Two weeks ago, I copped to being an obstinate fossil, to struggling with change. So, I take a week off away from the laptop for a trip to Kelowna and what happens? Change aplenty, with much of striking very close to home. It’s so unsettling.
Having somehow been left out of the decision-making process at Astral Media despite the exhaustive radio poll I conducted here at Oilersnation just last month, I’m left to read on the internet Bob Stauffer has done his last Oilers Lunch show on TEAM 1260.
Having inexplicably been left off the short list of candidates to fill Stauffer’s slot despite my impressive radio resume*, I’m left to read on the internet that a newspaper guy — the wrong newspaper guy, but an ink-stained wretch nonetheless** — gets the shot as the Mark Spector Show is announced 15 seconds after Bob’s backside has cleared the studio door in the wake of his final show.
Already disoriented and teetering at the top of the stairs leading to the basement with an armful of luggage stuffed with dirty laundry, much of it covered in Sam’s stomach contents from a noteworthy bout of car sickness, I read that Linus Omark was snubbed in consideration for the Selke Trophy by those PHWA know-nothings***. Donkeys.
Well, let me say this about all that . . .
We haven’t heard anything official about when or where Stauffer and his Oilers Lunch franchise will surface, but it’s safe to assume it’ll be with rightsholder 630 CHED. That’s the where, despite rumblings that TSN or Sportsnet might be players in the plans. Not so, according to Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail. It’ll be 630 CHED, as part of a package with the game night rights.
As for rolling out Oilers Lunch down the dial, it stands to reason there’s a chance it could be done in time to jump in front of the launch of Spector’s show on TEAM 1260 on Aug. 29. I don’t have that from anybody in the know, but it seems a smart move and a reasonable hunch.
I’m also guessing Stauffer’s show will be tweaked for CHED in terms of content and format. Maybe Dan Tencer will play some part in the show here and there, at least if Oilers vice-president of broadcast Allan Watt has any input, which, for better or worse, he does.
Some critics insist Stauffer lost some (all?) of the edge that made him so popular during his days of Total Sports on TEAM 1260 when he began getting pay cheques with an Oiler logo on them as sidekick to Rod Phillips. I don’t think that was the case, at least not nearly to the extent some people do. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of tone the new show takes.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an announcement about when and where the revamped show will air as soon as early next week.
ON DECK IS SPEC
There’s no question Ross MacLeod at Astral has his work cut out to fill the void left by Stauffer, but I think filling the slot with Spector in tandem with Dustin Nielson and Inside Hockey — which will boast an impressive array of regular guests — is a good place to start.
I’ve known Spector since 1989 when I joined The Journal and whether you agree with his takes and approach or not, he’s got an opinion. He’s also made the transition from print to broadcast over the years way more smoothly than most newspaper guys do. That’s likely why he’s snagged a couple of gigs I’d like to have landed over the years.
Spector’s got a shot at giving Stauffer a run if the Inside Hockey part of the package can hold up its end of the bargain as a lead-in to Jason Gregor, who owns the afternoon drive slot and has a knack for employing co-hosts who best complement his on air-act. ****
The way I see it, the biggest challenge for Spector and the Inside Hockey segment over at TEAM 1260 will be getting equal access to Oilers news and decision makers — GM Steve Tambellini, Kevin Lowe, Tom Renney etc. I’m guessing 630 CHED will want to have a say in that as the rightsholder and with a competing show in Oilers Lunch.
My self-interest in Gregor’s show aside, I’d like to see MacLeod find the right mix of programming and see TEAM 1260 grow and go toe-to-toe with 630 CHED. That, in the end, best serves listeners and the rabid Oilers fan base in town.
FUN WITH NUMBERS
Oilersnation contributor Cam Charron didn’t really suggest the PHWA — Professional Hockey Writers Association — overlooked Omark in consideration for the Selke Trophy, even if he did call into question who gets votes and why.
It’s just rather jarring to see the name Linus Omark included in a discussion about the Selke Trophy, regardless of the context. Unless, of course, it’s that the PHWA got it completely right by giving Omark exactly the consideration he deserved, which is none.
*I give Stauffer and Gregor gift certificates whenever they let me on the air.
**Spector has a better on-air presence, a bigger deck and better hair than I do.
***PHWA members actually get paid to cover hockey and many of them are pretty good at it.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.