Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

photo credit: CBS


by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail


Good morning sports media watchers. I'm working on a few bigger stories and special features so if you're a person in sports media expect email (check your junk mail!) or messages from me. If I've never reached out to you, please make the first move. This is a small community but if you're reading this then we're part of the same community.


As a consequence, things have been piling up in the Seen & Heard closet. I'm using this column to clear out all of that clutter. Forgive me if some of these items are a tad out of date. As always, if you see or hear something you want covered in this space, DM me on Twitter or send an email. If I got something massively wrong, please let me know that too. 


Suggested Soundtrack: PJ Harvey – A Line in the Sand


Programming note: Jonah will be holding down the pillow-fort until the stuff I'm working on comes together. If you want to partially ghost write my next column, send me something. I'm thinking of doing a crowd-sourced Seen & Heard one of these days.


Sports Media's Shrinkage Problem


Since I last wrote there have been two major industry developments. First, the Globe & Mail announced they were offering voluntary buyouts. Second, Sean Fitz-Gerald of the Star was laid off. 


On the first, let's be clear about what a voluntary buyout is. The paper feels it is paying too much in total salary and wants to reduce that number. Step 1 is, of course, not to hire new people and try to get by with a leaner workforce. Any recent grads looking for work in media can attest to this fact. Step 2 is to pay the people you do hire much less than the people who used to hold those jobs.


If Steps 1 & 2 don't get you to the dollar figure you want then Step 3 is to say that you will pay people to leave. This will be targeted to some early or mid career people, as a way of saying "there's no future here". However, more often buyouts are aimed at well paid senior employees. Of course many of them will want to keep their jobs because a) there is not a lot of other work out there in media, b) they are close to 65 and want to retire with their full pension, c) they like their job, or d) they are not really qualified to work outside the newspaper business. If Step 3 doesn't get you down to profitability then Step 4 is in-voluntary buyouts, otherwise known as severance.


Circling back to the Globe & Mail, it is unclear how many positions they are trying to cut and so it is hard to predict how this round of cuts will affect the sports section, if at all. As it is, Globe Sports is pretty anorexic especially when compared to the Star and Sun. This is not to say they don't do good work. They do: James Mirtle is reliably worth reading, Cathal Kelly can be quite good if properly constrained, Dave Shoalts has successfully transitioned to being a (much needed) sports media writer. In addition the paper pumps out great business of sports content — mostly on Rogers and Bell — from the likes of James Bradshaw, Christine Dobby, and Andrew Willis


The big question is: who is a plausible candidate to take a voluntary buyout. Among the more senior group would be: Roy MacGregor, Eric Duhatschek, and David Shoalts. It is not exactly clear what the contractual status of these writers is, as the Globe's website doesn't make it easy to find a list of people in the sports department or what their titles are. But all three have been writing for the Globe for a while.


Speaking for myself, losing Shoalts would be a real setback. We try to cover sports media as well as we can here but the real work is being done (as it should be) by real journalists. For many years the Star, the Sun, and the Globe all ran regular sports media columns. Over the last decade all of them have disappeared. Shoalts' rebranding as a sports media critic was a welcome development. If he decides to take his talents to Yuk-Yuks then something of real value in the marketplace would be lost. 


The Future of Globe Sports


The outlook is not good in the newspaper industry. This is no longer a storm cloud on the horizon. Rather, the industry is caught in a downpour and there is no sense of when the raining will stop. As Jonah discussed last week, there is a generational gap when it comes to newspapers. Papers were slow to adopt digital. They chose hard website paywalls instead of soft ones for a long time. They were slow to figure out that free can still be profitable. It is unsurprising that some younger readers (as well as some traditional ones) moved elsewhere. 


Here's the thought I have been exploring this week: given that few people buy the Globe for its sport section, what should the paper do with Globe Sports?


One option is to shut it down. That would be a small tragedy. This is the section that at one time or another employed talented writers Stephen Brunt, Michael Grange, Dave Naylor, and Jeff Blair. To see it go out with a whimper would be a shame.


A better option is the following: outsource as much as possible to Canadian/American Press, hire several more columnists, and focus on being on the forefront of sports opinion each and every day. It's a buyer's market right now for talented writers. Find the best ones and put them to work.


This would be a radical departure from the traditional sports section model of trying to do a little opinion, a little beat reporting, and a little bit of profiling. Throw that out — it doesn't work in 2016. Find the big stories and make sure that your writers are at least part of the discussion, if not leading the discussion. 


