Post-McCown Sports Media Power Rankings

Post-McCown Sports Media Power Rankings

by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / email


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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    I would include Brunt for the same reason you gave. His biggest strength is still his writing, but you rarely see it nowadays.

    Simmons Sunday pieces are still a must read for me; but his tendency to take (for me anyway) cheap shots at people/organizations rubs me the one way. By all means offer criticism when deserved, but he often takes it to a more insulting level.

    As for the broadcast side, it’s wide open pending the arrival of a new Fall schedule. If however Tim and Sid are to be the PTS replacement then it’s over for me. I understand the need to engage a younger demographic; but if both stations are going that route then I’m out.

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    Correction: should read “rubs me the wrong way”.

    (If you could ever add an Edit function to allow for changes without having to submit a separate post, a bad typing guy like me would appreciate it)

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    That the Fan has no one worth listening to at this stage is staggering. Brady blathers, then blathers more. He’s simply unlistenable. And he’s the linchpin of the morning show. Haven’t listened in years. Does this show make money?

    Blair is best when he’s surrounded by lots of guests/co-hosts. That means he talks less and asks fewer questions (which are often run-on sentences built upon run-on sentences). You need opinion. You need concise opinion and humour. Blair is a better writer because he can edit his words. On radio his cluttered mind is on full display and if you could edit him it would be a far better show. This man anchors the drive home slot. Not a recipe for long-term success.

    Hockey Central should be two hours. Way better than any other show on the Fan.

    Good Show is not that. These guys used to have better chemistry but that’s gone now. It’s difficult to listen to it when there isn’t a guest.

    And now Dangle is going to take a shot post-Brady. We’ll see. His best rants are heavily edited.
    All this leads to wonder: How does the programming director have a job? Nelson Millman would not have allowed this level of deterioration. The Fan is a joke and Rogers seems oblivious unless McCown is taking shots at the mother corp.

    At TSN Landsberg is still doing mornings. I didn’t think he would last this long. Carlo is OK but Landsberg’s ego is too much. ML’s one redeeming quality is that he asks good questions. This means guests keep the show going. All else is lost.

    Post-morning is Dan Patrick. DP is great radio with almost zero local content. Why can’t other shows follow this format. It works. Copy it.

    Leafs Lunch. Andy P. in early June spent the first 10 minutes talking about her watch. WTF? Dave Poulin went with it but it was horrible radio. She’s far too whimsical for my liking and many co-hosts have to either correct her or reluctantly shoot down her feeble arguments. If you want a female host, Jennifer Hedger would be better. Far more serious but is willing to have a strong opinion. Not so girly and has a strong voice. The show is good with guests and still good when it stays on hockey, not random summer patio talk. Second best show in a weak lineup.

    Matt Cauz. The afternoon slot has been an issue for a long time. Scotty Mac was there and bland and not much has changed. This Cauz show needs two people. Cauz needs someone to play off of. I think he has talent but alone he struggles. Give him someone.

    Overdrive: I’m not sure how it happened but this is BY FAR the best radio show in the market. But I’m still not sure why. It’s funny and O’Neil is so lazy but still makes it work. The weakest part of the show is Noodles but he seems to grease the wheels. Hayes sounds great and his opinions are strong but sometimes seems to compromise himself in order to keep it all on the rails. Like I said, I don’t know how it works but it does. And I’m glad we have it.

    The overall point of this is that listeners are being very poorly served by the decision makers behind the local sports stations. Hey Rogers and Bell, if you feel the need to gas people, then let’s get rid of the people that gave listeners such bad options. Sports radio in Toronto has NEVER been worse.

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    Gary M 2 years ago

    I think the biggest name in Toronto sports media right now is Matt Devlin. Doesn’t matter if you’re exclusively basketball when basketball is easily the biggest planet in the solar system.

    If Kawhi Leonard leaves and basketball shrinks, Matty D will shrink with it. But for now, no contest imo.

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    Can’t believe O’neil has been listed. I guess if you’re into porn stars and the “ballet” he’s your man. I thought this blog was pro women.

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    Archer 2 years ago

    Long time reader, first time caller….

