Behind the scenes, 2,500 miles away: Blazers’ broadcasters continue in year of ‘the Bubble’

Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers(KPTV)
Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 4:38 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – While the Rose Quarter won’t be hosting the playoffs during this year of “the Bubble”, the Blazer broadcasting team has still been working together inside the arena.

This Trail Blazers’ NBA playoff run has a unique feel and flow from seasons ago, with Blazers’ radio play-by-play announcer Travis Demers bringing listeners inside the NBA Bubble, even though he too is an outsider some 2,500 miles away.

“It’s so unusual, because one of the things about the playoffs is the fact that it feels like the playoffs,” Demers said. “I never, ever expected to call a game for local radio and not actually be there in person. It still takes some getting used to.”

Jordan Kent is also part of the new sound of Rip City.

“It’s definitely been a bizarro world over the last dozen games,” Kent said.

A quack throwback as a three-sport star with the Ducks, Kent is getting his first crack at calling Blazer TV play-by-play after taking over for one of the games’ best, Kevin Calabro.

“They want that energy that they get when they are sitting next to somebody in the Moda Center or in their living room, and they are getting excited about each Blazer play,” Kent said. “How do you replicate that from our vantage point? That was really my focus coming in.”

The Eugene-raised kid is a fan himself, attending his first Blazer game when Portland last beat LA in the playoffs in 1992.

“This was the Dairy Queen cup heydays, we like to say, of the Blazers, so it was terrific back then,” Kent said.

Then and for the now, Kent is the local voice of the “Bubble Blazers”.

‘I think if you start to think about the future and down the road, you get sidetracked, and you can’t really concentrate on what you are trying to do rather than right now, so for me, if it’s something that happens and works out, awesome,” Kent said. “If not, I am just so grateful for this opportunity.”

Dan Hyatt, a FOX 12 alum, is the Trail Blazers TV producer, calling the socially-distanced shots.

“It’s a very, very different way to do television, you have a lot less control, and yet we’re still trying to do a Blazer broadcast,” Hyatt said. “It’s a challenge.”

Another challenge for Hyatt’s home show is the production crew has been clipped from 45 to 15 while relying on what’s offered up from the Bubble.

“We have one of our own cameras, and it’s a challenge,” Hyatt said. “We are at the mercy of the people that are doing the game back in Orlando. We are getting our feed, the actual game action, will be the exact same thing you’ll see on ESPN, the difference is the announcers, the graphics, the replays.”