The Media Learning Curve: Jan. 21-28

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Photo courtesy of Rich Marotta
Rich Marotta, left, with Oscar de la Hoya and Tom Kelly on a boxing telecast in the 1980s.

Following up with more Q-and-A with Rich Marotta from today’s column (linked here):

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= On how the role of the colorman has evolved into someone who has to provide more analysis: “There are certain aspects of an analyst that make him stand out, just from sheer aspect of establishing an rhythm and chemistry with a partner. You need to have a feel about how much your partner needs to describe in a play and how much he actually does describe. What does the play-by-play man leave out? The colorman, to me, has been there to complete the picture, the whole picture — the atmosphere, the scene, the fans, what some guy at the other end of the field is doing. It’s painting a word picture of the whole situation.
“A play-by-play man describes the play; the colorman adds the importance of the whole picture. But sometimes,,a colorman will try to add and automatically talk about that play that was just described.”

== On the Kings’ broadcasts today with Bob Miller and Jim Fox: “There are a terrific team. Jim is really good at just about every aspect of being a colorman. He uses the technology — he’s the best ever at the Telestrator, be it local or national.”

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== On what he sees and hears from ex-athlete analysts today that is missing from what can be provided by a professional broadcaster: “Some of them are hung up on whatever the cliche of the day is. I can’t believe someone will say: ‘That’s a catch he’s got to make.’ That was one of the main things I tried to avoid getting into that habit. Rule No. 1: Don’t fall into cliches. I also made it a rule to be able to deliver an opinion which is good as long as its understood by the audience that it is an opnion and not a fact. And then there’s preparation — from a non-athlete, it’s much more important to be prepared. I think when I prepped for a football broadcast, I did so out of fear. I was a total nutcase in trying to find all the aspects I could. A player will know Xs and Os, but they may fall down on other aspects like the history of the teams playing, or the personalities involved. That’s what sets the good ones apart.
“Another pet peeve of mine: Not everyone learns the art of interviewing. And with a local telecast, that’s often the role of the colorman. I still don’t know why some can’t interview on the air. That even happens to me now on boxing matches, I never understood why some made it so difficult to get in there and ask: ‘Did you get hurt in the fifth round? How did the seventh round change for you? Where do you go from here?’ It’s almost tortue for some people to do that. Just ask the question that would normally come from the people who just watched and what they’d want to ask. And then listen to the answer — that will often be where your next question comes from.”

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== On how he learned his craft at Cal State Northridge: “I got to do everything there — work at the college radio station, to play-by-play, color, broadcast in a studio, do sports talk features, sports talk hosting. My roommate was (longtime broadcaster) Geoff Witcher, so think of what our conversations were like. He was often the partner on my broadcasts, and we learned how important it was to have a good relationship with each other on and off the air. I think I’ve always been pretty good friends with the people I’ve worked with and that chemistry really builds into the conversation on the air. It makes everything work better. When you feel comfortable enough with the people you work with, that comfort comes across on the air. That all works in a big circular manner.”

== On advise he’d give to up-and-coming broadcasters who might want to try the analyst/colorman role: “The first thing is: Expect rejection, and be able to live with that. That’s probably going to happen anywhere you go. Know your sport inside and out. Talk to players and see what they’re talking about and thinking about so you think along with them. And really talk to the coaches — have conversations with them without just being in an interview situation. Sit down and chat and learn more about the verbage of the sport to make it a more level playing field. Also see if you can carve out a niche in that area. See if you could do work in play-by-play as well as color. That was an advantage for me knowing both roles, to understand the rhythm of the play-by-play and know what his needs are.
“It won’t be an easy role. It was easier for me to do it when i did it. But be willing to even be a third person in on a broadcast, to be entertaining, not overanalyze things. Complete the booth.”

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The rest of the media news of note:

== An update on ESPN’s Stuart Scott (linked here)

== Bill Macdonald hosts the Lakers’ first “Courtside View” telecast of the season tonight at 7:30 p.m. — while Joel Meyers and Stu Lantz call the game on Fox Sports West, another version airs on Prime Ticket using as little commercial interruption and through the angles of different cameras and sounds of the game.

== ABC’s Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy (with Lisa Salters) call the Lakers-Celtics game from Staples Center (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7), the first regular Sunday afternoon broadcast for the rest of the season. Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Heather Cox are at the Miami-Oklahoma City game (10 a.m., Channel 7) preceeding the Lakers-Celtics.

== NBA TV’s “24 Hours with Kevin Love” (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.) lets cameras into him home as he talks about a day in his life — on this day, as the former UCLA star preps for a game against Washington. A preview (linked here).

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== Fox’s Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Jay Glazer and Tony Siragusa handle the call on the NFL Pro Bowl back in Hawaii (Sunday, 4 p.m., Channel 11), a week before Fox sends everyone else to Dallas for the Super Bowl. Curt Menefee and Terry Bradshaw are also in Honolulu for pre-game duties.

