TORONTO — Longtime sports talk radio host Bob McCown will leave his position as host of Prime Time Sports on Friday, Sportsnet said in a release.
McCown has hosted the show, which airs on Sportsnet 590 The Fan AM in Toronto and nationally on television on Sportsnet 360, since its inception in 1989.
McCown was not quoted in the release and details on his future plans were not available. However, he tweeted that speculation concerning his retirement is “100% inaccurate.”
“Okay…I am leaving Prime Time Sports and Rogers,” he said on Twitter. “But nobody can shut me up when I still have things to say. Stay tuned. I’ll be back!”
McCown did not address his pending departure at the start of his show with co-host Richard Deitsch on Thursday afternoon.
It wasn’t clear if McCown, who agreed to a multi-year contract extension in December 2017, resigned or was let go. A Sportsnet communications director said there were “no specifics to share” beyond what was in the news release.
“Bob is an icon in this business and a legend of our format,” program director Dave Cadeau said in a statement. “He built sports talk radio in Canada, and we are lucky to have had him on the mic and in the hallways over the last three decades. Bob will be missed but his legacy will remain with us for years to come.”
A rotating roster of hosts would fill in over the summer and a new afternoon drive show lineup will be announced in the fall, Sportsnet said.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, McCown began his radio broadcasting career in 1975. He also served as a public-address announcer for the Toronto Blue Jays’ inaugural season in 1977 and was a television host on “Sportsline,” a formative late-night sports highlights show.
McCown was recognized for his outstanding career and contributions to Canadian sports journalism at the Sports Media Canada awards ceremony in 2013.
“Bob McCown invented sports talk radio in Canada, period,” said co-host Stephen Brunt. “When a big sports story was breaking, when the home team was winning a championship or falling apart, everyone tuned in to Prime Time Sports to find out what Bob was saying.
“He’s an original. There will never be another one quite like him.”
At McCown’s request, there will be no fanfare or tributes during his final shows, Sportsnet said.
Prime Time Sports also airs across the country on the Sportsnet Radio Network.