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.