Bill Schonely Passes

Legendary Portland Trail Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonely has passed away at the age of 93. Schonely became the original voice of the Trail Blazers in 1970, joining them for their inaugural NBA season after a career calling Pacific Northwest baseball and hockey games. Schonely called Blazers games on the radio and television from 1970 through 1998 but returned in 2003 in an ambassadorial role, which he continued through 2022. Schonely had been ailing during the last year, including fighting through a bout of COVID-19 along with his wife, Dottie, in 2022.
Schonely was a former Seattle broadcaster with KOMO radio and television in the 1960s.

Jimmy Dudley (second from left) and Bill Schonely, flanked by Seattle Pilots, KVI and Golden West Broadcasters execs (1969).

(photos courtesy of William Engelhardt)
Tacoma News Tribune – Jul_6__1961

Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of QZVX.COM, former broadcaster at KAMT/Tacoma, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KJUN/Puyallup, KASY/Auburn, KTAC AM/Tacoma, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix. -- Airchecks
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5 thoughts on “Bill Schonely Passes

  1. William Engelhardt writes:
    A fine broadcaster and all-around gentleman. I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a KVI colleague, short-lived as it was. He left in Oct. 1970 to become the voice of the fledgling Trail Blazers. The really interesting aspect of the story is that Bill landed the gig having never done basketball play-by-play. Seattle Totems, baseball, football, but not basketball.
    Prior to KVI, he also worked at KAYO.
    Just an additional aside: I had only been with KVI’s news department a short time (coming over as Bill Taylor from KOL), working the night shift, and one evening, Bill came into the newsroom and said he’d been offered the Trail Blazers job, but was unsure about whether to take it. As the new guy, I certainly had no advice for the seasoned sports director, but the fact that he even chatted with me about it brings to mind his gracious and unpretentious personality. Suffice to say, he made the right decision to head to The Rose City.

  2. Bill Shonely, I remember as the smooth voice of the Seattle Pilots in 1969, along the East Coast accented Jimmy Dudley. That MLB team lasted one year in Seattle. I listened to the games on KUJ in Walla Walla.

  3. Bill Schonley and the Seattle Totems = outstanding! What a voice on that guy!

    My pals and I went to those games whenever they were in town.

    Back at the old Seattle Ice Arena, with a front row seat, you could lean out right over the ice. I’ll never forget when a puck went right past my eyes with a “whffff”. A less lucky friend of mine took a puck to the forehead and was konked out cold for about half an hour. Talk about “takin’ one for the team”!

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