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Baseball Broadcasts Swinging, Missing

April 03, 1998|LARRY STEWART

Give some credit to AM 1150, or whatever the Dodgers' new flagship radio station is calling itself these days.

It has been making a lot of noise-- on the air and through ads, billboards and murals--that it has the Dodgers.

This is in contrast to KRLA (1110), the Angels' new flagship station. There's been barely a whimper.

And tonight's game against Cleveland is being preempted by a Mighty Duck game and carried by KTZN (710), formerly longtime Angel flagship KMPC. So was the season opener Wednesday night.

Somebody at Disney isn't thinking. Has anyone there noticed the kind of TV ratings the Ducks get? And radio ratings for hockey are even smaller.

Not having these games on their new flagship station should be embarrassing to the Angels.

And speaking of embarrassing, Michael Eisner's lack of baseball knowledge was obvious in his interview with ESPN's Chris Berman on Wednesday night, while on the Channel 9 Angel telecast, the station's shilling for Edison was shameless.

Not all is well at Dodger flagship AM 1150, either.

One problem is the signal. Even though it has been beefed up to 50,000 watts, listeners are complaining.

The Dodgers and the station alleviated one problem area this week by adding KBET (1220) in Santa Clarita. But it's doubtful there will be any more.

"Our signal is now the fourth strongest among AM stations in L.A., right behind KFI, KNX and KTNQ," said Roy Laughlin, the general manager of AM 1150 and sister station KIIS-FM. "You're always going to have some pockets. KABC did. We're doing our best to eliminate them. We're still tweaking the antenna."

In the 1960s and early '70s, KFI's signal boomed Vin Scully everywhere, but these days a sky crowded with airwaves makes perfect coverage impossible.

Brent Shyer, the Dodgers' director of broadcasting, points out that AM 1150 can be picked up from anywhere on team's Web Site at provided the proper software has been downloaded.

Another problem for AM 1150 has to do with AFTRA, the labor union that represents on-air talent. Prompted by AFTRA, the National Labor Relation Board this week filed a complaint against AM 1150, alleging the station is negotiating in bad faith by not supplying basic information.


Will Lee Hamilton be shouting "Touchdown USC" on Trojan radio broadcasts on XTRA (690) this fall? Despite what Hamilton told the San Diego Union-Tribune this week, he said he has not been offered the job.

"We're talking," is all Hamilton said Thursday.

Pete Arbogast, the radio voice of the Cincinnati Bengals, has expressed an interest in coming back, and Tom Kelly is still a possibility even though Fox Sports West has said simulcasting Kelly and TV partner Craig Fertig is unlikely.

In the hunt for the radio commentating job is Jim Perry, who did it for seven of the 10 years he was USC's sports information director (1974-84). Perry is now back at USC as an assistant athletic director.

Mark Ryan, USC assistant athletic director, declined comment on announcing candidates and says other things, such as sales and programming, have priority.

Of the deal with XTRA, Ryan said, "Being on an all-sports station gives us more promotional opportunities. It's also a good deal financially."

The school will produce the broadcasts and sell the advertising.

Ryan also points out another plus is XTRA's 77,000-watt signal, made possible by having its antenna in Tijuana. Too bad sister station AM 1150 can't use it.


ESPN tackled a controversial topic in an "Outside the Lines" special that aired Thursday night, going after shoe manufacturers that are also major sponsors. The show dealt with the conditions at Vietnamese factories that the shoe companies subcontract.

"If there were any concerns [about insulting a sponsor] I'm totally unaware of them," said Bob Ley, "Outside the Lines" host. "There's a wall between us and those considerations."

Ley, who spent 11 days in February in Vietnam, said, "Nike picked the factory and the day we could visit. Reebok, on the other hand, gave us unsupervised access. Adidas, once they learned what we were doing, didn't even respond."


Fox makes its entry into horse racing with Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, and it is also the first racing assignment for Joe Buck, who will host the one-hour coverage that begins at 2 p.m. But Buck is no stranger to the sport, having been introduced to it as a youngster by his famous father. Jack Buck even owned a horse at one time named Almighty Buck. . . . Fox has some new bells and whistles planned--including microphones sewn in the legs of jockeys' pants. And you won't want to miss the opening. Here's a hint: It involves Terry Bradshaw. . . . The other big local event this weekend is Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It's on ESPN and live at 1 p.m., with Bob Varsha and Danny Sullivan anchoring the coverage.

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