Here's some more unsolicited free advice:


1) Everyone does 3 columns a week. I want to be able to open the paper every day and read the same cluster of writers on a variety of meaningful sports topics. 


2) Everyone writes on Saturdays. Make that edition a must-read for casual and hardcore sports fans alike. If the Sun and Star already own the weekend, focus on Monday as your big edition. 


3)  Promote Cathal to a Rosie DiManno type role where in addition to writing about the Jays he can write about fishing or his European travels but don't run those in the sports section. The credibility of GlobeSports suffers. Make sure that the sports section is about sports.


4) Keep hammering away at the business of sports stories. As mentioned, this is a real strength of the Globe (and a real weakness of the competition). The Bay street types will read about the sports side of their investments (e.g. this excellent read on whether Rogers should get out of sports), and some may stick around for Mirtle on the World Cup. 


Over to you: would you read a paper that eschewed game recaps in favour of commentary and opinion? Is it too late for GlobeSports? Am I being naive in thinking that the model I'm proposing is financially feasible?




New feature! In an effort to make Twitter better, Seen & Heard will occasionally run a section on what to do and what not to do with your 140 characters or fewer. For the record, I would fire Twitter into the sun if I had the power to do so, but it's become a part of our lives and it seems reasonable to assume that something like it will continue to exist going forward. 


Scenario: someone in the media loses his or her job. What do you tweet?


Here's some examples of what works:



This is perfect: complimentary, hopeful, sincere. 



This is also great: high praise in a nice package.


Here is what NOT to do:



Like all Canadians I have nothing but the deepest respect for the Godfather of hockey insiders. He's a national treasure. That said, here's what is wrong with this tweet. The industry is not broken for you Bob! You're one of the best paid people in all of Canadian media, not just sports. The star system is part of the problem: certain people get all the money while others who are also doing good work are let go.


Go back to the papers: "named" columnists earn way more than their colleagues, based on the old assumption that people will subscribe because, like her or loathe her, you have to read what Margaret Wente wrote! The same tired idea has traction in the radio world, based on the 1990s apocryphal tale that people who hate Howard Stern listen longer than anyone else. 


Again here, there is a huge generational gap. The old wisdom might still be true for some people, but for those of us brought up in the digital era there is just too much content available all the time. The idea that you need to pay big name people double or triple the conventional rate is 20th century thinking. Maybe that works if the system is flush with cash and jobs. But in today's tough media world it makes more sense to spread the dollars out more evenly and keep good people employed. 


Back to Bob. He is the undisputed #1 voice in the world on hockey contracts. He has earned every penny he makes. He also started in the newspaper business so he's more than qualified to comment on the industry. Further, he's not wrong when he says the industry is broken. That is not my point. My point is that this kind of sentiment is best sent over DM or email, and not publicly broadcast. Less is more.


So, in an effort to make Twitter better for all of us, here are two quick rules of thumb that might provide guidance:


1) If someone gets fired, don't make it about you. Talk about how talented the victim is and leave it there.


2) If you still have a job in the industry, especially if your job is one of the 1% jobs, don't talk about how unfair the system is.


Back to the item that prompted all of this, there is something rotten in the newspaper industry. As I wrote about when David Alter was fired along with the entire National Post sports department, it is unconscionable to hire someone away from a gig if you know (or have reason to believe) that cuts are coming. (Note: not everyone at the Post is currently out of work. Scott Stinson stayed on due to having a contract with the Postmedia chain. Some people moved over to the Sun.) 


If the people at Star knew that Sean would be exposed they had a responsibility to warn him before hiring him. Perhaps they did and he gambled on evading the axe. Perhaps Sean would have lost his job at the Post anyway so this was just delaying the inevitable. From the content of Sean's tweets, this looks like it came as a nasty shock. 


All the best to Mr. Fitz-Gerald. The flood of praise from the biggest names in sports was swift and univocal. It is clear that his peers think very very highly of his work. If you're at the Globe and you want to rebuild your sports section, a huge gift just landed in your lap. Don't waste it.


Over to you: Is it sacrilegious to criticize the Godfather? Anything to add to the above rules?  


Quick Hits


The Kaepernick story has bled into other sports, with focus now falling on baseball and its issues surrounding race. Two excellent reads: Ken Rosenthal of FOX and Howard Bryant of ESPN. For a more general history of protest in sports, Cathal has a good write-up.


