RADIO GA-GA IV: OILERS POISED TO UNVEIL NEW VOICE (UPDATED)

Maybe some fans don’t think it’s all that important who the Edmonton Oilers name to replace Hall-of-Famer Rod Phillips as the radio voice of the team, but I beg to differ.

That’s why I’m looking forward to an announcement, one I understand will likely come by the end of this week, as to who will take over from the retired Phillips along analyst Bob Stauffer in the booth.

A big announcement?

I think so, when you consider Phillips did the job with distinction for 36 seasons, which I’d guess is longer than most of the readers of this website have been alive. The man who calls the play sells the brand. The man who welcomes fans to listen before the puck drops becomes a part of franchise folklore — for better or worse.

The Oilers, as I’ve said more than once — not that it’s a bolt of genius out of the blue — have to get it right. They’ve done their due diligence to make sure of that in a process that could see us get a name by Friday.

We’ll find out soon enough if they succeeded.

GETTING IT RIGHT

"This is absolutely an important decision," Allan Watt, vice-president of communications and broadcast, told me Monday night. "We have to do every bit of homework.

"When the person, whoever it is, goes on the air, hopefully for a lot of years, it’s the Oilers. It’s our brand. That’s the way it was with Rod and that’s the way it’s going to be."

My understanding, although Watt would not confirm it, is the hunt for Phillips replacement is down to five candidates. That, after getting more than 50 applications for the position. With the wannabes and guys out of their league, literally, told "no thanks," the Oilers have begun interviewing the short-listers.

The people making the call on this are team president Patrick LaForge, executive vice-resident of commercial operations Stew MacDonald, vice-president of sales Brad MacGregor, senior vice-president of marketing Steve Katzman and Watt.

If I had the short list, I’d give it to you. I don’t.

OVER TO YOU, BOB

One of the prime considerations when it comes to who gets the job will be who is capable of teaming with Stauffer, who just had his contract extended by the Oilers.

Like it or not — and some people don’t — the outspoken Stauffer, who also hosts Oilers Lunch on TEAM 1260 five days a week, is a significant cog in the Oilers broadcast plans. While the Oilers want Bombastic Bob to grow Oilers Lunch, he was brought in to upgrade and bolster game broadcasts two years ago. In my opinion, he’s done that.

"It’s got to be the right mix with Bob," Watt said. "He’s got a strong personality and he brings a lot to the broadcasts. We value that and we know chemistry is very important." We heard that chemistry at play when Stauffer filled in for Phillips on the play-by-play and Kevin Karius of Global TV jumped in as analyst. That was good radio. They worked very well together. You can put two good radio men in the same booth and not get that result.

Anyway, I don’t know if the new name will be a well-known big-hitter or a hotshot out of the WHL, but we’ll find out soon enough. Then, it’ll be time to listen and decide if the Oilers made the right call on the guy making the call.

Stay tuned.

TV UPDATE

As I suggested here back on July 29, it sounds like the Oilers — as well as the Calgary Flames — are about to announce a new television deal with Sportsnet One that will see them have 58 games broadcast on Sportsnet this coming season. I’m assuming the Oilers will announce the details at some point today.

  • I thought BOB Stauffer was oout of the mix as far as the play by play man went? Is that not the case? Has something changed. I really can’t see 630 ched offering Bob the big chair when he is killing them with Oilers Lunch on a competitors station. Or is this an Oilers hire. Who has the final say? The rights holder 630 ched or the Oilers? I like Bob Stauffer. I like the way he calls a game. He and Karius are brilliant together. They complement each other well. Also I am not a big fan of hiring an outsider at this point in Oilers history. I think most people who listen the games would rather prefer a voice thier comfortable with and recognize readily. Not some shlepp from nowwhere who couldn’t tell the difference between Hall and Hemsky.

    • The Fish

      I confess; I didn’t believe it until I read it for myself. It’s true; PPV is dead.

      ♪♫ Ding, dong, the Witch is dead . . .

      Which old witch?

