June 25, 2021

Must-see TV

first_img “I’m going to show you a hockey shot – you’ve never seen anything like it,” he claims. Well, heck, how are we supposed to go to sleep now and miss this? This is the second of a four-part annual series on the best and worst of the Los Angeles sports media. Today, the TV anchors and reporters. About five minutes into the 11 p.m. newscast on KNBC Channel 4 on Monday, Fred Roggin pops up on the TV screen. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The video clip was as advertised – Washington Capitals rookie Alexander Ovechkin somehow managed to score a goal while he was diving and twisting and has just one hand on his stick and … you really had to see it. The next day on the Kings’ telecast, Hall of Fame play-by-play man Bob Miller called that one of the most incredible shots he has ever seen as well. So once again, Roggin, the master of the tease, had done his job. Just as he has for 26 years running. You’ve got to be doing something right to have stayed at the same station in the same city for more than a quarter of a century, even if the task seems so simple. In the time it takes to cook a hard-boiled egg, all the local TV sportscaster has to do is boil down the day’s local sporting events into a window between the weather and that cute feel-good story at the end of the show. If there’s a live car chase going on, his segment might be wiped out entirely – which is almost what happened on that same Monday night to Channel 2’s Jim Hill, who managed to squeeze in just a live two-minute standup from the empty Staples Center to at least inform his audience that, in fact, the Lakers had beaten the Miami Heat. center_img For the 48-year-old Roggin, his survival guide is based on developing skills that go far beyond just delivering a couple of slick highlights – he’s a prodigious producer, a master salesman, as adept at analyzing marketing data and rating trends as he is with stats and scores, and a familiar face in a market where change takes place far too often. Roggin might not be at every game doing those live shots, but you know he’s back in the studio making magic somehow that’ll pay off for him in the long run. In December 1980, KNBC recruited Roggin from the NBC affiliate in Phoenix to create the station’s expanded “Sunday Night Sports” show (which lasted 18 years), be the weekend sports anchor and do features in the middle of the week while working with Stu Nahan. Twenty-six regional Emmy Awards – one for each year – and 21 Golden Mike Awards pretty much prove Roggin knows what he was doing. “Cable had not yet taken off, so local news was still a go-to destination,” Roggin said, describing the TV landscape in those early years of ESPN and CNN, which were figuring out how to fill these new half-hour sports highlights shows. “We had to start changing because the world was changing, and we had to figure out how to appeal to the broadest audience, not just the male-driven sports viewer. So how were we going to do it? We had to remember: Our business is television, and our assignment is sports, and good production makes good TV. “Sports is action, and television is video-driven. Video sells, action sells. You don’t go to a sporting event to hear someone talk about it, you go to watch it.” Warner Wolf and Marv Albert had been doing the off-beat sports video highlights at local TV stations in New York, and George Michael was making it work in Washington, D.C., so Roggin had a template to use in L.A. going up against the other stations that had the same stories to deliver but hadn’t figured out how much or little to incorporate the pizzazz factor. “It was all about packaging,” Roggin said. “The analogy is to pretend it’s tonic water – why is Schweppes better than Canada Dry? It’s how it’s packaged, and branded, for the audience. “Over the years, you do have to reinvent yourself. We may not be a destination port for sports information anymore, but people do come to us for perspective and uniqueness. The research has proved that over the years.” Two important elements have also helped keep Roggin pointed in the right direction, particularly over the past few years. As always, he’s assembled an award-winning crew of producers and editors that currently include Steve Leveton, Kevin La Beach, Charlie Rosene and Marc Blaine. They’ll be involved in the return this fall of a weekly NFL postgame show that will include elements of the old standbys, “Roggin’s Heroes” and the “Hall of Shame,” which were parts of syndicated shows Roggin’s production company churned out in the mid ’90s. But what might have finally opened the local TV audience’s mind about Roggin’s depth of knowledge is how he’s done with the two hours of sports talk every weekday afternoon on KMPC-AM 1540 The Ticket, produced by Jared Kiemeney. Roggin says that has translated to his TV sportscast. “There’s only a handful of people who can succeed purely on who they are – I’m not blessed with that skill,” Roggin says. “I’ve had to work at developing production skills. “The radio has definitely changed what I do on TV now. I can add more opinion and perspective and analysis. You’ve got to be able to do more than one thing if you’re going to grow as a media person.” Even with the extra radio show, Roggin believes he’s been able to find a balance for work and family. On a typical weekday, Roggin wakes up at his Porter Ranch home at 7 a.m., takes his three youngest kids – 9-year-old Haylee, 7-year-old Jack and 5-year-old Josh – to school, works out, gets in touch by phone with producers of his radio and TV shows, surfs the Internet for topics to talk about on the radio show from 2 to 4 p.m. (which he does either from home or from his KNBC studio office in Burbank), does his Channel 4 sports segments for the 5:30 and 6 p.m. news, is back home by 7 p.m. for dinner with his family, returns to the studio by 9:30 p.m., pre-tapes sports segments for “Today in L.A.” and other shows, does the 11 p.m. news and is back home by midnight. Roggin and his wife, Richel, dedicate the weekends to the kids’ sports events – soccer, basketball and ice hockey. Roggin also has a set of twins, Jeff and Shannon, who are about to graduate from The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks and head off to Bucknell and Syracuse next year. “She’s very sharp, and she’s always giving me feedback on the radio and TV,” Roggin said of Richel, one of his former Channel 4 producers who recently did some reporting on the Long Beach Ice Dogs’ local TV coverage. “Ultimately, she wants to be a mom, and I can say that the thing I look forward to doing most is being with the kids. I think I’m at a point in my career where I’m confident in what I’m doing and can really focus on what’s important, and that’s family.” And there’s no teasing there. Notes: Five months after its debut, ESPN2 has decided to pull the plug on L.A.