Post-McCown Sports Media Power Rankings

by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail


Happy Canada Day weekend. With the big news last week that Sportsnet had decided they were better off without Bob McCown there are some major questions about the future of sports radio in Canada. With that in mind I have two questions I’d like to put to the readership in this discussion forum.


Who Is the Biggest Name in Toronto Sports Media?


With McCown off the board for the time being the answer to this question is not obvious. ‘Biggest’ is ambiguous. McKenzie has an insane number of followers but does not have much to say outside of hockey. He also matters beyond Toronto due to his importance as a hockey insider. ‘Biggest’ also doesn’t necessarily pick out the person whose opinion I care most about on important topics. So with those qualifications in mind, please post below with your Top 3 sports media personalities. I’ll run a proper poll later on, based on the answers given here.


Looking at the current landscape my unranked top 3 would look like this:


  • Jeff O’Neill
  • Stephen Brunt
  • Steve Simmons


The effortless way that O’Neill has become a multi-platform star has been impressive. Most of the content on Overdrive now revolves around him. His TV work has been very competent for someone without a long media background.


Brunt makes my list for legacy reasons. With the changes coming at Sportsnet I would love to see him promoted to a different role. Give him a budget and let him hire whoever he wants to cover the most interesting sports stories that no one else is covering. I don’t see this happening but I still hold out hope that new management will be able to “surface” the value he brought to the Globe for so many years. Brunt has two whole writing credits for SN in 2019.


Simmons is polarizing but I appreciate the fact that he is the only generalist left in the market. With so many specialized insiders it’s good to have someone on the beat who knows everyone and writes about everything.


Which Radio Shows Should Continue?


As regular readers will have noticed, we cover radio way less these days than we did for the first 10 years of the site. Some of that is due to the rise of podcasting but a lot of it is due to the lacklustre line-ups of late. When you combine that with an endless parade of network insiders as guests, the content just doesn’t draw me in like it once did. I still listen to talk and music all day but live radio makes up less than 5% of that, and radio shows on demand are only about 10-20% of my weekly listening.


Let’s assume that PTS will be retired in the fall and replaced by a TV/radio show featuring Tim & Sid. Let’s also assume that Overdrive is not going anywhere. That leaves 4 time slots per station: morning, mid-morning, lunch, early afternoon. Suppose you had the option of blowing the whole thing up but could keep any of the current offerings. Which ones would you think are worth having around? Take the poll below to indicate which shows you think belong on air. Reminder: program directors are not allowed to use TSM polls as market research without a written acknowledgement. Viewing poll results constitutes agreement to these terms.



If you have views about who you’d like to see get a radio show, add your thoughts in the comments.



Quick Hits


  • I really enjoyed this conversation on the SI Media Podcast between Jimmy Traina and Wyshynski.


  • We are still digesting the McCown news and will have lots more on Sportsnet’s layoffs over the coming weeks. I found it notable that none of the papers devoted much space to this as a news story. Simmons had some thoughts in his Sunday column but that was it. There was a time when all three papers would have run columns on this. Let me know if I missed anything of note.


  • TSN continues to devote a preposterous amount of resources to covering the opening of NHL free agency. See this for their press release. There are 3 separate panels, including the Frenzy Panel.



  • Rob Longley continues to find the right balance of critical and fair on the Jays. Here’s a recent story on ticket sales.



thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

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