      The Wicked Witch . . . ♫♪

  • Jason Gregor

    Oilers and Sportsnet sign a ten year deal….Here is the skinny…

    “Rogers Sportsnet today announced an unprecedented 10-year partnership with Alberta’s two National Hockey League teams, under which Rogers Sportsnet will be the clubs’ Official Television Broadcaster and provider of digital media content until 2020.
     
    Beginning with the upcoming 2010-11 NHL season, Rogers Sportsnet West and Rogers Sportsnet ONE will combine to televise at least 58 Calgary Flames and 58 Edmonton Oilers games every year for 10 seasons within the Oilers and Flames regional territory which includes Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
     
    This agreement will also mean Oilers and Flames fans will no longer have to rely on Pay-Per-View broadcasts in order to view games not otherwise being broadcast.”

    • Ender

      Well, let’s not get too carried away; as I reflect a little more rationally, I’m assuming at this point that I’ll need to purchase a new cable package that includes Rogers Sportsnet ONE to see these games, so it’s probably not completely free. I’m just hoping the new channel is cheaper than getting the games one at a time.

      • Let's Rebuild

        It has to be cheaper than $15 bucks a pop for PPV. When I heard Spector talking about the potential deal on the radio he mentioned that Sportnet ONE would only be a couple of bucks a month.

      • Let's Rebuild

        The trick is to have many dreams, that way someway or another a dream is being fulfilled.

        I also dreamt of a day the Eskimos would do a fake punt or field goal so Friday was a good day too (until the final minute).

        “Dream small, live happy”, this is the motto of an Edmonton Sports fan.

  • knee deep in it

    Peter Maher is the best in the business (non Rod Phillips category). He gives the most accurate descrition of the game.

    At the other end of the spectrum is Brian Hall. When I lived in Edmonton, I would be driving down the road with both hands over my ears screaming “I can’t hear you, LALALALALA” whenever Hall got to do his 5 minute rant during the pregame.

    • Let's Rebuild

      I’m an Oiler fan in Red Deer…but I agree that Peter Maher calls a good game.

      Living in Red Deer we get good coverage from both Edmonton and Calgary…newspapers, radio, T.V.

      It’s pretty awesome.

  • Let's Rebuild

    Sportsnet 1,

    I am not 100% but it looks like the same regional blackouts will be in place (league mandated) which really bites. National channel?? I live in NB and have no more interest in watching the Senators play than getting kicked between the legs. Hope I am wrong on this somehow.

        • book¡e

          I was an Albertan living in Ontario when I got a dish to watch the Oilers, only to find out that they were regionally blocked. I soon ‘moved’ back to Alberta and brought my satellite box with me, except that I actually stayed in Ontario and just had them send the bills to my friends address. They changed my box over to being an ‘Alberta box’ and I was able to see all of the Oiler games.

          What works even better is if you have a friend in Alberta with 2 boxes and you have 2 boxes. you can just swap one box and then you will both get Eastern program on one and Alberta programing on the other.

          Not sure if the boxes now attach to the phone lines for ppv orders. If so, you would just have to avoid connecting them to the local phone line.

      • Jodes

        That still doesn’t mean you’ll see the games. A few years ago my dad bought the Center Ice Package because he was told that there would be no blackouts, (It was even in writing) and low and behold, two weeks into his subsription, there were blackouts and he got the “we’re sorry, due to …. this game is blacked out”.

        He promptly cancelled his subscription and got his money back..

    • Deep Oil

      Starchoice has a home away from home program for a two satelite price of about $80 – $90 per month, premium channels.

      Initiate with a friend or relative, an account of service in Alberta, have the home away from home be in NB. Do not try this with Bell, they do not have this package and will PING your phone line to determine geographical location.

      This will allow you to have regional Alberta channels anywhere in Canada…. or in the USA for that matter.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    I’d like to see a younger guy who could blossom into a Maher-Phillips hybrid, with Peter’s smoothness and Rod’s passion.

    But then, I’d like a lot of things…

  • book¡e

    Nowadays just watch a game and notice how many times there isn’t actual PBP happening…instead there’s some stupid conversation going on during the play…even quite often the conversation is still happening when a goal is scored…

    Agreed, it drives me nuts. You know what is worse, its when they miss faceoffs because they have some stupid stats or something on the screen. Usually its something stupid. They miss about 75% of zone faceoffs (and a lot of goals because of it). Even if it is a boring face off, I WANT TO SEE IT because it is an important part of the game.

