September 09 2011 11:16AM
The crew at the TEAM1040 has changed, starting with the guy on the right.
(Photo by Morten Rand-Hendriksen vis Flickr)
Reports began filtering down yesterday that the Team1040 and long-time on-air host David Pratt permanently broke off contract negotiations, meaning Pratt is effectively gone from the Vancouver radio station.
With the station stalwart gone, Team1040 will certainly be in a position to shake up or rotate its on-air line-up.
As a rotation of hosts passed through their airwaves this summer, one thing became clear - a shake-up is long overdue.
First, if the rumours are true about the negotiations between Team1040 and Pratt, then I applaud the station for walking away. It's been rumoured that Pratt was asking for close to 500K per year on a new contract. Sure, the station drew good ratings - better than any other sports format station in any other major Canadian city. However, the station has no competition in its format in Vancouver and their flagship team just went on a long run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. Those are both recipes for great ratings. Couple that with horrendous traffic day after day in rush hour (so people are stuck in their cars, listening to the radio) and you have a ratings bonanza. This says nothing about the quality of the programming on the station or particular shows.
Over the past year, Pratt became increasingly bent on cramming his politics down his listeners' throats. When the Stanley Cup riot hit, Pratt again used it to hop on his soapbox and stay there. I don't care what side of the political fence you're on, a steady diet of acerbic banter on bike lanes and city hall has absolutely nothing to do with the Canucks, Lions or Whitecaps. It just doesn't. Pratt's Rant overtook the entire time slot and was became less and less about actual sports. The Team1040 is a sports radio station, after all. I, for one, tuned out permanently from 2-6. And did so vocally. I know many of my Twitter fraternity did likewise. I don't know if it was enough to make an impact on the station's decision to keep Mr. Pratt signed. I suspect it was nothing more than a mere whisper in the station's ear.
Let's not forget though. From an on-air perspective, Dave Pratt MADE that station. For many years, he was a reason to tune in. Famously and constantly battling with Brian Burke (and an infamous conversation with Burke's wife and former TV host Jennifer), a talent for pressing matters with difficult guests and asking tough questions and challenging answers when he didn't like what was said. These were all hallmarks of what made Pratt great for Vancouver sports radio. When Dave Pratt was on, he was ON and it was great listening. Unfortunately it's been a while since he was 'on', and he chose instead to beat his political drum, while he grew increasingly sloppy and lazy with his sports reporting and knowledge. He was complacent with sports and ever ardent about his political views on the city. As listeners tuned out, he drew up his own fate.
It won't simply be enough for Mr. TEAM to slot in a replacement host for Dave Pratt. His was a big, bombastic personality that could command the airwaves when firing on all cylinders. But the station now has an opportunity to revamp its lineup and bring in some new, fresh blood. I'm no radio expert. I'm no expert in ratings or how to garner ratings in this market.
I like listening to sports talk radio. I like sports radio hosts who can discuss sports in a knowledgeable and entertaining manner. The introduction of Jason Botchford, Matt Sekeres and Paul Chapman has been great. They all bring a sports acumen coupled with a reporter's zeal and a edgy, biting side to their interviewing. I like Barry MacDonald's often nostalgic view of the sports world and his rapport with almost every one with whom he talks. I like Blake Price a lot. He is opinionated, knowledgeable and plugged in and he's not afraid getting into heated debates.
Here are a few suggestions I have for possible on-air personalities:
- The Kurtenbloggers. I would love to see Halford and Brough get a permanent spot on the airwaves. They're entertaining, they're irreverant, they're knowledgeable and they have plenty of resources at their disposal. And if they're busy, the TEAM should give our friends as Pass It To Bulis a call. And if Harrison and Daniel are too righteous and pedantic to take on the a baseless job of being sports talk radio hosts, then the Team can phone Canucks Army.
**note - We at CanucksArmy do not actually believe that the guys at Pass It to Bulis to be pious pricks. In fact, they're the best.**
- Ex-NHLers. Ray Ferraro has unfortunately moved on to a prime spot with the TSN panel, replacing Pierre McGuire as their #1 analyst. Ferraro was great radio. Knowledgeable and prickly with an insider's view of what it means to be an athlete. Could they convince Jeremy Roenick to move to Vancouver? Lots of meals at the Keg! Or maybe Mr. Team can convince Paul Bissonnette to retire and join full-time. Ok, I kid. Biznasty's got a good thing going. But you get the idea.
- Women. The demographics of the TEAM's listeners has broadened. Let's get some ladies on the radio, talking sports! There are plenty of female sports reporters and sports anchors, yet a frightening absence of women in sports radio. It's time for that to change.
TEAM1040 does not have long to get everything set. The NHL regular season starts in 4 weeks and the roster of on-air hosts will need to be set in short order. The TEAM has a great stable of talent already. It's just a matter of getting the right talent in the right spot.
So long as the Moj is nowhere near my airwaves.
What do YOU think? Who should The TEAM 1040 consider for on-air talent? Tell us here!