Tagged: bob mccown

Sportsnet Magazine Review

Thought I’d do a review of the first issue of the Sportsnet Magazine. Hadn’t seen a review so started writing one. As I was putting it together the Toronto Sports Media blog put out one.

http://torontosportsmedia.com/sports-and-toronto/sportsnet-magazine-worth-a-read/11551

Ended up touching on almost everything in the magazine in quick detail. So check out that one as well.

If you read the blog you know I used to watch Sportsnet back in 2000-2005 era and slowly went away. On Twitter too you see I watch SportsCentre for the most part now.

Scott Moore came back to Rogers and things have gotten better. Believe it or not I had an interaction with Scott. This is going to take some time to explain. Since the magazine believes in ‘long form’ reporting, this kinds of fits.

Back in 2000-era, Sportsnet.ca had a Fan Forum. Message board that fans used, and also on air people would post too. Was years ago so it wasn’t like there was a 1000 messages a day.

I recall Jamie Campbell, Brad Fay and Jody Vance among others posting. One thread had viewers asking for advice and such about broadcasting. Scott Moore stopped by as well and responded from time to time. Once even gave out his email address too. As someone who was taking TV Broadcasting in college at the time I thought ‘I will file that away for future use’.

Cut to 2002 and I’m living in Toronto. Job posting came up for a Graphics/Font Operator at Sportsnet. Usual process of applying through the website. Rogers had just come into the picture. I thought why not try that email address I have of his and try and contact him directly. Website applications always seem so ‘clinical’ to me. You enter your information and you never have an interaction with anyone.

Now chance of someone responding to a ‘cold call’ might not be high. To his credit he responded even more than I thought. Today I don’t think this would work. Try and imagine how many emails he would get in 2011 compared to 2002.

Exchanged a few emails with him and even set up an interview time for the following week at Sportsnet. I would say cold calling doesn’t work 9 times out of 10. First day in Toronto I called up a production company to ask where to send a resume. Person answering said it was another phone number in the company. As I started to ask for that number she hung up on me….. nothing says “Welcome to Toronto” like that.

Somehow my email was the 1 time out of 10 it worked, to a certain extent. The bad news was Scott had to cancel the interview 3 days before it happened. Job had been filled internally by someone from CFMT/OMNI. He apologized and I understood how that happens with big companies during a switchover. Left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Although was a big red flag to me about how the switch to Rogers was going. They went from CTV to a holding pattern while CRTC approval waited then to Rogers. If Scott didn’t know about an internal candidate going for a job that was posted on an external job site I though that was a bit weird. Especially since if he knew he would’ve been more guarded about giving a job interview, let alone schedule one with me. I looked at it like he also had the rug pulled out from under him. That was July/August 2002, following July he left the company.  Did I see a small sample of what was going on at the time? Possibly.

Friend of the blog, Jody Vance had a column about the 2000 Trade Deadline day which he was involved in. I remember this very well. In my 1st year of taking TV Brodcasting at Alongquin College in Ottawa. So I would be paying attention more than most about TV coverage. CTV Sportsnet beat TSN in the ratings that day. Which was a huge upset. Even sports radio in Ottawa talked about it the next morning, that TSN had lost to another channel.

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists/Vance/2009/03/02/8591921-sun.html

After Scott left Sportsnet, in my opinion, it started a slow slide. Best emphasised by having their anchors go without ties. Except, pretty much keeping the exact same format to Sportsnet Connected intact. Rather pointless. Anyone not watching TSN SportsCentre because Jay Onrait is wearing a tie? No.

In 2010 Moore came back to Rogers after a stint at CBC Sports. Which I thought was a good sign. From my personal dealing that one week with him and the feelings of others I’ve heard from. Here I was, a guy out of the blue who emails him and we almost had a job interview. Most probably would’ve hit DELETE.

That tangent took much longer to explain than I thought.

Back to current day, we have Sportsnet Magazine. ‘Rogers’ has been dropped from the Sportsnet name and a re-branding has been done. Radio, TV, print and the website. All except the Sportsnet iPhone/iPod touch app, as of today. Haven’t had an update yet so I’m thinking they will start from scratch with a rebuild on the app. Funny that between TSN, Sportsnet, CBC and The Score the latter is the one whose App I use the most and is most popular. During my Bruins run to the Cup when I wanted to check a score during the playoffs I went to Score Mobile.

