What Makes a Good Announcer?

Posted: October 13, 2011 by Realdeal in Announcers
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

After reading a great article by Derek Zona over at SB Nation, who ranked all of the NHL TV announcing teams, it got me thinking, what makes a good announce team?

Do fans prefer their own announcers over others? Sure they do.  It’s what they are comfortable with.  Most local guys tend to favor their teams’ own players (to varying degrees) while being able to give details of the game.  Fans like a familiar voice, as Alicia (Activestick_44) says it’s about a comfort level, growing up with the same announcers can increase a trust level with their words.

Current Millersville University hockey play by play man, Jordan Kuhns (JCKuhns on twitter) explains who he models himself after and what makes a broadcaster a good one.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the broadcasters that get the most exposure.  They are the best of the best for a reason.  They are the best fundamentally, and the best at telling stories or garnering excitement.  Look no further than Mike Emrick, Gary Thorne, Dave Strader, so on.  All of them use an economy of words.  They also have the ability to describe things beautifully almost without error.  As a broadcaster, you have to tell stories to give the viewer something on top of watching the game.  Think of a game as a two-layered story.  You have to tell the story of the game, and tell stories of the season or prior seasons on top of that.

I’ve always looked up to broadcasters that get enthusiastic over moments, but not overly so.  Examples of a good amount of good enthusiasm, Emrick, Thorne, Jim Jackson (CSNPHI), Pat Foley (CSNCHI), Sam Rosen (MSG), Kenny Albert (NYR-radio), Ralph Strangis (FSN-SW)…I could go on.  A few overly enthusiastic broadcasters stick out, such as Dave Mishkin (TB-radio) and Randy Moller (FLA-radio).  The good voices make sure you remember moments, but they don’t want to overshadow it with themselves.

I also look up to broadcasters that have a real chemistry with color analysts that are well-versed about the game on the fly, and are able to work together to entertain you.  Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh are the ultimate pair.  Mike Emrick and John Davidson were great.  Thorne and Clement.  The list goes on. 

What makes a broadcaster bad is the inability to describe, being overexcited at all times, and presenting yourself with no respect for yourself, no respect for the game, and no respect for the competitors.  Jack Edwards is the ultimate example of this.  Everyone knows it.

Who do I like personally? My favorite current team is the Kings’ duo of Bob Miller and Jim Fox.

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Comments
  1. John Russo says:

    I’m very biased to JJ (Flyers) right now. He’s excellent in both hockey and Phils radio.

  2. Heather says:

    I’m also partial to JJ and Clement or Jonesy but I also like the sharks duo of Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda.

  3. JoeyD says:

    I got that expected bias for Mike Lange, and I think he has a great rapport with Phil Bourque on the radio. But while that familiarity/your team bias is true there, I don’t like Steigerwald at all. Though to be honest I think Bob Errey is just a hoot, I find him more entertaining than annoying personally.

  4. Matt Brigidi says:

    I’m with you guys on JJ but he can be a bit overly biased in favor of the Flyers (which I don’t really have a problem with but as a hockey fan I do enjoy some one who speaks the truth). As Alicia said, for me it’s about comfort.

    When I was a little kid, my dad would sleep down stairs with my brother and I on Saturday night’s as we would watch ESPN’s Saturday night game of the week. I grew up looking forward to those Saturday nights so obviously I have fond memories of the games and the announcers. Gary Thorne called those games and I think it’s part of the reason why I’m so partial to him. I even like him broadcasting my virtual games in the NHL series.

    Of the modern guys, I’d have to say Strader is by far my favorite. I’m sorry but Doc is too focused on story telling for my liking.

  5. Dan MacNeal says:

    I agree Matt, Doc can tell a mean story but sometimes it’s a bit much.

  6. Bob says:

    If Doc wasn’t the Devils play-by-play announcer after announcing for the Flyers you’d probably have a different opinion on him Danno. You’ve never cozied up to Doc.

    • Dan MacNeal says:

      Nah, that’s not it at all. Like Matt said earlier sometimes his story telling it a bit much. He’s a good announcer but sometimes it’s mistimed information

  7. Matt Brigidi says:

    Honestly, I just don’t like that he’ll be telling me about what high school Dan Boyle played at while in the meantime three goals have been scored. Haha, I know it’s not that bad but he talks over key plays in order to tell a story.

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