How lessons learned from Lou Riggs resonate with students, pros today — including Dan Potash

Carlos Cecchetto, Gabrielle D'Addario and Chris Marlowe look at mementos set up at the memorial service Saturday morning for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach who died last month from ALS.  (photo by John McCoy Daily News)

Carlos Cecchetto, Gabrielle D’Addario and Chris Marlowe look at mementos set up at the memorial service Saturday morning for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach who died last month from ALS. (photo by John McCoy Daily News)

In the weeks since the passing of Santa Monica College sportscasting instructor Lou Riggs, we’ve heard and read many of his former students reflect upon things they continue to learn from his teachings.
0816_SPO_LDN-L-MEDIA-JMA memorial service today at SMC reflected on how Riggs’ commitment to the craft changed the lives of many who continue in sportscasting today. A column based on that gathering can be found here.
To get a taste of what impact Riggs had, we humbly pass on this reflection we received in an email correspondence with Dan Potash, a Beverly Hills High grad who has been an anchor and reporter with Root Sports in Pittsburgh covering the Pirates and Penguins since 2000:

“We first met in 1988, when I was a freshman at Santa Monica College. I was a student in his mass communications class. He quickly learned about my interest in sports and broadcasting and said I should take his Sportscasting class.  I did … and was a repeat student for about two years — not because I kept failing the class, but because the class was so helpful.
Potash headshot“Where else could you get media credentials to the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers and Kings, sit in your own booth in the press box and do play-by-play on a tape recorder. It was great!  When we would review our play-by-play material later in class and he would always say, ‘What’s the score?  Someone who is just tuning in wants to know.  You can never say the score enough!’
“That experience, combined with a solid internship at Prime Ticket and the old ‘Press Box’ show, and some time as a sports anchor for ‘West Side News’ on Continental Cablevision in Westchester, led to my first TV job. It was everything Lou said it would be — I just didn’t know it would be for $10,000 a year in West Virginia, at WDTV, the CBS affiliate in Clarksburg, WV. That was the summer of 1995. 
“Lou had told me that I would be a one man band. I would need to shoot, write, edit, produce, report and anchor all my own material.  He was right… .and I love it.
“He also told me that moving from L.A. to West Virginia would allow me to grow up as a person.  Life in the big city was great, but following my dream far from home in a small town would really open my eyes.  The ‘Master Jedi’ hit it on the head.  I signed a one year contract in West Virginia, stayed for just over two years and it became a second home, and I am still close with many people who still live there.
tumblr_mq8qdgBOcg1s0rjebo1_250“I could only survive on Pop Tarts and Top Ramen for so long, so I moved to WCIV, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, SC, in 1997, before arriving at Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh in 2000 — now Root Sports.
“Over the last 20 years I have done just about everything a sportscaster could dream of doing, and would still send material back home to Lou for his ‘approval.’  How could I not? He taught me everything, and you can always learn more.
“I know I am not the only one he helped, and I am sure other have some great ‘Lou’ stories to tell. He loved watching his students advance their career in the field of sports casting.
“I did reach out to him about three months before he passed — we spoke for about 30 minutes, and it was just like 1988 all over again. He was still teaching me, as a professor and a friend.”

This display of mementos was set up for a memorial service for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach. (photo by John McCoy Daily News)

This display of mementos was set up for a memorial service for Lou Riggs, the former Santa Monica College broadcaster teacher and TV coach. (photo by John McCoy Daily News)


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The return of weekly media notes, version 08.14.15: Beth, what can you do?

Beth Mowins, above, discusses a recent time in her ESPN career when she had an 18-day road trip that involved seven games across five events.