I wasn’t sure about the magazine when I first heard about it. Memories of the first attempt at a Sportsnet Magazine that was an insert in Maclean’s. Strangely I am one of the only ones to remember it. I tried searching for articles about that first try and wasn’t much. I found this headline but to read the article I had to pay for it.

“Rogers keen on new ‘zine ; Media giant to add sports publication; Stable of writers already assembled” : Toronto Star, Chris Zelkovich, Nov 29, 2002

Don’t remember how long it was around for. Glad I didn’t imagine it and found proof though. You might remember a Sports Illustrated Canada. Which was a regular S.I. issue just with some added Canadian pages.

When it comes to the new magazine, it was well worth the money and on the whole quite good. Now there are growing pains with any first thing. I guest hosted an hour on CFRC in Feb. 2007.  Tribute to Ryan’s Fancy as Dermot O’Reilly had passed away. A pre-cursor to ‘Salt Water Music’ which began that May. Was a last minute decision to try the tribute show so I was short on time at the end. To fill the hour I played ‘Freebird’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Had nothing to do with the rest of the show but if you have 10 minutes of airtime to fill, ‘Freebird’ does the trick. Does show how any first attempt at a project has some kinks to work out.

Going through each article or page would take up too much time. Especially when the new issue will be out on Thursday. 114 pages in total. Quick thoughts on the first issue.

Many have said the bi-weekly schedule is bound to hurt in some areas. That is true in any weekly magazine or daily newspaper as well. I was at work the night of the earthquake in Japan earlier this year. Local paper came in and it wasn’t in it. Quake occured past the deadline. So any print media is affected by the ‘deadline problem’. I will say it wasn’t as pronounced as I thought it might be in the magazine.

One place they were stuck was the MLB Playoff Preview. To their credit they faced it head on. Mentioned the Wild Card race going down to the wire “good for the fans, not so good for magazine editors with Monday night deadlines”. The issue ended up coming out right after that crazy night with the Red Sox/Rays.

Key might be to just avoid having a cover that could date quickly. On Twitter I mentioned that this type of schedule would’ve led to a cover in June before Game 6 of the Finals saying ‘Canucks about to win the Cup’.  As a Bruins fan I have to tease Vancouver fans a bit.

Mark Spector’s piece on the Canucks is very well done. Pointing out how the diving of some of their players hurt their team in the Finals. And even gets two of the Canucks to admit that hurt them. Vancouver’s power play was great all season so that’s how they would get back at opponents by scoring on those opportunties. But having Lapierre and Burrows exaggerate bit them in the ass. Refs saw that and started keeping their whistle in their pockets. Coach Vigneault still denies the diving which he probably has to do. Players can tell the truth.

Kevin Bieska “There were a few instances of embellishment yes. It’s not emblematic of our team to dive around and embellish. But maybe at that point, we were frustrated.”

Henrik Sedin “I think we’ve grown as a team, and it needs to change. If I’m a referee, and I see guys do that kind of stuff…. I won’t say that anyone is a diver on our team. But we’ve got to stick to the game plan, and we can’t be thinking about what the referees are doing. That’s maybe what got away from us a little bit. But,” he adds, “that was in games where the game got out of hand.”

That’s the kind of stuff that is well worth buying a magazine to read.

With Rogers owning the Jays, going to get a bit of hyperbole about them. Keith Pelley wrote a column about the launch, “and we are learning to celebrate our heroes as we did with the Olympians, and as we did this season with Jose Bautista and our newest homegrown sensation, Brett Lawrie”. Whoa nelly, calm down. A team barely at .500 is not comparable to Olympians who won medals.

Stephen Brunt writes the last page of the magazine. Always enjoy Stephen’s writing and work on FAN590. Oh wait, Sportsnet Radio 590 THE FAN. TSN Radio just did the same thing by renaming sports radio stations in Montreal and Winnipeg this week.

