“Leafs Lunch” on AM640 Has Been Cancelled


    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 Leafs’ 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. “The Leafs Lunch brand is not going to die,” program director Gord Harris wrote in a staff memo obtained by Usual Suspects. “It will live on — in a modified form — beginning in September.” — Full article here

    UPDATE Per William Houston:

    The Leafs Lunch show with Darren Dreger and Bill Watters will be shuttered in early July. Stafford’s mid-morning show will be extended to 1 p.m., when Adler will take over, followed by 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 then 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.  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.  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,

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