The Washington State Cougars' radio broadcasting team needed a shakeup. It needed a shot in the arm, an injection of new blood and something different. The two-man booth, occupied by Bob Robertson and Jim Walden, had grown stale, and football games became hard to listen to.
Over the past few years, there were plenty of times where radio was the only option. And yet, the broadcast, overall, was terrible. It was difficult to ascertain what was going on and how it was going on. Radio broadcasters are supposed to be the eyes of the listener, and a team that included a radio legend was failing.
Bob Robertson should not be forced out. He's earned the right to broadcast as long as he damn-well pleases, and nobody is going to tell him otherwise. Many have fond memories of listening to Robertson, and even when he's not at his best he's still better than 99 percent of broadcasters at their best. But in order to maximize his effectiveness at this point in his career, he needs some help.
This is where the shakeup comes in. Late last week, Bill Moos relieved Jim Walden of his duties. As much as Walden has contributed to Washington State -- as a coach, radio personality and financially -- the pairing wasn't working anymore. When one broadcaster, Robertson, is struggling, somewhat, to keep up his play-by-play duties and the other is yelling incoherently, it doesn't help.
The Cougars needed a succession plan and a way to fix the broadcast until that plan is put into action. So Bill Moos went to work, dropping Walden and hiring three others -- two for the booth and one for the sideline. Robertson will now be joined by Bud Nameck, play-by-play man for the basketball team, and Shawn McWashington, of Fab Five fame.
This move is brilliant. Adding two people to the booth fills the dead air and adds two more sets of eyes to compliment Robertson. If he slips, they'll be there to catch him.
Last year, Nameck actually stepped in and filled the color commentary role quite well. He and Robertson worked together nicely, and Bud jumped in to make points in clear and concise fashion. If Robertson missed a personnel change or player name, Nameck was there to clean up. His addition was somewhat of a no-brainer, and we already know how Nameck and Robertson will interact.
But adding McWashington to it all? It's a stroke of genius by Moos and his team. As a former player, McWashington adds a unique perspective and conjures up memories of the magical 1997 season. His perspective is something I'm looking forward to.
And don't forget Jessamyn McIntyre, either. With Nameck off the sideline, McIntyre, will fill his spot -- working as the sideline reporter. She's excellent and comes with plenty of experience, including as a producer for the Kevin Calabro Show on 710 ESPN.
With the three, Moos now has a succession plan to hang his hat on. At some point, Robertson will move on to retirement -- likely in the near-enough future. Until then, McWashington and Nameck can help keep the broadcasts on track and sharp. Robertson's role may be reduced with three in the booth, but all three will be able to banter and add valuable insight to the broadcast.
And when Robertson does move on, Nameck will, in all likelihood, slide over to the play-by-play seat, with McWashington as his sidekick. It works for everyone involved and helps foster a smooth transition in the future.
To recap: New, revamped broadcast booth, a new sideline reporter from an outstanding Seattle sports station and a deal that will put WSU football and basketball on 710 ESPN. Pretty great day for the athletic department.