Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail

 

Good morning sports media fans. Despite the dog days of summer having descended on us, interesting media stories keep trickling in. Please continue to help by sending along your good and bad reads, interviews, and segments. DMs are always open and if you’re reading here then you should be following me on Twitter.

 

Suggested Listening: London Grammar

 

Ok, let’s go …

 

The Big Picture

 

With the news that Andrew Walker has been chosen to anchor the lead chair in the lead spot on Sportsnet THE FAN 650 this brings to an end months of speculation about whether YVR would draw from YYZ for their new all-sports radio station. The reason we have spent so much time talking about the new station is that this is the first major spate of hiring in sports radio since TSN1050 launched 6 years ago. (Of note: Cybulski was at the centre of both opening day line-ups. No one is ever really fired from radio)

 

A second reason SN650 has been notable is that this is the second market where Bell and Rogers will go head-to-head for the hearts and minds of males 18-54. Interestingly each network occupies the converse position as in Toronto. TSN1040 is the heritage brand with the old talent that some people can’t stand, and SN650 is the plucky upstart trying to leverage its TV presence to carve off a slice of the dudes in the key demo.

 

With so much bad news in the industry, radio chugs along as the little revenue engine that could, while print and TV and their bloated budgets take the bulk of the slashes.

 

I couldn’t possibly give an informed opinion on the strength of the YVR line-ups but we are planning to crowd-source a post on that topic so if you have thoughts, send via DM or email. The more interesting topic for readers is what this means for the line-ups and match-ups here in Toronto. Here are some assorted thoughts:

 

Ben-Solo?

 

Solo radio is hard. It is impossible to do well if you don’t have a massive guest budget (see, e.g. Jim Rome). If you are solo you’ll understandably take any chance to have someone else fill some air-time: your producer, an intern, someone hanging out in the hub, a TV talking head on a coffee break, random athletes with nothing else going on or a product to pump, the audience as part of opening the phones or an assortment of gag/themed call-in segments …

 

I understand that some people like the “guys ragging on each other” vibe this brings but it’s not for me. As a listener I have a hard time listening to a radio show with so few parameters. With that in mind, if the plan is to let Ben step into Walker’s shoes, I don’t expect the result to be great. The messaging to the audience when he joined was botched by keeping it as the Andrew Walker Show (withbenennis). If they keep everything the same and just shift him one seat over he’ll be regarded as a poor man’s Andrew Walker. Not a recipe for success.

 

Next Man Up?

 

My hope is management thinks seriously about building a coherent afternoon line-up that leads into PTS. The 1-4 slot has been a write-off for much of my life. Anyone remember Krystal PM or the Jack Armstrong & Doug MacLean show? Ben is a good broadcaster but needs a straight-man or woman to shine. Here are some possible pools Scott Moore could draw from when he decides what to do with afternoons:

 

A. The Radio Bench: Rob Wong, David Bastl, George Rusic, Dan Riccio, JD Bunkis, Joey Vendetta

B. The Affiliates: Ryan Pinder, Eric Francis

C. The Severances: Dean Blundell, Mike Richards, Matt Cauz, Mike Hogan

D. The Women: Caroline Cameron, Carly Agro, Jackie Redmond, Hazel Mae

E. Other: Eric Smith, Ken Reid

 

The more I hear Eric Smith on radio as a fill-in the more I think he is perfect for Ben for the next 2 months. He does a lot Raps work on TV but who knows what the long term plan is there. He’s done baseball before (Jays Express) and is as competent on air from a technical standpoint as anyone in the market.

 

Another option that fits is Joey Vendetta. His guest appearances from LA never made sense but since he has moved back to Toronto that problem goes away. His rolodex is peerless and would bring a different calibre of guest to early afternoons.

 

A third option is Hazel. She is perfect for her current job but for some reason they have Arash taking some of her time. She’s as smooth as silk on radio and I would love to hear her talk on a wide range of topics. I have no idea if she would be good but there’s only one way to find out.

 

Lessons from Walker

 

No one has had more success at a younger age than Andrew. If you bracket people who got into radio via family connections, he stands alone in terms of success. In 5 years in Toronto he went from update guy to 2nd chair in the AM-drive to co-host in the PM dead-zone to solo in the same slot and finally to #1 chair in the PM-drive in a major Canadian market. Compare that career arc to anyone else working in the country. No one has a better conversion percentage on chances given. The way radio works, he will now be a voice in Canadian sports for the next 30 years.

 

Three quick points:

 

1) Walker didn’t go to university but went straight to Western Academy in Saskatoon.  This is the same place that trained Dutch, and Dreger and Loubardias. Pretty impressive alumni. Take note if you’re planning your own attempt to break in to radio.

 

2) Walker managed to crack the Toronto market as an outsider despite being knowledgeable about things Torontonians ignore, like the CFL and CHL.

 

3) Walker refused to join Blundell’s company and took heat from management for it. Hard to argue that was a mistake now. Think about how things worked out for him compared to George Rusic, Kayla Harris, FaBro, and the rest of the people who went down with Dean’s ship.

 

 Over to you: Who should join Ben on The Andrew Walker Show? Will The FAN finally hire a woman to be a co-host? 

 

The Radio Wars

 

I ran a poll on Twitter about the SN650 vacancies, asking who from Toronto should go west. Here are the results:

 

 

With the news that Shannon will be keeping his talents in Toronto, we can turn our attention to the state of the line-ups. We will do our annual report card later this summer but here are a few thoughts in the interim.

 

This tweet by “Son of Steve” Jeff Simmons caught my attention:

 

 

The positive response — 400 likes! — is quite impressive. Hayes has enjoyed a blessed career so far at 640 and 1050, and management’s decision to shift Leafs Lunch into Overdrive has certainly paid off for him. While “Two and a Half Jocks” is not my cup of tea it is hard to argue with its broad appeal. It is also the top radio destination for all of TSN’s TV talent.

 

The key to Overdrive’s appeal is, in my opinion, the O-Dog. O’Neill is a rare talent: funny, self-deprecating, sarcastic, rich, opinionated … and a pretty good broadcaster as well. He’s the anti-Zaun. Listeners, especially those who love hockey have some great options 4-7. With the FAN’s commitment to supporting all things NHL, TSN1050’s investment in Leafs talk, and the rise of the Maple Leafs under Babcock, Lou, and Shanahan there has never been a better time to be stuck in your car on the QEW.

 

Moving backwards in the schedule, Scott MacArthur has to be excited about the shuffle at the FAN. He now gets the home-field advantage over The Andrew Walker Show. I have not spent enough time listening to this show to have an informed opinion but if I never hear the words “Uncle Shawny” again that is fine with me. Producer talk is an instant channel-changer. Save it for the breaks.

 

Scott hits baseball hard as he should. As mentioned before in this space, I wish he would cut the cord with Leafs Lunch and kick their leftovers out of the studio rather than wasting the first hour on hockey talk. (Retracted: apologies, this is not an accurate description of the current show) By contrast, I could see a nice arrangement whereby Hayes comes in early and spends the final hour with Scott. That might alleviate the need for a co-host.

 

I don’t listen to either of the hockey shows so I can’t comment on those. Mid mornings are not a fight because TSN1050 isn’t fielding a squad. The really interesting thing to watch is the matchup in the morning. Neither show is, in my opinion, anyone’s ideal pairing. TSN’s offering is clearly a stopgap measure while the clock runs out on Landsberg’s TV deal. Who knows what will happen when that expires. While Brady & Price is a new show, the move was forced by the gift that keeps on giving, namely the hiring of Dean Blundell (KGI™). I can’t imagine that re-hiring Brady after paying him to leave and putting with someone in his 60s from out of market was anyone’s dream team. This has temporary move written all over it.

 

The other big shoe to drop is this: if you skate to where the puck is going then in the next year lots of stuff in play. As we all know, Bob’s million dollar contract is up for renewal at the end of the year. While the co-host situation is better, it is not good. At the same time, Tim & Sid’s TV show is through 3 years. (Here’s a fun video from a simpler time when the show was announced.) Ratings-wise, T&S draws about 50k viewers compared to about 130k for TSN’s Sportscentre. There is simply no way to justify the salaries associated with those results.

 

To compound the incoherence, these two expensive shows compete with each other on TV. With Bob ready to work less it may be time to end this dumb idea of having two major shows on tv at same time. There are lots of possible moves:

 

  • Move Tim and Sid back to afternoons 2-5 on radio, shift PTS to 5-7
  • Move T&S to take on Jay&Dan in the late night/comedy timeslot, commit to PTS as your supper hour TV show
  • Move T&S to mornings on tv or radio

 

Over to you: What is the most pressing line-up change in need of happening? Who watches TV from 5-7pm?

 

Quick Hits

 

With the “Everyone Gets Rich” tour in full swing, it has been interesting to watch the response from the media to the Mayweather-McGregor fight. CBC Toronto paid someone to write about the event but neglected to provide any context for the non-sports reader.

 

 

Boxing will always have a special place in the heart of a certain kind of older male sports-writer. But clearly not everyone is on board. With recent tour stops featuring gay and racial slurs, some people voiced their displeasure:

 

 

Things are going really well for The Athletic. Here’s a recent story on their business model and their expansion plans. James Mirtle also penned a letter to subscribers, current and future, explaining how things are going in Toronto. With so much bad news surrounding journalism, it is hard not to feel great about their success. Congratulations to James and his team, and here’s hoping demand can keep up with supply. There has never been more unemployed sports writers, and they can’t all go work for TSN and SN or the league websites.

 

Ryan Wolstat of The Sun wrote the story that everyone was talking about this week — sometimes even citing him — about a divided Raptors locker room. As people pointed out on twitter: why was this story not written during the season and playoffs? It’s very frustrating that with so many people covering the team we have to wait until players are on their way out of town before finding these things out.

 

Rick Westhead and the TSN Originals team went to Cuba to do a story on Jays prospect and recent defector Lourdes Gurriel Jr. You can watch it on TSN’s website here. I reached out to TSN Senior Features Producer Josh Shiaman about the piece. Here are a few questions and his answers.

 

Q: How do you decide which stories to cover? Is it a group decision? How much do you have to convince your bosses that the expense is worth it?

JS: Upper management at TSN is firmly committed to great storytelling. It is part of who we are as a brand. With that in mind, I’m given quite a bit of flexibility when choosing what stories to produce. The final decision’s really come down to the size, scope and scale of a particular story. Our decisions also must ask whether the story can benefit our core broadcasts, such as CFL, World Juniors, NFL, etc. We also need to ask whether the story matters to our audience. Lots to think about, but ultimately it comes down to, “is this a great story?”  If so, we usually can agree on the details.

Q: After Fox’s decision to cut writing, video is a bad word among journalists right now. Do you see features as a possible outlet for journalists in an era where written stories are valued less? Do you think sports media should be doing more features?