    A certain ongoing theme I’ve noticed reading your page over the years is the criticism, or maybe just observation, of the lack of sports media coverage by the MSM (“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.”) Do you think perhaps the reason for his is that the vast, vast majority of sports fans – never mind the general public – couldn’t care less about sports media “news”? Believe me, all three newspapers would have done the research regarding readership of those particular columns when they ran them and, if enough people read the columns, we’d still have people like Bill Houston, Chris Zelkovich or Rob Longley writing sports media pieces for those papers. Want to know who read them? People in sports media (plus a few hobbyists/nerds)who follow it for fun. It’s the same with this blog. I follow it because I used to work in the media business. I suspect many of your followers are either ex-media or present media members. And, from what I see (postings) it’s pretty much the same 10 people or so who regularly post here. Which is to say, that’s why none of the sportsnet carnage has really been reported on (never mind dug into). It’s because most people don’t care. That said, thanks for doing what you do. I certainly find it interesting. But just realize that most people don’t.

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    Craig MacPherson 2 years ago

    Listing Simmons and O’Neil on here is insane to me.

    Simmons is an irrelevant joke to anyone under 40. I’m 28 and everyone I talk about sports with only sees him as a punchline. Full stop.

    O’Neil is entertaining but his opinions are terrible. He’s also often offensive.

    The best ‘generalist’ sports media type in the city is Bruce Arthur. Brunt is right up there. Listing the other two in this conversation is pretty difficult to reconcile.

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    With regards to the TSN coverage of NHL free agency, I both get it and I don’t get it. As far as I know their ratings on big NHL news days (trade deadline, free agency, etc) have always beaten Sportsnet’s. That’s impressive given they are not the national rights holder, so credit where credit is due on that point. It’s clear they put in a lot of time and effort into this. But my bewilderment at this isn’t wondering why they are carrying the NHL’s water when they don’t have to, but why nothing else in their stable gets even a fraction of this coverage. Not basketball, not baseball, not football of any league, not the Gold Cup, or MLS. Not tennis, of which multiple Canadians are set to go to Wimbledon, nor auto racing, of which their are still major events held in Canada. To be fair, they do have a panel for the Women’s World Cup, which is nice to see, but that goes against their trend. It’ll be such an amazing contrast if Kawhi Leonard re-signs with the Raptors. Whatever Kawhi decides to do will re-shape the NBA and Josh Lewenberg will be the ONE TSN guy covering it while no less than three panels will breathlessly break down Phil Kessel going to Arizona.

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    Mario 2 years ago

    I also find it hard to believe O’Neil made the list. Both him and Noodles can really only talk hockey with no real outside knowledge other than being a fan other other sports just like a call in segment. I listen occasionally but a big fan of the show, sports talk really needs a upgrade.PTS set the standard.

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    Drumanchor 2 years ago

    Although O’Neill has vastly improved as a broadcaster, his “just a dumb hockey jock” schtick is a bit much, personally speaking. Bryan Hayes, to me, is far more qualified to be on this list. Scott MacArthur is waiting in the wings, as well.

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    Mark Coale 2 years ago

    I would like to say Arthur, but i never see or hear him anymore after i gave up on the TSN morning show and the Reporters went away.

    And even though I’m on his end of the spectrum, i had to give up his twitter, as i try to keep all politics out of my social media feeds.

    As an internet pal, so im biasef, but, id also love to say Marek should get a run on the radio again.

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    Jeff O’Neil??? What a ridiculous delusional blog this has become. You attack McCown for years, then you even mention Jeff O’Neil?? He’s the reason why I avoid TSN like the plague, besides Dan and Jay. This blog has jumped the shark with personal vendettas. It’s too bad, it used to be really good.

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    Denial 2 years ago

    I think we can all agree (maybe?) that Bob was in a class by himself — not just talent-wise, but power-wise. He was a paradox. In some ways, very old school and conventional. But also extremely innovative and counter-cultural, to the point of being iconoclastic — and just a pure shit disturber. Over the years, it was enthralling to listen to him wind up and not just go out on a limb, but light it on fire. He would have made a good stand up comedian. His approach to sports was psychological, not athletic. I think that was why his interviews were so good. He positioned his interview subjects to sound and feel and be interesting.

