Before the holiday weekend begins, what’s worth posting now:
== There is more evidence supporting the rumors that the Rams are about to lock down a radio deal to have their games heard both on all-sports KSPN-AM (710) and classic rock station The Sound 100.3 FM.
It’s a rather odd arranged marriage with the AM side supported by ESPN Radio/Disney Corp., and the FM affiliate from Entercom.
The favorite going in had to be the iHeartRadio combo of KLAC-AM (570) paired up with any of its FM affiliates, most notably KLOS (95.5), KIIS (102.7), ALT (98.7) or Power 106.
How did they possibly fumble this one?
Cross promotion is usually thought to be the key, which can be done cleaner with stations owned by the same company.
Sports-talk programmers in L.A. have been handicapped since the mid-’90s in not having a local NFL team to either promote or talk about, and many over the last 20 years insist that a connection with an NFL franchise would do wonders to boost ratings and impact in the genre.
KSPN, which already has the Lakers and USC football and basketball, seems to think it can make the Rams fit in there as well. Why not? KLAC, with the Dodgers, UCLA football and basketball, and the Clippers during the playoffs as a late edition, also has several overflow channels large enough to accommodate scheduling conflicts.
One of the more interesting notions was that KABC-AM (790), which has the Kings, was going to have the Rams, and could have made it almost all-day programming considering what else the station has to offer. Cumulus currently owns KABC, but it also has somewhat of a partnership with KSPN-AM, which likely would send live games to if there was a conflict.
Next up: Hiring a broadcast team that might be compared someday to the Dick Enberg-Don Drysdale pairing of old on KMPC-AM (710).
Steve Savard, the news anchor at St. Louis’ KMOV, had been calling Rams games with former player D’Marco Farr. There should be a long list of local talent that would be willing to jump into this position, with KSPN talent expected to be included on pre- and post-game coverage.
== The Southern California Sports Broadcasters have announced that The Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award will be added to its annual recognition ceremony, starting in January, 2017, and that Vin Scully will be the first recipient. Former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley has also agreed to introduce Scully for that inaugural award.
“At the SCSB we are delighted to have both men in attendance,” said current group president Chris Roberts, the recently retired voice of UCLA sports. “Who better to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award than the greatest broadcaster of our time?”
== You’ll see stories with provocative headlines pop up these days, such as:
“Did you know Vin Scully almost became John Madden’s partner at CBS?”
Actually, yes, we did. Scully was Madden’s partner, which included the 1982 “The Catch” NFC title game, until Pat Summerall was officially named Madden’s boothmate.
But as is the case with Scully now, everything old is new again, repackaged as news. Because looking back to see how events of the past reflect on today are another way to celebrate Scully’s presumed final year in the Dodgers’ broadcast booth.
The story is in reference to a long New York Times’ piece by Rob Weintraub that basically quotes former CBS exec Terry O’Neil’s recollections of that moment in network sports TV in the early 1980s. Scully isn’t quoted.
With each week that is whittled off the 2016 schedule, more stories appear. More of Scully’s time is requested, and more of his recollections come through.
It’s almost as if today’s best sportswriters are writing a book on Scully’s career, chapter by chapter, all to be put into a giant binding sometime at the end of the year.
The latest editions:
= The Wall Street Journal had Jason Gay out to do a “why leave now?” piece.
“I’ll miss it,” Scully says. “I know I’ll be very unhappy for a while.”
= The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman wrote an essay recently about how “Today’s baseball would have no room for the brilliance of a young Vin Scully.”
“Listening to Scully through the magic of baseball’s satellite of love is to be touched by real irony,” Raissman wrote. “It is to know this man, whose skills go unmatched, would never be hired today.”
= The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick recalls a time Scully was very upset after the way fans in Detroit reacted to the Tigers winning the 1984 World Series, which Scully called for NBC.
“Man, was he angry, indisputably and understandably angry, raging against that storm,” wrote Musnick. “That Sunday afternoon, after all, the World Series, as described brilliantly to a national audience by Vin Scully, concluded with a riot — personally described to me by Vin Scully. When our conversation ended and I looked at my note pad. I didn’t have much.
