Could This Be A Sports Media Rebirth?


Some random summer thouhts from 30,000 feet….

It was a year ago this past month that Rogers Sportsnet had its last bloodletting. With Darren Millard exiting in August are we at the start of more changes ???

I think we are.

Rob Kerr just announced his departure from 960 and Sportsnet after over 15 years.

I asked Rogers poobah Scott Moore about one individual who I kept hearing had been dismissed and was met with a “no comment”. A few days later those rumors were confirmed, as John Bartlett (the voice of the Habs) replaced Paul Romanuk as the TV voice of the Maple Leafs.

Still with the Leafs…

Anyone else see this?

Could more changes be coming? Details at 11.

I wonder, how much the Blue Jay’s swoon has killed the media buzz at Rogers. I know the box office has been slaughtered but what’s happened to ad revenue?

Here is what I have to believe, not that anyone at Bell or TSN actually cheers against the Jay’s, but this downturn is might good for business.

Having said that how F’N crazy is the sports world going to be in Toronto come September? Seriously with the Leafs adding Tavares and the Raptors dealing DeRozen and picking up Kawhi Leonard, we are in for a crazy crazy sports season.

Could this be the kick in the ass the outlets need to jump-start their audiences? With the Leafs alone the coverage will be endless. Literally.

I mean young and old are going to be tied to the Leafs around the clock. If you are a media outlet and you cannot generate an audience now… shut er down.

This could be a rare opportunity for the outlets to actually grow their respective audience. When the Jays went on their run the #’s were off the charts. I can’t imagine what happens when it’s the Maple Leafs. The Raptors won’t garner that type of excitement until the playoffs but overall sports should be top of mind for many and with the teams expected to be winners…

A couple of other things…

If you have been considering the Athletic and haven’t yet, articles like this one written by John Lott are reason enough to pay. There are several great writers at the Athletic, but guys like Lott bring their A game often and bring content you simply cannot get elsewhere.

Lott’s coverage here on the Josh Donaldson trade is good too. It’s not as good as the work done by the new leader in the Blue Jays media clubhouse, Rob Longley who snagged the only Donaldson interview. Say what you want about the Toronto Sun or other traditional outlets, that good old-fashioned reporting right there. Good on Longley for snagging it.

Still the Blue Jays. Is head honcho Mark Shapiro gone? Lots of rumors swirling lately that indeed he is. Here’s one thought…

Remember the name Sebastian Gatica? Well, last year he escaped as the lone wolf after Rogers cleaned house in the media department with the Blue Jays.


Remember Patrick O’Sullivan? At one point he looked like he could be a new shinning broadcast light on TSN and that ended. O’Sullivan announced on Twitter recently that a new gig will remove him from Twitter. We hardly knew ya.

Is there a better kickoff than the combined NFL/NCAA college football season??????

Could TSN radio finally be ready to add another voice to its morning show? Let’s hope.

Curious if you listen to sports radio on a regular basis, do you like or even listen to the non-sports bits that some shows feature a lot? I get that there’s too much time to fill then there is material but as I age the bits are getting like SNL skits- too long and too unfunny.

Not sure you saw my post on Twitter but we’ve confirmed that Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph each got new 5-year deals to call Leaf games on the radio. Congrats.

Rumour that won’t go away, Buck and Tabler are both dead men walking on the Jays TV side. All, apparently Dan Shulman has to do is wink and the gig is his. Question is will he wink. Last season we told you Jerry wouldn’t return this season and got raked over the coals in so writing… let’s see where this goes.

I can tell you exactly where I was for all the playoff wins the Blue Jays had during their two world series wins. I knew each player and remember those years fondly. However, man do the Jays/Rogers oversell those teams to their fans. This article was the cover story on this week!

I have no issue with honoring and remembering but wow is it time to give those two teams a rest. We fans get them jammed down our throats all the time. It’s time to sing a different song for a few years, please.

Number one complaint about Jays games this year on air? People aren’t sure who’s calling the games and/or when.

I saw the movie Mile 22. If you like violence it has it. Never before has the box office been so bland with titles even the least bit interesting to consider seeing. I saw the new Mission Impossible flick, slept through 2/3.