After a week off, we’ll generate some more media-ness for this Sunday. But until then, the notes that are worth noting at this point:

Beth Mowins, center, with Tom Flores and Matt Millen at a Raiders practice on Wednesday (Photo: San Francisco Chronicle)

Beth Mowins, center, with Tom Flores at a Raiders practice on Wednesday (Photo: San Francisco Chronicle)

== The Los Angeles Oakland Raiders’ exhibition opener against the visiting Los Angeles St. Louis Rams (tonight, 7 p.m., Channel 5) comes with the notation that Beth Mowins, most recognizable for her work on college basketball, softball and college football at ESPN, has been given the chance to do play-by-play.
The first, and last, woman to broadcast an NFL game was when NBC had Gayle Sirens did a late-season Seattle-Kansas City game in 1987.
Working with former Raiders Tim Brown and Matt Millen on three of the four exhibition games, Mowins recently told’s Richard Deitsche that it probably didn’t hurt that she’s a Syracuse graduate — as was former Raiders owner Al Davis, who has been known for giving many females high-profile positions in his organization. Davis’ son, Mark, the current owner, said he did not want to do simply a radio simulcast on the exhibition games. Those games come to the L.A. market on KLAC-AM (570) (along with the Chargers) or KEIB-AM (1150) with Greg Papa and Tom Flores.
“Beth is an accomplished woman and I congratulate her and wish her all the very best,” Amy Trask, a CBS Sports NFL studio analyst and the first female CEO of an NFL team when Davis hired her for the Raiders, told Deitsche. “That said, you asked me how significant I believe her hire to be. The most significant moment will be when we stop referring to the hiring of qualified women (and racial, ethnic and religious minorities) as significant. In other words, when qualified people are hired without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religious or other differentiating characteristics, that will be the most significant, indeed momentous, event of all. My experience with Raiders fans was that my gender was of no concern to the vast majority of them and I believe and hope that will be Beth’s experience as well.”
Mowins said in an Associated Press story this week that “to be able to do it with the Raiders is pretty cool. I’m friends with Gayle Sirens so it’s pretty cool that it has come back full circle and the opportunity is there for me.”
Mowins also told the San Jose Mercury News that growing up, she wanted to be Pat Summerall. She told the San Francisco Chronicles Ann Killion that “you have to have a hard shell and be able to take it and bounce back.”
Now, we’ll see where this leads. We also second Deistche’s suggestion on that ESPN should go so far as to put Mowins instead of Chris Berman on the network’s Vikings-49ers telecast on Sept. 7, the second of a Monday night opening doubleheader.
The Raiders’ exhibition schedule continues at Minnesota (Saturday, Aug. 22) and ends at Seattle (Thursday, Sept. 3) with a game at Oakland against Arizona on Sunday, Aug. 30, that NBC televises nationally with its’ “Sunday Night’ crew.
The Raiders’ replayed games are often found on NFL Network as well.

colin-cowherd== Colin Cowherd showed up at a recent USC football practice this week adorned in a Trojans cap and T-shirt?
So …. welcome to L.A.? Officially. Just keep getting free shirts and you may never have to do laundry again.
Fox Sports detailed his arrival at the company this week in his post-ESPN career, which starts with bringing “The Herd” to Fox Sports Radio — including KLAC-AM (570) –on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
He’ll take the 9 a.m. to noon hole right after Dan Patrick.
But according to sources who know that the Dodgers insist there be seven hours of local programming on the station now that the team has made an investment in it, it goes against logic that Jay Mohr will be the odd voice out. His current syndicated noon-to-3 p.m. slot will be commandeered by the two currently fumbling their way through the 9 a.m.-to-noon window — Bill Reiter and Leeann Tweeden — and becoming the Cowherd post-game show won’t help at all as they become buried even further trying to survive  against KSPN-AM (710)’s Steve Mason and John Ireland, or even Fred Roggin over on The Beast 980.
Mohr, who has more than a year left on his radio deal after replacing Jim Rome way back when, will still be accessible through the stream, but just no where in the L.A. market on the radio dial. That could drive the well-known comic off the rails.
This new version of “The Herd” — it had been known as “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” when it launched on the West Coast in 2004 — will also go simulcast live on Fox Sports 1. That means the simulcast of the Mike Francessa radio show moves to FS2. Is that still a channel?
The other element of the job for Cowherd is becoming part of the Fox NFL Kickoff show team on Sundays on FS1 from 8-to-9 a.m., leading into the “Fox NFL Sunday” show (on Channel 11). The show has yet to announce its full team.
“Colin is the first person I hired for my first daily studio show at ESPN (‘SportsNation’ in July, ’09), so it’s fitting that he’s the first one I’m hiring at FS1,” said recently installed Fox Sports National Networks president Jamie Horowitz. “Colin is a unique voice in sports media with a loyal following of fans, and we’re looking forward to building our daytime programming around him.”
Cowherd said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that it wasn’t vital that he have “a presence” on the FS1 NFL pregame show, because “I’m not somebody that demands a presence. I would rather be on a thoughtful [program]. I don’t need to be the star. My radio show obviously is built around my personality. To me, radio is about making you uncomfortable. Television is about making you comfortable: Who do you like? Who do you want to be friends with? So I don’t need to tower over people in television. If I can be a part of a really great project, I’m all in.”

