Forum: TSN1050’s Power Play

by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail


I am stuck at home sick with a cold and thought this would be a good time to ask some questions of the current radio listening audience. I have been on a sabbatical from sports radio for the last 6 months to protest the diminishing role of Halina Balka at Rogers so I am relying on you to give some insight into the state of the current radio lineups.


Grading TSN1050’s Great Experiment


In February 2016 TSN1050 made their boldest move since deciding to launch a sports radio station to compete with the FAN590. When Don Kollins gave them an opening by dumping the popular duo of Brady&Walker for Dean Blundell in February 2015, TSN responded. Dave Naylor moved from drive time to the morning alongside TV personality Michael Landsberg, and TSN’s popular lunchtime Leafs program made the jump to the 4-7 slot to compete with Bob McCown & Friends. TSN also made Andi Petrillo Toronto’s first female sports radio host in a generation.


You can read about these changes in our Report Card post from Fall 2016. Jonah and I received a lot of response to this post from people in the industry as well as the readership. Our friend “darren” is still angry I’m told. If you have time, go read that post and some of the comments. They are very interesting in hindsight.


In that post we made a few predictions and ended with this:


“With all of that said, the 2016-17 academic/radio year is clearly about positioning for the future. We are looking at a landscape with no more PTS (at least not the PTS we all know and have feelings about), no more Dean Blundell, and no more Mike Richards. Those are big presences and big salaries. So the lineups as they stand will almost certainly not be the same this time next year. Jay & Dan are in the process of flunking out of the US. TSN Radio has 7 stations across the country where they could be developing talent and building their brand. The FAN has only 2 but could add more”


Things we got right:


  • Dean was fired in early 2017, with Greg Brady returning to the fold with Montreal’s Elliott Price
  • Mike Richards (1-4) was not renewed, with Scott MacArthur officially named as his replacement in January 2017
  • Sportsnet started a new radio station in YVR with FAN590’s Andrew Walker as a centrepiece
  • Jay & Dan are back in their comfy seats at TSN


Things we got wrong:


  • Your grandfather’s PTS will be with us for another 3 years at least


We also ran a bunch of polls in that post. Here were the results on 1050:














Judging by the above polls, TSN radio management listened and have been tinkering with the 3 least popular shows. Here are a few notes to consider from the last year:


  • Dave Naylor was relieved of his radio duties and switched to covering the CFL full-time for TV and
  • Matt Cauz was let go as a regular employee but has worked seemingly as much since that time as a fill-in
  • Since ending Cauz’s show (and Gareth Wheeler’s radio job) TSN1050 has been running US syndicated programming from 10-11
  • Andi’s co-hosts have changed a lot, with O’Sullivan being told not to return
  • TSN1050 has cut most of its local evening and weekend programming


The question for discussion today is this: 2 years after their big move how has TSN1050’s line-up turned out? 


Set aside ratings because that would make for a very short discussion. How have these shows turned out relative to your expectations? What further changes would you like to see? Most of the big changes over the last several years have come in February. Will we see more changes early in 2018? Common sense dictates that TSN1050 can’t go another year with Lansdberg without giving him a permanent co-host. Common sense also dictates that they can’t stick an hour of US programming in the middle of the morning, so who knows …


Stay dry and stay away from sick people.



thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

photo credit: Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
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