Dealing With Frustrating Situations

Dealing With Frustrating Situations

In the world of P. A. announcing, there are a lot of seemingly minor annoyances that, to an announcer, are almost the end of the world.  A good P. A. announcer takes pride in his or her work and sometimes one of those little annoyances to someone looking on from the outside, can really make

In the world of P. A. announcing, there are a lot of seemingly minor annoyances that, to an announcer, are almost the end of the world.  A good P. A. announcer takes pride in his or her work and sometimes one of those little annoyances to someone looking on from the outside, can really make the announcer upset.  I’m not complaining, but merely pointing out some things and offering some advice for both sides (if necessary) to deal with the problems.

Rosters That Are Not In Numerical Order

I was wrong, this is the only one I’m complaining about.  I can understand, sometimes, that a roster in alphabetical order makes it easy to find a player’s name, but 99.99999% of the time (I may be exaggerating, it could be closer to 95%), people want to know whose that number 41.  The easiest way to do that is to put your roster in numerical order.  To an announcer, this is the most important detail because the announcer needs to find a number quickly.  If you’re putting together a roster, think of your favorite P. A. announcer and say, “I should take the extra three minutes to put this in numerical order so he/she doesn’t have to.”  We thank you for doing so!  Position order, alphabetical or random order are not preferred.

Hand-Written Rosters

This is one of my big pet peeves, but it isn’t as prevalent with the advent of the internet.  Though, there are times coaches still forget their rosters, why can’t they simply use good penmanship to put their roster on a piece of paper?  Or even better, find someone on the team whose handwriting doesn’t look like a three-year old learning to write, and have them write down the roster.  By the way, this is why all announcers should carry extra paper with them.

Parents Who Correct Pronunciation After The Game

I remember my first case of this.  It was 1995, and Ryan Meboer was in his final year of playing J. V. football at W. T. Woodson High School.  I’d been announcing him as Ryan “ME-burr” for two full seasons.  It wasn’t until after the last game that his mother came up to me, thanked me for announcing for him for two years, then told me his name is pronounced, “me-BORE”.  Argh to say the least.  It’s frustrating, and if you’re thinking, “should I correct the announcer?”  Yes, yes you should, in a nice way please.

People Who Shout Corrections For All To Hear

Ok, I just messed up a name on your team.  I may already know this.  If I’ve done it a couple of times, I believe I may have the wrong pronunciation.  Please, DO NOT, scream the correction at the top of your lungs.  It doesn’t make me feel good to mess up a name, and makes you look like a buffoon for screaming out the correction.  Why not just go to the pressbox or scorer’s table and pleasantly make the correction?  Please, we welcome corrections, especially if we’ve tried to get help and didn’t get any.

People Who Shout “It Works” When Doing A Sound Check

What the announcer and sound operator are saying, “Thank you Mr. Obvious.”  Do you know why we do a sound check?  To make sure the microphone works, the levels are set, and the EQ is properly adjusted.  We can’t do that until we get on the microphone, so when I give a “Mic check 1, 2.  Check.  Mic check, 1…2…”  I’m doing that to hear myself, make sure I have the proper level, and make sure it sounds ok for the people in the seats.  If I keep repeating myself, something isn’t right, so please allow us to finish the sound check.  We’ll get back to the music shortly.

Team Personnel Who Don’t Update Rosters

A player forgot his or her uniform back at the hotel or school.  It happens.  But please, tell the announcer.  Especially if the player is going to borrow the uniform number of another player on the team who now, will not be playing.  It has happened many times, even after preparation, that the announcer hears laughter from the bench and realizes that something is wrong.  But the game is in progress and now you’re left hanging out to dry, until you can try to communicate with someone to give you the change.

Wordy Announcements

It can be a matter of a lot of factors, but receiving a piece of paper with a bio or introduction on it that’s an entire page long, and you have all of 30 seconds to introduce the person.  Then to receive it right at halftime and 20 seconds before you’re supposed to make the announcement.  The ability to skim documents quickly comes in handy here, but it isn’t always effective.  Please, copy edit so I don’t have to.  Now, if you want to give it to me a day or two in advance, I’ll go through it and pull all the necessary information.  Because, when you’re in a time crunch, talking about what happened when a player was eight years old may make mom and dad feel good, but everyone else…not so much.

