The news is out that Dean Blundell has been let go by FAN590/Sportsnet.
His show was announced in late January/early February 2015 and launched March 1, 2015. This surprising move booted the successful Brady&Walker show to the afternoons. Brady, making a morning show salary, would eventually be fired in February 2016 for financial reasons related in part to the poor hockey ratings at Rogers.
Greg Brady, who has been collecting his severance for the past 12 months, will be back in the morning slot flanked by Elliott Price (co-host) and Hugh Burrill (3rd man/updates) starting on February 27th.
- Choice in the morning. This is good for the audience. Lots of established names and voices to choose from.
- A 3 man show will help Brady’s tendency to dominate his co-host.
- Once again, no women. Big surprise. The FAN has a terrible track record in this regard.
- After all the dust settles on the Blundell blunder, Andrew Walker gets the short end of the stick by being stuck in the dead zone.
- If Halina Balka is gone I will organize a protest outside 1 Mt Pleasant.
Once again the old adage of Canadian sports media rings true: no one is ever really fired. With a tiny number of exceptions, this principle has been true my whole life. The talent pool in Canada is (apparently) shallower than a kiddy pool because the same names cycle around again and again. I’m not saying that to be critical of these moves, or any others. I am saying this to make two points:
1) if you manage to get an on-air job, you are probably set for life
2) if you don’t currently have an on-air job, you probably never will
Back to the FAN, this line-up is weaker than the one from early 2015 that featured Brady&Walker, Blair, Tim&Sid, PTS. That said, the 2017 version of the Blair Show has Brunt as a 40% co-host which is a huge upgrade over Blair-solo. Also the 2017 version of PTS has a somewhat less disruptive Cox and a very good Madani in place of a steady diet of Shannon and Reid.
On the new show: 1) Brady will be working with someone with as much or more experience as his own. This will make for a different dynamic than we saw with Lang and with Walker. 2) The show will be hosted by two people with deep knowledge of markets other than Toronto. How much will the audience enjoy hearing both Montreal and Detroit references every morning? If they get tired of that then there are CFL and OTR references on offer up the dial.
The next shoe to drop is whether Bob finishes 2017 without a new contract. More and more I am tempted by the idea of Tim & Sid moving back to radio to take over that slot from Bob. Given the economics of radio, they would have to be paid in part by TV. That would mean airing the radio show on TV, which as we have already seen, means the radio show would be dragged down by all the visual antics and sponsor nonsense. As I have argued in the past, I can see a version of this where they do 2 hours of radio and 2 hours of TV with perhaps one hour shared between the two. That would allow Sportsnet to get full value out of their contracts.
I have said more or less all that I want to say about Scott Moore’s decision to hire Dean Blundell. Given the way Canadian media works it was always the case he was going to get another job. I just don’t think it should have been Rogers that gave it to him. The quotes from Moore, Julie Adam, and Don Kollins are now part of the record and there was one common theme: we think Dean can make us money and as a result we are willing to hire someone who was fired for promoting hatred towards gays and for mocking rape victims. Well, he didn’t make you money. Was it still worth it? Part of me thinks that the recent news that Dean’s 102.1 show played a role in undermining the justice system made this decision more urgent.
There ae some things we need to credit Don Kollins with while he ran the Fan 590: He brought in Jeff Blair, TIm and Sid and some guy named Greg Brady. The brain farts were convincing management that Andrew Krystal and Dean Blundell were going to transform sports radio, or better yet Toronto Sports radio like no one else had done ever and delivery massive audiences.
Did the good get outweighed by the moronic?
The reality is, sports radio listeners want to hear sports radio.
As we said when Krystal got deep broomed, it wasn’t his fault it didn’t work. Kollins brought in the equivalent of Howard Stern and made him (or them) do sports.
By all accounts, Blundell is a good guy, and a good broadcaster. He will work again, just not in sports. The feeling I am led to believe is mutual. Me thinks he, like Stern would be awesome on satellite radio.
Sources tell me Dean had less than a year left on his deal. He didn’t want to come back and do sports and his services were not going to be wanted at terms end by Rogers either. So, part ways now and let everyone move on. Dean, I’m sure gets a handsome payout provided he doesn’t re-employee anytime soon. All in all it’s a win win.
As for his sidekick Rusic? Yeah, if he gets to keep a role at the Fan he should be all over it, provided he wants to stay in the business. This has not been a positive experience for the guys reputation in my humble opinion. Put it another way, if he doesn’t stay on in betting radio he won’t be long for any radio ever again. At best he was a very, very poor person’s Ed McMachon. At worst? George Who.
and the new guys????
