Berger & Rumack: Would You Watch?

TORONTO (Mar. 18) — If I remember correctly, the last time Stormin’ Norm Rumack and I were on the air together was nine days before Apollo 11 lifted off on man’s first lunar voyage.

Just kiddin’. Wasn’t that long ago, even if it seems part of another lifetime. I was merely 10 years of age when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin paraded about the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969. Norm was 36, but he’s hanging tough, today, at 91. Soon, he’ll be rebranding his famed slogan from three decades ago, but on a different item:

The HAMMERHEAD ALERT! bib will be available to seniors across Ontario. With proof of age… and disability.

The Norm Rumack Walker is still in the development stage. Manufacturers are working on a state–of–the–art defense mechanism: If the owner senses a threat, he stops and presses a little button. The contraption rockets forward with Wendel Clark tenacity, upending a shadowy figure. Not far down the line are HAMMERHEAD ALERT! clackers: real, game–worn teeth from National Hockey League thugs. A perfect gift for the miscreant in your life.

At the moment, Norm admits he has a few idle hours each night. As, usually, do I. So, a friend of ours — either brilliant or losing brain cells too quickly — approached us with the concept of a live, no–holds–barred discussion during the intermissions of Leaf games. One that immediately threatens to remove Ron MacLean, Elliotte Friedman and the gang from public awareness. My potential co–host was on board immediately; Rumack would broadcast from the bat laboratory in Wuhan. Me? I need more time. Mainly to determine whether we can build a credible audience from those with irregular heartbeats, hearing loss and uncontainable drooling. But, also, to decide if I want to convert the hobby of this blog into roughly 90 obligations per year. With a day job that allows me to live comfortably, I enjoy doing exactly as I please after work each night. So, there’s no easy answer. Right now.


As kind of a trial balloon, I put the idea out over social media and LinkedIn earlier today. The results weren’t too promising. Statistics showed the average age of each respondent was 80 to five years deceased. An advertising buddy of mine was particularly unenthused about the latter group. More than 40 percent of replies were filled out by occupational therapists working with our potential viewers. The notion of opening up the telephone lines to take calls quickly vanished. None of the producers understand slobber. I would check down at work, but our clients don’t have much to say anymore. So, I need additional data. And, at least one respondent less than 75.

As mentioned, Rumack is pumped up and raring to go. Like always. “C’mon, Howie, what difference does it make?” he wondered. “Sports talk audiences all over North America are dying. Ours will just do it literally.”

There is hope for sponsorship. The maker of Carter’s Little Liver Pills has entered into a bidding war with Kaopectate. We could have an answer shortly. In fact, we’d better have an answer shortly, given the age of our audience. Word late today is that Pampers has jumped in as a third possibility. We were going to approach the manufacturer of Polygrip, but an accident at a retirement home snuffed out the idea. An elderly man thought it was mayonnaise and he hasn’t spoken for a month. His feeding tube was too costly for our demographic.

So, whad’ya think? Would you actually take a few minutes and log onto a gabfest between a couple of dinosaurs from the glory years of Canada’s first all–sports radio station? Norm and I have kept up studiously on the Leafs. Neither of us think Greg Hotham can play amid the top six defensemen. Jiri Crha is still not cutting down his angles. But, we were both impressed by the burst of speed from Rocky Saganiuk the other night. Trevor Johansen also had a good game. I promise, no viewer will be able to out–fox us on Maple Leafs information and opinion.

We’ll get back to you soon with an answer. Now, to charge my ventilator…


24 comments on “Berger & Rumack: Would You Watch?

  1. Long time Leaf hater here…. you should definitely do this. People love nostalgia and you’ve been gone long enough for them to miss you. Facebook or Youtube Live makes it so simple it’s not even funny. I bet you’d pile up a ton of followers in no time at all. Best of luck.

