Maple Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays, Podcasts Oh My


Monday Monday…
All I can tell you is that I know, it has been a long while. Too long to be honest. No excuses.
Right now, all I will say is that 2019 has not been kind and I hope things continue to get better.
Common sense tells me that writing is cathartic so, I have chosen to get back to that.
I’ve decided to get back down to jot down some of my thoughts on the latest going on in this world.
Ending the long hiatus now, and getting back on the proverbial horse!

When I started this blog, while a slave to my desk, I would constantly have sports radio playing when I worked.
All day long, work or play I would have it on. Thanks to web radio I could listen to whatever I wanted live and
switch stations as needed. Staying in touch was pretty easy. Hitting pause or grabbing lineups was actually fun.
At night the things I had missed I could try to find while surfing the numerous websites that made up my routine.
Modern technology has made it even easier. Yet a three hour time difference and life on the go complicates stuff.
It is, therefore, a bonus that society has evolved into one where the industry needs to adapt to on-demand needs.
Statistics show that more and more we are consuming media how, when and where we want. Who cares when it is on.
The media industry has been forced into a reality where the daily lineup, showtimes and more are irrelevant.
A consumer today wants to listen when they want to listen. Watch when they want to watch. We control the program.
Kids today, mine being a perfect example don’t care when something is playing. Social media is always on.
Events notwithstanding we all are fed our content, however, we want it. What a world, advertisers be damned.

I am, I realized no different than my kids. My consumption is now entirely on demand. I no longer have to listen to the entire hour of radio shows. I don’t have to switch the dial or flip between pre-selected memory buttons. I can pick and choose segments as I wish. Those segments are all available in bite-size, downloadable files that I can listen to when I want and literally wherever I want and on whatever I want.

I can listen to one – two segments from any given show on any given day or none at all. I can listen to entire podcasts or only segments. It doesn’t matter where I am, or when I am. Consumption is now entirely dedicated by me. This is a great thing. Life is simpler. Furthermore, on the “print side,” the growth of Twitter has made finding great content so much easier. Those I follow have become my filters if you will. I don’t have to look very far or dig very deep to find interesting content. While some outlets sputter, as a consumer the availability of great content has never been more accessible.

What it has also done, in my opinion, is actually elevate the quality of the work of those I enjoy listening to. Case in point, Bob McCown on the Raptors – the Leonard Shot and the playoffs, in general, has been quite amazing to listen to. It is clear McCown is a fan of the game and he knows his nuances. I am not saying he is an expert, but he is clearly engaged. We’ve discussed this before, when Bob is engaged he is the best there is. So, when he talked Raptors- either with his co-hosts or his guests it makes for great radio. When he talks about Las Vegas getting screwed over in an NHL playoff game he is also engaged; that makes for great radio. When he talks about the Leafs playoff exit? He clearly is not engaged. The result? A total snooze fest. Take away learning? Don’t listen to those segments. Yet when he interviewed Brendan Shanahan, McCown hosted a very good radio segment indeed. Instead of having to listen to the entire show or flip and miss, I now get to pick the topics I want to listen to Bob deal with. The dog segments, where I know he is filling time or not interested I don’t listen anymore. For the most part, I get good to great Bob all the time. I couldn’t say that before.

I don’t need to listen to the entire TSN morning show or the one on the Fan either for that matter. I quick glance at their podcast listing and I know where in the show to go and for what amount of time to listen. Radio on demand is exceptional for me and I think it makes the hosts sound better too as I am only picking those segments that matter to me when I actually want to hear them. Furthermore, I am no longer missing things when busy or otherwise occupied. Time difference solved.

The best part about this is that the industry has evolved. This extends beyond just radio shows. Bob Mckenzie’s podcast is stellar and an amazing example of how on-demand specialized content now rules. When Bob (I appear to have Bob on the brain today) tackles issues that are relevant to me I listen to those segments. I don’t have to listen to the whole thing if a topic isn’t of interest. Richard Deitsch’s media podcast is exceptional. Again, I rarely listen to the whole thing as the entire show does not usually resonate with me, where parts do. I like the Blair/Brunt podcast. I like the Elliotte Friedman/Jeff Marek Podcast. Ditto for many on the Athletic side of things too. The time suck is pretty small as I only have to listen to those portions I want to. That is how I now spend my free time listening. I am now fully in control of what I listen to specifically and I love it. And with various apps, killer wireless headphones I can listen when I want – even on regular walks.

So, while advertisers and older program managers struggle to hold on to the old methodology we consumers are catered to by controlling. In a word, it’s awesome.

Enough of that…quick hits.. here we go

If you are looking for an exceptional mini-series to listen to, you really should check out the TSN podcast called Durbano. I had never heard of the former NHL player and Rick Westhead does an amazing job bringing back this character with a quite wild NHL and life story behind him. I can’t recommend it enough..

It has been a while since we have looked at the ratings, but I can tell you that OverDrive on TSN 1050 is the best damn radio show in Canada. If you aren’t listening, then you really are missing out. Again, no reason to listen live, grab the segments that fit your interest. Their coverage during the Leafs playoffs, the fallout and the lead up to Babcock saga were phenomenal. They are now matching Sportsnet guest for guest, it’s damn good listening.

