Canadian Media


Greg Brady and Jeff Sammut Fired from Sportsnet 590 The Fan

Rogers Media said they were cutting 200 jobs this quarter. They started last week, promising to finish as soon as possible, and today they delivered pink slips to two popular Fan 590 personalities.

Gone are Greg Brady from Brady & Walker and longtime utility host Jeff Sammut. It looks like 590 will air a show entitled Sportsnet Today The Andrew Walker Show from 1-4. No word yet on whether Sportsnet Today includes Andrew Walker, although that's highly likely considering he's still employed by the station.

Greg Brady visited my home on May 14, 2014. He appeared on episode 76 of my podcast, Toronto Mike'd, and he was entertaining, honest and an ideal guest. Part of what I like about Brady is that he doesn't pull punches. During this episode, he was brutally honest about why it didn't work out with former co-host Jim Lang. Recently, he went off on TSN Radio, which caused Mike Richards to strike back during his episode of Toronto Mike'd. Brady was always honest, perhaps too honest, but it made for interesting radio.

I knew Brady had rode in the Ride to Conquer Cancer, so when I was training for my first ride, I'd call Brady up and grill him with questions. He was very helpful.

Here's episode 76 with Greg Brady, if you missed it the first time.

Jeff Sammit visited my home on December 11, 2015. He appeared on episode 149 of my podcast, and it was a pleasure. When we finished recording, I looked at the software and saw it had crashed at the 1:02 mark. Luckily, I didn't lose that 1:02, but I had an episode without an ending. He was more than happy to re-record our last bit about his love of the Yankees and I learned a valuable lesson about recording software.

Here's episode 149 with Jeff Sammut.

This is a terrible time for members of the mainstream media. There are few options, and everyone is cutting staff. If it's not Bell Media or Rogers Media announcing cuts, it's Corus or CBC or Postmedia. Heck, CHCH fired everybody, just ask Mark Hebscher. Few are safe, job security is rare and good people who do good work are reduced to expendable numbers.

What an unfortunate state of affairs.

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Bill Carroll's Leaving Talk Radio AM640 for Newstalk 580 CFRA in Ottawa

I tweeted this news yesterday, but only a handful seemed to notice. So it's time to kick it old school with a blog entry.

Bill Carroll's contract at KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles recently lapsed and this Friday will be his last day at Talk Radio AM640 here in Toronto.He's moving on to another gig, although not in Toronto. He'll be heard on Newstalk 580 CFRA in Ottawa.

It was a little over three years ago that Bill Carroll announced his return to Toronto radio. I know him best as host of Barometer on Q107 back in the day, but he also spent time at the old TALK 640 and 1010 CFRB.

When a Bill Carroll fan page on Facebook picked up my tweet earlier today, Bill's wife Sylvie Lapointe all but confirmed the news.

bill

Update:

Here's audio of Bill Carroll signing off for the last time.

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Canadian-Based NHL Teams Suck and Rogers Suffers

I used to read Chris Zelkovich's column in the Star. The Toronto Star decided to eliminate the media critic role, and Zelkovich was cut.

He now writes for Yahoo! (the exclamation mark is necessary) and just published an article about hockey ratings woes at Rogers. As he puts it, "the Canadian-based teams are killing ratings".

With the delightful fall of the Habs, only one Canadian-based team is currently in a playoff position, and that's the Canucks clinging to 8th place in the Western Conference. That's incredible! Here's a screenshot of a very unlikely moment in history.

nhl1

nhl2

Rogers in the second year of its 12-year, $5.2 billion deal with the NHL. If no Canadian teams make the playoffs, ratings will take a serious hit, and there's absolutely nothing Rogers can do about it.

Personally, the only Canadian-based NHL team I give a rat's ass about is my Toronto Maple Leafs, and I'm loving the Shanaplan. Everything is going according to plan... I just hope Reimer doesn't steal too many points down the stretch. Just lose, baby... our future depends on it.

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Mike Cooper Retiring from 98.1 CHFI

I used to listen to Mike Cooper on 680 CFTR. I'm too young to remember the heydays of CHUM. Legend has it the man rode a ferris wheel at the CNE for 21 days. This past decade, Coop has co-hosted with Erin Davis, first at EZ Rock and then at CHFI. Regardless of your age, you likely remember Mike Cooper on Toronto radio.

Coop is signing off as co-host of 98.1 CHFI’s Erin and Mike in the Morning on January 29, 2016. Here's why, in his own words.

I’ve taken care of millions of people over the years and now it’s time to take care of one – my beloved wife and childhood sweetheart Debbie. It’s been an honour to be a part of the Rogers family at CHFI working alongside my dear friend Erin Davis for the past 10 years.

Coop will be missed, but who will take his coveted spot alongside Erin Davis? Darren B. Lamb recently left the CHUM-FM morning show and promised he's resurface soon. This could very well be that. Erin and Darren has a nice ring to it. And of course Maddog recently showed up on-air at CHFI for the New Year's Eve show. He's a long-time Toronto morning man without a home.

Speculate with me and share your Coop stories below. Meanwhile, here's some classic Cooper from his CFTR days. I'm hoping to get him on Toronto Mike'd for a proper send-off!

Update: It will indeed be Darren B. Lamb replacing Mike Cooper on the new Erin & Darren In The Morning on 98.1 CHFI.

