Weekly media sports notes version 06.30.16

Illustration by Jim Thompson/https://thompsonsportsart.com

Illustration by Jim Thompson/https://thompsonsportsart.com

What’s worth posting now as June swoons into the Fourth of July weekend:

== Our plan is for a Sunday media appreciation on the sports broadcasting career of Tom Kelly, most associated as the voice of USC sports who died this week just days before his 89th birthday. The story we already posted on it, as well as a piece that current USC play-by-play man Pete Arbogast posted on the Southern California Sports Broadcasters blog.
Included in that post:
“Last time I saw him was at a Southern California Sportscasters luncheon at Lakeside Country Club just before Father’s Day last year. Impeccably dressed as always he seemed like the fun, irascible and bombastic man we’ve all come to know and love. “People used to come up to me and call me ‘Mr. Arbogast,’ and I would deflect that honor to my father, until he passed away. They also like to call me ‘The Voice of the Trojans.’
To me, there will always be only one of those.”

== Not long after Time Warner Cable SportsNet did not announce the departure of Dave Miller as a Lakers studio analyst, the company revealed today through its Charter Cable  parent company that Mike Bresnahan, who has spent the last 12 years as a Lakers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, will join the network as its exclusive “Lakers Insider.” It’s a revolving role he has been part of since the network launched in October, 2012.
Bresnahan’s tweet on the matter.

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Tom Kelly: 1927-2016

Tom Kelly, right, at the Southern California Sports Broadcasters 2014 Awards Luncheon, with current USC broadcaster Pete Arbogast.

Tom Kelly, right, at the Southern California Sports Broadcasters 2013 Awards Luncheon, with current USC broadcaster Pete Arbogast.

Tom Kelly, the signature voice of USC sports starting in the early 1960s and spanning five decades, died Monday morning at his home in Encino after a long battle with cancer.
Kelly died two days before his 89th birthday Wednesday.
“He was one of the most inspirational broadcasters to me personally that I have ever met,” said Chris Roberts, the recently retired voice of UCLA sports after 23 years and current president of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters group.
“He was always encouraging and positive.  He used to say, ‘Hang in there, kid.'”
More at this link.
51O7LXCFJkL== The 2007 book we did with Kelly on his life in broadcasting, updated in 2012.
== Our interview with him early in 2007 about why he was no longer calling USC games.

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Sunday media: The book on heckling, and what the heck we aim to gain from it

A fan with a Dodgers jersey and the name "Problems" wearing No. 99, took advantage of the Dodgers' 2014 expansion of the areas behind the bullpens during a Dodgers-Angels Freeway Series.

A fan with a Dodgers jersey and the name “Problems” wearing No. 99, took advantage of the Dodgers’ 2014 expansion of the areas behind the bullpens during a Dodgers-Angels Freeway Series. And we were there to capture it.

Dodger Stadium was recently renovated to allow fans better access around the entire park — which included putting tables and chairs beyond the bullpen back walls, and planting a full bar nearby.
It seems to be all but asking patrons to have a drink and start heckling the relief pitchers as they warm up – home or visiting team.
9781493024513With the Dodgers this year, it does work both ways.
“I think teams are responding more to people who want to interact more with players and not feel so detached,” said Kevin Nelson, author of the book, “The Official Heckler Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Offending and Irritating the Enemy.”
“And that’s what a heckler can do – knock down that invisible wall between them and the field. And it’s mostly for the good.”
If done correctly. And with the proper intention.
One of the greatest heckles we ever heard at a game: The 2003 Orange Bowl in Miami between USC and Iowa. The Hawkeyes took the lead by running back the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Eventually, the Trojans broke open a 10-10 halftime tie with four consecutive touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter. The game was effectively done and the crowd was just quietly waiting for the scoreboard to click off the remaining time when a fan stood up and yelled: “Attention: There is a tractor in the parking lot with its lights on. Iowa license plate: E-I-E-I-O.”
It worked on many levels, enough to where the Iowa fans in the area could have a laugh as well about it.
What made that particular one work, and one remembered all these years later?
We get more into that aspect, and why it seems Los Angeles lacks a signature sports heckler in these times of YouTube stardom, with this week’s media column effort. Hopefully, you’ll find it at this link. If not you have every reason to start berating our professionalism.

Another form of heckling -- stitched into a scarf -- was on display during the U.S.-Argentina Copa America soccer game in Houston this week. What's the point again?

Another form of heckling — stitched into a scarf — was on display during the U.S.-Argentina Copa America soccer game in Houston this week. What’s the point again?


