June 15, 2016 at 9:22 pm #20821Craig_AdamsParticipant
This from All Access:
Antonio Harvey Exits Portland Trail Blazers Radio
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS radio analyst ANTONIO HARVEY and television announcers MIKE BARRETT and MIKE RICE have been let go by the NBA team. Only radio play-by-play voice BRIAN WHEELER will return from last year’s broadcasting crew, and the team plans to have him work without an analyst on the broadcasts on iHEARTMEDIA Sports KPOJ-A (RIP CITY RADIO AM 620)/PORTLAND.
HARVEY, a former BLAZERS player, was with the radio broadcasts for 11 seasons; BARRETT called BLAZERS games for 17 seasons, the last 13 as lead play-by-play voice, while RICE was with the BLAZERS organization for 26 years, the last 11 as TV analyst on COMCAST SPORTSNET NORTHWEST and TEGNA NBC affiliate KGW-TV.
“After reviewing our entire broadcast operation over the past couple of seasons, I felt it was a good time for us to transition into a new direction,” said BLAZERS Pres./CEO CHRIS MCGOWAN. “I would like to thank our broadcasters for their years of dedicated service to our organization and wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors. Going forward, we will focus our efforts on a national search to fill our open TV broadcast positions, with the number one goal of bringing in top-notch talent that our fans will be excited to watch during TRAIL BLAZERS broadcasts.”June 15, 2016 at 10:15 pm #20830skepticalParticipant
At least Mike Rice outlasted Steve Javie. 🙂June 16, 2016 at 9:37 am #20838W7PATParticipant
Now would be a good time to move the Blazers back to 1190 KEX.June 17, 2016 at 12:30 am #20866Andy BrownParticipant
I think it’s time for these changes based only on my consumption of the Blazer product. I’m sure there is more to it then that, but until those facts are known, I don’t see the justification for all those that have had knee jerk reactions like it was Brutus stabbing Caesar. The TV guys clearly had grown complacent and somewhat automated. Sometimes it was as if Rice wasn’t really in the game. Barrett was totally unexciting. Harvey seemed to fade into the woodwork after a sentence or two. These guys have made good Paul Allen money for years, they will do well going forward, it’s just not a big deal. Front page news in the bOregonian . . . I don’t think so.June 17, 2016 at 11:54 am #20877
Well, as expected, the new TV PxP guy is Kevin Calabro. I know that Barrett and Rice have a strong root structure in Portland, and Barrett is from here, but this hire is a grand slam out of the park, IMO, and a huge get for Blazers Broadcasting. Calabro is a national entity, and an absolute treasure.June 17, 2016 at 12:24 pm #20878
Agreed, Kevin is among the best PBP guys I have ever heard. Ironically, it was the demise of the Sonics that allowed the Blazers to get him as he refused to go to OKC.
I’m surprised it took this long.June 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm #20892
To add some flavor to this thread…
When I was 16 years old or so my goal was to become an NBA PBP broadcaster. I was convinced this was what I wanted to do. Attended WSU and called some high school games for KWSU, both football and basketball. Soon realized that I was not very intelligent when it came to sports other than being a casual fan. So went straight to the Top40’s! (back when they mattered).
I have shared this before, but my heroes in the NBA world were 1. Chick Hearn (Lakers, now deceased), 2. Bill King (Warriors, now deceased), Bob Blackburn (Sonics, now deceased), and of course Bill Schonely (Blazers). The Pacific Division had arguably the best announcers in the entire NBA in the 70’s and early 80’s. I will add the new Blazers TV guy, Kevin Calabro as part of this grouping.
Football, I have enjoyed many, The Seahawks had Pete Gross, (deceased) and while he had a somewhat high voice, he was actually quite good in retrospect, very detailed and offered an exciting call.
Baseball, of course, Vin Scully with the Dodgers, Ernie Harwell with the Tigers, Jack Buck with the Cards, and last but not least, Dave Niehaus, the King of baseball announcing in the NW, and beyond, outside of Vin.
Trivia: Who were the primary announcers for the Seattle Pilots in their only MLB season in 1969? (Don’t look it up!) Hint: One of them is quite familiar to most PDX’ers.June 17, 2016 at 5:35 pm #20898skepticalParticipant
Who is the Rip City guy. 🙂June 17, 2016 at 5:58 pm #20899
Well it’s not Jeopardy, but even if it was you would be wrong as you don’t mention his name 🙂
However, yes, Bill Schonely was part of the Pilots radio team. The other guy was Jimmy Dudley, who had spent decades with the Cleveland Indians. I also have vague memories of longtime Cougar broadcaster Bob Robertson on some broadcasts, but I was only 10.
This always reminds me that Schonely was a Seattle broadcaster for awhile, but Bob Blackburn was mostly known as an Oregon broadcaster before he became the Sonics lead PBP man.
I know Bob Jr. has posted here before, so my question to him would be: Did Bob consider himself to be a Seattleite or a Portlander? Or maybe a better question, a Washingtonian or an Oregonian? I think I know the answer, since Bob spent most of his early career in OR.June 17, 2016 at 7:05 pm #20902
Ahh yes, Bob Robertson. One of the highlights of my life was when I was the PA announcer for the Portland Rockies their last year here, and the Spokane Indians came to town. I went down in the Civic Stadium pressbox bunker and there was Bob, another absolute Northwest gem. The next few days he gave me stories like you wouldn’t believe … He is another treasure, and very deserved Hall of Famer.June 17, 2016 at 7:43 pm #20903
I knew we had more than a few connections, Brian. I was the PA announcer for the Tri-City Posse, (now the Dust Devils), in 1995-96.
I also was the chief engineer for the Cougar network when I worked at KVI Seattle in the 80’s. Part of my responsibility was to call Bob Robertson and cue him up on the net. He was always a gentleman. And when things went wrong, as they always do, he was understanding and patient. Nothing but great memories with Bob. He is still part of Cougar broadcasts, though not PBP, more as a feature reporter.June 17, 2016 at 10:44 pm #20907washnotoreParticipant
The early years of Blazers broadcasting.
In 1970, KOIN-AM and KPTV became the first radio and television stations. To broadcast Portland Trail Blazers basketball games. Games on KPTV were road games.
The team’s first play-by-play announcers were. Bill Schonely on the radio side. And KPTV sports director Jimmy Jones on the television side.
Both stations retained the broadcast rights to Blazers games until at lease the end of the 1977–78 season. When the Blazers started there own media company, Post Up Productions.June 17, 2016 at 11:09 pm #20908
So Schonely never missed a beat, going from the the Pilots in Seattle to the Blazers in Portland. He was indeed a great PBP announcer. I rank him up against the best, Chick Hearn, Bill King, Bob Blackburn, and new to the Blazers, Kevin Calabro. Lucky you, you Blazer fans, Calabro is top ticket.June 18, 2016 at 6:03 am #20911
I wouldn’t consider myself a fan – I honestly don’t pay much of any attention to the NBA since we got fleeced out of the Sonics in Seattle – but the chance to see and hear KC on the TV will get me watching MUCH more. He is the absolute best in the business, as Paul alluded to.June 18, 2016 at 7:21 pm #20918
Upon further research, Schonely was indeed a mainstay in Seattle in the 60’s. He worked for KVI, and called the minor league Rainiers games before getting the Pilots gig.
So looking back at this, Schonely was a Seattle guy who ended up in Portland, and Blackburn was an Oregon guy who ended up in Washington. Gotta love it.
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