Sports Radio News
McCown Looking For New Co-Host
Stephen Brunt and Bob McCown, one of Canada’s most popular sports radio duos, are no more.
Several sources close to Rogers Media say the split was the result of McCown’s unhappiness over Brunt’s guest appearances on the new and popular Tim & Sid television show, which is broadcast nationally in the same time slot as Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown. Brunt has been McCown’s longest-serving co-host, dating back to the late 1990s, but in recent years his television and writing duties with Rogers have reduced his Prime Time appearances to 20 weeks a year.
The tipping point, the sources said, came two weeks ago when Brunt filled in for Tim & Sid co-host Sid Seixeiro on a day he was not scheduled to be on Prime Time. While there was no direct confrontation between Brunt and McCown, the end of the radio relationship came quickly. Discussions about a replacement are under way, and Prime Time will continue with its usual variety of co-hosts.
McCown admitted Tuesday he was not happy with Brunt’s appearance as a co-host on Tim & Sid with Tim Micallef. But he said the main reason for Brunt’s departure was that he could not commit to being his co-host for more than 20 weeks a year.
Brunt, who is heavily involved in Sportsnet’s television coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays march to the playoffs, will now appear regularly on Sportsnet Radio’s Baseball Central with host Jeff Blair in addition to Tim & Sid. He will also continue writing for Sportsnet’s magazine and website. At the same time, Brunt signed a contract extension with Rogers that one source said was for 10 years.
“No, I wasn’t flinging ash trays, but I wasn’t happy they chose him [as a substitute co-host],” McCown said.
“The issue is his deal is 20 weeks and, truthfully, he probably didn’t work the 20 weeks last year. I think he felt he had other things to do, TV commitments or whatever, so he took days off when he was supposed to be with me.
“If Brunt wanted to do 40 weeks and commit to Prime Time, I’d be happy with that.”
“I’m fully involved in covering the first Blue Jays’ pennant race in 20 years, I will be working with Jeff Blair a lot and I will be working with Tim and Sid a lot,” Brunt said. “I’m having a great time and looking forward to finishing out my working life at Sportsnet.”
Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL for Rogers, could not be reached for comment.
One potential replacement for Brunt is Damien Cox, who once shared Prime Time co-hosting duties with Brunt. Cox moved to television full-time when Rogers landed the national broadcast rights to the NHL, and he is willing to come back if it can be worked around his hockey obligations.
McCown, with a well-earned reputation as a curmudgeon, has not hesitated to make it clear he did not like the company’s decision to move Tim & Sidfrom the afternoon radio slot that led into his own show to directly opposite him on television. Management’s rationale was that Tim & Sid appealed to a younger audience than Prime Time, and boosted television ratings in the supper hour.
The move came on July 1, and Tim & Sid is heavily promoted in commercials on Blue Jay broadcasts as well as on McCown’s radio show, which some staffers say is another sore point. McCown said his resentment does not stem from Tim & Sid.
“My issue is not the promotion they’re getting. My issue is: why am I not getting that and never have gotten that?” he said. “The only thing I look at is if you are prepared to do this kind of promotion with them, why don’t you do it for us?”
Credit to the Toronto Globe and Mail where this story was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Mike Evans: ESPN is Going To Have to Cover the Nuggets Next Week
“If they want to get anything out of their investment, they’ve got to do their best to pump this thing up.”
When the Denver Nuggets advanced to the NBA Finals, much of the ESPN coverage centered around the Los Angeles Lakers being swept. Viewers perceived there being minimal mentions of Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray and the rest of the Nuggets organization and what the team had just accomplished.
Brian Windhorst appeared on ESPN and stated the Lakers were terrific at going down in the series and calling the sweep an impressive performance by the team.
“I have to admit – my entire life as a sports fan, covering sports – countless locker rooms [and] press conferences – I don’t think I’ve heard anything dumber than that,” said Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan host Mike Evans.
ESPN has received its fair share of criticism, magnified when NBA on TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley expressed his disdain for the lack of Denver Nuggets coverage on television. LeBron James divulging that he is weighing retirement ostensibly played a role in the plans for talking points since he is widely regarded as one of the top players to ever take the court. Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals takes place on Thursday, June 1, meaning ESPN has over a week until the action commences; however, the show believes that placing the Lakers at the forefront imparts an agenda focused on garnering television ratings.
“‘What’s LeBron’s legacy?’,” co-host Mark Schlereth suggested as a topic on ESPN. “How does this win affect his legacy? Will he or will he not come back?’ Dude, the Nuggets just went to the Finals for the first time in their 47-year existence.”
