Friday, September 12, 2008
I'm not sure why we're getting a string of state of media addresses as of late, but I'm all for them. The latest ESPN Ombudsman article tackled ESPN cross promotion and synergy and yesterday we had the future of Sports Television. Well today the topic is the State of Broadcasting and the quotes come from recently re-retired ABC College Football announcer, Keith Jackson.
The LA Times posed the question of perhaps the legendary broadcaster calling the OSU-USC game for the weekend and this was his response....
"I don't belong," he said. "My time is gone. I knew it and walked away."My thing is that there's room for all types of approaches in the booth from the classic, to the humorous, to the boisterous, but you have to know when to hit the pause button when thing get serious or the game is close. The biggest problem that I see, is a combination of what Jackson said and people trying way too hard to be funny, or off the wall. Subtle humor within the context of the game is always welcome, but when you start turning into the broadcast into a Sports Talk Radio show, that's when people hit mute.
While Vin Scully, who is the same age, has re-signed for another year with the Dodgers and Chick Hearn went on with the Lakers until his death at 85, Jackson is content with his decision, happy to hunker down at home for Saturday's game.
"I'm going to have a glass of good wine and watch a good ballgame," he said.
After being a football announcer with ABC from 1966 to 2006, he doesn't miss it?
"I've brainwashed myself into believing that," he said. "I'm on to another life."
The first time Jackson retired, he was enticed into returning when a network executive removed the burden of his heavy travel schedule. And when Jackson retired again, there was a new enticement.
"ESPN talked to me," he said, "but it's a whole different profession now."
Jackson is talking about the radical changes produced by technology, from the dizzying array of channel options, to online videos, blogging by sideline reporters, fantasy football stats and the increasing demand for an interactive experience.
"It's oversaturation to me," he said. "I wonder if it won't dull the appetite for football. I have trouble just with all these replays. I can't tell the old stuff from the new stuff. Also, it seems like there is constant conversation by the announcers. Yak, yak, yak. I just don't think we need that much conversation and I have a hunch there are a whole lot of folks who feel that way. Vinny [Scully] once said that what we do is capture pictures and I agree with that. But maybe I'm just a grouchy old guy."
It's sad to think that people like Jackson believe that the game and technology has passed them by, and that they "don't belong", but I guess it's just the natural progression of things. Hopefully he'll reconsider and can call a game next season for one network or another. I for one could use a "Whoa Nellie!" or two on Saturdays.
Whoa, Nellie: Keith Jackson enjoying retirement (LA Times)