After 42 years, Fred Rogen taped from KNBC Channel 4

They were beginners together. Fernando Valenzuela and Fred Rogen They each debuted in Los Angeles in September 1980.

Valenzuela threw his last pitch for the Dodgers in 33 years. After a career covering Valenzuela, Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, Al Davis and countless others Channel 4Rogen hangs up his microphone. His last day as a sportscaster there is Thursday.

He says it’s his choice. He will still appear on his AM 570 radio show. He will explore opportunities in television production, whether he is hosting programs or inventing them for others. But after more than 42 years As a local sportsmanHe’s ready to throw his last shot off the anchor table.

“I’ve been realizing dreams I didn’t know I was dreaming,” said Rogen, 65. “I was the luckiest, most blessed man in the world.”

Rogen’s farewell wouldn’t be appropriate without acknowledging the important role he’s played in revitalizing local nightly sports broadcasts here and elsewhere.

Sport was a serious matter told by serious faces.

Rogen was not one of them. A 1989 story on a new, lighter wave of sportscasters focused on Rogen and had this headline: “enter the clowns.”

As Channel 4’s sportsman, Rogen has continued the legacy of distinguished alumni such as Bryant Gumbel, Ross Porter and Stu Nahan. The station promoted Rogen heavily with his own slogan: “Fred will show it to you!”

“You said … that during an earthquake your chances were 1 in 3 of being crushed by a Fred Rogen billboard,” Keith Olbermann said in that 1989 story.

Olbermann was Channel 2’s sportsman then, before he exploded to become a household name on ESPN. Rogen stayed in Los Angeles, realizing over the years that it didn’t matter if Fred could show it to you if you’d already seen it.

With apologies to older readers, a history lesson for younger readers: For a while, you had to wait for the 11 p.m. news to see highlights from the Dodgers and Lakers, and Fred could show them to you first. Then ESPN came along, and Fred can still show you it, but hours after ESPN does. Then came the internet and the smartphone, and you can see all the highlights you want, whenever you want.

“If we sit there and tell people what they already know, they don’t have to watch us,” Rogen said.

This is not just a problem for Channel 4, or any other television station. This is an urgent dilemma for any media outlet, including this one.

For some fans, the end result is still the 11 p.m. news, or the morning paper. Not everyone looks at the screen at night. But for those who do, how do you attract viewers or readers?

Fred Rogen sitting inside a TV studio.

For a time, KNBC-TV 4 heavily promoted Fred Rogen with his own catchphrase: “Fred will show it to you!” Rogen more or less ceded the hardcore sports audience to ESPN and focused on everyone else.

(Myung Jae-chun / Los Angeles Times)

Roggin more or less ceded the hardcore sports crowd to ESPN and focused on everyone else, with his “Hall of Shame” and “Roggin’s Heroes” bug segments, TV’s “Going Roggin” sports talk show, and “The Challenge” as a post-game game show. .

And on a Friday night, even in a market of 20 million people, he played high school football.

“I’ve always believed that this is the point where we can bring our flag to bear,” he said. “When you pick up the Los Angeles Times, or check it out online, the main story isn’t about a high school kid or a high school game.”

Some days, it is. The Times has committed itself to the dynamic duo of Eric Sondheimer And Luca Evans in high schools because The Times sees, as Rogen did, an opportunity to cultivate a new audience.

It might work. Maybe not.

That, really, was the gist of Rogen. Not everything worked out, but he tried. In this age when teams and leagues provide scores, highlights, and interviews, shouldn’t your local Sports Report offer something different?

“That’s not the way local sports are treated across the country,” Roggin said. “It’s dozens and highlights. With all due respect to everyone who does it – and does such a great job – it just doesn’t hold the importance it used to.”

“That’s why you see local sportscasters dying.”

There will still be local sports shows in Los Angeles, on Channel 4 and beyond. After Thursday, they will no longer be broadcasting live from the Rogen neighborhood.

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