  2. I’m a huge fan of yours Howard and have been for many years. I’ve never understood why you haven’t appeared on podcasts etc over the years as I find you to be a compelling hockey commentator, but that’s between you and them.
    I fondly recall Norn’s antics from the Richards & Rumack years onward.
    If you did a podcast I’d certainly listen religiously, but do you really want that commitment at this point? As you’ve said, and I gather from your writings you’re in a pretty good place, one that you’ve worked very hard to create. Would added responsibility and aggravation detract from that?
    The quality of sports media, both print and radio/tv/podcast has been spiraling down the dumper for a while, but I’m not sure there is a broad appetite for honest analysis of the leafs, because if there was I’m sure some media entity would have exploited it to some degree.
    Like I said, I’d love to hear you again, but I don’t think we can ever go home again.

  3. Howard do yourself and us a favour: Listen to Norm and give this thing a go. Among my greatest memories from my early 20’s was staying up until the wee hours of the morning after Game 6 in Los Angeles, listening to you and Norm tear apart Kerry Fraser. Plus, your honest unfiltered opinion of this team is sorely needed these days.

  4. I would listen to The Howard and Norm Maple Leafs Intermission Commentary. Do it boys. Before you really get too old.

  5. Bring it on Gents. I remember the old days fondly and later on when Norm did shows together with Roger Lajoie

  6. I’d listen and really think if you did a podcast Coaches Corner with Grapes if he would once in awhile would be amazing. Good luck guys!

  7. Bring back the quality commentary of yesteryear with two guys who love sports and are unbelievably knowledgeable. I’ll be tuned in. Go Norm and Howie

  8. I would listen to you guys on the radio, so I wouldn’t have to watch the Leafs on TV. Yes, a no-holds policy on player comments would be refreshing. I, however, think I would get on Rumack’s bad side and be called a “hammerhead” as I no longer have much good to say about MSLE or the Leafs. I fondly remember when I bled blue and white and as a night owl listened to Rumack by the radio. It’s amazing how strong the ear has memory. I can hear him like it was 5 minutes ago.
    The tension between a pro-Leaf Rumack and an anti-MLSE attack dog like you Howard would make good radio. (Howard that’s a compliment the attack dog thing.)

    PS Rocky Saganuik, Is fast. He and Bruce Boudreau coached me when I was a teenager in their summer hockey skills program. Both were good guys. I asked for a copy of an instructional hockey video they used at the camp. I couldn’t believe Rocky got one after camp was over and dropped it off at my workplace. Bruce could have used a little of Rocky’s speed, but in the AHL Bruce was a big star and lead in points for some time. I know why players love him. He is smart and absolutely great with people. I am sure he is a player’s coach. I will throw out another great guy who taught me there too, Val James. An attitude to compete against the odds.

  9. Howie, you have been out of the game for too long.
    Give it a go, I think you will appreciate how many fans you guys have.

  10. Get it Rockin’,,,It works for the Manning brothers on ESPN during halftime, why wouldn’t it work for you…The world needs a good Hammerhead Alert

  11. Howie……..I’ll be 69 in May…..interesting number….LOL !!! ? ? …. With that in mind, I’m experiencing more ” Seniors moments” lately……ie: ‘Where did I put my glasses?…..oh , I’m wearing them’…..
    ‘Where is my phone ? ….. silly old me…I’m holding it….’ Are you experiencing those too?
    LOL !!! ??

    1. I have not even heard of these guys but they sound interesting. I have a Habs fan always have been and hate the leaves but I am interested in what these guys have to say because the leafs are part of the league and it’s better to always know your enemy come on down face de clown!

  12. Howard, your humor and delivery are always on point. There’s a desperate need for this and I believe many with a thirst for some raw, authentic and unfettered analysis/critique of this team will tune in. I remember as a teen falling asleep listening to Norm in the ’90’s while he once again proclaimed Wendel being the best hockey player in the world. I even won a hammerhead alert prize pack (Cap t-shirt and pop up bag chair with logo). Of course there was nothing like hearing your latest scoop during the 20-20 updates on the FAN. Golden years of Radio. Let’s go!

  13. Of course I would listen ,sports radio today sucks.i haven’t listened to the fan in years.Berger , Rumack, Stellick, Landry were must listen to.I listened to the Toronto Mike podcast episode of the startup to the fan , and was very disappointed that Howard was not apart of that round table.As a day oner you could have added to the conversation. But better still a Berger and Rumack podcast would be a hit, with your stories and contact it’s a no brainer !

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