Monday, August 18, 2008

Radio Program Enjoyed By Some

So was everyone absolutely blown away by the debut of the FAN 590's The Gameplan?

Two hours of two ex-coaches of two different sports, who have admitted to never having met each other before agreeing to the show? Apparently Nelson Millman figured he needed in on the music industry's method of creating boy bands in the late 90's.

Can anyone now deny the continuing existence of what Howard Cosell called "The Jockocracy", the hiring of untrained and unqualified ex-players and coaches regardless of their broadcast ability?

Yes, I know that Jack Armstrong is one of the most entertaining people in all of the Canadian sports media. But that entertainment has best been engendered via an association with a seasoned broadcaster to act as foil, a role that even Chuck Swirsky, not playing the straight man in any sense, accomplished regularly.

But instead he's paired up with someone in Doug Maclean whose outright refusal to criticize Gary Bettman because of the Count's potential to be a future employer sent up red flags among all who watch these things with a cautious eye.

Is there any doubt that Rob Faulds is hosting Prime Time Sports this week to make the preceding program look good by comparison?

The real question for historians to consider will be - which provided more entertainment, this show, or The Rock's flop of a movie they stole the name from?


Robert C. said...

Soon as I heard the name of the new show I thought of that Rock movie. Which sadly I think did do well and made its money back. Silly kids.

That's the best name for a show they could do? Well they're also using "The Bridge" for a show title that's filling in over the summer. Lame.

sager said...

Long like the Jerkocracy we're (tangentially) a part of.

There is a larger trend toward using sportspeople in journalistic roles -- witness Sportsnet, among other outlets, passing off Gregg Zaun or Gene Makowsky as their "all-star bloggers." It's cheap labour, but you know the saying -- there's nothing more expensive than cheap labour.

The proponents will say they want someone with authentic experience because they know what it's like better than a reporter with a layperson's understanding. Well, read the S.I. cover story Tom Verducci wrote on Tim Lincecum's pitching motion several weeks back -- not to be too broad with the brushstrokes, but I defy you to tell me there's an active athlete or sports executive who could write something that well-reported and stimulating that was still accessible to us Joe Six-Packs.

About the show itself. I didn't hear, so judgment must be reserved. At first blush, it didn't seem like a good idea. Like Tyler says, Jack Armstrong needs someone to bounce off of. Doug MacLean, well, if Rogers Communications believes he needs a job so badly, they can buy the Kingston Frontenacs from Doug Springer and make MacLean president and GM.

There's got to be some latitude for chemistry. Speaking from limited broadcasting experience, though, you either click with someone the first time and go with it, and you never get together.

Tyler King said...

Rob, I will openly admit that you're the reason I made the Rock reference in this article. Full credit.

The name is terrible, yeah, but just look at some of its predecessors:

"The Bullpen" for a show that barely ever talks about baseball (though I still love it)

"Prime Time" Sports for a show that starts at 4:00?

"Saturday Seixeiro"... seriously.

And Doug Farraway's new show is going to be called "The Director's Chair".

Is there any wonder why so many of their shows are just "The (Host Name/Sport Name) Show"?

sager said...

So Tyler, will your show be, Ty This On For Size or The Man Who Would Be King?

And will it be the lead-in for Sager Bombs?

This blog was almost called that.

Tyler King said...

Heh. I still say it should be called that. But no, if I ever get a show I'll use the name I always wanted to use - "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" - the one CFRC won't let me use because they think it's sexist.

For those who missed the show, has a recording of their interview with Pinball Clemons. Here are, verbatim, the questions they asked:

j: where do you think the issues are right now in terms of the pros and cons in terms of where your team is?

d: now, i told my owner i was looking ahead to 2012 and i got fired (hahaha broadcaster laughter)

d: now pinball what about the decision on the i know as ceo i';m sure you weren't involved in it but everyone i talk to about the argos whether i'm in columbus ohio or toronto its what about the two quarterbacks. i mean obviously it's great to have that luxury, but it seems to have been an issue this year. is that a fair comment?

j: just one last question here, obviously you don't play again til labour day when you play the ticats and obviously they beat you a few weeks back. what goes on when you talk about that length of time off and yknow you're under .500, from a coaching perspective from your experience during that lengthy break what are the things that you really try to concentrate on now to get the ship right?

d: now that sounds like a coach talkin to me, you're a young guy, when are we gonna see you back coaching? (hahahaha broadcaster laughter)

[yes, Jack asks about his view "from a coaching perspective" and Doug is surprised he sounded like a coach]

So they have at least one modern broadcaster requirement down - asking simple questions in a needlessly long fashion. Unfortunately this is a series of questions that a high school newspaper reporter could've asked. And that's an insult to high school newspaper reporters.

