Is PrimeTime Sports In Decline? 31 Thoughts Takes To The Air & Trouble At The Athletic? Have the best ratings days for Prime Time Sports come and gone? A review of a new podcast and #metoo allegations against The Athletic

<span class="entry-title-primary">Is PrimeTime Sports In Decline? 31 Thoughts Takes To The Air & Trouble At The Athletic?</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">Have the best ratings days for Prime Time Sports come and gone? A review of a new podcast and #metoo allegations against The Athletic</span>

By TSM

Happy New Year!

I was overseas for the last half of December through the beginning of the year so I have been recharging the TSM batteries. So, no, not writing less per se, just taking a bit of a break. So, with that said here, we go!

Did you notice the Rogers press release about the successful year their properties had? This tidbit was the most telling to me “Prime Time Sports with the recently re-signed Bob McCown continues to be the most-listened-to sports radio show in the country with an audience share of 7.1.”

Now, don’t get me wrong but a 7.1 is a damn good number. Unless of course, your name is Bob McCown. PTS is known for being at least above an 8, if not closer to a 10 share. Recall if you will that with the Blue Jays in full playoff run mode, Jeff Blair was getting 10’s (to McCown’s 8’s).

It’s indicative of the medium when McCown is #1 in the business and the number he has is a measly 7.1. The question is what does it tell you about the newly re-signed host? I’ve said this too many times already, but for money, McCown remains number one only when he is interested in the subject matter. Recently the subject matter that Bob is most interested is Blue Jays related and with the team’s management apparently hibernating, coupled with the weak on-field performance of the team, McCown’s interest in the topics du jour is mild at best.

With that in mind, I guess I should not have been surprised when I learned this past week that Damien Cox would dramatically be reducing his time as the co-host of PTS. While I was not a fan of the move reuniting Damien and Bob when it was originally announced, I came to enjoy Cox sitting in the co-pilot’s seat. Like Cox or not, we all agree he was a massive improvement over Ken F’n Reid! I thought Cox and McCown worked well together and were easy to listen too. This round was much stronger than the last round.

So, who will be taking over in the co-host seat? Well, if Scott Moore has decided it hasn’t totally leaked out yet, but it sounds like Stephen Brunt could get yanked from the Blair slot and re-instated in the chair next to McCown.

Brunt is the most talented guy Sportnet under-uses in my mind. I know, I know, having him work on the video “essays” Brunt creates takes a long time and they are of extremely high value, but not having him write, has, in my opinion greatly diminished Brunt’s value. Brunt used to the must-read guy in the country when it came to sports. That, unfortunately, is no longer the case.

Having Brunt drive up the Blair show ratings is not nearly as fiscally valuable than having Brunt on with McCown. The money is made at the book ends; am and pm drive. Irrespective of the feelings, it makes better rating sense to have Brunt on the drive home show than at the irrelevant mid-morning slot.

I am not saying it’s a done deal. I am saying that I would not be surprised if Brunt gets moved. What off McCown not being happy when Brunt appeared on Tim and Sid? I guess we will see just how ruffled any feathers were if they are in fact reunited.

I happened to be on an airplane again this week and added the 31 Thoughts Podcast featuring Elliotte Friedman the author of the weekly article with the same title and Jeff Marek the guy who should be on the air a lot more, in my humble opinion as co-hosts.

If you travel a lot, podcasts on mobile devices are a great way to pass the time, especially if you work on the flight. I think I have stated this before but, with more and more radio shows now being recorded as podcasts, I find myself listening to less and less live radio too. Anyways, Marek and Friedman are two guys who just should be talking sports together. We are lucky enough that they are doing so in this instance in front of microphones. Both of them are totally comfortable talking on air, and they get along well enough that the camaraderie is apparent. My only comment about the weekly article published by Elliotte is that only about 40% of it is of interest to me. 31 topics are too much on a weekly basis for me to be interested in all of them. I wonder, therefore, how this show will evolve week to week and topic to topic too. Is there enough to talk about?

