The Media Learning Curve: Listen up …

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Excuse me. Pardon me. Watch out.

Clunk.

That wasn’t the sound of a Taylor Mays hit. It was me hitting the security guard in the head with the parabolic microphone dish as I tried to move up the sidelines and toward the end zone in the second quarter of Saturday’s USC-Oregon State game at the Coliseum.

Sorry, man.

Hey, so how’d that sound back in the truck?

The pleasure I had in providing sounds for your college football experience … no need to thank me. Just read about it in today’s newspaper column (linked here) and go on with your day, unaware of all of us who make things happen in your life…

Other stuff that crossed our sound check, but we passed on it for newspaper space purposes:

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== One more thing about how a sporting event may sound on your TV set, based on the ears of audio mix specialist Dana Kirkpatrick, who was handling all the sound for the crew on our game last week:

After Kirkpatrick’s crew matches the digital sounds to the pictures on the uplink to the satellite, it’s usually on the downlink feed, after it filters through the local affiliates and then hits your TV set with or without its updated technology, where the sound can often get jumbled or unbalanced.

“We are very sure when we send it out, it’s clean, because of our technical manager and studio crew in New York integrating it,” said Kirkpatrick, who’ll often work a 12-hour day on a college football game, starting with equipment checks and ending with feeding post-game interviews to ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios for “SportsCenter” reports. “Some (TV receivers) haven’t converted to stereo, believe it or not, so they’ll only take the left side of our audio feed, so everything is out of mix.”

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== Most of the young people who ask Kirkpatrick for career advice have a much more broad sense of what an audio person may do, but they lack experience in many specfic tasks, he says.

“College kids, it seems to me, are trained to do a little of everything, so if I ask them about doing something, they’ll say, ‘I can’t run it, but I know what that machine is,’” said Kirkpatrick.

“There’s plenty of work out there (in sports audio production) if you’re good at it. The TV business can be kind of weird in that it’s hard to break in through the proper channels. It’s usually a lot about who you know and word of mouth. That’s the Catch 22.
“I always recommend to someone if they want to get into this side of the business, work at an NPR station. There you have to edit your own stories, learn about transmition — everything you’d do on a TV production. But if you listen to a show like ‘This American Life,’ you really hear all the editing that goes into it.”

== Because ABC/ESPN decided last week to take the Cal-Arizona State game (at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7), and there was no FSN game of the week, UCLA’s game at Oregon State on Saturday looked to be going without a TV carrier in L.A. until FSN West/Prime Ticket decided to make room for it, taking the FSN Northwest broadcast and airing it on delay (from the 1 p.m. kickoff to a 3:30 p.m. airtime). Tom Glasgow, James Washington and Steve Preece are on the call. FSN West isn’t allowed to air a Pac-10 game live head-to-head with the ABC choice, so it has to wait for the 3:30 p.m. window to open.

== FSN West’s first Laker game of the regular season (tonight, 7:30 p.m., vs. Dallas) starts with “Lakers Life” at 6:45 p.m. with Bill Macdonald and Norm Nixon. ESPN also has the game (not blacked out) with
Dan Shulman, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Ric Bucher as the pretend courtside reporter. And, if you’re inspired, ESPN will have something called the “NBA on ESPN RV Tour” in Nokia Plaza from 4 to 7:30 p.m., letting fans come in and do nutty stuff like free throw contests, vertical jump challenges, souvenir photo stations, giveaways and whatever else they can fit into an RV. Or, you can do that the ESPN Zone restaurant and playyard right there on the corner.

== NBC has the 40th edition of the New York City Marathon on Sunday (live on Universal Sports and UniversalSports.com from 7 to 11 a.m., with Al Trautwig and Toni Reavis, and a two-hour highlight replay on Channel 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., hosted by Jimmy Roberts).

== DirecTV’s NBA League Pass continues with a free trial offer through Tuesday on channels 751-768.

== Tom Kelly and Chris Rix will do the Crespi-Notre Dame football game tonight (7:30 p.m.) for Ibnsports.com and Vootage.com.

== AND FINALLY:

== Fox’s coverage of the Minnesota-Green Bay game Sunday won’t include a Favre Cam. At least, not the TV side. A camera put high on the 50-yard line will be isolated on Brett Favre’s every move, from entering the field to leaving it with a pelting of snowballs, with a constant video stream available on both FoxSports.com and NFL.com.

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