Sportsnet unveils new radio lineup

Airing in Toronto and available on-demand nationally, the lineup is focused on individual teams and being responsive to what's happening in sports.

Sportsnet has revamped its radio lineup in Toronto, unveiling an original slate of multiplatform audio content featuring both new and familiar names and voices.

Starting on Oct. 4, the new audio content replaces the previous radio lineup in Toronto in favour of seasonal, team-specific and “spontaneous programming.” In addition to live broadcasts on Fan590 in Toronto, all content will be available on-demand wherever fans get their podcasts.

According to the most recent Numeris book, Sportsnet 590 delivered a 1.7 share for adults from May 31 to Aug. 29 – up from 1.4 the previous quarter – with its biggest strength in men aged 25 to 54, where it delivered a 3.8 share.

The biggest difference with this new roster of shows is that the programming will be seasonal, coinciding with each major sport’s season. It is also more team-focused, aligning with the fact that listeners are more dedicated fans of their team than they are a league, as well as playing into a recent boost in popularity for the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays. Outside of that, the rest of the lineup is meant to be “flexible,” and change in response to what’s happening in the sports world.

One of the few more general shows, though still focused on Toronto sports, is The FAN Morning Show with JD, Blake and Ailish, hosted by JD Bunkis, Blake Murphy and Ailish Forfar, leading the lineup on weekday mornings.

The Raptors Show with Will Lou from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, is – as the name suggests – a Raptors-focused show airing during the NBA season. The Maple Leafs show, Real Kyper and Bourne, is hosted by former Leaf Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne will only air during hockey season on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is followed, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., by Blair & Barker, airing during the MLB season and featuring Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker talking “all things Blue Jays.” That is complementing Jays Talk, the network’s existing post-game show, which is expanding this fall and into the spring with daytime episodes airing from 10 a.m. to noon hosted by Ben Ennis, with Blair and Barker taking on the post-game edition.

The daily lineup is rounded out by The Fan Drive Time , airing during the NHL and NBA seasons from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring Ennis and Stephen Brunt. Rounding out the lineup is Leafs Nation Post-Game, with Brent Gunning and Gord Stellick providing pre- and post-game coverage during the NHL season.

There is only one national show, The Jeff Marek Show, airing during the NHL season across the Sportsnet Radio Network, which also includes stations in Vancouver and Calgary. The rest of the Vancouver and Calgary programming will not be changing and continues to be focused locally on their teams. All other programming is specific to Toronto teams, but will be available on demand across the country.

The strategy has come with a number of changes for Sportsnet’s on-air personalities. Kypreos is re-joining Sportsnet after leaving in 2019, Murphy was previously a Raptors beat reporter for The Athletic, and Forfar, Lou and Wong were all previously at Yahoo! Sports Canada.