Since Brunt spends part of the year in Newfoundland so he gets bonus points for that. Fellow fan of Hey Rosetta! too. In fact he was someone who helped a CBC live concert recording of the band done at Woody Point, Newfoundland a couple of years back. During this recording of ‘Epitaph’ I think you can hear Brunt’s laugh at the end. I’ve played it a few times on the radio show so I’ve heard the track many times.

http://dawn.cbcr3.com/blogs/0/1/newsletter/audio/Hey-Rosetta-Epitaph-CBC-Radio-3-Concert.mp3

Brunt’s first column is about how important hockey is in Canada. For a 1st issue I guess you have to mention hockey. Well written, although the importance of an Olympic Medal is blown out of proportion in general by the media. 1998 and 2004 Canada didn’t get a medal and there wasn’t a national depression. Stephen thinks it’s deeper than soccer is in England. I listened to a BBC call in show after each World Cup game England was involved in. They were more crazy than any hockey callers I’ve heard. After a draw a fan honestly said ‘I think they should just fly home and save us the embarrassment’. Even Leaf fans after losing 3 games of a playoff series wouldn’t say that. And soccer hooligans in England are common. They take their sports too seriously. Even in the US, a San Francisco Giants fan almost beaten to death by a Dodgers fan.  Pre-season game between 49ers-Raiders ended in a stabbing in a parking lot. Riots in Montreal and Vancouver are thankfully the exception to the rule in this country. Never heard of Flames/Oilers fan almost killing each other.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/magazine/2011/10/05/brunt_backpage_magazine/

Editor in Chief is Steve Maich who I found has a Twitter account. He replied and said he is a CFRC Alumni. Small world. I should ask him what he did at the station back in the day.  Another one to add to the long list of people from ‘the small but mighty CFRC’ as one host calls us. CBC’s Shelagh Rogers, TSN’s Chris Cuthbert, musician Matthew Barber. And people I’ve worked with Yahoo Sports blogger Neate Sager, CHED’s Matthew Bisson, Fort McMurray Oil Barrons play by play Tyler King, FOX Soccer Channel’s Julie Stewart Binks. Quite a lot for a small station.

http://twitter.com/#!/stevemaich

Derek Boogaard story is very in depth and worth reading. Others have talked about it more than I can. They also cover baseball and basketball so it’s not just hockey. NHL preview is just on the Canadian teams, as a Bruins fan I would’ve liked Canada + the Original Six myself. Although if you do that then other fans would complain. “Where is the preview of the Florida Panthers?” OK, I’m being silly with that one. You ever seen someone wearing a Panthers jersey in Canada? Be like seeing someone wearing a Kansas City Royals T-Shirt.

On the cover they have a small picture of a cheerleader in the corner. Which made me laugh since I can’t figure out why that was included. It’s so small I missed it when I bought the magazine.

I thought ‘Why bother when it’s so small?’ Even moreso when this is the article inside with the cheerleader.

‘Are You Smart Enough to Cheer’ and says what questions they are asked.  As for the one pictured, she’s Doug Flutie’s daughter. Would hope she’d find those questions easy. When it comes to a cover might as well go all out with cheerleaders, as evidenced by this mockup Sportsnet had done. ‘NFL preview issue’ with a line of them. That would jump out in the sports section.

http://www.designedgecanada.com/news/2011/20110819631.shtml

My sister likes sports and from reading SBNation and other blogs you see how many female fans there are who are really dedicated to their teams. As linked earlier in this piece, Jody Vance wrote a weekly column for a few years in a Toronto newspaper. This is where the print media can improve a lot, including the magazine.

No columns or big stories in the magazine written by women. Which is not a Rogers thing by any means. Canadian print media seems to be behind the times in general on that. Lot of sports anchors and reporters across the country are women. Why that hasnt’t translated to the written word is a debate for another time. Not to say there isn’t progress. Sportsnet Magazine has Shannon Proudfoot and Kristina Rutherford as staff writers. One writes the NHL previews of the Senators. Glad to see that.

Bob McCown’s Prime Time Sports was the one show I did watch on Sportsnet even when I switched to SportsCentre. Or I listen to the PTS podcasts. Bob does write for the magazine. Not a column, he answers emails from readers. Which could be interesting if he sticks with it. I was a regular reader of Fadoo.ca which was a website he launched, that lasted about a year.  So I will see how long Bob sticks with the writing for the magazine.

In conclusion, I would recommend Sportsnet magazine. Lot of content I didn’t even touch on so it takes a few days to read everything. One small thing they do is they posted tweets about the magazine on the bottom of a few pages. Positive and negative. So they can laugh at themselves. Which goes a long way. You don’t want to read something that is too stuffy.

After some critiques, it is time for a plug for a different part of Rogers Media. It makes sense.

October 17th Jody starts as one of the hosts of Breakfast Television on CITY-TV in Vancouver. So those in BC or with satellite can tune in starting at 5:30am-9am local time Monday to Friday. 8:30 EST. I’ve work midnights for 3 years so for the 99% of readers who think, ‘Wow, 5:30 is early’ I can say ‘No, it’s not. Try waking up at 9-10pm’.  And I worked all of the Thanksgiving long weekend which explains where I found time to write this massive post.

http://www.btvancouver.ca/

And I’m going to grab a quote from a press release. Since who it is from will come full circle to how this long post began.

http://www.broadcastermagazine.com/news/jody-vance-joins-breakfast-television-vancouver-as-co-host/1000610337/

“I have worked with Jody over the years and am thrilled to welcome her back to our family,” said Scott Moore, President of Broadcasting, Rogers Media Television. “She knows the city, she’s a journalist, a mom, a sports enthusiast, a cook and a pop culture junkie, and we’re confident that Vancouverites will enjoy starting their day with the new Breakfast Television team.”

Tried thinking of a way to wrap this up. Nothing came to mind, so thanks for reading almost 2800 words. 🙂

Olympic-esque Blog Day 12

Olympics = Money.

This can be taken many ways. For some the Olympics is about the endless ads and sponsors. Others the money it cost to stage the games and the debt a city can go into. These days the tax money that ‘own the podium’ has used comes to mind also.

But that equation came to my mind when Vancouver got the games. Was glad to see them get the games. Then the question came to mind. Hmmm, can I afford to go to the games? No. Short and to the point.

I know people who traveled to Vancouver during the Olympics, even some at the last minute. But Vancouver’s reputation as one of if not the most expensive city in Canada came to mind first for me. Which has come to pass in small ways at first. Like a parking lot going from $10-15 a day the week before the Olympics to over 90 bucks. That was Day 1.

One of those things where it’s different if you have a job or a career. Chris Rock had a great bit about that in his last HBO special. My version is a tad different. For those not familiar with the radio show, CFRC is volunteer work for me. Rewarding and enjoyable. Being part of Queen’s radio broadcasts as they made a run to the Vanier Cup was great. Hosting Salt Water Music is great on a weekly basis. So the radio stuff is separate from job vs career.

A career, you can save up money and vacation time and possibly make the trip. When you work a job, not so much. A career you can extra time off and they’ll welcome you back. A job, you will be replaced quite quickly.

If the Olympics are close to where you live that’s a different story. However flying halfway across the country? That takes some planning. Also with almost all of my family on the East Coast you think about the full trip since you don’t know anyone in B.C. to stay with. I know some people in BC but not enough to crash at their place.

Getting time off from work, flying out there, getting a place to stay, tickets to games if you can get them, food, traveling around, flying back and paying for all of this…… whew. Not happening. If I had a Scrooge McDuck vault in my backyard that had so much money I could swim in then that’s a different story.

Since Vancouver got the games I knew “I’ll be watching on TV”. Not a question of “if”. But that puts me in the boat of 99% of Canadians who can’t afford to go. That’s where the Olympics have gotten out of touch. In your home country and not even thinking of going to see it because it’s for people in another tax bracket. That’s too bad.