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Paul G.
Paul G.
September 1, 2018 6:13 pm

Shapiro to the Mets? We should be so lucky.
Thanks for the link.

PS Date on article reads as Aug. 05

Martin Cinzar
Martin Cinzar
September 1, 2018 10:13 pm

toronto Sports media has too many old hacks that need to be ousted. I doubt that this uptake in our sports team’s fortunes will change things. Look at the turmoil in Jays broadcasting. And that happened after the upturn. Now that they are sliding why would Shulman want in. As far a resigning Bowen and Ralph. It should have been for TV. Romo will be forgotten almost immediately, Hughson and Simpson, when they will be canned, will leave absolutely no legacy to Leaf hockey history. Scott Moore has not really been hitting anything out of the park since SN picked up hockey. 

September 1, 2018 10:30 pm

Thanks for all your hard work and welcome back with a new post. I see changes would be a positive and welcome on the hockey and baseball coverage with Rogers have the most at stake and loose. It’s unfortunate and some good people are pushed aside but ratings drive the money train. Dan Shulman would be a big step in the right direction along with the right colour person.
I have also noticed both Bell and Rogers have both stopped with there big press releases and spin on how great they were in the ratings and eye balls that watched.

September 1, 2018 11:08 pm

I wasn’t sure at first if this was a new post. Date at the top reads Aug 5.

Good stuff nonetheless. Can’t imagine Shapiro being gone already. Either way the baseball team is a trainwreck.

Paul G.
Paul G.
September 2, 2018 11:27 am

Totally agree with Martin C.’s take.

As for the Jays’ coverage, while I would like to see Shulman fulltime; a change is needed regardless. Buck and Tabler are long past their “best before” dates!

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
September 3, 2018 8:24 am

I think Shapiro/Atkins gets a hard time because the media and the fans loved AA.

By all accounts, AA traded away a lot of the depth of the minor system, and Shapiro said from the outset that reacquiring the depth was his first goal. That’s what he’s been doing.

As for Martinez and Tabler – well, let’s just say I LIKE Martinez with Shulman….

September 3, 2018 3:28 pm

Please, please learn how to use an apostrophe. Blue Jays, not Blue Jay’s.

This is a damn sports media blog. You would think you would understand how to pluralize a team name. This is grade school stuff.


The Blue Jay’s are in first place.
The Blue Jay’s recent hot streak has them in first place.


The Blue Jays are in first place.
The Blue Jays’ recent hot streak has them in first place.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
September 3, 2018 4:19 pm

I wait with bated breath the Leafs coverage this year. I can’t get enough of the inane, repetitive speculation and analysis. I expect Bunkis will be able to extend his endless monologues into even deeper takes. Bottom line is more coverage never means there’s more news. Just boring blather served up by talking heads with no real insight. Thank the heavens for podcasts and Spotify. Sports talk radio, at least here, is done. 

On the baseball front let’s hope they shake up the tv booth. Buck is insufferable, Tabler has insights that rival grass is green. Shulman would be better. But really what ever happened to silence in baseball. The Yankees crew do it well. Nothing going on, stop talking. Let the game breathe. Let everyone relax. Even with Shulman every second has to have someone spewing out some factoid that adds zero. 

September 3, 2018 4:57 pm

People loved AA because of how great the 2015 season was, and he seemed like a nice guy, and was Canadian. I wouldn’t trade 2015, but going all in that year (and in 2013) absolutely put the Jays in the situation they’re in now. That’s OK (they were right to go for it I think), but Shapiro and Atkins really have had their hands tied since they’ve come in (you’ll notice they haven’t traded away one prospect in their entire tenure I believe). They inherited an old, expensive team with no prospects in the higher levels – and high expectations.

This season has sucked, but the farm is #3 ranked in baseball now and the Jays will have almost no payroll committed by 2020. They’re setting themselves up well for a couple years from now. Wish they could have done a better job cashing in on Donaldson, but ultimately this process had to happen.

