Media column version 03.29.15: The end for UCLA’s Chris Roberts? ‘I’m not going to close the door on anything’

IMG_3164There was less than two minutes left in what was already an unexpectedly extended season for UCLA’s basketball season Friday night in Houston when the CBS cameras fixed on Chris Roberts.

“He’s something else,” remarked Jim Nantz, as Roberts stayed focused on listening to partner Tracy Murray as they described to the KLAC radio audience what remained of the Bruins’ 12-point loss to Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

“A legend out there in Los Angeles,” Nantz added.

“Great guy,” chimed in Bill Raftery. “I’ve got to know him over the years and he said it’s either Yellowstone or Rome on his first trip. I said, ‘Try Rome’.”

Actually, the first trip for Roberts on the first day of the rest of his life was flying back from Texas on Saturday morning and then settling into his Glendora home, where he continued to sort through texts, tweets and Facebook posts that had been forwarded to him.

Not that he could read the original versions. He’s not a big social media hound.

“I was flabbergasted, you know?” he said of the face time and accolades he received from the CBS crew. “I just get zoned in when I’m doing games and maybe it was better that I didn’t know the camera was there. I was still into the game, even at that point.”

But at this point, as Roberts’ 23-year-run as the Bruins’ radio voice of football and basketball coming to an official end with a mutually agreed-upon retirement, is it really the end?

Continue reading

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Media column weekly notes version 03.27.15 — What if this UCLA (and Roberts) fun run comes to an end tonight?

Photo by Don Liebig/

Photo by Don Liebig/

Coming Sunday:

Chances are that UCLA play-by-play man Chris Roberts finishes his run either after calling tonight’s Bruins game against Gonzaga in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Sweet 16 from the South Regional in Houston. Or it could come Sunday if the Bruins advance to the Elite Eight.
A Final Four appearance? Let’s not get greedy. Let’s just try to capture what this extended period has meant for Roberts, as well has his broadcast partners, one step at a time.

Other news of note from the week to catch up on:

== There’s the Charles Barkley who can’t figure out where the NCAA Final Four is being played this year — Indianapolis or “In The Annapolis” — during a credit card commercial with Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson navigating. That’s a spoof. Playing off his intelligence. Done for laughs.
Then there’s the Barkley whose mere presence in the studio for the NCAA tournament for CBS and Turner apparently means that he can’t be corrected when he blatantly tries to pretend he knows what’s going on in a game right before him and is completely off base.
Barkley’s comments about Kansas freshman Cliff Alexander “playing pretty good” in Sunday’s contest when, in fact, Anderson hasn’t played in a game since late February, got a lot more run than might have been expected, opening the wounds for those who believe Barkley has no business lending his “Barkleyisms” to this particular event.
Mark Heisler, the current NBA columnist for the L.A. News Group, took the apparent acceptance of the Barkley “B.S. meter” in a piece for that came under the intriguing headline: “Putting Madness In March: CBS Sells Out NCAA Tourney Coverage, Lives To Regret It.” The bigger problem, as Heisler points out, is the NBA game is different from college, and putting NBA analysts on the college games isn’t such a clean transition. Still. Heisler pointed out that the worst fears of Billy Packer back in 2011 are being realized.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman points out “there are two sets of rules for analysts: One for Barkley and one for everybody else. That’s why they call it Madness.”
“Live TV is difficult,” wrote Jason McIntyre for “Want to chalk this up to a slip of the tongue? That’s fine. But nobody on the set bothered correct him.”
Now, about Barkley telling a TMZ reporter that he’s tired of critics calling out President Obama for filling out a publicized bracket, and they’re only doing so “because he’s black …”

