Prime Time Sports host Bob McCown ‘is a little bit bored,’ plans to call it quits

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Prime Time Sports host Bob McCown will be 65 when his contract expires, but does not expect to retire and will likely turn to something different, such as the Stoney Ridge winery he bought 18 months ago, or television projects with his company, Fadoo Productions Inc.
(Darren Calabrese For The Globe and Mail)

By David Shoalts

July 4th, 2015

 

One of the longest-running and most successful acts in Canadian broadcasting is looking at a curtain call.

Bob McCown, the ringmaster of the afternoon drive-time radio showPrime Time Sports since it hit Toronto’s airwaves in 1989, says he has no plans to continue with the show when his contract with Rogers Communications Inc. expires in early 2018. He will be 65 then but does not expect to retire, just turn to something different, such as the Stoney Ridge winery he bought 18 months ago, or television projects with his company, Fadoo Productions Inc.

The one constant in Prime Time’s various incarnations over the years is McCown. He’s had a remarkable run in a business known mostly for turnover, but he says it feels like a long time and “that leads me to where I am now, which is a little bit bored.”

Listeners across Canada well know the McCown persona: the cranky, sarcastic radio host now seen on television screens in headphones and sunglasses (he doesn’t like the studio lights). What they probably don’t know is that the persona is a creation – a character McCown plays for fun and profit. It has made him the highest-paid broadcaster in Canada, according to some sources, with an annual salary believed to be more than $1-million.

“He’s created this character that’s embedded in listeners’ heads,” said sometime co-host Stephen Brunt. “It’s Bob of the imagination.”

In the process, McCown has helped stoke a very real phenomenon: the exponential growth in the sports-talk radio business in Canada. When Toronto’s CJCL went all sports as The Fan 1430 in 1992, the first voice on the air was McCown’s. Over the next decade, all-sports radio stations popped up in most major Canadian cities – Toronto and Vancouver each have two. (Full disclosure: I have been on McCown’s show as both a paid guest and co-host many times over the past 15 years or so.)

These days, listeners might think their favourite curmudgeon is a little extra grumpy. Taking shots at Rogers bigwigs has been a McCown staple, but it seems to happen more frequently now as the 12-year, $5.2-billion contract Rogers signed with the NHL to be its Canadian national broadcaster has caught Prime Time in its wake.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I do watch his radio show on Sportsnet occasionally. It puzzles me that he can’t be more authentic. I know radio personalities are slaves to ratings but I would rather listen to someone who believes in what they are saying. Tim and Sid have a more enjoyable show because you know they are being themselves.

  2. Boring, I see exactly where it is. Bobcat is correct. IMO pro sports has become ever more boring to not only watch but to follow and enjoy as a fan. I see it in NHL hockey, in both CFL and NFL football and in Motorsports all that I follow as an observer and fan.

    Beyond the flim flam and mostly bogus hype spoken by many of the mouth pieces in all these sports broadcasting on various networks, much of it is much is too P.C. and too pablum like or just too many of mostly former jocks in each sport talking to only HEAR THEMSELVES SPEAK, we lost quality of real information. There is a lack of real gutsy and intelligent journalists and commentators on most pro sports broadcasts today.

    The money is stupidly thrown around by networks and has led to muzzling and /or self-censorship by journalists and commentators. Too many retired jocks remain too buddy, buddy with players and staff of sports organizations. They won’t push the envelope of info for fear they will offend their still playing buddies and or hurt the sports organizations structures.

    Next, the sports themselves. Too much over thought and over done regs, all that has cramped the spirit of the sports. Too many silly gimmicks, and sideshows all spun to make it look as if the sports are exciting but in reality the effect is faux fun. Plus add way too much over coaching and coaching manipulation, well the spirit of each sport has lost much of the purity of the game and yes all too many of the top pro sports are more boring during play and off the ice, floor, field , track, what have you.

    KISS, KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID should rule most sports and most broadcasting of said sports but the talking heads in places of decision making with their silly paper diplomas in cheap frames hanging on likely overly ornate office walls have forgotten this. It’s just about scamming another $1.00 or more for most of them.

  3. Theshane.

    From what I understand he wears the a shades because it is to cut the glare of all the t.v. lights. Plus I think after all these years it’s now a part of his character and visual look

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