Weekly media notes version 01.07.15: The beauty of ‘The Beast’ vs. the nature of the business

nature-of-the-beast-1aWhat’s coming for Sunday:

In light of the news this week that KFWB-AM (980), aka “The Beast,” has been sold and the all-sports format will likely unravel come mid-February, we’ll look more into the ramifications of what happens to the Clippers’ home radio base (as well as the Galaxy) and how this affects those working at the station since its launch in Sept., 2014.
Here’s more background on the history of KFWB, that goes back more than 90 years in L.A.

What’s worth getting out there at this point in the week:

473104919_d1== Aside from the ginormity that ESPN will put into its traditional telecast of Monday’s Clemson-Alabama college football national title game from Glendale, Ariz. at 5:30 p.m. — Chris Fowler has play-by-play, Kirk Herbstreit is the lone booth analyst, with Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi on the sidelines (plus Dave Cutaia for rules clarification and Dr. Jerry Punch for medical-related speculation) — we’re only into Year 3 of the “Megacast” arrangement that has gone through some refining since it launched for the Florida State-Auburn Rose Bowl national title game of 2014 and hit and missed on several avenues.
carretel-megacast-castingWhat’s on the menu for 2016 — there are 14 options in total — versus what we’d like to see:

= ESPN2:  “The Film Room” has analyst Brian Griese and Chris Spielman trading thoughts as the game progresses play by play with Florida head coach Jim McElwain. ESPN also has commitments from new South Carolina head coach (and former Auburn defensive coordinator) Will Muschamp, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora and South Florida head coach Willie Taggart for the  Xs and Os interaction.
“This has really met our highest expectations from our intension of keeping it from being a TV show but rather allow it to be as authentic and real as we can get it in a studio setting,” said Ed Placey, the ESPN  senior coordinating producer for the network’s remote production department in charge of college football. “They are in their greatest comfort zone when they have a clicker in hand and watching the replays. We just want to leave them alone.”
*Our desire: Don’t mess with this success. Even as it emanates from the network’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters, they have coaches actually asking to be part of this. Too bad USC’s Clay Helton didn’t volunteer to be on the first plane out there and establish some media credibility.
voices= ESPNEWS: “ESPN Voices” takes ESPN “personalities” watching the game in a living-room type atmosphere in L.A. Those who’ve been invited: Michelle Beadle, Jay Bilas, Marcellus Wiley, Teddy Atlas, Taylor Twellman ... let us know when to stop.
“We have a great setup in the studio there at L.A. Live where we do ‘SportsCenter’ and the ‘NBA Live’ pregame show, next to hotels and restaurants, and a lot of this was based on having some our prominent voices come in to meet with investors and interact with Disney people and find out they have a lot in common with each other,” said Placey. “This is an excuse to get them together and allow them to interact and let the audience have the same reaction. We just want to create the ultimate viewing experience for a major event with monitors and couches and conversation.”
CSVr7UwWUAASoAW*Our desire: When we first witnessed this “party scene” from the Rose Bowl booth two years ago, it became far more of an annoyance than a place we would have gravitated toward. It’s not our scene to see and be seen. Perhaps there’s also nothing more annoying than watching a party happen that you aren’t invited to. Unless there’s a hot tub set up in the corner with UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s name on it, we don’t believe this concept will work. A better alternative: Fox Sports 3 (does that exist yet?) launches a counter “Ex-ESPN Voices” and lets Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, Keith Olbermann and BIll Simmons go round-table rodeo on whatever’s on their minds while the game drones on in the background.

= ESPNU: The “Homer Telecast” is new, hosted by Joe Tessitore and incorporating former Clemson QB Tajh Boyd and former Alabama center Barrett Jones into “a quasi-‘game analysts’ with a decidedly partisan view towards their alma maters.” Others could be filtered in.
*Our desire:This is build for a Homer Simpson appearance, again if Fox wants to build in some counter programming. Otherwise, this channel is for those who can’t handle the truth and need to be coddled. We get that. We just don’t know if a whole channel should be dedicated to it. Maybe go find some cat videos on YouTube to air instead.

