Tag Archives: Fan 590

Time For A Change In The Morning

I am going to go out on a limb here folks. It is time Nelson Millman to make a change to his morning show over at the Fan 590. I don’t want to call for someone to lose (not loose) their job, but the morning show is just stale. Why do I bring this up today, well, Don Landry was out ill today and Damien filled in for Landry. It was the best morning show they have had in ages. Let me be clear, I don’t know Don Landry from Adam. To quote Pat Burns, “I wouldn’t know him if I hit him with my car.” I don’t dislike him personally, nor the work he does. However, if ever there was a guy suited for a mid day slot it would be him. He can be funny, he likes to do more shtick then substance and I am sure he has a ton of loyal followers. He just isn’t a sports guy. This is a time slot the Fan has all to their own and to be honest most mornings I punt to 550 or god forbid music. If I am not getting sports at 590, there is no reason to listen. Nelson needs to find a replacement for Landry during that show and move Landry to an hour where his talents will be more appreciated. I can’t see the ratings for this show getting any better then they are right now. The show has peaked and I predict will decline until a change is made.

Damien was fantastic this am with Gord. They have amazing chemistry and man, they spent time actually talking about what their sports guests earlier in the am had to say. Damien was saying how he thought wht Burke was doing with Pogge was the right move, that it was part of a plan. He said he disagreed with Scotty’s take from earlier in the am which was great in that I didn’t get to hear all of it. There was a lot less hijinx then there usually is and a bigger focus on sports. Again, for some reason I think Damien’s column has suffered greatly as a result of the other things he does. He is better in his blog and is better then that on the radio. Watching him faceoff against Simmons on Sunday’s is pretty interesting too. In his column he rarely says why leaf fans should be happy that Cliff is gone. It sounds like a personal vendetta, and more so every time he says it isn’t. This morning he actually put some meat on the bones saying that if Cliff were still in charge we would have seen more deals like the one Cliff made for Lee Stempniak, trading away 2 guys who at the very least should have been given a shot with the Marlies to work our their careers. Damien guaranteed that Cliff was going to do everything in his power to get the team to the playoffs this season and deals like that were evidence of such. Now, I have no clue whether that is true or not. Damien also wrote that Doug Gilmour was paying for his players to be at the ACC this Saturday and we have since learned otherwise. At least it makes for interesting radio. It is certainly better then another bit of Ken Dryden in the house of commons! Good on Damien for mixing it up a bit, making it interesting etc.

I would like to see the Fan 590 think outside the box a bit more. In many major cities I have lived in the morning show and the drive home show feature a radio guy and a print guy as permanent hosts. The radio guy is always there (except for vacations) and the print guy is sometimes a little late, sometimes on the road or sometimes absent. They have good chemistry and create a good product. Now Brunt is a part timer on the Fan, not full time with McCown. While I love Brunt’s work, I think he comes across as being to cerebral for radio in this town. He is certainly better then some of the other guys though. I would love for the Fan to find a way to get Damien or someone like him in there with Stellick. Maclean would be a better fit to be honest. One of the problems I think is that we don’t have a huge bullpen of talent (at least known) in this market. It’s not like there are 5-10 guys on other shows who you say, man they would be awesome on the Fan. With the exception of Brady on 640 (and I think he would be terrific with Stellick, but can’t see that happening anytime soon), I really can’t think of anyone. Now Brady came from Detroit and there are probably a lot of folks in the industry looking for work in other markets. I think Nelson really should make a change, move Landry to the mid-day and bring in someone else to work with Stellick. This morning was a tease.

A Great Read- Radio Wars….

Love him or not (Mike S) Brady’s blog this am is a must read. If you are a fan of the sports media business, and if you are hear you must be to a certain extent then you will really enjoy Brady’s blog this am. The post is about the closing of his former station and he offers up insight and opinions you don’t usually see stuff like this written. Here is my favorite part:

“But I was at WDFN in Detroit for nine years. I arrived when I was 27, left when I was 36, and now that I’m 37, the station doesn’t exist anymore. Yesterday (Tuesday, January 20th), the powers that be blew it up. All local programming is gone except the odd sports update, and Detroit Pistons basketball until the end of the NBA season. The station went on the air in 1994, when there was still lots of doubt as to whether the format itself could succeed and make a dent in what was then the sixth biggest radio market in the United States. When I arrived in 1998, it was the ninth biggest. In fact, the Fan 590 in Toronto, whom we try daily to match in terms of their accomplishments, their efforts, on the air and behind the scenes when we do Leafs Lunch and the Bill Watters Show were really just finding their legs in the early and mid-90s, and now they’re the guys to catch. They’re a powerhouse, and as I’ve written before, plain and simple, Bob McCown is the biggest reason why. He’s been the best in the business as what he does, and the fact that some folks have considered coming over and listening to us once in a while instead of his show, is flattering and encouraging. We spend a lot of time at AM640 thinking of how to match PrimeTime Sports and where we can poke holes in what is a monster. Everything that show and that station has right now it’s earned, because you know there were a lot of people in Toronto who said they couldn’t succeed for as long as they have and they did.”

