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The Globe and Mail

Toronto’s The Fan struggles with Dean Blundell’s new morning show

Dean Blundell was hired because he drew large audiences of young men on Toronto rock station 102.1 The Edge before he was fired in January, 2014.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

While Toronto sports radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan is only one month into its new morning show, Dean Blundell has failed to deliver the bump in listeners that Rogers Communications Inc. was expecting.

In fact, Dean Blundell & Co., which replaced the Brady & Walker show on March 2, drew less than its predecessor in the target audience Rogers is believed to be chasing with the switch. Among male listeners ages 18 to 49, Blundell drew a 4.2-per-cent share in March, down from the 4.5 share Brady & Walker had in February. Hosts Greg Brady and Andrew Walker were moved to 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays on The Fan.

At the same time, The Fan's rival in sports radio, TSN 1050 Toronto, made a small gain in male listeners with its morning show, Mike Richards in the Morning. Richards went from a 2.4 share of men ages 18 to 49 in February to 2.9 in March. TSN is owned by Bell Media, which owns 15 per cent of The Globe and Mail.

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The ratings were compiled by Numeris, the major source for broadcast ratings in Canada. They were provided to The Globe and Mail by a source in the broadcast industry.

A spokeswoman for Sportsnet said the company will not comment on the ratings until they are publicly released.

While one month's ratings are too small of a sample to spark any drastic moves, the audience trends are not encouraging. Blundell was hired because he drew large audiences of young men on Toronto rock station 102.1 The Edge before he was fired in January, 2014, for going too far with his vulgar, misogynistic and homophobic humour.

Sportsnet should have received a bump in listeners in the first month of Blundell's show from the curiosity factor alone. But it's clear his listeners from 102.1, which had a ratings decline after Blundell was fired, have yet to follow him to The Fan.

Blundell also did not fare well in the usual target audience for sports radio, males ages 25 to 54. In March, he drew a 5.4 share of that demographic, which was the same share Brady and Walker delivered in February. But Richards made a gain in this group as well, going from a 2.6 share in February to 3.0 in March.

The numbers are even more discouraging when compared with the audience share in the 25-54 demographic a year earlier. In March, 2014, Brady and Walker had an 8.5 share, while Richards had a 6.3 on TSN. However, many in the radio industry discount those figures because they differed sharply from previous ones and that ratings period is considered an anomaly.

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