Rick Westhead is once again traveling around the world on Bell's dime … and visiting some of the most dangerous places to bring us great stories. Here's his feature on the disappearance of Venezuelan baseball. Glad to see Bell spending money chasing down unconventional and meaningful sports stories. It's also nice that TSN is letting Rick do baseball stories when it arguably builds interest in a competitor's product.


The wet dream of grass in the Dome that Beeston planted in all of our minds seems to be drying up under the Shapiro era. The hope for a new modern baseball stadium is also being reshaped by new management. 



Several people have taken a crack at the topic of Meaningful Jays Games in September (™Bob McCown) and none did it better than Bruce Arthur. This is a great read.


If you’re not following hockey agent Allan Walsh on Twitter you’re missing out. While I disagree with a lot of what he says, he’s very sharp and very entertaining.



Friend of TSM Don Kollins is making big changes at his new radio station 95.7 The Game. He fired the current mid-morning host in order to bring in national host "JT the Brick" to do a local show in San Francisco. Mr. Brick will be doing the show remotely from Las Vegas. Bold move. Let's see if it pays off. How do people feel about the idea of hosting a local show from outside the market?


Ratings are down in the NFL. "Through two weeks, ten of the first 13 NFL telecast windows have posted declines in ratings and viewership. That includes nine windows that have hit multi-year lows." Something to watch. 


Low Hanging Fruit


There's enough of a harvest here to make preserves. Enjoy.


  • Richard Deitsch asks a good question:



  • The Toronto champion is inarguably Mike Richards who retweets every nice thing said about him, and has only gained motivation since mutually parting ways with TSN1050. He also dropped this bomb recently, tagging both Sportsnet and TSN:



  • As part of a conversation about Graham James being granted parole, Overdrive co-host Bryan Hayes said that if you're attracted to kids you should be locked up for life. That's a pretty strong take but it's also pretty simplistic. If you’re interested in thinking a little more deeply about this complex issue than B Hayes, read this.


  • Andrew Walker talking about the WCOH: "This is not me shilling for Rogers, that's not what this is." He took a lot of flak for these remarks but I for one appreciate him letting us know when he is and is not shilling for the employer. Wish more people did that.


  • Industry gossip: the number of people at Sportsnet who think they are in the running to be part of the show that takes over for PTS is growing. Tongues are wagging. If I’m PD Dave Cadeau I want to get that situation under control in order to protect the culture of the station.


  • Speaking of the culture at the FAN, their dirty laundry is flapping away in the breeze for all to see:



  • I love you Philip Kessel: 



  • First thought upon seeing this: how will this be used for predictable hatchet pieces from certain Toronto media members? Right on cue here’s Feschuk writing about how Phil doesn’t train hard enough, with lots of negative quotes — with names attached — from an assortment of people. I wondered if Phil was contacted for comment, and reached out to Dave to find out but did not receive a reply.



  • Steve Simmons refused to take the bait on Phil's tweet. Good for him.



  • Speaking of Steve, anyone remember his blog? Apparently The Sun also forgot about it.




  • TSN’s podcast feed is currently functioning as a virus on my computer. Twice this week every Blue Lunch + Leafs lunch + Overdrive + some random Argos podcasts going back to 2013 showed up in my iTunes feed and tried to auto-download.


  • Still with TSN, their jumbled mess of a website still lacks RSS feeds for their writers. As a result it is impossible to keep up with the good content they produce. Once a column disappears off the small space allotted to in the sidebar it is lost in the sands of time. I don't know why the writers haven't mutinied over this. Your work is being thrown away.


  • Could someone please watch this and give me a report on the tension in the room between Gary & Ron? If they can recapture the magic then HNIC ratings should improve.



  • Some tweets are more vicious than others, and some jokes only get better with age:



  • We enabled the "reply-to" commenting function recently. For those of you who subscribe to comments via email, do you like it? I don't. The email doesn't include the original comment so it's often impossible to make sense of the reply out of context.


  • Lastly, best wishes to Candace Devai in her next venture. I will miss her sports tweets.





thanks for reading and commenting

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

Disclosure: While I try to get things rights the first time, I do fix typos, broken links, and garbled sentences after the post goes live.


  • comment-avatar

    Why did Ray Ferraro disappear from Overdrive? Hasn’t been on for two weeks. When they moved from Leafs Lunch Hayes said they wanted to make sure Ray was a part of the show and he was the 5 pm opener guy since inception. Just vanished.

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    MIB: Agreed on Walsh … in a business filled with people horrified they might "bite the hand that feeds them," this guy speaks his mind. He's not always correct, but he's certainly refreshing.