6_3331800= SEC Network: “Finebaum’s Film Room,” featuring Paul Finebaum along with Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and SEC Net analysts Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland. They will be in a location “near” University of Phoenix Stadium and take live calls through the game.
*Our desire: This should be sponsored by FarmersOnly.com and attempt to include as many of the hillbilly callers in who somehow make it onto Finebaum’s regular show. If that happens, we could sink our tooth into it.

= ESPN Classic: “Sounds of the Game” shows the contest without commentators, but more mikes picking up the PA announcer, referee calls, etc., to get as close to an in-game experience as possible — including all the halftime entertainment.
*Our desire: Classic would be to show the game here in black-and-white. To remind us of how we watched those Rose Bowl games from the 1960s and didn’t have anything to complain about.

= ESPN Goal Line: “Command Center” is something with a split screen — live game action on one side, replays, iso cams, enhanced stats and drive charts on the other side.
*Our desire: “Whose Goal Line Is It Anyway?” should be a game show here of referees ad-libbing a call that they missed, using every one of the “Command Center” cameras available.

Sweet_Home_Alabama_film= ESPN Deportes: The Spanish-language call with Lalo Varela, Pablo Viruega, Bernardo Osuna, and Carlos Nava.
*Our desire: Considering the two teams involved, they might get more viewers airing the Reese Witherspoon movie “Sweet Home Alabama” with Spanish subtitles.

= ESPN3: A “mock replay booth” will recreate the experience on what’s done when a review is necessary. They review every play, if you didn’t know. Ralph Pickett, a current ACC replay official, and Ben Oldman, an SEC replay communicator, are joined by former ACC coordinator of officials and current ESPN “rules expert” Doug Rhoads.
*Our desire: We’ve been mocking replay ever since it started. Allow this to also be interactive, with fans voting on whether calls should be overturned or not through hastags, Instagram selfies or whatever the kids find really reveals their inner selves these days. Otherwise, devoting a channel to this only encourages more reviewing. Delete immediately.

= ESPN3: A continuous “stream” of the “pylon cam” — there are eight of them planted in the end zones providing 24 angles — as well as the “Spider Cam” view overhead and cameras focused on the student sections.
u_of_p_stadium_blimp_ss*Our desire: They’re missing an opportunity of having a continual blimp shot from above the dome stadium. The place looks like a space ship landing in the desert and about to probe everything inside of it. Pull back on the shot, and you might see the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch facility.

= ESPN3: The “home town radio” feeds — Alabama’s Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Chris Stewart or Clemson’s Don Munson, Rodney Williams and Patrick Sapp.
*Our desire: Mike Tirico and Todd Blackledge will probably be just fine from the ESPN Radio booth but find a way that we don’t lose the 710-AM signal every time our car radio goes through a freeway underpass or the LAX runway tunnel on Sepulveda near Imperial.

= ESPN3: A “Data Center” with on-screen graphics.
*Our desire: This is where there should be a menu of what’s going on each of the channels, as well as what else we could be watching at certain points in the game: Updates on “The Bachelor” or the Kings’ home game against the Detroit Red Wings, for example, would be very useful. Continue reading

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Play It Forward Jan. 4-10: Arizona provides early Pac-12 measurement for UCLA, USC


Arizona's Ryan Anderson (12) gets tangled with Arizona State's Savon Goodman under the basket during Sunday's Pac-12 opener in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won as Anderson scored 10 points. He leads the 13-1 Wildcats with 15.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game so far. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Arizona’s Ryan Anderson (12) gets tangled with Arizona State’s Savon Goodman under the basket during Sunday’s Pac-12 opener in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won as Anderson scored 10 points. He leads the 13-1 Wildcats with 15.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game so far. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Details/TV: At Pauley Pavilion, Thursday at 6 p.m., ESPN2
Details/TV: At Galen Center, Saturday at 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network

bd7a2696-2d66-e011-a486-001cc494a4ac_originalFormer Long Beach Poly star Ryan Anderson, whose basketball journey has made a fortuitous stop in Tucson, visits Southern California this weekend perhaps bigger and better than many remember him. Five years ago, he was the first Jackrabbits player to be named Mr. California Basketball, as well as accepting the Gatorade State Player of the Year, after averaging 16.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 55 percent from the floor. With that, he moved onto Boston College, where he put up 11.2, 14.9 and 14.3 points and 7.4, 8.0 and 7.3 rebounds a game in three seasons against ACC competition. But the team’s struggles cost Steve Donahue his coaching job. Anderson decided to transfer, to Arizona, and sit the 2014-15 season, but he had to rehab a shoulder injury anyway. But from there, the 6-foot-9 forward went from being listed at 216 pounds to where he’s at 235 today – and he impressed Wildcats coach Sean Miller by once bench-pressing 185 pounds 21 times, “the most in our program’s history,” Miller noted. Said Anderson: “I think my high school coach (Sharrief Metoyer) put it best. He said ‘You had nothing else to do last year except lift’ so I don’t put too much into (the record), but at least I know my name will be up there for a while.”
For the record, Anderson leads the No. 8 Wildcats (13-1, 1-0) in double-digit scoring (15.5) and rebounding (10.3) this season, including a Pac-12 opening win over Arizona State. The team taking on UCLA (9-6, 0-2) and USC (12-3, 1-1) this weekend doesn’t look much like the one from a year ago that went to the NCAA West Regional finals. Three starters filtered to the NBA, another graduated, and the fifth, 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski, has been slowly coming back from an injury suffered in November. Freshman Allonzo Trier and senior guard Gabe York (Orange Lutheran High) have been teaming up with Anderson to generate the Wildcats so far. UCLA lost twice to Arizona last year, including the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals, and USC has lost three in a row to the Wildcats since an 89-78 upset win in February, 2013.
Also this week: USC vs. Arizona State, at Galen Center, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network; UCLA vs. Arizona State: At Pauley Pavilion, Saturday at 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network

The NFL’s wild-card round of the playoffs go Saturday (Kansas City-Houston at 1:35 p.m., ESPN and Pittsburgh-Cincinnati at 4:35 p.m., Channel 2) and Sunday (Seattle-Minnesota at 10 a.m., Channel 4 and Green Bay-Washington at 1:40 p.m., Channel 11) … The Baseball Hall of Fame announces its Class of 2016 on Wednesday (3 p.m., MLB Network) … The Lakers get another chance to see if they can compete with the 31-2 Golden State Warriors (at Staples Center, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) … More at this link.

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Sunday media column: The All Angst Sign came up on New Year’s Eve for ESPN, CFB, as expected

Illustration by Jim Thompson/Sportsbronze.com

Illustration by Jim Thompson/Sportsbronze.com

ESPN tried to craft the message that singing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve would be just as fun if two College Football Playoff semifinal games were being played. While both were somewhat lopsided, the ratings proved what many anticipated: A large drop in audience.
More at this link.

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Weekly media notes version 12.31.15: And on the last day, ESPN tries to embrace the synergy of The Seacrest Effect

good timespictureWhat’s worth posting today:

== ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling Burke Magnus is somewhat polite in assessing how putting two College Football Playoff games on New Year’s Eve will attract viewers.
“It definitely presents a unique challenge,” he is quoted in Adweek.com. “We’re curious to see how it plays out.”
In the New York Times, ESPN’s Ilan Ben-Hanan, vice president for college sports programming, frames it this way: “We realize that New Year’s Eve is not New Year’s Day. We know it’ll be different. But we think the notion of sports and a holiday can exist peacefully.”
vintage-new-years-10As noted, Oregon’s 59-20 win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl followed by Ohio State’s 42-35 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl drew more than 28 million viewers each with a New Year’s Day airing last season.
This is the first of two consecutive seasons where New Year’s Eve will host the semifinal doubleheader. It’s a system that kind of paints itself into a corner based on when it wants to stage the national championship game, and how the Rose Bowl and its 2 p.m. Jan. 1 kickoff gets in everyone’s way.
On the West Coast, all of this should not be much of an issue — except, as USA Today’s Nancy Armour points out, some of us working today may miss some of it.
“The semifinals are two of the biggest games of the entire college football season, topped only by the title game,” she writes. “They should command attention, not be forced to compete for it.”
In the East, the competition seems more fierce. There will also be a clear message that ESPN’s games are feeding into ABC’s regular New Year’s Eve programming hosted by Ryan Seacrest, which has been promoted heavily during ESPN programming during the bowl season. Sage Steele, the ESPN/ABC NBA studio host, will join Seacrest to try to make it seem more of a group effort.
That’s Disney synergy at work. Again. Trying to sell us on this with a Jimmy Kimmel promo that seems rather awkward just from the concept.

