening to the show ever again.

McLennam balances out the ra-ra ‘bleeding blue’ of Hayes and O’Neill. ( and I bleed blue too) Often the POV from a guy on the margins of a sport are more fully developed and from varying angles than a star player. He had to fight to stay in the league. When you’re that guy you’re eyes are more focused on every little detail through your career – much like Kevin Barker.

Baseball Central was conspicuous in it’s absence from the poll. That’s the best 590 show. Leafs Lunch is unlistenable – leave it as hour 4 of Cauz & Warm Body.

Eric in Japan
Eric in Japan
September 4, 2016 1:08 pm

I listen exclusively to TSN 1050 online, but agree their podcast management is horrible. Living overseas, it can be an effort to find the content. I also second an earlier sentiment that TSN has far better insiders/experts than they do hosts. General thoughts:
1. Naylor and Landsberg: Totally agree that Landsberg is the problem. He should be restricted as a producer or even phone-in guest. That being said, he had better chemistry with Cauz when he sat in for Naylor. Naylor I can stand.
2. Cauz and ?? – Cauz is just bearable for me. He can be too snobby and the way he talks in the same upwards intonation at the end of each sentence can be very irritating. Needs a better co-host.
3. Leafs Lunch – Andi is doable an admirable job. Is it me or do her co-hosts, either Poulin or Button, act differently around her? It’s like they’re teasing her like a daughter or something. This often drives the tangental talk.
4. Mike Richards – Always hated his show, am or pm. Too much jock talk, horrible music, and at times bordered on sexist joking. It’s like listening to a show from the 80s. That being said, I found he was paradoxically a great interviewer and kept his questions on point with guests.
5. Overdrive – Best show on 1050. Agree O-dog and Noodles don’t know much about other sports than hockey, but that I think is their appeal — they represent the average Joe. Hayes at least is up to date with the latest news and fills them in. Entertaining, but they need to organize their summer vacation schedules. At least *one* of them needs to be there.
6 Misc Thoughts – I don’t know why TSN didn’t give Jim Tatti a more prominent role. He has a lot of street cred in Toronto from his Sportsline days and he works well with any co-host he’s paired with. I understand he has a show with Hamilton and will still do the Leaf’s games, but such an underused talent at 1050. Scott MacArthur is very able, although he can be very long-winded. Needs a co-host if he has a show.

September 4, 2016 1:15 pm

Is it just me? Jeff Blair is unlistenable. Does management at Rogers look at show transcripts? Blair repeats himself, for three sentences, before he can complete a thought. If I tune in, while he is on, I am gone after about 60 seconds.
The fundamental skill set, required for broadcasting, being a good orator, is not something which Blair possesses. Good writer? Sure. Please keep writing and stay off the airwaves.

September 4, 2016 1:37 pm

Great analysis guys. Here are my points:

1) After all these years neither the Fan nor TSN found decent morning hosts. I don’t hate Blundell as much as you guys, but that is probably bc I have Bluetooth & Google Music. Michael Landsberg has been terrible for years with his horrible jokes and cutting people off. He should just host a wrestling show bc the only thing he excels at are wrestling interviews. Too bad because he’s a smart guy. When Pardeep Niagra refused to shave for a boxing match he moderated some great debates on it.

2) I love baseball and appreciate that Blair talked abt the Jays even when they were less popular (before last year’s deadline moves). But I can’t view Stephen Brunt the same after that horrible PR stunt that was “The Mark Shapiro Story.” How do you make the country’s most respected voice and author the frontman for a schill job? That is a prime example of how to soil top talent. Blair is also bettr than talking socio-political issues. However, a lot of people don’t want those on a sports show. I only do when I agree with the host. Andrew Krystal once complained abt Canada spending more on First Nations people than the military; I cringed and switched stations.

3) Tim and Sid need to be back on radio. I prefer them on radio than TV and the comedy bits come off better on radio. Put them in the morning slot.

4) I still like Bob on PTS and he is the only host the makes calls interesting. His guests and interviews are great. But the panels are a bit stale, no? I have nothing against old people (my parents are old) but people that sound old, such as Dave Perkins and John Shannon make for bad radio. I also like that Bob opposses endless hockey chatter. Amen!

5) Is Overdrive the show with broadcast icon O-Dogg and the esteemed Noodles? If so, it sucks. PTS established the drive home for intelligent sports talk. I’m not getting that from OD. And the only acceptable O-Dogg is from Menace II Society.

6) You guys didn’t grade Jays Talk so I will: F-. A host that is a Blue Jays apologist and terrible calls. Bad bad bad.

7) Dean Blundell’s co-hosts, Andrew Walker, Wheeler, Macko and Cauz could all be the same guy.

steve w
steve w
September 4, 2016 2:42 pm

I’m tuning in to the Walker show more times than I tune out.
When he was paired with Brady, I didn’t/wouldn’t listen to them.
Hated Brady, his whiney voice, his faux outrage, his Detroitisms, the contrarian bit wore thin very fast.
Walker knows what’s going on in sports, and he covers a lot of ground during his 3 hours.
I’m not fussy on some of his “bits”, nor do I care about his hometown.
Overall, I like the show.
Solid content.
I’d like him to be a regular on PTS.
Grade: B+

Mike Richards
“C’est la vie”
I wasn’t a regular listener, hated his schtick in AM drive, couldn’t be bothered catching the afternoon version. He works in an industry where he’s hired to be fired. He’s landed somewhere, hence the mutual parting.
Again, another guy who likes the sound of his voice, but didn’t have much to say. He just didn’t deliver.
Grade: F
Recommendation: Mary Ormsby – she knows her sports; whenever she’s on PTS, she’s generally interesting and informed.

Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
September 4, 2016 3:19 pm

@Brandon..Very well written thoughts PLEASE,PLEASE post more often.
The bottom line and problem at both Toronto Sports station are the SUITS.
Without getting into paragraphs and paragraphs the HUGE mistakes made by suits at the Fan,Andrew Krystal,Dean Blundell,Greg Brady (canned)shannon,cox,blair,reid And Bobcat’s hissy fit with Brunt.
Suits at TSN/1050 well,Richards,Landsberg,playing where’s Waldo with Macko,WHELLER, Naylor not finding room for Tatti.
IF any and I mean any of the posters here made THAT many mistakes at their own job do you really think you would still be employed ?

September 4, 2016 3:57 pm

Great write up and lots of interesting comments. 2 Comments

1 – Maybe it’s giving TSN too much credit but could Overdrive have been shut down for the summer and brought back as hockey starts in order for them to avoid the “They know nothing about baseball” comments. The way this now plays out the show will essentially be debuting in their strongest period as the fall book starts.

2 – Maybe I’m being petty, but I’m not listening too Blair until he unblocks me on Twitter. IF I did anything to offend him, he’s blocking me on his company Twitter account and his PD should be aware that at least one person won’t be listening and why.

