In all honesty, I thought this wasn’t possible either because the radio guys are always talking and the P. A. announcer has to talk. But during baseball, I would find myself doing play-by-play to myself and others in the pressbox. It was always fun to do a few things, have some fun then go
In all honesty, I thought this wasn’t possible either because the radio guys are always talking and the P. A. announcer has to talk. But during baseball, I would find myself doing play-by-play to myself and others in the pressbox. It was always fun to do a few things, have some fun then go back to watching the game, until I came across a unique situation.
Before we get to that, in the old days of sports, it was not uncommon for the P. A. announcer to also be the radio broadcaster. This was portrayed in the movie, “A League of Their Own” when David Lander’s announcing character provided a nice background for the movie, but also shined light on multitasking at the ballpark. Take a look at the picture to the left and you will see two microphones on the table. One for the stadium, one for the broadcast.
Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida offered a unique opportunity with a sound system on the concourse and in the main stadium. The first year, it was all tied together. Whatever played in the seats, played on the concourse. When a new sound system was installed in 1999, the two systems were split. The concourse sound system went through one channel while the stadium sound system went through another. About midway through the season we had to page someone on the concourse, but didn’t want to interrupt what was going on during the game. Knowing how to only send sound to the concourse allowed us to do so. Around the same time, Barb, one of our concession workers mentioned how much she liked the inning run downs I did because it allowed them to keep track of the game, and another worker always knew when a home run was hit based on the home run horn I played. Then it clicked, “wait a second, I can push my microphone to the concourse only and could broadcast the game to the people on the concourse so they didn’t miss any of the action.”
Since this wasn’t an official thing, there were some innings I didn’t do it because I was preparing for a promotion or had to cue up music, but would try to drop in notes as possible. Once I had it down and streamlined, we started to broadcast to the concourse on most busy nights. It was fun to do, but tiring at the same time. This was off-and-on for the rest of the 1999 and most of the 2000 season. The last stadium “broadcast” came in 2000 when Tony Saunders broke his arm throwing a pitch.
When I moved on to other stadiums, we only had that capability in one place, until 2008 when DeMatha baseball and the Washington Glory both asked me to broadcast their games while announcing. It was an idea I’d thrown out at them and both took it. While it took some work putting the equipment together, it turned into something that I would do for both teams, along with a state high school softball tournament and other high school baseball teams. It was well received because it offered a quality broadcast with commercials and gave a more professional feel. With the Glory, they’d listen to the broadcast in the ticket office so they knew where we were in the game.
Since then, I’ve also done play-by-play for ice hockey while also serving as the P. A. announcer. It takes some concentration to not talk into the wrong microphone, but it’s easier than most give it credit for.
During play, I always look for the next song anyway, broadcasting forced me to do that and concentrate more on that. I’d also make sure when I was on the P. A. mic, that my broadcast mic was down but the crowd microphone wasn’t, and vice versa. I had it all down at one point to run everything through one mixer. The broadcast would run off the faders, while the in-game P. A. would run off the auxiliary inputs more for simplicity than anything else.
The picture to the left shows a game at Riverdale Baptist School in Maryland in which we broadcast the game on the internet (left computer), ran the music with walk-up music (on the right), announced the game, and also ran the scoreboard for the game. Yes, it can be done.
Next week: You can’t run the scoreboard, music and announce at the same time