RADIO GA-GA

old_time_people_around_radio
I enjoy sports talk radio and I’m hardly an impartial party in this town, being a newspaperman who is trying to learn the art of saying something people want to hear after spending most of my career trying to write something they wanted to read.

I began tinkering with the wireless more than 25 years ago while I was in the weekly newspaper biz, then did more while covering the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in the late-1980s.

Here in Edmonton, my job as beat man covering the Oilers for The Journal and The Sun until 2007 allowed me to occasionally wander into the booth with 630 CHED here and on the road.

I got a break when Bob Stauffer enlisted me as a co-host for his popular drive time show, Total Sports, on TEAM 1260. Later, when the Oilers hired Stauffer to ride shotgun for Rod Phillips with 630 CHED, Jason Gregor was good enough to retain me for Just A Game when it moved to take Stauffer’s slot. For that, I’m grateful.

With that little bit of background out of the way, I read with some interest a piece in the Journal today by columnist Dan Barnes outlining TEAM 1260’s challenge to attract listeners against the juggernaut that is 630 CHED, the voice of the Oilers and Eskimos.

It hatched an idea. If it’s goofy, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Like I said, I’m not impartial on this. I think it’s to the benefit of listeners in town to have two radio stations with strong rosters of sports programming. That’s why I’d like to see TEAM 1260 succeed. They provide a balance to the rights holders. Another voice.

That’s why I’d like to see their numbers — more on this below — get better. I’d like to see them prosper. And, besides, they let me try to impart what I know over the airwaves without scolding me for being, as of now, only OK at it.

Likewise, I happen to think Stauffer played a significant part in providing that balance. Stauffer was the critical voice, the hammer on the TEAM 1260 roster, before, as I put it in an item leading into this season, he “took the hush money” and joined the Oilers.

When I add the two together, I wonder if sports talk radio listeners in this town wouldn’t be best served if Stauffer wore two different hats with two different stations.

BY THE NUMBERS

For those who care about the actual numbers, here they are. All are for the demographic of males aged 25-54 over the last six survey books, which date back to January 2008.

TEAM 1260

Morning Drive 6 to 10 a.m. (14 Stations)

(Jan-Feb 2008) 6.4 share (6th)
(Mar-Apr 2008 ) 4.2 share (9th)
(Jun-Jul 2008 ) 5.5 share (9th)
(Sep-Oct 2008) 4.5 share (9th)
(Jan-Feb 2009) 3.2 share (10th)
(Mar-Apr 2009 ) 1.9 share (10th)

Bottom Line: Yes, the morning show, More On Sports, has taken a dip, but in fairness, the most competitive part of the programming day is the morning the slot. Astral needs to regain a foothold.

Mid-Day 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (14 Stations)

(Jan-Feb 08) 3.4 share (10th)
(Mar-Apr 08) 2.9 share (11th)
(Jun-Jul 08) 3.0 share (11th)
(Sep-Oct 08) 2.8 share (10th)
(Jan-Feb 09) 1.8 share (12th)
(Mar-Apr 09) 1.5 share (12th)

Bottom Line: Jim Rome had steady numbers through 2008, but TEAM 1260 switched from ESPN to Fox Radio and the numbers took a hit. Hmmm.

Afternoon Drive 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (14 Stations)

(Jan-Feb 08) 8.0 share (4th) CHED 3rd with an 11.0
(Mar-Apr 08) 9.7 share (3rd) CHED tied for 8th with 5.2
(Jun-Jul 08) 7.8 share (4th) CHED 6th with 6.5 (Last Stauffer book)
(Sep-Oct 08) 5.6 share (8th) CHED 3rd with 9.0
(Jan-Feb 09) 6.3 share (7th) CHED 5th with 7.7
(Mar-Apr 09) 4.2 share (9th) CHED 8th with a 5.7

Bottom Line: Generally speaking for sports stations throughout North America, the afternoon drive shows pull in the best numbers. This is the make or break slot Gregor took over from Stauffer.

Evenings 7 p.m. to midnight (14 Stations)

(Jan-Feb 08)-0.4 share (14th) CHED 1st with an 18.2
(Mar-Apr 08 ) 3.1 share (9th) CHED 1st with a 16.3
(Jun-Jul 08) 5.6 share (6th) CHED 2nd with 10.1 (Last Gregor book)
(Sep-Oct 08) 3.1 share (11th) CHED 1st with 13.5
(Jan-Feb 09) 0.7 share (13th) CHED 1st with 21.4
(Mar-Apr 09)-2.5 (12th) CHED first with 13.1

Bottom Line: Inside Sports with Dan Tencer and anything to do with the Oilers rule the slot during the season. TEAM 1260 hasn’t even contested this slot since Gregor moved to afternoons.

NO COMPETITION?