September 4, 2016 3:58 pm

Android users who want a good podcast app, download “Podbean” from Google play and you can thank me later. You can source TSN Overdrive and have it autodownload too. (I am pretty sure fan 590 has podcasts on “Podbean”, but I never listen to the fan so I’ve never looked for any).

The app has a “wifi only” setting for autodownload and they seem to have every podcast that i could or would ever want….(this isn’t an advertisement, just an endorsement from an Android user who felt gypped that Apple iTunes has all the content but unavailable to Android users)….now I have a source for every podcast that I want to listen to.

I find I can now avoid all the bad radio in the GTA market using podcasts as a commercial free substitute for driving or listening at home on demand. (….Oh, and i believe it’s free)

steve w
steve w
September 4, 2016 4:44 pm

PM Drive
Lowest form of sports talk radio is taking calls; I have no time for call in shows. I never listen to PTS between 4-5; and I’m tuning in to Overdrive more frequently. I regularly review PTS podcasts, specifically for guests that I hope are interesting (Heyman, Banks, Morosi, Ryan, Hill, Deitsch).
Best week of PTS was when Deitsch was the week’s co-host (Nov. 2015).
But lately the frequency & quality of quests has dimenished.
And since Bob is bored and can’t be bothered with an effort much more than going through the motions – that’s how I feel about PTS.

Add in Reed, Shannon & Cox and the show has become toxic.
Reed & Shannon are just annoying, they talk too much and there’s nothing of value. Cox, well, I keep thinking of Robin William’s line in Good Morning Vietnam, “Adrian Cronauer: You are in more dire need of a blowjob than any white man in history.” Or in Damian’s case, “…. any man in radio!”
He’s a jerk, looking to rattle someone just for the sake of rattling them. “Lighten up Francis”

Brunt or Dan Shulman is my choice to replace Bob.
Preferred Roundtable Rotation (a different 4 each week):
Blair, Brunt, Elliot Friedman, Dave Shoalts, Shulman, Walker
Grade: C
Recommendation: Do something about Bob. No more Reed or Shannon.

For me, Leafs Lunch was 2 hours of must listen to radio; Hayes Solo, not so much.

With Overdrive, I struggle to listen to these 3 for 3 hours – it’s tough and challenging because there’s so many “inside” jokes between the 3 of them.
O’Neil & McLennan struggle with everything but hockey, and Hayes, well, he’s dull, his voice and his tone is enough to put you to sleep. If a segment isn’t interesting, I flip around the dial – 590, SiriusXM, then back to Overdrive.

I’d like to hear 1050’s version of a Friday Roundtable.
My preferred panel: James Duthie, Jim Tatti, Dave Naylor & Rick Westhead.
Grade: C+ (but improving)
Recommendation: Give them time.

The Future:
Unless Dave Cadeau & Jeff McDonald are fired/replaced, it’s more of the same.

September 4, 2016 7:26 pm

As always, Mike and Jonah, thank you for your efforts to provide us with interesting perspectives and talking points. This week’s post is a great read.

Re Jeff Blair: I tend to agree with Mike that, despite considerable air time over the past few years, the man just isn’t developing the type of basic broadcasting skills required to sustain a key position in a competitive, big-league market such as Toronto. At the same time, does he care? Methinks not.

As Mike points out, Blair has a reputation for being a very difficult person to work with … he’s ornery, cantankerous and yet really high on himself. Unless he changes his approach to work, which at this point seems very unlikely, he’s destined for a role sitting on a lawn chair screaming obscenities at the clouds. Too bad, really, because he can be both smart and convincing when he wants to be.

September 4, 2016 8:58 pm

The lack of basic grammar, syntax, spelling and diction of the posters on this blog speaks directly to the innefectual qualities of the majority of them. Never have so many unhappy malcontents gathered in such a futile effort to effect meaningless change in a vacuum. Bravo

September 4, 2016 9:42 pm

MORNING SHOWS: Fan590: F. No place anywhere for a mysoginist, homophobic, unfunny and past-his-prime host. The sooner he is turfed, the better. TSN: C. Naylor is excellent and should return to his PM drive slot to challenge PTS when McCown retires. Landsberg, aka “The Interrupter” is too full of himself to be a productive part of this show.
10-1 slot: Fan590. Blair is decent and I agree his opening monologue is usually good. Grade is a B+. TSN: grade F. This is completely personal opinion. Both Cauz and Wheeler’s voices grate with me. Radio is all bout the voice. Cauz sounds like he has permanent laryngitis and Wheeler is too high pitched for me.
1-4 slot. FAN590: A-. Walker is excellent for all above reasons. I have one criticism: he loves the sound of his own voice. Just talk, dude–don’t try to do the radio voice all the time…it’s good as it is. TSN: grade incomplete. Scotty Mac would be OK for this slot. Richards was lost once his AM gig got taken away. Al Montoya and Pierre just didn’t work as well at 2pm! PLEASE take Candace Devai away from the airwaves as the update reader in the afternoon. Whiny voice and terrible announcer.
4-7: PTS. Agree with everything said above. Grade B. TSN: grade F. Sorry–listening to juvenile discussion about Brazzers by ex-players is worse than Blundell. EVENINGS: FAN590: Grade: C+. When there’s no game, Roger Lajoie can be on. He has gotten a TON better in the last ten years and is quite listenable. TSN: Gane night with Tatti and whoever was listenable. Grade: B-.. OVERNIGHT: Both stations get an F for ESPN or whatever American filler they choose. I think TSN has the guy who sounds like he swallowed a bag of stones. Awful.

September 4, 2016 10:07 pm

To Michael, the guy who complained about spelling from the posters: you spelled “ineffectual” wrong.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
September 4, 2016 10:53 pm

It’s just, TSN’s baseball coverage last year was MILES ahead of the Fan’s and that’s weird. Maybe it’s because in the back of our minds we know the Fan guys are just shilling for fellow colleagues, or maybe it’s because of the way they have made Barry Davis into ‘cheerleader’ and Hazel as, not sure actually..she’s really kind of pointless.. but I thought TSN stepped up their game in October last year and looking forward to hearing them again this year when the Jays head to October.

Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
September 5, 2016 2:33 am

@ Original Mitch Oh , starting about now for baseball talk I will be heading to TSN 1050/1150
fan/590 will be shilling the NHLPA/House league tournament 60% of the time and the other 40% of the time will be the baseball “cheer-leading squad ” commenting on what to do about Sanchez.

September 5, 2016 3:42 am

Wow great post. Few thoughts:

– The Fan clearly made a mistake when they broke up the lineup of Brady/Walker, Blair, Tim&Sid, PTS. I think that was possibly the best line up the Fan has had in its 20+ years. And the ratings didn’t seem to disagree.

– I don’t think Blundell’s show is a total disaster (like Andrew Krystal was), but I think most would agree it’s a significant step down from what Brady & Walker were doing. Still don’t understand why they brought him in to do sports. It’s not like Blundell is going to bring over Edge listeners by talking about the Leafs 4th line or the Jays bullpen.