There is more and well worth your time….check it out here

Just How bad Was JFJ

Pierre McGuire was on the Fan this am, the fan doesn’t post too many of their insiders clips on the net so it’s hard to get clips for you. However, I got a good chunk of it. McGuire was saying how far back the Muskoka Five set the Leafs franchise. “If they hadn’t refused to waive there no movement/no trade clauses the team wouldn’t be in this 3-5 year rebuilding program., I guarantee it.”

Well, a couple of things come to mind…

1. If the queen had balls, she would be king
2. the following scene from an absolute classic:
“Tommy: Let’s think about this for a sec, Ted, why do they put a guarantee on a box? Hmm, very interesting.
Ted: I’m listening.
Tommy: Here’s how I see it. A guy puts a guarantee on the box ’cause he wants you to fell all warm and toasty inside.
Ted: Yeah, makes a man feel good.
Tommy: ‘Course it does. Ya think if you leave that box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter.
Ted: What’s your point?
Tommy: The point is, how do you know the Guarantee Fairy isn’t a crazy glue sniffer? “Building model airplanes” says the little fairy, but we’re not buying it. Next thing you know, there’s money missing off the dresser and your daughter’s knocked up, I seen it a hundred times.
Ted: But why do they put a guarantee on the box then?
Tommy: Because they know all they solda ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That’s all it is. Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for right now, for your sake, for your daughter’s sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality item from me.
Ted: Hmm. Okay, I’ll buy from you.
Tommy: Well I… What?

So, the guarantee isn’t that important. We all know the truth. The question is what put us in the mess? If you listen to Wilbur, the pressure to succeed was so great on JFJ he couldn’t do the things he wanted to do. I scream bullshit. Look where failure got him. FIRED. I also don’t buy that he acted differently because he didn’t have job security. There are lots of GM’s out there on 1 year deals who don’t mortgage everything on nothing. This guy was a complete baphoon. He will never be a GM again in the NHL. As one exec told me, he will be a GM again, but only of a Walmart! These deals that he made were so brutal. Every single one of them. I don’t blame any of the players for not waiving their clauses. The jerk on the other side was willing to give it and hey they each earned it. Who was JFJ bidding against when he signed any of the guys he gave the NTC’s too? NO ONE. Did he have to up the anti on Tucker because someone else was going to go higher? NO. Did someone threaten to overpay McCabe? Nope…He was bidding against himself in almost every case. Oh no, he wouldn’t have gotten Kubina…alone, and no offense to Kubina, but what the hell was this one guy going to add to this franchise???

I just love the argument that ownership screwed this up. I don’t buy 1 cent of it. You don’t get to the GM level by being a yes man. All of the sudden you are an order taker? Give me a break. If that is true, then JFJ is more spineless then I originally thought. The guy was making big bucks. He knows only hockey. He had to know that his reputation was on the line with every move he made. The question is was he just to stubborn to listen to those around him? Did he really act totally alone on these moves? Forget the board. The board wasn’t telling him to go sign Pavel Kubina. Was the board out there trying to replace him? Sure, that may be the case. Was the board in disagreement over his status. Sure. Did that undermine him? Absolutely. Did that force him to make stupid moves? Hell no. I don’t buy it for one second. He was apparently turned down one time by the board, and that was to blow things up entirely. I know that may sound hypocritical. Wait though, before you pounce. Ask yourself this? Do you want that tool doing the rebuilding. We got nothing for Sundin. We got Van Ryn for McCabe. The damage Cliff did in blowing up was pretty minimal. The guys he got back have been OK. Not great. OK. They haven’t been complete disasters (save for the village idiot who for some reason Wilson seems to like). I didn’t want it then and I re-enforce it today, JFJ was not the man ever to do the re-tooling.

We see it in every day life all the time. People who excel in one area aspire to do something else. Not everyone is a good manager. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good at something. I have run into this countless times. Leading sales people aspire to be sales managers. When they become sales managers they hate it, they are miserable. Why? Simple, they aren’t selling anymore, they are bogged down in red tape and process. So they have the title and yet they are miserable. JFJ sounded like he was good at contracts (stop laughing). Maybe he was good at negotiating them when he was provided with limitations. I would like to say he was a good talent evaluator but we all know that just can’t be true. Who knows, I am sure he has a home in hockey. Right now he is a scout (stop laughing). I don’t think he has the makeup to be a GM in this league. It’s really quite simple. I get asked a lot, whether I think Burke was the right guy for the leafs. The answer is absolutely. Why, because he is the one guy who can handle the board and the media. As much as I love Doug Wilson and think he would have been a better GM choice, he would have gotten killed here. He is too quite, too thoughtful. If Richard Peddie walks in to Burke’s office and says ya know, this guy on Columbus looks pretty good, we all know where Burke is going to put Peddie. There will be no discussion, no second thought. If McCown wants to rip Burke on the air, Burke isn’t going to run from the Bobcat. That is the type of person the Buds need at this point.

