A sign of the (L.A.) Times: What major moments did the 2010s decade bring us from a sports media platform?
By Tom Hoffarth
Whether it was the retirement of Vin Scully, the lagging distribution of SportsNet LA, or LeBron James’ “Decision” that launched his career as a media-content producer, the decade of 2010-’19 made some waves in Southern California, and created ripple effects elsewhere.
In addition to this Top 10 list we compiled for the Los Angeles Times, we thought of a few others worthy of note:
== Aug. 19, 2017: Jose Mota becomes the first to broadcast an MLB game as an English and Spanish play-by-play man as well as an English and Spanish analyst. His scorecard made it to Cooperstown as noted in this L.A. Times piece.
== Sept. 18, 2018: The Kings decide to leave AM radio and move their traditional audio broadcast of games to a streaming app with iHeartRadio. Here’s the move covered in this L.A. Times piece that calls it “perhaps a sign of a changing modern media.” We added a story of the Kings appear to be the first to use streaming as their sole audio delivery. This comes at a time when the MLS’ LAFC went a bit rogue to use YouTube TV as its exclusive home TV game partner, but also with the add-on ability for more and easily dispersible content.
== November 8, 2019: Jim Rome is inducted into the national Radio Hall of Fame in New York. From humble being as a weekend sports-talk host at XTRA-AM in the early ’90s, he has 23 years of syndicated distribution of his three-hour daily CBS Radio show, also simulcast on CBSSN. The official website notes he’s “one of the leading opinion-makers of his generation.”
== November 9, 2015: Nick Nickson receives the Foster Hewitt Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions to broadcasting, as he was in his 35th season calling games on radio and TV for the Kings. A story posted by NHL.com on the event notes Nickson is one of three part of the Kings’ history to receive the honor, after Bob Miller and Jiggs McDonald.
== March 13, 2015: Joe McDonnell, unapologetic in creating a larger-than-life persona in the Los Angeles sports media for the greater part of the last four decades, died at age 58. As we wrote at that time, L.A. sports talk was a better place with the “Joe McDonnell Experience.”
== June 27, 2016: Tom Kelly, the longtime voice of USC sports, dies at 88. We had the honor of doing a book on his career highlights,now in its third printing.
== July 24, 2015: AT&T’s purchase of El Segundo-based DirecTV is approved from the FCC and Department of Justice, a transaction of $49 billion, or $67.1 billion including debt. A CNN Business story last September notes that the company “is still paying the price for the deal.” Not in a good way.
== Dec. 10, 2016: Fox Sports offers a virtual reality option to its over-the-air coverage of the Major League Soccer championship game between Seattle and Toronto. Our review of the game, and the business, at this link.
== This qualifies as a media story:
== More highlights from the sports world of 2019 as drawn up by Jim Thompson: