Post Labor Day Toronto Sports Media Roundup


Ahhhhhhhh yes, we are post Labor Day: MLB is heading towards their playoffs, both the NCAA college football season and the NFL seasons are underway, NHL camps are open(ing) in addition to other things going on.

No main topic today as I am home making soup for the upcoming holiday. Just some random thoughts. Buckle up, in absolutely no order here, we, go:

Awesome, awesome question. Why does the Fan 590 continue to dominate the Toronto sports radio market? Not sure if you heard it but Nelson Millman was on with McCown a few weeks back and they discussed this topic and more on a large anniversary of the station.

I will paraphrase here, but Millman basically said that being first counts, for a lot and also being the rights holder is invaluable too. Obviously having entertaining talent doesn’t hurt either.

So, not to beat the dead horse, one does wonder now that the two stations share the rights for both the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs are the Toronto Blue Jays the difference maker? Well, we shall see as the team has suffered one of it’s least memorable seasons in, if not team history, certainly recent history. Clearly this will affect both TV and radio ratings.

Personally, I think we are at the most interesting cross-roads in a long time with respect to sports radio in Toronto and perhaps even in Canada.

I have spent the last couple of weeks canvasing media types and people in the sports business asking the same question: You are the program director at the all sports radio station in town. Forget money, forget non-competes and assume you have the rights to all the teams that matter. Given where we are right now, and where you think the market is going, name your lineup. You can pull from TV, print, online – wherever. One caveat, you CANNOT have Bob McCown on your station.

I can tell you, the #1 response I got was “that’s a really hard question”.

The talent pool, at least right now, to those in the business especially, is extremely shallow.

David Naylor whether pushed, jumped or some combination has left the morning show at TSN 1050 and the station has not named a replacement. Folks, this is Toronto, the largest market in the country and one of the largest in North America.

The Fan 590 in their shuffle brought in a cagey veteran from Montreal that many Toronto sports fans had never heard of and paired him with Greg Brady who was paid a year to sit on the sidelines. I am not knocking either guy, but what does that tell you about what’s out there??

For the record, the Fan morning show right now is as good as it has been in YEARS. While Naylor and Landsberg was NOT good. One man Michael is not the answer to whatever the question may be.

How are things across the nation? How is this going to effect Vancouver?

The Fan brought James Cybulski back to sports for the morning show and Andrew Walker from Toronto to anchor the afternoon drive. When you know the one thing Vancouver aspires not to be is Toronto 2.0 it tells you a lot about the talent pool when Cybulski and Walker are the bookends.

The consensus pick for a show in my research, by the way??

Overdrive is everyone I talked to #1 choice for their non-McCown drive home.

After that, a million, rather uninteresting lists.

Besides Over Drive two guys were on 90% of the lists i received: Greg Brady and Jeff Blair.

One guy currently hosting a show was on only one list: Ben Ennis.

One massively shocking name not one person listed: Stephen Brunt.

Most common names not currently hosting shows to be in over 80% of lists?:

James Duthie
Elliotte Friedman
Dan Shulman
Jeff Marek
Shi Davidi
*Gord Miller (he does appear at times as a host on Leafs Lunch)

Congrats to Richard Deitsch and John Paul Morosi, despite not being in market, the people in the business I spoke to think you’d make good hosts in Toronto. Over 65% had you on their lists.

Biggest surprise for me?

Only 25% had Tim and Sid listed.

Bruce Arthur, Steve Simmons 20% had you as co-hosts. Damien Cox slightly higher at 35%.

So, there you have it.

Now I turn the question to you, one station, only name you can’t have is McCown. Who is your lineup?

So, back in the day people bought physical papers on their way to work or if you can believe it had them delivered to their homes/offices.

Back then which paper you read was akin to Coke vs. Pepsi, McDonalds vs. Burger King etc. My Dad read the Globe. Not sure why, but we got the Star too (that’s not a shot, but I was young back then so it wasn’t for me). We also got the Sun on Sunday (also very strange given my household but so be it).

So, back then not everyone would read every paper every day. It just didn’t happen. Loyalty was a thing. Back then papers having similar story topics (features not game summaries) made sense because, well, not everyone who read it in the Star would see it in the Sun or Globe Etc.

