Monday, February 9, 2009

Radio Nowhere

William Houston of the Globe and Mail reports that the all-sports format radio stations across the country are hurting financially along with their U.S. counterparts and the local Team 1200 is no exception.

Though a representative from the CTV owned station wouldn't return Houston's calls, it's believed that advertising revenue is down across the board. It certainly won't help that the Senators won't be making the playoffs.

Houston also floats the idea that many of the same on-air personalities in all the markets have grown wearisome to the listening public.

"There is a sense among some that the on-air talent has become stale. One journalist, upon returning to Toronto after several years, said, "I couldn't believe that [several personalities] were still on the air, sounding the same, saying the same things, filling the same slots."

That quote pertains to the Toronto market but how do you local Ottawa listeners feel about the Team 1200's on-air personalities?

You won't get much hockey talk out of the TGOR guys in the morning but we all know that morning shows are a different animal. The format calls for more comedy than real sports talk and the guys do a decent job of acting "wacky" or whatever it is they do. They're all likable, sometimes funny and the hours pass quickly. Plus they get Pierre McGuire on every morning. Like him or hate him, it's worth the listen.

After TGOR is done, you get the Over The Edge show with Glenn Kulka and Lee Versage. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably know how I feel about this show. Their knowledge and grasp of the NHL is summed up in their daily exhortations for the players to "work harder" and that's about all the real analysis you will get.

They are rabidly negative towards the players and the organization to the point that I wouldn't at all be surprised if the Senators re-think their affiliation with the Team 1200 if Kulka and Versage don't stop making the players seem like callous scumbags to the buying public year after year. Yet the show remains popular and it's a forum for angry fans to call in and rip those "rich and spoiled" hockey players. For all I know, it's probably the most successful time slot the station has.

The afternoon show is probably the best on the station, with Steve Lloyd and Jason York. Both can talk hockey in depth and generally have a positive and original take on events. Yorkie has really evolved into a good radio guy after an uneven start and his experience as a player (and a good one at that) brings a whole new depth to the show. Lloyd is no slouch either as he hosts the pre-game shows and gives and takes with the best in business, such as Bob McKenzie.

I'd be interested to hear what you think is the best the Team 1200 has to offer. For all the complaints, it's a luxury to have an all-sports (and in Ottawa that inevitably means all-hockey) radio station.

Does anyone remember if the station was called something else when it first started (in 1998 I think)? I have the feeling it was but I can't find any info on it.

(The article by William Houston was also his last with the Globe and Mail. I've been an avid reader of Houston's for a while now and it's sad to see him go. Remember, it was often Houston who brought up Senators fans concerns about the Toronto Maple Leaf bias at Hockey Night in Canada when many print writers wouldn't touch it with any seriousness. )


Now that the Senators have done the right thing and brought back the beloved Sens theme to the pre-game festivities at the Palladium (can we bring that name back too??), I mentioned a couple of posts back that the next goal would be to convince them to bring back the original white jersey's with the original 2-D logo.

Well, there's some folks over at the 6th Sens who were way ahead of me. They've started a Facebook page similar to the one that called for the theme song to come back but this time the goal is to bring back the original threads and logo. I don't see a petition there but hopefully someone gets that going as well.

I fully support this idea and it would be inspiring to see a big movement to convince Roy Mlakar and company that we want more tradition from this club and not the next wave of gimmicky cartoons and angular striped socks that make no sense.

I was walking down the canal today and saw an older gentleman wearing a red Habs sweater proudly, and boy, did it look nice. Whenever I see an older guy wearing a current Senators sweater, it looks strange to me, as if it doesn't look right on an older person. It's too faddish and looks more like a bed sheet than an NHL jersey.

How about this Roy? Keep the red sweater with the kiddy 3-D logo but bring back the original white jersey and go with that for a few years. The current white sweater is merely a pale imitation of the red one anyways and at least the Senators wore the classic logo when they went to the Cup final.

As with the theme song, the organization will listen if you bother them enough.


Chris Neil is out with a serious cut on his leg and now some are wondering if that's the last we see of Neiler before Bryan Murray trades him at the deadline.

I'm going to keep saying this: Murray would be nuts not to sign Chris Neil to a contract extension.

