Over at the Let's Run message board, there's a lively discussion or two about the merits of Dwight Stones as an announcer. WCSN's setup for the Golden League is to carry the host TV feed with Stones doing commentary stateside. Stones totally missed Daniel Lincoln setting an American Record in the steeple, amongst other shortcomings. The general consensus is that he's not very good, and most of us could do better.
And why aren't we given the chance? The idea of a "professional sports announcer", one who could cover anything, seems to have gone the way of the dodo in favor of ex-jocks who specialize in one sport. Guys like Howard Cosell, Jim McKay and Al Michaels have all but disappeared. None of the great baseball announcers ever played in the majors. Football-centric Keith Jackson covered all kinds of things, and he did a bang-up job announcing track at the Olympic Games even though he never competed in the sport. I've heard it said that the best track announcer ever is Frank Zarnowski, a non-jock who is probably the world's foremost expert on the decathlon.
Instead of such competency, we get decided incompetency in the form of Larry "Your Local High School Track" Rawson, the aforementioned Stones, and Carol Lewis. This trio's IQ is about one step up from Howard, Fine & Howard; Lewis alone might rate as the worst sports announcer ever, even supplanting the exquisitely bad Ralph Kiner.
Everyone I meet tells me I've got a radio voice. I've got experience as a PA announcer for track, and people say I keep them well informed; that's because I'm a big fan and tell them the things I'd like to know. I work cheap, too--a six-pack is usually enough. So whaddya say, WCSN? I'm ready to go!