charles-barkley-champain-winning-emmy== It must be noted — if only for amazement purposes — that Barkley a previous winner, was nominated again for a Sports Emmy Award in the “Outstanding Sports Personality — Studio Analyst” category, with the Pac-12 Network’s Rick Neuheisel (now at CBS) and the MLB Network’s Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds.
Reynolds also somehow got an Emmy nomination for his game analysis work on Fox and the MLB Network. His competition includes Jon Gruden (ESPN), Cris Collinsworth (NBC), Jeff Van Gundy (ESPN/ABC) and Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN/ABC).
Ahem ….
Also worth glossing over from release of other nominations for the 36th annual event:
= There are 40 categories, and 190 nominees, guaranteed to fill the ballroom with optimism when they’re finally given out on May 5.
= ESPN/ABC (57) and NBC Sports Group (42) were the only networks/organizations with more than 40 nominations.
= The XXII Winter Olympics had 15 nominations for NBC and its broadcast partners, while the ESPN2 program “E:60″ had seven nominations — the same as Fox Sports 1′s new “Fox Sports Live” show and ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
= The “Outstanding Sports Documentary” category may be four pieces you’ve never seen: “McConkey,” about extreme freeskier Shane McConkey and aired on Starz; “Payne,” about golfer Payne Stewart that was on the Golf Channel; “SEC Storied: It’s Time” on the SEC Network (from ESPN Films), and “We Could Be King”, which aired on ESPNews.
= Four of the five nominees for “Best Sports Journalism” are from HBO’s “Real Sports.”
29906170001_3970889793001_video-still-for-video-3970877127001= The list of “Outstanding Sports Personalities — Studio Host” includes NBC/MLB Network’s Bob Costas, NFL Network/DirecTV’s Rich Eisen, TNT’s Ernie Johnson, ESPN2′s Keith Olbermann, the MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian and the late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott.
= The play-by-play nominees somehow did not include Al Michaels. They are, instead: Bob Costas (MLB Network), Mike Breen (ESPN/ABC), Ian Eagle (TNT/TBS/CBS), Mike Emrick (NBC) and Dan Hicks (NBC/Golf Channel).
= They do recognize “Outstanding Reporting.” With that, comes someone who’ll win that category from Ken Rosenthal (Fox/MLB Network), Holly Rowe (ESPN), Lisa Salters (ESPN/ABC), Michele Tafoya (NBC), Tom Verducci (MLB Network) and Tracy Wolfson (CBS/TNT/TBS). Sorry, Erin. And Pam. And anyone else on Fox NFL coverage.

== One can speak with more authority and with a clear path about the ridiculous conflicts of interest that exist in today’s media and the teams they cover — particularly when their media employer no longer has an obvious conflict (ie: The Dodgers were once owned by Fox).
“It’s such a big business that everyone is in bed with everyone else — which is really bad,” Katie Nolan boiled it down on a recent episode of her Sunday show “Garbage Time” on FS1.
“So what’s the solution? I’ll be honest, I have no idea. … But at this point, no one’s even acknowledging this is really a problem, so I think that’s a start. …. Somebody get working on that. Not me. I’m very busy.”
A start? Not to expose a lack of a simple Google search as in-depth research, but there have been plenty addressing this particular issue. Here, for at least the last 30 years.
Acknowledging that might be a healthy start.

== “Do you know who W.C. Heinz is?Buzz Bissinger once looked his nose down at editor Will Leitch during a pannel discussion on an HBO show called “Costas Now” back in 2008.
“Did you ever read him?”
Well, did you? Leitch, in fact, did. Which only seemed to upset Bissinger even more.
811OFwu7sdLNow, you can read W.C., too. To avoid the complete dumbing down of today’s society, as Bissinger would have you know it.
The new book by the Library of America, “The Top Of His Game: The Best Sportswriting of W.C. Heinz” was released recently, edited by Bill Littlefield.
“The work that appeared in the (New York) Sun under the byline of ‘W.C. Heinz’ can be categorized as ‘human interest stories’ in the same sense that the work of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Kurt Vonnegut and Ernest Hemingway can be so categorized,” Littlefield writes in the introduction.
“Like Faulkner, Bill (which was W.C.’s nickname for his friends) Heinz understood the significance of place. For him the place was not an imaginary county in Mississippi but a real boxing gym on Eighth Avenue, or a racetrack in the rain or a tavern in the middle of a clumsy hold-up.
“Like O’Connor, he understood that the people at the edges of any endeavor offered, by necessity, original perspectives on a culture into which they would never fit.
“Like Vonnegut, he wrapped his darkest observations in humor. Often the humor was exceptionally gentle.
“Like Hemingway, he never wasted a word.”
Pick up this one and find out that, even with 576 pages, not a word, or sentence, or paragraph, or Littlefield selection, is wasted.

