Marco Bierangelini & PA announcer Peter Graves

It’s only once you are settled in your seat that you notice it: that bold, resonant and disembodied voice dispensing instructions and information. That voice is the one that guides you through scores, announcements and other kinds of information during any given sports or theatrical occasion. The person behind the voice is The Announcer.

As an announcer it’s rare that you have any other announcers to hang around with. The exception is events like the Olympics where there are lots of events going on at the same time and lots of event announcers in the same place. I took advantage of being together with a bunch of my announcing pals recently for work to hear some of their stories.

In 2002 in Salt Lake City, I was at my first Olympic Games and I remember listening for the voice that carried the names of the countries in English during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The  voice belonged to Peter Graves.  “I remember the intensity of that experience. I want to say that I had blinders on because of the intense focus. Others might have been able to be more adaptive emotionally in the way they managed it.  I vividly recall when the Opening Ceremonies were over when we got to the last lines of the evening. It felt like an anvil had been lifted from my shoulders. This had a lot of gravitas. I felt like I was speaking on behalf of the English speaking world. ”

Some 5 months before, that same voice was on the other end of the telephone telling me that I had earned a spot as an announcer for the Games. As you might imagine, I won’t ever forget that voice or that conversation. His voice makes you take notice of what is being said. It’s commanding yet reassuring.

Peter has been announcing for about 40 years and hearing him talk about sports with the kind of passion he does, it is no mystery why he has been so successful.  His first PA gig was while he was still in college when he was asked if he could announce a ski race. He was on his way.

In Peter’s case he was hugely influenced by the rock and roll radio DJs of his youth which may have meant that ending up behind the microphone was just a matter of time. “It’s exciting.”

What makes a good announcer? “There is some measure of the entertainer in all of us which is a good thing. It shouldn’t be denied.”

If you’re a good announcer and Peter Graves is among the very best; you are worth your salt because you go about your business without really being noticed. Good announcers enhance an event while bad announcers can ruin one.

Here is a little of what Peter Graves had to say:




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