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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Are you up for “The League”?

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A new FX half-hour comedy series that revolves around a bunch of friends with their heads buried in a fantasy football league launches tonight (10:30 p.m.) but with several repeats of the premiere episode called “The Draft” (11:30 p.m., and Saturday at 5:30, plus Wednesday Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m.). Episode 2, called “Bounce Test,” debuts next Thursday at 10:30 and 11:30 p.m.)

Among those in the cast:

Mark Duplass as Pete, the immature league champ; Stephen Rannazzisi (from “Samantha Who?”) is Kevin, a successful assistant district attorney and happily married father who also covets the elusive League trophy; Nick Kroll (from “I Love You, Man”) is Ruxin, never a winner but has no doubt he is the smartest of the group; Paul Scheer (from “30 Rock”) as Andre, the long-standing punching bag of the group as well as its most successful member; Jon Lajoie is Taco, Kevin’s little brother, a part-time musician and full-time stoner with little interest in fantasy other than hanging with his buddies. Then there’s Katie Aselton (from “The Office”) as Jenny, Kevin’s wife and his (secret) better half in the fantasy league; Leslie Bibb (from “Talladega Nights”) is Meegan, Pete’s wife who hates fake football, and Nadine Velasquez (from “My Name Is Earl”) who plays Ruxin’s wife Sofia.

Jeff Schaffer (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld”) and Jackie Marcus Schaffer are the series creators and exec producers.

A review from the Houston Chronicle (linked here) and another from the Kansas City Star (linked here) and the Philadelphia Inquirer (linked here).

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Scully news: A Q&A on the way … and nothing else urgent … we repeat, nothing urgent

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The Hollywood Radio & Television Society is promoting the fact that it will have a lunch featuring a Q&A with Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The lunch starts at 12:30 p.m. More information: (818) 789-1182 or visit www.HRTS.org.

Ron Shelton, the Hollywood writer, director and producer, will be asking the questions.

Meanwhile, for the lead item in today’s LARadio.com, writer Don Barrett copied and pasted an item that former Channel 9 sportscaster and KMPC-AM (710) morning man Scott St. James put up on his blog (linked here) recently concerning how people at the station aren’t taking care of Scully properly.

St. James says he’s been wrestling with this “story” since mid-October — reporting on the fact Scully misidentified a home run that Manny Ramirez hit on Oct. 15 in the NLDS Game 1 against Philadelphia as a three-run homer instead of what it was, a two-run homer.

The home run took place in the bottom fifth inning — when Scully was not on the air. He had done the first three innings, then was coming back in the top of the seventh to do the final three. The homer pulled the Dodgers from a three-run deficit back to within one.

The error was repeated several times going into a commercial break. But no one, apparently, informed him that the error had occured. Scully repeated it throughout until the end of the game.

St. James isn’t sure who’s more at fault with this — the KABC-AM (790) executive producer, for not doing his job to correct him, or the program director who hired the EP.

Writes St. James:

The questions I have that haven’t been answered are as follows; Did the Executive Producer, during a commercial break after the top of the 8th inning ended, politely advise Scully of the mistake he was making? If not, is this because the Executive Producer is not allowed to talk to Scully, the Executive Producer wasn’t listening to Scully’s play by play or is it because the Executive Producer (while listening) didn’t KNOW that Scully was giving inaccurate information for the final six half innings of the broadcast on KABC?

ORRR…Is this something that should have been handled by someone else? And if so, who might that be? …

If these guys want to pretend their big league job titles makes them big league players, they ARE required to “Protect The Show.” What happened on the night of October 15th seems to indicate that (as Al Campanis might have said) “THEY DON’T HAVE THE NECESSITIES!”

Take it for what it’s worth…

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Quick, find Bratislava on a map … the Lakers and/or Kings may be forced to play there someday soon

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There’s a new 12,500-seat Danube Arena in the Self Govering Region of Bratislava, and it has just signed a letter of intent with AEG Facilities to run it.

Or, had someone sign for it.

It did so, apparently, on Tuesday, and AEG is just getting around to announcing it because it just found more information at the Rand McNally store.

Start with Europe. Pinpoint Slovakia. Head toward Austria. Stop when you see Julie Andrews.

They’re going to have ice hockey, basketball, music concerts and other stuff they do in Bratislava at this place. The Backstreet Boys will appear there, “performing,” on Nov. 25. Not that we knew that offhand or anything (linked here).

The Phillip Anschultz-run AEG, which of course has Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and the Home Depot Center in Southern California, also has (believe it or not) Sprint Center (Kansas City), The Rose Garden (Portland), Conseco Fieldhouse (Indianapolis), American Airlines Arena (Miami), AT&T Center (San Antonio), Time Warner Cable Arena (Charlotte, N.C.), Prudential Center (Newark, N.J.) and Target Center (Minneapolis),

In Europe, it now has six facilities, adding to The O2 Arena (London), O2 World (Berlin), Color Line Arena (Hamburg), Ahoy Arena (Rotterdam, Netherlands) and Globe Arenas (Stockholm), Plus, there’s the Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena (China), Acer Arena (Sydney, Australia) and the Qatar National Convention Centre (Doha, Qatar).

This Danube Arena (named after the nearby waterfare) has access to Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.

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Coming Friday: We’re all ears on the USC sideline

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Michael Owen Baker/Daily News Staff Photographer

The science involved in how a parabolic microphone works on the sideline of a sporting event can’t be more complicated than trying to explain to a kid why you can hear someone from a reasonable distance by talking into tin cans with a string attached.

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Sound about right?

The lessons we learned as a half-day laborer on the sidelines at the USC-Oregon State game last week were enough to make us appreciate all the heavy lifting that goes on from that unsung position on the ABC production crew as well as get us interested in it to try it again sometime.

Until the story lands on your doorstep or news rack tomorrow morning, here are a few photos along the way to help explain how it went:

Continue reading

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