TSN Radio Using More Social Media, Less Ol Boys Club to Take Over Radio In Canada

From Dany Heatley Speedwagon at Scarlett Ice:

Much like the NHL, which is the bread and butter of sports talk radio north of the 49th; the Canadian sports talk radio scene has primarily remained an old boys network. Recycled hosts, re-tread coaches turned analyst (many who fail to excel in either venture) and veteran newspaper reporters turned radio personalities. Don’t get me wrong, some of these people do a bang up job, but other times they just seem like more of the same. People competing for air time who think the louder their voice is, the more valuable their opinion becomes. (We call this the “Around The Horn” theory)



Since TSN announced their foray to the airwaves they’ve gone in the opposite direction of the Fan, acquiring young up and coming talent with a very small established national footprint. The first shot across the bow of Roger’s media was plucking Mike Richards from The Fan 960 in Calgary. For TSN the thinking appears to be the easiest way to hurt your competition is to go after that which they covet most. It was no secret that Richards was targeted by The Fan 590 prior to their on air overhaul late in 2010 but the rumour mill suggested neither side was able to agree upon compensation. Cue TSN with deep pockets and a promise of creative control and Richards was on board.



It appears TSN’s strategy to compete with the Fan isn’t to do it on the same battlefield. Instead of getting established personalities TSN is going after a younger, more social media savvy roster that seems to be in touch with pop culture.



The afternoon drive slot is shaping up to be an interesting competition. In one corner you have the long established king of afternoon drive time, Bob McCown. Bob’s been a staple on the Toronto radio scene for as long as I can remember (he started out as the Blue Jays game day announcer back in their inaugural season) and his no holds barred “my way or the highway”, “put that in your pipe and smoke it” attitude has, for the most part, endeared him to the listenership. Bob has shown no willingness to pander to listeners or the local sports team and he calls it exactly as he sees it. (one advertising spot has even trumpeted this virtue of animosity inviting angry listeners to complain at a local sports venue except for the fact it ONLY holds 50,000 people).


About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

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