Paul G.
Paul G.
September 4, 2018 3:14 pm

At the start of Monday’s PTS, Bob announced that the future of Spotlight was unknown due to “internal matters”. He went on to say that he had planned on the shows continuing and was “unhappy” with this; but said that he would not be elaborating on what was going on behind the scenes.

Any thoughts as to what may be going on?

I liked the new feature as it brought back the Bob of old” who is still good when fully engaged with a guest.

Gary M
Gary M
September 5, 2018 11:12 am

Agree, Daniel. In fact, people were not so enamored of AA for most of his spotty tenure and his job was hanging by a thread when the team caught fire during the 2015 season.

Anyone know why Ben Wagner takes so many games off? Very unusual for a voice of a baseball team who isn’t an old legend or TV network talent.

September 5, 2018 1:38 pm

More Shulman on the TV and/or the radio would be fantastic. Buck is well suited to the colour role on TV, and I think he pairs well with Shulman. Buck is one guy who has a distinct style for Play-by-play that is different than his colour-guy role. This pairing would be great on TV, and it would shake Pat Tabler free to say nothing of substance in some other market.

I’m surprised by what I’ve heard on the radio side. Ben Wagner is completely fine, and I really wanted to like his work. But I am finding that he remains a little stiff and he’s stayed pretty bland. He sometimes leaves me a bit disoriented – telling me his reaction without telling me what happened. And maybe it’s just me, but why does he always call the home team “Toronto”, and never ‘the Jays’ or ‘the Blue Jays’? It’s like he hasn’t fully embraced being part of the Jays broadcast – still feels like a fill in guy.

I’m also surprised by Wilner. I think he is doing a great job, and night in, night out, he’s the best voice in the booth when Shulman is not in it. I think he’s a keeper.

September 5, 2018 3:45 pm

Gary M –
Strictly my opinion but my guess is Ben Wagner takes so many games off because like a great many erstwhile listeners he can’t take the insufferable Wilner – I never listen anymore to the radio PbP because of Wilner and Schulman – I use Gameday –

September 5, 2018 7:09 pm

Finally, the A teams are mostly back to sports radio this week. In case you were wondering how much Dubas will pay Marner and Nylander, you’re in luck, it consumes sixty percent of every show. They should all listen to an episode of Baseball Central where the central focus is the play and nuances of batting order, hitting, catching, throwing, and not the endless chess move blather about ‘top six, bottom six’ ‘third pairing guy,’ bridge deal’ ‘five, six or eight year contract’ etc, etc, et-fing-cetera.

For all the money Bob claims to have made, he sure makes it a point to work every stat holiday. Does he really need the double time pay on labour day at this point in his life?

The ‘games’ on several of the shows bug the hell out of me. Will post about that later. 

September 6, 2018 2:07 pm

The Leafs’ and Raptors’ potential success this year may lead to an increase of interest but I feel that quickly will erode when it is the same old analysts talking about them. The radio scene is stale not because of content but because it is the same people over and over. Do we really need to hear what Kyprios thinks 5 times a day? The only people on the planet who are allowed tp talk about the Raptors apparently are Devlin/Armstrong/Rautins so their message gets stale fast

September 6, 2018 2:39 pm

I’ve stopped listening to sports radio in the morning. Will listen to Overdrive, or PTS if I catch an interview with a guest outside the organization. McKenzie for hockey, Griffin or Shulman for baseball. Gord Miller’s fill-in time in the summer was interesting. It’s always interesting to hear moderators i.e. Miller, Duthie, when they are allowed to voice their opinions.

I’ll switch away from any “games”, other than “Gerry’s percentages”, where at least they are forced to put a number on their speculations, and “what-if” talk becomes focused rather than open-ended and wandering.

You’re not interested in seeing “First Man”? Stories based on historical reality are rarely bland, even at only 50 dB.

September 7, 2018 5:05 am

What’s the speculation up there on Daren Millard? Was he ousted and what’s rumored to be next for him that he left last month? Hopefully not a health issue. Always liked him and saw him as the eventual Ron MacLean replacement when he retires.