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Play It Forward Aug. 3-9: It can’t be August and football already …

San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego Union-Tribune

Details/TV: At Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, Sunday, 5 p.m., Ch. 4:

Please tell us it’s not already August. As Steve Rushin writes in the Aug. 3 issue of Sports Illustrated – the one with Pete Carroll painfully smiling on the cover – we are “at summer’s warning track, the last 10 feet before the padded wall of fall … (where) the liquor store is already making its cruel transition from Summer Ale to Harvest Pumpkin, in the same way that NFL training camps arrive to steal baseball’s thunder.” Part of that theft – the first televised exhibition NFL game, done in concert with the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. But it also signals how famously popular the pro football game must be if some people wearing uniforms of the Steelers and Vikings can assemble on what amounts to a high school field in Canton, Ohio and go through the motions before a national TV audience. Pittsburgh running back Jerome Bettis, the hero of Super Bowl XL, will finally get his Hall pass this weekend. Someday, could Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger get his bust next to “The Bus”? “I am a big Roethlisberger fan,” said Hall of Famer and Pennsylvania native Joe Montana in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I really like Ben. He will be in that Hall of Fame someday.” Mick Tinglehoff, a 6-foot-2, 237-pound center on the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line from 1962-78, blocked for running backs that went to 13 Pro Bowls and played in four Super Bowls. Adrian Peterson could appreciate that. For the first time since his suspension last year, he should be back on the field getting some carries for the Vikings. With just seven full seasons in the NFL, what are his chances of a Hall of Fame induction? The 30-year-old has already surpassed 10,000 career yards (leading the league in 2008 and 2012) and there’s a decent shot he’ll go past 100 career TDs this season. It’s sure to be discussed on the NBC broadcast.
Also: The Pro Football Hall of Fame induction Class of 2015, which includes the Chargers’ Junior Seau, the Raiders’ Tim Brown, the Cowboys’ Charles Haley, the Chiefs’ Will Shields and former front office men Ron Wolf and Bill Polian airs at 4 p.m. Saturday on the NFL Network. Watch if only to see how the Seau induction goes.


Giovani dos Santos gets the Galaxy welcome-wagon treatment on Tuesday after his first training session, and then joins the lads for the contest against Seattle (Sunday, 1 p.m., ESPN at StubHub Center in Carson) before a national audience … The Dodgers trout out Alex Wood for his first start since coming over from Atlanta during the opener of a three-game series in Philadelphia (Tuesday-Thursday), then Clayton Kershaw puts his 37-inning scoreless streak on the line in the first of three at Pittsburgh (Friday-Sunday) … More highlights at this link

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It’s Out of the Question: Boston may be strong, but L.A. stronger with Olympic-ness

0524toonwassermanIf we’re going for the big dig here, what’s at the existential core of Angelinos suddenly compelled to get all giddy up onto the five-ringed bandwagon, waving furiously to get the USOC’s attention as it tries to regift the 2024 Summer Olympics bid?

By what remote chance do any of this have to do with a new-found  opportunity to stuck your sun-tanned tongues out at pasty Bostonians who apparently have again shown their true colors – the revolutionaries now don’t want any part of putting out a world-wide welcome mat that might bring total strangers and foreign currency into their common boundaries?

Truly, what would be their incentive to start knocking down historically protected Dunkin’ Donut sites and replace them with an athletes’ village? Or an opening ceremony site? Or a swimmin’ hole?

And which Kennedy is going to pay for it?

No need for a MIT nitwit to draw up plans of re-dragging the Charles River, piling up construction bills and overruns that they could actually improve the city’s infrastructure yet still won’t appease those who long for the return of the original Boston Garden over that wicked fancy carport they’ve built for the Celtics, Bruins and no WNBA team.