– I’m not a fan of the whole noon hockey show thing (though to be fair, I don’t really watch hockey). Here’s a random suggestion – they shorten Tim and Sids TV show to half an hour or something, and give them noon to 1 on radio. Maybe Hockey Central moves to TV instead – could tape delay it for radio at some point in the day. after PTS or something. Just a random suggestion as I’d like there to be a place for Tim and Sid again.

– An engaged McCown with an interesting guest and decent co host is still the best sports radio in the city. For me, the next best is Blair and Brunt (I’m a fan of Blair solo too, especially on baseball).

– If The Fan really does move on from Blundell soon, I think Tim & Sid could be a huge morning show for The Fan. In a couple years, if McCown retired and you had Tim/Sid in mornings and (say) Blair & Brunt on the drive home, that could be pretty good. Blair’s got to work on his broadcasting skills a bit, but he’s smart.

September 5, 2016 4:02 am

And since you guys are criticizing The Fan and TSN – here’s a couple small criticisms of your post, even though I greatly enjoyed it…

– When MIB says Blair is not the easiest guy to work with, is that based on information he’s heard? Knows for a fact? Or is he assuming that for some reason?

– TSM – regarding 9 -12, why would it be easier to get a higher percentage of listeners when there are fewer people listening? I recognize there will be a difference in total listeners. But percentage isn’t measuring total listeners. I don’t think your point here makes sense.

September 5, 2016 9:00 am

Great read!
I could see a scenario when Bob McCown is cut loose that Jeff Blair takes over the time slot. Kevin Barker as co-host during baseball season and a hockey puck co-hosting during hockey season.This would work as a pregame show for both sports.
I have to agree with an earlier post. Arash tried really hard to push the Kaebernick story to the point where i had to turn him off.
And back to Kevin Barker..He is the best thing to hit The Fan590 in a long time!! Hope the negativity of most of the hosts doesn’t jade him..

September 5, 2016 9:47 am

“To Michael, the guy who complained about spelling from the posters: you spelled “ineffectual” wrong.”
Wonderful post –

September 5, 2016 12:44 pm

Happy Labour Day everyone! Oskee Wee Wee

September 5, 2016 12:56 pm

@Michael had you employed an Oxford comma after the word ‘spelling” it would have made your comment more efectual.

September 5, 2016 1:22 pm

Comment Deleted

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
September 5, 2016 1:36 pm

Let’s stop talking about a return to radio for T&S as a good thing for the duo. While that’s probably where they belong, it is still a failure for them (or anybody) if they don’t succeed on TV. It’s where you throw someone you don’t know what to do with (re: Cox, Landsberg). I don’t know what the ratings are for T&S on SN but I imagine they are fine since the show keeps on trucking. And while it is just one giant commercial for the network, i’m sure it’s exactly what Rogers wants anyway.
Unfortunately, I truly believe neither stations are particularly that excited about radio ratings or putting any real effort into it. We’ve mentioned this before, how both station are extremely lazy with guests and just have their own reporters on most of the time. Once in a while you get a cool guests, but that’s the exception. Its just one big promotional wheel that keeps spinning. I think radio is a tiny, tiny slice of the corporate pie at this point and a convenient outlet for keeping high paid employees busy.
I give them credit for trying on occasion, Blundell is a failed, but valiant try. But most of the time its just putting the same people in different time slots and waiting.
And..did I spell everything properly? gotta make sure!

September 5, 2016 1:58 pm

Lets lift the Veil on TSM.

Ive shared information with Jonah. And provided content here before.

Jonah (a department store lawyer) and MIB (who really cares) write a subjective article and say they don’t listen to certain shows.

Jonah and MIB then go on tirades about how the shows are unlistenable even though they don’t listen. This may explain why Jonah is a Department store lawyer. critique or assessment on content or ratings with no fact.

Jonah then uses his sports expertise to tweet about trying to win a Espresso machine or getting upgraded on Air Canada flight. Like real sports journalists do. MIB tweets mostly include kissing the ring of anyone who agrees or responds to him.

Once again the focus is on the regular cast.

The same 12 people comment under the same and or sometimes different alias. some comment 40 times in a 100 comment post.

You haven’t posted ratings anymore because a former morning show host doesn’t have access to them even though he’s asked people for them and posts under the name “Antonio”.

All of the negative attention here is usually reserved for those that Jonah or MIB don’t have access to or refuse to care about this blog from what I understand.

Theres an emphasis on Kindness which really is a red herring from Jonah. He posts anti bullying tweets then provides and fuels a forum where that appears to be the order of the day.

Everyone piles on like lemmings….repeat.

I’ve posted on the Irony of this site before and the increasingly pernicious quality of its content. This one is so clearly guided by your childish hatred of certain people its proof you and your friends (who are the least qualified to comment) have more time to donate to a cause than you think.

The real fact is most of the people that post here are in Sports Media and are unhappy with their lot in life or Were/want desperately to be in sports media and are unhappy with their lot in life.

Either way the transparency of your efforts are becoming a very serious source of entertainment
The “leaked” information a litigious probability whether you are right or wrong with personal or professional info you seem to allude to here.

No doubt this post will disappear as many of mine have in the past that differ with this dimwitted pack of wolves.

September 5, 2016 2:13 pm

@darren – Best post ever – drop the mic and leave. No need to ever check this site again. “Everyone piles on like lemmings….repeat.”

September 5, 2016 2:44 pm

Serious question – And exactly who are you? Would I have heard you on radio or read a column of yours in the media? If not you come on like that pompous fool Mike Wilner- Just remember you don’t have to read what ‘this dimwitted pack of wolves’ has to say – There is the ignore button-

September 5, 2016 3:08 pm

Wow, “darren” sure didn’t like the grade his sports talk show got!

The latest ratings were published on this website, I would assume summer either doesn’t matter because of all the vacations or something like that.

The comments get ridiculously personal on here, that much is true. I do think they should be better edited. Personal attack #1, warning. Personal attack #2, gone. It’s pretty easy to ban people, my sister works in the magazine industry in California and online comments are highly scrutinized and wiped out if it’s a slam on anything but the content of the articles.

But the poster comes off so poorly by attacking the hosts of the site and suggesting they only like shows that their “buddies” are on, and dissecting the entertainment or lack of of their twitter accounts.

If you disagree, you disagree. If you can’t handle the heat, you’ll have to do better than “lifting the veil”. And, no, it isn’t surprising people in the television or radio industry “read the reviews”. Actors who’ve won Academy Awards before still admit in inteviews or on Jimmy Fallen, they’re bothered if a guy in Montana doesn’t like their new movie. But obviously, some of the criticism stung pretty deeply and “darren” went nuclear. It says more about him than it does anyone else.

September 5, 2016 3:15 pm

Re Tim and Sid-

Why can’t they do something similar to the ESPN guys (Mike and Mike) with a tv/radio show. I think their current slot on tv is terrible- most of us who listen are driving home from work/at the gym/eating dinner and really only get in front of a Tv 7pm later.

I would love to see a tv show early mornings of what they’re currently doing streamed on radio at the same time.