Mike S
Mike S
September 7, 2018 10:47 am

@yaz…………Labour Day was the first stat holiday that McCown has worked in a long time……………he definitely didn’t appear on PTS on Good Friday, Victoria Day, Civic Day, etc…………there was no PTS on the Canada Day stat holiday

Mike S
Mike S
September 7, 2018 10:53 am

@Paul G……….thanks for the information………I did not hear McCown say that about Spotlight………that’s very interesting………..I have no idea what the issue might be……….as far as I know they don’t pay the Spotlight guests so I assume it’s not a money issue but I could be wrong……..maybe TSM can use his sources to find out what happened

September 7, 2018 3:59 pm

@J – Steve Simmons tweeted that Darren Millard left Sportsnet to work on the Golden Knights broadcast.

September 8, 2018 10:14 am

Humboldt Broncos – TSN

Wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the ads that TSN is showing with regards to the Humboldt Broncos home opener. Am I alone in thinking, “Enough already!!” Clips from the news reports, slow motion images, sad and moody music, etc., it just seems completely exploitive on behalf of TSN. For all I know, Rogers likely has something equally over-the-top for the event, too. 

Let these poor boys rest in peace!

Let their families and friends heal without yet another television crew from Toronto telling “their story”. It’s now nothing more than a TV show with a populist bent that’s purpose is for little more than selling advertising. 

Paul G.
Paul G.
September 8, 2018 2:30 pm

@ Mike are right. In fact it was Bob’s absences from the Stat. shows that caught my attention this past year; making his recent Labour Day appearance now an exception.

In past years Bob has commented on working the Stats. He said that he actually agreed to it in his prior contracts in return for more time off throughout the year. This past Monday is either an exception or perhaps his current contract (Dec. ’17) calls for only a limited number of such days?

Like yourself I hope that TSM or MIB can shed some light on the other Bob’s interview project. Spotlight is a rare exception to the usual Toronto sports radio fare.

September 9, 2018 3:13 pm

Simmons stirring up the Rogers/Jays objectivity debate again in his Sunday article.  Madani already with a fiery retort on Twitter. Madani and others would likely fare better by not responding lest they throw more fuel in the fire. I think it was Shoalts on a Toronto Mike’d Podcast who said ‘Rogers employees know where the line is and not to cross it’. 

Can someone here from Sportsnet please post the memo Scott Moore sent out to Sportsnet employees stating how terrific a job Shapiro and Stkins have done?

September 9, 2018 11:07 pm

Switch back to allowing new posts to post immediately then remove any posts you find offensive. The Simmons/Scott Moore story today would have generated a lot of debate. This site is losing its mojo. 

Paul G.
Paul G.
September 10, 2018 11:40 am

While I understand the moderators rationale for delaying posting pending screening; I nonetheless agree with yaz’s last comment. My last comment was submitted early on Saturday afternoon but was not posted until Monday am. When it can take up to two days for comments to appear, it disrupts the natural flow of exchanging insights. This results in a forum that reduces the level of engagement with its readership.

September 10, 2018 3:40 pm

anyone listen the Fan590 morning show last Thursday? The guest for the NFL segment absolutely roasted Greg Brady and it was great to see him get put in his place.

Saying Kaepernick was comparable to Byron Leftwich was absurd, what a clown. Kaep isn’t a superstar but his career output was 50%+ higher than Leftwich and he also had a much higher peak with his run to the super bowl

mike (in boston)
September 11, 2018 7:42 am
Reply to  yaz

yaz – we will discuss that possibility. the racist posts aren’t worth it, in my opinion.

September 11, 2018 9:02 pm

I missed seeing the racist posts and agree with you if they begin again. I think if most of us who are here regularly choose to ignore something offensive knowing it will be removed within 24 hours or so it may bring back the more free flowing debates of old. Either way I’ll always be here and enjoy reading your articles and the comments. 

I listened to the Brady / Tanier clip from Sept. 6 (2:05:15) and fail to see how he was roasted. Lefwich comparison aside, if you agree with Brady as I do that Kaepernick doesn’t compare to many of the titans of sport who are the faces of Nike you would see it as a good back and forth debate which it was. Tanier’s tone was of someone who successfully roasted Brady but he did not. There are plenty of media everywhere who are cynical of the Kaepernick campaign, Tamier isn’t one of them.

