View Full Version : Where do they find these announcers?

Harry Balzonia
09-16-2002, 05:19 PM
The quality of the announcers at this years races was horrible. Frank Kingston Smith and Ward Steiner absolutely sucked. Dave McClellands superior performance was almost embaracing as it made the inability of Smith and Steiner stand out even more. Towards the end of the races Sunday Smith was firing out mindless coments and attempts at humor when people just wanted them to shut up so they could sit back and whatch the planes. I'd really appreciate it if someone would back me up on this because I really thought they took away from the great experience that air racing should be.
Take Sandy out of retirement!


09-16-2002, 06:43 PM
I have to agree completely. I had come here to my favorite site tonight with the express intention to start a thread on exactly this.

The lack of avation knowlage shown in general and the racing in specific was astounding. Not only was the anouncing the crappiest at any sporting event I've been too, they would just not SHUT UP!! It was like they were told to speak non-stop to avoid any dead air no matter what drivel they spat forth!! This is pretty sad at the worlds premier event.

At one point prior to the start up of the Unlimited Gold final, they promised they would shut up as soon as they were firing up and would remain quiet ontil they were all off the ramp. What a joke! That lasted a couple of minutes. They seem to think that the words "two cylinder" and "twin row" are interchangeable when describing a radial.

The incessant stammering and just plain wrong calls really got to me this year. Is this the state of sport? Is this the best team they could manage to do the job? It was obvious even to the several neophytes who were sitting around me how bad these guys were!

It seems that they could find any decent fan to do a better job.
How about it Wayne, would you be up to the job?

I intend to write the RARA and voice my concern. I can't imagine mine will be the only one.

In my 23 years in the stands, this year had lots of memories. I hate to say it but I think this will rank right up there with the most memorable.

Rob Jensen

09-16-2002, 09:28 PM
I would agree that it must be hard to find Sandy's match out there. A great event starts with a great announcer. A great announcer makes a great event.

Even Sandy had his tongue twisted, slurred moments up there, BUT you could always hear the genuine excitement in his voice no matter who was out there.

I thought Mr. Smith sounded alot like Vern Lundquist, didn't you? Maybe not during the "Dumb-ass" comment, however.

Another thing to consider... Seems alot of things have happened over the past 6 or 7 years at Reno which, at least to me, has caused the total event to be somewhat lacking. 1. Thornton Audrain retired. 2. Many of the Reno 'filler' entertainers are dead, retired, or haven't been invited back (Leo Loudenslager, Bob Hoover, Wayne Handley, Delmar Benjamin, John Kazian 'OH YEAH' with Jimmy Franklin and Elliot Cross, etc.) 3. Now the main filler seems to be military jet fighters, year after year after year. I wonder how many folks out there actually prefer this type of filler? I don't.

With the lack of performers showing up to this premier event, the event as a whole is no longer 'rapid fire' like it use to be. This puts a tremendous burden on the announcer(s) to keep some life blood flowing while we wait for the racers to get going, the military jet fighters to get going, and so on.

I did like the addition of their roving reporter talking to the pilots in the pit area. They should expand it to the winners of the races too before they take the motorcade trip down the tarmac and wave to the crowd.

So what is the fix? Sandy would be a good start, but it's going to take more than him to elevate the event to the standards set in the late '80's early '90's in my book.

Robert Stanley -Strega fan since '86 :D

09-17-2002, 09:00 AM
They could have been worse I guess, and have been. I know I could not do better. Any racing is fast paced and my hats off to anyone that can come close to following it with commentary.
That said, I agree that the jokes were stale, (the mistakes were funnier) and there were a number of times that even my twelve year old yelled "then shut up already!"
Sandy was the voice of the races, but he's not there anymore, so I just hope they do the best they can.
I have been going since 1976, my father in law has gone with me since 1988. The topic of discussion on Sat. night was the way the races have changed. The pits seemed very low key, not as much of the joking and fun that made evenings out there so much fun in the past. And I fully agree that there are to damn many jets in the show! I like a good demonstration, but to me an F-16, F-18, F-14 all in the same day is just too much noise. I miss Jimmy Franklin, John Kazian, Leo, Sean Tucker and the rest. There have been some great acts over the years. Remember The dueling Waco's, Sanders sea Fury, Frank Tallmans Duck? They used to be a part of the whole package. This year it truly looked like filler.
They have gone the other direction there too. In some years past it has been all air show, with racing thrown in.
The happy medium? I think a headliner aerobatic act without gimmicks, a jet demonstration (the non-aviation crowd and the kids love these), a warbird demonstration or aerobatics (get some of these rarer birds up in the air, like a flight of B-25s?) and maybe something light for filler (I'm embarrassed to say I like drnken farmer acts...).
I want to see jet cars I'll go to a drag strip, but the crowd loves it and the bottom line is packing people in.
Jus my $0.02, and probably not worth that!


09-17-2002, 10:49 AM
I too miss some of the joking around. We were walking in one day this year and the announcer was talking about a car that was in the way and needed to be moved or it would be towed. Jokingly, I started laughing as I remembered when they used to play on the fact that a car needed to be moved about 10 times and then you'd see the military skycrane appear with a car over the field. They'd then tell you it was some high up official of some sort and drop it over the field. We used to love things like this. I still remember when they dropped an old yellow school bus and it just flattened :)

Reno has changed some over the years. This was a good year overall amidst the tragedy and little things that were nuisances.

I also never heard the crowd cheer so loud when they finally shut the music off on Sunday...!!


09-17-2002, 11:07 AM
Ahhhh yes, the car presses..... The Hamilton Standard prop (bent up in reference to Loyd's recent belly landing), the tug races, #86's green cadillac team car that went "missing", the Ramp Rat report, The pile of horse stuff left under Pegusus' tail....
I have video of a B-1 pass where she (the pilot) pulled up into the overcast in knife edge and 50<000 fans are sreming "roll it!"
THAT'S adience participation.


09-17-2002, 11:26 AM
This was my first Reno air Race - but have attended many air shows. Nothing was more frustrating than haveing these guys tell you the current act is approaching the field - then p they DONT TELL YOU FROM WHERE!!!! Christ - thanks for letting me know that they are appraching - but give me a refeerence point on the field to llok at! Air SHow Announcing - class 1 stuff you would think. The music on SUnday was a joke - I was obne of those load clappers.... and 4 times I corrected them as to what place a plane was in - or what lap they were on.

ps: I have to disagree about the jets though - aviation whther prop or jet is exciting - and I happen to like noise and the thrill of the jets - but that's just me.