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Ray Fosse Takes Leave Of Absence For Cancer Treatment

“NBC Sports California and the Oakland A’s offered their support.”

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Associated Press

The color commentator for the Oakland A’s television broadcasts shared some scary news this week. Ray Fosse told fans that he has been battling cancer for the last 16 years. He says effective immediately, he is taking a leave of absence to receive treatment.

“My wife, Carol, and I extend our gratitude to the baseball community, and community at large, for your thoughts and prayers,” Fosse said in a statement.

Fosse was a two time all-star in his 12 years in the majors. He also won a World Series and a Gold Glove. He joined the A’s as a broadcaster in 1986.

NBC Sports California and the Oakland A’s offered their support. They issued a joint statement saying that Ray Fosse will have all of the time he needs to receive treatment and recover.

“Our priority is Ray’s health and well-being. He is and will always be part of our family, and we will help him and Carol in every way we can throughout Ray’s recovery.”

Ray Fosse is the second Major League broadcaster to step away from the microphone this week. Jerry Remy of NESN previously announced that his lung cancer had returned. He has decided to step away from Boston Red Sox broadcasts while he receives treatment.

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Alex Faust: I Don’t Know If I Want to Be the Voice of Just One Team Again

“Being a national voice you get to parachute in, do the game, and go home and kind of wipe your hands clean of it. With a team, there’s an emotional component to it.”

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Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Kings announced they were going to provide a radio/TV simulcast for fans, leaving TV voice Alex Faust without a role with the franchise. The move eventually elevated Faust’s profile, leading to a role with AppleTV’s Friday Night Baseball package.

As the 2023-2024 NHL season began, Alex Faust was named as a fill-in for the New York Rangers radio network. He said the new opportunity has allowed him to view his role from a different lens and question if he wants to be the voice of one team again.

“It’s actually a question I’ve asked myself because, in some ways what happened with the Kings, while it stung and it still stings a bit, it afforded me a luxury that you don’t get in this business very often, and that’s time,” Faust said while on the Sports Media Watch podcast. “It’s time away from full-time in a sport with a team to explore other opportunities. In this case, an opportunity to fill in a little bit with another team.

“But for now, I’m just enjoying the ride … being a national voice you get to parachute in, do the game, and go home and kind of wipe your hands clean of it. With a team, there’s an emotional component to it. There’s an emotional investment. Even though I wasn’t from Los Angeles, you get swept up when you’re working every single day, when you’re at the rink every day, when you’re building relationships with coaches and players,” continued Faust. “Never mind the crest on the front of the jersey, you are a part of that family, a part of that organization. You’re vested in their success. So it’s a very different feeling than being invested in the success of a network.”

Alex Faust was also asked about the fallout from his exit from the Los Angeles Kings, and he noted he was shocked by the move.

“I had every intent of making it a long-term proposition. I had put down roots there (and) bought a house there. And it’s a business at the end of the day, so it happens to pro athletes, it happens to white-collar workers, it happens to blue-collar workers. It is just a fact of life that sometimes businesses have to pivot when there are challenges thrown their way,” Faust said.

“I know what the realities are in the business right now, especially for regional sports networks. And, at the time, the Kings’ rights deal was up and I was just a casualty of that. They decided they wanted to go with a simulcast. This was before they inked a new rights agreement with Bally Sports.

“But, I guess, at the end of the day, I was the only one from the crew let go. Everybody else was brought back this season. It’s disappointing, and I still wonder if the economics were a little bit different or if circumstances were a little bit different, whether it would’ve just been status quo. But life moves on and you can’t spend time dwelling on the past, especially when it’s out of your control, and especially when the reasons aren’t ones that you necessarily love or agree with.”

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Ted Robinson: Tough to Keep Analysts Focused as Pac 12 Network Crumbled

“I’ve tried to talk to him through the year about trying to maintain a balance and be calm amidst understanding he is losing a job.”

Ricky Keeler

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A photo of Ted Robinson
(Photo: Pac 12)

If you have been watching the Olympics over the last 25+ years, there is a chance you have heard Ted Robinson call a variety of different sports for either CBS in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, or for NBC since 2000. The Olympics is one of those events where a sport will gain a wide amount of attention that it won’t get during a non-Olympic year and it can be a teaching tool for any play-by-play broadcaster.

