I continue my series of comments from some of the top sports television reporters in the country about what makes a good play-by-play announcer and color analyst.
Today, John Ourand from Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily weighs in.
Ourand, who has covered all things media for the publications since 2006, said a good play-by-play announcer describes the action as it happens without a lot of shtick or catch phrases.
“He doesn’t predict what will happen or guess. For example, how severe an injury is,” Ourand said.
A good analyst, he said, is one that doesn’t overuse jargon on the air.
“A good analyst discusses the Xs and Os of a game. The best use plain English to point out aspects of the game that may have escaped my attention,” Ourand said. “That’s why John Madden in his prime was so good.”
Ourand said that former athletes and coaches are among his favorites analysts including Troy Aikman and Chris Collinsworth, each who call NFL games. A championship ring or accolades on the field is not necessary to excel behind the mic, however.
“I thought that Tim McCarver did a good job for Fox’s baseball coverage,” Ourand said. “But I don’t think McCarver’s status as an ex-player makes him any more legitimate to call a game than someone like Tom Verducci, a journalist who did a credible job in the broadcast booth last year.”
Most of our interviewees so far agree that quality on-air talent simply tell game stories and break down what they see. It’s a contrast to what we hear when young announcers seem to force a “style” before they consider how their audiences hear them. Like many of us that produce anything for a living, whether it’s words, widgets or weed trimmers, our goal should always focus on what the consumer wants and needs.
We look forward to sharing at least one more media reporter’s take in this series. Until then, please share what you think. What makes good sports announcers?