What’s on tap for Sunday’s column:
Doug Krikorian’s 22 years writing for the old Herald Examiner and 22 more at the Long Beach Press-Telegram has finally amounted to something.
A collection of stories and columns in his new book “Los Angeles Sports Memories” (The History Press, $21.99, 185 pages) gives us a moment to catch up with the 72-year-old former partner with the late Joe McDonnell on the sports-talk radio waves opens up about the state of today’s sports journalism, how information is consumed and what may be missing from it.
What’s worth posting now:
== An unspecified number of layoffs and programming cutbacks have taken place at Time Warner Cable’s El Segundo-based TWC SportsNet (home of the Lakers, Galaxy and Sparks), SportsNet LA (home of the Dodgers) and Spanish-language TWC Deportes, according to several sources and confirmed by the company this morning.
Details on how many were let go and how it broke down by departments was not detailed. Sources indicated more than 30 people have been let go at Deportes, including all of its on-air talent, meaning no more pre- or post-game shows for the Galaxy or any kind of programming not related to live event coverage.
TWC SportsNet will also cut back on ancillary coverage surrounding the Lakers, Sparks and Galaxy. The Dodgers’ SportsNet LA will stop producing news shows such as Dodgers Clubhouse and Larry King At Bat.
A TWC spokesman said the popular “Backstage” shows, which are produced in-house, will remain.
“We recently made some changes to our programming for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes and SportsNet LA. As we fine-tuned the programming, it naturally meant that we would make some staffing changes as well,” said TWC in a statement. “Like many other networks, we’re now past the ‘start-up’ stage and we have a greater handle on what our viewers want to see, and how to staff for that.”
TWC SportsNet and the Spanish-language Deportes, owned by TWC, launched in Oct., 2012. The launch of SportsNet LA, owned by the Dodgers and distributed through TWC, came in February, 2014.
In a memo to staff employees, TWC Sports indicated the struggling ratings were the reason for the cutbacks.
Ratings are related to sluggish distribution.
The Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. continues to stall in moving forward on carriage deals with marquee distributors such as DirecTV, Dish, Verizon FIOS, AT&T U-verse. Failure to have outlets other than Time Warner Cable and Charter leads to problems with the reported $8 billion committed to the Dodgers in rights fees over the next 20-plus years.
Then again, not all carriers — including Dish Network — have TWC SportsNet.
Sources also say that because of the recently approved merger of Charter with Time Warner Cable, these kind of business moves are not uncommon in the consolidation process.
The Galaxy said in a statement: “Time Warner is a valued partner. We’ll continue to work with them to provide the most robust coverage of the Galaxy in LA.”
(Staff writer Jaime Cardenas contributed to this post)
== A new gig as the TV analyst on the Milwaukee Bucks’ games has led to Marques Johnson saying in this report that he’s about to leave his morning radio gig at The Beast 980. The plan seems to be a 55-game schedule for the NBA team on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
Johnson’s NBA career began in Milwaukee when the Bucks took the first Wooden Award winner out of UCLA with the No. 3 overall pick in 1977. He played seven seasons with the Bucks, making the playoffs six times. Three of his last four seasons as an active player after that were with the Clippers.
The former L.A. City Player of the Year out of Crenshaw High also spent several seasons as a color analyst on the UCLA radio games, including the 1995 national championship run.
Meanwhile, Screamin’ Gus Johnson couldn’t pass on a Bucks’ play-by-play job either.
== The future of the Pac-12 Network hooking up with the new AT&T-owned DirecTV continues to move sluggishly along despite the optimism the conference commissioner Larry Smith once had just two months ago when the corporate merger was approved.
San Jose Mercury reporter (and former L.A. Daily News UCLA beat writer) Jon Wilner appears to have more than inside track on documenting how the latest talks have been focused on AT&T trying to get an ownership share of the network, but the conference presidents voting that down. It leaves more of a mess to clean up and move on from as talks refocus on the next step.
