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McCown Looking For New Co-Host

Jason Barrett

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Stephen Brunt and Bob McCown, one of Canada’s most popular sports radio duos, are no more.

Several sources close to Rogers Media say the split was the result of McCown’s unhappiness over Brunt’s guest appearances on the new and popular Tim & Sid television show, which is broadcast nationally in the same time slot as Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown. Brunt has been McCown’s longest-serving co-host, dating back to the late 1990s, but in recent years his television and writing duties with Rogers have reduced his Prime Time appearances to 20 weeks a year.

The tipping point, the sources said, came two weeks ago when Brunt filled in for Tim & Sid co-host Sid Seixeiro on a day he was not scheduled to be on Prime Time. While there was no direct confrontation between Brunt and McCown, the end of the radio relationship came quickly. Discussions about a replacement are under way, and Prime Time will continue with its usual variety of co-hosts.

McCown admitted Tuesday he was not happy with Brunt’s appearance as a co-host on Tim & Sid with Tim Micallef. But he said the main reason for Brunt’s departure was that he could not commit to being his co-host for more than 20 weeks a year.

Brunt, who is heavily involved in Sportsnet’s television coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays march to the playoffs, will now appear regularly on Sportsnet Radio’s Baseball Central with host Jeff Blair in addition to Tim & Sid. He will also continue writing for Sportsnet’s magazine and website. At the same time, Brunt signed a contract extension with Rogers that one source said was for 10 years.

“No, I wasn’t flinging ash trays, but I wasn’t happy they chose him [as a substitute co-host],” McCown said.

“The issue is his deal is 20 weeks and, truthfully, he probably didn’t work the 20 weeks last year. I think he felt he had other things to do, TV commitments or whatever, so he took days off when he was supposed to be with me.

“If Brunt wanted to do 40 weeks and commit to Prime Time, I’d be happy with that.”

Brunt declined to say if his departure from Prime Time is official or discuss the details of the split. He said he does have a new contract with Rogers, although he would not confirm its length. But he did say he is happy with his new role with both Sportsnet television and radio.

“I’m fully involved in covering the first Blue Jays’ pennant race in 20 years, I will be working with Jeff Blair a lot and I will be working with Tim and Sid a lot,” Brunt said. “I’m having a great time and looking forward to finishing out my working life at Sportsnet.”

Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL for Rogers, could not be reached for comment.

One potential replacement for Brunt is Damien Cox, who once shared Prime Time co-hosting duties with Brunt. Cox moved to television full-time when Rogers landed the national broadcast rights to the NHL, and he is willing to come back if it can be worked around his hockey obligations.

McCown, with a well-earned reputation as a curmudgeon, has not hesitated to make it clear he did not like the company’s decision to move Tim & Sidfrom the afternoon radio slot that led into his own show to directly opposite him on television. Management’s rationale was that Tim & Sid appealed to a younger audience than Prime Time, and boosted television ratings in the supper hour.

The move came on July 1, and Tim & Sid is heavily promoted in commercials on Blue Jay broadcasts as well as on McCown’s radio show, which some staffers say is another sore point. McCown said his resentment does not stem from Tim & Sid.

“My issue is not the promotion they’re getting. My issue is: why am I not getting that and never have gotten that?” he said. “The only thing I look at is if you are prepared to do this kind of promotion with them, why don’t you do it for us?”

Credit to the Toronto Globe and Mail where this story was originally published

Sports Radio News

Gregg Giannotti: Biggest Issue With Craig Carton, Jon Jastremski Feud Is “Mole” At WFAN

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems.”

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Gregg Giannotti

A feud has sprung up between WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton and former WFAN host John Jastremski. Boomer & Gio discussed the spat on Friday morning’s show, with Gregg Giannotti being troubled by a revelation.

During his New York New York podcast, a voicemail left for Jastremski asked about Carton’s comments, but the caller said a WFAN employee sent him the clip of Carton’s criticism.

“So that means we have a mole,” Boomer Esiason said.

“That right there is a problem,” Gregg Giannotti added. “‘We both have a mutual friend that still works over there’ and that person shared a link of Craig talking about JJ (Jastremski). So, clearly, that person is on JJ’s side and they’re still working here. That’s a mole! That’s someone going against the team! And I think know who that is!”

Esiason then asked if he knew the person, to which Giannotti said he did. He then asked if he would be upset by who it was, which Giannotti affirmed as well.

The show then played the final portion of Jastremski’s rant, which included him saying to Carton “I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike.”

“Jesus!” Esiason exclaimed. “Good for JJ, though. Standing up for himself.”

“I like both of these guys. I do. I got respect for both of them,” said Giannotti. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to the jail, crook thing with Craig every single time. Do they? It’s low-hanging fruit. Everybody goes there. There’s no way he can defend himself in that way because everybody saying ‘You went to jail’ didn’t go to jail, and it’s not apples and oranges. But the business stuff is apples-to-apples.

“So when I hear that, I’m just like ‘Ok, you went there. Be a little more creative than that’. As far as I listen to legend things, please, nobody has given me worse advice in my life than Mike Francesa did. Nobody. I would still be out in the newsroom cutting Islander highlights if I listened to that guy. And the only reason why Mike liked JJ was because he didn’t feel he was a threat. The only people Mike likes is the people he feels non-threatened by. And that’s where that comes from.”

After concluding Jastremski’s rant was a “little over the top”, Giannotti then turned his attention to the “mole” inside the station.

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems. That — to me — is an issue. The guy on the voicemail said ‘We may or may not have a mutual friend that still works at the radio station’ and this guy just slammed the radio station. And he’s friends with the guy who slammed the radio station and then slammed Craig and this guy’s on their side?! And this guy that works here is on their side?! That to me is a major, major problem.”

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Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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Sports Radio News

Nick Ashooh Joins BetMGM Tonight

Jordan Bondurant

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The talent lineup for the BetQL show BetMGM Tonight is expanding, and Nick Ashooh is joining the team.

The news became official on Thursday when BetQL announced the addition of Ashooh on Twitter.

Ashooh has worked mainly in the D.C. market up to this point in his career, hosting for Audacy and NBC Sports Washington. He had been contributing sports betting content for the BetQL network for the latter part of the last year.

Ashooh joins co-hosts Trysta Krick and Ryan Horvat on BetMGM Tonight. The show can be heard weeknights from 7-11 p.m.

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