With all the hoopla surrounding the lockout on the horizon and the Economics of the arena dominating the news, the Sports Section looks more like the Business Section these days. Who doesn’t love a riveting cost analysis diagram where there should be a breakdown of the Oilers training camp line up? And we would rather see an interview with Fehr and Bettman wearing rumpled suits and rumplier faces than the Nuge all sweaty and talking about skating any day.


Anywhoo, we thought we would pose a question as it relates to a conundrum for the Nation if this is how things are going to be. An entire article surrounding the economics of the Nation Network. On a Friday night with no hockey in sight. Bleak huh?

You’re welcome.


The Nation Network started in 2007 as a Ryan Smyth protest site. At the time we were so upset that Captain Canada got dealt that we wanted to bring the very internet to its knees. We had never written anything longer than an email  in our lifetime and certainly didn’t expect to have to do much of anything.

Then things took a turn for the surreal and we collectively decided to take a run at hockey blogging as best as we could.  Not as a business per se, but to add to the coverage of our most beloved Edmonton Oilers. This was 2007 and though things were grim we were only one year removed from the Cup Run. Things were bound to turn around soon!



The Nation Network turns five this November. That it has a community of hockey mad readers and contributors is probably one of the most amazing things that we have ever seen in our lives. Though we aren’t a media type with any sort of brain for the game we have taken our mission very seriously out of respect for everyone who comes to these sites on a daily basis.

Find the best writers. Find the best MSM. Get the best content we can get then get the money to pay everyone the most we can to do the best job they can do.

We try and make content that we wish was already out there. Fun stuff, nerdy stuff, connected MSM stuff. Whatever it is as long as it is about hockey. We embrace other teams fans in so far as we acknowledge that they exist and are entitled to make up nonsensical SQUEEEE words about their own team if they so choose but they probably don’t even have a player that is SQUEEEEE worthy much less their own version of said Squee.

Anywhoo, in the name of employing the most bloggers, most MSMers and finding the most interesting people to talk we have tried to offer multi platorm content as well.


The first time we had the good fortune to meet Lowetide we were blown away by a) how nice he is and 2) how he had the EXACT same voice as people you hear on the radio. "Man you sould like you should be on the radio" we said at the time "That’s because I used to be on the radio back in the day" came his friendly and booming reply.

We swore on the very spot that if Lowetide would move some of his extraordinarily popular blog over to OilersNation we would find a way to get him to be the host of a Nation radio show. Over three years later, we have been able to bamboozle our way onto the radio with a two hour show on Saturdays on the Team 1260 in Edmonton.

Lowetide does an amazing job and he and his regular rotation of pirates put on a really entertaining show week after week. Their coverage of the Entry Draft every year is some of the best around and though they have yet to cover an Oilers playoff run we bet they have something awesome cooked up!


The rest of the Nation sites have big plans on the horizon too. NHLNumbers publishes a podcast on the regular as does TheLeafsNation and CanucksArmy. As the transition continues to more evenly distributed traffic across each of the sites NationRadio will only grow in its importance to the Nation Network.


Buying radio air time takes longer than negotiating the Treaty of Versailles and the cost is in the neighbourhood of what one would expect from a reparations payment owed to the good people of France.

Advertising sales is a slow process too but the show that falls out the other end thanks to Lowetide, the Team 1260 crew and Kent Wilson is well worth it. We listen to 90% of the podcasts and always enjoy ourselves immensely as tens of thousands of others do too week after week.


The looming lockout has an effect on a great many hockey related companies. It has forced us to take a look at our cost structures and see if there is anything we can do to reduce our risk in the event of a prolonged work stoppage. Potential advertisers are scared off by the prospect of the lockout and hockey related budgets are all on perpetual hold until play resumes.

Existing partners and advertisers remain thankfully committed and we are moving forward with our plans to hire more bloggers, more MSMers, more radio hosts and as Kent Wilson so often yells "MORE OF EVERYTHING DAMMIT" before polishing his Gold AK-47  and laughing at bi-annual meetings on his Evil Island.

As a part of this we have looked at our radio ratings and podcast downloads. Without boring you to death with how radio ratings work and the like suffice to say that the radio ratings for NationRadio are good and podcasts are even better. This makes sense – many folk in the Nation live all over hells half acre and can’t tune into Team 1260 from their remote locations.

Due to the inconvenient fact "they have lives" other NationRadio listeners aren’t able to catch the live broadcast on the regular so they download the podcast instead. Saturday afternoons from 12-2 PM isn’t the best airtime for poor ol’ Lowetide but it was the best that we could afford. As a result the podcast on the Nation Network and on iTunes is very popular.

Bottom line: Podcast listeners crush our respectible radio listener count.


Does NationRadio actually need to be on the radio or would it be better served as a podcast only? Same show you love, same hosts same everything just podcast on the sites and iTunes.

Not having to buy airtime would mean more pay for everyone involved in the show and bigger budgets would mean more high flying guests, exciting co-hosts and PRIZES PRIZES PRIZES.

Heck we could even do call in shows! Think of the excitement!