== With the North Carolina Tar Heels making an appearance in the NCAA West Regional at Staples Center, thanks again to Showtime for releasing the documentary, or “hourlong Valentine” on the late Dean Smith that debuted Wednesday and has upcoming showings on Sunday (9 a.m.) and Monday (9:30 p.m.) on various Showtime channels.

verne== In light of the piece we did last weekend with CBS’ Verne Lundquist, who got the No. 4 assignment for the Sweet 16 and had to go to Syracuse, N.Y. this weekend, we encourage participation in the bracket challenge that aims to identify the best announcer movie cameo. Lundquist’s appearance in “Happy Gilmore” continues to resonate with today’s college kids, as he told us.

== Vin Scully’s one-and-only Arizona tuneup game comes Friday when the Dodgers face San Francisco at Camelback Ranch, with a SportsNet LA start of 7 p.m. The plan is for him to also call the three Freeway Series games against the Angels next weekend.

IMG_3154== A special commemorative edition of The Sporting News, celebrating 125 years of baseball with “The Game We Love” edition on newsstands now, names Scully tops on a list of the 10 best announcers of all time.
There’s nothing in the paragraph justifying his No. 1 status that you already don’t know.
The rest of the list: 2. Jack Buck; 3. Mel Allen; 4. Harry Kalas; 5. Ernie Harwell; 6. Red Barber; 7. Curt Gowdy; 8. Harry Caray; 9. Bob Uecker and 10. Jaime Jarrin.
Yes, Jarrin.
Later in the magazine, they’ve decided to name an “all-time franchise team” for everyone. The Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers’ right fielder: Matt Kemp.
“Kemp is a debatable selection,” they allow, “but he produced one of the best seasons every by a Dodger outfielder in 2011, batting .324 with 39 homers, 126 RBIs and 40 steals.” No mention of how many errors. Duke Snider is the center fielder, with Zack Wheat in left.

== A reminder: Former L.A. Daily News baseball writer Lisa Nehus Saxon and columnist Ron Rapoport are part of a panel discussion on Saturday called “Turning Back the Clock: Baseball In Los Angeles,” sponsored by the Pasadena-based Baseball Reliquary. The 2 p.m. gathering at the Arcadia Public Library (20 W. Duarte Road) also features Howard Cole, the founding director of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, and Randy Kerdoon, the KNX-AM (1070) sports anchor.

== Baseball authors Rob Goldman (“Nolan Ryan: The Making of a Pitcher” in 2014, “Tim Salmon: Always an Angel” in 2010 and  “Once They Were Angels” in 2006 and  ) and John Klima (The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in WWII” just released, “Bushville Wins!: The Wild Saga of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and the Screwballs, Sluggers, and Beer Swiggers Who Canned the New York Yankees and Changed Baseball” in 2012 and “Willie’s Boys: The 1948 Birmingham Black Barons, The Last Negro League World Series, and the Making of a Baseball Legend” in 2009) will do a presentation and book signing at the Grant R. Brimhall Library in Thousand Oaks (1401 E. Janss Road) on Monday from 7-8 p.m.

== What’s a new program director to do at The Beast 980? Tom Lee, who helped launch Fox Sports Radio in 2000, was given that task this week. And do something fast, or …
“Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all sports stations across the country,” said Diane Sutter, Trustee for KFWB Asset Trust, said in a statement. “Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.”
Lee, who starts Monday, added:  “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America and their passion, the distinct L.A. attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by The Beast 980. I’m very excited to get back to L.A. with the opportunity to program the only radio station uniquely built for home town fans.”
Or maybe raising a sports-talk station from near oblivion in the monthly ratings would be a job better suited for someone who has absolutely no knowledge of corporate radio experience.
Like, say, me.
I actually sent in an application for this position. I didn’t get a call back for even a cursory interview.
That fact will not haunt the station for the rest of its existence.