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Weekly sports media notes version 06.23.16: Football writers recognize Mort; Simmons’ HBO debut is kinda f–ed up

What’s worth posting at this point in the week:

(Photo by Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

(Photo by Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

== Considering what he had to say in his last correspondence with us before the April NFL Draft, wouldn’t that be something if Chris Mortensen was able to make it to Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6 to accept the Professional Football Writers of America’s Dick McCann Award.
Presented to a reporter who “has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage,” it is named for the first director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1962-67) who was also a longtime reporter in New York. Previous recipients include Bob Oates (L.A.Times), Jerry Magee (San Diego Union), Will McDonough (Boston Globe), Paul Zimmerman and Peter King (Sports Illustrated), Dave Anderson (New York Times) and Art Spander (Oakland Tribune).
Mortensen wasn’t up to giving us an update or response to this announcement. Instead, ESPN sent responses by ESPN NFL staffers:
John Clayton, a former PFWA president (1999-2001) and 2007 McCann Award recipient: “Chris is one of our profession’s greatest treasures. As a reporter, he is masterful. Like Will McDonough did, Chris shows that accurate information can educate a fan base. Plus, in every segment, he provides the right information that keeps football fans in the know on what is happening in a rapidly changing sport.”
Adam Schefter, a former PFWA president (2001-03): “There is not a single person in our industry who is more deserving of any single award than Mort is for the McCann Award. It’s based on long and distinguished reporting in professional football, and there’s nobody who has done it longer or in a more distinguished way than Mort. As good of a reporter as he is, he’s a better man, teammate and friend, and the only thing that will give me more joy than seeing him get this award will be getting to work with him again this fall.”

== After waiting it out for about a month for the official announcement that the Rams have an unusual five-year radio partnership with all-sports KSPN-AM (710) and classic rock station KSWD-FM (100.3 The Sound), owned by two different companies, the rumors have started about how these two may end up merging on more than just NFL contests.
RamsRadio1-1-750x400Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications, which owns The Sound as its only station in the L.A. market, has had success with all-sports FM stations in Boston (WEEI-FM 93.7, a simulcast of all sports WEEI-AM 850 and carrying Patriots games), Providence, R.I. (WVEI-FM 103.7) and Memphis (WMFS-FM 92.9, a simulcast of ESPN’s WMFS-AM 830), so it wouldn’t be out of character for it to flip this into the same format, which would make it  L.A.’s first, and loudest, all-sports station on the FM side.
Entercom is the fourth-largest radio broadcasting company in the U.S. with 124 stations in 27 markets. It also owns alternative rock station KBZT-FM (94.9) in San Diego and KGMZ-FM (95.7), aka The Game, an all-sports format in San Francisco/Oakland, carrying Raiders game.
Both Entercom and ESPN, which owns KSPN-710, agreed to a rights fee to carry Rams games on their radio platforms. Sources say that the reason potential Southern California front-runner iHeartMedia, which has powerful stations on both the AM and FM side, didn’t win out here was because it wanted to do a revenue sharing plan with the Rams, and the team didn’t go for it.
KLAC-AM (570), for example, which is part-owned by the Dodgers as well as iHeartRadio and also carries UCLA sports, did a revenue share with the Clippers to get them on board when their previous flagship station, KFWB-AM (980), aka “The Beast,” was sold several months ago.
The Rams’ radio deal puts the bulk of the work on KSPN, starting with producing the show, selling all the advertising for the game and pre- and post-game shows and creating a radio network for outlying cities (including St. Louis?) The Sound 100.3 will simply simulcast the KSPN game call.
Conflicting dates that come up for the Rams and other KSPN programming will be interesting to watch. KSPN is already tied in as the flagship station for the Lakers, USC football and basketball, sometimes with the Angels and carrying the MLB, NBA and college football games nationally distributed on ESPN Radio.
Next up for the Rams is hiring a play-by-play man as well as color analysts, and develop a pre- and post-game show. Those mentioned as possible analysts are former Rams stars Jackie Slater, the Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman who spent 19 of his 20 NFL seasons for the Rams in L.A. and has been coaching at Azusa Pacific, and another Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Eric Dickerson, the running back who tried reporting on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” in 2000.
Also of note: It was revealed at the monthly meeting of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters that KWKW-AM (1330), the ESPN Deportes station in L.A., will have the Spanish-language call of the Rams this season and employ KNBC-Channel 4 sports anchor Mario Solis on play-by-play and Troy Santiago as the analyst. Continue reading

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