The quote from the Barnes piece that grabs me comes from CHED general manager Doug Rutherford.

“I don’t really see (The Team) as competition. An all-sports radio station will talk to a specific audience, although small. What we try and do with CHED is talk to a more mainstream audience. All-sports is a niche format.”

Maybe I’m taking Rutherford a bit too literally, but if TEAM 1260 isn’t really competition, does that leave the door open for Stauffer to keep his night job alongside Phillips but cross town and fill a 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. slot on the Astral roster and form a solid one-two punch with Gregor during the week?

Let’s not forget, Stauffer’s an employee of the Oilers, not 630 CHED. Might team owner Daryl Katz, who already does business with Astral (TEAM 1260) with broadcasts of the Edmonton Oil Kings, be interested in expanding the brand by providing his product on two stations?

A SHOT IN THE ARM

Depending on where you sit with Stauffer — love him or hate him with little room for indifference in between — having him rev up the bombast that just won’t fly on 630 CHED game nights back on TEAM 1260 is either a stroke of brilliance or just me having a stroke.

While I question Barnes’ homer reference when it comes to Stauffer and Phillips — I think they’re more critical of the Oilers than any other team tandem of rights holders I can think of — there’s no question Bombastic Bob hasn’t been able to let it all hang out since becoming an employee of the Oilers like he did when the saliva was flying at 1260.

Would the brass at Astral go for this? Would management at 630 CHED? What about the Oilers? Most important, what about the listeners, the people who tune in and pay the freight? Or not.

It sounds like a shot in the arm for sports fans to me.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • Dan Tencer wrote:

    Morley’s analysis is good enough for TSN, who have used him repeatedly as a freelancer over the past 2 years.

    Believe me, there are tons of horseshit analysts employed on TV and radio.

  • David S

    Dan Tencer wrote:

    You’re right, Robin…in person would be better. My number is in the media guide.

    Wow. That is the single most arrogant comment I think I've ever seen on this site.

  • Sandra Blood

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Thanks for the faint praise about doing a slightly better job, but I’m not going to get pissy about that here. I’ll say what I have to say in person. It’s easier to get to the point that way

    You don't remember him saying. MacT is a great coach, this guy jumps the band wagon more than Fred Stauffer does now. If he can have S3X with the Oilers he would. This site does more for fans than you ever will, They keep fans coming back for more, They can interact with the reporters and have fun and Hell even non Oiler fans come here. Your job is going to your head, Wasn't your boss going to try somebody new on a monday nite? Maybe then you may have some respect for TEAM 1260 and ask for a job then.

    Sandra R. Blood
    1st Nations.

  • Sandra Blood

    David S wrote:

    Dan Tencer wrote:
    You’re right, Robin…in person would be better. My number is in the media guide.
    Wow. That is the single most arrogant comment I think I’ve ever seen on this site.

    "My number is in the media guide."
    translation?
    a)He's scared?
    b)I don't have time for you?
    c)your beneath me?

  • ScubaSteve

    Dan Tencer wrote:

    This type of argument drives interest. And, since this isn’t my site, I’ve got no interest in doing that here.

    Tencer,

    I just checked out your site and your (once a month) blogs generates on average 4-10 comments. I would think with such poor interest you would welcome any kind of exposure.

    Pretty tough to take you seriously when you Robin has more experience in his pinky than you have in your whole Rishaug-wannabe schtik, but you might benefit from posting here more often.

    Posting on here will only drive more traffic to your site, considering you post something interesting and relevant, not just arrogant garbage.

    Ask JW if blogging on here has hurt or helped his other site.

  • That's a great point if blogging was my staple. It's not. I blog primarily because my employer asks me to. And, in terms of web traffic…I'm not sure (anybody know how to get numbers?), but I think 630CHED.com and Oilers.NHL.com do OK.

    My livelihood is dependent on the number of people that listen to my radio show and station…not by the number of people who read or comment on my blogs. In terms of listeners, as the M25-54 numbers would suggest, we're headed in the right direction.

    To the previous posters…I guess I should have just written "call me". I certainly don't think Robin is "beneath me" and I'm well aware of the fact that he's been at the game longer than I've been alive. Please don't mistake disagreement for disrespect.

    And, to be completely honest, if the environment was a bit more welcoming, I would comment more on the stuff I read here. The proprietors of the site have repeatedly isolated me as a target, which is fine, but the readers need to keep that in mind when slagging me for not participating more.

  • heavyd

    @ Dan Tencer:
    Who cares what people say about you. The same things happen to Brownlee and Gregor, but they still post here. What do you mean by welcoming? Do you mean we should all be nice to everyone and not critize anyone, and just say only nice things about the Oilers and all the posters. Sounds like a guy that works for 630ched, oh thats right you do.