== The return of California Chrome at the Dubai World Cup has coverage on Fox Sports 1 (Saturday at 9:30 a.m.) with Simon Bray, Greg Wolf, Richard Migliore, Andy Serling and Alyssa Ali covering it.

== If you’re going to Las Vegas to watch the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquaio fight on May 2, apparently you need a ticket to the event, or a room at the MGM. But no where else in the city can they show it, TMZ Sports reports.

== The ladies and ice dance competition from the World Figure Skating Championships in Shanghai make it to NBC on Saturday (8 p.m., Channel 4, delayed), with the men’s and pairs competition on Sunday (3 p.m., Channel 4, delayed). Terry Gannon, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski do the commentary from the NBC studios, while Tracy Wilson is actually at the event reporting in Shanghai.

== Highlights from the lineup for Time Warner Cable’s coverage of the CIF state high school basketball finals from Berkeley (with all games streaming live on
Friday’s games:
== Boys Div. V: Sierra Canyon vs. University, TWC Sportsnet at noon, with Steve Quis, Mary Murphy and Drew Shiller
== Boys Div. III: Damien vs. Campolindo, TWC Community Channel at 4 p.m., with Barry Tompkins, Casey Jacobsen and Kelli Tennant
== Girls Div. I: Serra vs. McClatchy, TWC Community Channel at 6 p.m., with Barry Tompkins, Casey Jacobsen and Kelli Tennant
== Boys Div. I: Chino Hills vs. San Ramon Valley, TWC SportsNet at 8 p.m., with Barry Tompkins, Casey Jacobsen and Kelli Tennant
Saturday’s games:
== Girls Div. IV: Sierra Canyon vs. Brookside Christian, TWC SportsNet at 10 a.m., with Steve Quis, Mary Murphy and Drew Shiller
== Boys Div. IV: Crespi vs. Capital Christian, TWC SportsNet at noon, with Steve Quis, Mary Murphy and Drew Shiller
== Girls Open Division: Mater Dei vs. St. Mary’s, TWC Community Channel at 6 p.m., with Barry Tompkins, Casey Jacobsen and Kelli Tennant
== Boys Open Division: Mater Dei vs. Bishop O’Dowd, TWC SportsNet at 8 p.m., with Barry Tompkins, Casey Jacobsen and Kelli Tennant
More info at
Also, for those who have access to DirecTV Channel 698 – Comcast Bay Area — you may find all the state final games there as well.

== A 13-part series called “Championship Moments” from the Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup run, produced by the team’s KingsVision group, will be available to buy online starting Monday for $26. The purchase at will benefit the Kings Care Foundation. The team says the limited-edition DVD/Blu-Ray, if still available by April 11, will also be sold in the Team LA Store at Staples Center. The series was featured during the Kings’ games on Fox Sports West this season.

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Play It Forward March 23-29: A uniform opinion about the style points UCLA thinks it is making in the NCAA tournament

UCLA's Tony Parker, left, and Kevon Looney go after a shot by SMU's SMU's Ben Moore in last Thursday's NCAA Tournament second round game in Louisville, Ky. UCLA won 60-59. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

UCLA’s Tony Parker, left, and Kevon Looney go after a shot by SMU’s SMU’s Ben Moore in last Thursday’s NCAA Tournament second round game in Louisville, Ky. UCLA won 60-59. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)


Details/TV: At NRG Stadium in Houston, Friday at 4:15 p.m., Channel 2


Details/TV: At Staples Center, Thursday at 4:45 p.m., TBS
Details/TV: At Staples Center, Thursday at approx. 7:20 p.m., TBS

Alabama-Birmingham forward Tosin Mehinti shoots over UCLA forward Tony Parker in Saturday's NCAA Tournament third round game. UCLA won.  (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