Sitting In The Wrong Place

I once spent two hours setting up a sound system at a Little League field.  I walked the entire field and found the sound was perfect.  I’d placed six speakers, three down each side, running from behind home plate to the dugouts.  The speakers and amplifier were small, I need to cover all the seating areas without messing with the coaches communication.  The sound system was set-up at least three hours BEFORE any fans arrived.  The sound system was on and playing music when the fans arrived.  So a dad from one of the teams walks over to a spot that’s clearly marked “Do Not Sit Here”, plunks his chair down, and turns the speaker so it’s blaring right in the coach’s ear.  The coach then complains to me, so I investigate.  I see the speaker turned, so I turn it back, and move the chair that’s in the “Do Not Sit” zone.

About 10 minutes later, I notice an off balance of music, so I investigate again.

This time, I turn the speaker only to have the dad tell me, “I moved it because I’m sitting here and it’s too loud.”

“The speaker has been there,” I reply.

“The speaker wasn’t there when I got here, I sit here for every game,” he interrupted.

“The speaker has been there and was playing music when you got here, plus you’re not allowed to sit here,” I said pointing to the sign.

“No it wasn’t,” he demanded.

The tournament director stepped in, and the man moved, to the far side of the bleachers on that side.  The moral, don’t mess with the sound system.

Overzealous Officials

Ok, people who know me, know that I can rub officials the wrong way, even though I am an ice hockey official.  However, in this case, what I’m talking about are the new officials who are looking to make a splash and impress, or the veteran official who is trying to exert his authority.  Either way, they’re doing it in the wrong place.  There have been times I’ve been told how to announce by officials who have never held a microphone.

One told me that I wasn’t allowed to play music during timeouts, then told me I was…in the same game.  Another told me I had to stop the music when the ball was thrown down to second base, that it was in the rule book.  Yeah, I didn’t, and it wasn’t.

Or the official who felt he didn’t need to heed the safety warnings in a match in which he wasn’t part of.  Fans of both teams were making comments to him when the announcer kept announcing the safety rule and basically asking him directly to move.

A simple, “Can you please show it to me in the rule book,” usually works.  Sometimes you need assistance from your administrators on duty.

Officials Who Just Don’t Care

Officials associations will tell you this doesn’t happen.  It does.  There have been times an official shows up and goes through the motions to get the game over with.  They’ll bark the foul numbers in a hurry, show you the penalty from a distance, or won’t even address the scorer’s table when relaying information.  Even if the official does care and does these things, it’s still annoying and hard to work with.

Non-Contrasting Uniform Numbers

White or yellow numbers on dark uniforms.  Dark numbers on light uniforms.  Keep them solid please.  It really is hard to read a black number on a black jersey that just uses thin piping to show the number.  They may look cool, but if the announcer can’t read the numbers, your players aren’t getting announced.

Narrow Uniform Numbers

Again, it may look cool, but if the announcer can’t read it, how is he/she supposed to know who the players are.

Requests For An Announcement That Must Be Made Now…But You’re Announcing

When you’ve been doing this long enough, you will have encountered this.  Sometimes we’re wearing headsets and have someone talking in our ear.  But when people try to talk to you, while you’re announcing, and they want what they’re talking about announced, it can lead to some funny situations.  I’ve held my index finger up, my whole hand, once even covering the mouth of the mom who desperately had to have her concession stand announcement made that she tried to interrupt me while I was making the announcement.

Play Something Good

You’d think self-explanatory, but it’s not.  People come to announcers playing music and say this.  We need a little more substance, please offer suggestions because we don’t know what you consider good.

People Talking Loud Because You’re, Well, Announcing

This happens quite often.  I don’t mind when someone quietly sneaks in and whispers something to someone.  They could talk louder, the mic won’t pick it up.  But when you have people who have to yell to talk over your announcing because, “we can’t talk because you’re too loud,” that raises the blood pressure a little.  What’s worse?  When they’re talking across you.  I’ve snapped a few times, “You sit over there, don’t talk in front of me,” a few times, then apologized for my curt words after the fact.  Seriously, if you can’t hear the person you’re talking to because I’m announcing, either sit closer, or wait until I’m done announcing.  Your conversation has to wait, sorry.

Can You Play [Insert Song Name], While You’re Conducting The Starting Line-up or Awards Ceremony

Oh boy, this can really be an issue.  Yes, it can.  Nothing quite like holding the moment during an awards ceremony, to have someone ask for a random song that has nothing to do with the matter at hand.  Thankfully, a lot of people understand this frustration and will try to run interference for the announcer.


What are some of your biggest annoyances while announcing?  Leave them in the comments below, we’re curious to see and hear about some of your experiences.

1 comment
Jarrod Wronski

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

1 Comment

  • Joshua Carroll
    January 28, 2015, 11:57 am

    You nailed it. Every single one. I’m going to keep printed copies of this and pass them out as needed. Thanks JW.


Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos