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Another View of Vancouver’s All-Sports Radio Wars


By Karin Larsen, CBC News Posted: Aug 21, 2017 10:19 AM PT


The sports radio landscape in Vancouver is about to become awfully crowded with the Sportsnet 650 launching Sept. 4.

The sports radio landscape in Vancouver is about to become awfully crowded with the Sportsnet 650 launching Sept. 4. (CBC)


A battle is looming for the hearts, minds and ears of local sports fans with a new all-sports radio station set to launch in two weeks.

But can this market support two (sic) all-sports radio stations?

In one corner you have the 16-year veteran TSN 1040 — undisputed champion in what has mostly been a field of one.

In the other corner, the contender, Sportsnet 650 —  scheduled to hit the airwaves Sept. 4. A rookie sure, but poised to punch above its weight as the new owner of the Vancouver Canucks radio broadcast rights.

Steve Darling, Mira Laurence, James Cybulski

Steve Darling, Mira Laurence and James Cybulski are hosts of the new Sportsnet 650 morning show. (James Cybulski/Twitter)


“It’s the one difference maker,” said Craig MacEwan, programming director for Sportsnet 650.

Canucks, Canucks and more Canucks

“The number one sports brand in this city and province is the Vancouver Canucks and now that brand is on Sportsnet — TV, radio, digital and the Hockey Night in Canada tie-in.

“It’s a really big advantage. We can use both TV and radio to push and promote each other. TV games can draw attention to the radio post game program … and to our drive show and others,” MacEwan said.

Rogers plucked the Canucks radio rights away from TSN 1040’s owner Bell Media back in March, putting an end to an 11-year relationship between the hockey team and station.

Dave Pratt, Bro Jake

TSN 1040 morning hosts Dave Pratt and Bro Jake. (TSN)


A month later, Rogers announced it had acquired oldies station CISL 650 and was turning it into an all-sports radio station with the Canucks as its anchor property.

Like all major Canadian cities hockey drives the boat, and the ratings for all-sports radio. Last year, audience numbers for TSN 1040 grew substantially when the NHL season began, only to fall off as it became apparent how much the Canucks were going to struggle.

Stick with the program

TSN 1040 can’t call itself “the home of the Vancouver Canucks” any longer, but Canuck programming will be as prominent as ever, according to TSN Radio director of programming Rob Gray.



  1. Wow! Just read the full article. The new, sports station program manager would be well-advised to look at the sign outside a car dealership which proclaims ‘ Caucasian sales people need not apply.’ This PD made it clear according to the article: if you’re a middle-aged white male, do not apply. What happened to hiring based on talent, regardless of age, gender or race. Don’t worry TSN, with a goof like that at the helm, you have nothing to worry about.

  2. Don’t worry. Based on the announcements made so far, there will be plenty of middle-aged white men on the air to make you feel comfortable.

  3. With more & better streaming outlets, who is listening to radio broadcasts, let alone a 29th place, dull team?
    There just isn’t room for 2 sports stations in this market…1040 is good, but for folks like me who enjoy a wide range of sports, Jim Rome & Dan Patrick are great programs…

  4. Is this city big enough for more than 1 sports station? Think about it… it’s not…
    The shame is that one is going to be middle age, white men, talking as if they know something, and the other is more diverse (age/race/sex) talking as if they know something..
    good luck y’all!

  5. Time for some decent sports journalism in Vancouver, B-Mac, Donny and the Moj act is getting a little old, Pratt is a drama queen, as much as i like the Bro Jake, he’s not a true sports guy, is time to give TSN 1040

  6. Over the years, Sports Talk Radio has isolated itself from its listeners. Talking Heads talk only to each other. It’s time to open the Mikes to we listeners once again. Here is a novel approach, try asking us what we would like to hear. The Suits have had their chance and failed. The new Sports Talk Radio station is simply a carbon copy TSN 1040, complete with The Canuck Lunch!

  7. Layoffs at 1040 will be inevitable once the realization that people won’t tune in with the Canucks. Certain day parts will do okay (Sekeres and Price). The Lions won’t be enough to sustain what they want and it won’t make sense at that time to have 1410 with 1040.

    Eventually 1410’s syndicated stuff will be moved back to 1040 and you’ll see some more reshuffling.

  8. sportsnet 650 stumbles out of gate. We were promised all the Blue Jay games yet today launch day I have to listen TSN 1040 to hear the Blue Jays,! Yikes, big disappointment

  9. They probably don’t like baseball or have never seen a baseball game in their lives, thus the preponderance on hookey. LOL I, also, am disappointed with the lack of Jays coverage.


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