In any event, it was pleasant listening, educational, entertaining and good fun. I picked up the phone when it ended to see if the App had crashed or something as I still had another hour to go in my flight. I have added it to the list of podcasts I snag daily so I always have something to listen too. Side note, the Rogers ads for upcoming TV events- specifically the Ron MacLean one do NOT play well in an audio-only format.

I have to laugh at Maple Leaf fans on Twitter. For the vast majority of my 45 years, the franchise has been the joke of the NHL. Seriously, being a Maple Leafs fan after so many years of futility is reason alone to be psychologically evaluated in my opinion. So, when the team finally has good young players to celebrate, (good enough to actually think they could be on the right path,) 1.5 years into the post rebuild years, to see fans actually calling for Mike Babcock’s head on a platter is nothing short of hilarious.

Man do these people have short memories! I get it, we are all about instant gratification and we were spoiled with last season, but this is still a very young team. Why can’t people just enjoy the ride???

Lastly, in this era of #metoo, the folks at The Detroit Sports Rag had an expose last week about a reader the Detroit Sports rag’s accusations against an employee of the upstart subscription-based The Athletic. You know I am a huge fan and a paying customer of the Athletic so my bias is right there for you. I was first surprised that nothing has been said officially by The Athletic in response to the allegation, at least nothing I have seen. I was stunned when my email to the Athletic management went unanswered. Innocent until proven otherwise. The sounds of silence are not helpful in this matter either. No, I am not owed anything but my view of the outlet is slightly diminished when my emails go unanswered. You can read the story and decide on your own.

That’s all for today, happy, healthy to each of you and yours.

Jonah

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 33
  • comment-avatar

    Better Brunt, than any of the current roster of temps!

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    Thanks for another good read and welcome back. PTS is still a must listen sports program and agree with on all your points on the show and it’s future. Always reading and listening to good content.

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    Original Mitch 5 months ago

    I have to believe it’s Brunt himself who has chosen to be underused. I’m guessing he could do whatever he wanted at any time and they would say yes. I mean as great as the video essays are, all he’s basically doing is voicing an article he’s written. It’s not like he’s shooting and editing the pieces. Who knows how much of it is written for him as well? Point being, I doubt these keep him so busy that he can’t be utilized more by Rogers. Him and Bob are superb together and him and Blair are good together, imo. 

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    Brunt has felt woefully underused by Sportsnet for a long time. I agree with Mitch in that it seems like he just gets to do whatever he wants at this point. I could do without the video essays honestly. I’d much prefer Brunt was a regular radio co host, and a more frequent columnist. After hearing Brunt on Toronto Mike, I think he’d make an awesome podcast too, but that doesn’t feel too likely.

    I think Brunt and Blair are tremendous together, but a reunion of Bob and Brunt would be pretty cool.

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    As someone who isn’t a big hockey fan, I would have liked to hear Friedman do an all sports podcast, rather than hockey specific. He always struck me as unusually well rounded, and really knowledgable talking baseball/basketball on the roundtable.

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    I gave up on the John Shannon show with Bob McCown months ago, but I’d check back if Brunt were on it. I find I’m enjoying Overdrive much more these days. It can be pretty juvenile at times, particulary O’Neill, but I like Hayes and McClennan a lot. On another note, can anyone explain to me how to download TSN podcasts to my laptop? There’s no download button and I can’t figure out how to do it through Itunes. I tried asking TSN but got no response.
    Thanks.

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    The questions I have is that would Brunt agree to go back to PTS or would Bob even welcome him back given their “break-up” especially if Brunt maintains his work schedule where he essentially leaves for the summer?

    I’d also see this as a opportunity to bring in someone new but I have no clue who within the Rogers sphere would fit in well on radio with Bob and PTS.

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    Strongly support the notion of more Brunt and Marek and less Ken Reid (how about none). Just as an aside, I’ve stumbled across a drinking game that will have you completely loaded in less than five minutes. Simply do a shot every time the FAN’s Rob Wong says the word obviously. On the weekend he used the term in almost every sentence and, on one occasion said obviously four times while setting up a question. Now that I’m aware of this I can’t listen to Rob without losing my mind. To those of you more in the know about such things than me, would he not be spoken to by his boss about this?

