Sunday, July 22

An “Andrew” Anecdote

More thoughts as we get closer to the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew (August 24th).

The storm gave me my "big break" as a TV booth announcer.

We had our own: one of those BIG THUNDERING VOICE types. I'm sorry to say I've forgotten his name, but I can still hnear the voice. Not quite the caliber of the late, truly great Ernie Anderson (look him up on Wikipedia), but a voice I've heard since on national spots, which means you've heard him too.

The guy was a real pro: he wasn't limited to just those "DRAG...RACING...CAPITAL...OF...MID-AMERICA"-type spots. No, he also had a great change-of-pace voice. He could put a lilt in his voice to plug sitcoms, be somber to pitch news—the whole range.

And after Andrew he disappeared. He didn't call. We didn't know where he was. We didn't know IF he was (dead or alive?).

So the folks in the promotion department asked me to fill in while they figured out what to do next. I'm no basso profundo, but I did have an announcing class with Dick Estell (see "Fingernails on the Blackboard," 5/17). I know which end of the mic to talk into!

And it's not as if they had to go far to find me: I was still sleeping on the floor of my office, working 20 hours a day. I could certainly spend 10 minutes a day recording IDs and promos. So I did.

"This is WCIX-TV, Miami."

It lasted for about two weeks until the regular announcer showed up. He'd lost his house and spent the time trying to find housing for his family and get his life back on track. As a part-timer and an independent contractor we just weren't his first priority—and no one could blame him.

After my stint behind the mic was over, one of the news videotape editors came up to me and said, "Y'know, if you ever wanted to get out of news you could get a job as an easy-listening FM jock."

It's not quite the gift of total consciousness from the Dali Lama, but still, as Carl Spackler would say, "I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

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