This guy is heart and soul and nobody on the team can do his job. If you think that Jarkko Ruutu and Cody Bass can fill in for Neil, you're nuts. Bass doesn't fight as often as people think he does and he's not very good at it. He's not even a sure fire NHLer at this point and will be on the bubble his whole career. Ruutu is more effective as a pest and he sometimes needs a player like Neil to clean up his mess.

Neil can also play and get you over 10 goals on any given year. Combined with his hitting and fighting skills, that's something that only a few players can provide in the entire NHL.

I sense a lot of people just want change for change's sake but it would be a major mistake to lose Neil just because familiarity breeds contempt from the fans.

Neil is a very important piece of this team and he actually wants to stay here. It's a no brainer Bryan.

Get it done.


Feio said...

I seem to remember that when the radio station stopped being Energy 1200 (run-of-the-mill top 40 radio) it was first called OSR 1200 (Ottawa Sports Radio) before it became The Team.

Anonymous said...


The Team1200's original name was OSR1200 (Ottawa Sports Radio 1200). I still like that name better than the generic "Team".

I agree with you that "Over the Edge" is the biggest pile of crap on the air, right behind Jim Rome. Absolute worst is when Kulka won't even let a caller get to his point if he thinks that they do not agree with him.

Best is definitely the Healthy Scratches. Steve Lloyd is a professional who does his homework and Jason York has terrific insight into the game.

Jeremy Milks said...

Thanks Feio and Anon above. OSR. I was living in Toronto at the time it was launched. When did it change?

Graeme Nichols said...


Thanks for the jersey plug. I'll get Tim (the new guy) to put an online petition together and I'll get that link posted soon enough.


Graeme Nichols said...

Anonymous said...

Aside from the afternoon show .. team1200 programming is garbage .. starting with the TGOR. the McGuire segment is ok although I am not a big fan. The rest of the humour is marginal and contrived at best.

The "over the edgers" should be thrown over the edge themselves and be replaced. I can't stand Kulka (his voice hurts my ears) and as of recently LV is getting to be a major irritating person.

Jim Rome is garbage unless somebody follows US sports. Which may be ok for some. The evening US programming is also garbage .

No wonder advertising revenues are down !!

Andrew said...

Don't know what people have against Rome, he is by far the cream of the crop when it comes to sports radio here or anywhere else. TGOR is good, definetely as good as any other morning show in Ottawa. JT the Brick is probably the worst thing going, mainly because he tries so hard to emulate Rome. In the end tho it is a luxury to be able to stream all Sens games over the internet (I live in LeafsNet Ontario region) so I cant really complain. And I think the name changed within a year of OSR launching.

Anonymous said...

Over the edge this morning with Stevenson, and versage.

Thanks, but no thanks Versage. You are not speaking for me through you, or anyone else, I bet.

What arrogance on behalf of the media.

Half the questions the media ask (likely more than half) most fans would never ask the players, as most of them are completely idiotic.

Media person: So, you just lost your 8th game in a row. How do you feel?

Player: "What do you think"?

Media person: C'mon, I just asking on behalf of the fans.

Player: It sure doesn't feel good Thx, but this interview is over.

Media person: He hates the media. I don't think he understands our job.

What a joke.

Stephane said...

Hum... I like TGOR specialy the McGuire segment, and I also thinks the afternoon show is really good, specially the segment with Bob McKenzie before a game... However any pre-game show or round table that involve any Suns journalist is a big load of crap... these bozo are worse than Kulka!!!!

Capital Grass and the No Men said...

Healthy Scratches is definately the best show on 1200 right now, but my all time favourite was Moron Sports. Kulka just sounds like he's trying to do a Rome impression without the insight, experience or sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 10:49am

You took the words right out of my mouth. I heard Versage this morning and felt the same way. He does not speak for me, and I thought that he was pretty delusional if he thinks that he represents all fans.

Steve Lloyd does the best job, so my vote goes to Healthy Scratches. Those guys seem to be living in the 21st century. Over the Edge and TGOR are stale and living in the 80's. Pierre McGuire is the only thing that makes TGOR worthwhile.

I also want the 2-D white jersey back. I hope the movement succeeds. That jersey is meaningful. Just for the record, I do not like our red jersey either, actually I hate it. I much prefer the red jersey that we had during the 2007 Cup run.

I also want Neil signed. I like his role on the team. Cody Bass is a pretender, he'll never be a player, in my view. To make room for Neil, I'd like to see them unload Ruutu. Also, my ceiling for Neil is $1.7M. Given the comparables, $1.5 should get it done. If he wants more than $2M, that's overpaying in my books.

