RADIO GA-GA: LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE

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.

  • Banger

    As long as the 12-noon slot isnt a “replay” of the morning show it should be good. Stauffer leaving 1260 will actually bring me back to 1260 at times. Stauffer grew old very fast for me. I just didnt like his arrogance. I love that he is opinionated but i dont like the arrogance he has, and i think there is a difference between the two.

    Also Inews880 just got me tuning in as well. I have really enjoyed Adler since turning Stauffer off. It will now be a coin flip between Adler and 1260 depending on what is going on in the sports world and the real world. Whatever i find more interesting that day will be who i tune too. But it wont be Stauffer.

  • @RB. Fair enough, maybe there are fans who need to hear it first and care if they get it two minutes before every other news agency. I don’t really care but that may be just me. I care about the discussion afterwards and that decides which end of the radio dial I listen to. I tend not be a huge Dreger fan, not because he doesn’t break a lot of stories but because I don’t really get as much out of his analysis as someone like Bob McKenzie. The personality of the radio host, their presentation, on air presence, voice (as silly as that sounds), and knowledge are what is going to make me listen to them for hours on end, not whether they have a few inside contacts.

    I’m not sure where the hostility in your post is coming from. Because I had a different opinion than yours? If this is suppose to be a forum for discussion then I don’t think that attitude is really needed or helps. Adults are suppose to be able to communicate opinions without the other person getting snotty for no apparent reason. Maybe you are just having a bad day. If so I hope the rest of the day improves for you.

  • Hockey Insiders are and have become a key marketing point of the media. Breaking a story brings numbers and ratings to whatever medium it breaks on. Important? Relative to the market and the people who care. In this city? Cutthroat buisness. In terms of media in this city a guy like Bob Stauffer has a definite edge in the Oilers news. How many of us listen to him because of it? Alot. That would be my guess. Hard reporting. This site is awash with people who can do that. This city. Jones. Matheson. Spector.Brownlee. Hardcore fans beget hardcore reporting. It ain’t one big happy family. Its dog eat dog for every scrap. That means that inside info is important because it gives the reporter an edge over the competition. The old adage “Its not what you know, its who you know.” rings true. And I for one am happy that my passion for the Oilers is equaled by the reporters who work in the many mediums in our fair city.

    • Twitter and the internet has closed the gap in terms of who gets stories first and how long it is until everybody else has it.

      Time was, and it’s not all that long ago, like 10 years, if you beat the guy at the other paper clean on a story, he had to wear it for a full day until the next edition of his paper came out. Websites at daily newspapers weren’t even updated regularly then. The radio and TV guys could pick up the story on their next sportscast, but the other writer was hooped for a full day.

      Now, everybody has it within minutes — often regurgitating it without attribution to the original source (a pet peeve). Websites are updated immediately and people are thumb-typing like madmen at news conferences to get the first snippets out.

      Who has it first becomes blurred because everybody has it fast now, but those of us in the business — and those outside it, based on the number of Twitter followers some reporters have — keep score.

  • Oilchange64

    Cannot listen to 630. If I hear Brian Hall’s voice (anywhere) I cannot change the station fast enough. He should be covered by the new distracted driving law. Bob was instrumental in building public support of Katz’s purchase of the Oilers (not saying that is a bad thing) and he does have ability & has been rewarded for it. Sometimes I wonder if he thinks his “deal with the devil” (just a figure of speech – I don’t know Katz – seems no one does) was worth it. But I vote with my feet – in this case ears – and will stay with 1260. Except for Rome.

  • flyin ryan

    Said it before, love what Stauffer brings, but absolutly hate CHED’s ‘Information Update’s’…that don’t change, every, what seems like, 15 minutes. Just painful. Unlike CHED, the TEAM ‘IS’ the sports station in town & do a very nice job with it. CHED is a news station that walks the line when it comes to the Oilers & Eskies. 630 paid for that right, I suppose, so they call the shot’s on that front. I really, really like things like ‘Nation Radio’, which Robin recently did a very nice job with, BTW. Would CHED ever do something like that? Doubtful. Keep up the good work Robin B.,…