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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV-RADIO

XTRA 1150 Starts With Mixed Results

March 14, 1997|LARRY STEWART

The report card on XTRA Sports 1150 after a week as Los Angeles' latest attempt at all-sports radio: Not a bad effort but needs work.

First of all, San Diego's XTRA 690, sister station of Los Angeles' XTRA 1150--formerly KIIS-AM--is competing for the same listeners. Both stations carry the same morning-drive show, and both carry Jim Rome, but at different times. Doesn't seem to make much sense.

Roy Laughlin, the general manager at XTRA 1150, as well as KIIS-FM, said, "The two stations are designed to work in concert. It's not much different than when one company owns two rock stations in the same market."

Still a weird situation.

Another problem with XTRA 1150 is too much syndicated programming. Take the "Fabulous Sports Babe" morning show. People in Los Angeles don't care

about an interview with the Butler basketball coach, and they don't care to hear Dick Vitale, from the Yankees' spring training camp near his home in Sarasota, Fla., campaign to get Reggie Jackson a job with ESPN.

Also, the first half of the Babe's show is live, the second half delayed. The second two hours are actually the first two of her national show.

Then there are those ridiculous O.J. Simpson promos. The station started doing them after "Hard Copy" reported a rumor that Simpson might be going to work for XTRA 1150. The promos are misleading--and in poor taste.

Speaking of poor taste, those "Sports Gods" at night didn't waste any time. Their first night, they used Denise Sanders, the 22-year-old wife of Toronto outfielder Anthony Sanders, who died in a skiing accident, as the butt of one of their jokes.

Rich Herrera of San Francisco's KNBR and a former KMAX-FM colleague of the gods, Dave Smith and Joey Haim, called in on their first night. "I'd say the over and under on when you guys get fired is Thursday," Herrera told them.

On the other hand, nice guy Vic "The Brick" Jacobs has been a pleasant surprise. A few years ago he may have been too much of a goofball. These days, he fits right in.

THE HUGE ONE

OK, jungle dwellers, your guy is huge. Rome is on the air from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on XTRA 690, then again from 3-5 p.m. on XTRA 1150, although the second hour on XTRA 1150 is a repeat of the second hour of his nationally syndicated show on XTRA 690.

Eventually, something has to give. By next fall, XTRA 1150 will be 50,000 watts and the flagship station of the Dodgers and UCLA. A station of that stature in the nation's largest radio market needs its own three- or four-hour marquee show.

And XTRA 1150 may soon have an L.A. competitor. The Illinois-based One-On-One network is buying Spanish-language KXMG 1540 and probably will try an all-sports format.

One thing that would help XTRA 1150 would be to get Rome exclusively. Laughlin would love to be able to do that, although he says he's satisfied with the current setup.

As for Rome, he says his national show remains his top priority.

"I'm trying to make the jungle global, to get it in as many markets as possible," he said.

Rome, who works out of a San Fernando Valley studio located only a couple of miles from XTRA 1150 in Burbank, said he didn't see any change in the "foreseeable future."

EMPLOYMENT DEPT.

Bill Seward, who has been hustling to make it as a sportscaster ever since quitting as football coach at St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey in 1984, has been hired as an anchor by ESPNEWS and will start his new job in Bristol, Conn., on Monday.

Seward, a graduate of Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks and Loyola Marymount, has worked for both KNX radio and KCBS-TV and, since 1993, has done a variety of Santa Anita horse racing shows.

Headed for rival CNN-SI is USC graduate Kelly Carter, a former Times intern who went on to write for the Orange County Register and more recently USA Today.

Will the freeways be safe? Former "Nasty Boy" Rob Dibble, along with his wife and two children, will be moving to Southern California. Dibble has been hired by Hollywood-based "Fox Sports News" to serve as a baseball analyst throughout the season. . . . "Fox Sports News," which began using Jim Harrick as an analyst last weekend, will continue using him through its on-site coverage at the Final Four in Indianapolis. . . . CBS Sports has named Terry Ewert as executive producer. The respected Ewert was at NBC for 18 years, heading the network's Olympic coverage, before going to work in production for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games in 1993.

SHORT WAVES

The war between Fox Sports and cable operators over Fox Sports West 2 heated up this week when DirecTV joined Fox in a major advertising campaign. . . . Sam Wyche appears to be the front-runner to replace Mike Ditka on NBC's NFL pregame show. Jim Mora is among those still in contention, as is Keith Jackson, the tight end. But Jackson appears headed for TNT as Randall Cunningham's replacement.

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