The Elements that Make a Good PA Announcer: The Curious Case of Alan Roach

People sometimes are led to wonder, “Who are those faceless, in-house voices at popular sporting events?” The element that causes this intrigue is the superior quality of their voice that attracts people in a peculiar way. Once you’ve heard the voice more than once, you naturally connect to it, as if there is an acquaintance between you and the announcer.

You also notice, listen to, and enjoy their expertise at PA announcing in many types of live events such as music festivals, award ceremonies, corporate events, or as off-camera hosts on live TV shows. In general, these presenters are commonly known by the term PA announcer. A good public address announcer has the ability to engage the public in unique ways even when they don’t have a direct conversation with their target audience. When you come to think of it, there is a lot that goes into making of a brilliant event announcer.

If you closely follow the works of a popular live event announcer, you will understand how different the job is from an in-person chat with an individual, or a group of people. Though the performance may seem effortless, there is an art to the craft. For instance, Alan Roach, long-time PA announcer for several major sports tournaments including Super Bowl LI, has a unique challenge to his job. A perfect blend of friendly and formal, cheering and unbiased, gives his work an all-essential balance that is required to maintain an informative, excitement-filled, and impartial approach. Alan Roach is responsible for enhancing the excitement level of all fans in attendance, but, as a whole, never favoring one team. Remaining neutral is the challenge, yet still being an excitable and energetic influence at the game for fans of both teams. This walk-the-line style is visible in many of his jobs, like voice of the Super Bowl or voice of Olympic hockey.

In a home-field advantage environment, the PA announcer’s style is often just the opposite. The sports announcer needs only appeal to the home fans. As a result, home team successes are emphasized by the PA announcer and visiting team accomplishments are downplayed. Alan Roach is part of the home-field advantage as voice of the Minnesota Vikings in US Bank Stadium, the voice of the Colorado Avalanche in Pepsi Center, and the voice of the Colorado Rapids in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

The ability of the live event announcer to emphatically wave the home flag in one place and soundly wave both flags in another is of paramount importance in making a good public address announcer. The basics of public address announcing is to deliver information to people attending an event, to help them understand the proceedings in an enjoyable fashion. A seasoned event announcer can bring changes to his/her voice depending upon the situation. Apart from the artistic voice, the PA announcer understands each event is unique and requires the delivery of information to fit the situation.

The next time you’re at a sports arena or other live event soaked in the proceedings and forget to closely notice the PA announcer, you should leave knowing that he has done a good job of enhancing your enjoyment of that event without taking the focus away from the action on the field.

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