September 5, 2016 3:28 pm


I’m a Barrister.

A real one who loves sports and real dialogue.

This forum offers very little of that anymore.

Just Yaz and Original Mitch bickering about apostrophe’s and two guys lobbing pointless hand grenades into a world full of virtual freedom fighters.

No fact.

Just a barrage of subjective options trying to get people like you to follow them on twitter so they can win some free coffee.

As i write this from the beautiful shores of Lake Simcoe i’d ask the owners of this site if they feel a higher social calling to leave for their kids to see other than whining about who they want their kids to know they are. Petty angry blogtarts or people that make the world a better place.

It would be lovely to get back to the business of SM as opposed to trying to further personal agendas like 7th grade cheerleaders.

Something to chew on in hopes that the people who drive this content do a better job of being above the very things they seem to demonize here.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Labour Day.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
September 5, 2016 3:59 pm

You must be a lot of fun at parties.
Don’t read the site. simple. If you have a problem with Mike and Jonah, leave. If you have a problem with the rest of us, leave. Isn’t life too short for you to get all worked up about a forum and therefore go nuclear like you did? I imagine the years you just took off your life getting so angry about radio show opinions.
I now fully believe you are in fact one of the hosts the guys talked about and your little feelings are hurt by their critique. Here’s a thing you can do: instead of bitching and whining under a false name, get better at your job. Focus your energy on that.
Hope my free advice helped!

September 5, 2016 4:22 pm


Your “I know we are but what are you” post is prophetic as it is pathetic. Traditionally people who have an issue with information do regurgitate it then use it against someone unless of course they don’t have a response or decent points to discuss in regards to the issue.

However thank you for agreeing with me. Your points are well taken even if I offered them originally.

including this one…

“Here’s a thing you can do: instead of bitching and whining under a false name, get better at your job. Focus your energy on that.”

I hope the owners of this site take that heady advice as well….

Darren Kupchek.

September 5, 2016 4:25 pm


While your post is well written, it is nothing more than an *opinion* which you are of course free to share here, but if you find the posters here so distasteful, one wonders why you bother to read (or post) to this site?

Also, throwing around that you are a barrister doesn’t make your opinion any more, or less, valid than any other opinion here (and if we are throwing out there what we do for a living, I also practice law and have done so for twenty years)

I come here to get a different take on what is happening on the airwaves here in Toronto as it relates to sports programming, sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t but that is of course my choice.

Opinions are funny things, every one has them, but nothing says that we have to agree with them all of the time either.

September 5, 2016 5:42 pm

This is a fine site that doesn’t cost any of us a dime and like any site it attracts the good and bad – Don’t log on if you get upset –
I was a bartender for almost 35 years and found over time I valued the opinion of the ‘regulars’ about all things sports related certainly more so then some highshot barrister on the shores of Lake Simcoe – I like reading the regulars on here – Just as I am sure there are people who don’t read my posts there are those posters I don’t read and you have quickly become one of them –
Let’s get back to Toronto and area sport radio-

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
September 5, 2016 6:29 pm


Well, it is now very evident that you are either Reid, Wilner or Wheeler, because your hatred of opinions on this site is crystal clear. Listen dude, chin up. Yes, many of us here don’t like what you bring to the radio table. But your bosses seem okay with your performance, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters, right?
We are nobody’s here, while you are hobnobbing with your fellow Rogers or Bell celebrities. Your life is good dude. Don’t let the thoughts of TSM or Boston Mike get ya down homie! Rejoice in that they even have an opinion of you, as do the rest of us. Better to be hated then ignored right?
Come to think of it, if you came clean with who you really are and stopped hiding behind that obvious fake persona, we may actually gain respect for you, since your posts are well written (despite being vicious in tone). Kill ’em with kindness I always say, so maybe that’s the avenue to take. just my two cents.

September 5, 2016 6:59 pm

Comment Deleted

Matty Zero
September 5, 2016 7:14 pm

For the record (Not OTR!) I love the term grabass.

My areas of opportunity for both stations: 1. Zero listener calls. 2. Less player interviews (rare exceptions, like if the player is actually THE story). 3. Less in-house ‘guests’. Looking at you, 590. 4. Tim & Sid back to radio, no one watches that, c’mon. 5. John Shannon relegated to a lesser role, or TV production only, then I will never see or hear him again.

Too Loose La Trek
Too Loose La Trek
September 5, 2016 8:10 pm

With all due respect Mike, you have no problem burying others so as the saying goes, “if you’re going to dish it out, you’d better learn to take it.” I really don’t care what Darren does or who he is. If he says he’s a barrister, I’ll accept that.
I find it funny that people like Mitch instantly jump to the conclusion he’s somebody who has been skewered here. The fact that Darren gave his last name would indicate he is who he says he is. I don’t care one way or the other. He still makes some pretty good points. The main one I’ve mentioned before. Mike and Jonah are biased, see no problem hammering shows (and by extension people) that they admit they don’t listen to. The bias doesn’t bother me particularly, just be upfront about it. You might answer you did that by saying they were “very subjective.” Maybe, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that they were unfair. If you want to gain respect, be truthful and transparent. You both demand that of the broadcasters. Look in the mirror and you’ll see you don’t demand the same of yourselves. In closing, I think there were some personal cheap shots he directed at the both of you. Like Darren Mike, I don’t care what you do but I’m not condescending about it. And I’m pretty sure a department store lawyer is miles short of a compliment. Darren would have been better served leaving those insults out of his posting.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
September 5, 2016 9:22 pm

Nah Homie, it wasn’t my idea that @darren is Reid or Wilner, but man if the shoe fits, right? Hi Ken!

I’m still TMS and Mike aren’t allowed to opine?

September 5, 2016 9:46 pm

I’m upset that I’ve apparently been reading comments from “the same 12 people”.

September 5, 2016 10:40 pm

About sixty years ago when I was a twelve year old kid, I would watch “The Three Stooges” for entertainment. Now with technology I just come to this site.

September 6, 2016 12:09 am

TSM/MiB, Please indulge me….

Ive shared information with Jonah. And provided content here before. >>>Congratulations, sounds like you are a regular contributor and avid reader of this site.

Jonah and MIB then go on tirades… >>>I have yet to see a tirade, other than yours, but let us continue.

Jonah is a Department store lawyer. >>>This comment is embarrassing; especially coming from someone who claims to have been called to the bar.

Jonah then uses his sports expertise to tweet >>>What does his twitter account and more importantly your opinion of it, have to do with this blog?

You haven’t posted ratings anymore because a former morning show host doesn’t have access to them even though he’s asked people for them and posts under the name “Antonio”. >>> And this deeply concerns you why?

All of the negative attention here is usually reserved for those that Jonah or MIB don’t have access to or refuse to care about this blog from what I understand. >>>People differ in their ability to understand.

The real fact is most of the people that post here are in Sports Media and are unhappy with their lot in life or Were/want desperately to be in sports media and are unhappy with their lot in life. >>>You realize, that as poster on this site, you have now included yourself in the aforementioned group.