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    Steve Jones 4 years ago

    Now that’s a cornucopia of topics to discuss.

    Newspapers. I lament the downfall. They were always a key part of everyday. Still read the WSJ everyday cover to cover but I just don’t see the value of anything local. Sure I scan the websites but I won’t pay the inflated price for the deflated content. I do like the Globe idea Mike. I have never read game summaries, and sorry to say only read the lead columnists. If I’m reading opinion I want to hear from the top people. Quality over quantity.

    Twitter. It’s much ado about nothing in my world. Let’s be honest people have glommed onto it as a cheap easy way to add to their personal brand. Some do well by it and some are Damien Cox. As for it being a breaking news vehicle I can’t remember the last time I lamented finding out the news an hour after it was released. As for Bob he publicly expressed his feelings on a job loss. And he was right about the industry. But it’s no different than the steel business. The jobs are gone, they’re not coming back.

    Not sure how you rein-vision the Dome. It’s a big concrete blob. That said I’m not sure how much fans care. Seems to be full if the team is good, less full if they’re not.

    No surprise to hear the jockeying is underway to be the heir to PT. For me, if they want to continue the focus more on issues rather than the typical jock talk and game analysis all the other shows do then the only credible candidate is Friedman. For me he has the polish, demeanour and depth to navigate the issues and still provide more micro insights into the games.

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    "Back to Bob. He is the undisputed #1 voice in the world on hockey contracts. He has earned every penny he makes."

    That's because almost all teams, and, still do generally not report player contract salaries, and never report additional contract terms (NTC/Bonuses/etc…) for reasons I cannot fathom. It's not CBA related because there are a handful of teams like Winnipeg that do report salaries. I can only believe this is negotiated between media and the league to prop up the Bob Mackenzies of the world because in the Twitter era they serve no purpose if information is openly available. is hypocritical to the point where they will post stories that say "Salary terms were not disclosed, as per team poplicy, but Bob Mackenzie reports it is $5M per year."

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    I'm sure that's more a case where Bob has contacts with the players or more imnportantly their agents and that's how he gets the info. I doubt there's anything more than that because if there was then wouldn't the NHL be giving all that info to their "broadcast partner" who in this case is Rogers/Sportsnet?

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    On the Bob McKenzie front: I do not believe that he is above criticism and it's right to question him about that tweet or anything he does if one finds it sketchy in any way, shape or form. I'm sure in this case it was more he was trying to say what a crappy industry the newspaper business has become and it came out very badly. Despite all it's good things: twitter's 140 character limit does mess with points at times even with wordsmiths like Bob Mckenzie.

    On PTS: Do we know where Bob stands at this point other than the rumoured end date of his contract? Does that even matter if he wants to keep with the show if Rogers/The Fan has decided to go in a new direction? Does Bob even have a say in who the heir would be like his beloved Carson has when Jay Leno was tapped as the new host of the tonight show way back when?

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    Rob in aurora 4 years ago

    I’m sure Bob McKenzie would get a good chuckle over whatever that Twitter criticism was supposed to mean…was that advice? About how to compose a thoughtful note to a colleague in the industry?…riiiight.

    TSN shows lots of baseball. Just not the Blue Jays. So really, what they’re doing with warhead is civering a “baseball” story, where all Sportsnet does is shine as much sunshine on the Jays as possible. There isn’t much (any!) hard journalism going on there

    Ray Ferraro will return to Overdrive when the hockey season starts. They’ve mentioned that numerous times on Overdrive…

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    Tighthead 4 years ago

    Johnny wanted Dave. 

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    Cirroc 4 years ago

    Can't wait to see the discourse regarding Hayes hot take on Graham James…

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    billyjoejimbob 4 years ago

    Comment in moderation

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    mario 4 years ago

    Thanks for a great read again. I can really feel for all the good writers that are or going to be out of work in the print media and other outlets . Big media corporations truly have no heart.

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    Steverino123 4 years ago

    The Twitter etiquette admonishment of Bob McKenzie is absurd. Because if you’ve read stories about Bob, he’s said on at least one occasion (to Sean Fitzgerald in fact) that he still considers himself a print guy. So what he was lamenting to Fitzgerald is that the print industry is a mess. Which it most surely is. So maybe point your tsk tsk wagging finger in a different direction. This wasn’t warranted.