“‘Kyrie Irving courtside!,’” Evans mocked an ESPN host saying. “‘Are they going to team up again?’”
The show proceeded to refer to Windhorst as a fanboy, especially since he covered James for the majority of his NBA career. They had ESPN on in a studio television throughout the show and saw no coverage pertaining to the Denver Nuggets, instead saying that the shows were centered around James, head coach Darvin Ham and the Lakers’ future. Nonetheless, Evans assumes things will change as the NBA Finals draw near.
“Starting next week, it’ll all be about the Nuggets and [Miami] Heat because ultimately no matter what you want to say about ESPN or how mad you are about ESPN, they do have the NBA Finals,” Evans articulated. “If they want to get anything out of their investment, they’ve got to do their best to pump this thing up.”
Sports Radio News
Jon Ritchie: ‘Not Realistic’ for Mike Florio to Expect Answers From Howie Roseman
“I think your ask of Howie is ridiculous for him.”
Things got contentious this week on Pro Football Talk Live. Howie Roseman would not answer Mike Florio’s direct questions about tampering. Jon Ritchie listened to the audio Wednesday morning on 94 WIP and put the blame on Florio.
Before the NFL Draft, the NFL ruled that the Arizona Cardinals were guilty of tampering with then-Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon the week that the Eagles were in Arizona for Super Bowl LVII. Gannon was named head coach of the Cardinals the next day.
When Florio asked Roseman about it, Roseman offered what sounded like a prepared statement saying that it did not make sense for the Eagles to dwell on the past. Instead, he thanked Gannon for his work for the team and said that any tampering penalties and arguments were “made at the ownership level.”
While that answer did not satisfy Ritchie’s partner Joe DeCamara, Ritchie said that he isn’t sure what Florio or anyone else would expect Howie Roseman to say in that situation.
“I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Howie to put his heart out and give his true feelings. He doesn’t want to come out against the league,” he said.
The duo played more audio from the exchange in which Florio accused Howie Roseman of deflecting and asking if he would like to read his talking points for a third time. Roseman shot back that Florio is easily on a list of the NFL’s top 5 conspiracy theorists.
Just how contentious things actually were can be debated, but according to Jon Ritchie, one of them deserves more criticism than the other.
“I thought Florio came across as rude yesterday,” he said. “I think your ask of Howie is ridiculous for him. We’re standing up like an adult and sticking to our guns, the high-road guns, and I appreciate that. Think of what you’re asking Howie to do, like take aim at the league…That’s not realistic.”
Sports Radio News
Fred Toucher: ‘ESPN is Now Just 3 People’
“Stephen A. Smith is on in the morning. He’s on the radio. He does a podcast. He’s at all the games. He does the postgames.”
How deep is the talent rotation at ESPN? Not very according to Fred Toucher. The 98.5 The Sports Hub morning host has certainly noticed that the network is turning to a small handfull of stars to do the bulk of the work.
“ESPN is now like three people, and Stephen A. Smith is on in the morning. He’s on the radio. He does a podcast. He’s at all the games. He does the postgames,” morning host Fred Toucher said. “Imagine if we had a microphone in front of us 12 hours a day…The guy’s going to snap one time.”
That led to a new segment on Toucher & Rich titled “Stephen A. Smith is horny” with music by R&B artist Barry White playing in the background. Throughout the nearly 20-minute aside, the show played clips from Smith’s Cadence 13-produced podcast recently renamed The Stephen A. Smith Show, and spoke about how he is now giving dating advice to close out episodes of his show.
“My man can’t help getting horny on it every single episode,” Jon Wallach said. “He is trapped with a microphone in front of him 18 hours a day – he really is. He’s on TV and the radio and podcast. It doesn’t stop.”
Because of Smith’s busy schedule across ESPN programming – including First Take, NBA Countdown, NBA in Stephen A’s World and guest appearances on shows such as SportsCenter and Get Up – he seems to be over the airwaves more often than not. On top of that, he hosts new episodes of his podcast at least three times a week. He has said the network did research that found he had reached 1.7 billion people on ESPN’s YouTube page last year, and that the number is expected to hit 2.4 billion at the end of this year.
The Boston morning show surmised that since Smith hardly has moments away from his profession, he cannot help but to talk about topics such as dating advice to vary the content.
“He just loves to drop into that sexy – ‘We’re going to do dating advice because everyone’s reaching out for dating advice from Stephen A. Smith,’” Toucher said.