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Thread: Airshow Announcing

  1. #1

    Default Airshow Announcing

    I broke my thumper open and dropped a 40 Mike Mike into the tube. I lined up on the pair of blaring loudspeakers closest to me where I have had my seats in Section A for over thirty years. It would be an easy 90 yard shot or so; no problem. I fired. The offending loudspeakers were obliterated in a ball of fire and smoke. The crowd went wild, cheering the welcoming silence. Having forgot my Bose Airshow Announcer Cancelling headphones, this was my fantasy as I was subjected to a cacophony of air race/air show announcing that I thought was going to send me into an epileptic fit.

    As always, I make my visits daily to the pits and/or static display area. While there I found the silence exceedingly welcome. It was wonderful just listening to the sounds of the engines, except for that Waco abomination with the jet engine. Its annoyance reminded me of the Cessna T-37 Tweet/A-37 Dragonfly, which was also affectionately known as “Converter,” for it converted energy into noise. I say drop that irritation from next year’s program and put those funds toward much better use by boosting the Unlimited prize money pool. Seriously, does the air race organization not understand what is happening to the National Championship Air Races? The Unlimiteds are what made Reno Reno. They had better get it figured out real soon or they are going to lose it all.

    But I digress. Sorry. Getting back on track with my initial grievance, is it just me or did anyone else find the crappy music and/or incessant yammering blaring through the loudspeakers annoying? Do the announcers not understand that we, as spectators, at least many of us, are there to listen to the sounds of the warbird engines, and even to those hopped-up 550s and 540s in the Sport Class. Sure, some announcing is necessary and welcome, but I appeal to the powers that be to implore a more tasteful approach to providing such.

    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    Quote Originally Posted by John Richard View Post
    I broke my thumper open and dropped a 40 Mike Mike into the tube. I lined up on the pair of blaring loudspeakers closest to me where I have had my seats in Section A for over thirty years. It would be an easy 90 yard shot or so; no problem. I fired. The offending loudspeakers were obliterated in a ball of fire and smoke. The crowd went wild, cheering the welcoming silence. Having forgot my Bose Airshow Announcer Cancelling headphones, this was my fantasy as I was subjected to a cacophony of air race/air show announcing that I thought was going to send me into an epileptic fit.

    As always, I make my visits daily to the pits and/or static display area. While there I found the silence exceedingly welcome. It was wonderful just listening to the sounds of the engines, except for that Waco abomination with the jet engine. Its annoyance reminded me of the Cessna T-37 Tweet/A-37 Dragonfly, which was also affectionately known as “Converter,” for it converted energy into noise. I say drop that irritation from next year’s program and put those funds toward much better use by boosting the Unlimited prize money pool. Seriously, does the air race organization not understand what is happening to the National Championship Air Races? The Unlimiteds are what made Reno Reno. They had better get it figured out real soon or they are going to lose it all.

    But I digress. Sorry. Getting back on track with my initial grievance, is it just me or did anyone else find the crappy music and/or incessant yammering blaring through the loudspeakers annoying? Do the announcers not understand that we, as spectators, at least many of us, are there to listen to the sounds of the warbird engines, and even to those hopped-up 550s and 540s in the Sport Class. Sure, some announcing is necessary and welcome, but I appeal to the powers that be to implore a more tasteful approach to providing such.

    John
    There’s an agree/disagree factor with it all. The announcers at Reno are on the annoying side. Starkavakishfinf is a problem but we all know this by now. I’m generally fine listening to Danny Clisham and the guys that go up on stage that know what they’re talking about for the classes (Pete Zaccagnino during early jet heats, Rob Bonhamme typically does well with sport class not so much this year, and the F1 announcer seemed pretty knowledgeable too). I also understand that the other important part of announcing is advertising the sponsors. I do think that RARA needs to try to get a NBC sports to air the races exactly as the livestream was on Sunday of race week on live TV. Just one day to see the audience... great way to be able to advertise sponsors without annoying the crowd at Reno (who by Sunday has heard the same sponsors a half dozen times). Long story short, it could be much better, and should be for the fans to enjoy a better experience. You’re not the only one thinking this trust me
    *My Air Race Site*

    Reno from '99 to '18

  3. #3

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    I swear, the announcers are paid by the word. I get the advertising of sponsors, and don't mind it. Gotta pay the bills. I don't need to hear the same story multiple times a day, for 4 - 5 days. Especially since I hear them every year. It was like they were terrified that if there was not a constant yammering on the overly loud PA, people would turn to stone or something.

