We don’t really cover much radio around these parts, probably due to the fact that there are no national stations in Canada and that only a small amount of people listen to sports radio compared to watching sports television programming. That said, an announcement from Sportsnet earlier in the week has made big news (big for radio that is) in the Toronto area and in a way, has an impact on those elsewhere in the country.
Firstly, the only good news, at least in the eyes of this author. Tim and Sid, who have been hosting the dead zone afternoon shift of 1pm to 4pm since December 2011, will be moving back to national television starting July 1 hosting their own show between 5pm–7pm ET. I personally consider this good news as the duo were great when they did their Live @ The Score show and then their satellite radio show. After moving to The Fan, the show bloated out from one hour to three, which a lot of the time was filled by plucking a Sportsnet talking head from the hallway and having them come into the studio for a segment or two. Add in the over the top sound effects and such, and I soon stopped listening after six months or so.
No word yet on how their new show is going to be formatted. It could be similar to the old Live @ The Score days and be some competition for Sportscentre on TSN. It could be a format similar to other “TSN” programming it will be going up against such as Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn. It could also be a mashup of all of those or something completely different. Rogers only said the show will be airing on Sportsnet. They didn’t specify whether this means it airs on Sportsnet 360 to replace the radio simulcast of Bob McCown or whether it will run on the regional Sportsnet channels, replacing Connected and going head-to-head against McCown. The latter option seems the most unlikely.
Now the bad news. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Brady & Walker, but from what I read online, opinions of them seem to be very mixed. Who I have unfortunately listened to and heard numerous things about is Dean Blundell. Blundell will take over the morning show with Andrew Walker as cohost on March 2 (NHL Trade Deadline Day). Blundell is most-known for formerly hosting Toronto alternate station The Edge’s morning show until he was fired after numerous instances of making homophobic, offensive and insensitive comments on air. He apparently did some horrible guest hosting during the dead zone summer months on The Fan and this somehow led to Program Director Don Kollins offering him the second most prominent timeslot in radio. Greg Brady seems to be getting screwed the most in this. He moves from the highly-rated breakfast show to the afternoon graveyard.
The truly weird thing about all of this is that The Fan wasn’t doing horrible in the ratings. Like, at all. They have been constantly beating TSN 1050 Toronto in the highly important demo of males aged 25–54 ever since TSN Toronto launched. Chris Zelkovich of Yahoo Sports reports that in the latest fall ratings, Brady & Walker were rating three times higher than Mike Richards on TSN and in the afternoon slot, Prime Time Sports crushed Dave Naylor with five times the ratings. Courtesy of Toronto Sports Media, here are the ratings from this past spring in males 25–54:
- Brady & Walker: 8.5 | Richards: 4.9
- The Jeff Blair Show: 7.4 | Macko & Cauz: 2.4
- FAN 590 12-1pm (Hockey Central) : 7.6 | TSN 1050 12-1pm (Leafs Lunch): 2.9
- Tim & Sid: 7.6 | TSN 1050 1-4pm (Hayes): 2.7
- PTS: 7.9 | TSN Drive with Dave Naylor: 2.0
So, numbers don’t seem to be the reason for the change. One possibility is that the suits at Sportsnet wanted Tim & Sid on back on television to go against TSN in the early evening slot. If this was the case, maybe Kollins took the opportunity to rearrange the entire lineup to fill the afternoon void? It will be an interesting experiment to watch… from afar anyway – I’m not going near that garbage fire of a lineup.
Here is the new lineup beginning in spring – a bunch of old, white men.
5:30–9am ET – Dean Blundell & Co.
9am–12pm ET – The Jeff Blair Show
12pm–1pm ET – Hockey Central @ Noon
1–4pm ET – Greg Brady
4–7pm ET – Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown