Lines are being drawn and people are picking sides.
With Sportsnet 650 set to enter the marketplace on September 4, a sports radio ratings war is about to take place in Vancouver. TSN 1040 is the incumbent, and the sports radio kings in the city since they launched as Team 1040 in 2001.
This isn’t the first time they’ve been challenged. Mojo Radio switched to all-sports in 2004, with the backing of Corus, who held the Canucks rights (games were broadcasted on CKNW).
Unfortunately for Mojo, their timing sucked. They debuted as all-sports in February 2004. The Canucks were eliminated two months later, before a season-long lockout wiped out the 2004-05 season entirely.
The Canucks missed the playoffs in 2005-06, before Corus lost the broadcast rights to 1040. That was the final nail in the coffin for Mojo, which switched to an all-traffic format ever since.
There was only room for one all-sports radio station Vancouver.
This promises to be a stiffer test for 1040, as Sportsnet 650 has a five-year deal for the Canucks’ broadcast rights.
While it remains to be seen who Sportsnet will hire to air games – John Shorthouse has to be a shoe-in given he’s already an employee on the TV side of things – rumours are running rampant for the rest of their programming.
Steve Darling, James Cybulski, and Mira Laurence were introduced as the hosts of Sportsnet’s new morning show on Wednesday. Later in the day, Don Taylor – a former Sportsnet employee who knows 650 program director Craig MacEwen well – announced on Twitter that he’s staying put with TSN.
Happy to announce I'm staying at TSN 1040. And I'm not the only one. Stay tuned!
— Don Taylor (@DonTaylor5) July 6, 2017
TSN won’t be standing pat though. A source tells Daily Hive that 1040 will be rejigging their lineup. Expect shorter shows (three hours long instead of four hours), with the midday and afternoon show hosts switching time slots.
Speculation is running rampant with a number of other broadcasters.
Rumour has it that Satiar Shah, the morning show producer of the Bro Jake Show on TSN 1040, is moving to Sportsnet 650 to host their mid-morning show.
Scott Rintoul, who was let go by TSN in January but has remained on as the play-by-play voice of the BC Lions, is expected to make the jump to Sportsnet as well. He has a history with MacEwen, working with him on Sportsnet’s television broadcasts before.
Daily Hive has also been told to expect Andrew Walker (a host on Sportsnet radio in Toronto), former Canucks goalie Corey Hirsch, and White Rock pro hockey player Colten Teubert, to pop up at Sportsnet 650 in some capacity.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail in 2008, 1040 program director Rob Gray admitted that the competition with Mojo made his station better. That should be the case this time around as well, and that’s good news for the consumer.