Alabama-Birmingham forward Tosin Mehinti shoots over UCLA forward Tony Parker in Saturday’s NCAA Tournament third round game. UCLA won. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

In short, we’re baffled by what’s going on with this latest fashion statement forced onto the UCLA basketball program. Again, the marketing Mensas at Adidas who want to establish a fresh, cutting-edge, sellable image for today’s game are hip-deep in the middle of this issue. As for the tops going with script, linking letters across the chest – a lot like the football team’s helmets – instead of the classic block letters …  OK, fine. But after that, are the players wearing a weight belt, a fanny pack or a cumber bun around the middle? This is gut-check time. We’re all for making Tony Parker look more imposing in the paint, but this just doesn’t pass the eye test as well as the Bruins apparently did with the NCAA selection committee, which must be feeling a bit full of themselves these days for simply allowing the school to be in the field. So what if other Adidas clients are made to conform as well to this so-called “Made in March” collection – Wisconsin, Louisville and Kansas, for example. Granted, it’s a huge improvement over the camouflage, Zumba-wear stuff that was forced upon a few teams, including UCLA, back in 2013.

UCLA guard Isaac Hamilton shoots as Colorado forward Wesley Gordon, left, defends in a game at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 31.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

UCLA guard Isaac Hamilton shoots as Colorado forward Wesley Gordon, left, defends in a game at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 31. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

But what would have been so wrong if UCLA was allowed to break out the 1965-style unis that they actually wore for game against Colorado this season? Go back and look at the yellow “BRUINS” tops with the blue trim on the white jersey, and the shorts with yellow and blue piping. It would be a sweet addition for a Sweet 16 team that’s in a strange position to raise the bar as it is making its 46th tournament appearance. Now comes a rematch with a Gonzaga team that, a week before the Bruins’ embarrassment against Kentucky, dinged them for an 87-74 loss at Pauley Pavilion in mid-December, igniting a season-worst five-game losing streak. Kyle Witjer scored 24 points and USC-transfer Byron Wesley had 20 for the Zags, who improved to 9-1. Bryce Alford had 23 for the Bruins, who couldn’t even get a shot off in the last 2:09 of the first half when they had a then-season-low 27 points at intermission and trailed by 11. The Tony Parker factor: He was the only UCLA starter not in double figures – five points, nine rebounds and four fouls. Let’s see how much of a short-term memory the fans have about that one, while trying to figure out which shorts the Bruins will come out with for this appearance. A win here against Gonzaga would put them in the Sunday regional final against either Duke or Pac-12 rival Utah (who face each other Friday at approx. 6:45 p.m., Channel 2).
Meanwhile, the West Regional continues to give Southern California a connection with the event. If Arizona and Wisconsin survive and conquer, they’ll meet in this regional final for the second year in a row, this one scheduled for Saturday. The Badgers pulled out a 64-63 overtime win against the Wildcats at the Honda Center in Anaheim in 2014.


The Kings ice crew understands their responsibilities between time outs during the team's game at Staples Center last Saturday against Vancouver.  The Canucks won 4-1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Kings ice crew understands their responsibilities between time outs during the team’s game at Staples Center last Saturday against Vancouver. The Canucks won 4-1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Do these Kings really get the point at this point in the season? With 11 regular-season games left, the defending Stanley Cup champs need at least to come away with a point a game the rest of the way to avoid the mess of missing the playoffs. This stretch of five of them in a row on the road starts with back-to-backs in New Jersey (Monday, 4 p.m., FSW) and the N.Y. Rangers (Tuesday, 4 p.m., NBCSN) … The Clippers have three on the road, starting in New York (Wednesday, 4 p.m., Prime Ticket), and the Lakers have a road path that begins in Oklahoma City (Tuesday, 5 p.m., TNT) … The rest of the week will be at this link.