Robinson was a guest on the Sports Media With Richard Deitsch podcast and he talked about the one lesson he learned when he first was at the Olympics, which was to stay in your lane.

“It’s been an incredible broadcast lesson for me. I was 40 years old the first time I went to an Olympics and I said I thought it would be one and done. I actually did four different sports in Nagano for CBS. It was an incredible lesson in understanding what play-by-play people should always remember is stay in your lane.”

When Ted Robinson was at his first Olympics for NBC in Sydney, he called baseball but then got asked to do synchronized swimming as well while at the Games. He remembered what he told his analyst at the time and it helped him learn to let the analyst shine.

“I was hired by NBC and I did baseball at the Sydney Olympics. While I was there, David Neal said ‘I need you to do synchronized swimming next week.’ I went and had no prep and I worked with Tracie Ruiz and I said ‘Tracy, I’ll set it up, I’ll say who is performing, what they are doing and you take the why and run with it’ and I’ve carried it through. It’s a fabulous lesson for play-by-play people. You have somebody next to you that has excelled in that sport. Tee them up, let them explain.”

This past weekend was Robinson’s last college football broadcast for the Pac-12 Network. He told Deitsch how he has had to talk to some of his analysts, such as Yogi Roth for football, about trying to keep the focus on the job at hand while they know they are losing a job once the season ends.

“Yogi Roth has been my football partner for the last six or seven years. He’s a magnificent guy, he’s in his early 40’s, he is just starting out and he’s so devoted to college football and as devoted to this conference as anyone could be,” Ted Robinson said. “I’ve tried to talk to him through the year about trying to maintain a balance and be calm amidst understanding he is losing a job.

“My talk to Yogi has been you will be fine, you will find a job, somebody will find you and I don’t know what it’s going to be.”

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Matt Graham Joins Tennis Channel to Lead Upcoming DTC Launch

“For years fans have been asking us if there’s a way for them to just buy Tennis Channel, and Matt’s here to make that happen.”

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Matt Graham
Courtesy: Tennis Channel

The Tennis Channel has announced that it is hiring Matt Graham to serve as its senior vice president of direct-to-consumer (DTC) and streaming business development, a newly created role in accordance with the company’s evolving means of consumption. In the new role, Graham will be leading the strategy to make Tennis Channel’s television network and content available to consumers through a new streaming platform that is set to be released next year. As part of the role, he will work closely with network president Ken Solomon, along with Bill Simon, who works as the executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the broadcast entity. 

Graham enters the role having previously worked as the general manager of streaming services Acorn TV and Sundance Now, both of which emanated from AMC Networks. For Acorn TV specifically, the streaming service won two Emmy Awards, expanded to more than 24 countries and increased its audience 20-fold, allowing it to become North America’s largest streaming platform specializing in premium British and international television. Additionally, Graham also worked at PBS Digital where founded and led PBS Digital Studios, helping the platform develop more than 30 original digital series. The platform has built an audience of more than 25 million subscribers and 2 billion views since its launch in 2012.

Before working in digital media, Graham worked in advertising as a commercial editor for Fortune 500 clients including Sprint, Chevron, Virgin and Electronic Arts. Afterwards, he and Gina LoCurcio proceeded to co-found Umlaut Films, a top editorial facility located in San Francisco, Calif. focusing its efforts on collaboration for commercial, film and integrated content.

“Matt’s decades of experience in the worlds of traditional and evolving media make him unique to guide Tennis Channel’s availability in every American [home] – and then who knows from there?,” Simon conveyed in a statement. “He’s created successful streaming platforms, programmed them to grow their subscriber base and expanded them into new marketplaces. For years fans have been asking us if there’s a way for them to just buy Tennis Channel, and Matt’s here to make that happen.”

Graham’s role will be based in the company’s Los Angeles, Calif.-area headquarters and focused on launching the new platform next year. Tennis Channel is owned by Sinclair, Inc., which is currently in the midst of bankruptcy hearings related to the Ch. 11 status of Diamond Sports Group, its subsidiary that is responsible for operating Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks around the United States.

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