    If you came on here more often, people would start to respect you and they would be more welcoming but since you don't you don't know how this site works and how nice all the fans are to the media people.

  • myteammytown

    @ heavyd:

    tencer has to "be nice" to the oilers, his job depends on it.

    he was, IMO, much better this year at calling things more down the middle than in years past.

  • Reagan

    Wow, you guys sure went deep with this. LOL Regardless of politics and all of the pent up frustrations obviously hitting mainstream for anyone to read at this point. I will admit that I enjoy listening to you all.

    That is not a kiss up Jason, nor is this. LOL Jason's job is a tough one. To take over for the Voice of the Team 1260 albeit an upward battle, I have to commend him for taking that challenge from Bob Stauffer. After working in Radio myself for a number of years, those cheap bastards (pardon the expression) could have easily hired a number 1 or 2 guy anywhere in the country and moved him into Bob's time slot. Instead they kept it local, someone that has ties already in Edmonton. Jason is proving himself and does a great job of feeding local news "Outside of the Edmonton Oilers". Unfortunately some of you other media Outlets could learn from him. Local events and MMA are just a few that sets 1260 apart from what the other station only knows. Edmonton Oilers hockey and Eskimos football. It's not a cut, but a simple fact that diversity is growing in this town.

    The sad part is that all of the media outlets are taking there own slice of pie when it comes to representation of the Oilers, and all want to be figured predominately. No, offence to Dan Tencer here, but I avoid 630 CHED, other than game time. News doesn't seem to be genuine but contrived. Some of that control may be flowing from the Oilers hockey club. Don't get me wrong, I'm a life and blood Oiler fan, but at some point the Kool-Aid has to get empty at some point.

    Rating and the way that they are achieved, have always plagued me as well. It's sad that oversaturated commercialized POP music and advertising is paving the way for society as a benchmark. Albeit that 630 CHED does offer a realistic news/documentary base for it's listeners to enjoy, the Team's upward battle has to rely on syndicated coverage to fill the gaps. That's killing the stats. Now however unlikely and near impossible to overcome this, it's time to start "Playing Ball" and broadcast some ball games. I used to love listening to John Ducey ball games, regardless of the team or if my team was losing.
    Kick it back old school for the Team, and they may have better stats on this overrated rating system.

  • Archaeologuy

    Dan Tencer wrote:

    if the environment was a bit more welcoming, I would comment more on the stuff I read here

    I've been in more arguments on this site than i can remember but I wouldnt call it unwelcoming. If you dont like how youre being represented by others here you could always do something crazy like prove them wrong. I'm sure you dont feel the need to defend yourself but you seem to want people to be nice to you after you came in here and started being condescending. There arent many regular commenters that wont jump all over antics like that from anyone. Adding another opinion from a connected source would be welcome I'm sure. All anyone has to do is have a decent or interesting opinion and it can drive an entire thread. It doesnt matter who that opinion comes from. If you want to comment then do it, but dont blame the people that make this site what it is for not posting on here more often.

  • @ Archaeologuy:

    I totally agree with your point – I wish I had the verbage to be able to write something like that myself 😀

    The shake-up that has happened @ 1260 in the past couple of weeks is inevitable at ANY station. So Mr Tencer, when the TEAM takes the Oilers right after Batman sees that he would get more bang for his buck at the top end of the AM dial, you might be the victim of a shake-up at CHED.

    I highly doubt that you will have a Brian Hall type of career doing radio, because of 'new' media sources. IMO you should be in front of the curve bloggin because of your age.

    I also think because of your age you should be able to relate to the people on this site. The Demographic here is far more inviting for you to contribute here I think.

    Repect is Earned – not given.

    Most people with low self esteem have earned it – George Carlin

  • ScubaSteve

    Dan Tencer wrote:

    My livelihood is dependent on the number of people that listen to my radio show and station…not by the number of people who read or comment on my blogs. In terms of listeners, as the M25-54 numbers would suggest, we’re headed in the right direction.

    Point taken on the blogs, Dan, I understand that it's radio that matters to you. I would submit again though, that if you were to come on here more regularly, and maybe post a few teasers from inside sources, or hint that your show might break some story, that your numbers would rise significantly.

    Most of the problem people have with you is that they don't think you're a hockey guy and just tow the company line. Depending on your contract w/ your employer, this site may be a good outlet to dispel that line of thinking.

    I would welcome another Oiler insider on this site, and I'm sure it would add credibility for you, and ratings for your show.

  • charlieangels

    Has anyone given thought to adding Don Horwood to the morning show, the retired basketball coach from the U of A. He is a great speaker, not afraid to say something that will wake everyone up and get the action happening? He appears to be knowledgeable about Edmonton and hockey.

    It doesn't appear my idea of Tencer and Robin is going to work out.