JS: I can’t say I was a big fan of Fox Sports’ decision here. I feel we’re trending towards reading sports stories with 150 emoji’s instead of words. But in a world where “snackable” short form video content is becoming paramount, I do understand their logic. Sports journalism isn’t really in the click-through market anymore. It’s an attention market. Getting a click through online isn’t good enough. It’s far more important to maintain and hold your audiences attention. Bouncing from one, stackable piece of video content to another has proven to be an effective way of keeping that attention. And certainly, most journalists have recognized this trend, which is why you’ve seen so many fantastic print journo’s migrating over to the video side of the business. TSN utilizes quite a few historically print journalists now to tell amazing video features, such as Westhead, Michael Farber, Dave Naylor and others.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • NEW: Congratulations to Hugh Burrill for making his debut on a PTS roundtable. He joins an elite fraternity.

 

  • I am going to start adding “Intelligent people will understand this” to all my tweets:

 

 

  • Bryan Hayes and Steve Simmons discussed all the smart people on TSN The Reporters (July 6, Hour 1 of OD). Simmons: “And then you have Bruce Arthur who is as smart if not smarter than the rest of them …” Hayes: “Just ask him.” It’s nice that colleagues can joke like this.

 

  • Jays are considering switching  Saturday games from 1pm to 4pm or 7pm. I’m fine with it, but also have no issues with the status quo. Is this something people care about?

 

  • #BlockedbyBlair has a post on the Jays dance surrounding rebuilding. If you can afford it you don’t need to tear it down to rebuild it. Lots of value in free agency if you’re willing to pay. A hybrid strategy of eating salary to get prospects in return while making room for development in 2018 makes sense to me. That puts you in a position to compete in 2019. Sell!

 

  • Here’s a solid opinion from Deitsch:

 

 

  • Bob rarely mentions his two producers. Deitsch mentions them more as a guest than Bob does as a host.

 

  • I watched a few clips of PTS this week. None of the other hosts will spend an entire interview playing around on their phone. There is literally no reason to have Shannon on radio as a host. Interview him when Gary has news he wants to share.

 

 

  • My pal Dan in Pittsburgh is obsessed with blogs and bloggers.

 

 

  • He also wrote a story about trading for Kadri. Give the guy’s blogs some clicks, and be sure to check out the ads from Pittsburgh’s #1 Exotic Club.

 

  • Best wishes to TSN1050 APD, Overdrive producer, and wife of Noodles Steph Apolito who is going on maternity leave. Tough shoes to fill for her replacement.

 

  • PR Nightmares, Exhibit A:

 

 

  • If outlets want to be taken seriously, the #1 rule should be to give proper credit.

 

 

  • This sort of stuff drives me nuts. Journalists should be driving attribution policy, not corporations. What are they going to do? Fire all of you for insisting on a “no stealing” rule. (Nevermind).

 

  • Stephen Brunt was back in studio briefly this week. What do you do with your premium talent? You open the phone lines of course. No better use of the value he brings than to have him answer questions from callers about why this fight has “garnished” so much interest.

 

  • I have no idea what TSN sees in Jonas Siegel as a radio host. He is unpleasant, rude, bored, and boring.

 

  • If you didn’t get a chance to vote in our NHL insider poll, it is still open here. Kelly Hrudy is in last place with 8 votes but is only 3 away from catching up to Cox and Feschuk.

 

 

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thanks for reading and commenting,

typos fixed as my editor finds them

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 58
  • comment-avatar
    TWC 2 weeks

    In terms of solo radio, the person who fascinates me the most is the Spaceman on AM640 Saturday nights. No callers, no guests, no social media, and he fills 3 to 4 hours. Anyone know if he reads his comments, or does he just talk? Either way, quite amazing.

  • comment-avatar
    McIvor 2 weeks

    I’ve lost a lot of respect for Blair and Brunt the way they’ve been pushing this fight. Honestly, and I hate to say this, but I think they are being paid to push it. Sorry, but that is just how I see it.

    RE: T&S. Expect it to end this winter, with them moving back to the 1-4 on Radio. Cox and Shannon will replacing on tv from 5-7. Shulman replacing Cox on PTS with Bob moving to a significantly reduced workload next year.

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 2 weeks

    Great post, Mike.

    If Bob wants to do a shorter show, Tim and Sid 2-5 would be great. I think they had something unique and cool on the radio, but the 5-7 TV timeslot seems so odd. I’m never watching TV then, at least. Or you could compromise and do something like they do with Lebatard on ESPN. 3 hour radio show, and half an hour TV show.

    In the mean time, I agree Eric Smith would be a good option to cohost with Ennis.

  • comment-avatar
    Cowboyskanuck 2 weeks

    I think Walker has done well in this market. Face of PM drive, bump in pay, spin it any which way you want – leaving the Toronto market to go to Vancouver isnt even a latteral move, it’s a step backward or a demotion. It would be like having a mid-aftwrnoon show in NYC and being shipped to a place like Buffalo. A better time slot is meaningless in a smaller market.

    Once they committed to bringing Brady back, they should have just put Andrew back in the mornings with him. The show did good ratings before they were bumped out of mornings for a watered down version of Dean Blundell.

    Jays are considering switching Saturday games from 1pm to 4pm or 7pm. I’m fine with it, but also have no issues with the status quo. Is this something people care about?

    Yes, but more importantly it’s something they should care about. The kids who are there on Jr Jays Saturday particpating in activities and running the bases (My kid is 5 and were there often for Saturday home games) are their future ticket buyers. Saturday afternoon baseball has been a tradition in this city since the teams inception, it shouldn’t be messed with imo.

  • comment-avatar
    yaz 2 weeks

    Surprised Bob is beating four insiders in the poll despite the fact that he doesn’t watch hockey.

    I couldn’t stand Healy on HNIC but I appreciate his frequent appearances across all 590 time slots. I don’t think there was anyone else that appeared more other than Friedman during the 16/17 season. Healy delivers solid info at a quick pace and has above average knowledge on NHL business and NHLPA issues.

