Is PrimeTime Sports In Decline? 31 Thoughts Takes To The Air & Trouble At The Athletic?


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.


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