It’s the Google search that gives you the results you want. It’s the podcast that fits your needs. It’s Boomsies!
Long-time sportscaster Dan O’Toole was known for his amazing chemistry with Jay Onrait on TSN’s Jay and Dan. For years they would wake you up in the morning, delivering last night’s sports highlights and breaking news. In 2013, They caught the eye of Fox Sports and spent a few years in California hosting Fox Sports Live before returning to TSN in 2017.
In February of 2021, Dan would be a part of cutbacks at Bell Media, seeing his time with TSN come to an end. It was a tough adjustment for O’Toole, who then battled addiction following his departure and eventually entered rehab.
After more than a year of sobriety, Dan is back to doing what he loves most – hosting his new podcast, ‘Boomsies!’ We caught up with Dan to discuss his time with TSN and where he came up with the idea for Boomsies!
Why did you decide to get into broadcasting?
I was that kid who would put Hockey Night in Canada on mute and do the play-by-play myself. If we were playing road hockey, I was calling the game. If I was playing with the wrestling figures, I conducted the interviews and called the matches. It’s just something that I have always been drawn to.
You were the Ottawa 67’s play-by-play voice when you attended Algonquin College. What memories do you have of calling those games?
When I discovered that we had the actual rights to broadcast the 67’s games as a college radio station, I was shocked. It also made the choice to go into sports that much easier. In my short time at the college, we went from broadcasting just the 67’s home games to calling ALL their games, home and away. It was such a thrill, literally learning as we went along. Sometimes being thrown into the fire is the best way to learn how to do something, and that’s exactly how I remember it. Chaotic, nerve-racking, exhilarating, exhausting, and the thrill of a lifetime, all rolled into one.
What are some of your favourite memories of your time at TSN?
Taking our show on the road as part of the Kraft Celebration Tour. Seeing this great country of ours, and being accepted with open arms in towns from coast to coast to coast, was an absolute thrill.
There is nothing like the Olympics, so getting to cover 3 for my former employer, was amazing. Vancouver, because there is nothing like an Olympics in your own country. London, as I had never been to Europe, and Korea, another place I had never been. Going to these places, and telling the stories of our athletes in the host cities, was something I will never forget.
What was it like for you and Jay to be a part of Fox Sports Live for a few years?
It was a tremendous experience. Being approached to help launch a new sports network in another country. Fox treated us very well. I wouldn’t have changed the experience one bit. Also, living in sunny L.A didn’t hurt either.
You were a part of cutbacks with TSN last year. How tough was that for you?
In my 46 years on this earth, I had never been laid off or fired from a job. Not once. Ever. So when it happens at the height of your career, when the show that has your name on it is going the best it ever has, it’s soul-crushing.
Following that, you entered yourself into rehab for a complete overhaul of your lifestyle. It’s been over a year since you did that; what’s been the biggest adjustment?
I knew that not working nights for the first time in my adult life had all the makings of a disaster. Wallowing in self-pity, over-consuming booze and weed, so I decided to end it before it got out of control. I took control of my life, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The biggest adjustment now is living in the moment, which is something I never really did before. The amount of joy I now take in the smallest things is not something I appreciated before.
Where did the idea for “Boomsies” come from?
A producer of ours at Fox would always say Boomsies to us after a big dunk or a touchdown or goal. We loved it and adopted it. So when I was looking for a name for my new podcast, Boomsies was a no-brainer. Consider it as an exclamation point: you get asked on a date, BOOMSIES! You score a goal, BOOMSIES! You win $5 on the lottery, BOOMSIES!
How much fun have you had with Boomsies?
I am having the time of my life. You can’t beat the commute (it’s in my basement). The hours are great (I tape for one hour a week). And I get to talk about whatever and to whoever I want. It’s my dream job.
When you have free time, what do you enjoy doing?
I spend every free second I have enjoying whatever season it is with my kids. We embrace winter with tobogganing, skiing, and summer with time on our bikes, playing at the park, and golfing.
What advice would you give to a young broadcaster?
My answer to this is no longer what it used to be. The industry has changed so much, that now content is king. If you want to get into broadcasting, you no longer need to take the traditional route. Now, you can start your own YouTube channel and find your niche. If you can find something that interests people, you can build the same skill set creating that content as you would in traditional media. The key, though, is to do it because you enjoy it.