The longtime producer of Lakers broadcasts became a household name in Los Angeles through mentions on the air by Chick Hearn. She has been let go, but the two sports media guys at local papers play it much differently. First, Larry Stewart in today's Los Angeles Times:
Susan Stratton was made semi-famous by Chick Hearn. He'd talk to her during Channel 9's Lakers telecasts, asking the longtime producer/director for certain replays and such things.
Hearn often said Stratton belonged in a hall of fame, if there were such a thing for sports producers/directors.
Stratton, nearing the end of her award-winning career, wanted to work one more season for the independent production company that now handles the Lakers telecasts for Channel 9. Her request was turned down, and she was abruptly dismissed.
That's corporate America.
Corporate America or something else? Tom Hoffarth in today's Daily News:
The writing on the wall for Susan Stratton's departure as producer and director of KCAL-Channel 9's Lakers coverage came last October, when the station decided it could no longer afford to have the production team in-house and decided to outsource it. A new production company formed by axed KCAL exec producer Jeff Proctor and AEG's Steve Rangel called ProAngle Media kept Stratton on the payroll after the changeover in December for continuity's sake. But it was no secret that many who worked on that Lakers' production team found Stratton, who had been doing the games the past 29 seasons, becoming difficult to work with and too stubborn to upgrade the telecasts over the years.
She did have a strong ally in analyst Stu Lantz, but without the late Chick Hearn in her corner, Stratton's days were numbered. Cutbacks were already going to happen with the change, and Mark Shah established himself as the game producer, forcing Stratton to focus on directing for the second half of last season.
"I felt it was time to make a change and as a result, even though it's never fun or easy to replace an icon, I felt I needed to make this decision," said Proctor, who Stratton hired on as a producer many years ago. A pioneer in the business as a female in a male-dominated world, Stratton will likely be involved in the NBA some way as a consultant or instructor.