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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV-RADIO / LARRY STEWART

Whoa, Nellie! He's Still Up for Kickoff

September 05, 1997|LARRY STEWART

You listen to Keith Jackson, "Mr. College Football," talk about archaic rules, ill-conceived government mandates and the state of college athletics in general.

You listen to him talk about the changes in his profession and that at times he feels like nothing more than a traffic cop whose job has become so complicated that afterward he can't remember who won.

You listen to him also talk about how travel has become so difficult and how it wears on him.

He has been a sportscaster for 44 of his 68 years, and you wonder if he's at the end of the road.

"I'm not discouraged to the point of giving up on it," he said. "When I get up in the booth and we're within 10 minutes of putting the ball on the tee and the band is raising Cain and the fans are jumping up and down, it's a festival, a wonderful thing.

"A few minutes before kickoff I'm as jacked up now as when I was 25."

So Jackson should be pretty jacked up around 5 p.m. Saturday when USC and Florida State are getting

ready to tee it up in the nightcap of an ABC doubleheader that features Tennessee and UCLA at 12:30. He and Bob Griese will announce the USC game, Brent Musburger and Dan Fouts the UCLA game.

Jackson realizes he's no longer a kid.

"Sooner or later, you get to the point where you're old, you can't see, you can't hear and you can't walk very fast," he said.

"My contract is up after two more seasons, and then we'll make a decision [about retirement]. And I'll be the one making it. The last thing I want to do is stumble out the door, or the last thing I want to do is have somebody kick me out the door.

"I hope to goodness somebody smarter than myself--if I can't see it myself--will tell me it's time to go. I'll listen to them and go quietly into the foothills."

COMPLAINT DEPT.

Let's hope ABC has a better day Saturday than it did a week earlier on UCLA-Washington State. The Jackson-Griese team has a new producer and director, and it showed.

There were missed plays, ill-timed shots, and generally more glitches than you'd expect from ABC's "A" team.

Earlier Saturday, ESPN2 went brain dead at the end of North Carolina State-Syracuse.

This is a game that probably will someday end up on the Classic Sports Network, particularly since ESPN this week announced it has bought the network.

With the score tied, Syracuse fumbled on the one with time running out in regulation and then had the wrong defensive alignment on the field, letting North Carolina State easily score a two-point conversion in overtime and win, 32-31.

Amid all the excitement and chaos at the finish, what did ESPN2 do? It went directly to women's golf. No interviews, no atmosphere, no anything.

ROGGIN BRANCHES OUT

Move over Regis and Kathie Lee? Fred Roggin and Arthel Neville's new daily syndicated show, featuring celebrity guests and interviews, makes its debut on Channel 4 on Monday at 10 a.m.

Is this a sign that Roggin, a Channel 4 sportscaster since 1980, may be getting out of sports?

"There's an adage in the syndication business that says don't give up your day job," he said. "Hey, I'd love it if the show is such a big hit that I have to make a choice. That would be a good problem to have."

IT'S A WACKY BUSINESS

The elaborate press kit arrived in the mail late last week announcing that KXMG (1540), a Spanish-language station, had been purchased by the Chicago-based One-On-One radio network and was to go all-sports on Monday, carrying One-On-One programming.

A story in Wednesday's Times explained that. One problem, though. KXMG didn't go all-sports on Monday.

Kurt Kretzschmar, a former KMPC employee who is associate director of affiliate relations for One-On-One, said: "There are some technical problems."

Carroll Larkin, senior vice president of Spanish Broadcasting Systems, which is selling KXMG to One-On-One, said: "The sale is still pending. The station won't be going all-sports until the sale is final."

Only in sports-talk radio.

BOXING'S BUSIEST ANNOUNCER

There's no official record, but Rich Marotta has to be the busiest boxing announcer in the country. One reason is he does both blow-by-blow and color commentary. He'll work 60 to 65 fights this year, about half in each role.

Next week, he's at the Forum on Monday night, working alongside blow-by-blow announcer Tom Kelly for Fox Sports West, Wednesday he'll be in Las Vegas, doing the blow-by-blow on Terry Norris-Andreas Arrellano for Bob Arum's monthly DirecTV show and Friday he'll be in Washington, calling Simon Brown-Ruben Bell for Fox Sports Net.

He was also scheduled to do the international feed for Oscar De La Hoya-Hector Camacho on Sept. 13 but couldn't get to Las Vegas from Washington in time.

SHORT WAVES

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