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    On PTS: Cox needs to go. He is still too much in love with his own voice. He keeps constantly interrupting guests and even Bob to make stupid jokes that only he thinks are funny or comments that only idiots could think are insightful. 

    And he's the absolute worst co-host at keeping Bob talking about sports and not about his silly winery or how his latest round of golf went. I think they spent the opening 10-15 minutes on Thursday talking about a round of golf they played that morning or the day before. 

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    Nice to see Kollins hasn't lost his golden touch. JT the Brick is horrible, horrible radio. The folks in SF will be pissed.

    I would love it if the Fan590 could somehow get Deitsch to co-host, even remotely, for the weeks Cox won't be on.

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    Ferraro was on the first show when they were all back. His contract starts when the season begins, I believe he said.

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    Daz66778 4 years ago

    Agree with Steverino123.  Think Bob's tweet was sincere and found nothing wrong with it.

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    He is back next week.  They have been running commercials about it all last week.  The last time he was on they were also joking about him being miserable because he was supposed to be on vacation and not having to deal with them yet

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    Anthony 4 years ago

    Agree with those who see no issue with Bob’s tweet. Much ado about nothing. It’s like Mike was stretching to find something ‘bad’. I’m fairly sure Damien Cox said something much worse more than once.

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    Bobby Digital 4 years ago

    MIB – Re:

    Pretty sure if you click on any columnists name that it sends you directly to the RSS feed of their content 

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    WestDale Rocks 4 years ago

    Some thoughts:

    1.  I LOVE the idea of getting rid of game recaps & results pages in favour of columns.  Concentrate resources on being the source of opinion.  It might make someone like Sammut or Rusic, who both, in my opinion, come across as arrogant know-it-alls who love the sound of their own voices….readable because you don't have to listen to them!  It boggles my mind why newspaper continue to waste ink and pages on results/standings/recaps.  99% of people have access to the internet, and night before scores are usually not there anyway.  

    2.  I don't have a problem with Bobby Mac's tweet.  Being an icon shouldn't exclude him from commenting on the state of an industry he was a part of for ages.  

    3.  Not surprised NFL ratings are down.  The NFL's TV commercial structure is abominable.  A watchable football game is 3 hours.  Not 3.5, which seems to be the norm.  And note to NFL execs:  When you have a common sequence like this:  Time out, commercial, scoring play, commercial, kickoff, commercial, then don't be surprised to see viewers bolt. 

    4.  Re:  WCOH.  Not surprised there are empty seats at the ACC.  Greed played a big part in that.  But also (perhaps surprisingly), I wouldn't be surprised to see that the viewership might not be as strong either.  If the decision is made to go to the Olympics, which seems more of a possibility than it did a year ago, that would mean tournaments in 2010, 2014, 2016 and 2018.  It's too much and makes t too watered down.  And what about the players?  Guys like Jonathan Toews and Sid must be absolutely shattered with annual deep playoff runs and added commitments to Hockey Canada in the form of WCOH and Olympics.  You know they're never going to say no, so it's incumbent upon someone to keep the number of tournaments to a minimum and not dilute them.      


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    "The industry is not broken for you Bob! You're one of the best paid people in all of Canadian media, not just sports. The star system is part of the problem: certain people get all the money while others who are also doing good work are let go."

    This seems to imply that you're advocating some form of sports journalism socialism. 

    Bobby Mac makes what he makes because management at TSN — a cable sports TELEVISION network — deems it can afford to pay him what it does. Mr. Fitz-Gerald (SFG) lost his job because he's part of a bloated union that once had pages (an actual job title without ) making more than $30/h to take information from one floor to another in the oversized Star building.

    What Mac vs SFG makes is not an apples to apples comparison. TSN still makes money. Torstar is bleeding cash. And both men are on completely different media platforms.

    Furthermore, Mac generates content that is desired by millions of viewers, as his number of Twitter followers suggests. Advertisers flock to anything Mac does. SFG writes great stories that are likely not all that well read, thus advertisers are not clamoring to be on the same page as his stories — even if his union worked very differently. 

    Do you really want everyone in sports media to be paid somewhat equally? How would that even work? The notion has no merit. 

    If SFG were a credible NHL insider, he would likely still be at the Star — union or no union. His skill set such as it is, although impressive, can be replaced. He's a generalist reporter. And in this media world, you need to be a specialist — and even that guarantees nothing.

    But to suggest that Mac is part of the problem is to suggest that you have little understanding of the actual problem.