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Media column version 03.22.15: Hey Verne — The quest for a Lundquist Q-and-A that covers UCLA’s resume, the KY dominance, and a Bowling for Dollars payoff

In 2010, President Barack Obama joined CBS' Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist during a college basketball game between Georgetown and Duke at  the Verizon Center in Washington DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

In 2010, President Barack Obama joined CBS’ Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist during a college basketball game between Georgetown and Duke at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Verne Lundquist, the minimalist maestro of play-by-play, could have run out of words by the time Thursday night staggered into Friday morning.

He had finished captioning back-to-back-to-back-to-back second-round games of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament from Louisville, Ky., during a 12-plus hour stretch as part of the CBS/Turner TV coverage, and he wouldn’t get to bed until 3 a.m.

“Our producer, Craig Silver, just told us at that point: Sleep until you wake up (on Friday),” said Lundquist.

But the soon-to-be 75 year-old broadcaster with 50-plus years experience in TV has learned about self-preservation. It’s just that a case of chronic bronchitis left him sounding worse for wear just before he circled back Saturday morning to call the UCLA-UAB and Kentucky-Cincinnati third-round games.

In between, he submitted himself to a Q-and-A that was completely unnecessary in his prep work for the rest of this tournament, which might necessitate a trip to L.A. to cover the West Regional semifinals and finals at Staples Center this coming week:

Verne Lundquist and Jim Spanarkal are teammed up for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, calling UCLA's first two contests.

Verne Lundquist and Jim Spanarkal are teammed up for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, calling UCLA’s first two contests.

Q: Does the recovery process from four games in one day ever get any easier?

A: I can certify that it does not. The first time I had to do this kind of thing with a crew was 1999. At the end of the day, that last half of the fourth game you pray that it’s competitive because then that gets you energized.

Q: You may not have any buckets to empty at that point?

A: The buckets are gone. And they’re not even a quarter full.

Q: How do you wind down from such a long process?

A: We didn’t really limp out of the arena until 1 o’clock (Friday morning) because after the last game is over, we have to do a dot-com report, a summation of all four games. And at that point, you almost can’t remember who played in the first game.

Q: That’s today’s media, always bleeding you to do something more for another platform.

A: That’s it. And we’re servicing them all. So then our production supervisor arranged a meeting room for the crew to gather, and we had a little pizza, some beer and wine, just to come down from the day. Again, it’s not just me, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce, but the guys in the truck have been as every bit busy. Think of the camera guys. There’s one – the midcourt mini-camera position– who sits in a chair to the stage manager’s right and shoots all four games carrying that heavy equipment. For all 70 of us, or how many there are, once you’re finished, that’s decompression time. Continue reading

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Media column notes version 03.20.15 — If Verne Lundquist can find truTV on his cable system, then we’re all in

IMG_3139Coming up Sunday:

We have a Q-and-A planned with longtime CBS play-by-play man Verne Lundquist, who called Thursday’s UCLA win over SMU in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament and will do the Bruins’ third-round game against Alabama-Birmingham at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday from Louisville, Ky., with Jim Spanarkel.
This time, it’s too good to be truTV — it has made it to the KCBS-Channel 2 menu, with the Kentucky-Cincinnati game right afterward.
And no, if both UCLA and Kentucky win, they don’t play each other next. They may be on the same court this weekend, but they’re in different regions.
We’ve allowed Verne to rest up after doing those four games on Thursday and not getting back to his hotel until 3 a.m.

What else we have worthy of notes at this juncture in the week:

== CBS’ Doug Gottlieb, who referred to UCLA’s inclusion in the NCAA Tournament as a “joke” on Selection Sunday, followed up on it with new facts available — the Bruins’ 70-69 win over SMU — when asked about it Friday morning on the Dan Patrick syndicated radio/TV show: “I didn’t think UCLA belonged in the field because they didn’t beat enough good teams. But I also picked them to beat SMU. Now I don’t feel like some sort of champion because they got a lucky call on an airball. But the idea that the team doesn’t belong in, and they win, and that proves me wrong …”
I’m not following the logic there.

== KCBS Channel 2′s Jim Hill will add Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus as a tournament analyst on “Sports Central” starting Friday at 9 p.m. and he will remain through the title game on April 6.