“The lack of carriage on DirecTV has been a pitch-dark cloud hanging over the networks for three years and now shows no signs of dissipating,” writes Wilner. “Could AT&T come back with a different/better offer for the league? Never say never. But the fact that we’re two weeks into the season and things are back to zero … it sure seems unlikely the situation will change over the next few months.
“I have to think Scott and Pac12Nets president Lydia Murphy-Stephans are extremely disappointed that AT&T’s executives, with whom the conference has an existing deal, went for a pound of flesh. It tells you a lot about how AT&T views the potential impact of the Pac12Nets on DirecTV.”
== Congrats to Steve Lavin, the former UCLA coach who fashioned himself as an ESPN college basketball analyst, for landing a new gig with the Pac-12 Network as a studio and game analyst.
“Steve is a natural fit for Pac-12 Networks,” said Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans. “His success as a coach at UCLA and his experience in the broadcast booth will instantly make him a key player on our team. He’s insightful, has great energy and his knowledge of the college basketball landscape will be invaluable to our coverage.”
Lavin, 51, most recently coached at St. John’s (2010-15) while he recovered from a fight with cancer.
Lavin’s first appearance for the net will be on the basketball media day special from the San Francisco studios on Oct. 15.
== It’s not always so much who really wants to hire Don Orsillo next — we figure San Diego is in play if Dick Enberg decides to retire, and the Angels could have openings if they don’t rehire Victor Rojas or Terry Smith — but what about this note that Dave O’Brien talked to the Dodgers?
== If Rojas’ six-year run with the Angels ends because his contract isn’t renewed, he has a chance to introduce himself to new employers by linking them to the hour-plus interview he did with Beto Duran’s “Living The Dream” postcast.
There, he explains how he persistently navigated his way toward the Angels’ TV gig by working minor league jobs, latching onto MLB.com, and further networking — without any help from his dad, former Angels manager Cookie Rojas. Which he points out himself in a strange way.
As Duran cites a story on Fusion.net back in April that tries to figure out why MLB broadcasters are mostly white males at a time when the demographics of the players in the game show a surge in Latinos and a decline in whites, Rojas addresses it from his perspective: “I was very surprised and a little disheartened. To me, I try to lead by example. I hate the spotlight. I love radio because it’s low key. The TV side of the business, there’s a lot of moving parts to it, some I like, some I don’t. I’ve never been one to seek the limelight. Walk quietly and move along and make your way.”
Rojas also told Duran about the best piece of advice he’s received: “It sounds so cliche, but don’t worry about what other people are doing. Carve out your own niche. You have to fail to succeed. I have a number of failures. You have to avoid all the noise and static that’s around you. If you start listening to all the crap that’s out there, it’ll alter the way you do things. I shun it. I don’t listen to anything, I don’t read anything, I just do my own thing. … Be humble but do it your own way.”
For all we’ve written and tweeted in the past about Rojas — particularly his insistence of not letting viewers know when a no-hitter is in progress for an Angels pitcher and an overuse of minor-league phrases such as “big fly” to describe home runs — this exchange with Duran does put him in a favorable light. We understand better the grind he went through to get to this point. Well done.
== Another podcast recommendation: The Fabulous Sports Babe, aka Nanci Donnellan, has a place on iTunes with a couple of shows already filed, including one with USA Today’s Christine Brennan.
In 2012, when we did a list of the 40 women in the sports media who benefited from over the passage of Title IX 40 years earlier, “The Babe” made the cut. As did Brennan.
A piece on Donnellan from Grantland.com in 2012.
== Connie Desmond, whom Vin Scully has described as an uncle figure to him when they were part of the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast team with Red Barber in the 1950s, is one of 21 nominations for the 2016 Ford Frick Award for broadcasting excellence by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This year’s list is limited to those whose work was mostly heard on radio from the 1920s to the mid-1950s, which the Hall is calling the “Broadcasting Dawn Era.”