Either way the transparency of your efforts are becoming a very serious source of entertainment >>>You’re entertained?

No doubt this post will disappear as many of mine have in the past that differ with this dimwitted pack of wolves. >>>No doubt, indeed. The name calling and insults are but the maraschino cherry to top this meandering post.

September 6, 2016 2:30 am

Alright, here are my personal thoughts. I believe neither morning show is all that special, although I liked Blundell during the first 4 months of his FAN show- before they changed the format. I was just warming up to Richards when TSN took him off mornings and I think N and L is too dry. I would miss Brady and Walker if I wasn’t still bitter about Brady blocking me on Twitter for no real reason.

Jeff Blair is someone I really like and his show and Baseball Central are both something I’ll listen to happily. I’m simply not much of a fan of Cauz or Wheeler, though I prefer Wheeler.

Hockey Central is boring and bland in my opinion, and the new Leads Lunch is meh in my opinion.

Andrew Walker’s show has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, I feel like he comes off as a bit of a jerk occasionally, and that puts me off listening. I don’t mind Hogan on TSN. The ultimate 1-4 show is a US show, ultimately- The Herd.

PTS is exactly how both Jonah and Mike described it and OverDrive is a blast, though even more fun when Scotty Mac is co hosting imo.

September 6, 2016 2:34 am

Forgot to give a recommendation.

Jeff Sammut more than deserves the 1-4 gig on TSN. He already is doing stuff for Bell.

Ben Ennis and David Bastl sounds like a pretty solid 1-4 if you move Walker to the morning.

September 6, 2016 11:06 am

I do find it interesting – after a ton of very interesting comments – that quite a few people mention how upset they are for being blocked from some sports media personality’s Twitter account. All for “no real reason”, too.


Certainly lends credence to Darren’s remarks about the groupie aspect to some followers of this site.

September 6, 2016 11:23 am

Bruce Arthur is the only one who has gone to the effort to block all six of my Twitter accounts.

September 6, 2016 11:35 am

Thanks to Jonah and Mike for the comprehensive viewpoints. Love the depth of it. Some of my thoughts:

— The one point that stuck out the most to be was regarding Mike Richards, in which Jonah said, “I don’t believe his appearance on Toronto Mike’s podcast helped his cause either.” Curious to know why you feel that way, because it was the exact opposite for me. I hated Mike’s schtick, his impersonations, his creepy sexual innuendos. But listening to him on the Podcast, I understood his vision. Many would think they could penetrate the market and capture a large share right off the hop. Whereas Mike viewed it as a 10-year thing. Add to that how upfront he was about everything (Bastl firing, being pissed about being taken off TV, near acquisition of a radio station), as well as detailing his cancer ordeal, it actually got me to like him.

— Many find Naylor bland, but I think he’s one of the best in the business. He’s right on par with Brunt (although I can’t stand Brunt now). Naylor sounds like he is narrating an encyclopedia (that’s a compliment). I think he would flourish in a 9-12 time slot as Blair has, where he would not have to be forced to be combative (ie. with Landsberg) nor have to put on some schtick (like Bobcat does in the 4-7 slot Naylor used to go up against). Just deliver the goods.

— Blundell & Co. has to end soon as the show is just there at this point. For the love of goodness, why must they a) play cheesy porno music in background when taking calls; and b) clap for every guest who comes on the show?!

— One thing I don’t understand that has become prevalent these days is the host/producer dynamic. The Fan and TSN have gotten rid of co-hosts like Brady and Bastl so we could hear producers like Fabro, Bunkis and whoever did the Richards show chime in?! There’s a reason why these guys are behind the glass. I don’t want to hear them.

— I hope Mr. Versatility Ben Ennis is rewarded soon enough with his own show. I honestly think he has a suite right in the building. He’ll fill in for the morning show, then do the nightly recap on TV later that day, does the radio updates, fills in for Baseball Central, is on the weekends at varying times, does spot hits for CityTV on the weekends, etc. The guy is the epitome of doing whatever needs to be done.

— McLellan is going to steer me away from Overdrive. The more I listen to him, the more I think he sucks. I thought MacArthur did an admirable job co-hosting with Hayes.

— Speaking of MacArthur, I think he too deserves his own show. Seems like he is being groomed for one. If only he didn’t have that robotic, droning voice.

— Lastly, a talent to keep an eye on I think is Jackie Redmond. I find Sportsnet is force-feeding her on us and Blundell revealed she was a candidate to be part of the morning show. There’s something about her that I’m not a fan of, but I think it’s evident Rogers sees her as the next crown jewel within the company.

September 6, 2016 2:13 pm

For me Overdrive is the only listenable sports show that in TO. And having said that, turf Noodles.

September 6, 2016 3:37 pm

Since the Jays’ playoff run ended last year I don’t think I have listened to more than 5 hours cumulative of Toronto Sports Talk until last week when I tuned in and they were talking about how bored they were of Tim Tebow.

Anyways, the interesting thing I read from the TSM/MiB’s post and the comments is that there seems to be a real push/pull between “intelligent” shows and “brotalk”. Seems like McCown/Blair/Naylor/Walker/Brady (“intelligent”) seem to get most of the kudos here and the ratings to some extent as well. Seems like the PDs are obsessed with “brotalk” with the recent promotions of Tim & Sid and Overdrive. This started with foisting Krystal/Brundell/Richards on us which subsequently failed. The evidence points to “intelligent” being what the market wants but the advertisers obviously want the younger demographic that “brotalk” would appeal to. Does this disconnect speak to a potential problem for sports radio?

I almost exclusively listen to podcasts now but consider all the time I’ve spent listening to the Fan over the years I still find the discussion on the board interesting. Thanks to MiB and TSM for keeping this going.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
September 6, 2016 5:22 pm

There has to be a young radio personality that is able to balance between bro talk and intelligent discourse. I think MacArthur might be that guy and I thought Jeff Sammut was as well. Ennis is good example of someone who needs to be funny and clownish yet he is knowlegeable (at least about baseball which is what Fan talks about 99 percent of the time year round anyway). What about Donovan Bennett? I always liked his take on Tim and Sid. Didn’t seem loud, obnoxious and stubborn like today’s hosts.

September 6, 2016 9:50 pm

Naylor / Landsberg: I don’t understand the wrath against Landsberg. He can be aloof sure but compare the level of sports talk now over Richards. Huge upgrade. Forget about a Richards/NL comparison, NL ranks 4th for me in all the 530 am to 7 PM shows. I like the show. A simple tweak for Landsberg would be to say ‘I once interviewed X’ instead of ‘on OTR’ – anybody who doesn’t know he is referring to OTR won’t care, and everybody else will know it’s OTR without hearing it. Landsberg needs to dig a hole and bury OTR once and for all. And, correct, who is going to tweak Landsberg? His kid? Certainly not Naylor. Could use some Producing but in general I don’t think TSN really cares about radio anymore and Landsberg knows Naylor is a dead man walking with a contract about to expire.