  • comment-avatar
    Tighthead 4 years ago

    JT is lunchmeat. I used to listen to him when I was on the West Coast. Hot takes, way too many calls, way too many stories about himself. 

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    There's a lot here to digest but I wanted to focus in on PTS and its current state of affairs:

    1) Damien Cox – I understand why he feels the need to be "The Other Voice" in the studio, but at times, the less you say, the better you look.

    2) The jockeying for Bob's chair – I lay this squarely at the feet of Fan management, either you squelch the stories by announcing that no decisions will be made regarding the future of PTS until Bob's contract ends, or you announce now that Bob won't be back and then let this "Lord of the Flies" style nonsense get even worse.

    3) Elliot Friedman as the next host of PTS – Not sure I buy it, yes Elliot is personable and charming when it comes to hockey and tennis, there is no one better.  But take him out of his element and things can so "sideways" in a hurry, I refer you to Rio 2016 and his calls of the swimming events.

    4) For what it's worth I think Bob will have *zero* influence with respect to the choice of his successor or the future of PTS.  Fan management has proven time and again that only they will make decisions (but will quickly find scapegoats under them to take the heat when things go badly)

  • comment-avatar

    Can someone post instructions on how to visit the Sportsnet website and see the highlights of today’s Jays win? I’m on mobile, on an Android phone. If there’s a better site or app (that’s free) let me know.

  • comment-avatar
    Dogpounder 4 years ago

    And Johnny was correct.

  • comment-avatar
    Dogpounder 4 years ago

    Something tells me the didn't do the demog research on JT.  San Fran?  HAHAHAHA

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    Elvis 4 years ago

    When you're as rich and powerful as the godfather you can tweet whatever you want and not worry about what losers on the internet think. How much do you think Sportsnet would pay to hire him away from TSN? He would instantly make all of their other insiders irrelevant.

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    Re. WCOH

    Even if ratings were good leading up to this point, you gotta think the finals won't produce what they were hoping for. A Canada-Europe best 2 of 3 is hardy exciting or must see TV. Pretty disappointing. It looked like not even Sweden or the States were going to put up a fight to Canada, Europe certainly wont do it. I know my interest has peaked for this event. I'll likely be watching the Jays on Tuesday and Thursday. 

  • comment-avatar

    Agree with your take on NFL ratings. Their product is bloated and the incessant commercial breaks take the flow out of the game. The only thing worse than sitting through those 'breaks' on the couch is having to wait them out in-person at the game.  

    As for the Olympics…despite the posturing I can't see the NHL passing on an opportunity to grow the game and their footprint in Asia by not going to Pyeongchang. 

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    Ferraro back on Overdrive today.

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    Big G 4 years ago

    Finally Rogers and Shaw take shomi behind the barn and put it out of it's misery

    I guess this day had to  come given the fact that they are currently offering nefflix service with some of their bundle packages,

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    From Yahoo's Great Canadian Ratings Report, the TV numbers for the WCH are pretty great…in Canada.  But in the US, where they went back to ESPN instead of NBC Sports, the WCH draws worse than MLS, and it's not going to get any better with the lackluster showing by Team USA.   Personally, I never had any interest in this tournament and the only game I only briefly watched was Canada vs. Russia.  A best two of three series featuring a 'catch-all' Team Europe?  Not interested.  I imagine a North America/Europe final would've been a disaster no matter how the purists try to spin Team North America. 

    This was always an obvious play for more money, but ultimately I think the NHL/NHLPA made the IOC's case for them.  The Olympics have a cachet that this on-again/off-again tournament will never have.   

  • comment-avatar

    Makes you wonder how much longer will Bell is going with Crave Tv something they have admitted is a money loser.

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    That's too bad. It had some good content even though the interface was bad. Hopefully Netflix can take over the rights after November.

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    PTS is at the Dome for three days as part of the run for the post season.  Bob mentioned this last week.  The show opens with Madani talking about an English soccer coach's firing.  To complete this lousy picture he talks about it with his co-host Shannon. They switch to the Jays and Madani is asking Shannon for his input.  The last week of the season,  broadcasting live from the Dome and this is the best Rogers can put forward.


    Also,  Madani says that Bob and Damien are both "feeling under the weather".  It may be true, but it is unusual to have the 2 regular hosts absent  given the locale and the key games for post season play.

  • comment-avatar
    Moe Howard 4 years ago

    PTS at Rogers Centre and they’ve got Shannon on???
    WTF is Rogers doing???

