Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Canucks movin on up the dial!

It's not quite as earth shattering as it once may have been, but still when you leave a partner after 35 years people take notice.

It was announced today that the Vancouver Canucks will end their affiliation with CKNW and the Corus radio network at the end of this season. The long time home of the NHL in Vancouver was apparently outbid for the contract by all sports station The Team 1040, which will take over with the start of the 2006-07 season.

The Team part of the Chum radio empire is planning on expanding Canuck coverage during the day, providing a designated Canucks show to the programming line up and throwing it's promotional weight behind the Canuck's charitable causes.

In an era where most of the Canucks games are on television in some form or another, and now are featured on satellite radio, it may not be as big a loss as it once may have been. It ends up as more of a vanity loss than a structural one, NW has been moving towards an almost exclusive news and public affairs format over the last year or so, losing the Canucks may not be as traumatic as many may think.

Dan Russell who hosts the Sport talk program nightly from 9-midnight daily held an unofficial wake for his stations lost sons. No doubt casting a nervous look over his shoulder as his employer continues to shed its sports properties. It was a few years ago that the Lions moved away from 980 on the dial to head towards the growing sports presence at 1040.

Russell spent a good portion of his night backing up his current employer (probably not a bad employment strategy) and suggesting that life will go on. However, one wonders how long NW would want to keep a sports directed program in it's line up of mostly news and public affairs programming. Best case scenario for Russell may be a shift over the flailing Mojo franchise, worse case a sudden if temporary exit from the broadcast wars. Perhaps he too will migrate towards the Team and it's suddenly strong local sports presence.

For those that wish to listen in, the CKNW audio vault will have the announcement and the follow up program in its inventory for a couple of weeks.

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