It’s my belief that the internet killed loyalty.

A sports fan these days can look at the Sun, Star, Globe and Post sports sections online and be done in 10-15 all for the low, low price of free. With social media marketing/promotion reading is now instant/on-demand so the reason for duplicative coverage is now gone. In fact, IMHO it makes the outlets look lazy and stupid.

Back in the old days, the Leafs would head to camp and every day each of the papers would feature a player, the same player it would seem, each and every day. The story would be the same, the quotes the same, but for the aforementioned loyalty reasons, totally understandable.

Today, it would appear the same thing is going on.

A quick scan through the papers (and online outlets) each of the last couple of days have included, the same stories each day.

I get it, everyone is dying for clicks and eyeballs but wow, to someone who reads a lot (and admittedly I don’t read a ton of the statistical “stuff”) there is no quicker way to get me to skip over or close a tab then the world of same.

It seems to me the winner in this digital age of evaporating audience will be the one who begs to be different.

I will be fascinated to see who it is that has the guts to try. Right now it’s awfully boring on a day to day coverage angle if you ask me.

Congrats, by the way to Toronto Sun writer Lance Hornby on his 30th Maple Leafs training camp.

Pretty funny by the way seeing Simmons and Cox tackle the issue of the Athletic as the upstart robs many traditional outlets of talent.

Speaking of the Athletic. I read Jolly Jonas’s article this am (another in the aforementioned list of SAME). At the bottom of the article it suggested several articles for me to read. The topics were in order:


Couple of thoughts:

  1. Where were the Blue Jays?
  2. Where were the Raptors?
  3. For a startup with tech backgrounds, where is the personalization in the recommendation engine? Clearly this is an automated list based on????????? NOTHING.

I’ve never, ever clicked on an Argo or CFL story since being a subscriber. Suggesting one article maybe. Not listing a Jays or Raptors article clearly shows me there is no analysis on reader behavior going on.

Richard Peddie in his book and on air likes to talk about his tight bond with Brian Burke. After this tweet/stance I wonder how tight that bond is. Funny, since Burke’s infamous “We’re not going to make the threat to leave. We’ll just leave,” Burke told a business luncheon at the Canadian Club of Calgary on Wednesday.” comment on June 8th Burke has been very quiet on the arena disaster.

Even with, ahem, Seattle inching closer to an arena, no one in their right mind thinks the Flames are leaving Calgary (for Seattle or anywhere else). The Flames owners are not going to win in the public sympathy arena. They are going to have to pony up. City of Calgary would be foolish to buckle IMHO, but good on the Flames for trying.

IMHO, best Flames arena stories this week? Alan Maki. Worst? Eric Francis. You read Francis and you literally get whiplash based on the ever changing take he has day by day.

I have to say that I’ve been impressed with Timothy Leiweke in his Seattle arena thus far. Not one mention of parade routes or taking down historical photos of old Seattle Supersonics thus far. Has the old dog learned a new trick.?

Meanwhile, what’s happening here in Seattle with the ex-mayor is nothing short of disgusting. How people like this ever get elected is beyond me. I had to laugh as McCown and Cox tackled the Seattle arena issue this past Tuesday. Clearly McCown had done ZERO homework on the topic as you could tell throughout the interview McCown’s producer was feeding him information on the story. About 5 minutes in to the interview McCown says ” I am right, am I not that this accusation against the Mayor was the 5th”… How you get on the phone with the guy given what’s happened hours earlier (The mayor resigned as he was walking with Leiweke to the stage to announce a MOU on an arena when a 5th accuser came forward) in the #1 drive show in the country is beyond me.

Speaking of Mayors. I’m clearly the curse. When I lived in Burlington Vermont Bernie Sanders, was I believe the mayor. When I was in Miami the Mayor was indighted for having dead people vote for him, I was in DC just after Marion Barry got the boot there. I was in Detroit when Kwame Kilpatrick was in office (and out) and yes, I was in Toronto for Rob (Tommy Boy) Ford.

Finally, back to lineups and my lists… Andi Petrillo and Jody Vance were the two women who appeared on my lists the most often. Andi at 30 and Jody at 20.

Happy reading ya’ll.


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