I usually don’t put a lot of stock in the polls that David Staples runs over at the Cult of Hockey at The Edmonton Journal. In fact I sometimes mock them, but the results Staples is getting today for his latest question – Who is Edmonton’s top sports radio host? – confirm what I already know.
That is, simply put, when it comes to the gift of gab in this market, Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED and Jason Gregor of TEAM 1260, both of whom I’ve had the good fortune to share the booth with as a co-host, sit at the top of Edmonton’s radio heap. Then, there’s everybody else – Allan Mitchell, Jason Strudwick and Mark Spector of 1260 and Dan Tencer of CHED. You can review the latest results of the poll here.
Stauffer, the uber-connected host of Oilers Now on CHED, and Gregor, who somehow fills four hours a day, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., with quality yakity-yak despite having a certified windshield technician as one of his co-hosts, will no doubt lead the poll from wire-to-wire. No surprise there, even though Stauffer and Gregor are as different as night and day in terms of style.
Both, however, obviously hit notes that resonate with Edmonton’s radio audience. And both, as any good radio host tends to do, have their fair share of critics. Anything in between love and hate, as in the dreaded "like," isn’t what drives big numbers in the radio game.
WHAT YOU SAY
Here’s a sampling of comments posted along with the poll in The Journal. To see them all, click on the link I provided in the first paragraph.
Randy: Gregor is pretty good too, but for me, he says "you know" every 30 seconds. I’ve often that would be a fun drinking game. Nah, everyone would be hammered within the hour:)
Todd: Tencer is just ok. Far from good enough to justify the way he treats people. He also lost all favour with the fans when he basically lobbied on air for the downtown arena and anything else on the Katz agenda. Tencer also works for Katz, and this has no credibility as a broadcaster. Tencer also scored his gf, a oilers puck (vicarious much) a high profile gig in radio. The guys too young and too shady.
Peter: Sad that Allen Mitchell had to manipulate poll by begging people to vote for him. On a hockey site Stauffer should win…His show is all hockey. Best host, and most well-rounded is Gregor. He has a sports show that talks every sport, and he can talk them all. I find he is the best interviewer by far. He and Stauffer are the two best, but IMO Gregor is the best sports host. Bob is hockey.
John: I have a real hard time listening to CHED from 6-9 pm. That is a terrible time if you have kids. I wish they would put a show up against 1260 in that 9-12 am evening slot. As far as Jason Strudwick’s show, I wish he would spend 90% of his time talking Oiler hockey instead of 90% of his time joking with Majeau. If CHED even aired a repeat of Oiler lunch around that night slot, they would own it. Bob Stauffer is definitely the best in the City. Vancouver does sports talk radio seven days a week, 360 days a year and we have far more interested fans here. I would like to see at least one more nigh time sports show in Edmonton for sure. Staples maybe???
WHAT I SAY
Stauffer, who gave me the chance to co-host his show when he was at TEAM 1260 before he moved over to CHED as the analyst to play-by-play man Rod Phillips on game nights, is easily the most connected media guy in the city – newspapers, radio and TV – and it’s not close.
For those who point out Stauffer should be the most connected, considering he works for the Oilers, that was the case BEFORE he moved from 1260 over to CHED (with a stint on both at the same time when he was doing Oilers Lunch on the TEAM and game nights on CHED).
Stauffer gets the dope because he goes after it by talking to GMs, agents and hockey ops people around the NHL, not because he gets it handed to him by team management, as his critics insist. You don’t have to like it or believe it, but that doesn’t make it less so.
As for Gregor, I think he’s the best interviewer in the city, and by a pretty healthy margin. He’s always prepared because he puts the work in, and he’s quick on his feet – if an interview takes an unexpected turn, as they often do, he’ll shift gears seamlessly.
More times than I can count, often as I’m listening in as I’m driving to the studio or a live location for my 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. segment, Gregor has rattled off an interview that has me locked on the dial. Gregor knows how to tell a story. Just as important, he knows when to let his guests tell their story without feeling the need to jump in and gum it up with what he thinks.
The other thing with Gregor is he’s the straight goods. What you hear is what you get. While it’s a rule of thumb that conflict and differing opinions make for good radio, I don’t remember Gregor taking a position on an issue he didn’t believe in just to generate calls or drive ratings. Integrity, what a concept.
There are plenty of reasons Stauffer and Gregor are top of the heap.
WHILE I’M AT IT . . .
The landscape of Edmonton sports radio has changed a lot over the last decade and more changes are in store.
. . . I fully expect we’ll see TEAM 1260 re-branded as TSN 1260 in the not-too-distant future now that Bell Media has bought in.
. . . Don’t be surprised if SPORTSNET becomes a player on the local radio airwaves as well. Word is, they’re after an AM property (maybe CKUA) to compete with TSN.
. . . 630 CHED is the rights holder for Oiler broadcasts for the upcoming season and then the deal is up for renewal. Both TSN (1260) and SPORTSNET, if they draw in, will contest those rights.
. . . 630 CHED has some work to do to fill the void left by Tencer, who is leaving Inside Sports in the evening for a morning talk/news slot. Say what you want about Tencer – I certainly have from time to time — he’s built an impressive resume in a big hurry.
. . . Strudwick is proof you don’t have to have the slickest delivery or good hair to make waves on the wireless. Like John Short, Strudwick can spin a story, even if he butchers names and the English language. TEAM 1260 got it right giving him the late night slot.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.