Per the Globe & Mail:
Leafs Lunch is no longer being served at AM640 in Toronto. The daily hockey program, with Bill Watters and Darren Dreger, has been cancelled by the Toronto Maple Leafsâ€™ host broadcaster after making a concerted challenge to the Fan 590 in the noon-to-1 p.m. time slot. The station will instead go with a syndicated talk format with Charles Adler from noon to 4 p.m., followed by the Bill Watters Show from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The station will apparently direct its sports resources to the Watters show. â€œThe Leafs Lunch brand is not going to die,â€ program director Gord Harris wrote in a staff memo obtained by Usual Suspects. â€œIt will live on — in a modified form — beginning in September.â€ — Full article here
UPDATE Per William Houston:
The Leafs Lunch show with Darren Dreger and Bill Watters will be shuttered in early July. Staffordâ€™sÂ mid-morning show will be extended to 1 p.m., when Adler will take over, followed byÂ the Bill Watters afternoon drive at 4 p.m. Previously, Stafford took a break from noon to 1 p.m. , when Leafs Lunch was on the air, and thenÂ came back for another hour from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Why was Leafs Lunch cancelled? Mostly because of ratings. — Full article here (glove tap to ingy56 for the link.)
That’s a shame.
It’s an understandable move, given that sports radio listeners represent only a limited segment of the available noon-hour listening audience, and the already-limited audience was split between two competing stations.
Sports fans, especially those who enjoy Leafs Lunch, will no doubt heavily-criticize the decision to replace the program with a talk radio show.Â Fact of the matter is, talk radio is extremely popular and long-time hosts such as Stafford and Adler enjoy a far greater share of the listening audience.
It was no doubt a difficult decision for the AM640 brass to concede the noon-hour sports talk slot to Fan 590. But at the end of the day it’s a business first and foremost, and with newspaper and radio outlets struggling to make ends meet (the never-ending lineup changes at Fan 590 are a prime example), money unfortunately speaks loudest and most convincingly.
From a business perspective, they made the right decision; however, the right decision for the bottom line rarely feels like the right decision for the loyal consumer. Accordingly,the decision-makers at AM640 are inevitably bound to endure some (understandably) irate listener feedback in the coming weeks.
Personally, I will miss Dreger’s insights on the program, but I suspect that he will become a regular guest on the Watters show should schedules allow for that to happen.Â In the meantime, fans looking for noon-hour sports radio in the GTA and surrounding regions will be tuning into “HockeyCentral At Noon” on Fan 590 for the foreseeable future.
Looking forward to your thoughts as always,