Weekly media column version 02.28.13 — A modest proposal for those involved in the Dodger-SportsNet L.A. negotiations

Employees of the SportsNet L.A. operations at Time Warner Cable Sports' offices in El Segundo gather in the conference room to watch the channel's launch on Tuesday night. (Photo from SportsNet L.A. via Getty Images)

Employees of the SportsNet L.A. operations, including president David Rone (in blue jacket at table, left), gather in a conference room at Time Warner Cable Sports’ offices in El Segundo to watch the channel’s launch on Tuesday night. (Photo from SportsNet L.A. via Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

What made it into our weekly media roundup of extended paragraphs:
CM3391It’s early in the process for those haves and have-nots in the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel, considering we’re only two games into the exhibition season. Time Warner Cable subscribers, about two million of them in Southern California, are on board. Another two million that include subscribers of DirecTV, Cox, Charter, Dish, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS, aren’t there yet.
But what if a dish or cable operator proposed this scenario: We’ll take the channel, at the price TWC is asking, but only for eight months of the year — when the games are on, between March 1 and Nov. 1. The other four months, we’re not interested.
Would that fly? Maybe we’ll find out. Who’s game?
Other notes include the announcement of the new Larry King show on SportsNet L.A., Colleen Dominguez’s hiring by Fox Sports and Craig James’ beef with Fox Sports.

What didn’t make it into the column and notebook, but are featured here instead:

== Wait, TWC is raising their rates again, because of the fallout with having to carry CBS? It’s called a $2.25 “broadcast TV fee.” How sweet.

== SportsNet L.A. announced Thursday that 75 Dodgers games in Spanish will be made available to those carriers who take the team-owned channel, with a schedule of 150 coming in 2015. Jorge Jarrin, son of Dodgers’ Hall of Famer Jaime Jarrin, will do play-by-play with Manny Mota as the analyst. The first telecast will be April 4, the Dodgers’ home opener against San Francisco, and have its own production team on-site with its own graphics and audio feed. TWC will offer the Spanish-language games on Channel 382 (high def). More information: www.sportsnetla.com at the “espanol” link.

== ICYMI: We did a Q-and-A on the SportsNet L.A. launch that appeared on Tuesday’s debut. And you know how this Dodgers’ radio thing is going to work out, right?

 (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

==The Dodgers-San Francisco game from Dodger Stadium on April 5 will be part of the new Fox Sports 1 MLB package of telecast package that Fox announced Thursday. A combined 52 games will be on Fox’s network (KTTV-Channel 11 in Los Angeles) and FS1, including 20 Saturdays of doubleheaders. The Dodgers-Giants’ 1 p.m. start comes on FS1 after the network carries Minnesota-Cleveland at 10 a.m., which could result in some missed early innings.
Future games taken from the Dodgers’ new SportsNet L.A. schedule — don’t think the folks at DirecTV are making note of this — as well as from the Angels’ coverage on Prime Ticket include a doubleheader on Saturday, April 19 — FS1 has the Angels at Detroit at 10 a.m., followed by the Dodgers hosting Arizona at 5 p.m.
The Dodgers are also locked into FS1 games on Saturday, May 10 (home vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.) and Saturday, July 19 (at St. Louis, 1 p.m.). And so far they will also be part of Fox’s regional broadcast on Saturday, May 31 (home vs. Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.) and Saturday, June 28 (home vs. St. Louis, 4 p.m.).
The Angels are also on FS1 on Saturday, April 26 (at N.Y. Yankees, 10 a.m.) and Saturday, June 21 (home vs. Texas, 7 p.m.), and on Fox’s regional broadcasts on  Saturday, May 24 (vs. Kansas City, 4 p.m.), Saturday, June 14 (at Atlanta, 4 p.m.), and Saturday, July 12 (at Texas, 4 p.m.).
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For that Dodger fan demo of 89-and-older, Larry King gets his own show on SportsNet L.A.

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Larry King warns us in this video clip on SportsNetLA.com  that he’ll be launching his own “Larry King At Bat” interview show starting March 18, sure to lure more cable and dish operators beyond Time Warner Cable to sign up for the channel sooner, while King is still alive, rather than later.
In a Dodger press release noting that Kings is a season-seat holder, the former CNN talk-show giant made his pitch:

“I have been a Dodger fan all my life.  I am happy to be a part of SportsNet LA, the new 24/7 Dodgers television network. With my love of sports and my interviewing skills, I think it will be a happy combo.  I am looking forward to a great year!”