Is this a promo for New Year's Eve college football games, or a funeral reception?

Is this a promo for New Year’s Eve college football games, or a funeral reception?

So here’s how ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff semifinal games tonight lays out:
RetroNewYearsGraphicsFairy= Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe are on the Oklahoma-Clemson Orange Bowl at 1 p.m. (Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Joe Schad have the game on ESPN Radio/710-AM KSPN). The ESPN studio show includes Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, Joey Galloway, Butch Davis, George Whitfield, Gene Wojciechowski, Samantha Ponder and Marty Smith.
= Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox are on the Michigan State-Alabama Cotton Bowl at 5 p.m. (Brad Sham, Danny Kanell and Ian Fitzsimmons have the game on ESPN Radio/710-AM KSPN). The ESPN studio show has Adnan Virk, Joe Tessitore, Herbstreit, Mack Brown, Mark May, Danny Kanell. Tim Tebo, Kaylee Hartung and Tom Rinaldi.
= Also today: Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill on the Houston-Florida State Peach Bowl (9 a.m., ESPN)

== The ESPN broadcasting crews for the five New Year’s Day games on Friday:
Brundage-New-Year-Vintage-Postcard= Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer and Maria Taylor are on the Stanford-Iowa Rose Bowl (2 p.m., ESPN)
= Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich have the Northwestern-Tennessee Outback Bowl (9 a.m., ESPN2)
= Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Todd McShay are on the Notre Dame-Ohio State Fiesta Bowl (10 a.m., ESPN)
= Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Shannon Spake call the Ole Miss-Oklahoma State Sugar Bowl (5:30 p.m., ESPN)
= Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham and Jerry Punch are on the Michigan-Florida Citrus Bowl (10 a.m., Channel 7) Continue reading

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L.A. News Group 2015 Sports Person of the Year: The Rousey Revolution came though

Ronda Rousey and her Dogo Argentino Mochi have some fun at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

Ronda Rousey and her Dogo Argentino Mochi have some fun at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

On Barbara Walters’ hour-and-a-half long ABC special “10 Most Fascinating People of 2015,” the segment highlighting Ronda Rousey’s year lasted just five minutes.
In proportion to a typical Rousey victory in the UFC Octagon, it was kind of symbolic. Pay attention, or you’ll miss it.
It wasn’t as if Rousey needed to make a case for why she belonged in the same TV conversation with two presidential candidates (Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders), a ballerina (Misty Copeland), an entrepreneur (Jeff Bezos), a fashion designer (Donna Karan) and a celebrated transgender figure (Caitlyn Jenner).
“Just because my body was developed for a purpose doesn’t mean it’s masculine,” Rousey said on the show. “I think it’s femininely badass as (bleep) because there’s not a single muscle in my body that isn’t for a purpose.”
The fascination with the Riverside-born, Venice-based and L.A.-trained Rousey hasn’t stopped. Not even after her first career UFC defeat in November — a hitch in her 2015 that probably knocked out her shot of her being named the Sports Illustrated Sports Person of the Year.
If it’s any consolation, naming Rousey as the 11th recipient of the Los Angeles News Group Sports Person of the Year comes without any arm twisting on our part.
Here’s the story.

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