    I think Bob’s survival over the years was rooted in those relationships. I’m certain dozens of managers and executives tried to fire him over the years, or at least pushed the idea. But he survived. Obviously his talent had a lot to do with that, but I think his connections were much more of an asset.

    In light of this, I don’t think we’ll ever see anyone come even close to seeing anyone wield the same degree of power and influence as Bob. Their bosses won’t let them. If they colour outside of the lines too often, they’ll be relegated to the dreaded afternoon slot, or punished in some other way until they learn to mind, or they quit.

    To me, that was the saddest thing about Bob getting turfed. I think it ended an era that we’ll never see again. No corporation will ever let a Bob emerge again. They will create mini-Bobs and pseudo-Bobs, because they know the public likes ‘edgy’ (but within reason — not scary edgy, but TV edgy…what did they say on the Simpsons about casting ugly people? Something like “we want Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island ugly, not ugly ugly).


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    Steve in Waterloo 2 years ago

    First, to TSM guys, I don’t agree with Archer above – I’ve always had some interest in who/what is bringing sports coverage to me. I’m not a media member, never have been, but still anticipate posts/discussions on TSM. Thanks for maintaining.

    I believe Elliot Friedman belongs in the upper tier of influential, as is Steve Simmons and Brunt. I’m of the older group, and in the absence of PTS, I am going to miss a mostly serious sports discussion show. I am amused by Tim and Sid, but they are not a replacement of PTS in my mind.

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    I have to agree with the others — Jeff O’Neill?! For those who like OverDrive (I don’t), he’s fine. But top three? That’s almost insulting.

    My top three:

    Stephen Brunt — he’s excellent, although he has become too corporate schillish for me
    Bryan Hayes — a rising star who has a good thing going with OverDrive, but I personally think is being held back by those two anchors. He has way more to offer.
    Sid Sixeiro — his hot takes and schtick in recent years have taken away from the fact that he is probably the most naturally talented broadcaster in the city.

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    About free agent day and trade deadline day: TSN goes all-in on these because, as a non-rights holder, these are literally the only two days on the calendar that they can theoretically offer NHL programming that is equal to or better than Sportsnet’s. They only two days that don’t require access. And they also smoke Sportsnet in the ratings on these two days, so why would they stop? They love issuing press releases where they can say they had the highest ratings and so on and so forth.
    Regarding Simmons and the generalist thing: Aren’t Cathal Kelly and Bruce Arthur also generalists? Also Scott Stinson? I realize Kelly and Stinson in particular have lower profiles, but they cover hockey one day and soccer the next.

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    Oh, and one last thing about the lack of reporting from the papers on the Rogers moves… I mean, like, newspapers can barely cover city hall these days. Sports media was one of the first beats to go when the belt-tightening really started, and why wouldn’t it be? It is completely disposable, way down in the pecking order, and rightfully so.

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    @Steve in Waterloo…I agree with you completely. I’ve never worked in the business but have always been interested in its inner workings, so to speak. This is not the only Media blog that I read. I appreciate the work by the site’s creators and those who take the time to participate.

    As someone also of an older demographic, I share your view of Tim and Sid’s act; although I think Tim alone has a lot to offer.

    Lastly, Friedman is an excellent sports journalist. My bad for not including him in my first post.

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    @Josh…Agree with your take about why the papers don’t cover the media among other topics, the way they used to. To state that it was simply a lack of interest that led to the demise of Sports Media columnists doesn’t cut it.

    It wasn’t a lack of readers’ interests that took Brunt, Blair, Cox, Perkins and too many others off the print payrolls. The issue originally and still is one of reduced revenues as people turned to online producers of media. People are still interested in the areas that all of these writers covered; but no longer want to pay for it and wait for its availability on newsprint.

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    I think the question of who’s #1 in Toronto should be re-framed, with attention devoted to how the idea of the “#1 personality” has changed over time. “Biggest” is definitely ambiguous as was pointed out in the piece, but its meaning is also what it used to be.

