Your Attention Please

By Staff

Athletic Management, 16.4, June/July 2004,

They’re the kind of people you may not think about much—until they say something wrong. But public address announcers serve as the voice of an athletic department. They can rile up a crowd or provide fans with information in a calm and authoritative way.

Until now, there have been few widely disseminated guidelines for athletic directors to give their public address announcers, resulting in a wide range of styles and approaches. A new organization, the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers (NASPAA), has been formed to help fill that gap and improve the level of professionalism among public address announcers, particularly at the high school and small college level, says Executive Director Brad Rumble, a former assistant director at the NFHS.

"I took a strong interest in this area after going to a football game where a penalty was called," Rumble says, "and the announcer said, ‘Contrary to public opinion, that was pass interference.’ But announcers are there to inform, not to entertain, second-guess officials, or do play-by-play."

In addition to providing scripts that public address announcers can follow and tips for being more professional behind the microphone, the NASPAA will offer guidance and support to the administrators who hire and supervise announcers. "We want to help administrators have a greater understanding of the public address announcer’s role in event management," Rumble says. "There are certain guidelines the NIAAA would like to see followed as would the NJCAA and the NAIA. It’s just a matter of getting the word out about those guidelines."

The NASPAA has developed a training manual titled "The Voice Above the Crowd," which covers the duties and responsibilities of a sports public address announcer. A companion CD featuring Bob Davis, voice of the University of Kansas, provides examples of the proper way to make various kinds of announcements, including emergency announcements. The book also serves as the basis for an NIAAA leadership-training course that is expected to be presented at the 35th NFHS Conference in New Orleans this December.

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