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    Anthony 5 months ago

    You said something not so great about the Athletic, we await James Mirtle in 3…2…1…

    Im going to guess that Bob’s rating is more to do with the medium. As you mentioned yourself, you don’t listen to radio nearly as much as you use to. Id bet that most of those who no longer listen live now listen via podcast. I don’t know anyone who listens to live radio anymore, everyone under 40 listens to on demand podcasts.

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    Island Chris 5 months ago

    I think McCown welcomes Brunt back. McCown is smart enough to know that not only does he make good radio with Brunt but having a little animosity between them that he can play up on the air would make for even better radio.

    Bob more than any radio personality in this country truly plays a character on the air and I’d be surprised if he was a little more than only slightly annoyed with the Brunt situation.

    I wouldn’t mind hearing Bob, Brunt AND Cox together on the regualr but I doubt that’ll happen.

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    Original Mitch 5 months ago

    @bobjones 

    Be careful my friend, the word ‘obviously’ is a crutch in the English language similar to umms and once you notice it in a person’s speech, it’s all you hear like you mentioned with Mr. Wong. I promise you many many radio hosts at the Fan and TSN use that word multiple times, especially when asking a question like you mentioned. Please don’t try and hear that word, it’ll ruin your entire radio experience like it has with mr Wong 🙂 I know it has mine unfortunately 

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    Big time fan, been listening since I was a teenager, in my 40s now, and even wrote a blog about PTS on a daily basis reviewing each hour, until I couldn’t keep up anymore. I just don’t get why McCown came back. Absolutely no reason on the surface for him to return –> money-no, something to prove-no, legacy-no….he even openly told listeners that this would be his last contract, until he returned this past Monday to say the same thing. He’s tired and doesn’t have the same stamina and depth of interest as he used to. Incidentally, would love some more information on the contract situation with Sid. He’s been making more and more slight comments, including on instagram where a follower suggested that he should use his day off for resume writing. Seems to be a lot of news there to sniff out….

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    The only reason I’ve stopped listening to PTS was because I loathe Damien Cox. I could also do without so much John Shannon. Ive started listening to more overdrive. Its true what Robert has mentioned by it being juvenile, but they do have some good chemistry and its fairly entertaining.

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    Anthony 5 months ago

    @Sam

    I think the best before expiry happened for Sid.

    Once people see the shtick for what it is, he becomes predictable. Its boring listing to someone try to fake argue just to get a social media ‘moment’ or to play a character. Bob McCown plays a character quite well, Sid’s character isn’t that good and to be honest, has a very short shelf life.

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    It is interesting, and good I think, that 590 is now publishing podcasts for full shows instead of one hour chunks. Best part is indexing to specific interviews – that is a big plus!

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    Maybe, but the indexing is completely incorrect and how can Brady And Price have a 240 minute podcast for a show that is max 210 minutes including commercials, traffic and weather? Before this, their pod was about 40 minutes an hour. Today’s pod was a disaster. Pang noted at 1:28:15 (pretty specific) which is actually 5 minutes into a Clarke Judge NFL segment that isn’t even noted in the details of the show. Pang not on until 208:44. Also not noted is Brady and Price talking Leafs for about ten minutes that I would have scrolled to. Get rid of the bleeping highlights in their Podcast, may as well include traffic and weather. I used to listen to BP while jogging, now won’t even open it.  

    At other end of the spectrum is 1050 parsing out individual interviews between hours of the show. Stop already. More annoying, TSN puts the exact same copy in each hour of the show’s description. ‘in the second ( third) (fourth) hour of the show ‘Host Michael Landsberg and guest host Matt Cauz…’. F off. I clicked on a Pod called ‘Landsberg in the Morning’ and you have to bludgeon me to death with describing him as the host at the beginning of EVERY pod description? Also, don’t tell me it’s the second hour of the show when I know it’s the second hour of the damn show because the pod I clicked on is labelled ‘HOUR 2’. Use the KISS principle: ‘Hour 2: Darren Dreger, Tiki Barber. Also, talking Raps win over Cleveland’. 