    The market is saturated with more media figures than ever before, including far more specialization pertaining specific sports than we used to see. This means that the generalist whose media presence would dominate a specific local market within their medium is disappearing, and Mccown was a holdover from a previous era in that regard. Think Bob Ryan in Boston, Kornheiser and Wilbon in DC, and Mike Francesa in NYC. Guys like that are fading away.

    In their place, the new stars are multi-platform TV/radio/online personalities on a national level like Stephen A, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons, Dan Patrick, etc. As usual, Canada is behind the US on this (Sportsnet/TSN started hiring writers as TV/radio personalities WAY after ESPN and also started producing podcasts MANY YEARS after ESPN). The closest stars we have in Canada that fit the new multi-platform, multi-sport mold are Tim & Sid and Stephen Brunt. No one else has a higher profile, at least when it comes to those parameters.

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    Apologies – it should say “NOT what it used to be” in the top paragraph of my post.

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    In addition to athletes now being interviewed on PTS since Bob’s departure; Mike Wilner is now on. I wonder who will be a regular (or left) when the dust settles?

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    Love him or hate him I was always thankful that Bobcat never had that arrogant cementhead Wilner on as a guest in any capacity – I was considering tuning in to see what was what since the changes but the chance I might hear Wilner gives me the inside sweats – No thanks – Instead I think I’ll go wax the furnace –

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    When Blair announced that Wilner was coming up on the final hour, I switched over to the 6:00pm news until I knew the last segment would start.

    If these two changes (athletes and Wilner) are examples of the new norm; I fear my remaining PTS days will be part-time at best. I can only hope (but sadly am not counting on it) that the “new PTS” when revealed this fall, be assuage my concerns.

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    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I would love to see Sportsnet poach Brian Hayes from TSN for host of PTS. He’s got the chops and could flourish without being held back by co – hosts that are barely aware of non hockey sports. He’s also got the lineage with both his dad and uncle having worked on air at 590.

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    @ Bob Jones…I haven’t watched Overdrive for a long time, but I’ve noticed that a number of posters here have talked up Hayes as well. I will give the show a second look, but it is the other guys’ antics that don’t work for me.

    As for Hayes lineage, can you refresh my (old) memory? Given my apprehensions with PTS, I’m open to all suggestions.

    PS: the last line of my previous post should read “will (not be) assuage”.

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    I believe Bill Hayes is Brian’s dad and John Derringer is his uncle.

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    Thank you…quite the pedigree.

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    I wrote this is in a different post – but considering the way Rogers let Bob go (a cost cutting move after all these years) the Fan has really lost me as someone who would go out of my way to give each Fan show a chance out of habit. Considering I don’t enjoy anything on TSN Radio, I could easily see this being the end of me really caring much about local sports radio. I haven’t listened to 590 since they fired Bob. Since the Raptors run I’ve been listening to a lot of American basketball focussed podcasts (Bill Simmons, Lowe Post) etc, and I’ve been enjoying it.

    I guess if The Fan (or TSN) were to do anything to pique my interest again – I always appreciated how 590 (and Bob) didn’t JUST do hockey. Totally get there has to be a great deal of hockey content, but noon hockey shows or shows hosted by hockey players where every story is compared to the Leafs 3rd line – it just doesn’t interest me. Since TSN seems to have a lineup that is all in on hockey and kind of bad on everything else, I would like to see The Fan have guys who can also talk basketball and baseball competently. I might check out a Tim & Sid show. I very likely would be interested in a Shulman fronted drive home show – but not sure thats realistic.

    I think most likely I’ll probably check out Blair’s show on podcast here and there when I want to hear something about the Jays, I’m sure I’ll check out whatever Bob ends up doing, then just listen to podcasts that are closer to what I want than what 590 and 1050 are giving us.

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    Here is the July 2019 version of FAN 590:

    plenty of air time allocated to Steve Dangle
    plenty of air time allocated to JD Bunkis
    zero air time allocated to Bob McCown

    The product may be at an all time low, but at least they saved a bunch of money…………..or maybe not since they probably will end up paying McCown his entire contract

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    Denial 2 years ago

    I was listening to PTS today and thought it was great — and I think I know why.

    It’s not that Blair — or anyone, for that matter — could try and do what Bob did. And to his credit, he’s not even trying.