-based “ESPN Hollywood,” with the last show set for Jan. 26. “Our research and the ratings clearly suggest that a daily show may have been too much,” said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president. Starting Jan. 30, ESPN2 will also move “Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith” from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. PDT. … ESPN’s “College GameDay” for basketball starts Saturday from Louisville, leading into the Cardinals’ game with Connecticut at 6 p.m. Rece Davis hosts with Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas and Andy Katz on the dais. Tom Hoffarth is at (818) 713-3661 and [email protected] TOP 10 1. Jim Hill KCBS Channel 2 Save the date: He will (legitimately) get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 9. Kind of makes sense, with this being his 30th year in L.A., starting at Channel 2 in ’76 (plus a short run at Channel 7 from ’88 to ’92 before returning to KCBS). Maybe that’s what inspired him to take off his sports coat and do the traditional Samoan dance at a press and family gathering last Saturday in Carson, where USC’s Fred Matua announced he was going pro. Last year: 1. 2. Fred Roggin KNBC Channel 4 Another one of the NBC perks is grabbing an assignment at the Olympics every now and then. In a couple of weeks, Roggin is off to Italy for the Winter Games, hosting the curling coverage. What’s the deal with curling? “It’s critical that you have a good skip and a good vice skip,” he says. We’ll have to take his word for it. Last year: 6. 3. Curt Sandoval KABC Channel 7 He finds the inspiring local stories on a more consistent basis than anyone else in town. Last year: 4. 4. John Ireland KCAL Channel 9 If only the Lakers had some loose fuse who we could count on an occasional profanity-laced tirade. Last year: 2. 5. Lindsay Soto Fox Sports Net Another network hasn’t picked her up yet? Just wait. Last year: 5. 6. Bill Macdonald Fox Sports Net He’s become so versatile, we’ve seen him interview a player with the mike first in his right hand, then switch to his left. Last year: 4. 7. Petros Papadakis Fox Sports Net The USC grad hardly pulled any punches during his analysis work during the football season. Last year: 7. 8. Patrick O’Neal Fox Sports Net Continues to make a name for himself as a sportscaster, especially as a hockey point man. Last year: 8. 9. Jim Watson Fox Sports Net Does he not have the best preppy flip haircut in the biz? Billy Mac only wishes his hair could do that. Last year: Not ranked. 10. Gary Miller KCAL Channel 9 The former ESPN whiz has finally filled that job opening at the station after Darrin Horton left. Paired with Alan Massengale, it’s like an ESPN deja vu experience, except Miller isn’t going for the watered-down jokes. Last year: Not ranked. Honorable mention: Mario Solis and Bill Seward, KNBC Channel 4; Barry LeBrock, Sean Farham, John Jackson, Matt Stevens and Priscilla Hojiwala, Fox Sports Net; John Hartung, KABC Channel 7; Marty McSorley, Fox Sports Net hockey studio. BOTTOM 5 1. Carolyn Hughes Fox Sports Net It’s been our policy to only rank those who are actually on the air at the time this comes out. But the fact that her name is on the ballot for the Southern California Sports Broadcasters’ annual awards ceremony delights us to no end. What if she freakin’ wins, and then shows up to the luncheon with Derek Lowe on her arm? Classic stuff. Last year: Horrible mention. 2. Jennifer Gould KTTV Channel 11 If she was just another pretty-face ex-cheerleader, maybe we could understand her function more. But how much botox can one grill take? Last year: Horrible mention. 3. Damon Andrews KTLA Channel 5 We kid you not: Last year, he was given a regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-TV News Directors Association. You gotta be wondering if Hal Fishman is thinking to himself as Andrews does his jargon-filled scripts: What the heck is this kid talking about? Last year: 1, bottom five. 4. Rob Fukuzaki KABC Channel 7 Gotta say, one of his best performances came about a week ago, when news anchor Marc Brown regretfully informed viewers that Fuk had called in sick, and there was no one else to replace him. So Brown did the sports highlights – flawlessly, by the way – while holding up Fuk’s 8-by-10 color photo. Last year: 3, bottom five. 5. Michael Eaves Fox Sports Net So why was Kings’ coach Andy Murray so livid at Eaves after the team’s 4-1 loss the other night? Seems that after Eaves was left to ad-lib live on camera when a players-only meeting prevented him from getting an interview, he said something to the effect that Murray had to address the fact that the Kings were outworked by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Murray heard that in the coaches’ office and bolted out to confront Eaves. Murray eventually did a live interview with Eaves, but only after the latter altered his analysis and said it really wasn’t a lack of effort that hurt the Kings after all. Last year: Horrible mention. Horrible mention: Alan Massengale and James Worthy, KCAL Channel 9. LAST WEEK’S POLL Your top five favorite’s on the radio: 1. Dave Smith – 30% 2. Steve Mason – 28% 3. Petros Papadakis – 21% 4. Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton – 6% 5. Steve Hartman – 5% Note: Numbers add up to 90% because only the top five are listed. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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