Toronto Sports Media Radio Ratings Fall 2019


So many of you have asked about ratings since the blood letting at the Fan and especially the exit of Bob McCown. Well, here you go:

StationM25-54M25-54 M18-34M18-34
 % Share of Hrs. Tuned% Share of Hrs. Tuned % Share of Hrs. Tuned% Share of Hrs. Tuned
 Aug. 26-Nov. 24Aug. 27-Nov. 25 Aug. 26-Nov. 24Aug. 28-Nov. 26
 20192018 20192018
M-Fr. 6a-9a     
FAN 5902.64.7 2.94.3
TSN 10502.51.7 0.20.1
M-Fr. 9a-12a     
FAN 5903.34.0 1.14.0
TSN 10502.11.5 0.20.2
M-Fr. 12p-1p     
FAN 5901.54.3 0.35.1
TSN 10501.41.7 0.30.2
M-Fr. 1p-4p     
FAN 5902.61.8 0.51.2
TSN 10501.11.2 0.30.1
M-Fr. 4p-7p     
FAN 5905.05.8 2.94.4
TSN 10504.52.7 0.30.2

I don’t have all the old books but here is a rough guide to PTS with McCown over the last couple of years:


Fall 2018 – 5.3
Winter – 4.7
Spring – 5.3

Spring 2017 8.6


Fall 2018 – 5.8
Winter – 4.8
Spring – 5.0

spring 2017 8.5

Here is the book for 2 years ago the same period:

Here for comparison is last years book for the period we have just currently entered:


First caveat, and I will say this a few times. The stations no longer lineup in their programming so some of the shows aren’t a perfect match. I will work with David to see how we fix this. Also, Tim and Sid were NOT in place for the full book. For reasons we are not quite sure of, they didn’t make the change until after the book had started.

Second caveat. The systems sucks but it is the only system we have. Keep this nugget in mind though. The number of people who may actually listen to either station is already a low number. They aren’t pooling form hundred of people, in fact it could be low teens. So, the easy conclusion would be that both stations have completely lost the young audience. The Fan am show and the split between Writers Bloc/Tim and Sid are pulling in embarrassingly low 2.9s in the younger male demographic. However they are light years ahead of the . nothings both stations are getting at all other times. Yes, it is possible that no one 18-34 listen to to sports radio, but I can’t imagine that drastic a drop off so I am getting there are some different folks with meters in that demo.

Were it get really interesting is in the key marketing demo, 25-54 (sorry ladies, don’t shoot the messenger). McCown used to say of 1050 or 640 ” I could sit on my roof with a megaphone and get more people listening to me, Well, in this book and in this demo the GAP has closed. The Fan pulling a 2.6 in the am is REALLY low.. I mean REALLY low. The Fan in this slot two years ago was a 5.2. TSN was a 1.0. The Fan has lost almost 50% of the their audience while TSN has doubled. The TSN number is not a good number on it’s own, but compared to where it was and the completion, they are- for the first time in the race.

In the next slot, 3.3 vs a 2.1 Compared with a 6.2 vs. a .9.. Once again, the Fan audience has almost lost 50% while here TSN has doubled. I know you don’t like it, but that TSN number includes the next to no cost syndicated content. That has to sting.

At lunch, and two years ago.. 1.5 vs 1.4 compared to 6.1 vs 1.9. So…two years ago I presume would have included the Blue Jays central numbers but that audience has all but disappeared. The TSN number has also retracted in the two years.

In the afternoon, 2.6 vs 1,1 compared to 2.7 vs 1.2 has not changed in two years. Again that would have been Blair and Brunt for the Fan in the Jays playoff run. This year it is a mixed bag as 2 months worth is Blair and Brunt/Deitsch.

Then, Tim and Sid vs. OverDrive- sort of..5.0 vs. 4.5 compared with 5.5 vs 1.7 two years ago and McCown’s 5.8 last year. So the Fan decline continues, 5.8 to 5.7 to 5.0. While OverDrive went from 1.7 to 4.5.