“I still am unsure if it was a good thing that I happened to be on the phone with Scully as that riot erupted — whether it was some sort of luck-of-the-draw privilege to have heard Vin Scully blow his top — but I felt almost as if I had been eavesdropping.”
We’ll collect and link to as many Scully stories as they come each week. Just because.
== Then there are stories couched as breaking news about Scully that have no news value at all. Just because.
== You’re in luck: Joe Buck’s forthcoming autobiography, “Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad and The Things I’m Not Allowed to Say On TV” is available for preorder prior to its November release.
== Two national Dodgers broadcasts this weekend on their trip to New York to face the Mets: A-team Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal will have the call for Saturday’s Fox coverage (Channel 11, 4 p.m.), while A-team Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza, Aaron Boone and Buster Olney return with ESPN2’s “Sunday Night Baseball” (Sunday, 5 p.m., with ESPN dedicated to the NBA Eastern Conference Game 7 even if it doesn’t happen).
Mendoza will also be with ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA softball super regionals this week, working at the Tuscaloosa, Ala., site with Beth Mowins and Michele Smith on the Alabama-Washington best-of-three series that starts Friday and has at least one game on Saturday (2:30 p.m., ESPN) with a second game if needed (5:30 p.m., ESPN2) before Mendoza has to jet out.
UCLA begins play in the Eugene Super Regional on Saturday, 6:30 p.m., against Oregon on ESPN, with Mark Neely and Danielle Lawrie calling it. The two teams also play Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPNU and, if needed, Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU in the best-of-three series.
The Super Regionals feed into the final eight teams that compete in Oklahoma City.
== The Pac-12 Network has play-by-play men Rich Burk (Friday) and Guy Haberman (Saturday and Sunday) with Kevin Stocker on UCLA’s baseball trip to Oregon State — Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m., Sunday at 11 a.m.
Meanwhile, Daron Sutton and Scott Erickson call USC’s baseball trip to Arizona State — Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
== Among the result of a 19-page report that dealt with the topic of student-athlete time demands, the Pac-12 CEO group (all the presidents and chancellors of the schools) announced this week that part of the process to “modernize intercollegiate athletics” would be to reduce night-time kickoffs for football games.
The specific wording from the conference press release regarding this issue:
The presidents and chancellors approved a recommendation from the Pac-12 Council to modify the Conference’s TV agreements with ESPN and FOX and reduce the number of Pac-12 Networks Saturday night football games (start time of 7 p.m. or later). Under the modification, a Pac-12 Network game can now start either at 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. local and overlap with an ESPN or FOX exclusive TV window. This change is expected to reduce the number of Pac-12 Networks night games by as many as four contests.
“The Pac-12 has some of the most loyal fans in college athletics and we appreciate our television partners working with us on this important issue for fans,” said Rob Mullens, University of Oregon athletic director. “The increased exposure and revenue from our contract with ESPN and FOX has been instrumental to our success, but we continue to work hard to minimize as much as possible the negative impact late start times have on our fans who travel great distances to see our teams in person.”
While this is all done with the “student-athlete” best interest in mind, another way to modernize the brave new viewing experience for those who consume Pac-12 football and end up paying the bills through cable and satellite TV subscriptions: Investigate a way to stagger coverage of a USC and UCLA football game on the same day, instead of having them so often end up airing head to head.
== Sports-genre entries listed amidst those entered into the L.A. Film Festival, running Wednesday June 1 to Thursday June 9:
= “Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story” (June 2, 9 p.m.)
= “Tracktown” (June 4, 6:45 p.m., and June 7, 6:30 p.m.)
= “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” (June 4, 1:10 p.m.)
= “Kicks” (June 8, 8:35 p.m.)
= “The Last Gold” (June 6, 6:30 p.m.)
There’s also something called “Outside Comedy: Beth Stelling,” part of a web series that also falls into the “LA Stories” category.
Individual tickets run $15, but there are free screening information on the website.
== For the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 (Sunday, 9 a.m.), ABC is going with 100 cameras. The network is covering its 52nd consecutive race, with the pre-race show starting at 8 a.m. and the green flag expected to go at 9:17 a.m.
