The Media Learning Curve: If you can’t muzzle ‘em …

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From our column today on the launch of the sports-talk leg of the best and worst of the L.A. sports media for 2010 (linked here), “Mason and Ireland Show” co-host John Ireland wrote to us:

“Mason and I work a lot — more than any guys I know — but the truth is that there is no show without Dave. Without him, I’m convinced that the show would be one long advertisement for Purina One and Roger Dunn Golf Shops. Besides booking all the big-name guests, he’s an invaluble resource who steers the ship.

“But now that you’ve put him in a feature article, he will undoubtedly become an insufferable primadonna who will demand his own show. He’ll make all of the interns address him as “Mr. Singer” and he’ll start parking in Chris Berry’s parking space. He’s already changed his own title from “producer” to “executive producer,” now to “Senior Executive Producer.” Next, he’ll apply for “Supreme Commander of All Producers.”

“Will we ever hear the end of this? As Dave says in the South Coast Med Spa endorsement that he stole from me, “never!”

We have more:

== NBC has 13 hours of live coverage from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., starting with Saturday (1:30 to 3 p.m., live pairs free skate) and Sunday (1:30 to 3 p.m., live men’s free skate). The live ladies and dance competition is next weekend. Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Andrea Joyce are behind the mike. Bob Costas and Dick Button join them next weekend. Spreading the event over two weekends doesn’t sit well with some competitors. Skater Johnny Weir told the Boston Globe: “I think it’s so stupid. I know we need the support of NBC, but it’s just a hassle.”

== ESPN2 goes with 113 hours of live coveage from the Australian Open, starting Sunday at 4 p.m. and up through the men’s and women’s finals on Saturday, Jan. 30. Cliff Drysdale and Dick Enberg call most of the matches, with host Chris Fowler also doing some. Chris McKendry hosts with analysts Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Pam Shriver and Patrick McEnroe. DirecTV also has its channel mix, allowing viewers to check out different courts, etc., and Tennis Channel’s additional coverage.

== L.A.-based TVG will cover the 39th annual Eclipse Awards live Monday from the Beverly Wilshire. It starts with “red carpet” coverage at 4 p.m. followed by the awards presentation at 5 p.m. hosted by Kenny Rice.

== NBC has added eight-time PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon to its golf coveage, putting him in an outer tower on several events this season. Faxon will have the option to play as well as commentate at a number of events this season, including NBC’s coverage of the Northern Trust Open from Riviera Country Club on the first week of February. “I’m hoping that for at least one tournament I can walk off the course and right into the booth to provide a first-hand account on the players and the course,” Faxon said. “It should add an extra dimension to the broadcast.”

== CBS’ “60 Minutes” has a piece for Sunday’s episode (Channel 2, 8 p.m.) with Scott Pelley looking into how tiny American Samoa sends so many players to the NFL — the most famous of which is probably Pittsburgh linebacker (and former USC star) Troy Polamalu, born in the U.S. to Samoan parents. CBS says there are more than 30 Samoans in the NFL and another 200-plus playing Division 1 college football — amazing considering there are 65,000 people living on the islands. “What if there were 120 million Samoans,” wonders Polamalu. “How many Samoans would there then be in the NFL?”

== Highlights of the next edition of HBO’s “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) is a Bernie Goldberg update on football-related concussions, Frank Deford updating on what caused the Dallas Cowboys’ indoor practice facility in Irving, Tex., to collapse last May and leave special teams coach Joe DeCamillis and scouting assistant Rich Behm with severe spinal cord injuries and Bryant Gumbel talks with golf pro Ken Green, who survived an RV accident that took the lives of his girlfriend, brother and dog in June. Green had his lower right leg amputated because of injuries.

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AND FINALLY:

== Of all those who could have replaced the late Rory Markas on the last 15 games of USC basketball, Pete Arbogast was and is the best candidate. After doing the USC-Cal game last Friday, he’ll be back with Jim Hefner on the radio broadcast of the Trojans-Bruins contest on Saturday (4:30 p.m., KSPN-AM 710).

Two things come to mind, though.

One, on the WeAreSC.com blog, Arbogast did a nice attempt at remembering Markas as someone who “I go way back” with. How ironic that Markas once replaced Arbogast on the Clippers’ radio gig. And then Arbogast says he was the one who recommended that Markas get the Angels’ gig when it opened after 2001.

“I’d have loved to be doing SC basketball all these years,” Arbogast wrote, “but as our boss said once to me: ‘Hey, he’s doing just fine, why would we need or want to make a switch.’ I found no response that could counter that logic, and just plain gave up. That was in 2002, and that is the last time I brought it up to anyone.”

The post reads: “Remembering Rory Markus.” But not remembering how he really spells his last name.

And then, during the USC-Cal broadcast on Saturday, Arbogast also did a promo telling listeners if they wanted more coverage to turn to the Daily News. He added: “Our producer Ann Beebe back in the studio probably just fell out of her chair.”

And we almost ran our car off the road laughing.

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