Crank Up Your Event With The Right Announcer

By Paul Peavy

I do a lot of announcing at swim meets and triathlons, and it is fun! Why? Because I make it fun! My background is that of being a stand-up comic, so I like to help people have a good time. But I’m also careful not to stereotype, offend or cross a line that others might be offensive. That way every one has a good time.

If you are missing that golden voice, that crowd pumper-upper, what can you do? Simply go find that person. Many times, runners only look to runners to announce their events. Horse shows only get horse people. Why not find microphone people to be microphone people? You can stand beside them and whisper in their ear the details of your sport while they keep the crowd’s energy up.

Where do you find these people? Don’t forget that local television and radio personalities are looking for a little extra promotional time. Don’t forget that your local colleges and high schools are filled with students who want to be broadcasters or entertainers. You might just know someone who is fun at your church or your Kiwanis Club. The power is in the power of “the ask.” If that person can’t do it, they might know someone who could.

Also, be sure to ensure adequate amplification for your event. Too often I see big road races started with one bullhorn that only about 50 of the 1,000 runners can hear. Even if you can’t afford big speakers at least have people stationed around that can repeat instructions down the line. And keep working at it until you get it right.

Last weekend, I was announcer at a swim meet that I have announced for the past three years. It is at a huge university pool, and the sound comes out garbled every time. We talk to university maintenance and technical people every year to no avail. One time we thought we had a solution by moving the speaker into the stands so it did not travel over the water. It worked pretty well, but the danger of people tripping over cords or knocking over the speakers was too great.

This year, the meet started the same way. Being very non-technically minded, I decided that if I messed with the knobs things could not get any worse. There was nothing clearly marked “treble” or “bass,” but I thought if I could take some of the bass out it might not be so garbled. The knobs were all pre-set to some mysterious hand-written white line. I knew that white line could not be all-powerful for all voices in all environments, so I turned one most of the way down and it didn’t sound better. I turned it back up and another one down and sure enough I could understand myself and the crowd responded wildly to my, “ARE YOU READY TO R-E-L-A-Y?”

Remember, if you do not have an enthusiastic, energetic voice to get your event cranked up and rolling you are leaving out one of the easiest ways to make sure your athletes and fans have a great time!

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