Could Roger’s penny-pinching, mind-numbing decision to bench Ben Wagner for Toronto Blue Jays road games end up costing them the uber-talented play-by-play announcer? It might just do that. Industry sources south of the border have confirmed that Wagner’s name is high up on the list of several teams and networks for potential openings in the USA as soon as this coming season.
Wagner cut his teeth south of the border, so working in the US wouldn’t be anything new if he chose to go that route. And if being stuck in a studio while the team is on the road was untenable post-pandemic, would anyone blame him?
Due to really awful circumstances, there is currently one opening in radio in MLB radio right now, and several sources have confirmed that both the network and the team are well aware of how talented Wagner is. Has there been contact? I am not entirely sure. Would there be interest? No idea.
I am told that many media executives south of the border believe that if the current road game detention persists, Wagner will be easily swayed to leave Rogers.
One thing has been abundantly clear to me from everyone: this is not a Blue Jays decision and rests entirely with Rogers.
One network executive said it best, “the people making this decision only look at this from a dollars-and-cents perspective. If Ben were to leave, they’d likely see it as a cost-saving, as they would certainly go younger and cheaper on the radio side.” This is what happens when non-media people are making media decisions.
Who would replace Wagner if he chose to leave?
They do have someone in the wings who has done Jays games already and by the sounds of it is scheduled to do a lot more this season too. He was the voice of the Fort Wayne Tincaps last season as well. He is none other than Ben Shulman, and I’d have to believe if a Jays gig doesn’t appear for him soon, he too will get scooped up sooner rather than later.
NHL Trade Deadline day has become a “made for TV” event, but has never really delivered a meaningful TV rating
2022 Trade Deadline Audience
TSN (8a-5p): 151,000
SN (10a-5p): 112,000
It’s an informercial for the rest of the season and a talent showcase not a ratings bonanza
— Adam Seaborn (@AHBSeaborn) March 3, 2023
Pierre LeBrun has an interesting article asking whether this year’s trade behavior is a one-off or a new trend. I wonder if TV executives are asking the same thing. The NHL trade deadline day seems to be the equivalent of the All-Star Game on TV, where the fans hate it and the networks put it on for entertainment purposes only.
These days, I’m listening to a ton of podcasts and streaming shows, and here’s my take on the hockey scene as it relates to the deadline “stuff.”
The number one, most reliable show for trade or free agent news and insight into potential deals, signings, etc., is the Jeff Marek Show. Jeff just tends to have the most reliable, consistent news on his show/podcast, and let’s be honest, Elliotte Friedman, in being on air all the time, is dialed in. So if you are looking for what’s happening in real-time, that’s your go-to spot.
For analysis and entertainment, for me, it’s a tie between the Kypreos show and OverDrive. Kypreos obviously has a lot more Leafs content, which if that’s your thing, then you will want to stick there. The OD team goes broader, and they are highly entertaining – always.
In this episode of In The Pressrow, if nothing else is clear, it’s that Michael Trakos could easily have had a gig as a broadcaster. He’s just as good in front of a microphone as he is a writer. If that is what Michael wants to be doing, however, someone should snatch him up soon, as he’s an exceptional writer.
In this episode of The Press Row, Jonah talks with Michael about:
The Bruce Springsteen story
What’s deadline day like?
Leafs playoffs past
Best former Leafs to cover
Changes in relationships with players and the media
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