Say goodbye to The Inside Track, one of a kind
Sunday afternoon will mark a sad day in Canada's sports broadcasting history. CBC Radio's The Inside Track will air its final show at 1:30 p.m.
Sunday's show will be a compilation of great moments from the past, with appearances by founding host Mark Lee and successor Mary Hynes. What that should do is remind listeners just how different the show was from any other sports-related radio offering, from the moment it was conceived by Lee and producer Ira Basen.
The beauty of The Inside Track was that it didn't deal with the obvious. There was an interview with Wayne Gretzky that all but ignored his on-ice feats and dealt more with his role as a father. Raptors star Chris Bosh talked about his fascination with computers and hurdler Perdita Felicien chronicled life on the road in the wild world of international athletics.
Maybe Hynes will tell the story about how the show was destined for the scrap heap back in 1994. But the weekend before the announcement was to be made, a newspaper ran a feature on the show. Too embarrassed to give it the axe, the CBC moved it to Sundays.
That certainly didn't help it. Saturday afternoons produced lot of listeners doing errands in their cars. On Sundays, most sports fans were watching TV.
Still, it was an alternative to call-in radio and a cut above most in the intelligence department. In a world more and more caught up in shrill voices and uninformed opinions, it stood out.
And you do have to wonder how much money CBC is saving on a show that operated on a shoestring budget in its latter years.
As legendary Toronto Star rewrite man Jim Foster used to say every time management made a questionable decision, "They MUST know what they're doing."
I'll echo that sentiment.