== ESPNU has 10 hours of programming for prep football national signing day (Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.), simulcast on ESPN3.com. Rece Davis and Lowell Galindo host it, with former Miami coach Randy Shannon joined by Tom Luginbill, Bruce Feldman, Robert Smith, Kirk Herbstreit and other recruiting gurus. Maybe more worthy of a TiVo set is the ESPNU re-airing “The Best That Never Was,” a 30 for 30 documentary on Marcus Dupree, which airs from 3-to-4 a.m. on Wednesday, leading into the signing broadcast. The coverage of ESPNU’s national signing day reairs Wedneday night at 8 p.m.

CBS College Sports has its seven hours of overcoverage starting at 7 a.m. with Tom Lemming and Rich Rodriguez, the recently ousted Michigan coach, and former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. CBSSports.com and MaxPreps.com are tied into this production.

Prime Ticket airs its own high school signing day special (Wednesday, 7 p.m.), streamed on FoxSportsWest.com that will include Centennial’s Michael Eubank, Serra’s Marqise Lee, Servite’s Troy Niklas and Lakewood’s Torian White making their college choices live at noon.

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== That sporting titan of MTV2 has the Eastern and Western Conference finals of the Lingerie Football League (Saturday, 3 p.m.) with 90 minutes of “live gridiron featuring the hottest female athletes playing full-contact football” says the press release. Your L.A. Temptation (4-0) faces the Chicago Bliss (3-1), followed by the Philadelphia Passion (3-0) meeting up with the Tampa Breeze (3-0). Both games are in Jacksonville with the winners meeting in Las Vegas on Feb. 6. Oh, the broadcasters? Tom Dore , a 7-foot-2 former basketball star at Missouri who also worked for the Chicago Bulls, and Sean Salisbury. Yes, that Sean Salisbury.

== The NFL Network has the Under Armour Senior Bowl (Saturday, 1 p.m.) for the fifth year in a row. Bob Papa calls it with Mike Mayock and Charles Davis, and Paul Burmeister and Stacey Dales on the sidelines.

== The Super Bowl highlight marathon on the NFL Network starts Saturday at 7 a.m. with Super Bowl I (Green Bay-Kansas City from the Coliseum) and goes through to Sunday at 12:30 p.m. with Super Bowl XLIV (New Orleans-Indianapolis).

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== Versus’ coverage of the NHL All Star weekend begins with the player draft (tonight, 5 p.m., that includes the Kings’ Anze Kopitar, above) and the skills competition (Saturday, 4 p.m.) before the actual exhibition game (Sunday, 1 p.m.) from Raleigh, N.C. Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Charissa Thompson and Bob Harwood are on the call of the game, with Bill Patrick, Keith Jones and Brian Engbloom in the studio.

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== CBS, which extended its rights deal with the PGA through 2019 this week, starts its season with the Farmer’s Insurance event from Torrey Pines with third- and final-round coverage (Saturday and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.). Jim Nantz starts his 26th year overall covering golf for CBS, with Nick Faldo (in his fourth year) as the lead analyst. Ian Baker-Finch, Gary McCord, David Feherty, Peter Kostis, Bill Macatee, Verne Lundquist and Peter Oosterhuis join in — and will be at Riviera Country Club in four weeks for the Northern Trust Open.

Golf Channel’s coverage continues today (noon to 3 p.m., replayed from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.) and it will replay CBS’ coverage on Saturday and Sunday (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.). Davis Love III has agreed to be miked up during Golf Channel’s coverage.

== CBS’ coverage of the four event on the AMA Supercross tour from Oakland airs on a 12-hour delay (Sunday, 9-to-10 a.m., leading into the Duke-St. John’s basketball game, Channel 2)

== NBC has seven hours of coverage from the U.S. Figure Skating championships (Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. both delayed; Sunday from 1-3 p.m. live) with Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic, Tracy Wilson and Andrea Joyce.

== ESPN says it has sorted out the rest of its MLB midweek broadcast pairings — Sean McDonough will do play-by-play, with Aaron Boone and Rick Sutcliffe on Monday night games; Dave O’Brien will be teammed with Nomar Garciaparra on Wednesday nights.

AND FINALLY:

== Responding to an overwhelming demand, the World Fishing Network, which describes itself as “North America’s only 24-hour fishing lifestyle television network,” has come out with a mobile app for iPhone and iPad users that “enables anglers to record every detail of every catch within seconds of reeling” in a fish. It goes for $2.99 now, up to $4.99 after the special offer ends.

AND (ALMOST) FINALLY:

== ESPN.com ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer says it in his final column after 18 months on the job (linked here): “Some might misunderstand the fact that my every comment has not been a scathing, blistering indictment of network miscues. That might be because, after 40 years in the business, I have an appreciation of the intricacies and difficulties of what ESPN is trying to accomplish. There is plenty to criticize in Bristol, but in some respects I marvel at how well the company presents its product on so many varied platforms. The sheer magnitude of the undertaking today makes any other production operation seem puny by comparison. ….

“There are some reassuring thoughts about ESPN I’d like to leave you with. The people behind the products care deeply. Do they listen to the complaints from the audience? Yes, they do. Do they take them seriously? My experience over this term says again, yes they do. Will they address concerns? They will if they think they have merit and it doesn’t run counter to some other goal the company seeks to accomplish. So, are your communications important? Absolutely! ”

AND (REALLY) FINALLY:

From episode 3 last week of the “Onion Sports Dome” on Comedy Central (Tuesday nights, 10:30 p.m.):

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