Anonymous said...

Generally speaking, hard times for local media outlets means a decline in quality but not quantity, more gimmicks, less money for fact finding and real journalism and more baseless speculation. OH... wait... its already that bad.

Anonymous said...

Best Show is Yorkie and the Sweaterman. Entertaining and informative and its a step up from More On Sports, when JR didn't care and Galley caught the coaching bug. I also enjoyed Dandy and Buzz and Two Dorks.

Capital Grass and the No Men said...

Dandy was the worst co-host ever.

Anonymous said...

I liked Dandy!

The Rome segment is crap and I don't know anyone who likes is.

As for Neil - I respectfully disagree. Neil has been good this year but last year he was garbage and the year before he was ok. He wasn't a force in the cup run and saw limited ice time - and remember we were 'pushed around and physically manhandled' by the Ducks. If Neil was as good as you say he was that wouldnt have been the case and they wouldnt of had to bring in Ruttu.

If I had my drothers I would trade Neil for something, anything, now that he has value (does he have value now with that injury?). If we sign him I predict he will coast and be non-existent next year.

Canucnik said...

Anon: 1:16PM.

Steve Lloyd is OK! But gets 1 demerit because he ignors me a lot of the time. Yorkie and Eastwood are the best and they should be they are pros! (Hockey and broadcasting.)

P.McGuire has his audience (Less than 50% favourable) his stories are second hand (No one talks to the guy anymore he's a gossip). Pierre's analysis is dilutional because he doesnt watch the play (Don't know how he doesn't get smacked with a stick or a puck more often (He's been nicked pretty good a couple times.) he's never looking where he should be.)Then he comes with his prepackaged slant on the action!!

Neiler is so gone I don't know why we keep talking about him. Chris has lost a step and is going to earn $1.5 next contract. Geat guy (There is no money for any of our unsigned intermediates) and we shall miss him but I heard both Sid and Malkin have asked Mgmt. for him. (As in put him with us and we will cary the BIG STIFF!) He's going on to a better life!

I listen to sports radio off and on, all day, it's part of my job, (Retired chauffeur available to anyone in my family and badly taken avantage of) two pieces of advice (1) When you have a good guest or caller let them be the show, stay out of the way. (2) Give us the nuts and bolts, the up dates are OK but we need the report from the rink on game day! Who's in, who's out, who's in the net. Lines and pairings! Example GW thinks he's giving this info but actually you would think (Or he thinks) he is confusing the opposition coaches. All he does is confuse and infuriate ME!!!

Anonymous said...


I respectfully disagree about Eastwood. He was a two bit NHLer, and always drivels on about effort and so forth. I don't think he has an original opinion in his head.

Yorkie on the other hand was a good NHLer, and has very insightful knowledge of the game. He also does not follow others in his opinion, and respectfully speaks his mind. He is the best team1200 has, without a doubt.

I also agree about Neil. His time is up in a Sens uni., not because he does not want to be here, but because he has earned his right to UFA, and his worth will be too much for the Sens to keep.


Peter said...

Holy shit, lots of comments.

I just want to congratulate you on the awesome homage to Bruce Springsteen in the post title. Radio Nowhere is an awesome song, from an awesome album.

You, me, Ben. Join the Team team. Play nothing but Bruce Springsteen songs in between segments of hockey talk. Right on.

Canucnik said...


Mike Eastwood was a better hockey player than a lot of people gave him credit for. Little things, ask his peers! His skill as an analyst is coming also as he handles the post game (A skill in itself) also he is now hearring his critics. He nailed the Boston shoot out the other night (Reminded me of Pierre Larouche talking.) He adjusted his take on Elliott's arrival and stay with the Big Team. He's comin"!

"Effort!" Don't forget he is the recipient of a couple of sh*t deals where twice (Two different teams) that I remember he should not have been sent down (He's like better than half the team) and all the asshole can tell him is Mike we need a better effort.

He leaves the diction a little rough for effect, hockey player style. Every once in a while he comes up with a gem and I think oh, oh, Mike you don't want to be smarter than the coach, dumb that down.

Andrew said...

Oh man, tell me people arent sticking up for the Dandy-Man...

Anonymous said...

Bruce Springsteen is aweful, and always has been. What kind of broke-back mama's boy likes BS anyway?

Jesus Peter, I liked your stuff before...