Desmond joined Barber on the Dodgers broadcasts in 1943, and was with Scully from 1950-56.
Fans are allowed to vote online at www.facebook.com/baseballhall until Oct. 2 to narrow the list to a final 10 that will be voted on by previous Frick winners (which includes Scully, Jaime Jarrin and now Dick Enberg) and those part of the selection committee.
Among the others on the ballot, perhaps radio sports pioneer Graham McNamee stands out as the most notable and truly deserving. Enberg has referred to McNamee as “the father to us all” and the inventor of play-by-play but some have said he did not have a career that was long enough in baseball to merit serious consideration.
Others on the ballot: Dick Bray, Jim Britt, Bill Dyer, Pat Flanagan, Jack Graney, Claude Haring, Harry Hartman, Harry Heilmann, George Helfer, Fred Hoey, Tom Hussey, France Laux, Tom Manning, Jocko Maxwell, Johnny O’Hara, Rosey Rowswell, Hal Totten, Ty Tyson and Bert Wilson.
In the fall of 2016, the cycle will feature candidates from the mid 1980s to the present, referred to as the “High Tide Era.” In 2017, it will focus on the “Living Room Era” of the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s.
== An update on Jarrin’s future with the Dodgers — three more years? — from beat writer JP Hoornstra.
== Milo Hamilton, whose 60 years calling MLB games is second all-time to the 66-and-counting by the Dodgers’ Scully, died Thursday at the age of 88. He retired nearly three years ago after working for the Houston Astros. He received the Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.
Here’s New York Times obituary.
== Line of the night during the Dodgers-Rockies’ marathon affair last Tuesday: As Colorado’s Gonzalez German came into the game, in the bottom of the 16th, at about 12:30 in the morning, Scully mentioned that the pitcher was from the Dominican Republic. As were many others earlier in the contest that used an MLB-record 58 players for a single game.
“Are there any people left in the Dominican? No,” Scully asked at that point early Wednesday morning.
== TBS’ National League playoff coverage will include Dusty Baker in the studio with Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield, with host Casey Stern. The studio team will start warming up with the Sunday, Sept. 27 regular-season telecast.
== Josh Suchon, the Triple-A Albuquerque Istopes play-by-play man and former KABC-AM “Dodger Talk” co-host who we recently mentioned in a column about possible Vin Scully replacements, did a book on the Dodgers’ last World Series team in 2013 called “Miracle Men: Hershiser, Gibson, and the Improbable 1988 Dodgers.”
He’s got another book worth searching out from Arcadia Publishing/HistoryPress: “Murder in Pleasanton” that is neatly laid out in this story linked here.
== One more book to mention: Whitney Blaine, who covered USC recently for SCPlaybook, has published “Stop Doing What You Should: The Millennial’s Guide to Navigating Your Most Rewarding Career Path,” written by a millennial about what millennials are up against in the job market.
It’s a $14.99 investment from a USC journalism grad who has worked for ESPN, Fox Sports and the Associated Press, as well as the Wasserman Media Group.
== Since Jim Watson will be calling the Oregon State-San Jose State football in Corvalis, Ore., for the Pac-12 Network on Saturday, Mary Murphy moves over from season-long analyst to do play-by-play on the TWC SportsNet broadcast of the Sparks’ Game 1 of the WNBA Western Conference semifinal series at Minnesota on Friday at 6 p.m. Dave Miller will be the analyst.
Sunday’s Game 2 at noon from Staples Center goes to ESPN’s Ryan Ruocco, Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe. A possible Game 3 on Tuesday will air on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. from Minnesota with Ruocco, Lobo and Rowe.
== Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Todd McShay have the call on USC-Stanford from the Coliseum (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7). The ESPN A-team of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will do Ole Miss-Alabama from Tuscaloosa, Ala., with a 6:15 p.m. PT kickoff, having already been there for the “ESPN College GameDay” festivities in the morning.