  • comment-avatar
    MontfromLondonOnt 4 years ago

    Shannon and Madani were tolerable and then at 6:12 they just introduced Wilner – What a jerk – Bye Bye streaming until that clown is finished – This is the main reason I miss Mccown – He NEVER gives that moron any time –

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    Totally agree.  Tuned back in at 6:00 for the last hour, but gave up after the first segment when they introduced Wilner.

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    Moe Howard 4 years ago

    I agree that Wilmer is a complete A-Hole but at least he’s a baseball guy. What the hell is Shannon doing on a baseball centric program??
    I think he stinks on hockey but at least that is supposedly is his background.
    Really as a backstage guy but I guess he has friends. Absolutely horrible as a broadcaster.

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    Some thoughts in response to the valid criticisms of my McKenzie take:


    1) I never questioned the sincerity of his tweet. I 100% believe he means what he says.

    2) As I wrote, Bob is unquestionably qualified to comment on the newspaper business. 

    3) Brian, you are right that this is not apples-to-apples, since Bob is in TV while Sean is in print. I do believe the "star system" is present in both, though the top TV people make way more money than the top print people.

    4) My genera point is that some thoughts are best saved for private correspondence. My more specific point is that very successful people in sports media might consider keeping an eye out for statements that will come across as tone-deaf when bad news is swirling around others.

    5) I have been meaning to make this point for a while, and definitely took the opportunity provided by McKenzie's tweet to have a more general discussion. His tweet is far from an egregious example, and hopefully he didn't interpret my comments as claiming that it was.

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    One more:


    Brian: "This seems to imply that you're advocating some form of sports journalism socialism." 


    Perish the thought! Not at all. Good people should get more money and more exposure and garbage should be thrown out. My point is that the old model created huge gaps between the stars and the rank & file. I am not convinced the gaps needs to be so big under the current economic model.


    Here's an example: Bob McCown reportedly makes around $1 million dollars. So the FAN's salary budget is going to be huge in order to accommodate that. That puts pressure on the station, and that is partly why we see people like Brady, Kayla Harris, Jeff Sammut let go. Not enough money to keep everyone around.


    When Bob retires it won't make sense to pay someone that much to host 4-7, especially given the tough times we have seen in sports media. Much better to use the savings to relieve some of the financial pressure on the station. Not socialism … just a bigger middle class.

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    I am somewhat familiar with the goingson at the Star. At its peak it had about 1.4 million paid subscribers and it was essentially a national newspaper. In 2015 paid circ was 237,000 M-F and 340,000 on Saturday. The classifieds also brought in tens of millions a year — 90% gone. I think you could see some Toronto-based papers eventually merge. 
    Some newspaper talent once made very good money. Cox was making over $150K at the Star (that number is a low estimate from someone in upper mgmt there and she says he was not well liked in the newsroom). But when the "little people" like pages are making $60K with only a high school diploma that's a problem, too.

    I like the "star system" because it works. I want stars to get paid because it rewards their work and gives others incentive. I think SFG will land on his feet somewhere but if it's not in a sports section somewhere it won't really bother me.

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    Steve Jones 4 years ago

    In general I agree with your point Mike. But I think you have to weight Bob's salary against his ratings. When he retires will the numbers trend down or hold. If they hold then the money can be spread around. If they drop then the pie shrinks. I don't think any potential decline wil come immediately, it would manifest itself over a year or two. And it would be dependent on what happens with 1050. All things being equal I would expect to see the numbers to decline 20-30%.

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    Antonio 4 years ago

    McCown takes a lot of sick days. Why? Because he can.

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    MontfromLondonOnt 4 years ago

    There are many people on here that have insider info and know far more then me – Please treat this as a serious question – I have never read on this site one word of praise for Wilner – How does this clown keep his job? Does he work for so little pay that they couldn't replace him with a real person? The fact that he doesn't get road trips must tell him something or is he too thick to see that? Does he really believe he will replace Howorth? I just don't get it – He is such a condescending jerk on Jays talk that it astounds me that people still call in – Is he married into the company or does he have some xrated pictures? Seriously I just don't get it and would really like to know –

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    Love how the TSN radio side is bashing the WCH attendance and 6 dollar tickets, with nary a peep about either from Rogers. Babcock is right, this isn't the Olympics, and it is just a step above an all-star game. Doughty lays a hit, and his own teammates are giving it to him.

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    On September 28, the poor attendance was discussed during the Jeff Blair Show and later in the Andrew Walker Show; the availability of tickets on Stub Hub was referred to indirectly during the Jeff Blair – Dan Dunleavy discussion and explicitly noted, including a reference to the relatively low prices, on Andrew Walker’s show.