There may have been more to King’s statement, but sources say he nodded off after that quote, mumbling something about how Leo Durocher still owed him money.

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So, about the Dodgers’ radio coverage, in the presumed absence of a Vin Scullly call …

e1fba20036610e1333223c5d24972873Somewhat overlooked in the propagandizing process of the Dodgers launching their new TV channel, pulling guys here and there to be part of studio shows, game analysts and reporter types, is who’ll be pulling up a chair to man the radio booth on a daily basis for the 2014 season.

It’s a fluid concept, they tell us. Probably for the better of everyone.

Meaning, on a typical game that’s televised by SportsNet L.A. — about 150 of them, if they’re not taken by ESPN or Fox – Vin Scully does the nine innings on TV, and KLAC-AM (570) simulcasts the first three as usual. Then, the radio team of Charley Steiner and Rick Monday goes the rest of the way.

On games when Scully isn’t involved — roadies beyond the NL West borders — Steiner moves to TV with Orel Hershiser, and Monday moves from analyst to play-by-play on the radio, partnered with Nomar Garciaparra.

However …

There will be some mix-and-match opportunities along the way, sometimes without notice, depending on the need for someone to be at the El Segundo studios for pre- and post-game, at the stadium for pre- and post-game, etc.

So with the exhibition season starting Wednesday, here’s a sample of how KLAC-AM (570) will prepare with a variety of partnerships:

=Wednesday, vs. Arizona in Phoenix, 12:10 p.m.: Steiner and Monday (pregame at 11:30 a.m.)
=Thursday, vs. Arizona in Glendale, Ariz., 12:05 p.m.: Steiner and Monday
=Friday, vs. Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=Saturday, vs. Milwaukee, 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=Sunday, vs. San Diego, 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra

Monday vs. Oakland, Tuesday vs. Seattle: No radio coverage
=March 5 vs. Cincinnati, 6:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=March 6 vs. Angels, 12:05 p.m., Monday and Garciaparra
=March 7 vs. Texas, 12:05 p.m., Monday (solo, unless they add someone)
=March 8 vs. Texas (SS), 12:05 p.m., Steiner and Monday
=March 9 vs. San Francisco, 1:05 p.m. (daylight savings kicks in) Monday (solo)

March 10 vs. Oakland, March 11 vs. Kansas City: No radio coverage
=March 12 vs. Arizona: Monday (solo)
=March 13 vs. Cincinnati, March 14 vs. Chicago Cubs, March 15 vs. San Diego: No radio (UCLA involved in Pac-12 basketball tournament)
=March 16 vs. Colorado, 1:05 p.m., Steiner and Monday

March 21 vs. Team Australia, 1 a.m., no radio coverage
*-March 22-23 vs. Arizona in Australia, 1 a.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Saturday PDT: Steiner and Monday (regular season games)

=March 27-29 vs. Angels, Steiner and Monday

The Dodgers’ Spanish-language partner, KTNQ-AM (1020) has Wednesday’s opener, as well as March 1-2, March 8-9, March 15-16 and March 28.

The way it’ll work this spring on the SportsNet L.A. TV coverage: Scully does Wednesday and Thursday’s games. He’s also back for Sunday, March 9 and Sunday, March 16. Then he’s in Australia for the two regular-season games against Arizona, and back for the March 27-29 series against the Angels. When he’s away, Steiner and Hershiser do the TV broadcasts.

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If you don’t have your Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel by Tuesday’s launch, is your provider out to lunch?

on-offIf you’re remotely interested in being part of the Dodgers’ new SportsNet L.A. channel launch, you’ve got to have your remote control ready, aimed and firing.

But depending on whom you’re beholden to as a program carrier, you could get as tripped up in the process as a hitter might be trying to react to a Clayton Kershaw changeup.

The Dodgers-owned channel that goes live at 7 p.m. Tuesday night is only available for now in Southern California to the two million or so who are a Time Warner Cable subscriber. Another handful who have Bright House in Bakersfield are in as well.

The rest are to be determined. And, perhaps, undermined.

Just understand that for Wednesday’s first exhibition game against Arizona at 12:10 p.m., there’s no more Prime Ticket, and no more KCAL Channel 9 – and it could be that way for a few more weeks, or months, or . . .