  • Peter Pan

    @ Dan Tencer
    @ Robin Brownlee
    @ Jason Gregor
    @ Bob Stauffer

    Gentlemen,

    First off, let it be known that each of you, although different in opinion and styles, are essential for sports/entertainment for all Edmontonians, especially Oiler fans. You gents (especially Jason and Robin) are the only reason I read this blog on a daily basis. I do not read Wanye's stuff nor JW's nor any other contributor to this site. I simply wait for you guys to write an article and go through the comment threads until I find one written by one of you. I like to see Bob and Dan chiming in from time to time. I like to listen to each one of you on the radio. You are all good at what you do. At work, every day from 3 – 6 is Jason Gregor time, especially when it is hockey talk. Gregor, you do a great job and your personality and humour is what engages many people to your show. Brownlee, you have made every Thursday show a great show. From when you were with Stauf and now Gregor, you have always been an intriguing person to listen to and you are my favorite sports writer. Mr. Bob Stauffer, you are the king of kings. It goes without question that you have a very strong following around here and rightfully so. You're great at what you do and your willingness to say what needs to be said and ask tough questions (as does Brwonlee and Gregor) are your greatest attributes. I would love to see you carry your own show again. Little Dan, yo should be proud of yourself. I know you are a young professional and relatively new in the business, but you've done an admorable job and your show is getting better each year. You mentioned you feel unwelcome here, but that's not the case with us all. We are all simply fans of the Oil.

    You all compliment each other. Your shows, blogs, articles, etc, all compliment each other. Without the talk radio and daily medias such as OilersNation.com, our days up here in the cold, white north would only feel longer and less entertaining. My point is simply that our entertainment sector is a stronger one with you all and especially with CHED and TEAM1260. It's nice to have the 2 stations. Its nice to have the different perspectives and different shows. I appreciate you all and what you bring. Working together and collaborating to attract even more people to your shows is what your aim should be. By embarking upon opportunities, such as a forum like this, where you all can have public discussions, would only attract more folk to your line of work.

    Sure CHED is doing well in the numbers game and it appears 1260 has stumbled for a while, but neither of you are number 1. But by networking and amalgamating a single focus, both stations, led by you gents, should increase their fan base.

    BTW – Morely Scott was a good voice for a long time, but I'm glad to hear Bob's analysis now.

  • […] Brownlee’s article, and your response was entertaining and insightful, and I could sense true passion from the posters. Reading praise and criticism is good for my type of work. You don’t let either one go to your head. A wise man, Ron Durda, once told me that if everyone likes your show you aren’t doing it right. As long as they keep listening, or in this case reading, that’s what matters. […]

  • Clarkenstein

    Mike Richards is the most entertaining morning man in the business. I would love to somehow see an "Alberta" type morning show where he was on Calgary 960 and Edmonton 1260 at the same time. Kind of a like a Rutherford format in the a.m. Would make for fabulous radio and I have no doubt that it would be a winner. Can you imagine the possibilities??

  • Dennis

    As much as I enjoyed listening to Stauffer, I have a hard time emboldening him with the tag "edmonton's objective voice" considering that he would poke MacT with a stick but stayed as far away from Lowe's cave as possible.

    I was reminded of this when reading RB talking about how a voice should reflect the the reality of a city or a team. Lowe drove the team into the ditch after '06 but if Stauffer ever came close to saying that, I'd love to be proven wrong.

    Of course you could say that about just about everyone in the biz, Robin included.

  • MrOiler

    I think this is an intriguing idea. From the Oilers' point of view, it would likely be embraced because it could bump up overall ratings.

    From CHED's point of view, I can't see where they gain except by keeping a major customer happy – i.e. Rexall/Oilers. It really comes down to whether CHED truly doesn't see the Team 1260 as competition or not.

    This idea could gain traction if it was pushed by Rexall/Oilers. Especially if the schedules do not conflict/compete – i.e. during times of CHED non-sports broadcasting.

    It's a good suggestion, but someone needs to sell the idea to the Rexall/Oilers brass first.

    Maybe package it with the other Rexall Sports teams: Oil Kings, Capitals, Oilers. From a business point of view it's not unlike Proctor and Gamble selling multiple brands of soap to keep comptitors off of the shelf – i.e. Rexall/Oilers now direct content on 2 radio stations.

  • MrOiler

    Dan Tencer wrote:

    And, to be completely honest, if the environment was a bit more welcoming, I would comment more on the stuff I read here. The proprietors of the site have repeatedly isolated me as a target, which is fine, but the readers need to keep that in mind when slagging me for not participating more.

    Dan's got a good point. Why would you hang around and participate on a blog where some posters call you a "fartcatcher".

    This isn't a knock on this site – most blog sites are full of disrepect. It's the most tiresome aspect of blogging – a bunch of anonymous jerkoffs who don't have enough self-respect to be polite.