== CBS and Turner has added Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, the Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks grad, as a guest studio analysts starting Saturday from the studios in Atlanta, joining Matt Winer, Mateen Cleaves and Seth Davis. Pitt, which finished tied for ninth in the ACC at 19-15 overall and failed to make the field of 68, lost its first-round NIT game to George Washington earlier this week.


thumbNew.php== Last we checked, the Dodgers’ regular-season availability on flagship radio station KLAC-AM (570) was pretty close to 100 percent saturation in Southern California — unless you were driving through a tunnel on the 110 Freeway through Pasadena and Charley Steiner’s pitch for Daniel’s Jewelers suddenly disappeared.
But with the second part of an announcement this week, one that started last September with the team not only renewing a radio rights deal with 570 but also saying it was investing in an ownership stake of the station, the rebranded “AM 570 LA Sports” with a spiffy new logo and the elimination of “Fox Sports Radio” references this week seemed to leave out a piece of news we thought would be included.
727_1426521031That is, if the Dodgers are in now as partners, why wouldn’t there be daily live coverage of every spring training exhibition game from Arizona as an essential part of that deal?
Consider that the Angels carry every one of their exhibition games on their own KLAA-AM (830), interrupting whatever ESPN Radio syndicated coverage that would be blasted out in the midweek afternoons. The Dodgers’ TV carriage deal with SportsNet L.A. continues to stall and, with the latest FCC delay on the Time Warner Cable-Comcast and DirecTV-AT&T mergers likely pushing live local Dodger TV games citywide to perhaps past the All-Star break, the news isn’t getting any sweeter.
This would seem to be a natural entry point to create more buzz going into the season — aside from the revival of the nightly 7 p.m. DodgerTalk show hosted by Kevin Kennedy and David Vassegh.
Instead, the media blackout seems to be even more curiouser and curiouser, no matter how an in-studio appearance at the station this week by Vin Scully tried to frame it.
Senior VP/Station manager Don Martin points out that 570 will be carrying 18 Dodgers exhibition games this year — the most it has ever done. That includes all games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Except that arrangement got some tweaking this week when the Friday window was replaced by Thursday’s Dodgers-Angels game, which awkwardly pushed UCLA’s NCAA Tournament basketball opening game against SMU from its usual 570 home to AM-1150.
billbNew.phpThe Dodgers’ radio schedule is on the station’s home page ( and billboards have already gone up around town promoting the change.
It’s interesting when we recall the days when the Dodgers were on KABC-AM (790) and every spring, station management would cringe at the fact that the obligation to cover every exhibition game (in those days, from Vero Beach, Fla., which meant a 10 a.m. start) took away listeners who wanted to hear the popular Michael Jackson show.
But with today’s technology, if a listener who didn’t want to hear the Dodgers’ exhibition from Arizona at 1 p.m. wanted to keep tuned to the shows by Jay Mohr or Petros and Money, the live audiostreaming either online or via a phone app is always an option.
“We have a commitment to our audience to cover all LA Sports, and I believe that this gives a us a wonderful balance,” Martin said of continuing the regular mid-week lineup.
Dodgers executive VP and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen said the team’s financial investment in the station is “very significant. We have had a number of suitors to work with going forward but we feel most comfortable with KLAC. It’s a perfect association. There is more Dodger Talk now, but really the station doesn’t change except for the logo. It’s a rebranding.”
And also allowing the iHeartMedia L.A. company to better promote the Dodgers on its seven other stations — Real 92.3, KOST-FM (103.5), KIIS-FM (102.7), MYfm (104.3), KFI-AM (640) and KEIB-AM (1150).
But then again, it’s apparently been too many years to count since anyone paid attention to KLAC (570 AM) anyway, according to Jebidiah Atkinson ….

== Via the New York Daily News, from the Sports Business Daily: Will MLB fans finally get video streaming access to local games? It might sound like a way around the SportsNet LA hitch, but it usually means you have authenticate that you have a TV provider that has the channel you’re seeking.

Continue reading

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