So I agree with you Pierre. We may not agree on the why or the who is to blame but the Muskoka 5 really hurt this team. It says here the blame falls squarely on JFJ. He may not have started the country club atmosphere, he allowed it to remain, he installed the coach who did nothing about it. He signed the players, it all falls on him. When history looks back no one will say, oh yeah that guy from the Ontatio Teachers Pension fund really screwed the leafs up, they will say JFJ did.

Toronto Sports Radio Tonight

No word from the folks at the fan tonight

On 640, besides all the rock talk:

Lee Stempniak 510
Rob Higgins 540
Scott Morrison 610

Toronto Sports Radio Tonight

The Fan has the Raptors game- not sure if McCown is on, if so, should be he and Brunt with a roundtable..

On 640:

440 Ron Francis
510 Joe Nieuwendyk
540 Bob “The Bear Cowan”
610 Dreger/Morrison
630 Jonas Siegel
640 Dr. Paul Echlin, Chair of the 2009 Hockey Concussion Summit in London, Ontario

Pierre McGuire is out to Lunch

A good F@#@!#@#!@#! freezing morning to all of you in Toronto. WOW it is cold out there today. Just heard Rick Ralph’s update and he had a clip of TSN insider Pierre McGuire telling leaf fans to not freak out about losing and that although we have never been through this before and it doesn’t feel like it now, it’s all for the better.

What the F!@#@!#!@#! is he smoking. We have been through it before. OK- so it,losing has never been “plan”, but we have lost way worse then this in the past! This is WAY easier to stomach. This year we are losing when we were told we would. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what this season was going to be like. The difference between this year and last year is that in years past we had overpaid veterans who realized worse results then the current guys. The only time anyone with a brain gets mad this year is when they lose with no effort.

Random Thoughts On A Snowy Toronto Sports Night

Some things have been going on that I think need commenting on, call me crazy (lots of folks do)

The Toronto Sports Fans apathy to the Raptors is at an all time high. The team is in a spiral and not too many people seem to give a rats ass. There is more noise made about the Jays when things go south then there is right now for the Raptors. I heard and read more comments about the Argos dismal efforts then I am noticing with the Raptors. Ask anyone in the sports industry what the worst thing that can happen to an organization and they will tell you fan apathy. The fact that this team is performing so poorly without a whimper of discontent does not bode well for the Raptors. I am stunned that more of the usual suspects haven’t come out a swinging at Bryan Colangelo. I guess the reason they don’t is that they can’t. None of them really know the game well enough to comment. I know, they don’t know hockey either, but with hockey they THINK they do. Kudos to Bob McCown for watching last night’s game(Monday’s) on Raptors TV repeat. The game was on TSN2 which I believe is only available via illegal means here in the GTA. The bobcat was playing scrabble with his son during the live event. Hey at least he watches games on tv!

Could anyone have predicted a less exciting start to the Brian Burke era then we have seen. I know, I know his trading embargo is in place and he is in a new gig learning about his new team, but man what a buzz kill. The build up to his reign was so HUGE that the fall off the cliff was due to be big but man has he been quiet.

Speculation is abound as to what Burke’s first move will be. Berger thinks Burke’s first move will happen between the pipes for the leafs. Dreger thinks it will be for toughness. Dreger even suggests that Burke has an itchy trigger finger so long as teams aren’t asking for Luke Schenn.

Speaking of quiet, serious props to the first radio station in town to get Sam Mitchell on the air. No coach has been more entertaining in recent memory then Smitch. I can’t imagine pleasant things being said if he ends up on 640 before 590.

I love what Ron Wilson is doing. You know that by now. However, I am starting to get a small sense of where things went south in San Jose in how he is speaking, at least publicly about Jason Williams. “Right now I’m watching him under the microscope,” said coach Ron Wilson. “If I see him get comfortable then we’re going to yank his chain around.” Nothing wrong with being a hard ass, but geeze, give the guy some credit. You call the guy up and all he does is score in every game. Would it kill you to give him a small pat on the back? I get the message and I am sure Williams does too.

