Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 228: Brian Williams

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 228In this 228th episode, Mike chats with TSN's Brian Williams about his years at CBC, the 14 Olympic games he covered, the Punch-up in Piestany, calling Blue Jay games and the broadcasters he admired. This episode is exactly 1:30:42.

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Tuck your pocket in you hobo !


April 5, 2017 @ 2:33 PM

Urooj Islam

Don Landry used to do a fantastic Brian WIlliams back in the day on the Fan 590.

April 5, 2017 @ 2:41 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


That's b/c I just pulled my phone outta there!

April 5, 2017 @ 3:39 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Urooj Islam

This episode opens with Don doing just that.

April 5, 2017 @ 3:39 PM

Rob J

Thanks for asking my John Cerutti question!

April 5, 2017 @ 4:01 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob J

I'm so glad you asked me to ask it because it resulted in a great answer.

April 5, 2017 @ 4:09 PM

Rob J

It really did...I'm not a Jays' fan but I've watched a lot of their games through the years...the tragic passing of John C hit me like a ton of bricks and I admit I got shivers listening to Brian's thoughts.

Another classic TM episode.

April 5, 2017 @ 4:12 PM

Urooj Islam

@ Toronto Mike

Thank you so much for that, I nearly died laughing. Those "Grapeline" skits Landry did were so on point.

April 5, 2017 @ 5:54 PM


Great, great, great, great, great!

An interview worthy of your subject. Well done, Mike!

April 5, 2017 @ 7:25 PM

Andy in Minnesota

Another fascinating interview!

To extend on a point Brian brought up, the Olympics stateside aren't COMPLETELY taped. NBC recently announced that for next Winter they're going live across all time zones starting at 8 PM in New York, 5 PM in Los Angeles, 3 PM in Honolulu, 7 AM in South Korea, break for the local news, and then back live in Peyonchang until 2 AM in New York, 8 PM in Honolulu, and 3 PM the next day in South Korea.

April 5, 2017 @ 8:55 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Great guest and another great interview Mike.

April 5, 2017 @ 10:11 PM


I love the shirt Mike.

April 5, 2017 @ 11:39 PM

Freedom 55

Great interview and am relieved that you did not go down the Ann Rohmer retirement rabbit hole when discussing retirement plans with Mr. Williams.

April 6, 2017 @ 1:21 PM


Here's the thing, if you LIKE Brian you'll like him some more here. If you DON'T like him, you will like him less. I enjoyed hearing about his early CHUM and CFRB days, and his anecdotes just roll off the tongue. Sure he name-drops like crazy but hey, I enjoyed this. In the second half he started liking the sound of his own voice too much maybe.....but for those who remember 1988 - there's only ONE Brian Williams.

April 10, 2017 @ 6:40 PM


Oh yeah, great job Mike staying out of the way but stepping in when needed. He could have talked for 12 hours easily.

April 10, 2017 @ 6:41 PM



Brian seems like one of those guys that his personality on-air is exactly the same off. Genuine, good sense of humour and all round nice guy.

April 11, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Brian called me when I invited him, called me again to book a specific day / time and then called me the day before to confirm everything. My sense is he's a genuinely caring and respectful person and chatting with him for 90 minutes was an absolute pleasure.

April 11, 2017 @ 12:37 PM

Rob J

When Brian asserted early on that reporters shouldn't cheer, it seemed like an idea from a much earlier era.

April 11, 2017 @ 3:11 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob J

But then the debate is this...

Is it okay for Joe Bowen to cheer on the regional radio broadcast? Probably.

Is it okay for the beat reporter for the Toronto Star to cheer? No.

Now what if it's the Blue Jays telecast team on the network owned by the company that owns the ball team? Buck cheers... is that okay? Probably. Should Shi Davidi cheer? No.

It's all so intertwined now. It used to be much more cut and dry.

April 11, 2017 @ 3:18 PM

Rob J

Obviously, once corporations started owning the teams and the networks, the game changed.
( I do feel sorry for fans of the other 4 Canadian playoff teams watching their heroes fight for coverage and airtime at the expense of the franchise partially owned by the rightsholder. I boldly predict the Leafs will be covered more thoroughly than the Flames on a national level!)

April 11, 2017 @ 4:25 PM

Rob J

If I were Friedman, Kypreos, Romanuk, Cherry, Campbell, Tabler, Buck, Bowen, Ralph, Mae, Walker, McCown, Blair, Brunt, Landsberg, Davidi, Wilner, O'Neil, Hayes, etc etc etc and was asked 'why does it at least seem you prefer it if the Toronto team wins?' I'd simply answer that they are my favourite team, so of course I cheer for them, and my boss partially owns the franchise and I really like my job.'

April 11, 2017 @ 6:10 PM


From that list, Cherry, Campbell, Bowen, Landsberg, Wilner, O'Neill and Hayes openly admit they are fans of the Toronto team. I see nothing wrong with that. I can understand why some non-Toronto residents/fans get rankled when it comes to Cherry, but even then, big deal.

April 12, 2017 @ 3:12 PM

Rob J

I don't have a problem with it, either. Only when they get in a defensive huff and deny it when asked do my eyes roll into the back of my head.

Further, if Wilner were the host of "Twins-Talk" in Minnesota, he'd be a Twins apologist. Follow the money.

April 12, 2017 @ 4:17 PM


This guy always seemed old to me. In spirit and demeanour. Even when he was young, he was old. I guess that passive, slightly pompous but mostly lame guy energy has always been the most noticeable thing about him.

Other than that, he comes off exactly as he does on air.... and I'm not sure that's a compliment. I mean, he's pleasant and amiable, but, among other things, he also seems deeply stuck in his "I've-been-making-major-Canadian-sports-media-dough-for-the-last-40-years-therefore-things-must-be-great-in-the-Canadian-sports-media" cocoon. If he honestly believes there's never been more opportunity in Canadian sports journalism as he says at one point, the glasses through which he views reality are ridiculously rosy.

I suppose things do look brilliant when, for four decades, you've been taking in the world from expensive restaurants & hotels, first class airfare, etc.

Also, the way he refers to episodes from his professional past, he genuinely seems to fancy himself a shit disturber. That made me laugh. I guess milquetoast criticism of the IOC makes you a major rebel in the circles he hangs out in.

April 26, 2017 @ 6:46 PM


Regarding "the best ad libs are scripted" piece of advice Brian mentioned he got from Howard Cossell during the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, seems like Brian really took that advice to heart because most of his answers on this podcast do sound like they've been loaded up and ready to launch at moment's notice i.e. polished via being told many many times before.

April 27, 2017 @ 6:46 PM

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