As Kevin Lowe likes to say, expect the unexpected. I’m guessing that having Bob Stauffer return to TEAM 1260 with a two-hour radio show dedicated to the Edmonton Oilers ranks right up there with Mike Comrie signing on for a second tour in the City of Champions.
While the latter is a work in progress, the former — a possibility I wrote about June 13 — is officially a go, as first reported by Jason Gregor this morning. The Oilers, 630 CHED and TEAM 1260 will announce the launch of Oilers Lunch with Bob Stauffer on TEAM 1260 Tuesday morning.
Stauffer, who left his popular drive-time show, Total Sports, after five years last summer to join 630 CHED as colour analyst alongside Rod Phillips, will continue his game night duties on Oilers broadcasts home and away while doing the two-hour Oilers Lunch on TEAM 1260 Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Are you thinking WTF? Are you wondering how Bombastic Bob can wear two hats and work for both stations? Are you expecting a diet of Bob Lite for Oilers Lunch?
Selling the brands
The way I see it, having Stauffer work the microphone for two stations is a slam-dunk win for both outfits, the Oilers and, most important, listeners of sports radio in town.
— Owner Daryl Katz wants more exposure for the Oilers brand, and this provides that. CHED, the rights holder with the bigger numbers, keeps those rights and provides fans the total package — pre-game show, game presentation and post-game show — on game nights.
— TEAM 1260 welcomes back a host who produced the best numbers the station has ever had in the drive-time slot. Say what you want about Stauffer, he draws a crowd. In the 1 p.m.-3 p.m. slot, he’ll not only give 1260 a boost in that segment of the afternoon, he’ll provide an excellent lead-in to Jason Gregor’s Just A Game, which has been staking out its own audience since taking over from Total Sports.
— Listeners who suggest Stauffer’s bite has been somewhat muzzled since moving over to 630 CHED — something that comes with being the rights holder — will again get his take on things, and I’m betting you’ll be surprised how edgy it’ll be.
— Like I wrote in June, having two strong stations on the airwaves that are loaded with Oiler content is better than having just one. CHED will remain the big dog, but having TEAM 1260 close the ratings gap in the time slots involving the Oilers will keep both sharp, no?
Tell it like it is
So, is Stauffer going to be throwing underhand on Oilers Lunch like he does on broadcast nights with 630 CHED?
I don’t think so, and if you’ve been paying attention to game night broadcasts, I think you’ll agree Phillips and Stauffer play it more down the middle and are more critical of the Oilers than any other broadcast tandem in the NHL. At least that’s the way I see it.
Granted, Stauffer doesn’t rant and rave on CHED broadcasts like he did on Total Sports, and he’s lost his most reliable material with the departure of Craig MacTavish, but game nights are a different gig.
My best guess is Stauffer will have plenty of latitude to call it like he sees it on Oilers Lunch, and that he’ll do exactly that. Anything less will defeat the purpose of this uncommon set-up.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.