Toronto's sports radio jocks are about to get a shock.
Dean Blundell, the infamous shock jock who lost his job at 102.1 The Edge last January after making on-air comments deemed homophobic, will guest co-host Thursday morning's edition of The Jeff Blair Show on Rogers Media's Sportsnet 590/ The Fan.
The appearance will mark Blundell's first time on-air since his ribald show was cancelled after an incident in which he and a producer bantered about the trial of a gay man convicted of sexually assaulting three others lured from a bathhouse.
"We know Dean, we know he's a big sports fan, he's very knowledgeable about sports, and we know he likes to talk about sports," said Julie Adam, the vice-president of programming for Rogers Radio, in an interview. "He had a lot of sports guests on when he was hosting his morning show in Toronto, and he's not working right now. So all of those things came together."
Blundell had been the main morning man on 102.1 The Edge for 13 years, but he repeatedly ran afoul of regulators. His show was censured six times by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council in 2012 and 2013 for offensive speech about homosexuals, for trivializing tragedy, for promoting violence and for other behaviour the panel deemed inappropriate.
The Fan operates with a seven-second delay that allows producers to prevent offensive speech from getting to air.
Ms. Adam said she was not concerned about Blundell's penchant for pushing boundaries. "I think he's a smart broadcaster," she said. "His job at 102.1 was to be controversial, and he and the station had a lot of success in that."
"That's not our objective. We have no intention of doing that."
She added: "Rogers has a zero tolerance in regards to discrimination, and our track record speaks to that, and we wouldn't have him in if we felt there was going to be any risk to our reputation regarding that."
Since his ouster from 102.1, Mr. Blundell has unveiled an even more lewd persona, making podcasts studded with raw talk that would get him yanked immediately from radio airwaves.
Critics of Mr. Blundell who cheered when his show was cancelled may be disappointed to learn the Fan appearance is an audition of sorts: If all goes well, Ms. Adam acknowledged it could lead to a permanent gig."I would say the door at Rogers is always open for very talented high-performers and certainly Dean is a very talented on-air person. We're always looking to have big talent work for Rogers and work for our radio stations and our broadcast properties."
Still, she cautioned: "We don't have anything lined up for him that is firm."