  • comment-avatar
    Paul G. 2 weeks

    @ McIvor: Cox and Shannon together…2 guys constantly ripping each other, LOL.

  • comment-avatar

    Jays are considering switching Saturday games from 1pm to 4pm or 7pm. I’m fine with it, but also have no issues with the status quo. Is this something people care about?

    In summer in Toronto thunderstorms roll up off the like like clockwork at about 4 or 5pm every humid day. They only last about 15 minutes, and then it’s sunny again, but they are going to have to keep the dome closed for the start of many 4pm games.

  • comment-avatar
    JR 2 weeks

    For all the talk about change to tv and radio … how come no one has discussed the lack of diversity over at TSN. I’m an old white guy and still would like to see people of colour properly represented. It’s a damn shame no one has called them out on that.

    Keep up the good work!

  • comment-avatar
    Cirroc 1 week

    @JR

    Not sure you can see colour on radio. As for TV, TSN has Nabil, Gurdeep, Jock Climie, Mike Stegall.

  • comment-avatar
    Big G 1 week

    I think Rogers has maxed out on the Jays, no where to go but down after this season, Time to sell, keep the real estate and broadcast rights. They will never make more money off a sale after this season. No prosepects, no exciting offensive players to market. Time to get the sale sign up. Take a listen to 590 everyone is baffled on what jays are going to do, from a business and talent standpoint. Sell high.

  • comment-avatar
    Mario 1 week

    Thanks for the read. Good for Walker getting a time slot in Vancouver and I’m sure a bump in pay. Ennis will will need a co host for sure and agreed a up in coming needing a break in the business .

  • comment-avatar
    Matthew Keffer 1 week

    Carly Agro would be my pick, when she co hosted one time she was impressive she can pull off well thought out takes she had a bit of the Bob pause where you could tell thinking instead of just spouting things, and had the personality also.

    But though to say how she would work with Ennis you never know who meshes together good until they do.

  • comment-avatar
    mikew 1 week

    but if I never hear the words “Uncle Shawny” again that is fine with me

    Him saying that drives me nuts.

    Too bad stuttering John Shannon didn’t move west, I would of drove him to the airport.

  • comment-avatar
    Jimmer 1 week

    I have always been a TSN guy. Your Bradys, Walkers, etal, I have no knowledge of.
    I hate radio vacation/guest host time of year!
    Overdrive is the only show in my history that I actually make an effort to tune in for.
    I have just discovered your blog and found it a fascinating read!
    I will follow via Twitter.

  • comment-avatar
    Robert 1 week

    Time to sell, keep the real estate and broadcast rights. They will never make more money off a sale after this season. No prosepects, no exciting offensive players to market.

    So, you would sell your house when it needed a new roof and the furnace just quit and the yard was full of weeds? You call that selling high? How about developing a farm system that delivers quality prospects and keeps the team in contention every year, something AA could never accomplish? Maybe that’s the time to sell. And why would anyone want the team without the stadium? So Rogers could pick the best dates for concerts? I’m guessing you’re not in marketing.

  • comment-avatar
    Steve in Waterloo 1 week

    I LOVE a Saturday afternoon Jays game, with the dome open. Have taken my family to many Sat afternoon games.

    At 6PM Jays game is trumped by Saturday eve dinner/social plans.

    I missed the game yesterday because they were in the US (Fox dictates the timing of the schedule?) and I was out for dinner at 6pm.

    JAYS people – don’t change, please….

  • comment-avatar
    Robinaurora 1 week

    I must say that I (pretty much) consistently disagree with anything and everything Mike on Boston blogs about… This site also seems to be a long-running advertisement for The FAN 590. Anything to do with TSN 1050 is either breezed over quickly or a thinly-veiled shot.

    I can’t list everything here that ticked me off in this week’s piece,, but I will say that I find Jonas Seigel to be pretty entertaining and engaging as a fill in on Overdrive. Far superior to Feschuk or Derek Taylor. Those insults are more aplicable to Bob McCown than to Jonas Siegel…and at least Jonas has a sense of humour, even if it’s pretty dry. For a guy whining about all the cuts being made in the industry, trying to get Jonas fired should be the last thing this blog should be doing….

    IMO the Tim and Sid show is hot garbage…it’s an embarrassment. Putting them back on radio where they can be more easily ignored is one solution. Putting them up against Jay and Dan would kill their careers completely. (I for one hope they choose the latter of these two options).

    One thing I do agree with is that John Shannon is just awful. I wish he would just go off into the sunset. I don’t subject myself to the Fan 590, so I never hear that, and he’s another of the too many reasons to lost here that I avoid anything carried on Sportsnet

  • comment-avatar
    Robinaurora 1 week

    I should say that Tim (of Tim and Sid) would be fine without Sid. The show is awful. Tim has talent, but he’s being dragged down…(I think I should have been less harsh in my post).

  • comment-avatar
    Sam 1 week

    Re Deitsch’s comment about mentioning producers… when I first saw that on Deitsch’s twitter feed I immediately thought of Bob and laughed.
    To be honest, I could not care less who the producers are. However, I notice on a daily program like Metro Morning (for example), they’ll mention the producers once a week on Friday, at the end of the show. I’d be ok with that.

  • comment-avatar
    Big G 1 week

    So, you would sell your house when it needed a new roof and the furnace just quit and the yard was full of weeds? You call that selling high? How about developing a farm system that delivers quality prospects and keeps the team in contention every year, something AA could never accomplish? Maybe that’s the time to sell. And why would anyone want the team without the stadium? So Rogers could pick the best dates for concerts? I’m guessing you’re not in marketing.