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CHCH TV

CHCH TV has cancelled tonight's newscast. "The fear is the station is shutting down or being dramatically reduced."

This is awful news for CHCH employees, which includes two-time Toronto Mike'd guest Mark Hebscher, but it's also sad news for those of us who grew up tuning in channel 11.

I have great memories of watching The Hilarious House of Frightenstein on CHCH. Billy Van was awesome on that show. Steve Smith alone gave us Me & Max, Smith & Smith and The Red Green Show.

Then, there was Maple Leaf Wrestling. I'll never forget Billy Red Lyons saying "don't cha dare miss it". I still use that line periodically.

chch

CHCH is a Hamilton station, but in the days when I'd fiddle with a television antenna to bring in a very few stations, it was always there. Sadly, it's losing money, and the future is very uncertain.

Update: The CEO of Channel Zero, Roman Podzyhun, just came on CHCH TV to announce the news will return Monday. He says they're "making significant change" to schedule with "less local programming".

The Globe and Mail is reporting that "roughly half the staff will be laid off". Channel 11 L.P. has filed for bankruptcy, so those being fired won't receive severance. That really sucks.

I'm going to start a list of people who were let go today. 80-100 people 129 full-time employees and close to 30 part-timers got a pink slip without severance.

  • Mark Hebscher
  • Donna Skelly
  • Melissa Raftis
  • Cindy Csordas
  • Elise Copps
  • Matt Hayes
  • Scott Urquhart
  • Lori De Angelis
  • Natalie Marconi
  • Ken Welch
  • Lauran Sabourin
  • Jaclyn Colville

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Who Owns What in Toronto Radio

The recent bad news from Bell Media likely had you wondering which stations they own in Toronto. You're forgiven if you're not up to speed with who owns what in Toronto.

Here's a handy chart I just put together which I believe includes the vast majority of companies that own multiple stations in Toronto. And yes, I realize the CBC belongs to all of us.

radio

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November 2015 Bell Media Cuts

We're learning now who has been cut as part of Bell Media's restructuring. The vast majority of those let go were behind the scenes, but I'm going to focus on those in front of the microphone and/or camera, known to those tuning in from Toronto.

I'll update this entry as I learn more.

NewsTalk 1010

  • Mike Toth
  • Dave Woodard

CTV Toronto

  • Bill Hutchison
  • Suneel Joshi

CTV News Channel

  • Dan Matheson
  • Amanda Blitz
  • Tom Kennedy

TSN

  • Sheri Forde

TSN Radio 1050

  • David Bastl

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Ann Rohmer Retires from CP24 (Again!)

About five-and-a-half years ago, Ann Rohmer left her job at CP24 for a position in the aviation industry. Then, mere months later, Ann returned as if she had never left in the first place.

I spoke to Steve Anthony about this in episode 123 of my podcast as he tried to make sense of it all. Give it a spin if you have an hour to spare.

It seems Ann Rohmer has done it again, retiring from her role on CP24.

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As you've likely heard, Bell Canada is eliminating a number of positions in both Toronto and Montreal this month. If this tweet is to be believed, Ann stepped down to save another. Hat tip to @1236.

Happy retirement, Ann! See you back on CP24 in a few months...

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Pure Speculation: Is There Collusion Between Sportsnet 590 The Fan and TSN Radio 1050?

I'm going to preface this entry by saying there's no smoking gun here. Everything you read is pure speculation on my part, based solely on observations I've made as a fan of sports and sports radio.

In 2002, Rogers Media, a division of Rogers Communications, purchased CJCL, better known as The Fan 590. In 2011, Bell Canada's TSN Radio 1050 debuted. In response to that, "The Fan 590" was re-branded "Sportsnet 590 The Fan."

Since 2011, Bell and Rogers have been going head-to-head in sports media, both on television and on the radio. Bell has their stable of TSN analysts and personalities, and Rogers has their stable of Sportsnet analysts and personalities.

Earlier today, I was reading a write-up on Toronto Sports Media. I was curious whether my pals there would mention my recent podcast episodes with David Alter, Roger Lajoie and Eric Smith (they didn't), but took note of a couple of suggestions made by Mike in Boston.

Mike suggested that Rogers "poach Bruce Arthur from TSN1050" as a co-host for Bob McCown. Then, later in the same article, he suggests Bell "think about poaching one or both of Brady & Walker." The moment I read those two reasonable thoughts I laughed to myself. As if!

You see, I've long suspected there's collusion between The Fan 590 and TSN 1050. Nothing official, nothing in writing, just an unspoken agreement not to poach each other's talent. This would keep salaries down, of course, an ever important part of running a successful radio station.

I suspect collusion primarily because we haven't seen any poaching or movement from one company to the other since the sports radio war began almost five years ago. Can you think of an example since Rogers wrestled Damien Cox away from TSN in January of 2011, before TSN Radio even launched? If there are examples and I've simply missed them or forgotten them, please enlighten me in the comments.

Again, I present no evidence to support my hypothesis, it's all conjectural, but I do find it rather curious. You'd think 1050 would poach talent from 590 at least once since 2011, especially considering the ratings struggles over there.

I hope I'm wrong.

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Toronto Radio Ratings Musings

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