Allen Bestwick, Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever call it with pit reporters Jon Beekhuis, Rick DeBruhl and Dr. Jerry Punch, all hosted by Lindsay Czarniak.
Of those 100 cameras, 12 cars have three each, including Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti. Cameras will also be in a blimp and a helicopter, plus four robotics over the pits. The coverage also have four Ultra Hi Motion cameras that can generate images up to 20 times slower than live action.
The microphone count: 287, with 26 of them in the cars. There are about 200 production crew members involved as well. A secondary feed on onboard cameras will also be available on ESPN3.
Amy Rosenfeld is the senior coordinating producer of the coverage, with Kate Jackson as the coordinating producer. Jim Gaiero produces and Bruce Watson directs, with Shawn Murphy, who produced the race the last three years, now there as a special consultant for the team.
Among the pre-race features: A round table with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears — the only four-time winners of the race, moderated by Bestwick.
It was also a big enough deal this week that ESPN announced the local Indianapolis blackout was lifted on WRTV, the ABC affiliate, since the race is a sellout. It’s only the third time the race is going live to Central Indiana and the first since 1950. Usually, the station airs a replay of the event at 7 p.m. ET on the day of the race — which is also how most of the country used to see it until ABC started airing it live since 1986.
== Also Sunday: Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Will Buxton will all be on site for the live call of the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix (Channel 4, 4:30 a.m.) Qualifying is Saturday at 5 a.m. on NBCSN.
== Eamon McAnaney, Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra have ESPN2’s coverage of the NCAA men’s lacrosse championship (Monday, 10 a.m., at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia). The semifinals between Loyola of Maryland-North Carolina and Maryland-Brown air Saturday on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Also: John Brickley, Sheehan Stanwick and Halley Quillinan have the call on the NCAA women’s lacrosse championship from Chester, Pa. (Sunday, 9 a.m., ESPNU). The semifinals between Penn State-North Carolina and Maryland-Syracuse air at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday on ESPN3.
== The July 13 ESPY Awards will include the Jimmy V Perseverance Award given to TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager, as he continues to work despite his battle with leukemia going back to 2014.
This isn’t to be confused with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, which last year got a lot of people discombobulated when it was bestowed upon Caitlin Jenner.
Robin Roberts, the former “SportsCenter” anchor now at ABC who had a public fight with cancer as well as coming out, got the Ashe Award in 2013. Stuart Scott, the late ESPN anchor who lost his battle with cancer, was the 2014 recipient of the Jimmy V Perseverance award, established in 2007.
Said ESPYs exec producer Maura Mandt: “Craig’s positive attitude and passion have always been cornerstones of the coverage he does for TNT and those attributes are a large part of what endears him to fans. He serves as an inspiration to many as he continues his work while battling this devastating disease.”
== While awaiting the official launch of Bill Simmons’ TheRinger.com, editor-at-large Bryan Curtis, who will write more about the sports and media as it evolves, has a link to an interview he did with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt about the “life and death of the TV sports highlight.”
== An update on Turner Sports coverage of the E-League from its Atlanta studios.
== Multichannel News reports that long-time programming executive Michael Bair will be next in line to oversee the Time Warner Cable sports channels — including TWC SportsNet and SportsNet LA in Southern California — following the merger of Charter and Time Warner Cable into a company that will be known as Spectrum.
The Sports Business Daily also reported the appointment of Bair, the former MSG Media chief, tol have the spot vacated by David Rone last October.
== And finally:
= Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan doesn’t seem to be lobbying anytime soon for his team to be next up on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” Censorship and media are the key words thrown around based on his latest missive about how the team’s next part of training camp should be covered.
ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley came out in support of Ryan’s posturing as a “smart play.” And, as usual, he makes sense.
The news caused Jeff Legwold, President of the Professional Football Writers of America, to call it “a vast over-reach of the guidelines in the (NFL’s) current media policy.” Legwold added, the Bills’ policy is “not only unnecessary, it is not in compliance.”
Why not instead of complaining, the media just shut down coverage of practice all together?