Well, if Brady fails at radio he has a future as the next Tom Vu.
I mean really. The guy got let go in part of a numebrs game at Rogers last February 10 sat on the sidelines, allegedly got paid for his timeout by Rogers only to return to the scene of the crime one year later. Paychecks missed???? ZERO.
I’d love to be person at Rogers who thought letting Brady go a year ago was the right play when there was a chance he’d be back a year later. Talk about delivering shareholder value.
How or who sold Scott Moore and the powers that be that something old is new again is quite interesting.
Brady is good on air and is versatile enough to mix the ongoing daily “stuff” in world events with what happened in the last nights Toronto games all at once. He can do x’s and o’s with the best of them and yes, he probably knows every contestant on the Bachelor too, let alone the top 100 songs from 1985. I’ll take Detroit sports history for 100 Alex.
Personally, I hope the time off has matured Brady some. In the post am show he had some less than stellar moments and it will be interesting to see if this is a new Brady or the same old same old. The test to me is can he learn from Mccown how to be the best interviewer around. McCown is the only guy on air who doesn’t have his interviews pre-scripted before they start Bob asks asks a question and the next question will entirely depend on the answer given. It’s a very hard thing to do. Brady needs to learn that to excel to the next level.
It is a very strange hire at the same time. Brining back someone fired while they were allegedly still on severance is well, historic. If it has happened in media or sports media I am unaware of where or when.
IMHO it’s as much of a statement on the lack of quality in the talent pool as anything else. If Moore, or Adams or Cadeau needed to replace Blundell, honestly, who was on the list???? Given the prominence of the show, there are very, very few names on the list if Brady is not on it. I’ve written about the lack of quality talent with the requite experience for years. The well is geting drier and that cannot be a good thing.
I’m going to take it on the chin on this one, but I don’t know Elliott Price nor his work. He has lengthy history in the game and that should bode well for both Cadeau and Brady. Given this from an article I read on Elliott:
“Price has been on Montreal radio since 1982, notably as part of Montreal Expos radio broadcasts on CJAD, CFCF/CIQC and the former Team 990. From 2005 to 2015 he was part of the morning team on Team 990 (later TSN 690), until he was laid off as part of budget cuts. In February 2016, he resurfaced on ethnic station CFMB 1280 AM, hosting a weekly sports talk show he produced himself and co-hosted with Grant Robinson. Last summer, it was upgraded to a weeknight show, and after a brokerage deal with Sportsnet was signed, it was rebranded Sportsnet Tonight with Elliott Price”
We can safely say he will fit right in with spry Jeff Blair and Bob Mccown 🙂 Truth be told if he knows his stuff who cares. He has a reputation for talking sports which is a HUGE improvement.
Hugh Burrill knows his way around Toronto sports. I love this gem from his wikkipedia page:
“Burrill became a sports reporter and substitute for Kathryn Humphreys as sports anchor.”
I don’t know Hugh at all, but I am told he will be a great addition to the Fan sports news team and will fill in well when either Brady or Elliott is AWOL.
So, what kind of show will we see?
Sources tell me neither Brady or Price had a say in who they’d be working with. This is the gig if you want it. Neither guy had any bargaining power and they ended up here together. Fascinating to see what happens when you put two hosts together. Naylor and Landsberg are still ironing out the bugs. It could take some time.
Has Brady learned anything since he last left the airwaves?
What will that first hallway meeting be like between Brady and old colleagues especially one Andrew Walker.
Speaking of Walker, this whole thing must sting a little.
He’s been left alone driving solo in the mid-day slot for a long time now. It would only be normal for him to be wondering what would have happened if he took the gig alongside Dean as originally intended. Would he now be part of the am show or would he be out with Dean too? No one can say for sure but they are questions that make me go hmmmm.
When Kollins booted Brady and Walker to the 1pm slot TSN should have grabbed them. I said that then. With Walker now stuck at 1pm on the Fan and nowhere to go for any foreseeable future, I’d take a run at him if I ran TSN (whch I don’t). Walker at 9 am is a huge upgrade for TSN. TSN offers Walker a whole lot of options that the Fan does not. What the hell do I know…
Well, for me Toronto is getting back a sports radio morning drive show. That’s a very good thing. It may not be funny, it may not be clever, but it will be sports. We probably won’t here about a colonoscopy or name calling of sports executives but it will be a sports show and damn it it’s been a long time since we’ve had that.