A lot of Vancouver restaurants and bars are doing what I thought might happen. Price gouging. Even a bit more than I thought. Not only raising prices but some have started adding an automatic gratuity on top of the bill. So bad service or good service, too bad. You have to pay up to a 20% tip either way. These links have a list of the ones doing that and ones that aren’t. Two people came up with the idea. Mark Prince who founded CoffeeGeek a local coffee website from Vancouver. And Rick Green who has the BC Brews blog.

http://www.coffeegeek.com/

http://bcbrews.wordpress.com/

Started writing the post on the weekend so funny how Mark’s words match to mine from a few days ago. My thoughts of Vancouver being expensive in the best of times. Along with worry about what places would do this month have come to pass. Here is from Mark’s post.


I have already been asked several times why I’m doing this – and the answer’s pretty simple for me. Vancouver’s already an expensive town. Cocktails are routinely $12 at a lot of places, mains are $25-$45 even at middle of the road restaurants. We have massive added on taxes (about to get higher with impending HST), and our servers in town are somehow trained to believe anything less than 15% tip is a slap in the face and an insult.

Jacking up prices, making “gratuities” compulsory – they all send a very bad message about this city. Tourists from around the world are visiting Vancouver for the first time, and if we send them home with memories of $7 “dollar pizza” slices, $12 for a plastic cup of Molson Canadian, and $35 prices for a $15 steak, you’re embarrassing us all. Tossing on a 20% compulsory tip at the end of the overpriced bill just adds insult to injury.

And, I might add, you’re damaging Vancouver’s reputation, long term.

Gouging list

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-16-2010_12-20am

Good Businesses list along with some bad ones

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-16-2010_12-20am

Real Reason for Olympic Auto-Gratuity

Another article on Spiffle specifically about restaurants in Vancouver and how management also dips into the “tip pool”. Except Revenue Canada in the last few years ramped up investigating servers and their tips.  But don’t with management.  So they get extra income without reporting it.  Things you learn during the Olympics.

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-19-2010_07-20pm

Latest update as of 6am est Wednesday morning with the good and the bad.

http://www.spiffle.com/rants/02-18-2010_12-15am

Thanks to the guys for starting out the idea and all those who contributed to the list. Great use of the internet to call out the bad places and praise the good ones. Which I’ll do at the end of this post.

Olympics have become out of reach for the average person. Honest examples from Bob McCown from the FAN 590 in Toronto.

http://www.fadoo.ca/blog/display/random-thoughts-from-vancouver-1510

If you watch CTV/Rogers coverage you would be led to believe that Hockey House is a great place. Wrong.

“Hockey House is pretty impressive, but very elitist. If you think you’ll be rubbing shoulders with famous hockey types when you get in…think again. The IIHF has their own space and “the common folk” can’t get in. Hockey Canada…same thing. Plenty of celebs are around, but you probably won’t even know who they are there. Too bad since this was a good idea gone bad.”

Only VANOC could mess up something called “Hockey House”. Bob had someone come up to him saying he had gotten a ticket to Canada-US hockey game. How much? $2300. I think staying at home was for the best. Credit to Bob also for pointing out where he’s staying. Rogers put him in a place that must’ve cost an arm and a leg. Bob was honest about that fact and even gave a picture of his view. Lot of complaints about how it’s an Olympics for the high rollers. Completely true. As of today McCown is the only media person to actually say how good they have it.

“Staying in a penthouse condo just a block from Robson Street (the epicentre of 24 hour lunacy) with a 270 degree view of English Bay, Stanley Park and the mountains. Trust me…this does not suck!”

Think Brian Williams is at a regular hotel room? No way.

Just found another person writing about the cost. ‘Vancouver Olympics Fancy Price Tag’ from Meena Mann.

http://aircheckerradioindustry.blogspot.com/2010/02/vancouver-olympic-games-just-like-any.html


The Olympic merchandise, the accommodations, eating out, and not to forget the event tickets can all add up to over $350/per day/per person.

The real drain to my bank account comes when I go out for lunch, dinner or even just a simple drink; the restaurants have definitely increased their prices for the Games. For instance, the first time I really felt the sting was when I had ordered one glass of house red at La Bocca. Upon receiving my bill my eyes popped out and my jaw fell to the floor. I couldn’t believe it, but that one glass of house red, which wasn’t even that great, cost me $16.67. Yup, that’s right. One glass of –house- is close to what the average 1/2liter would cost you. Hell, I’ve even seen wine bottles for less than that.