Robert C. said...

"Unsportsmanlike Conduct", not allowed. But having a show called "Folkin' Eh" they had no problem with. ha ha. [That's a real show at the station for those who think I'm kidding]

But was The Game Plan worse than the last 30 minutes of PTS talking about golf? Zzzzzzz....

Tyler King said...

Faulds led off the show complaining about how the Blue Jays game went long on Sportsnet and delayed his coverage of the Canadian Women's Open.

Yes, Rob. I'm sure both your viewers were outraged.

sager said...

Hah ... someone in the office who's a soccer fan complained about how the problem with baseball is you can't plan your day around it because it might be over in 2 1/2 hours or it might go for 4 hours.

I held my tongue and didn't say, "That's the problem with a sport that actually has scoring."

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Hey, the advantage is soccer times are usually predictable though (except for freaking 2-hour thunderstorm delays when I'm trying to live-blog a game that started at 3 in the morning... no, I'm not bitter at all...).

In response to Tyler's comments about the "Jockocracy": yes, it certainly does exist, and yes, there are plenty of athletes-turned-broadcasters who have no clue what they're doing. I don't think it's universally bad, though: there are plenty of athletes who put in the work and learn how to use analysis techniques to relate their knowledge to their audience. In my mind, Jock Climie and Duane Forde are two great examples of that.

Also, I know that as a fan, I automatically give more credence to start with to analysis coming from those guys who have both played the game and know how to break it down than I would to an analyst who didn't come from a football background. I think you can be a very good commentator or analyst without having ever played at a high level, but it takes a lot more work both to learn how to break down the game properly and to earn the audience's respect by proving that you know what you're talking about without having a star-studded athletic resume. Athletic experience even at a low level can be helpful, as I think it gives you a better appreciation of how difficult a certain play is. It isn't necessary, and there have been and will be plenty of great columnists/broadcasters/analysts with little to no athletic background, but I'm not a big fan of painting all former athletes with the same "dumb jock" brush. Plenty of us can use our feet and our heads.

Rob Pettapiece said...

Khari Jones is the pinnacle of former-athlete-turned-broadcaster. Everyone else is fighting over scraps.

Anonymous said...

Off topic and random question, but all of this program branding got me thinking - Does anyone recall the name of CFRC's sports show from a couple years ago hosted by Richard Zussman?

Sorry for interupting the thread.


sager said...

The long-time Detroit columnist Joe Falls, even if he was a crusty curmudgeon, had a great response to the "what game did you ever play" questions:

"My office lets me write obituaries and I've never died."

I don't care for the dumb jock label either. The ranks of cliche-mongering chair moisturers in the media, not naming names here, have good representation from both the jocks and the nerds.

sager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyler King said...

Was Zussman's show "Between the Lines"?

Robert C. said...

Time to look at old pages at the Internet Archive. From September 2004 it says the sports show was 'Between the Lines' and the following.

"Join new hosts Mario and Rich as well as other guests weekly on CFRC."

I'm assuming that's Richard. Don't know who who Mario was. Says Dan Vertlieb did play by play for Golden Gaels.*/

Tyler King said...

Mario's last name was Elia I think.

I just piece together station history from what I hear.

sager said...

I thought you pieced it together, mostly from sugar packets.

I can't tell it on the blog, but there's a great story about the time I ended up DJ'ing for four hours with no training.

Tyler King said...

Email it to me then!

Wow, using the wayback machine really makes it clear when and where the sports department started to go downhill.

On the plus side I'm realizing my requests for more hockey games isn't anything close to abnormal - we broadcasted over 20 games a few years ago.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Mario Elia and Richard Zussman both wrote for the Journal as well as working for CFRC: I haven't heard any of their old shows, but their writing was pretty good. Elia knew his soccer.