Channel 56 Is 86’d as Hollypark Pulls Plug on Its Recalls

If you’re a horse racing fan who relies on Channel 56 for nightly televised recalls, here’s some bad news.

Channel 56 will not carry the recalls from the Hollywood Park meeting, which opens next Wednesday. The replays will be shown only on the cable Prime Ticket Network, and not until 10:15 p.m.

The problem, according to Mike Volpe, Channel 56’s general manager, is that Marje Everett, Hollywood Park’s chief operating office, is unwilling to pay Channel 56 for the air time.

Volpe said the track’s cost for the air time is only $9,100 per week, and much of that can be recouped by selling commercial time. The station would allot 42 of 84 30-second spots to the track each week. Even if the track can get only $175 per spot (the top price is $250), that’s still about $7,000 per week.


Volpe said Everett complained that she doesn’t have the staff to sell commercial time.

“We have a great relationship with Santa Anita, but we’ve had our problems with Hollywood Park,” Volpe said.

The Santa Anita recalls are televised by both Channel 56 and Prime Ticket. Channel 56 shows them at 7:30 p.m. on weeknights and at 8 p.m. on weekends. Prime Ticket, which is available in less than one-fourth of the TV households in the Los Angeles market, shows them at 10:30 p.m.

The Hollywood Park shows on Prime Ticket will be expanded from a half-hour to 45 minutes, thus beginning at 10:15 p.m. when possible.


Late-night woes: On weeknights, Prime Ticket will televise all home Laker playoff games not on CBS. Channel 9 will show the road games not on CBS.

Since CBS doesn’t have any 11:30 p.m. NBA playoff telecasts scheduled until Thursday, May 8, Channel 9 will be able to televise Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4 of the Laker-San Antonio series next Wednesday and Friday nights live from San Antonio.

But there figures to be some 11:30 Laker telecasts down the road. Jay Strong, Channel 2’s program director, said his station, as it has done in the past, will not show any weeknight Laker playoff games live unless it’s a decisive game in the conference finals.

All games of the championship series will be televised live.


Add playoffs: The CBS announcers assigned to work Saturday’s 12:30 game between the Lakers and Spurs are Jim Nantz, who will be working his first NBA game for the network, and former Philadelphia 76er Doug Collins, who is becoming an excellent commentator.

On Sunday, CBS offers Chicago at Boston, with Dick Stockton and Tommy Heinsohn.

The other CBS announcing teams that will be seen during the playoffs are Brent Musburger and Billy Cunningham, and Gary Bender and Hubie Brown.

The NBA playoffs will be around for a while. The seventh game of the championship series is scheduled for Friday, June 13.


Doubleheader: NBC will televise the Dodger game at Atlanta Saturday at 10:15 a.m., followed by Minnesota and the Angels from Anaheim Stadium.

Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola will report from Atlanta. Ted Robinson, an Oakland A’s announcer working his first game for NBC, and Jim Kaat, who worked a few games for NBC last season, will report from Anaheim.

Rod Carew will be a guest in the broadcast booth at Anaheim and talk about his status.

On the pregame show at 10 a.m., Marv Albert will interview rookie stars Danny Tartabull of Seattle and Will Clark of San Francisco.


The rematch: HBO’s coverage of Saturday night’s Larry Holmes-Michael Spinks fight will begin at 7 p.m.

For those who don’t have HBO, the fight is being offered by a few Southern California bar/restaurants for the $10 cover charge. They include 14 Red Onions, C.J. Brett’s in Hermosa Beach, the Sports Deli in Century City and the Valley Club in Van Nuys.

Channel 7 shake-up: Less than a year ago, Channel 7 had a stable of eight sportscasters. The full-timers were Ted Dawson, Harold Greene, Ed Arnold, Bob Chandler and Gene Washington. Also, Lynn Swann was still under contract, and Kiki Vandeweghe and Dwight Stones worked on a part-time basis.

Now, with Arnold being let go this week, the sports staff is down to three announcers--Dawson, Washington and Rick Lozano, who was hired in January. Greene is a news reporter, and Chandler left Channel 7 to join Channel 2 as co-host of “2 on the Town.”


Add Arnold: He is one of the really good guys in the business, well-liked and well-respected.

He said he has no animosity toward Channel 7. “It was a numbers game and I got caught in the middle,” he said. “Terry Crofoot (the station’s news director) and John Severino (the general manager) have been great. I have no quarrel with them.”

Arnold, most recently a field reporter, worked weekends as a sports anchor until Lozano came aboard. “I’m one guy who loved working weekends,” Arnold said. “If you’re a sportscaster, that’s when all the action is.”

Notes ABC, which will televise all three Triple Crown races this year, has hired horse racing commentator Charlsie Cantey, who worked for CBS for nine years. She has also covered races for ESPN. Cantey will start out by working ABC’s coverage of the Wood Memorial Saturday on “Wide World of Sports.” . . . ABC also will use Lynn Swann on the Triple Crown races, beginning with the Kentucky Derby on May 3. Lynn Swann? Yes, he’s apparently quite a horse racing buff. He even owns a 2-year-old filly named Choir Sister, stabled at Hollywood Park. Swann will be used mainly to interview celebrities in the stands. . . . Sunday’s San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita will be previewed in a one-hour show on Channel 56 tonight at 8. . . . ESPN will carry two important Kentucky Derby prep races, the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park Saturday, delayed at 4 p.m., and the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland Thursday, delayed at 3 p.m. . . . Delayed coverage of the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs a week from Saturday will be on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” . . . Hollywood Park has hired popular KIIS-fm disc jockey Rick Dees to do radio and television commercials. Also, Dees will put on a concert at the Inglewood track on Mother’s Day, May 11.


NBC provides two hours of taped coverage of last Sunday’s Long Beach Grand Prix Sunday at noon. . . . Chick Hearn will appear on CBS during halftime of Saturday’s Laker telecast to talk about his new record, “Rap-Around.” . . . CBS will offer highlights of Saturday night’s Michael Spinks-Larry Holmes rematch during its “At the Half” show on Sunday during the Chicago-Boston game. On the same show, Julius Erving will talk about his future. . . . The UCLA/Pepsi Invitational track meet May 17 will be televised on a same-day delayed basis at 7:30 p.m. by Prime Ticket. Outside Los Angeles, USA will carry the meet live, using the Prime Ticket feed. . . . Prime Ticket plans to televise some San Diego Socker playoff games during the Major Indoor Soccer League conference finals and the championship series.

Now that NBC has dropped Pete Axthelm and Larry King, there is speculation that former New York Giant coach Allie Sherman might be hired to work with Bob Costas and Ahmad Rashad on the NFL pregame shows next season. One way NBC plans to fill the void is to use its commentators more on the pregame show, particularly Bob Trumpy and Bob Griese, who will offer reports on various topics from the sites of the games they are working. . . . Nicknames return: ESPN’s Chris Berman, told last year to no longer use nicknames for baseball players, has been given the green light to start using them again, only in moderation. . . . ESPN’s Gayle Gardner, recovering from surgery, is expected to return to “SportsCenter” in two or three weeks. . . . ESPN offers live coverage of the Boston Marathon Monday at 8:30 a.m. . . . Where they are now dept.: Merrie Rich, the original winner of KABC radio’s talent search contest who was fired after one month and replaced by Lisa Bowman, is now living in London and is pursuing a show business career. She says the story of her brief tenure at KABC has been bought by a British production company, which plans to make it into a TV movie to be shown in Britain.