    Instead, what I heard was something that I haven’t noticed on PTS with Bob for a long time: actual dynamic engagement and a sense of cohesiveness. In other words: the people around the table weren’t scared shitless that if they said the wrong thing, that Bob would skewer them on the air. They weren’t trying to “impress” Blair with their comments and get a chewy. They were talking excitedly about sports and having a good time.

    This is a definite improvement IMO, and more than compensates for the loss of Bob. I will gladly forgo listening to those (great) interviews, or listening to Bob brilliantly connect divergent ideas to generate a really fantastic insight, if it means that I don’t detect an undercurrent of fear and hostility. It was almost Dan Patrick Show-like.

    I hope this continues, and it’s the result of Blair and the others getting together and saying: “OK, listeners are expecting a deep, fast decline here — what levers do we have at our disposal to elevate the show and make it in some ways even better than when Bob was here?’

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    Gary M 2 years ago

    LOL, Denial, a reign of terror is over? I like this out-of-the-box viewpoint. Obviously the Howard Stern model of fear-driven radio was a big winner for a long time, but maybe 2019 calls for something different.

    Here’s another view I haven’t heard in the threads so far. An enormous part of McCown’s success was simply the sound of his voice. It’s very resonant and in a fairly deep register that hits the human ear well. Makes every thought seem smarter, joke seem funnier, etc. Makes you feel like there’s an adult in the room. It’s no coincidence that the two guys from the early days of The FAN to really make a lasting dent were McCown and Dan Shulman. And that the biggest existing star when they were launching was Tom Cheek.

    Nobody I can think of in the current line up has a voice like that and it could be part of what’s making everyone think there’s a gigantic hole. Tim Micallef might have it to some extent and that could be why some are looking at him as a possible fix.

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    Denial 2 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    Hehhe well, kinda — not so much a “reign of terror.” But I think over the years Bob amassed an unprecedented amount of power. He knew a lot of people in a lot of high places (and presumably still does, but like anyone else his Rolodex would have thinned out over the years as former whales retired or lost their mojo). I’m sure he also knew where tons of bodies were buried, and executives who wanted him gone didn’t relish the idea of committing career suicide.

    I just think now, while there obviously will be powerful people in media and they’ll wield considerable influence, I just can’t imagine anyone ever getting to Bob-like levels again. Not because there aren’t people who don’t aspire to that, or don’t have the talent to get there. But I don’t think any corporation will ever let it happen. Call it Bob Syndrome.

    Instead, they will nurture pseudo-Bob’s who will be just edge and rebellious enough to play to the masses, but will be kept in check by all kinds of bulletproof contractual obligations. So for example, someone on the Fan can (gasp) criticize Blue Jays management, but they can only dial it up to 6 or 7 out of 10. If they go for a Spinal Tap 11, they end up living in a van down by the river.

    As for your take on voice — yes, I think you’re right. New gen radio folks don’t seem to require a great radio voice. And some, like Blair (who I like), don’t even need an average voice.

    I also think that the most talented natural broadcaster in the ecosystem right now is the guy you mentioned: Tim Micallef. I’m actually surprised he doesn’t have a higher profile.

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    Bingo Bango Bongo 2 years ago

    @Denial You may be right about a so-called Bob Syndrome but if you are it’s a massive shift change in how radio works. Radio executives spend a lot of time trying to find “Bobs”. They’re the ones who drive the bus regarding turning content into listeners. I’ve said this before: it’s not an easy job.I know a lot of people who think ” I could do that. I know sports.(or news).” Problem is the job is much more than that. You have to be interesting, engaged and engaging every shift. You also have to be someone who has opinions that are respected, and it takes time to grow that kind of a reputation. I think that’s why when it comes to talk radio , sports or news, reporters like Blair get jobs. Lord knows it’s not because they sound good.

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    Gary M 2 years ago

    Denial, I think if Bob was 47 instead of 67, he’d already have an agreement with 1050.

    Sort of related to all of this. On his last day, Bob kind of puffed out his chest and intoned that his contacts at the highest level of the Raptors told him that Kawhi Leonard is staying.