I would think the 5.0 has to be amongst the lowest numbers ever pulled for PTS and the 4.5 has to be the highest or close to it for any competitive radio show against Bob. I don’t recall, but maybe Brady and Watters came close.

Again, no-one book is a conclusion it’s all about the trends. Here is what I would say that trend looks like. Total audience is in decline. A lousy Blue Jays team, a hated Blue Jays management group, post championship Raptor hangover, no real Raptors news, a dismal start to the Leafs season all play a part in that in addition to the continued growth of podcasts and other means of getting sports content. The Fan continues to lose audience. It has not lost a slot to TSN, but the TSN number are right there for the first time, I think ever. Keep in mind the changes at the Fan only took place in September so those new shows and new times do need time to grow and mature too.

I will say this, and know many of you miss Bob, as do I . However, I don’t think we have ever had a time in Toronto Sports radio where two stations were offering equal quality programming as we do right now. Almost any time of the day there are good hosts throwing round the topics of the day. That’s a good thing! Blair and Company vs. .Hayes and Company are both really good shows. They are very, very different even when they have the same guests. You get different styles and different answers. We are well served right now IMHO.

I don’t know this, but I would imagine these were not expected numbers at either shop. I suspect while TSN is generally pleased there might be some disappointment that OD especially hasn’t made greater inroads.I would suspect TSN management feels that things are on the right track. Over at the Fan, I am sure some are preaching patience and using these numbers as evidence of the changes that were made being needed. I am sure there is also some disappointment and perhaps some panic.

This book is equally as important so we will try to see where things end up in a few months.

As always, thanks to David Bray: David Bray is President of Bray & Partners Communications. Feel free to forward questions and inquiries:

Phone: (416)431-5792

E-mail: [email protected]

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Scott Schamehorn
December 5, 2019 5:34 am

Just curious but the FAN590 can draw from a larger geographical area. We get the FAN in Muskoka, however we lose TSN Radio 1/2 hr outside the GTA? Is this taken into consideration because i feel if we were talking apples to apples Overdrive would crush. I know i would listen Overdrive if i had the option, and i used to be die hard PTS. Now i listen to 640 or music

December 5, 2019 10:41 am

Rogers / Sportsnet has clearly lost there way ,where they once dominated in sports radio. Too many job cuts in order to save money and went on the cheap not saying that some of the changes could work out. The lost of Bob McCown was huge then on the hockey side Doug MacLean, Nick Kypreos and a bad Jays team to name a few certainly contributed on both radio and tv. Rogers is now looking like Bell looked when they got into sports radio.

December 5, 2019 11:28 am

Since it’s the least listened to slot in the day, how about one station at least tries something other than a noon time hockey show? A little variety?

John Larue
John Larue
December 5, 2019 1:27 pm

McCown was an arrogant jerk & I laughed when he was fired, but I hate to admit that I miss him. Tim & Sid stink.

Hockey Central is generally pretty good, but if they got rid off Marek, I’d be very happy. I miss Doug Mclean.

Goodshow is generally decent, but JD Bunkis is too obnoxious and a Mr Know it all. He turns off listeners because of this.

Paul G.
Paul G.
December 5, 2019 2:01 pm

“Blair and Company…are really good shows”.

In what universe? Even when the topic is a good one, Blair’s arrogance, dismissal of all he disagrees with and boorish behaviour all of which are delivered with poor speaking skills; serves only to detract from the superior contributions of Brunt and Deitsch. Factor in athlete interviews and the use of company shills like Wilner, and you are left with one severely degraded product compared to the days of PTS.

Given the wholesale reductions to SN’s talent pool, I’m surprised the ratings for 590 haven’t dropped further. Like many others on this Board, I started with Bob back when he was on Global, followed him to 1430 and then The Fan. With the latter move I tuned in all day and was exposed to a variety of personalities and opinions. Like any station, some were hits and some were misses; however an effort was made to satisfy the sports orientated listener. That goal now appears to be an exception as opposed to the rule.

December 5, 2019 2:47 pm

I haven’t tuned in Fan 590 since Bob left/fired.