You know I love the Globe and Mail Sports section. Clearly the most improved in the city. Not sure who wrote this gem as a byline to David Shoalt’s piece “Winger scores on fourth shootout attempt to ensure Toronto doesn’t lose to its former AHL goaltender “. Look Scott Clemmensen deserves a ton of credit. Why? He is making the most of his opportunity. Raise your hand if you think for one second he would see the playing time but for the injury to Brodeur. There are a ton of mistakes the leafs brass has made over the year, letting Clemmensen is not one of them. Claiming that the Leafs would or should be embarrassed to lose to New Jersey and their ex goalie is just baloney. New Jersey is, even without Broduer a pretty amazing team and their record shows it. Losing to them is nothing to be embarrassed about. Given the Leafs squad it is almost expected. Extra kudos to Wilson’s boys for eking one out in a shutout.

Things that make you go hmmmmmm. If Scott Clemmensen carries the Devils far this year does that diminish the accolades of one Martin Brodeur? My favorite New Jersey Devil of all time, ex head athletic trainer Bill Murray (no joke).

Successful sports franchises are those that appreciate the window of opportunity and just how small it is. In each league only one team wins the big one every year. Bad teams are unable to realize just how hard it is to be a champion. It is the smart GM who knows when it is time to admit the opportunity with a certain bunch has passed and make the hard and sometimes unpopular decision to re-tool. Recognizing that you won’t with a group of players who may be fan favorites or good regular season performers is hard. Actually pulling the proverbial band aid off an trading or releasing those assets is really what defines a champion. With that in mind, anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, the ship has sailed for some in Ottawa?

I say it enough times, I am not a basketball guy. However 6 NBA coaches fired so far this season and a combined worse winning percentage then their predecessors tell you something. Perhaps those teams are talent deficient and the coaches are the sacrificial lambs to pacify fans and owners. I agree with Jack Armstrong who said tonight that if he owned a team he would tell a GM before hiring a coach, when you hire this guy you are tied to him. If you want to fire him down the road, you go too. I know it would never work, but man it sounds good doesn’t it?

I am biased, but I really like former University of Vermont Captain Jamie Siffers. Reminds me of all the games he pummeled those nasty Terriers!

Sorry to hear about the 600 layoffs at the Sun’s parent company. People losing their jobs this time of year is beyond sad. If rumors are true that one of those gone from the Sun is Scott Morrison then I have to wonder who is making the decisions at the paper Little TSM loves.

Anyone else wonder what Jeff Marek was thinking jumping off Wilbur’s wing? I don’t know the guy, have nothing against him personally either. Since he left talk640 I have not seen or heard him and I thought he was pretty funny. I know he is on Sirius hockey night in Canada radio. Anyone listening to that? I sometimes tune into the XM hockey channel. I know that I am in the minority when it comes to satellite radio in this town….Not that it is entirely an indicator of performance (and certainly not of Marek that is for sure) but with the Sirius/XM stock at .15, that’s right fifteen cents things aren’t looking for rosy for the satellite radio folks.

Our respects to Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who’s father died Monday. From the articles I have read, it sounds like his father was an amazing man and even better father. Here is hoping JS and his entire family are able to make it through the holiday season with only great memories of Claude Giguere.

I love to ski. So reading of an accident involving chair lifts scares the hell out of me. (It also does make me think of that awesome episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. When does the next season start anyway? ) Seriously. I can’t wait to take my kids to Whistler skiing and I have been on the Excalibur lift many a time. I hope that those hurt are ok and that the cause is soon discovered and repaired. For those who don’t know,” The RCMP say at least 10 people were hurt in the accident that happened at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, though none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening. Fifty-three people were rescued, some after spending three hours in the air.”

Have the Blue Jays done anything, no literally anything to make you want to consider buying a ticket? Me neither.

Congrats to TFC for selling all 16,000 season tickets. In this economy that is, in a word, awesome.

I read tonight that the Yankees have replaced GM with Toyota and Audi as a sponsors of the team. In other news, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Could you imagine if GM were still the automobile sponsor of the Yankees. We need a bailout but…..

True story, I was offered a full page ad in this year’s superbowl game day program and 2 lower level premium seats for $40k with any payment terms I want through the end of 2009. Is it just me, but doesn’t that seem really low?

Have I missed anything? Oh yeah our first reported major snow storm is apparently here. I have a brand new snowblower in my garage. I was pretty psyched to fire it up. Then Joe Sakic had to ruin it for me…. Safe travels tomorrow am all.

OH wait, I know what I forgot, Thursday is Mats Sundin Day. Question, won’t it be interesting if he goes to a team other then the NY Rangers. You know I love McCown. He may still be right. What happens if he doesn’t sign with the Rangers? I know the world won’t end but someone will have some splain to do. For my part, “oh well, my sources were wrong” won’t just cut it. If I were Rick Toccheting on a prognosticator I would go with Hanky. I am pretty sure he has had #13 going to every team in the league at some point so he has to be right. One last Sundin thought for the night. Riddle me this. Do we get a farewell press conference in Toronto. Will we not get the tearful goodbye so many people here want and deserve?