“We are the team broadcaster,” Mahoney said. “Our broadcast talent supports our team, our players and our coaches. But we also tell the story of the game and we find that balance.”
Brent Weber, the Thunder’s sideline reporter in its first season in Oklahoma City, said he expected to provide the positive spin when he was hired from KOKH-25, where he was a morning news anchor.
“I knew going in that was I going to be painting the glass half-full,” Weber said. “I don’t think morally I had a problem with it because I knew where the paycheck was coming from.”
Weber, who recently took a job as a journalism instructor at Auburn University, said the broadcast team is expected to put on an entertaining broadcast, not provide journalism. Weber, 52, also has extensive experience in a different role of covering sports for FSN and other outlets where he was paid by the broadcaster.
“When you work for the team, you can’t really work outside sources.”
Thunder radio voice Matt Pinto, who is entering his 25th season in the NBA as one of the league’s premier announcers, apparently is on a much longer leash than the TV team and is quick to criticize the team’s play on the air.
The Thunder’s positive approach, which is similar to many other professional teams, has proven popular with viewers. Fox Sports Oklahoma’s broadcasts consistently beat network broadcasts in local ratings when Thunder games are simulcast. The Thunder also has ranked No. 1 among NBA teams in ratings for its local TV broadcasts the past two seasons.