December 5, 2019 6:41 pm

Like him or hate  him, Mcown was a master of the craft.

I can’t stomach listening to Blair and Brunt. Dietsch is ok.

Tim & Sid are decent but rely too much on entertainment opposed to substance. I can tolerate these guys.

Morning show on the Fan is absolutely irrelevant.

I listen to TSN Landsberg and the former Leaf defenceman ans supporting cast. Much preferred over the Fan in the morning.

mike (in boston)
December 5, 2019 7:25 pm

It’s important to keep in mind that the decline at the Fan started during Bob’s tenure. Pinning these disastrous results on the decision to fire him ignores this fact. If Bob were the solution then he would still be there. 

I still think it makes most sense to have Tim&Sid do radio 2-4 then do TV 5-6:30 or whatever, freeing up Deitsch and Brunt to do a big picture radio show 4-7. But they just blew things up to get the T&S simulcast going so I don’t see that changing soon. 

Lastly: where there is more fat to cut at Fan590? Pretty lean line-up in terms of cost with the glaring exception of 2-7. I worry that Writers Bloc is not long for this world.

December 5, 2019 8:16 pm

I quit listening because of Blair and also there is an off chance that Mike Wilner might get some air time before I can hit the dump switch – If Blair doesn’t take the gold medal as the most arrogant voice on Toronto radio he at least makes the podium – He is simply annoying and condescending –

December 5, 2019 10:20 pm

I predicted here that TSN Radio would catch up the FAN in Fall book before overtaking them altogether in 2020. We’re right on track for that to happen. It’s hard to believe that in the not-so-distant past the FAN absolutely dominated TSN in the morning and afternoon drive, literally doubling their audience. Now the 2 stations are neck and neck in those timeslots and Rogers has no one but themselves to blame.

On the TSN side, you have a morning show where they finally found the right co-host for Landsberg and an afternoon drive show that’s the best radio show in the market, period. On the FAN side, you get rid of Mccown, the godfather of sports radio in this country, and longtime stalwart Greg Brady – not for performance reasons but to save cash. The FAN is now reaping what they’ve sown. They deserve this.

Up until Bob was fired I had listened to the FAN almost every day for 15 years. Since he was let go, the ONLY time I listened was to hear the last ever PTS to say goodbye to an institution that greedy management killed off. As far as my listening habits go, not only have they completely fallen off the map, but I have strong contempt for the station. I can’t stand Rogers. I can’t stand how they run my baseball team, I can’t stand what they did with Cole, Cherry, and Mccown, and I can’t stand their ubiquity across Toronto’s sports landscape. Their brand is toxic as far as I’m concerned, and I’m all too happy to have stopped listening to their now-terrible sports radio station.

Bob Jones
Bob Jones
December 5, 2019 11:05 pm

Blair has access to the 2 best co hosts at the FAN yet his burping, farting, repeating delivery, combined with his penchant for answering his own circuitous questions makes the show unlistenable. When he goes – I’m back.

Slim Whitman
Slim Whitman
December 6, 2019 1:49 am

Florida is nicknamed “Gods waiting room ”
The Fans afternoon Writers Bloc show should be called
” The next round of layoffs”
By Spring 2020 the show and all 3 salaries will be gone.

Paul G.
Paul G.
December 6, 2019 7:56 am

@ Slim Whitman…Sadly (Brunt & Deitsch) I agree. The 2-5 slot is probably just being used to burn off their contracts.

Given the budget gutting to date, it appears unlikely that they will get decent renewal offers. With the current poor management decisions to far, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blair somehow be the sole survivor.

