I have been diligently working on my post-summer hibernation article when news broke that the higher-ups at Rogers Sportsnet Fan 590 have decided to shuffle their lineup yet again. Despite the saying that the past is a reliable indicator of the future, I find myself surprised by the changes, which have been confirmed by multiple sources this evening. It seems like official confirmations will be released as soon as tomorrow.
This development doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as there were hints leading up to it, notably a recent announcement by Sportsnet:”
Check out our #LeafsForever radio broadcast team for the 2023-24 season, featuring @ailishforfar & @jccuthbert during pregame and intermissions and @JDBunkis and @SamAMcKee on Leafs Talk following the game! https://t.co/C0Ctonmtc0
— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) September 19, 2023
Well, folks, it seems the summer rumors regarding changes to the lineup were indeed true. Nothing seems to be ever safe at the station or in the world of sports radio.
Alish Forfar and Justin Cuthbert, the once newly appointed hosts of the morning show, have been relocated to the Toronto Maple Leafs radio pre-game and intermissions, leaving them without a regular show.
So, who has the task of taking over the mornings? That responsibility falls to Ben Ennis and Brent Gunning, who some might recognize as the co-hosts of “Leafs Nation” and “The Golf Show.”
But wait, wasn’t Ennis formerly handling the afternoon drive slot? Well, that slot will now be occupied by Nick Kypreos, Justin Bourne, and the whole Real Kyper crew. Though exact timings remain a bit unclear, it seems the new schedule, with Real Kyper taking the 4-6 time slot, won’t come into full swing until around October. As for the Bunkis and Raptors shows, it appears they will retain their current slots, at least for now.
Here are my musings on the shake-up:
Positioning Real Kypreos opposite “OverDrive” can be seen as a Power vs. Power strategy. Personally, I would have liked to see someone like Blake Murphy added to the Kypreos show to bring a bit more balance, but alas, nobody asked me.
I can’t wrap my head around the decision to move Alish and Cuthbert so hastily. Sure, they weren’t everyone’s favorite, but they were evolving, gelling well as a team, and gradually finding their groove. Rushing such changes feels premature and overlooks the budding talent that deserved time to flourish. The decision, frankly, seems unnecessary and a waste of potential.
Ben Ennis’ situation also invokes sympathy. Has anyone shown more loyalty to the station, save for perhaps Roger Lajoie? Ennis deserved the opportunity to cultivate a steady audience and following, especially considering the promising start with Brunt and subsequent partnership with Blake. The frequent changes not only undermine his efforts but might also be a ticking time bomb, heralding yet another reshuffle down the line.
In conclusion, loyal listeners find themselves needing to review the program schedule once again to track the ongoing shuffles at Sportsnet’s Fan 590. The incessant lineup alterations, akin to a perpetual rearrangement of deck chairs, might well be contributing to the dwindling listener base.
Let’s hope that the station considers giving their talent the time and stability they need to foster genuine connections with their audience, instead of perpetuating this cycle of change.
It’s good to be back after a summer lull. Stay tuned lots more to come.