The Toronto Radio Wars Are Coming
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about how sports radio works in Toronto, and for the most part I don’t care since I don’t listen to any Toronto sports stations or care about any Toronto sports teams, but there is an upcoming battle between the two titans of sports broadcasting in Canada that makes this a very exciting time for sports radio. You would think that sports radio was a bygone with how popular TV has become. Instead, it seems, CTVglobemedia and Rogers Media are pumping more money into radio than before. In recent weeks both company’s have attached the TSN and Sportsnet brand to their radio stations (TSN Radio 1050 and Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590) and both have also made some top level hires. Rogers has brought back former HockeyCentral at Noon host Darren Millard to fill his old role, while TSN brought in Mike Richards to host its morning drive show. The war that was once only waged through TV has found a new medium.
Then came the announcement this afternoon that James Cybulski will host TSN Radio’s afternoon drive show and go head-to-head with Bob McCown on The Fan. Cybulski’s show will be called Cybulski and Company. In my opinion, Cybulski’s talent doesn’t come anywhere near that of McCown, but he does have some things going for him. First he is young, so he should do a good job in the younger demographics. He has also hosted basketball and soccer coverage on TSN, so fans of those sports (especially soccer) may tune in knowing McCown won’t talk about soccer until hell freezes over. Cybulski will also have exclusive access to some of the top analysts around, including Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Pierre McGuire, Dave Naylor, Chris Schultz, Dan Shulman and just about every other TSN employee because they have been restricted to only appearing on CTV owned stations.
Cybulski does bring in a host of sportscasting experience including hosting TSN’s coverage of the 2011 NCAA March Madness, the UEFA Champions League and Barclay’s Premier League. He was also CTV’s reporter for speed skating at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, where he was awarded with a Gemini Award for Best Sports Reporting in 2010. Cybulski also recently received great reviews for his report on the connection between Jay Triano and Terry Fox.
Here is a quote from Stewart Johnston, President, TSN
James is one of Canada’s most diverse sports broadcasters with a wealth of high-profile hosting and reporting experience both on television and on radio. He’s young, highly-entertaining, and he brings a refreshing voice to the Toronto sports radio landscape. His popularity and interests go beyond the sports world, and it’s his ability to work at the intersection where sports and pop culture collide that makes him the perfect fit to host TSN RADIO 1050’s flagship afternoon drive show.
And a quote from Chris Gordon, President, CHUM Radio
James is an exceptional talent who, along with the rest of our broadcast team, will be great ambassadors for TSN RADIO 1050 and the CHUM Radio brand. With many of our marquee shows now in place, we are confident that our diverse slate of programming will appeal to fans both in the GTA and across Canada. We are primed to take sports radio to a new level and give fans and advertisers alike the most entertaining sports talk from the country’s definitive voices in sports broadcasting.
And finally a quote from Cybulski himself
This is a new opportunity for fans in the GTA to connect over the biggest stories from the world of sports and debate the headlines beyond the stadiums and arenas. We’re going to be fun, entertaining and, in true TSN style, feature the best sports experts and insiders in the business, probing all the hot button issues of the day. For me, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to engage newsmakers and listeners on a station aiming to set a new benchmark in sports broadcasting.
TSN and Chum Radio also announced that Steve Kouleas will have a daily show at noon called That’s Hockey 2Day on TSN Radio. Kouleas’ hockey show will go head to head with Leafs Lunch on AM640 and Hockey Central @ Noon on The Fan 590. It will be interesting to see if Kouleas can gain a foothold against two well established noon hour shows during the NHL playoffs. Kouleas will also have the advantage of exclusive access to TSN hockey employees including Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, James Duthie and Pierre McGuire. So far TSN Radio’s talent lineup looks like this
Morning Drive – The Mike Richards Show
Noon – Steve Kouleas (That’s Hockey 2Day)
Afternoon – Jim Rome Show*
Afternoon – Dan Patrick Show*
Afternoon Drive – Cybulski & Friends
Both the Jim Rome Show and Dan Patrick Show are 3 hours long. TSN Radio will probably only have time for one in the afternoon. My expectation is the other will air following Cybulski & Friends.