Lowetide: "Hello friend you are on the air"


Its chilling to think where things could go.

Or alternatively we could continue on with the Team 1260 and our perpetual battle to get it on the air in other cities. Our mission is to make a show that people listen to from Coast to Coast and continue to focus on our Nation Network contributors and players past and present.

It is a tricky bit of business but we will leave our move up to you. Please provide us with any insights and suggestions you may have on NationRadio in the comments and vote in the poll.

With a lockout looming and long lazy summers in short supply NationRadio will not air this week giving Lowetide a rare week off while we all discuss the kind of show we want to hear when the season returns.



  • Travis Dakin

    I guess the thing is that people (who have been sleeping under a rock) can accidentally stumble across Nation Radio. This in turn leads to easy advertising for the site and more viewers/listeners. The product on both ends is phenomenal and will always lure more customers. The problem is, that you don’t accidentally stumble across a nation podcast. The only people that know about that are the people that always frequent the site anyway.

    The question becomes: How much do you value new followers?

    Or, do you think the money saved and subsequently spent on other aspects will help to garner more attention? Tough one.

  • eastcoastoil

    I grew up in edmonton and now live in halifax, while in edmonton I would tune into every show on the oilers that I could, 1260 or 630.

    Since being in Halifax, i no longer go to MSM unless it is mentioned here. The only radio that I listen to is the podcast. I wouldn’t even know if it wasn’t live from 1260.

    My vote is podcast, more freedom for times and guests. You could “air” more than one show without the overhead…

  • svat

    It seems like the older demographic would support keeping nationradio on the airwaves, but speaking as someone who has grown up with technology, downloading a podcast and listening when I have time to do so as opposed to tuning in to something live is much more preferred. Factoring in keeping costs down and being able to pay your talent more, it seems like the only rational decision is to make it a live-streaming podcast available for download after, and taking it off the radio. Those who really want to listen to it will find a way to do so.

  • Walter

    Love the podcast. If you went purely that route would that mean more of Lowetide’s sweet, soothing voice? Could he get that fine lady from all his OKC articles to co-host? Could Struds get a podcast? Possibilities are endless on the interweb.

  • RexLibris

    Once you have eliminated all other possibilities, whatever remains, however improbable, MUST be the solution – to that end it would appear that the only remaining alternative is that the Nations band together and Kent and Wanye build a small satellite to be launched via Soyuz rocket. The satellite will be used for the exclusive Nations broadcasts in perpetuity. It would also emit an Eber-squee across the stars to communicate Wanye’s love of #14 to the nearest intelligent life outside our solar system.

    So do we need to do a fundraiser or something to make that happen?

  • O.C.

    Does the show have to be live to be on the 1260 radio station? Record it Friday nite or better yet, Saturday morning, give LT his day back.

    Adds more credibility if it’s on MSM. Otherwise anyone of us could be a radio host tomorrow.

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      Agreed it adds more credibility, plus it sounds better.

      As for anyone being a radio host, I disagree. Sure anyone one can have a podcast, but it is easy to tell the difference between a professional host and a podcast.

      I say do both.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I’d look at it this way, if there are two things to consider:

    1. growth opportunity and

    2. Nation revenue during the lockout

    Then plan to keep the radio broadcasts to attract new listeners and grow the arsenal, but shut it down temporarily, until the lockout is a thing of the past.

    Oh and thanks for the feedback opportunity. Respect.

  • PerryK

    Please don’t take away the radio show! Instead, squeeze the station for a better deal.

    They don’t have hardly any shows with content value like this one. This is even more true on the weekends.

    Maybe the solution is a different radio station!

    Regardless, I like the format the way it is. On the air followed by pod casts in case you missed it the first time out. I find that I miss a portion many times. I catch up through the podcast the following day.

    I agree with others that have commented that you can pick up new listeners and grow the base if you are on the radio (accidentally), which you really can’t if it is a straight podcast.

  • tragically hipcheck

    Good Day fellas – I think that you have a gold nugget with the Nation Radio idea and ol’ lowetide. I do like the idea of a crossover of Struds and lowetide though. I am not a user of the podcasts personally but i never miss the radio show.
    Keep up the good work!

  • tragically hipcheck

    By all means put the show out as a podcast. I usually listen to the show at my convenience anyway…as opposed to scheduling time on Saturday to listen to 1260.

  • I’ll interject here to say our issues with the radio stations aren’t timing or formats of the show or anything. It’s just downright expensive. And negotiating for better deals is akin to trying to slog through shin deep mud with galoshes on.

    Which is why we’re considering alternatives (podcasting, internet radio, satellite radio), where we could control things a bit more.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Was just thinking that an independantly wealthy recently retired hockey player might appreciate not being handcuffed to a 25+ hrs per week 9 to midnight show. Jason may appreciate a guest host to allow him a weekday evening off when needed.

      Who better than the voice of Oilersnation Alan Mitchell….Jason owes him after almost killing him on the golfcourse:)

      Weekends should remain personal time…. for activities such as syphoning gas out of Brownlees Biscane.

