Cougars Not Getting Respect From ESPN -- Or Their Own Flagship Station (Updated)
There were about 32,000 of you lucky enough to be inside of Robertson Stadium on Friday night, so you missed ESPN's game coverage -- and actually, for those of you watching at home, it appears that you missed about half of the first quarter of ESPN's coverage because of another football game. But from what I noticed on Twitter, and heard from others that I trust who were also watching, the ESPN broadcast crew wasn't exactly top-notch.
There were numerous references to coach Mike Sumlin, quarterback Case Kellum, and running back Bryce Beel. And at one point, I understand, they went to a sideline shot of defensive coordinator Brian Stewart when they were discussing offensive coordinator Jason Phillips.
I'm lucky to have gotten to know some of Houston's play-by-play folks. And I know that the job's not easy. You're trying to describe what's going on in the field of play while setting up your color commentator, listening to a know-nothing producer talk in your ear, setting up the replay while prepping for the next play and trying to take notes while finding notes you've already taken. It's not easy, and at times, you're going to get a name wrong. It's entirely possible to be talking about UTEP's coach Mike Price and Cougar coach Kevin Sumlin and blend the names.
It happens, and it can be forgiven. If it happens once. But from what I understand, this happened multiple times during the game. And there's no excuse for mispronouncing Beall's name all night. If you're unsure about a pronunciation, then just ask someone associated with the team. I've seen the stadium PA announcer go up to a visiting school SID and ask about pronunciations, so how this got missed, I just have no clue, and it's just inexcusable.
And really, Case Kellum? Where in the hell did Case Kellum come from? Case Keenum's highlights are actually shown on ESPN. Keenum's been a guest on multiple ESPN TV and radio programs. So there really should have been someone around who could get that name straight.
At least the Cougars got some national TV coverage, though a bit misguided. But Clear Channel's actions for this week's upcoming game with UCLA are flat wrong, although to be expected from an organization like Clear Channel.
The Cougars, as you may know, are playing in Los Angeles. That's the West Coast. And the game's not supposed to start until 9:15 p.m. Houston time. But if you tune into 790 expecting to hear Tom Franklin's call of the game, then you might be out of luck. "Might be" being the operative phrase because Clear Channel's take on this has already changed multiple times since the initial announcement.
It was originally announced yesterday that, instead of airing on 790, the Cougars' flagship network station and Houston base, the game would air on KODA 99.1. Apparently, the Texas Aggies, who don't actually have a set radio station in Houston, were deemed by Clear Channel to be more important, so Clear Channel decided to bump the Cougars to the FM station so that the Aggie game could air instead. Then came word that the game would start on 99.1 and switch to 790 whenever the Aggies decided to finish up their game. And then it was announced that the Cougar pregame would air on 99.1, but that the entire game would air on 790.
(It's entirely possible, that, at the time of this posting, Clear Channel has changed its mind again and will air the Best of Art Bell instead of any of the football game.)
This would be understandable if the Cougars were just a step-child team that didn't have an actual home on the radio dial in Houston. But the Cougars do have that actual radio home. That actual radio home is 790 KBME, which, at times, bills itself as the radio home of the Cougars. So one would think that the Cougars would actually take precedence over the Aggies, but alas, it appears that one would think wrong.
So maybe instead of worrying about what the beat writers are writing, the Cougars should worry about things of actual importance, like teaching the TV people the names and pronunciations of the team, and guaranteeing that Cougar fans will actually be able to find the game on the radio.
Update: We're hearing from Tom Franklin that Clear Channel has, indeed changed its mind again about Saturday's UH game. Clear Channel is now stating that the entire game will air on KODA 99.1. And while the signal strength might be stronger, Clear Channel is doing everything possible to make it hard for Cougar fans to actually listen to the game as they keeping changing when and where the game will be airing. Keep checking here for more information as to which Houston radio station will actually be broadcasting the game on Saturday.