August 28 2011 12:00PM
These are interesting times for fans of the broadcast business and the Edmonton Oilers as the NHL season approaches and TEAM 1260 and 630 CHED go head-to-head for listeners in the afternoons.
CHED will have the ears of listeners once again on game nights after re-upping as rights holders, but it looks like afternoons on the wireless are going to be more hotly contested than ever as both stations roll out their line-ups.
With training camp still weeks away, the back-and-forth between TEAM 1260 and CHED is getting interesting as 1260 hits the air Monday from noon to 1 p.m. with the debut of Inside Hockey with Dustin Nielson and an impressive list of regular guests, then backs that up with the Mark Spector Show in the 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. slot.
While I'm not as involved as I'd like to be in any of that, I do have skin in the game as a co-host on the Jason Gregor Show twice a week at TEAM 1260, for which I am thankful, and I'm hoping to do more with Nation Radio as a co-host with Allan Mitchell from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, so these are interesting times, indeed.
I know I'll be listening.
RIGHT BACK AT YOU
TEAM 1260 saw Bob Stauffer and his popular Oilers Lunch leave for 630 CHED, to be re-launched as Oilers NOW from noon to 2 p.m. last Monday, but is coming back swinging with a Murderer's Row of big hitters to bolster Inside Hockey.
If offering listeners Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie, Doug MacLean, Elliotte Friedman, Darren Pang, Ryan Rishaug and Scott Burnside isn't playing long ball, I don't know what is. That's a coup for TEAM 1260 and an obvious sign they aren't handing over the noon to 2 p.m. slot.
As for Spector in the second hour, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I can't think of a newspaper guy who has made the jump to broadcast, first with Stauffer in the days of Total Sports and now with Sportsnet as their lead columnist and a regular on games nights, better than he has.
Agree with him or not, Spec's got an opinion, and that's half the battle whether you're talking column or radio show. I'm wondering how Spector will find time to fit in an hour a day five days a week into his already busy schedule with Sportsnet in the long term, but we'll see how it plays out.
DOWN THE DIAL
I'm not quite sure how CHED's listeners are taking to Oilers NOW with Stauffer, seeing as they had to bump news content and Charles Adler to fit him in, but the Connected One certainly made a splash in my books with the quality of his guests last week.
Stauffer, barely out the door after his final broadcast at TEAM 1260 when Inside Hockey and Spector's show were announced, had Wayne Gretzky as his very first guest. Gretzky, by my memory, has done exactly two one-on-one radio spots in Edmonton in the last 10 years, both of them with Stauffer.
Throughout the week, Stauffer had interviews with four NHL GMs: Steve Tambellini, Scott Howson, Kevin Cheveldayoff and Jay Feaster. He also had coaches Tom Renney, Kelly Buchberger, Steve Smith and Frederic Chabot and Oiler players Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. That's access. That's content.
With TEAM 1260 having locked up so many prominent NHL insiders as guests, it'll be interesting to see who Stauffer adds to his line-up. I don't imagine he'll stand pat. I wouldn't be surprised if we get news about the addition of some high-profile regulars in the very near future.
THE WAY I SEE IT . . .
Like I said, I'm looking forward to seeing both stations go head-to-head starting today. Once the buzz over the debuts of Inside Hockey, the Mark Spector Show and Oilers NOW dies down, though, what's going to tell the tale is content and commitment of resources to the respective shows.
I'd like to see TEAM 1260 make some gains in the noon to 2 p.m. slot and provide the kind of lead-in to Gregor's show that helps him continue building the momentum he's got going.
That'll be easier said than done even with that list of regular guests on the two new shows, though. While Dreger and McKenzie are the easily the most connected national guys and Rishaug is a comer, nobody has the information pipeline Stauffer does when it comes to the Oilers. There is no substitute for substance -- access and getting the story first.
In the long term, I'll be curious to see what access TEAM 1260 gets to Oilers players. coaches and management, aside from morning skates. Rights holders like 630 CHED pay for and usually get the inside track. For right now, I wonder if Stauffer has any special plans to offset the debuts of Inside Hockey and Spector.
The bottom line for me is that having TEAM 1260 and 630 CHED contest afternoons will benefit Oilers fans. Like I've said before, listeners in this market will be best served by having two stations competing for their business. The way I see it, that competition is heating up now like we've never seen, or heard, it..
AND . . .
-- Gregor was kind enough to offer me two days hosting his show this week while he's on holidays, but I had to say "No thanks." I'm not as up on the NFL and other components key to filling four primetime hours as I need to be to pull it off. It's a tough gig -- too tough for a guy with the training wheels still on. Hockey season? Sure. I appreciated the offer.
-- I had a lot of fun doing last Friday's Gregor show from The Pint as co-host to Will Fraser. Thought we had a very good show. I will be co-hosting Gregor's show three times this week, Tuesday through Thursday. One of those days is with John Short, one of the best story-tellers in the business.
-- I'm hearing that former TEAM 1260 sports director Bryn Griffiths is the front-runner to get Rob Kerr's old spot at FAN 960 in Calgary. Kerr left to take the play-by-play job with the Flames.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.