Another place which I found that has a high priced menu is Citta. It is located right across from La Bocca. Citta is a great pub environment, but the prices for drinks are way too high. I had ordered a bottle of wine, split between my roommate and me-just for the record. The bottle was no more than $25 but we had paid $56.00. I think that was one of their cheaper bottles as well.

Vancouver not really helping their reputations over the last 2 weeks. Not surprising to me, but still disappointing.

To close the list of GOOD businesses in Vancouver that aren’t being greedy bastards. I could use stronger words but I better not. Got to be semi-professional even on a blog. Each business has where it’s located and the source of the information. If you see something like @robertcarnell that is a Twitter account. Kudos to these places. I might not ever get out to Vancouver but at least this list can help some people. Either now or keep it for a future trip.

Long time listeners of the radio show might remember I haven’t been back to Newfoundland since 1999. That is also my last vacation of any length.  I realize 11 years is a long time when I write it down but don’t really think about it much.  So the list of good places in Vancouver to leave on a bright note.

Subeez Cafe, 891 Homer, Yaletown Great prices, no auto gratuity (one of the few Yaletown busineses to have #2010niceprices!). (source: @Network_Guy)

Sammy J. Peppers, Granville Island – prices stable, NO auto gratuity charged. (source: @hfguiere)

Ouisi Bistro, 3014 Granville Street – no price raises, great specials during Olympics, no auto gratuity. (source: me visiting).

Alibi Room, 157 Alexander in Gastown, prices stable, specials in effect, no auto gratuity, no cover charge. (source: @CAMRA_YVR)

On the Edge Pub, 303 Columbia Street (Gastown), Great prices (eg – $5.35 for 18oz of Phillips Blue Buck), no auto gratuity. (source: @ilford)

Black Frog Eatery, 108 Cambie Street, Gastown – No price increases, no auto gratuity, great beer prices in effect (as usual). (source: @loxyisme)

Pacific Culinary Institute, Granville Island – a favourite “secret” haunt of Vancouver locals, all prices etc as per normal even though Gastown is Olympics Crazy! (source: @SurreyMarket)

Irish Heather, Gastown no price increases, no cover, no auto gratuity – business as usual at this hopping Gastown favourite (source: @StephenLambie)

Salt Tasting Room, Blood Alley, Gastown – no increased prices, specials as per usual, no autogratuity. (source – personal visit)

Main Street Eateries on S. Main – word from a Main Street Restaurateur is that most, if not all Main St. eateries having prices as usual, no auto gratuities – Go Main Street dining! (source: @LatitudeonMain)

Urban Thai Bistro – Yaletown – featuring “as usual” happy hour, dishes under $5, no auto gratuity. Yay! (Source: @urbandiner)

Phat Sandwiches – Yaletown – nominal price increases, but Vancouver loyalty cards for locals to give a price break during Olympics. (was formely on negative list based on incorrect information via twitter). (Source: Global News Hour)

Au Petit Chavignol – nice discounts on weekends on fondues, wines during Olympics. (source: @petitchauvignol)

Incendio Pizza in Gastown – prices “as per usual” during Olympics, no autograt. (source: @IncendioPizza, @SBonnerABV)

Milestone’s in Yaletown – prices kept stable, $8 breakfast is available everyday. (source: @tellytelly

The Whip – 7th near Main has maintained their prices, service during Olympics. (source: @cbjerrisgaard)

The Diamond in Gastown has prices more or less stable. (source – me visiting)

Irashai Grill in Coal Harbour has promised to keep prices neutral during Olympics! (source: @Irashai)

Campagnolo on Main Street – reported to have no price increases, same service as always during Olympics. (source: @campagnolomain)

Refuel Restaurant and Bar keeping prices stable for some awesome food and drink. (source: same as previous)

Amarcord Ristorante of Yaletown – prices stable, no autogratuity for Yaletown! Yay! (direct from Restaurateur)

Provence Marinaside – removed – auto gratuity, realised it was bad policy – go Provence!

Corner Suite Bistro Deluxe, Thurlow at Alberni – no automatic gratuity, “launch” pricing in effect (they just opened), great service, killer deep bartending staff. (source: me, visiting).