When I saw the news, I was stunned. Even now, I’m not quite sure I can believe it, it seems like a bad dream, and it hurts.
TSN 1040 (or TEAM 1040 for the OG’s) was a staple of the Vancouver sports media business for the last 20 years. They truly have shaped the sports culture in this city and remain one of the greatest reasons I pursued opportunities in sports media, such as covering the Vancouver Whitecaps here at SB Nation.
The way the hard working people were booted off the station without a proper farewell, or even a small shred of dignity, is something that is unforgivable on the part of Bell Media. It makes me wish I had listened to the station even more over the past few weeks, because sometimes it’s easy to take for granted the voices who’ve worked so tirelessly to engage us in sport, and have made this pandemic just a little bit easier to get through together.
It’s disappointing not only that so many people have lost their jobs, but even more so that the sports conversation in this market has taken a serious hit. Vancouver sports can be a trying experience in the best of times, and that’s what made TSN 1040 so valuable. They were always there to share in our optimism, frustration, confusion and elation, every step of the way. Many of the people at this station will find somewhere else to continue the conversation, but for others, this could be the end of their time in sports media, and that’s a real shame. For those that do find another platform, I’d urge you to seek them out and keep the conversation going.
In terms of the Vancouver Whitecaps, this represents a real crossroads. Bit by bit, Bell Media has cut funding and diminished their coverage of the team over the past few years, all the while advertising their branding prominently on the front of Whitecaps shirts. In the coming weeks, the Club needs to seriously question if this is a partnership they want to continue in the years to come. If they do, then what does it say about the Club’s respect for their fans, as well as local media?
The Whitecaps were rarely a focus of local radio content over the past few seasons, and even prior to the pandemic, play by play announcers had stopped travelling with the team, instead hosting matches from a studio in Vancouver. To me, this didn’t seem like the care and attention that should be payed by a rightsholder to its flagship sports team in the market.
When you combine this with the very limited media offerings put out by the Club itself, there’s about to be a major void in this City in terms of soccer coverage. The journalists are out there, but someone needs to step up to the plate and give them an opportunity to innovate on a new platform.
In the meantime, I will be doing everything I can here at Eighty Six Forever (along with the rest of our team) to bring you all the latest Whitecaps news and commentary. We appreciate your support and are hopeful for better days ahead.