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    Using this site as any sort of litmus test of fans liking or disliking something is folly…..This is a very small segment of a larger population, as well, this is a very biased population.  There are a lot of commonalities between the people who frequent this site.

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    A Dave I Know 4 years ago

    "The Bay street types will read about the sports side of their investments."

    A lifetime ago, in the late '80s/early '90s, the Financial Post was owned by the Sun chain. It had a fairly lively sports section. I especially enjoyed Jamie Wayne's columns. So yeah, there's a precedent for what you're suggesting here, and I think it could work for the Globe again.

    I gotta say, I subscribe to the Globe, Star and New York Times. The local papers get a quick glance, though the Star's deadline is so early now that you can't be sure of reading about what happened last night, and the Globe has lost so many voices that it hardly bears an in-depth read. 

    (We also took the National Post for a long time, because it actually had a very good arts section at one time and the sports section was fleshed out nicely by copy from the other Hollinger/Southam papers, in particular the Montreal Gazette. But they kept cutting back and cutting back to the point where there was hardly any point.)

    The Times gets most of my attention. Because it's the "national" edition, you don't get much in the way of scores and game coverage, although whenever the U.S. Open of tennis comes around, it's like an avalanche of stories. But the Sunday edition is almost guaranteed to have a feature that leaves me feeling glad I read it, and throughout the week there are the columnists.

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    A Dave I Know 4 years ago

    Shannon tolerable? Will wonders never cease!

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    Open the Sportsnet mobile app and their opening page has a pic of Martin, Bautista, and Encarnacion. ( nary a Leaf or a Raptor) Open the TSN Go app and a title page consisting of local heroes Serena williams, LeBron James and a guy who looks like a golfer because he has a golf hat on. Both networks should schedule a meeting to revise their app’s first impression.

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    The only wonder, is that he is on the air for any topic (other than Broadcasting).

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    Antonio 4 years ago

    When people talk about the shrinking Canadian media I sometimes think its needs to shrink even more. Case in point:

    Go to TSN's site and check out the "what's on TSN" section. They're showing 2 U17 girls's soccer games today. For the love of God, who the hell will watch this???

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    @TSM: imo, biggest sports media 'story' in recent memory is developing around the Jays, as result of Jays players blackballing certain media members, and subsequent trash/gossip column piece by Steve Buffery. would love to get your/MIB take in tomm's column, and open it up to comments etc.

    I'll start- the Sun is a rag anyway, and obviously the "X" media guys are Simmons and ???

    Why do sports media guys in Tor believe they are larger than the games/players they cover?

    any media who follows a player around in the clubhouse locker room to bait him should be banned, for good. Don't give me the "they have a job to do" crap either. I've been there- there is a common sense understanding of what goes and what doesn't. You cross that line, deal with the backlash…

    at the same time- where were the Jay's PR guys to diffuse/manage this stuff?

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    Joeybutts 4 years ago

    From Steve Buffery:
    “Why, for example, would the leaders on the team (blue Jays) allow someone to put up on a wall photos of two Toronto sports writers with an ‘X’ scratched on their face and the a message written on top reading, ‘Do not grant them interviews’ (or words to that effect)?”

    Any idea who might that be? Probably nobody from Rogers media

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    Nothing says quality sports radio quite like a Dean Blundell interview of competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut

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    joeyy 4 years ago

    Blair said today it was Cathal Kelly and Richard Griffin.

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    Don River 4 years ago

    Who will watch? Probably enough to justify the little TSN paid in rights fees. Plus it's live programming, and Canada is involved.

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    MontfromLondonOnt 4 years ago

    Tolerable means considering the options 'though I must admit he has apparently gone to the Trudeau school of public speaking – So many umms errs and ahhhs lately and he seems to have trouble forming a coherent phrase or question –

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    Big G 4 years ago

    More print media casualties.

    This is twice this week  Rogers made some dramatic changes in their media division, first Shomi now the magazine portfolio seeing some big changes. Rogers Media really shake n things up. Maybe next it's Mcowan and Blundell from the radio side?

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    MontfromLondonOnt 4 years ago

    I thought I heard Blair say it was Cathal Kelly and Richard Griffen in reply to a caller this AM – Did I mishear?

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    I heard the same thing from Naylor today.

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    Technically, Edwin and Joey Bats are next to go. 😉