MEDIA PROFILE: LA's entertainment scene isn't all about the moviesanymore

In a city like Los Angeles, it's tough to get an entertainment

client noticed. But the LA Times' Calendar insert is fast becoming the

go-to outlet for entertainment happenings. Craig McGuire reports.

The Los Angeles Times has cultivated its event listings section,

Calendar, into something of a must-read for many West Coast

entertainment-industry types.

Weekdays, Calendar is tucked into the paper's Style section. But the

Sunday version is packed full of features and reviews of a wide variety

of mass entertainment and high-brow happenings. While the entertainment

scene in LA is largely associated with movies, Calendar takes an equal

interest in high art, such as architecture and theater. The October 21

cover story, for example, featured composer Arnold Schoenberg.

"Located in Los Angeles, Calendar functions more like an industry

trade," says Andrea Kaye, senior media specialist at Golin/Harris


The index, located on page two of the Sunday edition, shows how the

departments are broken down: movies, theater, performing arts, arts &

architecture, and pop music.

On weekdays, Calendar editors are short on time, and even shorter on

patience as publicists often blindly pitch the first person that picks

up the phone. Once you get through, however, the benefits of a feature

can be enormous. Calendar coverage has the advantage of coming with

information such as contact details.

"I have pitched them several times with varying results," says Carl

Dameron, media relations executive with The Financial Relations

Board/BSMG. "They will always ask you to e-mail or fax a pitch to them,"

says Dameron. "Have it ready and send it while you are talking to them.

They hate you to call back to make sure they got it, so if you e-mail it

to them while you are on the phone, you can review the pitch right


Staff members and reporters that contribute to the section are clearly

listed in the section headings. For example, Christopher Reynolds is the

Times staff writer on art, while Robert Hilburn is a pop music


Covering so much ground, Calendar section editors are often difficult to

get on the phone. That doesn't mean they're unreachable, but just make

sure you're prepared. Also, marking your envelope with your subject

category helps, as that will direct it to the proper editor.

High-quality photos can also help sell your listing, and make sure to

have a full media kit prepared. If the focus of your pitch isn't

obvious, make sure to connect the dots. "Lead with your strongest

artist, and make sure they know why it is important to their

readership," explains Dameron.

"The more popular the artist - or unique or large the event - the more

likely they are to be interested."

It also helps to be a bit inventive. Golin/Harris' Kaye explains her

tactics in dealing with reporter Susan King on the DVD release of

DreamWorks' Galaxy Quest: "What we did was draw attention to the

Thermian language track feature," she says. (Thermian is the alien

language created for the sci-fi film.) "Because the language angle was

so unique and unusual, (King) did a story on it."

Donn Pearlman, senior managing director of ITQ-Minkus & Dunne

Communications, works with the Calendar Weekend (Saturdays) edition

three times a year on behalf of the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo


It's a public event, featuring about 2,000 dealers who buy and sell rare

coins and other items, such as sports memorabilia.

"The first thing any publicist must keep in mind when making an approach

is that the staff is absolutely swamped with pitches to cover the event

of the week, month, or year," explains Pearlman. "From fine art

exhibitions to children's violin concerts to hot-dog-eating contests,

they have literally thousands of listings to compile each month. It's

not an easy job."

Publicists can help their own cause by clearly indicating the basics:

name of event, dates, times, admission fees (if any), and pubic contact

names and numbers.

"You might be surprised at how some PR people, in a misguided effort to

try and be clever, actually make the editors and staff guess what the

event is about by not clearly indicating the basic facts early in the

press materials," says Pearlman.

"Finally, whether your submitted item receives full-color, front-cover

coverage, or merely a brief calendar listing in the back, always send a

thank-you note to the editor and staff member responsible for getting it

into print," adds Pearlman. "They did you and your client a favor, so

show appreciation with a handwritten note of gratitude."

For submitting event listings for Calendar Weekend or Sunday Calendar

event listings, items must be received at least three weeks prior to the



LA Times Calendar

Address: 202 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Tel: (213) 237-7770

Fax: (213) 237-7630/4712



Art writer: Chris Reynolds (staff) and Suzanne Muchnic

Music critic: Mark Swed

Pop music critic: Robert Hilburn

Times TV staff writers: Lee Margulies and Dana Calvo

Dance critic: Lewis Segal

Theater writers: Mike Boehm (staff) and Don Shirley

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