    But he said it in a great voice and I think that’s what separates him from all the other dolts who exaggerate connections or make stuff up.

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    Steve Jones 2 years ago

    It would be really nice if someone, anyone, in the media biz could get an update on the Kawhi situation out. It’s like there’s a media blackout on the whole situation.

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    Daniel: What you’re saying is a bit like some of the stuff that has come out of the CBC from over the past five years or so. Lots of tales about the power amassed by people like Ghomeshi and Mansbridge (who thankfully didn’t both wield their power in the same ways), and about how the corporation can’t really ever allow that to happen again. (Maybe part of the reasoning behind having four co-anchors for The National post-Mansbridge.)

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    I think I recently read that the insufferable Wilner might possibly get a regular slot on the NEW PTS – I really was going to give PTS a try even with the ads but the outside chance I might hear that arrogant goof has completely turned me off – I believe he is more full of himself then Joey Vendetta and that is going some –

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    denial 2 years ago

    @BBB: I agree with you that good broadcasting must be a lot harder than it looks (or sounds). I’m not suggesting that executives don’t care about talent. I just believe that they pay lip service to recruiting ‘the best of the best.’ I think they crunch the numbers, and realize that they don’t really need a 9 or 10 out of 10 to drive the bus. They need a 6 or a 7, or at the most an 8. The cost and risk hike to get world-class talent literally isn’t worth it.

    It’s like how sports owners always tell fans that they’re aiming for a championship, when it’s beyond clear that many organizations are perfectly fine aiming for good seasons that keep the team relevant into the last month of the season. Spending an extra $10-$30 million to try and be among the very best just doesn’t make financial sense.

    (As an aside, to me this is the real function of the cap: to prevent teams from spending as little as humanely possible, because we all know that many of them would — including some in traditional markets like Long Island.)

    @Gary: you’re probably right, but maybe if Bob was 47 he wouldn’t have gone to the mat against his bosses at the Fan. He’s firmly in his FU years and doesn’t need the money. M Suffice it to say, even without knowing any of the details there are only 2 possibilities that I can imagine: the Fan wanted Bob to do something that he didn’t want to do, or Bob wanted to do something that the Fan didn’t want him to do. Maybe 47 year old Bob is more flexible (or at least, lives to fight another day) than 67 year old Bob.

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    I think O’Neil has become the biggest sports personality on radio in the city with McCown’s departure, even if not necessarily the best. General sports talk among the 3 Overdrive co-hosts is good, and in fairness to O’Neil, he seems to be extremely well versed in golf too. He is the star that makes Overdrive listenable, and has certainly raised the profile of Brian Hayes. Hayes is a good host w solid general sports knowledge, but his baseball takes are novice. He most recently embarrassed himself last week when he had no idea who DJ LeMahieu was prior to becoming a Yankee. Brunt has the most credibility by far, and I don’t think Simmons is on the radio enough to qualify. Richard Deitsch deserves a spot in the top 3, and is worth a listen although after only a full week with Blair captaining the Prime Time ship, this might prove impossible. For me, Marek & Friedman’s podcast is the only Sportsnet property that gets a passing grade.

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    The only pressing question yet to be answered is will Bob still shop at Korry’s on The Danforth?

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    Rob C 2 years ago

    “TSN continues to devote a preposterous amount of resources to covering the opening of NHL free agency” …TSN didn’t sign a TV agreement that never made sense…they have respurces and talent that Sportsnet is sorely lacking. If TSN didn’t see a return on dedicating those resources to July 1st, i am sure they would not do it…Sportsnet can’t compete with TSN (on this or anything else for that matter. The Sportsnet so called “talent pool” is horrid), so they don’t try

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    Just turned on SN360 to watch the first hour of PTS and they are talking about a guest who is late.

    Now Blair is having Wilner appear in-studio.

    To another show, I go!

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    Can someone remind me why Wilner was never on with Bobcat? I was shocked when I heard Wilner on with Blair and Deitsch and it was clearly a big deal as Deitsch exclaimed that is was a big deal having him on finally.

