The Nation with Rob Fai debuted on Monday, after the Canucks’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. The second show was set to run Wednesday after Vancouver’s visit to Calgary, with Jeff Paterson, who had been TSN 1040’s Canucks reporter, slated to be Fai’s guest.
Fai says he wanted to react quickly and get back into the sports media game, trying to take advantage of a growing Facebook Live following that he had begun to create for his TSN 1040 show.
“I felt like I was on the mat, looking up at the referee, and he was in the middle of giving me a 10-count,” Fai said. “I wasn’t going to just lay there and wait for that.”
Fai had left his longtime gig as the play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Canadians to start this latest incarnation of his show at TSN 1040. In 2019, the C’s had a six-game TV deal with Sportsnet, and Hubcast produced those broadcasts. Fai reached out to Hubcast and they teamed up quickly recently to go from concept to finished product.
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If you have a smart tv, right after the game, head onto YouTube and type in The Nation Rob Fai. Available on YouTube, Twitch, and a number of other formats. Watch on your TV, phone, Ipad – pretty much anywhere 😊
Fai was a freelancer at TSN 1040. He’ll once again need sponsors to help make things work with Hubcast. Fai did say that he had heard from four different companies after Monday’s show that had interest in advertising. And Scott Ackles, who’s the chief revenue officer for Hubcast, says there are plans in the works to take The Nation on location.
The son of the late Bob Ackles of B.C. Lions fame, Scott himself was the general manager of the 2005 and 2011 Grey Cups in Vancouver.He does have a media background, having studied broadcast at BCIT and having worked as a freelance TV camera operator for a time, and he’s been at Hubcast since September.
Hubcast’s tag line is that “we create virtual events for today’s world.”
Fai’s show is shot out of Hubcast’s studios in Port Kells, which the company lists as a 5,000-square-foot facility and fully equipped for recording, filming and live broadcasting.
“We want to make sure that Rob’s show is fully supported and fully interactive,” Ackles said.
Fai’s forte with his TSN 1040 show was kibitzing with fans who would phone in. Ackles says that kind of direct connection is a goal for the new venture, although Monday’s show only featured Fai responding to comments on YouTube.
“We’re working to deliver that very quickly,” Ackles said.
TSN 1040 was again winning the head-to-head ratings battle with Sportsnet 650, and there have been assorted suggestions on social media about the possibility of Sportsnet 650 adding former TSN 1040 stalwarts to bolster their roster.That premise became a little more complicated Tuesday, though, when Sportsnet 650’s sister station, Sportsnet 590 in Toronto, cut ties with programming director Dave Cadeau. Cadeau was also the national director of programming for Sportsnet radio, so he had influence with the Vancouver product.
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Meanwhile, the play-by-play broadcasts for the B.C. Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps are both up in the air. The Lions signed a five-year deal with TSN 1040 in January 2018. Leos president Rick LeLacheur told season-ticket holders on a Tuesday Zoom call that “we’re still not sure what’s going to happen. We still have to have conversations with Bell Media.”
LeLacheur said the football club has spoken to play-by-play man Bob Marjanovich, analyst Giulio Caravatta and sideline reporter Karen Surman, and “they’re very hopeful that we can find something going forward that they’ll still be able to be involved (with) because they’re Lions at heart.”
The Whitecaps had been a part of the TSN 1040 stable since the club’s move to MLS in 2011.
Caps chief communications officer Tom Plasteras explained via text message: “We are exploring a number of options and will be able to provide an update in the coming weeks.”
CKNW 980 has a history in Vancouver of sports play-by-play broadcasting, holding the rights to Canucks and Lions games before both teams switched to TSN 1040. The Canucks moved to Sportsnet 650 for the 2017-18 season.
Asked about Corus’s interest in returning to sports play-by-play in the market, Corus Radio communications associate Jamie Jensen explained via email: “Unfortunately we are unable to comment at this time but will let you know if and when that changes in the future.”
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Medicine Hat, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence, a new WHL Award which will be presented annually to a distinguished member of the radio, television, and print journalism industry in recognition of their outstanding contributions to sports journalism and the WHL.
Bob Ridley, the longtime radio play-by-play voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, is the first recipient and the namesake for this prestigious honour. Bob Ridley was recognized by WHL Commissioner Ron Robison and the Medicine Hat Tigers during a special ceremony at Co-op Place in Medicine Hat on Saturday, the day of Ridley’s 4,000th career WHL game.
“The WHL and our member Clubs are honoured to pay tribute to Bob’s remarkable career with the Medicine Hat Tigers by establishing the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Bob has made an incredible contribution to the WHL and the Tigers over the past 50 years and as he gets ready to call his 4,000th WHL game it is only fitting we recognize his legacy with this new league-wide award named in his honour.”
Since the Tigers began play during the 1970-71 WHL Regular Season, Ridley has been the only play-by-play voice in team history, calling every single game the Tigers have ever played, with the exception of one. In 1972, Ridley missed one Tigers game after he was sent out on assignment to attend the Women’s National Curling Championship in Saskatoon, Sask.
Ridley has been synonymous with Medicine Hat Tigers hockey for 50 seasons, with the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season representing his 51st campaign at the mic. Ridley called the Tigers WHL Championship victories in 1973, 1987, 1988, 2004, and 2007, and was there to tell the story of the Club’s two national titles at the Memorial Cup in 1987 and 1988.
In addition to his work as the Tigers play-by-play voice, Ridley also served as the Club’s bus driver for 45 seasons. His unique role helped forge everlasting bonds with players across more than five decades.
Ridley’s contributions to Major Junior hockey in Western Canada have been recognized on a number of previous occasions:
1995 – Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Sports Award
2005 – Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Bell Memorial Award
2005 – Alberta Centennial Award
2006 – WHL Distinguished Service Award
2007 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Radio Television Directors News Awards
2011 – Inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame
2019 – Inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame
In 1995, he was the recipient of the Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Sports Award. In 2005, Ridley was named the recipient of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Bell Memorial Award, and he was also presented with the Alberta Centennial Award by the Government of Alberta. In 2006, Ridley was recognized with the WHL Distinguished Service Award.
A 76-year-old native of Vulcan, Alta., Ridley began his pursuit of broadcasting working weekends at CJDV Drumheller while attending Mount Royal College in Calgary. From there, he moved on to CKSW Swift Current, working as a rock disc jockey and calling play-by-play for an intermediate baseball team in Swift Current, Sask. Ridley then spent two years at CKKR Rosetown before joining CHAT Radio and settling in Medicine Hat.
About the Western Hockey League Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.
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