British Columbia

Latest media purge claims big names on the Vancouver sports scene

Voice of B.C. Lions Scott Rintoul and Vancouver Whitecaps broadcaster Peter Schaad two of the well known personalities let go.

Voice of the B.C. Lions Scott Rintoul among those let go

Scott Rintoul (right) during an on-location broadcast with B.C. Lions colour analyst Giulio Caravatta. (TSN Radio Vancouver)

B.C. Lions play-by-play man Scott Rintoul might be the most high profile of the names, but sports fans in this province will also recognize a number of other sports media fixtures who were downsized out of a job Tuesday in the latest spasm to hit the Vancouver's sports media scene.

"I don't know if you can say in this day and age that's it's shocking," said Rintoul, who celebrated the birth of his second daughter two weeks ago. "There's a lot of talented people that have had this happen here recently."

Peter Schaad has been the radio voice of the Vancouver Whitecaps since the team joined the MLS in 2011. (TSN)

Rintoul leaves TSN 1040 radio alongside Vancouver Whitecaps broadcaster Peter Schaad, both victims of a Canada-wide job cull by parent company Bell Media.

Over at The Province and Vancouver Sun, Howard Tsumura, the authority on high school and university sports bid a final farewell, as did 10- year Whitecaps beat writer Marc Weber and sports editor Jonathan McDonald.

Their departures are being called voluntary, but in reality, it's a case of getting out with a Postmedia buyout package while the getting is good.

That the media business is an increasingly tough game is nothing new, but the speed in which the Vancouver sports landscape has shrunk is striking.

In the last three years (this list is by no means comprehensive), recognizable sports guys Don Taylor, Tony Gallagher, Cam Cole, Perry Solkowski, James Cybulski, Shane Foxman, Craig MacEwan and Lowell Ullrich have all moved on or been removed from long standing gigs.

It's par for the course in the age of social media, digital streaming, basement bloggers and the internet, as advertising and subscription revenues beat a steady retreat and traditional audiences fracture.

'No one wants to pay'

"The whole business ... has undergone this disruption where no one wants to pay for anything anymore," said Vancouver Sun and Province deputy editor Paul Chapman. 

"Canadian content rules have been applied to protect Canadian culture in terms of arts and music, and yet, all media in Canada is being eaten alive by Facebook and Google. These are large companies and the advertising model is completely different from what we're used to so we've had to adjust," he said.

Despite the competition, Chapman says the audiences for Sun and Province sports content are at an historical high if you include the digital numbers.The challenge now is to keep it growing with only six journalists remaining in the sports department.

Gone, but not gone?

"We still have this tremendous scope in terms of who we're delivering to. Those beats (Whitecaps, high school and university sports) may not get the same attention they did before but we're not ignoring them," he said, adding Tsumura could reappear in the future as a freelancer.

Rintoul's departure also doesn't mean he's done as the voice of the Lions.

"I'd like to think its a possibility. I can't say it's a probability," he said about the prospects of returning in a freelance capacity.

"It's been really nice hearing the sentiments of listeners and colleagues and friends — that's the nice thing about this happening. You do hope that currency leads to an opportunity down the road." 


Karin Larsen


Karin Larsen is a former Olympian and award winning sports broadcaster who covers news and sports for CBC Vancouver.


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