  • fuck off

    Does anyone here actually think that any of the Oilers Nation faithful’s discussion of WHO gets the job will have any effect on the outcome? OR if anyone of the Oilers/Katz Group brass (Watt & company mentioned above) actually browse what gets posted by us (the most obsessed Oil fans)?

    I ask because I know and Bob (Stauffer) makes it know that he pays attention to ON so that he feels like he’s got his thumb on the pulse of the fan’s opinion.

      • fuck off

        lolz! Although that would be awesome; it was not what I was getting at. My questions were honest and intended to be taken literal.

        What I’d really like to hear is if anyone who might have legitimate inside information or an inside perspective on the likelihood of the Katz Group actually surfing/printing the site and reviewing the consensus opinions. AND if that is in any case plausible, would that consensus be given weight in regard to their final decision?

        RB, JG, Lowetide, anybody??!

        • Jason Gregor

          Yes people from the Oilers and Katz group read the site. But will they choose their play-by-play guy based on a few posters opinion; No.

          The finalists interviewing for the job are rumoured to be, Dennis Beyak, Steve Kouleas, Reagan Bartel and another guy.

          If I’m picking I would pick Bartel. He has great pipes and has a very smooth call of the game. I’m shocked that Kouleas made the finalists since he hasn’t done much play-by-play recently.

          But the Oilers won’t pick a guy based on what the Nation thinks, nor should they. The guys that post on here aren’t necessarily speaking for the masses.

  • I wish they had put this kind of thought and consideration into their TV play by play person (SNW is basically CHED given by how many games they have). Television broadcasts have a much larger impact from a public relations perspective nowadays.

    Edit: This is a good quote from Watt on the state of PPV games: “Pay-per-view was the leftover sock drawer. It was games other networks couldn’t do or didn’t want to do, and we had to fight to get good games in there. Then fans were buying it, and it only takes one or two injuries to where your team’s lineup card doesn’t look so good.”

  • DN

    Chris Cuthburt ??? I can not listen to his voice … I have to turn the TV off . I agree with a previous post that perhaps Oilers on the Radio has lost some of it’s significance since so many games are on TV now.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    So the league is investigating Luongo’s contract. ~How many of the 50 contracts can be dedicated to goalies? Would 5 be unreasonable?~

  • The new voice of the Edmonton Oilers is… Haley Wickenheiser!!!

    My Team 1260 suggestions;

    More Gregor interviews,fewer Stauffer/Howson&Daum interviews

    More guests/new guests

    Change the trivia question format for Neilson&Chase so listeners don’t have to hear the question repeated to each caller on the air.

    *I know it’s on the caller to listen on hold*

    That’s all, have a great freakin day!

    • Petr's Jofa

      Wasn’t Kennedy just waived and bought out? If they wanted him, why wouldn’t they have just plucked him and his $1 salary off the waiver wire rather than trying to attract him as a UFA?

      Looking into this, I’ve come across a second rumour that said the three teams were the Blackhawks, Oilers and Maple Leafs

  • Cosmo

    The most obivous choice to replace Rod is the Old Spice Guy. He could do his PBP while rocking a ‘stache, doing a swan dive onto a motorcyle (or horse), plus he has the voice that would make Wanye swoon.

    Going to miss Rod. I have enjoyed listening to him liven up the play and butcher names going back to the WHA days when I was a pup riding around with the old man in the truck.

    I am too lazy to look it up, but iirc, the Oilers record on ppv games has been 0-1000, so this announcement means fist in the NW is a lock.

  • Cosmo

    The names that I am hearing from various twitter accounts are: Dennis Beyak, Rod Peterson, Randy Hahn and Paul Romaniuk. Steve Kouleas would be an intriguing choice.

    Beyak would be my first choice.

    • Jason Gregor

      I can tell you that Rod Peterson didn’t make final five, nor Paul Romaniuk. Not sure why you guys like Kouleas so much. Have you heard him do play-by-play? It is very different than hosting a show.