The job of the P. A. announcer is to keep people informed of information they should know. It seems to be a pretty straight-forward job, sit behind a microphone and speak when something happens. It’s that simple, or is it? In the world of Public Address announcing there seem to be three thought processes, Say
The job of the P. A. announcer is to keep people informed of information they should know. It seems to be a pretty straight-forward job, sit behind a microphone and speak when something happens. It’s that simple, or is it?
In the world of Public Address announcing there seem to be three thought processes,
- Say as little as possible, the game could happen without me.
- Say what needs to be said and a little more, the game could happen without me but people really enjoy it.
- Never stop talking, no matter how the game goes, the show is all about me.
The third mindset is rare, but there are quite a few who fall into this category. They’re the ones that may have the same one or two people telling them they are doing a good job. Don’t be number three.
So that leaves it to numbers one and two. We tend to side with number two because the job of the announcer is to enhance the atmosphere.
In the first situation, you tend to get the announcers who are too afraid to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and err on the side of being too cautious. If you’re in the first set, ask yourself just how much fun you’re having behind the mic. If you’re afraid to step on the game, or just simply enjoy speaking on the mic every now and then, great, but there are a lot of great announcers out there who know that less isn’t always more. In some cases, we’ve been to events where the announcer refuses to announce simple game happenings (penalties in hockey, fouls in basketball, a loss of yards in football, etc) because they don’t want to risk upsetting a participant. Trust me, the players who did wrong, know they did wrong, and will do wrong again. It’s ok to announce they did something wrong.
These are also the kind of announcers who like doing the job, but they also feign enthusiasm, and are often heard using a sing-song style of announcing. That style is where you start the first name low, scale it up and then fade out on the last name. That’s not enthusiasm, that’s faking it and not the job of the announcer. If you’re not truly having fun behind the microphone, and it’s become like a job, leave. There are plenty of people out there who are willing to give it a try and you will find someone who enjoys it.
Now, we get to the middle, number two. This is the announcer who works hard and practices whenever they can. They’re the ones you hear announcing their dinner, or cars passing on the highway, or introducing people into the room.
A good announcer will also enhance the atmosphere at the facility. They can turn a simple game, into an event with a professional feel to it. As you work at your craft, think of how you sound, and how people hear you. Don’t try to sound like a cheerleader (number three), but work on the sound that makes you feel like you’re at a pro event.
In this day-and-age, it’s very easy now to record yourself to play back later. Listen to what you did right, and did wrong. Ask others who you trust to give you honest feedback to listen to and critique your work. If you have the same four or five people telling you that you’re doing a good job, you aren’t. If you have new people every night telling you so, or approaching you away from the sports field telling you so, or telling others about your job, then you’re doing a good job.
A lot of times, in our business, we’re left working for someone who may or may not be a good supervisor. They may not have the passion you have for the job and will tell you that you did a great job, regardless of how well you actually did. There were times I’ve had people tell me, “good job tonight” when I know I screwed up a dozen announcements, and mispronounced several names.
Remember, your job, as the P. A. announcer, is to keep the fans informed with the information they should know.1 comment