The Portland Trail Blazers have a new play-by-play broadcaster this season: Travis Demers, a voice some on the coast may recognize and know quite well.
“My first job out of college (Long Island University), I applied for jobs all over the country,” Demers said. “My first job was working for a company at the time called New Northwest Broadcasters. They owned KAST, KSWB and a couple of other stations in town. So I moved out here right after college to call games.”
While doing the games for New Northwest Broadcasters for a year, Demers went on to do other things in Portland, including streaming Blazer games for KEX, part-time things for 1080 The Fan. He caught on with them and was with them for seven years, doing traffic for KATU and games for the Portland Lumberjacks among other things.
“I was working for a guy named Matt Richert,” Demers said. Richert is now the play-by-play broadcaster for Portland State athletics. “He always did games on KAST, usually the Astoria games. He had me doing games on KSWB, that was Seaside, Warrenton, Ilwaco, Knappa, Rainier, all those games. I was doing games all over while I was living in Portland.”
Demers had called a preseason game for the Blazers two years ago and half of the games last season before being named the permanent radio play-by-play, replacing long time announcer Brian Wheeler after 21 years.
“It was a life changing moment,” he said when he got the phone call from Director of Blazers Broadcasting Jeff Curtin that he would become the new voice of the Portland Trail Blazers on radio. “I was sitting there holding my son and I got the call. I got pretty emotional, it was pretty cool.”
Demers doesn’t have a specific catch phrase, or a word he uses like a certain legendary Blazers announcer had, or his predecessor … yet.
“Everybody asks me what my catch phrase is going to be, especially with the Blazers. I don’t know. Bill Schonley’s famous catch phrase is ‘Rip City,’ he didn’t go into that game saying, ‘I’m not going into that game and make a statement tonight and say Rip City and it’s going to catch on.’ He said it naturally … I don’t have anything specific that’s my go to phrase, I find that there are some things that I say more than others.”
A fact about Demers that fans might not know: He worked at Disney World while in college and for three and a half months at Wide World of Sports.
You can catch Demers and his new analyst Michael Holton, who some may remember played for Portland (1986-1988), and was part of the Blazers’ TV pre-, post-game and halftime broadcast group, on every radio game.