December 6, 2019 12:24 pm

– it’s true that Bobs ratings dropped, but aren’t we talking about one or two books really? And ratings are supposed to be more about long term trends? I’m not saying Bob could keep crushing everything in sight as he approaches 70, but I do think The Fan lost its status as ‘automatic sports radio ratings winner’ once they fired Bob. I’m still angry about it and miss the show a lot. As for the rest of the lineups, I think Writers Bloc has a lot of potential as a big picture/big issues show and I agree with YYZ about how great Deitsch has been.  Good Show has grown on me a lot too – great for Raptors talk. I don’t really listen to any other local shows at this point. Totally agree with Mike that they need to find a way to break up Tim and Sid to have a radio portion and a TV portion. I really do NOT want to listen to a segment on the Oilers winning streak on Toronto drive home sports radio thanks.  I’m glad that others have been enjoying TSN, it’s  just too hockey focussed for me, so it’s just a non listen. I wish they would make more of an effort between the two drive shows. Maybe a show with a different feel? I know fewer people are listening to radio at that time but it can catch on as a podcast. 

Bingo Bango Bongo
Bingo Bango Bongo
December 6, 2019 5:06 pm

I’ll start with your second point. It is true that the numbers are generally smaller than you might think for either sports talk station (and actually for talk in general) but there’s another anomaly in the numbers. The 18-34 demo is very low, and the reason is the PPMs. Numeris has had a hard time finding people in that demo who are willing to have a monitor, and that’s especially true for men. So when they find someone willing to have one, they go back time and time again. If whoever they have doesn’t listen to your station, you’re pooched. That’s true for ALL stations. The numbers posted contain very few surprises among the music stations, although CHFI isn’t as strong as before. As you mentioned there is no perfect system. The other thing to keep in mind: these numbers don’t include online listening. Would love to see how big a difference those would make

Chance Vought
Chance Vought
December 6, 2019 7:46 pm

Why is this site retweeting bogus info? You retweeted someone saying Overdrive was the third-ranked sports podcast in Canada when it is actually 44th:

Christopher Clinch
December 6, 2019 11:49 pm

mike (in boston) 1 day ago
It’s important to keep in mind that the decline at the Fan started during Bob’s tenure. Pinning these disastrous results on the decision to fire him ignores this fact. If Bob were the solution then he would still be there.

I’ve been reading this blog since Jonah had bikini of the day, and this might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read.

Bob isn’t there because Rogers cost cutting, not because he was losing market share.

December 7, 2019 2:17 am

@Chance Vought 

I was the one with that info. I looked into it and there seems to be a discrepancy in Apple’s listings, perhaps an algorithm quirk. 

Overdrive is currently #51 overall and indeed the 3rd highest sports podcast on the overall list. They are also far, far back on the sports-only listing, #64 as of this writing. Of course that makes no sense given that they’re 51st overall and ahead of dozens of sports podcasts on the overall list that they’re behind on the sports list. 

Anyone with experience in podcasting who understands now the apple algorithm works care to shed light on this? Anecdotally and reading social media engagement, it makes much more sense that they’re 3rd. 

Gary M
Gary M
December 7, 2019 5:55 am

Every time the Fan dumps Greg Brady from the morning show, the ratings crash. I don’t listen to the show regardless and have no dog in the hunt. Just stating a fact.

Matty Zero
Matty Zero
December 7, 2019 10:46 am

@justin I couldn’t agree more with you on your comment regarding toxicity and the Rogers/Fan590 brand. All good points.

As for the Apple algorithm in the ranking of podcasts, no one knows, even podcasters themselves. Must be proprietary. The belief tho is that 5 star reviews carry a lot of weight, then 5 star ratings then downloads.

December 7, 2019 4:12 pm

@ChristopherClinch – yeah. Bob has one or two declining books maybe? But was still beating Overdrive. And given his track record, you don’t cut bait on him for just … winning by less? Not saying he wasn’t entering his declining years, or that Overdrive hasn’t become popular, but firing Bob was about cost cutting.

As for podcast rankings – my understanding is that those lists can be easily manipulated by unsubscribing and then resubscribing. I’m not sure how reliable they are (especially considering the fact the same podcast can hold very different rankings on different lists)

Jim Lang
Jim Lang
December 8, 2019 10:49 am

Hello all. FWIW – Overdrive rocks. Best show on sports radio right now. The PPM rating system is horribly inaccurate. Take that into consideration. But, it is what it is.