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      Sounds like you guys need to figure out what the end result is going to look like. Do you want to build a radio business unit or simply stick with blogging (podcasts are blogs to me)? These are two different entities, yet they compliment each other very well.

      One thing I’ve learned in my career, and life in general, is if you’re going to do something, do it right, challenge yourself, spend the money (obviously wisely), and get/develop a product that’s polished, rather than middle of the pack, bang for the buck type of thing.

      The final product looks much bigger with radio broadcasts around the country. As long as they’re not just there to compliment the sites – if that’s the direction you want to go with.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    nationradio (and the pipeline show) are like the little golden nugget in the big pile of sh** that is the team1260 weekend program schedule.

    i, for one, love that i can tune in and hear something other than grannies gardening hour or some BS potion being hawked on air that adds 3″ to my manhood (FYI-it didnt work and now i have a 3rd nipple).

    tell the team1260 to suck the hind banana and go podcast, but on one condition:

    — with the money saved, can we please, for the love of god please, get an ignore poster option added? If i have to read one more NewAgeSys post im going to take an ice pick to my eyes.

  • I always listen to Nation Radio on saturdays, I work nights on weekends but make sure I’m up in time to listen to the nation by noon..
    It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to tune in every saturday, love listening to it live..

    Having said that, I think of the possibilities that podcasts provide..
    Possibly longer than 2 hour shows? Add Jason Strudwick to the show? More expensive guests (hello bill clinton and see what he thinks of the lockout)

    As long as there’s still Nation radio I’m happy..

    I want more Nation Radio is the bottom line of what I’m trying to say.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I listen to nation radio every week but it is rare if I listen to it live, I usual wait for the podcast. When I do listen live it is more often that not streaming team 1260 to my phone. I don’t even know if that helps.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I don’t get it. I somehow thought Radio stations wanted listeners. I can tell you that today from 12:00 to 2:00 I am not listening.

    Maybe another station sees the value and may want to put it on. Keep promoting and building it and then put it out to tender.

    BTW, I listen to both as I am available and would be happy for it to continue in some form.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I quite enjoy the radio show. My concern with moving the show from the medium of the Team 1260 to a pod cast would be that you’d have a more difficult time getting some of the MSM guests that lowetide currently has on his show. I’m certain it wouldn’t effect the stable of bloggers but for the other guys he brings on radio has a respectibility that a podcast doesn’t.

    I try to catch the show every Saturday and have since it started more or less. Compared to the blatant shilling we get from the shows on 630, LT’s show is refreshingly honest.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I have only ever listened to the podcast, and I only ever will. Radio is to the newspaper as podcasts are to blogs.

    Old formats are going extinct for a reason.

  • mr_nihilism

    Obviously Daryl Katz isn’t bankrolling this operation so perhaps it is better to put the pocket change the Nation does have into the blog.

    Like it’s been mentioned, if that can result in a better site, then that’s alright with me.

  • Alsker

    Wether or not the show remains on air or online live.. it must simply remain..its great to put a voice to an article or blog we’ve read, plus getting lowtides take on them is always informative. Speaking of Lowtide all these comments but nothing from the man himself…THE opinion I will wait to hear before casting my vote.

  • Rocknrolla

    I listen to Ched and the Team constantly. But I find myself usually listening on tune-in radio. It’s a free streaming app. It streams real radio.

    So I am really listening to a live podcast. You guys could stream him live quite easily. Way less overhead.

    Also you should contact the tune in radio app as they could also give u exact numbers of who is listening when.

    Remember radio numbers are just ESTIMATES. No way to tell 100% for radio.

    Internet different story. I would rather advertise with you if you could say we had 1000 listeners vs we think it’s between 40-2000.

    Either way you have created a great product and show and I will tune in wherever you put it.

  • Alsker

    You have a small but loyal fan base outside of the Team 1260 broadcast zone (i.e. me, in Waterloo, Ontario, home of BlackBerry) who enjoy the podcast greatly.

  • Rocknrolla

    I, for one, am a radio junkie. I listen to Nation Radio often, and always live; while I understand the appeal of podcasts, I always appreciate the unpredictablity of live radio. I also feel it adds a very substantial amount of MSM-style credibility to the Nations brand, which I think would be lost if it became a solely web-based project. I think the Strudwick combo several posters have suggested sounds pretty good, too.

  • Rocknrolla

    As much as I love to follow the Oilers on the Nation the last couple of summers have been brutal. The Oiler braintrust has done pretty much nothing since July 1 this year so the topics have been crushingly boring repeats. I use the podcast availabilty to weed out the Leafs, Jets, Flames and Canucks crap that I couldn’t care less about. That leaves my Saturdays for things like family time and other responsibilites that are a priority.

    What has surprised me is the momentum that has gathered speed rather quickly to erode your revenue streams. Good luck with all that!

    I like the podcast only option because I can edit what I listen to and still not miss anything I really want to hear.

    Lowetide has done a great job of soldiering on through the off-season every year while others vanish for the summer leaving him holding the bag. Well done L.T.