For those who dislike Overdrive, I challenge you to listen to the Pierre Lebrun clip from the first two minutes of today’s (Tuesday)  5 pm show and not laugh. 

September 12, 2018 3:12 pm

I believe it was Chris Leroux doing colour on last night’s Jay game. Terrible. I’ll cut him slack because he’s new, but there are a lot of people at the station from whom he can learn.

Westdale Rocks
Westdale Rocks
September 13, 2018 9:55 am

I believe there is a HUGE disconnect between what the media decision-makers like, and what the people like.  Scott Moore is up first.  Sportsnet’s stable of hockey play by play folks is weak, especially regionally.  Moore has put the perennially popular Bob Cole almost out to pasture.  Reminds me of what CBS did with Dick Enberg.  When they cut back on Enberg, he was easily the best announcer at CBS.  Cole may not be the best, but he still has game.  Hughson is blah.  Regionally….getting rid of Romanuk for Bartlett?  Seriously?  Best pxp calers in Canada for hockey are Beyak, Cuthbert, Romanuk, Dean Brown, Bowen, Cole and Miller.  Not Hughson or Randorf.  
On radio, both TSN and The Fan in this region, are guilty of promoting mediocrity.  I used to be glued to sports radio.  Not anymore.  If I turn on and hear George Rusic, Matt Cauz, Garth Wheeler, Michael Landsberg, Elliott “Two-Minute Question” Price, a non-Bob PTS, or US syndicated programming, I’m immediately gone.  Don’t care what the topic is, I’m gone.  If I hear McCown interviewing someone associated with an event Rogers is covering, I’m gone.  If I hear anyone interviewing a player, unless it’s PK Subban or someone with an actual personality, I’m outta there.  
Finally, I feel bad for Ben Wagner.  He’s not bad, but the one major criticism I have of him is one nobody can control:  he’s not Jerry Howarth.  Let’s face it, Wagner could have been the second coming of Vin Scully, Mel Allen, Jack Buck or Harry Caray and it wouldn’t have mattered.  Maybe in a couple of years, I’ll drift back and start listening again, but it’s too soon.  Since 1981, there was one of two voices you could count on hearing:  Tom or Jerry.  Ben Wagner is not either of those two.  No fault of his own, but it’s going to take some time to adjust.    

Mike S
Mike S
September 13, 2018 5:11 pm

The 1050 morning show has always been underwhelming, however the Breakfast Club on Tuesdays & Fridays was usually worth listening to……………but there has been no Breakfast Club on Tuesdays the last few weeks…………not sure if that means it will now only be once a week…………….meanwhile last Friday’s Breakfast Club podcast was (once again) never made available…………..not sure how that happens

September 14, 2018 2:26 pm

Ben Wagner following Jerry Howarth reminds me of when Matt Devlin followed Chuck Swirsky. At first I couldn’t stand it because he was so boring compared to “the Swirsk”. However, over time I came to appreciate Devlin. Two things helped. First was the way he interacted with the colour guys. Second was listening to him talk about his past work and experiences. I realized he wasn’t someone green with nothing to say.

Jacob R
Jacob R
September 14, 2018 5:16 pm

I’m much like Westdale, I find the roster of radio hosts these days mediocre at best.
People like Wheeler, Petrillo, Ennis, Bunkis, Cauz are BRUTAL – I change the dial as soon as I hear them. The only show I make a point to catch is Overdrive and possibly PTS if there’s an interesting guest or a decent roundtable.
Like most Leaf fans I was ready to parade in the streets when Sportsnet finally turfed Romanuk, but talk about killing the mood with Bartlett. Could you imagine if the Boston Bruins or New York Yankees had to get a new PXP guy and they hired someone that used to work for the Canadiens or Red Sox, that would be considered blasphemy, but apparently that didn’t occur to the folks at Sportsnet. Why would they not take a run at Beyak or someone that Leaf fans enjoy watching – it makes no sense to me.

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