Hey, if you feel like reading a solid book about the good, the bad and the ugly of Bryan Berard’s life; Amazon has a good deal right now. #Relentless

I can’t wait to see what mediocre player that Shatkins and the Blue Jays will over-pay for this off-season.

December 8, 2019 11:37 am

Wow. The solid trouncing of Sportsnet has now leaked over to the radio side. Huge and deserved victories for Landsberg and Overdrive in the two most important  time slots despite 1050’s woefully impotent signal. The entire SN team has been disemboweled on both the radio and TV side. When TSN gets the next NHL rights deal, the only thing left behind of Mohamed’s and Pelley’s deal will be ashes and ruins. 

Jim Brown
Jim Brown
December 9, 2019 11:21 am

The amount of damage inflicted by bloated, self-absorbed morons like Keith Pelley and Scott Moore is almost incalculable. Hundreds of jobs lost, careers ruined. Vast sums of money lost. All because they didn’t appreciate why Canadians actually watch hockey, and because (in their greed and impulsiveness) they didn’t take the time to ponder the underlying demographic changes and viewing patterns arising within the Canadian market. Gary sure won, though: he gets to financially gut Sportsnet for several more years at the same as his aggressive anti-Canadian efforts are finally bearing fruit, on and off the ice. If things work out as planned, by the middle 2020s, it won’t matter if no one in Canada still watches the NHL, because Gary will finally have enough Americans on the ice and in the boardrooms to make it worth Murica’s while to watch his sterile and emasculated version of professional hockey.

Gary Bettman played Moore and Pelley like the fools they were and are. And yet, for all the damage they did, both have slithered off to other jobs. Heck, Pelley is making around 3 million British Pounds a year to run the European Golf Tour into the ground. It’s incredible how these guys keep finding other job opportunities, but it does show you how incestuous much of the business world really is.

December 9, 2019 8:57 pm

Can you imagine what happens to Rogers if the Leafs don’t make the playoffs in 2020 and the Jays are terrible again next season?

December 10, 2019 1:06 am

For those who never saw/heard this or want to relive the horror, here’s a “chicken” interviewing “Col. Sanders” before being escorted to the slaughterhouse.

Mike V
Mike V
December 12, 2019 4:25 am

What happens to Sportsnet Eenusch? Very likely the same thing that’s been happening, another year of solid profitability while the outside noise spins a tale of financial disaster to the contrary. I’ve come to see it as a win-win for both sides; Rogers gets their money/the people who hate Rogers get to pretend they don’t. 

Daniel, Bob had a solid year or more of “low” declining ratings. It wasn’t just a book or two. And letting him go hasn’t affected that time slot. 

I don’t get the Apple podcast ratings at all. Besides the obvious fact that they give new podcasts a boost so they often show up at #1 at launch, the show and episode rankings paint very different stories. Cherry, for example, is #2 sports show right now but his top episode isn’t till #21 and there’s not another one until the 60s. Meanwhile, PMT has two episodes in the top 10 on that chart, but for shows it’s #9?

Jim Brown
Jim Brown
December 22, 2019 12:23 pm

If Sportsnet is doing so well, Mike V, why are they laying off staff left and right? Why all the cost-cutting measures? You’re being willfuly dishonest. If that NHL deal was making Sportsnet “solid” profits, Moore and Pelley would likely still be around. Truth is, Moore went into those negotiations with Buttman like a kid interviewing for a job; he was simply played for the corpulent fool he was/is by Buttman. As a result, Sportsnet overpaid by probably a couple billion. Horrible deal that has done nothing but damage the Sportsnet brand.

Jim Brown
Jim Brown
December 28, 2019 7:31 pm

Scott Moore might be the dumbest executive I have ever seen or read about. What a useless t ur d. Guy left a mess but, unlike Pelley, he didn’t get to jump off early to his next gig. Some people bounce around in the corporate world, leave ashes and dust, and slither off to their next gig as if it didn’t happen. One should always be suspicious of those who seem to have a lot of former stops in their past. Pelley and Moore are exhibits 1 and 1a.

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