I say this fully with tongue in cheek, but wow was a good chunk (not all) of the Blue Jays media- gone totally gaga drooling over ‘Vladdy rising. I mean, my lord talk about hype. Again, totally joking when I say this but Ia I am not sure the Mesiah itself rising would receive a bigger hero’s welcome. To be honest, I actually felt bad for the kid. I have no idea how amazing this guy will be, by all accounts the best homegrown talent the team has ever produced, but hey, no pressure right??? Some members of the media were outright giddy. Hillarious.

Still, with the Blue Jays, I don’t get it. I don’t know too many people having a hard time with the current state of the team or being opposed to a rebuild. Yet so much of the banter out there is that the fans won’t support a rebuild. What a hot load of garbage that is. We all know that the Jays don’t draw flies unless they are in contention. The fact the Dome is emptier this season than in other past just confirms what we all know: there is a smaller die-hard Jays fans part of the fabric. There is a large group that is into the team when they are winning. This yapping that if the fans don’t show up, therefore, they won’t buy a rebuild is total crap. The two are not related. Diehards support the team through thick and thin and they know what’s going on and even begged for it. The bulk show up when it’s sexy to do so. The end.

Just asking, is the next baseball stat to be measured the speed of the bat during a strikeout? As in “Wow Vladdy’s bat was going 367MPH on that last strikeout- the fastest bat speed every measured.” Just checking.

Brendan Shanahan made the talk show tour last week when his 6-year extension was announced. He pretty much said the same thing in each session. He was good. Did you happen to catch a lot more playfulness from him when he was on with TS?N guys as opposed to the PTS crew? He seemed very professional and buttoned up on PTS and more in his element on OT.

I don’t get one thing, it’s not that hard of a question to answer what exactly his job description is. He danced around it in every interview. #annoying . Question is why? What did he have to lose by giving some semblance of an answer?

John Shannon on PTS right after the blown Las Vegas Knights penalty call- “this referee doesn’t make stuff up Bob”… well, he made stuff up that night didn’t he?????!!!!!!! The next night when the Raptors beat Philly in a game in Philly ” I don’t know Bob, did the Raptors win that one or was it that Philly lost.”

Can we talk a minute about the Raptors coverage these playoffs? Here in the USA, there is endless banter about Leonard and where he is going when the season ends. I mean it doesn’t stop. It’s actually quite boring. I will get interested in the story when there is a reliable source other than the unnamed ones. Better yet, yesterday a story circulating that the LA Lakers are going to trade for Lowry this offseason. LOL

Do you get a sense in following the Raptors that more media members are actually cheering this team on than usual? Very unusual to see in Toronto. Dare I say refreshing. Steve Simmons open letter to Leonard asking him to say was a great read.

If you are podcasting, hunt around to the various takes on what the NHL has to do with the official situation this offseason. Lots of great takes. For my two cents, the best idea I have heard is to put the extra game official in the press box and have them used as an eye in the sky. Forget challenges. If he sees something that is an obvious mistake have him take a look and notify the crew on the ice. The bias has to be on getting it right. No one asked me though.

On the topic of getting it right, Kentucky Derby, again, don’t we want to always get it right? I mean isn’t the rule the rule even if it is on the big stage?

The NBA playoffs, the NHL playoffs have proven to me there is much work to be done in prioritizing getting it right.

If you follow me on twitter I had a fun exchange with Leo Rautins Friday night at the Raptors were getting clobbered. It was in good fun and I hope it was taken that way too.

Take a listen to a Raptors playoff game on USA TV and you will realize how lucky we are to have the Raptors play by play crews. Seriously we miss them in the USA. I hope the next advancement in sports broadcasting is the ability to switch the coverage you want in the playoffs as you can in the regular season.

When the Leafs got bounced out of the playoffs, The Athletic was at its all-time high. great stuff.

The best podcast I heard after the Leafs exit? Chris Johnston on Steve Dangle Podcast. FANTASTIC. Johnston was incredible. Not sure about you, but that was the first time I heard someone whose work I respect go on air and say he wouldn’t be surprised if Mitch Marner got dealt.

Rob McLeod and Dave Shoalts are both leaving the Globe and Mail Sports section. When this is official we will talk more, but this is a sad development. Shoalts reinvented himself lately playing in the world of Sports Media. This is yet another sign that the end is coming quickly for the Globe sports section. Many lives passed through that building. It’s too bad what has happened there.

I am told Gregor Chisholm has a new gig with the Toronto Star replacing Richard Griffin on the Blue Jays beat. Congrats! Good things to good people.

Congrats to Toronto Sun writer and another good guy, Steve Buffery, on being inducted into the Ontario Boxing Hall of Fame.

Finally, more media layoffs hit the broader market of late. I am told Rogers will once again make changes on both sides of the mic to their NHL offering. May all those affected find meaningful work soon.

Ok, rambled enough for a bit. Since I started to write this the Raptors have won a game. The Blue Jays sat Vladdy on Victoria day, so I need to start thinking about the next topic.

Thanks for your continued support, your patience, and your eyeballs.

You all know how to reach me..


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