Crimson Media Watch: WSU radio broadcast

SIDELINE REPORTERS ARE blessed with an incredible vantage point and access. They're able to see and hear things no other reporter can. And yet there are so few good sideline reporters out there who bring the two most important attributes to the table: relevant insight and reporting chops. I listened to the Cougar radio broadcast this past Saturday and a number of things became readily apparent...

Foremost among them, sideline reporter Jessamyn McIntyre has a ways to go. There are times she tries to cram so much into 10-15 second windows it obliterates whatever she's trying to get across. Other times, she says the same thing three different ways. And as the game went along McIntyre strained credibility, going too far into apologist mode.

To be fair, there were also a handful of good insights from McIntyre. There were also errors. McIntyre reported an injured Connor Halliday was headed to the locker room only to moments later, and apparently not realizing her mic was live, say Halliday was still on the sidelines.

One of the oddest mentions came in the first quarter after a poor Mike Bowlin punt. "Hopefully he will get it together if we do have to see him again," said McIntyre. I really don't know what to make of that comment. Was McIntyre implying the Cougs might not need to punt again for the remaining three quarters vs. Stanford? Was she hoping Bowlin would be benched in favor of Wes Concepcion? Odd.

Cougs vs Bears

The kickoff: 1 p.m., Memorial Stadium.

TV: Fox Sports 1

The line: Cougs by 1 1/2

The series: California leads 44-25-5

Bud Nameck didn't do McIntyre any favors in throwing it to her to ask if McIntyre knew if Toni Pole was injured -- she had no information to offer. Pole was in the game a short time later. At halftime, McIntyre realized Mike Leach was only going to allow her one question but she still chose one absolutely guaranteed to result in no insight from Leach: How do you get into the end zone in the second half, coach?

WHEN A RADIO sideline reporter has just watched an entire half from the best seat in the house, surely something more unique, more compelling can be asked other than boilerplate queries. Among the many possibilities last Saturday, asking what Stanford was doing offensively that was so effective at foiling the WSU pass rush could have provided golden insight to a radio audience -- one that can't see what's going on in the trenches.

And if Leach chooses not to answer the question, you've at least asked what the listeners are wondering themselves. Hell, McIntyre or the booth could go on to also explain during halftime how Stanford had always kept at least six men in to protect in the first half -- and sometimes more. Illustrating how the Stanford tight ends and running backs/wingbacks were huge in helping the o-line build such a wall against WSU pressure would have offered great color to the listeners. McIntyre would do well to study up on Michele Tafoya, who does stellar sideline reporting work on NBC Sunday Night Football.

Four more quick thoughts on this past Saturday's radio broadcast:
  • Nameck thankfully didn't do his touchdown call, "CougAIR!" The hope is that it wasn't just because the game was a blowout and that he's ditched it for good. It sounded planned, forced and just plain ol' strange. Ironically, Nameck actually said before the season he didn't have any TD call planned, that the best TD calls came from spontaneous moments. He should have taken his own advice. (But as long as it doesn't resurface at Cal today, all is forgiven.)

  • Analyst Shawn McWashington offered up a number of good insights, didn't shy away from criticism and Nameck did a nice job of setting McWashington up with questions where he could display his knowledge. The one thing McWashington could do better is to use fewer words, and not get so keyed up at times to the point it adversely affects delivery.

  • It was great to hear Bob Robertson's voice. But his in-game role in the booth has been reduced to ceremonial and reading advertisements -- it doesn't feel like all that good a fit.

  • Sure, it's been years but I miss hearing Jim Walden on the radio imploring Cougar listeners to "pamper yourselves in intimate elegance at the Hotel Lusso." And that I can still recite that damned line shows just how effective that advertisement was. As long as we're here, just for old times' sake…. "Holding!"

    SET YOUR DVRs for either Sunday NFL Countdown (7 a.m. PT ESPN); or E:60 (Tuesday, 4 p.m., ESPN) for a feature with CougGreat Steve Gleason.

    "To meet Steve, and see how he relates to his almost-two-year-old son Rivers, stirs up a lot of emotions," ESPN Producer Mike O'Connor says. "It's equal part inspiring – he's awesome – and equal part gut-wrenching. Doctors say he is going to die."

    For a preview and to see a video clip of Gleason interviewing Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, CLICK HERE.

    ESPNU WILL TIP off the basketball season with more than four hours of Midnight Madness coverage on Oct. 18, featuring on-site coverage from nine basketball programs. And not a single one of them is in the Pac-12, nor even on the West Coast.

    Well done, Worldwide Leader. You feckless thugs.

    ON THE CALL for today's Washington State-Cal game on Fox Sports 1 will be play-by-play man Justin Kutcher, color man James Bates and sideline reporter Brady Poppinga. Here's hoping they've studied up hard this week on all things WSU, Cal and the Pac-12.

    Kutcher is from New England but the former ESPN broadcaster should be at least somewhat familiar with the Pacific Northwest having called Portland minor league baseball and MLS soccer earlier in his career. Bates is a former Florida linebacker who last year was doing play-by-play on CBS Sports Network and previously, on The Mountain. Poppinga has been on an NFL roster the past eight seasons, most of them with Green Bay. The linebacker played his college ball at BYU.

    SPEAKING OF CBS Sports Network, the Cougs play at Nevada next year and it would seem likely that game would be broadcast on the channel, similar to how Oregon State's game at SDSU was seen on CBSSN this season. The channel is slowly on the rise, reports

    Over the last 12 months, the network has grown by 18 percent and is now seen in 53 million homes. Still, it has a long, long ways to go to catch Fox Sports 1 and NBCSN in terms of households and reach. Whether parent CBS will try and grow it in a manner similar to what Fox and NBC are trying to do with FS1 and NBCSN remains to be seen.

    THERE WAS A piece this week in The Sherman Report predicting Lane Kiffin would do what all high profile coaches in limbo usually do -- become a network analyst. But I just can't see it.

    It's hard to recall a head coach at a major college program look as consistently uncomfortable in front of a camera as Kiffin did throughout his USC tenure. When being interviewed, Kiffin didn't talk as much as mumble and took pains to provide absolutely nothing of interest. Plus, given his clear disdain for all things media the past few years, it would seem a truly awful fit.

    On the other hand, it would make perfect sense if Fox Sports Southwest sought to hire him. The suits there thought it was a capital idea to hire King of the Asshats, Craig James, at the start of this season.

    DISASTER WAS AVERTED on Monday for DISH customers when the satellite broadcaster and Disney agreed to extend the deadline and keep ESPN on the air on DISH -- for now. Both sides declined to say how long this "short-term" extension will last but at least it's a move in the right direction.

    DISH has a history of being aggressive and incendiary in these kinds of negotiations and one Wall Street analyst said if DISH were to go dark on ESPN, it wouldn't be a significant drag on DISH's stock price because the real driver there is what's going on with its spectrum assets and wireless. That said, dropping ESPN and its sister networks would cause a level of customer outcry not yet seen on DISH or anywhere else.

    The hang ups are two, according to Bloomberg -- Dish's ad-skipping technology and terms for two new Disney channels; the SEC Network and Fusion, a venture with Univision aimed at Hispanics. From this chair, the ad-skipping Hopper technology debate is a non-starter – many viewers simply use their 30-second fast forward button anyway when playing back a DVR recording.

    DISH, however, obviously feels otherwise and is embroiled in litigation with ABC, CBS, Comcast's NBC and 21st Century Fox over the feature.

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