Blundell: I listen when a guest or ‘insider’ is on. Don’t love or hate the show. Blundell just passing time until he goes back to bigger bucks on FM. I understand why they would roll the dice on Blundell – there was a chance for a bigger upside while BW had peaked. Failed.

Blair: I listen when guests are on. Don’t listen to callers. Should change the name of the show to ‘Clifton from Etobicoke’. Brunt with Blair may be more intelligent but Brunt tends to drone on while looking off into space (you can see that on PTS). And agree with someone above about not taking Brunt seriously after Brunt put a crying Shapiro over his shoulder and burped him until he went nappy nap in The Mark Shapiro Story. Love Blair with Barker.

Macko & ?: I really like Macko. Moves at a fast clip, can talk about most any sport and grew up here, knows the market. Also he has an appropriate amount of humour. He seems to work well with anybody but best with MIA Macko. Brady & Cauz would be a great show. I don’t understand how Wheeler is on. He must be related to someone in ownership.

Leafs Lunch: No reason to listen. I tune in if Button and Poulin are on together but not one without the other. Button delivers a lot of accurate and meaningful details with authority. But if he’s alone with Petrillo it’s just him talking to himself. He’s been in the trenches and I doubt anybody, including ‘..nn-that’ Bob Mackenzie knows more about hockey prospects.

HCN: isn’t even a show. Not ONE of the full cast showed up today. Kyper did a hit on Walker today though; bizarre. Millard is ‘en route’ to Toronto according to fill-in Marek. And they didn’t even mention Maclean so it was Marek & Sellick today. Whip-De-Bleeping-Doo. Two days a week at most they have their full cast. I like Maclean for the same reason I like Button above – except for the prospect knowledge. And nobody in this market bludgeons the momentum of an interview more than Millard- without any warning, bellowing into the mic: ‘You’re listening to General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings Ken Holland here with Darren Millard, Nick Kypreos and Doug Maclean live on the Sportsnet Radio Network coast to coast. Red Wings live on Sportsnet tonight vs the Stamkos-less Tampa Bay Lightning. ‘ After he finishes that, the previously engaged interviewee talks like someone who just regained consciousness after surgery.

TSN 1050 Today- Hogan puts me to sleep. Even if he’s with someone good. Hope he goes away. Nothing else to comment on. Absolute wasteland.

Walker: Brady and Walker was a great show. We all know what happened. Walker is great but not by himself. Not a criticism of him, one person radio is just weaker. But stop bringing in the students or the producers or whoever the hell he is talking to. It’s like listening to rookie college radio.

Overdrive: My favourite show. I commented enough above. One of the very few ‘shows’ in this market. Get rid of Bob Mackenzie. Drags the show down. It’s like he’s talking while hooked up to a sleep apnea machine.

PTS: A lot of people here are really invested in the show. For me it is just another show. I listen when they have good guests and there’s no debate: PTS gets the most really good guests of any show. Cox is pouting. Never liked him. When Barker is on, Bob actually sounds more enthused. It’s a good listen. Sure, Friedman is capable but he’s so middle of the road on everything, don’t see or want him as PTS host. Rogers has to find someone young and new from outside this market to replace Bob if it happens.

Random thoughts: Brady will land somewhere. I could see him back in the AM slot with Walker – and hope that it happens. Jackie Redmond?? Really? Or Brady with Landsberg and a real Producer. Or Brady with Cauz 530-9 which would actually be better and leave 9-4 on TSN as ‘anybody with a pulse’ radio. Put Landsberg 1-4 – he’d be happy as hell there long term once he accepts the salary decrease combined with his retirement income. TSN really has no ‘show’ other than Overdrive. Everything else is just scraps. I can’t stand Glenn Healy on TV but always liked his spots with Blair or Bob, maybe give him a full time slot 1-4 after Walker goes back to 530-9 with Brady.

September 6, 2016 11:17 pm

Isn’t this discussion a bit like a 1990s-era debate about whether the Star or the Sun had a better newspaper sports section? Doesn’t matter now as they’re both dying. On demand audio is exploding as we speak and although Sportsnet is at least trying to package its material up in podcast format, if the radio broadcasters aren’t careful they’ll be fighting over an ever-shrinking plot of advertising land. Am I crazy?

Anyway, more specifically on topic:
– I’m in favour of radio shows that have interesting guests and against ones that push their own internal analysts onto me. For some reason TSN’s insiders seem less intrusive and less annoying than Sportsnet’s insiders but I’m not sure why.
– For me, PTS still leads the way in finding interesting guests to talk to, although I’m growing tired of some of their regular “experts” like Bob Ryan.
– I think Richard Deitsch is the most interesting (regular) interviewee on Toronto radio
– I like the Overdrive crew although they need to find a way to talk about something other than hockey
– I think Walker might be the most promising host on either station. He needs a co-host though.
– I like Blair, but he’d be best in a baseball only-segment
– I have disdain for the Fan morning show and basically can’t tolerate it. It would be dead last on my list if I had to rank.
– I never minded Mike Richards because at least he tried to come up with creative bits and could get a lot out of his guests. Honestly I think the main hope for terrestrial radio is something akin to the Jimmy Fallon-ization of radio. This seems be exactly what Sportsnet is doing with Tim & Sid (particularly Sid’s rants)
– Easily the best radio hosts not yet on Toronto radio are Jay & Dan. Not sure they could keep up for 3 hours, 5 days a week, but they guest hosted a few years ago on TSN and IMHO it was far better than anything TSN has done since. Their podcasts are entertaining. Give me an hour a day with them as a lead-in even to Overdrive. They don’t even have to move home.
– I would end the Naylor and Landsberg experiment and split them up. I think they’re both credible radio hosts but the pairing together isn’t working. Landsberg would work in a PTS-type format where he hosts and asks the questions (sounds like his TV show, I know). As it stands they just compete with one another. Naylor is a bit like Blair to me, fine in a 9-12 slot and a reasonable sub for an afternoon drive.
– I’m sure this would be really expensive programming but I’d love to have better storytelling on the radio, even every once in a while to make life interesting. Periodic look-backs on interesting sports stories, or interviews with former heroes – something like Brunt’s TV work or an audio version of 30-for-30. Give me 30 minutes a week on some original programming and re-run it a couple of times in different slots.
– Finally – why is it exactly that program directors continue to box themselves in by traditional 3 hour time blocks on the radio? Each station has ten million “insiders” on site all day doing radio hits, TV, web, & print … nobody is surviving on just a 3 hour radio show’s salary alone, so why not break the day up into smaller segments (say, 60-90 minutes) where you have a fighting chance of getting the quality of programming higher?

September 7, 2016 12:14 am

It’s worth noting Jay and Dan filled in on The Herd in January once. Did a great job in my opinion, but obviously didn’t impress FS1- Whitlock or Nick Wright have filled in since. (I know it’s not Toronto, but I feel i should note that I like Wright, but am not a Whitlock fan)

September 7, 2016 11:23 am

@ Yaz

Since we are in a grading kind of mood here, I would say your comments are the best. Thoughtful, well written and very funny. They honestly make me – as the kids would say – LOL.