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    @Paul G. and Nick – It is my personal opinion that Wilner knows somebody/something or works for free just to rub shoulders with his heroes – It certainly can’t be because he is likeable or professional –

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    @MontfromLondon: No doubt he loves to show his critics that he has now “arrived”; by appearing on the flagship show that previously was not open to him. As to his personality, you and I are on the same page.

    Additionally, I have no doubt that economics are especially now a prime driver in all this. If you are a PTS producer, the odds are that you’ve been told to use more in-house talent as they are already on the payroll.

    @Nick: I’ve been racking my brain but cannot recall what started the McCown/Wilner tiff; however he was never used as either a call-in or in-studio guest when Bob hosted. Last week he was also call-in

    Notwithstanding that there are still guests that I enjoy (Dan Shulman on now as I type this); this new reliance on SN “talent” like Wilner coupled with athlete interviews is a change that I do not like.

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    *Correction: should read “@MontfromLondonOnt

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    Pants Go Brown 2 years ago

    Having Wilner in studio for today’s Jays shill-fest was truly rock bottom. Just terrible radio.

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    I recall a PTS producer tweeting a response to the Wilner thing once. He basically said the show felt that Wilner and Bob didn’t have good chemistry, and that’s why they didn’t book him. Simple as that.

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    @Daniel: That makes as much sense as any other reason; thank you.

    It’s not hard to imagine that Bob would not appreciate Wilner’s “style”.

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    I feel you will not hear any guest or insider on 590/Toronto who is not already on robbers payroll until the end of the year at least. Heck they might even bring back mistakes that they are still paying like Zaun,Blundell ect.

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    Steve in Waterloo 2 years ago

    Asked before, and once again. Roughly, what do guests get paid for that 12 minute spot talking about baseball or whatever. How much does Jean Paul Morisi get for that’s that 12 min ” jump on PTS”

    Someone, please. I’ve been wondering for years

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    I’ve been reading over this page for a little while now and trying to figure it out but right now I don’t think there is anyone that comes close to McCown’s level as the “#1” sports personality. Can you think of a “go to” place/person right now for any major/minor sports related story? I can’t really in a post-Bob world.

    The closest might be Ron MacLean but even then because of his limited usage I can’t say for sure.

    I do think Brian Hayes could be the next one but as others have noted he’s got to get away from the dude-bro hockey pucks for a while to show if it’s just him being with them or if he’s got it in him to be the go to guy. I also doubt that Bell and Rogers will allow another Bob type of person to rise up. It’s all about the brand now and not the personalities.

    At one point Brunt could have been considered but he’s just dropped out of sight so much recently that he might as well be gone from the show and not just on “summer vacation”.

    Speaking of which and slight subject change, and also maybe I missed it, but has Stephen Brunt commented at all about Bob’s departure? I haven’t seen/heard anything and it seems odd that he’s radio silent on this. I hate to think that he’s maybe on the Rogers cut list and that’s why he’s quiet right now and not just out in the wilds of Newfoundland.

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    When I look at Top 3 Media Personalities, I look at how diverse they are as broadcasters. Can they seamlessly traverse radio and TV in a variety of roles? My top four are :

    Tim Micallef
    Arash Madani
    Elliote Friedman
    Dan Shulman

    All these guys are very good on radio as talk show hosts/co hosts on TV and they can all call play by play if needed. People forget that Micallef was the voice of the Tiger Cats on radio, and that Friedge called basketball and baseball before landing on HNIC

    In terms of best talk show host, it’s Bryan Hayes who seamlessly leads Overdrive, by far the best talk show going out there. Also, really enjoy Scott Macarthur as both a talk show host and on Jays Talk and I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Blair too- always engaging.

    The guy who stands to make the potential biggest impact is Brian Burke. He’s fantastic on radio and TV and in my opinion will be have a tremendous impact on Hockey Central and HNIC.

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    Ben Beattie 2 years ago

    Great article

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    Mark Coale 2 years ago

    I can’t speak for 590, but at other places, in-house talent was not made for radio/TV hits. All part of the car wash, as they say in Bristol.

    And regular weekly guests were paid more than occasional guests.