    Robert

    Selling an asset is purely based on the market place(What people are willing to pay), a small example is the current housing market, no matter what the house looks like the market will help it’s value as it is red hot, the team value based on the market place is close to 1 billion dollars,I would advise you to check the Florida Marlins potential sale price, they don’t get fans, the location is terrible they are getting rid of all their player assets, Yet the team is soliciting bids at a billion dollars, so what is driving their value? could it be the market? You ask sarcastically if they sell under the current state of the team if that would be selling high? and my answer to that is absolutely!!!!! doesn’t sound like you’ve followed this team very long or maybe it’s that economics isn’t your thing. The Jays purchased the team for 100 million plus and now the team is worth 1 billion, that is a thousand times appreciation. I’d probably say, that would be selling high. If team value was purely linked to w/l could you imagine teams that are building through the draft win 60 games a season for four years straight what would they be worth.

    You ask why anyone would want the team without the stadium, well if you go back, Rogers initially purchased this team without the Skydome and later purchased it for pennies on the dollar. Not every team owns the real estate that they play in, some have lease agreements, on the other hand many stadiums are publically funded a team can get a stadium built by the city at the drop of a hat, especially in a sports crazy place like Toronto, this goes on all the time, public officials get bribed, threats from owners that they will move the team etc. It’s no sweat for a large sports enterprise to get a stadium built, this would not hinder a sale.

    In regards to AA and the farm

    I’m not sure where you’ve been for the last several years,contrary to your notion about AA and his contributions to building the farm, AA drafted Stroman ,Sanchez,Pillar,Osuna (one of the best closers in the game) drafted and traded Sindaguard (one of the best young pitchers in the game) drafted and traded Kendall Gravemen one of the most coveted pitchers at this trade deadline for one best hitters in the game in Donaldson,unfortunately while trying to strike a balance between building the farm and being competitive now, he moved key prospects that yielded a substantial return of top tier vets that provide a two year window of opportunity to win everything. let’s not forget the trades equated to two ALCS appearances which drove ratings through the roof and made shareholders very happy.

    By the way a marketing person has nothing to do with the sale of a team a marketing person simply builds and enhances the revenue streams of the organization through a series of selling points. A sale or acquisition is about the owners and board of directors.

  • comment-avatar

    I’d love MLB to encourage Rogers to sell. Their current policies prohibit corporate ownership.

    One thing to remember is while Rogers owns the Dome, they don’t own the land beneath it. Not sure how much of a hurdle that would present in a possible sale to someone like Godfrey or Balsilie or whomever.

    If I’m the city I fight hard to make a new Dome part of the plans for the Rail Deck park. If that ever gets built the stadium could be an incredible centerpiece. Like having Yankee stadium at the mouth of Central Park.

  • comment-avatar
    George In Hamilton 1 week

    If Rogers sold the team I think Jeter would be a great owner. Imagine Jeter who torched the Jays throughout his playing days purchasing the Jays. Would that beef up the rivalry with the Jays? I think it would as Jeter would be trying hard to beat his former club. It would be great for baseball.

    Everything Jeter would be removed from Yankee stadium.

  • comment-avatar
    Paul G. 1 week

    The Dome sits on what is designated as the “Toronto Stadium Lands”. This is a 4.4 acre property owned by the Canada Land Company’ which is a federal Crown Corporation. They oversee a myriad of federal government properties across the country; including Downsview Park (former C.F.B. Toronto).

  • comment-avatar
    Big G 1 week

    I’d love MLB to encourage Rogers to sell. Their current policies prohibit corporate ownership.

    If the league pushes Rogers to sell they may do something like sell to Edward.
    That way it “eliminates” the corporation but stays in the family to appease the mlb’s ownership preference.

    However if shareholders want to Maximize a return and have their way, I could see people like

    Jim Shaw
    Larry Tanambaum
    Derek Jeter

    as potential suitors.

    In terms of the Rail Deck park proposition a new dome would compliment that infrastructure nicely, great selling point.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 1 week

    Anyone who thought they were selling a professional sports team high in the last 30 years has seen the value reach a new high in short order. I’ve heard talk about Rogers selling the team for a decade, still don’t see it happening. Besides, why would anyone want Jeter owning the team? Allegedly, he can’t put up the money for his very small investment in the Marlins but wants to be given all the power once in charge. Could easily see it being a Jordan/Gretzky situation.

    Why do you see the FAN morning show as temporary? It’s hosts are a guy who has already been burned once and a lifelong Montrealer being asked to relocate his family to Toronto. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t see buyin from them without a serious commitment in a written contract. Plus the show is already delivering what the wannabe shock jock promised but couldn’t – an audience.

    Think I’ve said my feelings on Walker enough. Glad he’s leaving for Vancouver. Always have thought Ben Ennis had promise, if he has the right partner, I could see the show succeeding.

    Now that The Athletic is self sufficient with its current subscriber base, are you two still getting condescending emails about it from people running legacy outlets whose decisions and failures made The Athletic a necessity for a whole swath of sports consumers?

    Tim and Sid: consider it’s not the medium that’s wrong but that the audience has tired of the shtick. Clearly there are people watching at supper hour if Sportcentre is drawing 130k and an unspecified amount are watching PTS.

    Finally kudos to you MIB for your (temporary at least) residency inside Dean Blundell’s head. Maybe while you’re there you can plant the seed of understanding for why media criticism is valid.

  • comment-avatar
    Big G 1 week

    Anyone who thought they were selling a professional sports team high in the last 30 years has seen the value reach a new high in short order. I’ve heard talk about Rogers selling the team for a decade, still don’t see it happening. Besides, why would anyone want Jeter owning the team? Allegedly, he can’t put up the money for his very small investment in the Marlins but wants to be given all the power once in charge. Could easily see it being a Jordan/Gretzky situation.