== Joe Davis, Brady Quinn and Kris Budden call UCLA-BYU from the Rose Bowl (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., FS1).
The best of the rest in Week 3:
= No. 4 Michigan State hosting Air Force: Saturday at 9 a.m., Channel 7 (Dave Pasch, Brian Griese); No. 12 Oregon hosting Georgia State: Saturday at 11 a.m., Pac-12 Network (JB Long, Evan Moore); No. 1 Ohio State hosting Northern Illinois: Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7 (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham); No. 8 Notre Dame hosting No. 14 Georgia Tech: Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Dan Hicks, Doug Flutie); No. 13 LSU hosting No. 18 Auburn: Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 2 (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson); Florida at Kentucky: Saturday at 4:30 p.m., SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer)
And those looking ahead to the USC and UCLA opponents for Week 4:
= Arizona State hosts New Mexico, tonight at 7 p.m., Pac-12 Net (Ted Robinson and Glenn Parker).
= No. 20 Arizona hosting Northern Arizona, Saturday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Net (Roxy Bernstein, Glenn Parker)
== An early review of Showtime’s “A Season With Notre Dame Football” has the makings of something worth keeping an eye on as the Irish’s home game against USC comes up in about a month, writes Michael Lev of the OC Register. New episodes appear every Tuesday, with the third one coming up after Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.
== And what are we supposed to do when Alabama coach Nick Saban says don’t read the unauthorized biography about him? Probably go find it, according to Norman Chad.
== Week 2 of the NFL in L.A. for those without DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” (but are still getting a lot of mileage out of Andrew Siciliano and the “Red Zone Channel” has these six offerings of the 16 available games:
= CBS co-exists with the NFL Network on Denver-Kansas City tonight (5:25 p.m., with Jim Nantz and Phil Sims)
= CBS has the single game this week and six choices but it obligated to send the Chargers’ game at Cincinnati to L.A. in the 10 a.m. window (with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts). It means no sniff of New England-Buffalo, or Oakland hosting Baltimore.
= Fox’s doubleheader starts with San Francisco at Pittsburgh (10 a.m., with Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston) and bypasses, among others, St. Louis at Washington and Arizona at Chicago. The second game at 1:25 p.m. has Dallas-Philadelphia going to nearly 100 percent of the country (with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman).
= NBC’s prime-time game, competing with the Emmy Awards, is Seattle-Green Bay (5:30 p.m., Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth).
= ESPN’s Monday night affair is N.Y. Giants-Indianapolis (5:30 p.m., Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden).
== Lead story for Episode No. 222 in HBO’s “Real Sports” has reporter Bernie Goldberg going one-on-one with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a piece called “Jerry World” (debuts Tuesday, 10 p.m.). The most intriguing piece may be by reporter David Scott about 19-year-old India sprinter Dutee Chand, whose body naturally produces such high levels of testosterone that trigger IAAF testing standards saying she has an unfair advantage. The last piece by Jon Frankel goes to the Swiss Alps for a report on wingsuiting, where athletes fling themselves unregulated off cliffs in nylon suits.
= CBS Sports’ James Brown has written in a letter to his “younger self” on ThePlayersTribune.com:
“You will star in basketball at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, recruited by virtually every major college in the country. After much deliberation, you’ll choose Harvard over North Carolina. But then a letter will come from UCLA, requesting a visit. Westwood is becoming the Mecca of basketball under John Wooden. You’ll tell mom about the letter, that you need to visit.
” ‘You shook hands with Harvard,’ she’ll say. ‘You gave them your word. You’re going to be a man of your word and stick by that.’
“Decades later, at the end of your contract with Fox, where you’ll serve as co-host of their Sunday NFL pregame show, protracted negotiations will create an opportunity to return to your first network home, CBS. You will shake hands with the CBS folks. Shortly thereafter, Fox will come back hoping to close the deal, but you will have already given your word to CBS. Remembering mom’s credo, you will honor your word.”
