Forum: Toronto Sports Radio

by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail


Happy Wednesday. About a year ago I decided to focus less on radio for a few reasons. First, I noticed my own consumption habits had shifted to podcasts over radio. (By this I mean shows made for podcast, as opposed to shows aired live with commercial breaks then posted for listening on demand). Second, I realized that for a variety of reasons I had soured on both FAN590 and TSN1050. Once I stopped making a point to download and listen to radio shows there was no turning back. I have not missed it at all.


With the summer months coming up and the Spring Book due shortly this is a good time to reflect on the state of the sports radio lineups. From a productivity standpoint, outside of one or two multi-platform guys, radio hosts generate the most content in sports media. 3-4 hours of talking per day, 5 days a week, 40+ weeks a year. In an ideal world all of this will be some combination of intelligent, entertaining, informed, articulate, funny, and insightful. This is really hard work. Being able to do it for a segment doesn’t mean you could do it for 15 hours a week. By the same token, just because you managed to fill your 15 hours of talking doesn’t mean you said anything worthwhile.


Here are some reasons why I found it easy to walk away from the current offerings, in no particular order:


  • “insider” recycling and overload
  • pointless debates
  • call-in segments
  • lack of coaching of younger people
  • lack of quality control
  • too much bro talk
  • content that goes stale very quickly
  • lack of women and people of colour
  • much more efficient to read sports opinions + analysis


This list is hardly exhaustive and doesn’t apply in equal measure to every show, obviously. Here is another possible explanation:


  • I don’t drive to work


Ultimately, the format is designed for people who are stuck in their cars. The FAN has tinkered with their timing for 25 years and I assume they have ample data to inform their decisions regarding number and length of commercials. But there is nothing that can overcome the artificiality of needing to break for traffic, weather, and paying the bills.


In order to serve the interests of the readership I am contemplating dipping my toe back into these waters and I would like to hear from those of you for whom radio is a regular part of your day. Here are a few questions upon which to reflect:


  1. What was the most memorable interview from the last few days?
  2. What was a sports opinion I heard that educated or entertained me?
  3. What was an enjoyable debate between hosts?
  4. How much of the show was spent responding to twitter?


Here are a couple of polls to gauge where you spend most of your listening time. Help me decide what to listen to.




Change in radio is as normal as death and taxes. The current lineup still reflects some big changes from the recent past: Blundell, Tim&Sid moving to TV, removing Cox from HNIC, ending OTR with time left on Landsberg’s contract, etc.


My last question is: what one change would you make to improve the state of Toronto sports radio?



thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

photo credit: Scott Moore
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