Let’s look at this it this way:

BeryDjGCMAAC2wCQ: What is the sticking point causing everyone else but TWC to be there from the start?
A:
The subscriber price of the channel, which most claim to be not at high as the $5 reported recently but more in the $4.50 range. But that is the price negotiated between distributor and the carrier, not what is ultimately passed on fully to the customer. However, as monthly bills rise, and surcharges are added, it’s pretty simple math as to what’s propelling it. Sports channels like SportsNet L.A., coming 18 months after the launch of the Laker-heavy TWC SportsNet and TWC Deportes, weigh heavily in this equation. So Cal systems also continue to carry Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket (despite the loss of the Dodgers and Lakers) at a nominal fee. Some also have also added the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports 1 to the mix.
“We’re at a different time in the industry since the Lakers’ channels launched,” said Ed Desser, head of the Santa Monica-based Desser Sports Media, Inc., and a consultant to the Lakers in their hook up with  TWC. “We’ve had a Time Warner and Comcast arrangement take place, Dish Network deciding it didn’t want the Lakers, both telecos (AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS) expanding their distribution, DirecTV becoming a more mature business without the benefit of a data service augmenting its video service.
“With all these things converging at the same time come into play when you’re thinking about how each service will serve its constituents on Wall Street, its shareholders and its subscribers, and also worry about maintaining its cost structures. It’s a very interesting puzzle for each to figure out.”

Q: How invested is Time Warner Cable? Continue reading

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Play it Forward: Feb. 24 to March 2 — It’s only the start to an exhibition schedule, but Dodgers and Angels fans exhibit enthusiasm for it

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Yasiel Puig gets some help before he leaves the Camelback Ranch locker room to start workouts recently. (L.A. Dodgers/Jon SooHoo)

Yasiel Puig gets some help before he leaves the Camelback Ranch locker room to start workouts recently. (L.A. Dodgers/Jon SooHoo)

NO. 1: MLB EXHIBITION: DODGERS vs. ARIZONA
Details/TV: At Phoenix, Wednesday at 12:10 p.m., SportsNet L.A.

Yasiel PuigSo the skinny on Yasiel Puig is he’s put on a few pounds – he’s gone beyond the 250 mark upon entering the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz. He’s already been held out a couple of days’ worth of drills because of swelling above his right knee, the result of fouling a ball of his leg in batting practice. He has also been told to cut back on his long throws from the outfield after mentioning some shoulder soreness – coincidentally, as Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax voiced the opinion that the kid should dial it back a bit this early in the year.
Yasiel PuigThen there’s a video up on Sports Illustrated’s website off the Dodgers’ Vine account showing Puig drilling a pitch from teammate Kenley Jansen that must have landed somewhere by the In-N-Out beyond the Agua Fria Freeway. With all that’s going on around the 23-year-old, maybe he deserves to have his own cable channel, just to make sure we don’t miss anything on the daily run sheet.
In a way, such a thing exists. As the Dodgers launch their own SportsNet L.A. channel this week, just in time for the exhibition season to start, Puig’s every questionable move can be watched.

(AP Photos/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photos/Paul Sancya)

Kind of like that baby monitor you’ve hooked up to make sure all’s good in the crib when it’s out of view. In less than three weeks, selected members of the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will fly thousands of miles south of Arizona, and play two regular-season games in Australia to officially start the 2014 Major League Baseball season, and then come back wondering why they really agreed to do all that. Since the two teams were allowed to start spring training earlier than the other 28, it’s only proper these budding NL West rivals have the first exhibition game of the Grapefruit Season. Vin Scully will call it. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch in it. Perhaps Puig will play in it. And references to “The Wild Horse” Version 2.0 will be game ready.
If only the Angels could figure out a way to do the same kind of 24/7 coverage of that Mike Trout character …

puig-ddtThe rest of the Dodgers’ exhibition week:
vs. Arizona in Glendale, Ariz., Thursday at 12:10 p.m.
vs. Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., Friday at 12:10 p.m.
vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, Saturday at 12:10 p.m.
vs. San Diego at Glendale, Ariz., Sunday at 12:10 p.m.

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Angels’ exhibition schedule begins with:
vs. Chicago Cubs in Tempe, Ariz., Friday at 12:05 p.m., FSWest
vs. Seattle in Peoria, Ariz., Saturday at 12:05 p.m., Prime Ticket
vs. Oakland in Tempe, Ariz., Sunday at 12:05 p.m., FSWest

 

THE BEST OF THE REST: Continue reading

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