== Highlights of the NHL TV schedules released this week by the Kings and Ducks:
= The Kings have 69 games planned for Fox Sports West (or Prime Ticket)t, with three on KCOP-Channel 13 and 10 more on NBCSN and/or NBC. The Kings’ opener at Staples Center on Wednesday, Oct. 7 against San Jose is on NBCSN. Games scheduled late in the 2015-16 part of the season on KCOP-Channel 13 are produced by FSW. Bob Miller starts his 43rd season on play-by-play and analyst Jim Fox starts his 26th.
= The Ducks also have all games scheduled to air on TV, with 75 in Prime Ticket (or FSW), three on KCOP-Channel 13 and four on NBCSN. The Ducks open Saturday, Oct. 10 at San Jose. John Ahlers starts his 14th season on play-by-play with Brian Hayward starting his 23rd season as analyst.
== Layoffs at the New York Daily News seem to have affected the status of sportswriters such as Mike Lupica, Bill Madden, Filip Bondy, Wayne Coffey and Hank Gola, plus assistant managing editor for sports Teri Thompson.
== Chris Berman, who would be wise to never take a suggestion by ESPN management to call another NFL game, defends himself in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune Q-and-A that was done before last Monday’s call of the Vikings-49ers game. Among the better tweets sent out about Berman’s performance, some while it was taking place:
Chris Berman and Trent Dilfer are calling the second game in case you want to practice watching a football game in hell — Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) September 15, 2015
You’ll watch because you love the game/fantasy/gambling/whatever, but you deserve much better than Chris Berman tonight as viewers. — Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) September 14, 2015
== Did you at least appreciate ESPN’s new pylon camera?
== Quick observation about Colin Cowherd’s new FS1-transmittion of the syndicated radio show from Fox’s Pico Lot: Kristine Leahy is in the studio for what reason other than to have a pasted smile on her face and listen to Cowherd’s rants but adding a quick giggle and an innocuous comment? She’s adding to a discussion or simply a high-paid listener when not doing the pseudo news updates at the top of each hour?
== Meanwhile, Cowherd wants everyone in Twitterland to know he’s got another book of his rants coming out:
== Golf.com already has a list of 11 candidates who could replace David Feherty at CBS. Among them: John Daly, Lou Holtz, Barack Obama, Christina Kim and Norm McDonald. OK, we thought they were going to be at least somewhat serious. Except Brandal Chamblee and Steve Elkington were included.
== One more thought about Feherty’s move from CBS to NBC in the golf world: As the news came out Tuesday, he sent out a tweet that read: “After 19 great years at CBS today I’ve signed a new deal with @GolfChannel and @NBCSports. Which one of them will fire me first?”
Neither will. Or should.
About co-existing with Johnny Miller on NBC golf broadcasts, NBC Sports chief Tommy Roy says: ”I’m so looking forward to hearing the repartee between David and Johnny Miller. It’s going to be some pretty damned good television.”
Feherty expects as much as well.
”Johnny has got a great heart, very kind, but brutally honest,” Feherty said. ”I really admire that in a person, that honesty. You just say what you feel sometimes, the first thing that comes into your head. It can get you in trouble, and I’m familiar with that, but it’s always refreshing.”
== So we’re apparently all good with ESPN’s Rece Davis getting involved in an ad campaign for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — see the video ad above — and that includes “changing his name” to show that he’s all in?
Davis is what the candy company now calls a “brand ambassador.” So is Kirk Herbstreit.
In the way that slopes can get slippery, and imaginations run wild, you do see how this could lead to other “name-changing” endorsement deals with more sports media people, right?
Steve Levy gets a deal with Levis. Terry Gannon for Dannon Yogurt. Michelle Beadle for …
Yup, we’ll just stop here.