    Fans know the show, you don’t have to write a movie trailer for each hour. I can only see 2-3 lines of description of a pod when I scroll thru the episodes of a Pod. Deliver what the show is in that 2-3 lines, don’t force me to click on every individual episode to see who is actually on the show. Step up your game. ‘Hour 2: Darren Dreger, Jack Armstrong’. We can fill in the blanks. If you insist on delivering one Pod for an entire 3-4 hours of a show, then give us an actual timeline. But for any show, if you say ‘John Doe starts the hour talking about the ABC team’ without a timeline, I tune in and catch the banter preceding it which sells the show – unless it’s ten minutes of John Shannon reminiscing about watching the Ed Sullivan show. Thanks. 

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 5 months ago

    @Sam

    You think money wasn’t a motivation? Wineries are expensive…

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    Mike V 5 months ago

    Sam put it pretty succinctly why Bob shouldn’t have come back but I wouldn’t discount money and pride as being motivating factors for doing so.

    MIB was asking about the Juniors gold medal game since nothing came out from TSN. According to Numeris, Canada medal round games were down almost 25% this year from last year. Looks like peak World Juniors has passed.

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    @yaz

    I think I agree with everything you said, but I’m also conscious that the price is also very good. If you see Mike’s most recent tweets, they are talking about a new technology out at Rogers with unskippable ads. It’s probably a decent trade if they actually get the indexing correct.

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    I still think Bob is well past it, but a lot of his performance depends on the co-host. As much as this pains me to say, I think losing Cox hurts the show. (God, I need a shower.) His traditionally contrarian, dickish attitude was tempered quite a bit last year and I found the show almost listenable when he was on. (Another shower needed.) No, the biggest problem with PTS is John ****ing Shannon. The man is insufferable

    and should not be anywhere near a microphone. If Brunt were to return as a regular co-host, then things would be looking up. It could happen. Bob has buried the hatchet with others (Doug MacLean) so why not Brunt?

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    There are two Sams here – lol. I was the Sam who wasn’t a previous pts blogger.  I’ll go by the name of Ottawa now 😉

    Bobs always had a bit of a carelessness about his audience. The time where there is really a caring of the audience is shortly before the holidays. But this time is kinda strange where he was adamant about leaving after the previous contract, comes back, and not much discussion about it. 

    I think some of us die hards also didn’t like the way Zaun was handled too, where for the first time Bob told the audience to NOT ask questions about that topic matter. 

    Anyways, hope this last contract brings some freshness to his shows. 

    Back to Sid, my kids love the guy. The connection between Tim and Sid is a genuine one too. There will be more of a social media outcry when Sid leaves than when Mccown does. 

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    Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t keep track of user names that have already been used. If you are a regular commenter — for which we and the readership are very grateful — then use the “register” function below to claim a user name that will appear in red. You can also add a user image, and there are a few other handy functions. You don’t need to enter any personal info.

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    Done! Thanks!!!

    From the looks of it, lots of people like discussing McCown, and as far as I can tell, there really isn’t a place to discuss the shows or even McCown or other personalities anywhere online. The more often you guys post content, the more it allows us to comment, so keep it up!! Thanks! ps. I may be the only die hard Sens fan thanking the Toronto Sports Media lol (well, TSM anyways!!) Cheers!

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    @Ottawa Have to agree about Bob banning all Zaun questions. Aside from showing the downside of being owned by the Team’s owner; it was particularly bothersome coming from someone who often speaks to “never being asked or told what he could or could not say” on his show.

