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A football announcer provides viewers or listeners with information about a football game that is in progress. He may work for a local television or radio station or announce games for a national or international network. His coverage may include professional, college or high school games. His job may require him to report the play action by himself or he may have one or more commentators, hosts or correspondents to assist him.
Football announcers commonly work in pairs and receive supplemental information and support from other broadcast professionals during the course of the game. The two main announcers are typically referred to as the play-by-play commentator and the color commentator; the two typically observe the game from a booth on the ground or in the stands. The supplemental crew generally includes one or more field correspondents as well as hosts who comment on the sport and the players during halftime.
A play-by-play football announcer is often considered the most important member of the broadcast team. He is typically expected to report on every action of the game in detail, which normally requires him to know all of the rules, jargon, players and penalty calls. These details are particularly important if he is reporting over the radio and needs to create a picture of the game with his words for the listening audience.
To add levity and interest to the sporting event, a football announcer called a color commentator customarily works alongside the play-by-play broadcaster. He normally provides anecdotal information about players and coaches as well as little known statistics and fun facts about the teams. If comical collisions between the players occur or fans in the stands behave in amusing ways, the color commentator generally provides remarks about such incidents.
A field correspondent normally stays on the sidelines during a football game. If a player is injured, this football announcer typically communicates the details of the mishap to the announcers in the booth. He also commonly tries to get a comment from the coach or players if there are breaks in play that provide this opportunity.
The announcers generally referred to as hosts are traditionally located in a remote location. Two or more of these broadcasters, who are ordinarily retired coaches and players, talk during halftime about the games and players and make personal predictions on the game’s outcome. They are normally perceived as entertainers who engage the audience as they wait for the game to continue after halftime.
There are no educational requirements for this job. Most football announcers receive on-the-job training in using broadcasting equipment and presenting themselves professionally to television and radio audiences. Excellent knowledge of football rules and familiarity with the players and coaches are highly valued attributes for aspiring football announcers. Being comfortable with speaking publicly without a script is considered a plus for applicants for this position. A bachelor's degree in journalism or communication my give an aspiring candidate an edge over less-qualified applicants.
The late John Forney was probably one of the best football announcers ever. He called the games on radio for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Eli Gold has the job now, and he's good, but John Forney and his color commentator, Doug Layton, were great.
When Forney called a game, you could see it in your mind.
I have friends who watch their teams on television with the sound off and the radio on because they can't stand the way the network announcers call the football games. Keith Jackson, formerly of ABC Sports was the exception. Hearing Jackson call a game was always good.
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