Station’s legacy for prime sports coverage also had many irreverent moments
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
TSN 1040 was removed from the airwaves February 9 during another set of job cuts made by Bell Media. But the station leaves behind a notable legacy in the Vancouver sports radio market. For 20 years, TSN 1040 was an influential and groundbreaking sports station.
The station provided in-depth and round-the-clock coverage on the Vancouver Canucks, the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Vancouver Canadians, and the BC Lions. However, throughout the station’s history, it had many memorable moments of comedy. The majority of these moments were humourous and unrehearsed events that made for pure radio gold by making listeners howl and presumably spit out their coffee! There are too many highlights to mention. Notably, in April 2020, TSN 1040 held a special show playing the Top 40 moments from the station’s history. The number one moment was the famous “poker fight” between David Pratt and Don Taylor. If you have not heard it, you are missing out (just search on YouTube and type in “Pratt Taylor poker fight.”)
Paul Chapman, deputy editor for The Province, had a long association with TSN 1040 (and TEAM 1040) going all the way back to the station’s infancy. He is saddened the station is gone, but has many good memories. Chapman first started going to the station as a guest, and a fill-in host when the station used to be located on Homer Street. Then it moved to West 2nd Avenue before later moving to the corner of Robson and Burrard Street “high above Victoria Secret” as Don Taylor always said in the introduction to the “Donnie and the Moj” program. “I would do hits there going back to the first year, so I’ve been associated with them since day one,” Chapman said in an email interview with the Other Press. “They wanted a promotional arrangement with The Province, so I had been doing daily hits for 20 years. I was part of Scott Rintoul’s show in the mornings as a co-host for two years and I had a weekly show on Mondays with Dave Pratt, first with Moj [Bob Marjanovich] then with Donnie for 12 years.”
Chapman got to witness first-hand the station’s peaks and valleys. He also got to witness the famous “poker fight” between David Pratt and Don Taylor in July 2009. “I’ve seen their evolution and unfortunately their demise,” Chapman said. “I was in the studio for the big Pratt [versus] Taylor poker fight. And I co-hosted with Barry MacDonald the next morning for the aftermath.”
Then program director, Rob Gray, felt it was best to separate Pratt and Taylor for a day to cool down from their on-air verbal jousting dust up. Rick Ball and Matt Sekeres filled in the next day. Then Pratt and Taylor returned to the studio the following day. Don Taylor told The Province in April 2020, “We were suspended for a couple days and then [Dave] and I made up and shook hands.” David Pratt said the poker fight was one of the defining moments in TSN 1040’s history also telling The Province, “There were three moments that took it to its peak. There was when Brian Burke called me, we’d been on for six months and he wasn’t happy with something and he just started with ‘f** you’ and went off and I still to this day don’t know what he was mad about. I went to the GM at the time and told him what Burke had said and then I went on air and ripped him. And that resulted in [his then wife] Jennifer Mather calling years later, and she went at me on air for 12 minutes about what I’d said that day about her husband. That’s the second. And then the other one was the poker debate.”
Paul Chapman also recalls the other hilarious hijinks that ensued. “On our morning show we had bets and the stuff the loser had to endure, eating chocolate with HP sauce, having a Keg Dinner blended into a shake that you had to drink, weird Japanese confectionary, it was all so much fun […] All of the memories though come back to the laughs. We talked sports, often passionately, always intelligently, but it was the balance of humour and not taking things so seriously that the station had in its DNA. Whether it was arguing about whether a bear could beat a crocodile in a fight, the benefits and drawback of mini vans, or [former Canuck GM] Mike Gillis making fun of [the] Moj’s eating habits, the quick-hit-think-on-your-feet humour was always the most entertaining part of the station and something I already miss dreadfully.”
It is uncertain whether another sports station will emerge to duplicate what TSN 1040 had accomplished. TSN 1040 left an indelible impact during its 20-year reign—combining frequent sports updates and coverage—along with non-stop hilarity that solidified the station’s loyal and devoted listenership.