Keep chiming in!

September 7, 2016 12:45 pm

‘Im not sure the need to attack both MIB and Jonah, they run this site as a hobby and have fun with it. Like anything, if you don’t like their opinion, then don’t read it, seems simple to me. Just as with radio, if you don’t like a radio broadcaster, don’t listen.

I do understand the criticism of MIB/Jonah allowing personal attacks towards media members on here, it doesn’t happen as often with some posters no longer here, but it still happens, and no one steps in, which is thoroughly disappointing. I remember alerting Mike to it once and his response was ‘not my article, can’t help you’. Doesn’t really seem right, no? Either way, there’s some merit in that criticism, some posters get way to personal on here. Critique is fine, attacks, not so much.


I believe that Jeff Blair has the highest radio rankings of anyone in Toronto outside of Bob McCown, so im not sure it would be wise to take him off the air, its akin to taking one of your best hitters out of the lineup, not sure the logic here.

Bang on with the story telling. Some of the most popular TV Shows/Podcasts are ‘story telling’ (Serial anyone). We need more of that in sports radio.

September 7, 2016 5:12 pm

Does Mccown have any say in cohosts? If so why does he allow Cox on his show? I was just listening to PTS and had to turn it off – The breathless Cox delivery makes me cringe –

September 8, 2016 8:10 am

MontfromLondonOnt – I recall Bob once complaining he has preferences but in the end no real say these days in co-hosts.

Some random thoughts on the excellent article this week:

I might be in the minority here, being a non-media person ;), but I really feel that Dave Naylor would be better as a co-host/analyst as opposed to being the guy driving the ship. It’s not that he doesn’t do anything wrong per se but at the same time he seems not really to fit the role of “host”. Having someone else there be the set up person and then let Naylor offer his thoughts or jump into the conversation. As for Landsberg – let him have his own show either in the morning or afternoon block. I get the vibe from the few times I’ve listened to him and the comments here that he probably would prefer that anyway.

It’s an interesting thought as to which Damian Cox we will be getting on PTS now. When he first returned after HNIC it seems like he was a bit humbled and seem to enjoy being back on radio but in the last few shows it looks like he’s going right back into being Mr Negative on everything. I don’t know if he feels he has to offer a different view to every point that Bob brings up but there are times it feels like he’s being negative just for the sake of it. Sadly, I can’t think of a solution as Rogers/TheFan is hell bent on staying “in-house” for co-hosts and the possibilities are not good. I would love it if they experimented with someone like Evanka or Hazel or even Jackie Redmond for a week just to see how it works and to do something different. I honestly believe it would bring out “engaged Bob” for PTS as he’d enjoy the different POV instead of the usual one he knows from the usual cast of characters that are in the co-host seat.

Finally, move Tim&Sid back to 1-4. I know many think “they’re too big for that slot” but has anyone thought of how/why they got so big in the first place? Their brand of serious mixed with silly was a perfect fit for the grind time of 1-4pm to get folks (like me) through that part of the afternoon. If you really want something for TV then move Blair and Brunt to that time and use it as a means to get Lair ready for a post-Bob PTS role which I suspect he’s most likely headed for once Bob decides it’s time to go.

September 8, 2016 9:38 am

The one thing that really annoys me about Cox is his constant forced laughter (especially when he’s on with Bob). Usually he’s laughing at HIS OWN JOKES which makes it kind of disturbing. Obviously, the only reason he’s on PTS is because of Bob.

Simulcast in Mississauga
Simulcast in Mississauga
September 8, 2016 11:40 am

I listen irregularly between 8 and 9; Blundell is fine when interviewing guests, especially from the baseball or hockey worlds. He asks the right questions and even probes the Rogers spin answers given by guests such as Wilner (who at least does not even pretend to be other than a homer). I tried the Landsberg show but the guy is such an egomaniac with delusions of grandeur about the oft mentioned but terrible OTR that it did not take long to switch back to the FAN. In sum, if mornings are generally about getting ready for the day with pee, poo, and teeth ablutions, then Landsberg would fit well when performing the first two while Blundell is OK for the rest of the time.

Jeff Blair:
The best baseball guy on radio in the GTA by a wide margin! Yes, he does not fit into the Plastic Host Mode (and more power to him!); I prefer a host who knows his stuff and can interview with the best. Brunt is very much worth listening to when he isn’t trying to inscribe a new 11th Commandment, the tablet “Thou Shall Not Question Mark Shapiro”. According to the ratings, I am with the vast majority here as TSN in this timeslot is almost not traceable.

Leafs Lunch versus HCN:
I found myself switching from Hockey Central at Noon to Leafs Lunch with Hayes last year as the HCN gang became redundant and boring. If you could bet in advance on what each HCN person would say on a particular topic, you’d be rich. HCN is a bit like watching a later day Sylvester Stallone movie filmed when he needed the money; over the top in a Jim Bakker way, predictable, and ridiculous. When Andi Petrillo took over, I reconsidered Leafs Lunch but was surprised to find that I enjoyed the Leafs Lunch more with Petrillo aboard. As demonstrated during her excellent cohosting of the Olympics afternoon show, Petrillo knows a lot about sports and has developed into an engaging broadcaster. With her performance at the Olympics, I expect Petrillo to land at Rogers by next season, perhaps taking over from MacLean on Hometown Hockey as one of her roles. Petrillo is one of the few professional hosts in TV or radio in the GTA under 40 and thank goodness for that!

Don’t listen: very weak hosts on both TSN and the FAN.

Tim and Sid:
The good news for Tim and Sid was the move to TV; the bad news is that they are competing against reruns of Marcus Welby and Gomer Pyle. And badly losing the ratings “battle”. Way to go, Gomer! To progress in their careers, these two need to split up and realize at their ages, they should transform into serious radio hosts. Yes, radio, not TV.

It had potential and I listened to it initially through the forest of commercials. But I concur with many that the show is too narrowly focused on hockey. Once the two jock host hosts run through their glory day stories a few times, everything is repetitive and often juvenile. The show worked at noon but not in afternoon drive time. What will TSN do with the talented Bryan Hayes long term?

Bob is the King. When engaged, nobody can do an interview and run a sports show like McCown. When a big event happens in the sports world and/or in the GTA, PTS is required listening. Bob may retire and who born in 1952 wouldn’t consider retirement in 2018 if they could? I hope that he stays in one form or another. By the way, the 4 o’clock hour is often good; callers screened for topics that Bob likes ask Bob what he thinks and his opinions are usually interesting.Much better than the assigned to him Cox.

Should TSN right now make a blockbuster three year offer to bring McCown over to their afternoon drive show effective 2018? Such a pre-emptive strike might result in McCown going over to TSN almost immediately as Rogers would not put up with a lame duck situation. If TSN is serious about competing in the Toronto Sports radio market as a FAN ME TOO, they will have to believe the ratings and make dramatic changes accordingly.

