SBD/1/Sports Media

BLAZERS' DECISION ON RADIO ANNOUNCER'S FUTURE ANGERS AFFILS

          At least five affils of the Trail Blazers radio network
     "are considering reducing or eliminating game coverage
     because of Bill Schonely's pending departure as the team's
     play-by-play announcer," according to Jeff Manning of the
     Portland OREGONIAN.  More than 20 of the 31 stations in the
     radio network "have written letters" to the team "protesting
     its decision to replace Schonely."  Manning wrote that the
     Blazers "are learning firsthand about the unique emotional
     bond that a longtime announcer has with fans," and that in a
     league where players consistently change teams, Schonely "is
     the Blazers."  Last year, Blazers Senior VP/Marketing
     Operations Harry Hutt signed Schonely to a three-year deal
     which called for him to do play-by-play in only the first
     year.  Hutt's logic was to give Schonely one "triumphal
     year" and then "move him out," but the plan "backfired" when
     Schonely "went public with his unhappiness about the pending
     reassignment."  Hutt: "Unfortunately, due to a lot of
     misconceptions, things got contentious."  Manning reported
     that one of those "misconceptions" is that after this year,
     Schonely will be out of broadcasting.  Schonely will be used
     in specials and halftime shows (OREGONIAN, 4/30).

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