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TSN Radio fails at 'evolution of sports radio' slogan

TSN Radio 1050 of Toronto has shuffled its lineup as it heads toward its crucial first fall season,. Mike Richards now winds up his morning show at 9 a.m. (ET) followed by the syndicated Dan Patrick Show live till noon. Bryan Hayes moves from 9 a.m. to noon. As well, there will be live play-by-play of Toronto Argonauts games with Mike Hogan, not simulcasting of the TSN TV cast.

With AM 640 getting out of sports programming (besides the Toronto Maple Leafs games), there will be a few more ears in play this fall. TSN has made some small gains this summer in younger demographics, but remains far behind Sportsnet Radio Fan 590. At the moment, the two products sound too much alike, hence a reluctance to switch from the standard bearer Fan 590 to anything else. As the challenger, TSN Radio has to live up to its slogan of "The evolution of sports radio." Give listeners a reason to change. So far, not so much.

Part of the problem for TSN Radio lies with its sole play-by-play rights property, the Argos. At the best of times, the Argos are a marginal topic on the Toronto sports scene. At 1-6 going into their game Thursday night, they're toxic. But TSN Radio is obliged to thump the tub regularly for its partner, sending listeners grazing. Under no such constraints, the Fan 590 samples the CFL, but doesn't let it get in the way of hockey.

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To make a real impact in the local market, TSN Radio needs the Maple Leafs radio rights when they become available. TSN recently bought the local radio rights to the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets for its Montreal and Winnipeg sports stations. But it's much easier said than done if Rogers buys them for Fan 590. Or if Rogers buys into Leafs owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.


On Wednesday, we reported about the Toronto Star's obituary on former NHLer Rick Rypien – who suffered from depression before taking his own life. The Star's story on Monday seemed to show Vancouver general manager Mike Gillis calling Rypien "crazy."

It referred to how the Canucks had treated Rypien's illness. "But GM Mike Gillis told the Vancouver Sun at the time, 'When you come to know somebody and realize they're a really good person, but crazy … You don't only support them when they're at the top of their game … you support them when they're not feeling good about things or have other issues they have to deal with.' "

Problem was, Gillis never said the offensive "but crazy" words. The Star recognized its mistake and printed an apology Wednesday. (The Canucks are still considering their options.) The Star did not say how the mistake occurred, but eagle-eyed web surfers think they may know where the doctored quote came from. A Wikipedia reference seems to be the only version of The Vancouver Sun's quote including the "but crazy" words – until they appeared in the Star this week.


We heard from a number of readers who disputed our contention that the final-round coverage of the 2011 PGA Championship last Sunday was vanilla without Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and other big names. They pointed out the stirring comeback by Keegan Bradley that resulted in a playoff win. True, but for golf's movers and shakers, the 4.3 overnight rating on CBS Sunday was not a cause for celebration. That was down 14 per cent from last year, and down from 2009, when Y.E. Yang upset Woods. The rating was the third-lowest for the PGA since at least 1995, ahead of only 2008 (3.0) and 1996 (4.0).

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Good hire by Sportsnet magazine as it signed Gare Joyce as features editor and writer. Joyce is a veteran reporter and writer whose books When The Lights Went Out (about the 1987 junior brawl in Piestany in the former Czechoslovakia) and Future Greats And Heartbreaks are essential hockey reading.

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