(To that point: There has been a chart posted by about what costs Boston should be concerned about, and it did include that $175,000 would have to be set aside for a “study delineating exact ways hosting Olympics will devastate local economy for decades to come.”)

Beantowners can just admit it: Their bean-counters don’t want to be bothered. Or, as a L.A. News Group editorial pointed out, they showed “exactly the right attitude, a healthy skepticism” about how all this could be very taxing on their resources. Before they officially put their John Hancock on the USOC’s documents of sovereignty, they did the predictable thing: They ran to the old North Church and started whaling about everything in public.

(There is one collective goal here between Boston and L.A.: Neither wants to see Ben Affleck running with a ceremonial torch on the Freedom Trail, unless it leads to something disastrous. Gronk, however, could be another story.)

The Dodgers’ own healthy skepticism when they’ve gone dumpster diving in Boston has come with absorbing the problem contracts of players such as Manny Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett …

You’re welcome.

And sorry about how Hanley Ramirez has worked out for you so far. Too late to “bang a uey” on that one.

Boston can stay focused on parochialism and protecting the U.S. stars and stripes. Los Angeles will continue to represent flexibility, creativity and International Friendship Day (it’s Sunday, for those who didn’t ge the memo).

So with all that in mind, someone let Wasserman, Garcetti and whomever becomes the new Ueberroth know that we’re going with the slogan “L.A. Stronger.”

Like the Olympic motto, about being faster and higher and all that business, OK?

Just as long as we’re all in agreement that we’re doing this for the right reasons. …

More questions to be answered will be at this link soon …


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Larry Scott, Pac-12 Net waits its turn to get on the AT&T/DirecTV merged radar

For the last three summers, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has had to stick to the mantra that a wider distribution deal for the conference-owned networks was just on the horizon.

After the government approved the merger of AT&T with DirecTV last week, Scott’s game plan can take a more of a vertical approach.

“They’re delighted with it, and obviously, they’ve now got to digest a $49 billion dollar acquisition, but I’m confident we’ll be a priority, and there will be discussions that take place hopefully very soon,” Scott told reporters at the conference’s annual media day at the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank this morning. “I’m optimistic that we’ll have positive conversations.”

(Scott’s response to the question comes at the 20 minute mark in the video above)

DirecTV has been the biggest-name TV provider to hold out since the network launched in 2012, citing a business strategy that intends to back away from the rising costs of sports-related networks. It is the reason that the company continues to resist carrying the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. channel as well.

Pac-12 negotiations with DirecTV became even more strained the satellite dish service’s primary competitor, Dish Network, was given the title of “official dish provider” of the conference. Dish was among the first to come on board with the Pac-12 Network when it launched, along with Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

AT&T Uverse is also one of the major providers of the Pac-12 Network, and Scott said there are more than 70 agreements with individual distributors for the national and regional networks.

Verizon FIOS and Charter are with DirecTV currently holding out.

If Scott gets a chance to restart negotiations with AT&T on behalf of DirecTV service, it should have something of a domino effect in getting others on board, perhaps prior to the September college football launch.

“I can’t sit here and predict what may happen when, because those conversations have not been able to take place heretofore,” he said. “But I’m delighted for our partners, delighted for us.”

One of the latest reports estimating the cost of sports networks has the Pac-12, in only some 12 million-plus homes to date, asking for 39 cents per subscriber, the same as the Big Ten Network and half of what the SEC Network has been charging. That 39 cent figure is more in the ballpark of Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network.

Should a Pac-12 distribution deal get done to put the network in the 20 million homes of DirecTV, which also has the Big Ten Network, might it undercut the monthly rate per customer that other companies are paying? Scott said he is not concerned how the business end will work out for everyone.

“I certainly don’t anticipate a change in our existing relationships,” he said. “Our distribution is (already) terrific and well established and we are happy with it. I can’t speculate on how conversations will go with AT&T but I expect them to come soon and I expect them to be positive. But aside from that I really can’t hypothesize.”

== Our story on the Pac-12 Network distribution from the eyes of Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans
== The Pac-12 Network plight as it stood in 2013
== Could the Pac-12 Network sell equity shares in its business to help raise more money for its partners?
== How Colorado fans are as much wondering about the future of the conference distribution as L.A. might be.

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