Compounding the problem is the shortage of available sports TV talent. Hence the hiring of newspaper veterans such as Mark Spector and Grange. “A lot of the talent we have and that our counterparts (TSN) have comes out of the West, because the local stations there are still doing sports and junior hockey. Ontario's not. ... The new talent is harder to find in the East.”
Scott Woodgate- Vice President News and Information Sportsnet
Globe and Mail Wednesday July 13th 2011
The following quote got me thinking about broadcasting and my place in it right now. You see broadcasting has always been a passion of mine and I've been privileged to indulge in that passion on a part-time basis as the lead play by play commentator for the Niagara Ice Dogs. Funny thing is that passion can turn to reality. As the years have passed, I've come to realize and start dreaming about the NHL, just like any young player. My goals have changed over the years and it is now to broadcast at the highest level, the gold standard so to speak. Seeing that quote took me aback a bit and gave me pause for thought. Maybe I'm not as close to the NHL, the holy grail as I would like to think. If Mr. Woodgate sees Ontario and the East as a barren wasteland for talent in the sports media, then it is pretty clear to me that I'm not anybody's radar. Now my ego is pretty much in check. I see myself doing a good job with our Niagara broadcasts and would stack up our crew with anyone in the Ontario Hockey League and comparable to a regional or network broadcast. Our guys, from the producer on down are just that good and I know that I have to bring my A-game to each and every broadcast to maintain the high standard that producer Darren Sawyer sets. I also know that there are many at a higher standard than I am. Mr. Woodgate might be suprised to know that many of them call Ontario home.
I will say that there is a plenty of broadcasting talent dotted all over Ontario. 17 teams in the Ontario Hockey League produce live telecasts of games, so I dispute Mr. Woodgate when he says that there is no junior coverage in Ontario. No, its not on any commercial or network station, but the OHL Action Pak produces over 700 games of live coverage and in some markets would outdraw NBA broadcasts on the same Action Pack. Rogers TV, TV Cogeco and Shaw Cable is local cable, but its not the Mom and Pop coverage from year's past. Ours, and many other crews have been evaluated by John Shannon, legendary former producer over at Hockey Night in Canada, overseer of NHL broadcasts and Leafs/Raptors TV and currently gainfully employed at Mr. Woodgate's Sportsnet. His response to ours and other crews was rather favourable.
I urge Mr. Woodgate to cast his eye over to Ontario where there are hungry and talented broadcasters ready to make their mark at Sportsnet, TSN, CBC, and The Score . I happen to be one of them, and I know that I have to keep up with the broadcasting Joneses, so to speak so that I can attempt to differentiate and distance myself from the pack.
Ontario sports broadcasters are just that good.