When I saw my mom today, I did not share with her the grim news that CTV Montreal had delivered layoff notices to its three remaining sports reporters/anchors Brian Wilde, Randy Tieman and Sean Coleman and that only a few days ago TSN reacquired the regional TV rights to Montreal Canadiens broadcasts. That development suddenly put the employment status of uber-talented play by play man for Rogers Sportsnet John Bartlett in limbo.
Why did I not tell my mom? Well, my late dad was a sports reporter/radio personality and had it not been for his accounting degree at school he would have lost his position at the old CKVL when he was in his 30s. He was able to keep his foot in the pie by covering Montreal pro sports for the UPI sports wire service, but my mom was never happy. She begged my brother Chuck and I not to go into sports journalism. I did not follow her wishes and got work at the old Sunday Express Newspaper in CEGEP. When it folded while I was completing university I decided to become a news reporter and then a communications professional - much more stable work - but kept my sports coverage appetite healthy via the freelance route.
Wilde is one of the best in the business; his coverage of The Habs second to none. For the Habs, his pre and post game reports were always must watch moments. Tieman, the ultimate gentleman, has been a fixture on CTV for decades. Then there is Coleman, a star on the rise whom I am sure we will still hear a lot from on TSN 690.
As for Bartlett, he came here from Toronto six years ago to do radio play by play on TSN 690. Three years ago he was offered the Sportsnet deal. It was a calculated risk, given the fact the broadcast contract was for a limited period. He resides with his wife and child in Pointe Claire and likes Montreal. Hopefully, for his sake, Rogers will add him to their national team. He would also make a fabulous choice to do radio or TV play by play for the new Vegas Golden Knights.
Where do Brian Wilde and Randy Tieman go from here? A few years ago André Corbeil was cut loose by CTV. He left sports media completely and turned to commercial sales. Ron Reusch was forced to retire before he personally wanted too. These days he writes a blog and gets access to the Habs pressbox whenever he wishes. I hope Wilde's talents are recognized by someone even if it means we lose him Toronto as was the case with Elliott Price, let go by TSN 690 and now with The Fan Sportsnet Radio in Toronto.
Coleman has a great future somewhere in this business.
CTV is abolishing local sportscasts across the board. It seems likely they will simply utilize canned sports roundups from TSN. In Montreal, we will probably see a lot more of local TSN correspondent John Lu and experts such as Francois Gagnon from RDS.