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    Having Brunt back on PTS would be fantastic but I am trying not to get my hopes up…………..they are both pretty stubborn and Brunt has taken a few subtle shots at McCown on Blair’s show since the divorce…………reconciling with someone (MacLean) who is on your show for 10 minutes once or twice a month is a bit different than reconciling with a frequent co-host…………..it will be interesting to see what happens

    I agree that having a good co-host on PTS makes a big difference……….if they could somehow have Brunt do one or two weeks per month and then fill in the rest of the weeks with a rotation of Perkins/Madani/Friedman/Zeisberger/Grange/Cox I think that would be ideal

    Vendetta would be a disaster and so would the return of Ken Reid…………if they insist on using Shannon they need to use him in the 4 PM hour maybe once or twice a week

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    Blake 5 months ago

    @Curt; perfect word….John Shannon is insufferable..i will continue to say he is the worst thing at the fan590..which is only compounded by the fact the Geriatric NHL Cheerleader is ON THE STATION EVERY DAY! Hey Shannon, there’s a reason why you have never been asked to host in Bob’s absence, there’s a reason a new sports radio station launched in your home-town of Vancouver and you didn’t get a job. You’re horrible, gringe-worthy, and worst of all, ill informed. I hope someone of influence comes across these posts and comments and realized that their laziness, bias preference, old-boys club nepotism, or just plain ignorance is not going unnoticed.

    Big middle finger to whoever the PD director is..Scott Moore, middle finger to you too, Pal. You all Suck.
    Thanks for this medium, i was getting tired of mumbling to myself as i switched the dial everyday when i heard this Church Humored Senior Citizen Grandpa trying to talk sports in the most annoying day. Exhale

    -Blake

  • comment-avatar
    Blake 5 months ago

    ^*day=way (grr, typos)

    -Blake

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    Original Mitch 5 months ago

    Seems to me that Shannon must yield a heck of a lot of power at Rogers given the cushy gig he has carved out for himself. I guess with a 12 year agreement with the NHL and The fact that Shannon must have ties/sources within the NHL it makes sense for Moore to keep him around? I’m purely speculating over here as to why he’s on PTS.  
    My volatility toward him isn’t as strong as other posters here but that’s because I gave up on the Fan a long time ago. That said I do wonder why he’s there or anywhere in the first place. Talk about skewing older. Shannon telling me during an NHL game why this or that is happening? He’s never played or coached to my knowledge yet he’s my analyst? Lol. 

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    @Blake & Original Mitch ..Totally agree with your takes on Shannon.

    Like Mitch, I listen far less but decided to give the Roundtable another try. Another Shannon debacle.

    Every question or comment regarding the Leaf’s current slump was met with vigorous condescending “explanations” of how everything is fine and those outside the team obviously have got it all wrong. This guy takes the role of suckup/apologist to a whole new level.

    Back to other media options until (if) the co-host situation changes.

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    Seems there are two Daniels too, ha. I’ll register. Thanks MIB.

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    chiming in from the '6' 5 months ago

    If Sid S.being phased out on Sportsnet, so much the better. INfantile sports comments in general usually the leader in these annoying horn sound on air during interviews or one of his ignorant rants is why I’ve nevet been a fan of Sid going back to his radio days. Tim is tolerable because he at least supports Canadian university spirts tgrough his game broadcasts, over the years.

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    I agree with others here that Brunt is great. I listen to PTS and Tim & Sid via podcast, and am sad that Brunt only ever appears on the latter. I also listen to the Fan 960 (Calgary) morning show via podcast as I’m a Flames fan, and they talk to Brunt twice a week.

    I agree with the blog post that Bob is best when he’s truly interested in the subject matter, but it seems like less and less truly interests him these days. On days when he seems to be going through the motions, it can be painful.

    As for Cox, he can at times be grating and glib, and certainly thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. But he works well with (and plays well off of) Bob. He also isn’t afraid to take the piss out of Bob, which is something I don’t like about some of the on-again, off-again hosts.

    And although he’s not my favourite, I guess I’m the only one here who doesn’t hate Shannon? Yes, he usually tends to defend the NHL by instinct, but that works well when he can play off of Bob’s opinions (i.e. if Bob is attacking something stupid that the league has done). Frankly, the only co-host who I just can’t stand is Joey Vendetta. His ego, constant namedropping, and general style is too much to bear.