For some reason there is a myth that goes around in professional sports that announcing and being the DJ just isn’t possible. While it could be true, there is the thought process that it MUST be two separate people, however high school and lower college announcers do it on a regular basis, and sometimes with
For some reason there is a myth that goes around in professional sports that announcing and being the DJ just isn’t possible. While it could be true, there is the thought process that it MUST be two separate people, however high school and lower college announcers do it on a regular basis, and sometimes with less equipment than the pros have.
Back in 1992, I had a boom box, that was it. Cueing all the cassette tapes was necessary while the innings or the game were going on and it wasn’t always easy. People freaked out when the idea of bringing in a portable CD player was put out there. Eventually, a 6-disc changer was added for baseball with seven cartridges holding CDs that were categorized for game play, between innings, pitching changes, etc. And because this was before burning CDs was a thing, there were times that one CD would hold songs that fit multiple situations. Timing was important. Eventually, a CD player with dual cassette was used inside for basketball and wrestling. An upgraded portable CD player along with an A/B audio switch would wind up in the football pressbox.
This was not an easy time to run the music technologically, and even though the first computerized system I saw was in 1996, it would be another year before a school would buy it and ask me to run it for a tournament, though still needed other peripherals. I’ve used CD changers up to 100 discs, Mini Disc players, cassette players, and computers running WinAmp, Audio Player, and a wide variety of other programs. People who see me using Sports Sounds Pro don’t quite understand all the technology that I have used over the years when saying “drop iTunes” or any of these other sound boards that are out there. Trust me, those have passed in front of me in some way, shape, or form at some point.
There is a company called 360 systems who makes equipment that’s used in radio stations along with some major professional and college facilities. It’s cool stuff and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had it when I was there in 1998. The Instant Replay is essentially a computer without a screen and 10 pages of 50 hot keys. Which is fine and all, but you need to categorize everything, keep track of different overlays and recording to the device is the same as you would a cassette. The price however, makes it prohibitive, especially when you can purchase a computer, a piece of software, and still use the computer for something else, plus having the ability to have more buttons and sounds available to you. I’ve used this as well, and see how it’s so much fun, but in the end it’s not worth the price.
In 2005, I was working with the Portland Beavers as the DJ and back-up P. A. announcer. When it came time for me to announce a game, they switched to someone else because they didn’t have anyone to run the music. They insisted that it wasn’t possible to do the music and announcing at the same time. It took several discussions, but finally they let me have a chance to announce and do the music as well, they saw that it was very doable and offered a half-hearted apology after the game.
There have been times people have approached the pressbox and asked where the DJ was with people pointing to me. They also have asked for the announcer and more points in my direction. People have said, while watching me do it all, “there’s no way one person can do all of that.”
If you push yourself to do a little more each time you announce, you’ll find that you’re going to surprise a lot of people, plus yourself. You also learn how to do different jobs that make it hard for someone to remove your position. If you can do five different tasks in the pressbox, you’ll be brought in to do one or two main jobs, while filling in for others as needed. That makes you more valuable than the next guy.
My job with the Washington Capitals is to run the content for the LED boards. One night, the DJ had to leave and I jumped over. There have been times the regular DJ couldn’t be there and they had me there because I already knew the show. I knew the show because they had me there to run the LED boards. They had me run the LED boards because I understood the show and if something happened in an emergency, I’d be there to fill in. Make yourself valuable and get yourself into the right place at the right time.
Next Week: You can’t broadcast and announce at the same time