I’m a TSN 990 convert.

I didn’t like the station at first. I found it amateurish and sophomoric for a very long time, including when I worked at the Alouettes and the then Team 990 would cover us. It’s not that the people on the air those first few years weren’t good – in fact, a lot of them are the same and I very much enjoy listening to them. It was just the character of the station had a very amateur vibe to it.

I noticed a real change over the last probably 3-4 years, however, and I started listening more and more.  I would say I’ve been a regular, almost daily listener now for a couple of years and I have to say I very much enjoy most of the programming – in particular Mitch Melnick’s excellent drive-home show and especially his daily interviews with Pierre McGuire.

Now that the station looks like it may be replaced with a French-language RDS Radio 990 (eventually 690), I’m left feeling disappointed, but not shocked.

It’s no secret that TSN 990 is not a major ratings winner, but I do believe it’s a viable station. The problem is that by acquiring the Astral stations Bell recently purchased, they have to make a choice that essentially boils down to CJAD 800 or TSN 990.

(A good explanation of the CRTC rules can be found here: http://blog.fagstein.com/2012/07/10/bell-to-convert-ckgm-to-french/)

That’s like choosing between Patrick Roy and Jose Theodore in their prime – you’d be happy with Theodore for sure, but you would definitely pick Roy.

The bottom line is CJAD 800 is the top English-language AM radio station in Montreal and probably always will be, so if Bell has to make a choice, the choice is obvious. It’s a business decision.

Not a language politics issue
This is a business issue, not a language politics issue. I suppose you could really boil it down to the CRTC being political in and of itself, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish. This isn’t a reason to boycott Bell’s media outlets or products and it certainly – as some very, very ridiculous listeners have stated – isn’t Geoffrey Molson’s fault and a reason to boycott the Canadiens.

This is not the big bad French separatists trying to crush an anglophone institution – it’s a business decision pure and simple.

My hope is that if it does come to fruition that some other media company – few and far between as they may be – picks up the English-language sports radio format and runs with it. Or at the very least, CJAD brings on some for Team/TSN 990 staff and amps up its own sports coverage as 98,5 FM did when CKAC Sports 730 was shut down a while back.

Team/TSN 990 has been around for over a decade so it’s obviously a viable business. Let’s hope it finds a home somewhere, but in the meantime, let’s aim our collective anger in the right place: students.