    Within the last 30 years obviously values have appreciated, however within the last 5 or 6 years there has been rapid growth to team values in pro sports, I would guess once Steve Balmer purchased the clippers for 2 billion dollars it sent values through the roof.

    A decade ago Rogers was still a relatively new owner in the mlb. Today with media budgets getting tighter, the team on the verge of a rebuild (likely to cause a pullback in viewership/attendance) , and the massive growth in the value of mlb teams not to mention that the organization/ownership has likely exhausted all it’s revenue stream with this business, this is a great opportunity to cash out. A minority stake is also another way to cash out and a way to appease shareholders. Bell has 18%, of the Canadians which keeps the club synonymous with the brand, i.e. Bell Centre (home of the Habs and Bell has regional rights to the Habs. Rogers can have the same model in relation to the Jays.

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    Blake 1 week

    ‘With the news that Shannon will be keeping his talents in Toronto..’ i sincerely hope this was written tongue and cheek…

    Radio personalities like John Shannon are why the Fan has been in a constant state of Flux for the past decade. There is a reason young talent continues to be plucked away (Shulman, Friedman, etc) while Hosts in familiar time-slots are juggled more than what Shannon does with Bettman-parts under the table. I attribute it all to Laziness. Lazy Bob McCown, Lazy Hockey Central at Noon. Shannon’s attempt at ‘banter’, his attempt to talk sports he clearly has no business talking about is painful to listen to. His ‘Christian-Grandpa-PG-13’ personality is grating to the ears, his Harry Potter glasses and short sleeve dress shirts holding in his protruding pot-belly are a further attack on my senses. The question remains–why does this guy have such a HUGE role on such an important media outlet in this city? Is there any answer? Aside from feeding us information Bettman clearly leaks to him and having Stan Bowman, Scotty Bowman, Bob Nicholson and Dale Talon interviewed in his incessantly irritating repetitive manner (come onnn, come onnn, come onnn) every other week, he holds ZERO appeal to a sports fan.

    i have been a loyal listener of the Fan since the CJCL days..so much so that i remember Eric Smith hosting the very afternoon slot you are pegging him for…he was boring, monotone and unable to offer his opinion without painstaking covering his butt by opining both sides of a story. And he remains the very same way today.

    Go Away John Shannon. Take ur half sleeved dress shirts, your Harry Potter glasses, your very bad hair-piece with you. You are a very old, boring stain on a media outlet that has gained a much younger fan-base in the past few years.

    Good-day.

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    northyorkcanuck 1 week

    I don’t understand the Walker move. Optically, it seems like a demotion. Vancouver is beautiful, but it’s a far lesser sports town. I don’t understand it from Sportsnet’s vantage point either. Someone like Brad Fay might have made sense, but Walker has no connection to Vancouver (at least none that I’ve ever heard him state). As a newcomer to the market, he’ll be in tough against TSN’s well-established Sekeres and Price in the drive-time slot. And that owner in Vancouver is very Trumpian. He expects the Canucks’ official broadcast partners to act as PR arms–no criticism.

    I have lots of respect for Bob McCown’s career, but he works 12 hours a week, most of them mailed in, and takes tons of vacation time. If that’s too much for him, just move on and give that slot to someone who wants it. It’s a pet peeve of mine to see industry veterans able to half-ass it, while young broadcasters, some of them willing to work their tails off for an opportunity, can’t get an in.

    I always saw Tim and Sid’s TV show as a Sportsnet vanity project. Simulcasting radio shows is one thing, but the idea of a radio program (talk, opinion and interview segments) re-rigged specifically for TV doesn’t make sense. Babble works when you’re sitting in traffic. Sportscentre beats them so handily because hard news and stage-setting of that night’s events are more digestable for TV audiences.

    I’m glad the Jays are at least looking at later Saturday starts, for a few reasons. I’ve always found two 1:00 pm games every weekend series excessive. Many full-time professionals like to sleep in and relax on Saturday mornings, and 1:00 can be early for people who are coming from the outer parts of the GTA, and beyond. Viewership is another issue altogether. Sometimes, sitting in my living room just isn’t what I want to do in the middle of the day on a summer Saturday. I’d rather be outside, and I often pass on weekend games for this reason. My childlessness may be colouring my opinion here, but why are Junior Jays Saturdays incompatible with 4:00 pm starts? Or, what would be lost by merely making them Junior Jays Sundays?

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    Pants Go Brown 1 week

    I voted for Shannon to Vancouver b/c I hate him on the Fan TO. NHL apologist, lover of the old boys network.

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    Pete 1 week

    As much as I would love to see the faceless corporation rinsed clean of the team, I can’t see Rogers selling the Jays with the massive TV content they get behind holding the team. Godfrey as owner? shudder

    If there was ever a time for either of the stations to infuse a female as a full-time radio co-host, now would be it with Walker leaving. It’s in an “off” time slot, the co-host (Ennis) is relatively fresh so I wouldn’t see him being as difficult or overpowering as someone with tenure behind them, and it would finally put to rest the talk about male dominated radio stations in the city (which I personally find is much ado about nothing). My guess would be they would want Jackie Redmond. But I’d prefer someone with no arrogance behind them like Agro or Cameron.

    I definitely don’t think Brady & Price is temporary. But I’m having difficultly latching on to the new show. Brady is still sarcastic as ever and Price is meh. I don’t sense much chemistry between the two. I thought Burrill’s appearance on the Roundtable was a coming out party for him.

    Siegel is flat out horrible, agreed.

    Lastly, can Steph keep Noodles home with her for the year she is off? Overdrive is much much better without him. Gawd I have such an irrational dislike for him.

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    BRAD Gillis 1 week

    What is Renne Young situation now, I think she would be a good co host for Ennis.

