My Semi-Annual Critique of FSN

Dear FSN,

Well, we made it to January 11th. Eleven days. That’s how long it took for you guys to violate the terms of our trust. To review, those terms are as follows:

“I, the viewing party, will watch FSN’s programming without complaint so long as FSN broadcasts live and recorded television without a) insulting my intelligence directly, b) repeatedly mispronouncing someone’s name, c) misnaming or mislabeling someone or something on more than one occasion, d) just sucking in general.”

Of course, we all know what happened. Yesterday, during the Washington-Arizona men’s basketball game — a mere microcosm of two hours of your broadcast day — two members of your Arizona-based announcing crew violated every single one of our four simple terms. Every single one.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the transgressions made by your broadcasters:

1. They referred to senior Quincy Pondexter as “Quincy POIN-dexter” for the entirety of the game.

2. They mislabeled Isaiah Thomas as “Isaiah Washington” on more than one occasion.

3. They mispronounced Isaiah at least once, saying “eye-ZAI-uh” rather than “eye-ZEY-uh.”

4. Their commentary very rarely made sense, and the two often had trouble forming coherent sentences.

Four major infractions on our terms of trust. Unacceptable. And the worst part is, when placed into the context of the actual broadcast, these transgressions made the game impossible to listen to. Ultimately, I muted the action because it was just that bad.

Let’s start by addressing the whole “POIN-dexter” issue.

This misstep was perhaps the most egregious. Both the play-by-play man and the color commentator were determined to label Pondexter as “POIN-dexter” for the duration of the game, and neither one of them corrected their error at any point. You would think that someone from your crew would step in and alert them of their folly, or maybe they’d pay attention to the PA announcer at some point, but no. From minute one to minute 40, it was all “POIN-dexter,” all the time.

And let me add this. Quincy Pondexter is not new, by any means. He’s a senior, a four-year starter, and arguably one of the best players in the Pac-10. Even if these Arizona broadcasters were half-retarded, you’d have to figure that somewhere along the line they would have been exposed to the correct pronunciation of “Pondexter” at least once or twice.

I mean, come on. Since Pondexter has been at Washington, the Huskies and Wildcats have faced off seven times. With that many ballgames between the two, you have to wonder whether these broadcasters were mispronouncing “Pondexter” just to be inconsiderate.

On to violation number two.

The Isaiah Washington thing. I don’t get that. Is there some old-time baller named “Isaiah Washington” who I’m not familiar with, or were these guys just confused by the jerseys? Did they think we put the players’ surnames on the front of the jersey? Did they assume that everyone’s last name was “Washington” because of this? Did they figure that all of our players were brothers, or at the very least cousins? Answering these questions at this time would just prove fruitless.

Violation trey, the mispronunciation of “Isaiah.”

This one confuses me a bit, too. It came direct from the mouth of the play-by-play man, who had seemingly been doing an okay job with Thomas’s first name for most of the game. Then all of a sudden, out comes “eye-ZAI-uh.” What? Where did that garbage come from? It would be like if I was calling a dude “John” all day, then suddenly went Spanish on him and started calling him “Juan.” Completely out of left field.

Four, the incoherency of the entire broadcast.

Let’s face facts. These two broadcasters should never have been paired together. They had no chemistry whatsoever, they often stumbled over each other’s comments, and between them they had the combined knowledge of John Goodman at a vegan food festival. It wasn’t meant to work out, and it clearly didn’t. It was painful to listen to, and I can’t imagine anyone walking away from that broadcast thinking that the two announcers did a good job.

FSN, you slay me. You absolutely slay me. Sometimes I’m not sure whether you’re putting on an act, or you’re actually serious with these telecasts. They are so horrible that they make me wonder if Public Access Television is involved. At times, they are just so bad that you can’t help but laugh, and that’s unfortunate.

Here in Seattle, I heard a local sports radio talk show host label FSN as “an organization with no commitment to talent.” I have to say, I fully agree with that assessment. No, we can’t all be perfect, but it seems like you folks go out of your way to be as imperfect as possible. Your on-air talent remains stagnant, never evolving past mediocre, and you fail to have a knack for finding capable broadcasters and analysts to take the place of your worst announcers.

I’m not criticizing you simply to be mean. In fact, I want to see you succeed. I think we all do. But in no way are you making the proper strides towards success. No one wants to turn on a ballgame and be forced to sit through a horrible broadcast, but that’s what we’ve become accustomed to with FSN.

Think about this. If you walked into a department store looking for clothing and were met with terrible customer service, a mediocre product, and a dismal atmosphere, would you go back to that store? Probably not.

But now imagine that that store is the only store you’re allowed to go to. It’s the only store in your town, and in turn the only place you can go for clothing. Every time you go back in, you’re faced with rude sales associates, increasingly bad product, and a decaying atmosphere, all because you have no other option.

That’s how many of us viewers feel about watching our teams play on FSN. We watch because we love our schools, love our teams, love the program. But we’re forced to do so in an environment we hate, and that’s too bad.

FSN, we give you business because we, as fans, have no other alternative. You’re like the unreliable setup man that we have to go to in the eighth inning, simply because we have no other setup man. Or the shaky kicker who we have to turn to with fingers crossed in the fourth quarter, bound to you with no other alternative. Or Matthew Bryan-Amaning, recording minutes at the power forward spot for Washington, but that’s an inside joke you might not get.

The fact is, we are loyally tuning to your station because we have no choice, and you, in turn, are exploiting our loyalty and commitment by bringing us a crap product. It absolutely sucks, and on behalf of your viewership, I hope it will stop. Thank you for your time, and please try your very best to improve.

Sincerely, and on behalf of many viewers around the nation,

Seattle Sportsnet

9 thoughts on “My Semi-Annual Critique of FSN”

  1. The Arizona announcers are by far the worst tandem FSN has. These two are the biggest homers. I mean, every home team’s crew gives a little extra love to their team, but the former Wildcat that does the commentary is ridiculous. He even said “warm up the bus” on air yesterday. Is he in high school?

  2. FSN is terrible. During football season, when WSU played USC, they kept mixing up Tuel and Tardy, you know, the white quarterback and the black running back. This happened repeatedly.

    They also, despite being FSN-Northwest, didn’t air the WSU-Oregon game last week, what with the two Northwest teams involved.

    For a channel where “Northwest fans come first” they do seem to short change us.

  3. I have their phone number saved in my phone for all the times they decide to play a Beavers All Access marathon instead of Husky Basketball games. It’s terrible.

  4. Thanks for the Dawg Pack tshirts, FSN, but that’s about all you’ve done for us. Make the next one an open letter and we’ll all sign!

  5. The best drinking game is to drink every time FSN shows a split second blip of one commercial before moving onto the next one. It usually happens at least once every commercial break. Add that to FSN’s other horrible exploits and you might just be blacked out and not have to remember the awful broadcast you just witnessed.

  6. Another good thing about blacking out is that you won’t have the lasting heinous images of Angie Mentik and Jen Mueller in your brain. I mean, it’d be one thing if they actually knew something about sports– but sadly they don’t, they just pretend. And Brad Adam? and Bill Krueger? hahahahah

  7. One thing to keep in mind (and I may be wrong about this) but I don’t believe FSN has much to do with the actual production of their college basketball games. If you notice, the announcers never mention that they are on FSN. That’s because they could be on any network that decides to pick them up. I’ve seen the “College Hoops” broadcasts on Comcast Sports Net and even ESPN360.com. For example, in the SF Bay Area, there is no local FSN station, and the games are broadcast on Comcast Sports Net. Maybe it’s just a branding thing so that Fox can sell their productions to other networks? I don’t know.

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