The Devolution of Sports Radio

So there I was, sitting trapped in my car - again - in merciless Toronto rush-hour traffic. All I wanted to do to take my mind off the real world was hear some insightful, informed, provocative sports talk radio.

And in Toronto, that typically means tuning into The Fan 590 during the drive home show with legendary host Bob McCowan. So I tuned in, as I normally do. But he was on a jag about golf, and I just ain't no golf fan. Frustrated, I remembered that Toronto now has two dedicated all-sports talk radio channels. The second is the recently launched TSN 1050. It's being marketed with the tagline: "The Evolution of Sports Radio." Now, I'd heard some bits and pieces of 1050's drive home show hosted by James Cybulski (the show is called "Cybulski and Company". The "company" part is comprised of ex-TV host Gareth Wheeler, who also produces the show) off and on over the summer and just felt "meh" about it. And I should mention that every time I had tuned into 1050, for whatever length of time it was, inevitably the hosts were talking equal amounts of sports and film. And not sports-related movie trivia or some such thing. Nope. Just films the guys liked or actors in films. But I didn't think much of it, guessing they were trying to find some sort of groove and had fallen back on their outside interests in film. They're both pros, so it'll get better.

Well, it seems the 4p.m. drive slot on 1050 in Toronto has gone even further down the path of the cinephile. 

Now let me make clear one thing, I think Cybulski and Wheeler could be great on-air hosts. But what I heard blew my mind. While McCowan was busy interviewing and speaking about some major golf happening, James and Gareth were pontificating on the merits of some obscure film that had nothing to do with sports. And they wouldn't let it go. Seriously, the conversation went on for like 10 minutes. Anyone wanting to hear some sporting news was not getting it from these guys. Again, no disrespect to their broadcasting abilities, but the dudes were just waaaaaay off base with content. 

That was day one of the week. Monday. I decided to test my theory: that Cybulski and Co. were sorely lacking in sports topics and were using a safety net of pop culture discussion to get by and fill time when they had no real guests or sports news to report. And on it went. Tuesday - movies. Wednesday - TV stuff. Thursday - sports movies (OK, this one gets back to the realm of sports... but still!!) and Friday... well, I missed Friday because I left work early.

All told, I'm still a Fan 590, um, fan. 

Word to the wise to the TSN 1050 drive slot folks - start lining up more sports personalities and guests. Drop the pop culture conversations by about 50% and evolve into an actual sports radio show. Because as it stands, in my opinion, you guys are dropping the proverbial ball. 

TSN Montreal, TSN Winnipeg
Fan 590


  1. Montreal is lucky to have "Melnick in the Afternoon"

  2. TSN radio sucks! Fan is meh. Don't forget about that 1/2 sports station! What was AM 640 talking about? Hockey again? lol

  3. I'll let Joe answer to the Toronto comment. As for Montreal, we are lucky to have Melnick. When he isn't alienating his audience he does provide a solid show, covering all sports. It's a must listen for the sports fan.

  4. Thank you Mr. O'hara. Agree about Melnick in Mtl, by the way. Oh, and Go Habs!

    Now, about TSN 1050... Anonymous, I guess you didn't get the memo, but AM 640 ditched their sports talk segment with Bill Watters earlier this year. Thank god. That was a brutal, sycophantic waste of sports airspace if ever there was one. Watters is now relegated to more of a bit role in 640's Leafs broadcasts with Joe Bowen and Dan Dunleavy.

    Look, again, I'm not trying to rag on 1050 just because I can. Given time, I think they might just make McCowan sweat a bit in the ratings wars. But clearly, that time is not yet come.

  5. TSN Radio in Montreal is still pretty good but then again it was the Team and they didn't make any changes.