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    4x4 Time 1 week

    Just curious, is Chris Shultz no longer at TSN…Anybody know?

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    McIvor 1 week

    Vendetta is insufferable. Hard to believe they could find someone more up their own ass than Damien Cox, but leave it to 590 to do it.

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    Original Mitch 1 week

    You think contest winner jackie Redmond would want to spend her days on radio? You really think Agro doesn’t want to be on tv? These people got in the business to be on tv not on radio. Occasionallly? Sure, but full time? No way!
    Personally I think Ennis will be alone. Clearly Rogers saw this Walker move coming when they randomly announced Ennis was joining him. Didn’t make sense at the time with Bunkis talking half the time. Now we know why. They were grooming Ennis for this role and that’s fantastic considering he’s a true home grown, started from the bottom, talent. He’s from Toronto and lives and breathes TO sports. Honestly, how many other Fan personalities from Toronto? I love it. He represents the city.

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    @McIvor – Agree 100% about this egomaniac Vendetta – He comes across as an over the top namedropping aggressive listen to me me me guy – I understand he is on all week – Well this long time listener will not be tuning in this week – Does Bob have no control over his line up? What happened to Cox?
    I didn’t think it could get any worse then that Reid character but they have managed to do it – Give me the good old stumble bum Shannon over this guy anyday – I got the impression from listening to an hour or so that Bob had let the whole show get taken over by Vendetta – It certainly wasn’t the Bob I had expected
    to hear – Maybe he really is getting ready for the golden handshake – Was Vendetta not on as a fill in somewhere a few months back? I remember not liking him then –

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    Paul G. 1 week

    @ Mont…long time listener? If so why don’t you know where Cox is?

    God only knows Bob has been referring (taking “shots”) about it for over a week, (vacation in Europe). I for one, don’t miss him.

    As for wanting Shannon back…I’ll open it up to the posters on this board.

    Vendetta may not be anyone’s first choice but… “worse than Shannon and/or Reid?

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    @Paul G – I guess by long time listener I mean when I am at my computer as I have to stream it – 590 does not come in here in London – So that is why I heard the random ‘shots’ at Cox as he is on vacation – I don’t miss him either – For my taste and listening habits I certainly consider Vendetta worse then Reid and Shannon – His breathless aggressive style and name dropping is just counter to what I am used to on PTS with Bob –

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    Pete 1 week

    You think contest winner jackie Redmond would want to spend her days on radio? You really think Agro doesn’t want to be on tv? These people got in the business to be on tv not on radio. Occasionallly? Sure, but full time? No way!

    Jackie Redmond has been tasked with a few TV pet projects, so besides a few fill-ins, yeah, I don’t see it.

    Agro though is interesting. She’s too pretty for radio. But a full-time radio co-hosting gig could be quite tempting as it would allow her to showcase her sports knowledge as opposed to reading it off a prompt. I’m sure she’d still get some TV air time as well.

    Personally I think Ennis will be alone. Clearly Rogers saw this Walker move coming when they randomly announced Ennis was joining him. Didn’t make sense at the time with Bunkis talking half the time. Now we know why. They were grooming Ennis for this role and that’s fantastic considering he’s a true home grown, started from the bottom, talent. He’s from Toronto and lives and breathes TO sports. Honestly, how many other Fan personalities from Toronto? I love it. He represents the city.

    I agree that Rogers put a succession plan in place with Ennis knowing a Walker move was in the works. I further agree with everything else as well. He put in his time doing everything he was asked to do, on radio and TV at any hour of the day in any role, and was rewarded for it.

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    Since the friday roundtable was Shannon-free I risked it and listened to the 6pm hour. Hugh did a great job … picked his spots and didn’t try to shout over people. Nice work.

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    Paul G. 1 week

    @ Mont. It never occurred to me that you can only listen via streaming, although I now recall you mentioning it in previous posts. Glad we agree about Cox…LOL.

    @ MIB. I felt the same about last Friday’s roundtable. It was a decent friendly discussion between four guys, that was not difficult to listen too. A simplistic take perhaps, but for me something that occurs all too infrequently these days. Reminded me of PTS in years past. For his first appearance, I thought Burrill was fine and did not detract from the panel.

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    Louis 1 week

    Eric Smith and Paul Jones would be great replacements for Walker. PLEASE not Vendetta.
    Saturday Blue Jay games at 4pm would be great again.

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    Anthony 1 week

    @Mont

    Just a question because Im honestly curious. What do you like to listen to on the radio. I’ve seen you post often about all your hates and things that you don’t like, but what do you actually like? You do like things, correct?

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    @Anthony – Fair question – I am a fan of PTS with McCown – I don’t mind Shannon – I detest Wilner – I am no fan of call ins as I don’t really care what Bruno in East Jesus thinks about anything – I don’t mind the morning guys on the Fan – My main beef is with the ads – Apparently only 4 or 5 companies advertise on the fan – Some guy selling suits another outfit removing junk and somebody screaming at me to buy a car – I don’t listen to anything else on commercial radio just the Fan AM and PM and never for PTS phone in – Otherwise I stream old time radio programs – 50s RnR – British comedy – and anything that catches my fancy that is free and has no commercials – I use gameday to follow baseball – FYI I haven’t watched TV (except in my local)for more then 12 years as I cannot stand the ads – Far more then you care to know I am sure but you did ask –

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    MattK 1 week

    I doubt Cameron, Redmond and Agro would make 6 figures and if they do it wouldn’t be much. Andrew Walker probably made more, if you can become a big time radio person it is more then a highlight show person. I haven’t listened to Cameron and Brady’s podcast but I think it shows radio has value that she is doing it.

