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Sound Off, Superfans: Get a Gig as a Sports P.A. Announcer

Get off the bench and onto the speakers with these guidelines for breaking in as a stadium announcer

By Samantha Melamed - January 26, 2010
Radio and TV play-by-play and color announcers may be the best-known personalities in the sports broadcasting business -- but only as a public address announcer can you earn a nickname like the "Voice of God." (That, of course, refers to Yankees P.A. legend Bob Sheppard, who retired last fall.) Those who hold P.A. gigs say they're among the best jobs in sports, with all of the kinetic energy of stadium crowds and none of the wearing travel demands.

Announcers come to these posts from a broad range of backgrounds and day jobs, but they all have two things in common: Strong voices, and a driving passion for sports.

Public address announcers often start out in radio -- especially local sports broadcasting -- or in commercial voiceover studios. But just as often, they're merely avid fans. Sheppard, for one, was a schoolteacher. New Jersey Nets announcer Gary Sussman is the team's vice president of public relations by day. Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies announcer Dan Baker is coordinator of broadcast relations at Drexel University. Denver Nuggets P.A. man Kyle Speller is a pastor and a voiceover professional. And Boston Celtics announcer Eddie Palladino is chief of staff for Massachusetts' state auditor. ...

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