The media learning curve: More to the media, and everyone else, flexing its muscle

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Spinning off today’s column about why those in the upper ends of the media circles could have even more influence as the economic decline declines (linked here), we’ve got these notes to add, for our other two cents:

==ABC Sports/ESPN boss George Bodenheimer’s reaction to being named No. 1 on the latest Sports Business Journal’s 50 Most Influencial People in Sports Business: “Recognition like this is really more about the creative and hard-working people of ESPN than any one individual. Teamwork is essential to whatever success we’ve enjoyed.”

==After Golf Channel’s coverage today (noon to 3 p.m., replayed from 6-to-9 p.m.), NBC takes over the final two rounds (weather permitting) of the Tiger Woods hosted Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. Dan Hicks and Roger Maltbie anchor the coverage Saturday and Sunday (noon to 3 p.m. each day), with Gary Koch, Mark Rolfing, Dottie Pepper and Jimmy Roberts. A special feature scheduled for Saturday’s coverage includes a recap of Woods’ U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pones that includes interviews with caddie Steve Williams, swing coach Hank Haney and agent Mark Steinberg. Woods will watch the feature for the first time in the booth with Hicks and Maltbie and comment on it after seeing it.

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==The Lakers’ road trip that takes them from Miami (tonight) to Orlando (Saturday) to Memphis (Monday) to New Orleans (Tuesday) before returning home for Christmas Day against Boston means Spero Dedes, the team’s radio play-by-play man for KLAC-AM (570), will miss his first NFL Network studio duties on the Sunday morning pregame show from the Culver City offices. Alex Flanagan will fill in on the NFL show, and “I may pop in for a segment from our hotel in Memphis, but I’m not sure just yet,” Dedes said. “It’s the first show I’ll miss, and hopefully the last.” He’s good to go with the NFL Net through the conference championships. Last Sunday, Dedes did both the newly expanded “NFL GameDay Morning” show (from 6 to 9 a.m.) before taking a nap and then calling the Lakers-Minnesota game from Staples Center at 6:30 p.m.

==Mike Breen and Mark Jackson call tonight’s Lakers-Miami game for ESPN (5 p.m.), a prep work assignment for the Lakers-Celtics game they’ll call (with Jeff Van Gundy) on Christmas Day from Staples Center (Channel 7, 2 p.m.).

==ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio is the subject of a network piece rather than the guy asking the questions when the show “NFL Films Presents: Sal Paolantonio” airs Monday at 10 p.m. on ESPN2 (replaying Wednesday at 11 a.m.). NFL Films president Steve Sabol asks the questions focused on Paolantonio’s new book, “How Football Explains America,” currently the No. 1 football book selling on Amazon.com. We reviewed it and did a Q-and-A with Paolantonio recently (linked here with additional blog coverage here).

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==They say it’ll be a parody of ESPN’s “Greatest Game Ever Played” documentary that aired last Saturday — it’s Kenny Mayne reviewing footage of “The Worst Game Ever Played,” last year’s rain-soaked mudbowl in Pittsburgh between the Steelers and Dolphins. The Steelers won, 3-0, on Monday Night Football. The “Mayne Event” segment of Sunday’s ESPN “NFL Countdown” includes interviews with the MNF crew and actor Samuel L. Jackson.

==Beth Mowins and Karch Kiraly do the broadcast of the NCAA women’s volleyball final (Stanford vs. Penn State) on Saturday, ESPN2 at 5 p.m.

==The final ’08 episode of HBO’s “Real Sports” (and episode No. 141) is a roundtable review of the year that debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m. with many replays. Bryant Gumbel, Mary Carillo, Frank Deford, Jon Frankel, Bernie Goldberg and Andrea Kremer talk about pro tennis match-fixing, excessive drinking at NFL stadiums, skyrocketing ticket prices, Barack Obama and slaughtering thoroughbred race horses. The usual stuff.

== Versus will add the 2009 Tour Down Under cycling event, which Lance Armstrong will ride in as he begins his comeback since retiring in 2005. The race starts Jan. 20 in South Adelaide, Australia. Telecasts air at 1 p.m. each day except for the final day (Jan. 24) at 12:30 p.m., when the network will also stream the final stage live at www.versus.com.

==Daily Variety reports that Spike TV will premier a Mark Burnett-produced series on rodeo cowboys called “Toughest Cowboy” in late January. There are 12 cowboys competing in different challenges, including bareback riding, saddle bronc and bull riding, with the winner getting a ranch in Wyoming.

==NBC has the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour from Breckenridge, Colorado, putting competitors such as Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Gretchen Bleiler and Kelly Clark in snowboarding and freeski events in the Superpipe and Slopestyle. Competition airs Saturday (1:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). Competition also airs tonight and Saturday at midnight on USA Network.

And finally, the closing argument:

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Fred Wallin, the long-time sports-talk show host both locally and nationally, emailed Thursday quite confused.
He tried to watch the UCLA-Loyola Marymount basketball game on his DirecTV feed on Wednesday night, but the message at the bottom of the screen said the game was blacked out.
Huh?
He emailed directly to DirecTV exec Chase Carey with his frustration. One of Carey’s assistants called back and tried to figure out what went wrong, considering Wallin was told by at least one DirecTV support person on the phone that the reason the game wasn’t televised (at least to him) was because it hadn’t sold out (that’s not the reason, but it probably sounded good to someone who wasn’t media savvy about such things).
Wallin emailed late Thursday to say he finally figured out why this happened (and had happened in the past): DirecTV in Denver did some investigating and apparently Fox Sports locally did not include zip code 91362 as an area that could receive Loyola Marymount games. So anyone living in Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks were incorrectly blacked out. DirecTV said it would ask the local Fox affiliate (FSN West and FSN Prime Ticket) to correct the problem.

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