Weekly media column version 12.14.12

UPDATED: FRIDAY 8 AM:
A link to today’s media column, a Q-and-A with former Fox Sports executive producer Ed Goren (with more material coming soon), along with an update on the Dodgers’ TV negotiations, Jay Mohr’s probable place in the new Fox Sports Radio lineup and Larry Merchant’s last boxing telecast on Saturday.
Of course, as soon as we report the Dodgers are steering away from starting their own regional network, Forbes.com reports today that the team is in talks with Dick Clark Productions to explore that very option.

What didn’t make the column but could have:

== The rise and demise of such noted publications as Sport Magazine (1946-2000), Inside Sports (1979-1998) and The National Sports Daily (1990-91) was tough enough to watch happen, but word that after 126 years there’ll be a final printed issue of The Sporting News comes as even more a painful thing to experience in the sports publishing icon business. “We recognize this is not a popular decision among our most loyal fans,” said publisher Jeff Price and editor Garry Howard, a former sports editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in a statement released this week. “Unfortunately, neither our subscriber base nor the current advertising market for print would allow us to operate a profitable print business moving forward.” Sporting News will be “a digital brand” with its AOL ties as of Jan. 1, having now given up on trying to be a weekly (ending in 2008), biweekly (’08-’11) and monthly magazine. The only printed TSN publications will be annual previews for the MLB, NFL, college football and basketball, plus some fantasy sports issues. As former Chicago Tribune media writer Ed Sherman points out in his ShermanReport.com, The Sporting News used to run columns by Jack Craig, the first sports media columnist for the Boston Globe which “for many was the our introduction and eventually inspiration to cover this beat.” The last Sporting News cover, for December, features a preview of the Alabama-Notre Dame BCS title game – two schools, notes NPR’s Steve Mullis, that didn’t exist when the magazine first published in 1886. The headline on the final issue: “An American Classic.” Indeed, it was. It does make us wonder how long another standard like Sports Illustrated will continue to publish in the wake of continual cutbacks, as it continues to be an online presence.

== Kings radio analyst Daryl Evans will fill some of his down time from the NHL strike by working the radio broadcast Saturday for the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors game against the San Francisco Bulls, joining Ryan Holt and Kevin Barti in the booth.. The game can be heard on www.foxsports970am.com as well as www.americaonesports.com.

== What did the NFL – and the NFL Network — accomplish by expanding to a 13-game regular season menu of Thursday night games, the last of which was just played out by Cincinnati and Philadelphia? More games were unmemorable, many became unwatchable as even John Madden was mistaken to have fallen asleep at the recent Oakland-Denver game.

== Time Warner Cable has added the beIN SPORT channel, the 24-hour network dedicated to soccer, as well as adding the Tennis Channel, MLB Strike Zone and Fox Deportes to the HD channel lineup.

== Ari Wolf, Mike Pawawski and Drea Avent will handle the broadcast for the Time Warner Cable SportsNet coverage of Saturday’s 8 p.m. Open Division CIF State High School Football championship at Home Depot Center in Carson between Centennial/Corona and Concord’s De La Salle, as well as tonight’s Division I title game (8 p.m.) between Long Beach Poly and Grante Bay and the Division IV title game (4 p.m.) between Central Catholic of Modesto and Santa Fe Christian of Soloana Beach. Steve Quis, JJ Stokes and Kelli Tennant have the call of Saturday’s Division II Serra-Oakdale game (4 p.m.) and the Division III Madison of San Diego-Marin Catholic-Kentfield (noon).

== And finally: Fox Sports Media Group co-presidents Randy Freer (above) and Eric Shanks (right) were the only two L.A.-based media members to make the cut of The Sports Business Journal’s list of the 50 most influential people in sports business for 2012. Shanks and Freer, involved in the Fox talks with the Dodgers, are listed at No. 6, down a spot from last year. Other familiar faces in L.A. on the list included AEG founder Phil Anschutz and AEG CEO Tim Leiweke (at No. 5, up from No. 11), Dodgers chairman Mark Walter (at No. 8, not on last year’s list), Wasserman Media Group CEO Casey Wasserman (at No. 23, up from no. 24), and Lakers owners Jerry Buss, and daughter Jeanie Buss (but not Jimmy Buss) (at No. 26, down six spots). Other media members: No. 1 John Skipper, president of ESPN (up three spots), No. 9 CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus (up four spots), No. 10 Turner Sports president David Levy (up two spots), No. 12 NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus (up four spots), No. 22 Melinda Witmer, the exec VP of Time Warner Cable (same as last year), No. 34 Sean Bratches, the exec VP of sales and marketing for ESPN (down three spots), No. 43 Comcast chair Ed Snider and president Peter Luukko (new to the list), and No. 44 Bob Bowman, president and CEO of MLB Advanced Media (same spot as last year).
Steve Burke, the CEO of NBC Universal and exec VP of Comcast, was ranked No. 1 a year ago but completely fell out of this year’s Top 50. Also disappearing are former ESPN chief George Bodenheimer, No. 3 a year ago, plus former Fox Sports chief David Hill (former No. 5) and current NFL Network boss Steve Bornstein (No. 21 last year).

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