The Media Learning Curve: Jan. 7-14

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More Kamenetzky comic relief, as from today’s list of the best and worst of L.A sports talk hosts opens the 19th annual poll (linked here):

The Sklar brother connection, and what they’ve been able to do as comedy writers and actors who also work on ESPN, have helped the Kamenetzky brothers convince bosses that they can deliver the goods as well.

“We don’t use them as a model,” says Brian.

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“The only this we can borrow from them is how a brother thing can work,” adds Andy. “People ask us all the time, ‘How are you different? I don’t know if we are that much. But we’re not actors.”

And on what it’s like being on the Laker beat:

“It’s a team that no one ever stops caring about,” says Andy. “But you can also forget that sports is supposed to be fun. You’re supposed to be having a good time. You go back to when we covered the Dodgers in 2006 and ’07. That was a grind. Baseball is a grind. The clubhouse was no fun. But this is very enjoyable, and with the way we cover it, it’s stays fun. If we just played it straight all the time, we’d get burned out and bored.”

And on that note, more notes:

== The NFL TV lineup for the AFC and NFC semifinal games:

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= Saturday:
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: 1:30 p.m., Channel 2, with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf; Dave Sims, James Lofton and Steve Tasker on Westwood One (570-AM)
Green Bay at Atlanta: 5 p.m., Channel 11, with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver and Chris Myers; Ian Eagle, Tony Boselli and Scott Kaplan on Westwood One (570-AM)

= Sunday:
Seattle at Chicago: 10 a.m., Channel 11, with Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa; Kevin Kugler, Mark Malone and Hub Arkush on Westwood One (570-AM)
N.Y. Jets at New England: 1:30 p.m., Channel 2, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms; Kevin Harlan, Randy Cross and Kevin Kiley on Westwood One (570-AM).

== So, who are football’s “chattiest” NFL broadcasters? The Wall Street Journal, which kind of screwed this premise up when it came to baseball broadcastes (naming Scully the wordiest, without taking into account he works alone the first three innings of the simulcast), says it is not Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth (linked here).

== ESPN2′s Australian Open coverage starts Sunday (4 p.m.) and runs through the mens’ final on Saturday, Jan. 29. ESPN2 will do record schedule of 124 live hours, plus nearly 50 additional in afternoon reairs, the most in the net’s 27-year history with the event. ESPN3.com hasr 600 hours live for seven courts, available on demand after completion as well. Cliff Drysdale and Dick Enberg are the lead match callers, with Chris Fowler as the studio host with Chris McKendry. Match analysts include Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe, with Pam Shriver as a reporter and Tom Rinaldi on features.

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Meanwhile, Tennis Channel secured a new contract with Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport before it airs nearly 30 hours of live match play over the next two weeks, plus 75 hours of studio shows (starting with a daily show at 5 a.m. most mornings). Navratilova will team with Bill Macatee with Davenport also analyzing matches, doing features and doing interviews, plus do features on the network’s tennischannel.com site. Leif Shiras and Justin Gimelstob will also handle match calls. ESPN is producing the coverage used on Tennis Channel.

== The Kings’ official website (LAKings.com) has started a video series called “Undisputed,” which focuses on eight players with insight and perspective on their lives and careers. The first profile, on Jack Johnson, is up now (www.Lakings.com/undisputedjj), with future features planned for Dustin Brown (Jan. 26), Matt Greene, Anze Kopitar, Michal Handzus, Jarret Stoll, Drew Doughty and Wayne Simmonds.

== TNT’s NBA doubleheader on MLK day includes having the studio set parked at Staples Center with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, plus Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Cheryl Miller on the Boston-Orlando game (5 p.m.), and Marv Albert, Mike Fratello, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager from the Lakers-Oklahoma City game (7:30 p.m.).

== How ESPN breaks down its first season of shooting 3D in college football, including Monday’s national title game (linked here).

== Before Auburn lined up for an eventual game-winning field goal against Oregon in Monday’s BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz., did we hear ESPN play-by-play man Brent Musburger right?

“This is for alllllll the Tostitos.”

Said a Tostitos official: We had nothing to do with it, but we sure appreciate it (linked here).

AwfulAnnouncing.com discovers Musburger acutally used the line in 2002:

Wrote Eric Deggins at the Indiana National Sports Journalism Center (linked here): “Who knew a bad joke about a title sponsor could bring so much pain? It seems, in retrospect, a classic case of an announcer getting in the way of the story instead of telling it. … Let’s hope that the avalanche of criticism coming Musburger’s way these days ensures we won’t be carping over the same line in 2021.”

And that wasn’t the worst thing that Musburger did, according to the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir (linked here): “If Musburger’s performances at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day and the B.C.S. title game Monday night are exhibits of the State of the Brent, it is clear that he has veered from the factual precision needed to maintain his status as ESPN’s No. 1. college football announcer.”

AND FINALLY:

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== Dick Vitale said it in a press release issued by ESPN with the announcement that he had his contract extended through the 2014-15 season:

“There is nothing greater than walking into an arena and feeling the excitement and energy of a big-time college basketball game. I can’t thank ESPN enough for allowing me to be a kid at heart by giving me the opportunity to sit courtside for games I would pay top dollar to see. I’m living a dream. I’ve been extremely blessed to work with so many beautiful people and to talk about the game I love.”

Vitale joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season — just after the network’s September 1979 launch — and he called the network’s first major NCAA basketball game, a 90-77 DePaul win over Wisconsin. More than 1,000 games later, he’s still talking.

But are we still listening?

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