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    McIvor 7 days

    Right now, Joey Vendetta is illustrating a big problem with a sportsradio. He has two women as guests that are very knowledgeable about sports and what is he asking them? What’s it like to be a woman in the industry. There is plenty going on in the sports world that he could ask them and he’s wasting our time with this shit. Anytime they try to actually talk sports he steers them back to talking about what it’s like to be a woman.

    What a goddamn waste, sportsradio honestly needs a Robespierre to clean it out.

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    Paul G. 7 days

    Re: Vendetta today.

    Christine Simpson started to tell a story about an interview she did with Bruce McNall involving Michael Eisner. Joey interrupts her with his own Eisner story and then redirects the conversation to another topic; so we never get to hear her story.

    Take him out and let Christine and Caroline Cameron host on their own. I may or may not like what I hear (so far I am enjoying their contributions); however I would like the opportunity to judge for myself.

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    Anthony 7 days

    @Mont

    Thanks. If I where you, Id listen to everything via podcast, it takes out ads and you can only listen to what you actually want to listen. EG. If I don’t like Ken Reid, I can skip Ken Reid….

    @McIVor
    Two days ago you said how much you hated Vendetta. Yesterday McCown was very vocal about his vacation and that Vendetta was taking over. If you don’t like someone, why are you listening to them? I don’t understand that mindset. Why listen to something that will only make you complain?

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    Hans 7 days

    I don’t mind Vendetta even though he’s not necessarily a “sports guy” only because he’s a different voice compared to the rest of the usual Rogers crew. That said, his constant name dropping gets tiring but we need to realize he comes from the entertainment side and there name dropping is normal so I can forgive him.

    On the other hand, I am enjoying seeing Christine Simpson and Caroline Cameron on the show and hope we get more of them in the future. Perhaps that 1-4 slot that’s being discussed?

    Sadly, the fact that both are on when bob isn’t there lends a little credence to idea/rumour that Bob likes his show being “no gurls allowed”.

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    McIvor 7 days

    Anthony: It’s impossible to avoid listening to it where I work.

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    (Another) Andrew 7 days

    My main beef is with the ads – Apparently only 4 or 5 companies advertise on the fan

    From what I can tell virtually all Canadian radio and TV is the same. This weekend during something I was watching they repeated the very same commercial back-to-back at least twice. Very annoying. When a sporting event other than soccer, which has no commercials until half-time, is on both US and Canadian TV, I always put it on the American channel just to avoid the mind-numbing repetition. I do this even when I prefer the commentators on the Canadian broadcast.

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    I just spent the last 10 days in Vancouver………..my advice to Walker would be to brush up on his BC Lions knowledge because I heard more Lions/CFL talk in 10 days than Argos/CFL talk in 10 years in Toronto…….I’m sure one of the reasons why the TSN radio station there talks Lions is because of TSN’s relationship with the CFL but I don’t think it’s the only reason……..there is actually a fair amount of Lions interest in Vancouver right now

    In addition to that, Walker is going to have to talk a lot about the Canucks (who are a doormat right now), the Whitecaps, and the Seahawks………he can only interview his hockey pal Karl Alzner so many times………the Seahawks might be the team that he dislikes the most in all of sports so it’s pretty amusing that he is going to a market where they are the dominant NFL team

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    Original Mitch 6 days

    I’ve noticed the same thing during bluejays games. Every commercial seems to be about Rogers or Sportsnet. Jays are a ratings bonanza, so where is all that precious ad money?

  • comment-avatar
    Omar 6 days

    @Mont @McIvor

    Anthony doesn’t care what you listen to he’s just here with his quarterly refrain complaining about people who complain about sports radio while adding nothing of substance to the discussion. Eg. His patronizing “You do like things, correct?”

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    Paul G. 6 days

    @ Mont & McIvor

    Omar is correct. He went after me a few weeks ago and has done the same to others.

    As soon as you criticize a particular element/segment of a show (in my case PTS), he comes back with his standard “why do you listen to something you don’t like”? It is then usually followed by “Just curious” or “I just want to understand…” etc.

    When I explained that although I like a show/host/ format overall there are certain elements on a particular day that I may not like; he just repeats his questions again and again.

    *Note: I will respond to any comments from other posters on this, but NOT Anthony.

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    Brad 6 days

    I’ve been banging the 4pm Sat starts drum for a long time, at least 10 years when I used to work ’em. No reason whatsoever that Jr Jays can’t be switched to Sunday, which already lends itself to a more family friendly atmosphere.

    Agreed, but the only upside to having Jonas on Overdrive is enjoying O’Neil take the piss out of him. Otherwise, he is a complete wasteland, but at least he’s not Feschuk. McLennan is also redundant, and it really seems like a no-brainer to put somebody else in his chair that can contribute something more than Pronger and Iginla stories.

    I don’t care where Tim & Sid go, as long as it is away.

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    @Omar – Thanks for this – I had an idea he was a bit condescending with his ‘you do like things correct’ snide remark – Maybe he has to give up the computer when his folks get home –

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    Big G 5 days

    Here Here

    Anthony has been trolling people this way in many posts. I think it’s extremely odd that he tells posters not watch or listen to something they don’t like and at the same time comes on here constantly complaining about opinions, does his own message not apply to his behavior?

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    When I found out that Hayes was away last week and that Derek Taylor was one of the OverDrive hosts my first thought was that I picked a really good week to be out of town………..it’s bad enough that two of the three OverDrive hosts are gone for all of July & August, but many of their best regular guests (Ferraro, Duthie, McKenzie, etc) are also in hibernation too

    Did anyone else find it amusing last night when Vendetta and McCown were accusing OJ Simpson of having a really big ego?………Vendetta has a bigger ego than just about anyone I have ever heard on sports radio