Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 141: Nelson Millman

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 141In this 141st episode, Mike chats with former Fan 590 program director Nelson Millman about his years at the station, the on-air talent, the lack of females on the sports radio roster, competition from TSN Radio and what he thinks of recent changes at 590. This episode is exactly 1:15:57.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 138: Adam Ricard

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 138In this 138th episode, Mike chats with 102.1 the Edge host Adam Ricard about his decade at the Edge, his feud with Alexisonfire, the Blue Jays, the Casby Awards, job security in radio and lots more. This episode is exactly 58:59.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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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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Humble and Fred on the Dini Petty Show in 1994

There's some great behind-the-scenes footage of Humble and Fred recording their CFNY morning show in 1994 in this clip. Also, bonus Dan Duran, Jason Barr and Marla West.

[via Dave Thielking, h/t to @retrontario]

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Toronto Radio Ratings Musings

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CFNY FM: ain't your average radio clone

Karim Mosna sent me a link to this little documentary about CFNY thinking I might be interested. It's 22-minutes long and includes chats with Alan Cross, David Marsden, Ivar Hamilton and Dani Elwell.

If you're looking for a more long-form deeper dive into this subject, I strongly recommend the following episodes of Toronto Mike'd:

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Another Round of Radio Layoffs at Corus

Corus Entertainment is shaving its payroll again with a series of radio layoffs. The names of those affected are still trickling in, so I'll update this entry as I learn more.

Most of the changes are at Q107. Longtime host Jeff Woods, who recently moved back from Calgary, has been let go, as have Dominik Diamond, Nails Mahoney and James MacPhee, who did news double duty with Q and AM640.

Kim Mitchell, who has been working the 2-6pm shift, will not have his contract renewed. His last day at Q107 will be tomorrow.

And, a little outside the city in Hamilton, my pal Kelly Cutrara was axed at Fresh FM. She's coming on my podcast to talk about it, as soon as she sobers up.

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Newstalk 1010 Cancels Humble & Fred Radio

Back in January 2013, Humble and Fred signed on to have their daily podcast aired on Newstalk 1010. The Humble and Fred show started airing weekdays at midnight where it stayed through last week.

Here's how the early morning lineup looked last week on Newstalk 1010.


Newstalk 1010 has cancelled the Humble and Fred show, effective immediately. Here's how the early morning lineup now looks.


The midnight to 2am slot, previously occupied by a censored version of the Humble and Fred podcast, is now The Best of Jerry Agar and The Best of Jim Richards.

You can still hear the Humble and Fred show online as a podcast. IMHO, it's the only way to go.

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The Results of Dean Blundell's First Spring Ratings Book at The Fan 590

Happy ratings day, my radio friends! Just this morning I was chatting with Roger Ashby in my basement (I can't believe I just typed that) and he had a deadline because of a meeting he had to attend, all because it's ratings day. It's a big day for everyone in radio, whether you're Roger Ashby or Dean Blundell.

Speaking of Dean Blundell, the spring book is now complete, and I've learned how Blundell & Co. fared on The Fan 590. As discussed in great detail last month, The Fan only cares about men aged 25-54. That's the only number I'll share, because it's the only number that matters.

Blundell & Co. fell to 5.6 in May 2015. That's down almost a full point from April 2015. That also means he managed a 5.5 for the past three months combined. Again, this is well below Rogers execs' expectations.

For a little perspective, The Fan 590 managed an 8.6 last year. This year's spring book for the morning show shows a decline of over three points.

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PPM Radio Rating Blind Spot

I'm always interested in the PPM rating results for our local radio stations. Often, when I learn the numbers, I'll even write about it. I just assumed PPM (Portable People Meter) dependably measured stations encountered, but apparently it has "blind spots".

This article was enlightening for this radio fan. Depending on the station's encoding, the PPM may or may not pick it up. In fact, if the station is primarily talk, it's often missed.

Voltair is a new service marketed to radio stations that promises "advanced audio signal processing to enhance the detectability of the watermark codes within the context of your programming objectives." In other words, it eliminates the blind spot so the PPM gives full credit.

In a couple of tests by Harker Research, ratings increased up to 61% when Voltair was installed. Nothing else was changed, and ratings spiked.

The most important lesson here is that the rumors about Voltair helping improve ratings are true. This is the clearest evidence that PPM as implemented is flawed.

PPM does not capture all listening, so it under-estimates radio listening–potentially by a lot for some formats.

The solution is for Nielsen to admit that the problem exists and agree to a time-table to fix it.

It is likely that PPM will never be perfect. It will never capture all listening, but missing 20%, 50%, or more should be unacceptable.

Remember, we don't know which stations are using Voltair and which are not. That makes an already imperfect system even more suspect. There has to be a better way to measure radio listeners.

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