BLAZERS' DECISION ON RADIO ANNOUNCER'S FUTURE ANGERS AFFILS
Published May 1, 1998
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).