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    My vote for low point of summer Toronto sports radio so far goes to Gord Miller on 1050………….he recently ended a phone interview of Sean Payton (head coach of the New Orleans Saints) by asking if Payton would be willing to have one of his nuts cut off in exchange for his team winning another Super Bowl………… was a reference to a comment that another head coach (Mike Vrabel) had recently made but it was an awkward attempt to be funny

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    re: Mike S…..Here is another vote to go with yours.
    Gord Miller displayed his complete ignorance of the power of a public forum such as a radio show. He’s not alone because the geniuses behind the glass were in on this set piece, I suspect. I heard the lead-up,but not the interview you reference.It was all I could stomach by then,frankly. And poor Dave Feschuk looking at Miller in what appeared to be disbelief at what was coming out of his mouth.
    When asked for his input, Feschuk, looking very uncomfortable, stammered and stuttered but would not buy-in to the degree Steve-O,er,Gord did.
    The idiocy of it all. Next up after the break…..Gord will staple his lips shut and talk through his a..!
    Right, he doesn’t need staples to do that.

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    As many of you already know, many media outlets today reported the disturbing news that Sportnet’s Jonah Keri was arrested for allegedly beating and threatening his wife. In response, I sent four comments to Sportsnet asking for clarification. Each of the comments was subsequently disabled by the network.Circling the wagons in this context is a terrible look.

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    Sounds like Marc Savard has been hired as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues…………I guess that means Stellick will have yet another new partner for the Maple Leafs radio post game shows on 590……..……..he has already had Ric Nattress, Mark Osborne, Todd Hlushko, and Savard……………maybe they will give the job to Mike Zigomanis, who filled in for Savard a few times last season

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    Denial 2 years ago

    Mike, unfortunately the low point for me — not just this summer, but I think in the history of my radio-listening life — came yesterday at around 2pm.

    Good Show (which by the way always reminds me of that Simpson’s joke about naming the barbershop quartet “The B Sharps” because it’s clever at first and gets progressively more annoying) was rambling on aimlessly about whether Stroman’s public persona reduced his trade value, and Matthew Coz on TSN was doing a parody of a Duran Duran song about Michael Lansberg’s eating preferences.

    It was mortifying radio, and yes, I felt trapped, attacked, violated, and dehumanized. I had to turn off my radio. My God, is this rock bottom?

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    Speaking of Good Show, Jonah has a Retweet from Bunkis that says they will be hosting PTS next week.

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    Last week Bunkis was interviewing Cavan Biggio – a Notre Dame alumnus. After asking Cavan about his thoughts on this year’s Notre Dame football team’s chances, Bunkis told Biggio that Toronto is a terrible place to follow NCAA football because he couldn’t think of one person in the city that followed U.S. college football. Cringe – double cringe.

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    Bunkis is a tool who doesn’t let others talk. McCown was and always will be best. Overdrive has no direction. If topic isn’t hockey two of three are rendered useless. Hayes comments bout McCown was surprisingly good til he finished with “We’ll take it from here” Two things, classless and so far from truth. Brunt is so overrated. Never says anything that is noteworthy. When did he become some baseball expert cause that is all he talks about? Arash Madani would be good host but probably prefers his travel covering many sports. Both stations lack wow factor. I will still listen cuz I love sports but not TSN. Mostly horrible. Cauz gets fired from TSN then somehow finds his way back on????? Landsberg…..well nuff said. Someone get John Shannon off the air. Convinced he has pictures on higher ups. Take Kypreos with him.

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    If anyone is wondering what PTS has been like since McCown was “summarily dismissed” here is a brief summary:

    they have gotten rid of two of their better weekly guests (Bob Ryan and Don Banks) to save a few dollars
    they are afraid to take any phone calls because they know what will happen if they open up the phone lines to McCown’s legion of fans
    they have decided to end each show by cutting the last interview short by 5 minutes so that one of the producers can come on the air and ask the hosts what their favourite colour is
    they have decided to start the 4 PM hour each Friday with a contrived debate segment between the two hosts
    apparently they have asked Ennis and Bunkis to fill in as hosts next week (I guess Steve Dangle wasn’t available)

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    @ Mike S…along with the addition of banal athlete interviews and the participation of Mike Wilner!

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    Call it what you want, but this week’s “PTS” is NOT Prime time Sports!