Future for TSN1050:
Alternatively, TSN could decide to use TSN1050 strictly as a promotional tool for the TSN1-5 programming and concentrate on TSN1-5 properties such as tennis, football, auto racing, tennis, and golf in addition to some baseball and hockey including Leafs Lunch. After all, TSN1050’s ratings are so bad now that in the absence of a decision to compete seriously with the FAN, TSN management might want to focus on potential gains on the TV side by totally reconfiguring their efforts on the radio side towards a low cost and very close synergy with TSN1-5 programming.

Pants Go Brown
Pants Go Brown
September 8, 2016 12:57 pm

You do have to wonder about the logic of moving Baseball Central back to 11 am and starting the putrid Hockey Central at noon especially with the Jays in the playoff hunt.

And say even if you decided to run HC at noon, could you not do better than in the 1st week having Millard, Stellick and Hlushko? They are close to rock bottom.

September 8, 2016 1:45 pm

I listened to 20 minutes of HC today. Dear Peoducers of ANY panel show: CONTROL YOUR TALKING HEADS!! Millard ruined the show today with his incessant interruptions. He’s as bad as Cox. Shut up, already, and let people speak. Surely one show review consisting of a five minute air check would tell them that two voices speaking at the same time into one mic is incredibly annoying.

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
September 8, 2016 3:27 pm

You do have to wonder about the logic of moving Baseball Central back to 11 am and starting the putrid Hockey Central at noon especially with the Jays in the playoff hunt.

Maybe to promote the World Cup of Hockey? It’s an NHL event and they are, as we all know, partners with Rogers these days. The Fan usually ignores or at the very least downplays the IIHF torunaments.

September 8, 2016 4:55 pm

Howard Berger hired by TSN as a “Research Associate” according to his LinkedIn profile.

Bobby G
Bobby G
September 8, 2016 6:56 pm

There is no way Blair is the future of PTS. He can’t hold a conversation, nevermind an audience. It’s clear Sportsnet is using the TV show to increase Tim and Sid’s profile — something having them on 1-4 could never do — and something you want when you need to replace your statuon’s (and arguably the network’s and Canadian sports media’s biggest star from a revenue You don’t replace someone in their 60s with someone in their 50s who speaks like someone in their 70s.

Mike S
Mike S
September 8, 2016 7:10 pm

Great reviews by TSM and MIB……….and I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments too

It’s amazing how much change there has been in these lineups in the last 18 months………..some arrivals (Blundell) and departures (Richards, Brady, Macko)………lots of people changing timeslots (Walker, Naylor, OverDrive guys)………people leaving for TV (Tim & Sid) and coming from TV (Petrillo, Landsberg, Cox)………and the two main PTS co-hosts from 18 months ago (Brunt & Reid) are gone from the show

Here are a few thoughts for each timeslot:

Mornings…………I used to listen to the 590 morning show but I never listen to Blundell for all of the reasons already mentioned…………on 1050 I like the fact that Landsberg calls out people when they say something strange but he goes way overboard and it really hurts the show

Mid mornings………..Blair solo is not very good radio so I usually listen to Dan Patrick…………..but when Brunt is with Blair it is a much better show and I listen a lot more to it ……….Cauz/Wheeler is definitely my third choice in this timeslot

Noon……….I understand why some people dislike Doug MacLean but I find him entertaining……….I had high hopes for Petrillo but have been underwhelmed so far……….she is a good broadcaster but I’m not sure she has the right personality to be a radio host………it is an informative show but not overly entertaining…… is basically an hour long version of the That’s Hockey television show on TSN

Mid afternoons………I like Walker and I listen to him quite a bit………but he needs a co-host and he needs better guests………too many Rogers people and too many interviews with hockey players from Moose Jaw………..I am not a fan of Richards so I rarely listened to his afternoon show and now that he is gone I still don’t listen to 1050 much in this timeslot

Afternoon drive……….I usually listen to PTS on podcast and OverDrive live…………I really like both of these shows even though they are very different……….PTS has better guests and analysis but OverDrive has great chemistry and is a lot of fun……….my biggest complaint would be that O’Neill/MacLennan are sometimes not there because TSN has decided that their TV work is more important

Paul G.
Paul G.
September 8, 2016 8:38 pm

Posted earlier on SOWNY….Courtesy of David Bray:
Latest Numeris PPM numbers for the period of May 30th to August 28th, 2016.

September 8, 2016 11:12 pm


That’s interesting. Same as it ever was for 1050 going to a .9 from a 1 share. I’d love to see a breakdown as to what the FAN does for Blue Jays at night? 20 share? 15 share? Are those too big for weeknight games for Men 25-54? I wouldn’t know. Hard to speculate on other shows but guessing that basically stays flat and a full summer of lots of Blue Jays helps them a lot.

I know this, TSN are pushing Overdrive a ton with marketing. The FAN isn’t promoting any of their shows or using clips. No advertisements, no posters, no billboards, no nothing. I guess everyone knows McCown and when he’s on but outside of using Blair more on Blue Jays games, everything else is anonymous and, yes, I’ve espoused a theory they basically pretend Blundell isn’t there and would never use a clip of him on Sportsnet Central or ask his opinion on the Jays. Can you imagine?

I live near Barrie and after golf the other day saw that TSN on in the clubhouse led with the Tortorella anthem reaction and seamlessly put a clip in of Overdrive talking about it. Smart and whether it influences viewing or listening, I don’t know. But you’d never see a radio show host opining in a clip on Sportsnet.

I did also notice how good the ratings are for CFRB and how bad they are for AM640. A.4.4 for CFRB, and I’d bring them up because that probably means they’d never move off that strong signal and put sports on it. No chance. 640 is below a 1.0 share? Holy cow, then again, I haven’t listened to John Oakley since they had the Leafs, but did a lot to Watters and Marek and Watters and Brady. I really enjoyed the mix of both those shows. It has a great signal, it needs better shows.

Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
September 9, 2016 4:13 am

@ Bobby G ” and something you want when you need to replace your statuon’s (and arguably the network’s and Canadian sports media’s biggest star from a revenue You don’t replace someone in their 60s with someone in their 50s who speaks like someone in their 70s.”

Full agreement with your statement BUT look at the mistakes rogers has made in just the last 20 months…blundell,reid…..on and on my fingers would get cramped ..and I won’t even bring up hockey coverage !!

September 9, 2016 1:40 pm
Reply to  Bgolz

BGOLZ: when you say “I’d love to see more reporters get more airtime as cohorts since they seem to follow more breadth of sports and can discuss them intelligently with substance.” who are you referring to???

September 9, 2016 1:42 pm
Reply to  Belter

Joey is a perm. feature in the fill in role on the Fan.  He is not the worst guest host and due to his work he has a great rolodex.  This emphasises once again that the bench is weak in the format in general

September 9, 2016 1:43 pm
Reply to  Terrance

I think it’s becuase he is consistent, he is reliable and again, he has a very good rolodex to call on guests.

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