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Continuity Key to Pacers Broadcasts, Also

by Scott Agness

November 5, 2012

As the 2012-13 NBA season gets underway, here's all you need to know about Pacers broadcasts.

On the radio side, games have moved back to the AM-dial in central Indiana and can be heard on ESPN 1070 The Fan. Longtime play-by-play man Mark Boyle will be joined with Bobby ‘Slick' Leonard on all 41 home games. On the road, Austin Croshere will be paired with Boyle for 25 games, and he'll be alone for the other 16.

Kevin Lee returns as pre-game host and courtside reporter for all home games. However, on the road, Michael Grady will step in to host the pre-game show and provide updates throughout the game. Immediately following the network broadcast, Eddie White will host Pacers Overtime on 1070 The Fan where he'll analyze the game, bring on various Pacers personalities and take calls from fans.

As for the television side, every Pacers game will be televised for the first time in franchise history. FOX Sports Indiana (FSI) will be airing 77 games, and 11 games will appear on national television (2 on TNT, 5 on ESPN and 4 on NBATV). Recently announced, FOX Sports South will televise 26 games, primarily hitting the Kentucky market.

Before each game, Pacers LIVE will air to get you ready for the game with features and discussion. After the game, Pacers LIVE will return for a breakdown of the game and team interviews.

"For us, the real excitement for us is that every game is on TV and 77 of them are on FOX Sports Indiana," said producer Matt Scott.

The core team, which includes the four behind-the-scenes crew that travel, along with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner, have been together since Denari became the team's new television play-by-play announcer in 2006. Brooke Olzendam joined the group last season as the sideline reporter and pre-game, halftime, and post-game host. Just like on the court, continuity can be incredibly helpful.

"There are times in the truck when Jamie (Berns), as the Director, will hear something Chris or Quinn are saying and he will instantly know they're going to go 'here' next. So he'll have the shot ready and cut to it just as Chris or Quinn starts talking about it."

Last season, former Pacers player Austin Croshere got his feet wet in broadcasting, appearing on Pacers LIVE and serving as the color analyst on the radio. This year, he will see an enhanced role on both mediums.

On FSI, Croshere will join Denari courtside as the color analyst for 20 games and since Slick Leonard no longer travels, Croshere will be on 25 radio broadcasts. People behind-the-scenes speak very highly of Croshere and his competitiveness off the court.

"The best thing about Austin is that he is so eager to learn," Scott added. "Austin doesn't do anything halfway. He wants to not only be good at it – he wants to be the best at it."

"He has such a good grasp of what he wants to say and he has such a good grasp of the game and a good feel of this team in particular. Right out of the gate he's been effectively able to communicate his thoughts, and not only analyze what's going on, but also teach the viewers a little bit more about the game."

Each season, networks evaluate their presentation, add a few new things and improve on others. One big initiative, coming from FOX, is to increase the second-screen experience. They realize that most fans today are now watching games with a smartphone, iPad or computer in hand. FSI will continue with their question of the game, submitted on twitter, and Scott says he's always monitoring social networks to see what viewers are saying —both positively and negatively.

"One other thing we want to do is to try and humanize the players so these aren't just guys people are watching on TV... With all games on TV and us doing 77 of them, the benefit that we have is that we're there. We're here at practice, we're on the plane, we're in the hotels and on the buses. The big new thing for us is to try and do a better job of taking the viewers places they couldn't get anywhere else."

View the Pacers schedule »

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