Punctuate!

By John McBride

Elevator Pitch

Elevator Pitch is a term to describe selling a product or service in 15 seconds or less, as if you are granted an unforeseen opportunity in an elevator and no more than 15 seconds to create interest. Using this concept, I have formed an answer for the question: What does a Public Address Announcer do? First, let us look at what we do not do…

What Announcers Don’t Do

  • We do not talk the whole game and proffer narration of what is going on.
  • Nor do we broadcast the game. As we speak to those in the arena, talking too much would ruin the atmosphere.
  • We do not provide Just The Facts. YES, we offer facts: scorers, penalties, reasons for play stoppage and other information. But if only facts were needed, we would not be. Anyone with a minor knowledge of the sport they are watching can ascertain the facts quickly. We do not offer commentary. Doing so would just stir disputes, and if anything, we try to stop disputes before they start.

So if we don’t provide only facts, why are Public Address Announcers needed at all??? What exactly do we do?

What Announcers Do Do

Well, we announce the PUNCTUATION of every event. That’s right: the periods, commas and exclamations. The players, coaches and athletes write the story, the writers and broadcasters translate the story, but that punctuation lands in the domain of the P. A. Announcer. 

Grammar Exclamation Punctuation Point

When we introduce the visiting team, our voice displays respect – straightforward. This is who they are, a period. When we introduce the home team, the voice inflects, evincing excitement. We encourage the applause of the home crowd, we have added some exclamation points. Penalties happen? Time for a colon: “That last foul: number 3, Joe Smith. Timmy Jones will go the the line, shooting two”. A basket, goal, or great play by a home team player provides more exclamation points. For the visiting team, we deliver a less-inflected, yet no less professional, acknowledgement.

In appropriately punctuating moments, we provide the rhythm, ebb and flow, peaks and valleys, to the crowd, reflective of the crowd, worthy of celebration or disappointment. We don’t make these moments, but we do announce them, by discerning the situation and tone of the onlookers. We do not incite, however. Too much bad results from provoking out of a negative result in the stadium, arena and gymnasium. It’s either elation or indifference.

Pandemic Announcing

Basketball Gymnasium Hoop Backboard Stands

Public Address Announcer punctuation was even more essential this past season amid the pandemic. Spectators were prohibited from games, limiting visitors to streaming services and network television. That stadium voice arose paramount. Recall, announcers are used to reflecting the crowd. Now, we almost had to BE the crowd. Rather than having thousands on hand, announcers needed to interpret how fans might have reacted to given situations had they been present. This certainly aided the viewer at home.

At the high school level in particular, moms and dads enjoyed their children just a bit more even if staring at a phone or tablet. They heard us clearly inflect the good and remain professional on the less so. Our ability to punctuate the moments helped parents celebrate their kids’ achievements in the most deplorable circumstances: not present out their children’s events. In a small way, announcers furnished a tiny bit of tolerability throughout a trepidatious time. 

athletics achievement female girls football

Announcing Achievements

We, also, lead the charge in celebrating the accomplishments and milestones of the athletes in front of the fans and patrons alike. We never do it at the detriment of the opponents but rather to the benefit of everyone in attendance. If an opponent breaks a school record, we raise the awareness as announcers do: loud. However, we steer clear of presenting such announcements to the detriment of the opposition. Our punctuation conveys elation not vilification, more towards tribute, recognition and contribution than some form of subterfuge meant to intimidate or manipulate the opposition. Through our voices, we revere and venerate.

So, What do Public Address Announcers do? We listen to our crowds, pay close attention in truth. We make the appropriate, professional adjustments in our delivery. From this, we ensure we voice the Punctuation of the event, game, match, meet and tourney.

About John McBride

John McBride Announcer

John McBride is a voice over artist, narrator, commercial spokesperson and public address announcer. He owns John McBride PA/VO in Philadelphia and, his list of successful projects and athletic events is extensive. For more on John, visit www.jmcbpavo.com.


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