    I don't care that the announcer has an Indian Motorcycle, how many airplanes they have or that the P-51 might have one time pretended to be an attack plane.

    It sounds like the live stream commentary was a lot better. I didn't see it, so can't say.

    Help me follow the race, tell me something interesting about the specific team or airplane racing, insights into the differences between Gold and Bronze T6s, something like that.

    Mostly, talk less, a lot, lot less.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Reno, Nevada
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    2,582

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    I think that most of us that have gone for years have gotten used to the announcers and I know I tune them out to some extent. I had 2 complaints about it this year.
    1. Sitting on the ramp, the damn speakers were so loud that it startled and actually hurt. I have some hearing loss but, WOW. I didn't mind the music when there was dead time but it was so LOUD. I assume to reach the bleachers behind, but maybe someone could test out there so they don't blast everyone else?
    2. During the dead time on Wednesday and Saturday (weather delays) they yammered on and on with ads for literally hours. You can only hear "Next time you are visiting Florida, be sure to..." so many times.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Snohomish, WA
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    24

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    Quote Originally Posted by GRNDP51 View Post
    ...the F1 announcer seemed pretty knowledgeable too.
    I'm pretty sure that the F1 announcer this year was David Holmgren, so I would say that he's probably knowledgeable. He mentioned (publicly over the PA) that he's out on a medical this year, but expects to be racing again next year.

    Our grandstand seats are right behind the announcers, so we both see and hear them.

    The quality of the sound was affected this year because there was a problem at the last minute with the team that was supposed to do the sound. Another team came in at the very last minute and set up. As someone who does sound for our church, I was really impressed at what they could do (technically) in the situation.

    As for the content, I think that there are two things it needs to do that run counter to what those of use here would like. First off, they have to pay the bills. Most of the advertising is done by one of the announcers. He starts the day with a binder full of advertisements and flips through it as the day goes on. By the end of the day, he gets to the last page. This is really annoying (I hate ads), but it does help to pay the bills. I'd rather have air racing and ads, than to not have air racing or ads. The second thing is that there are a lot of people there who are not hard core fans. I may have heard the history of the P51 more times than I can remember, but there are a lot of people there for the first time, and I think that on the weekends, there are quite a few locals there who want to see the air show. The grandstand crowd in our section was noticeably smaller this year, and I think a big part of it was the absence of one of the major military teams. For these transient fans, the commentary is interesting and new. And I *really* want any locals that attend to have a great experience.

    Yes, the announcers do make a fair number of errors. In some cases, they know what they are talking about and just mis-speak. In a few cases over the years where they make a significant error and repeat it a few times, I've corrected them. To their credit, they've made the correction after.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    Yes indeed, the poor quality of the announcers/commentary has long been a problem at Reno.

    It's part and parcel of what has often been a complete lack of understanding by the organizers of what of what constitutes professionalism and the appreciation of what makes good entertainment.

    Unfortunately, the various iterations of RARA over the years have had a club aspect to them. And if you weren't part of the "club", no matter what you might be able to contribute, you wouldn't be invited/asked to.

    The side effect has been poor quality in things like the announcing. Instead of searching out professionals willing to prepare - by understanding the sport of air racing, becoming familiar not with just the technical aspects of airplanes/classes but by getting to know those participating in a professional way and having the ability to speak knowledgeably and entertainingly about them - the organization has allowed this aspect of the "show" to be amateurish and often annoying.

    And yes, less is often more. Taste is required as well.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    While I may not be exposed to the days-long announcing that most, if not all, of those on this thread are exposed to, allow me to offer the following.

    Based on my experience in the airshow industry I must say I would not wish to trade places with those who spend countless hours speaking for a living at Reno or any other airshow. The pressures to fill time, ensure sponsor hits are timely, be accurate in every syllable, and yet...entertain, is not something to be taken lightly. I've worked with all three of these gentlemen, some more than others, and I regard them as professionals each in their own right. When you consider the total number of hours they are asked to fill, it's no wonder there is some repetition or missteps. If only considering a Wed-Sun gig, they are asked to fill eight to ten hours a day for five days, be it speaking or filling time with music. That's an incredible amount of time regardless of the fact it is split between three announcers and each class rep who adds color to each heat and race. And to an earlier point, a fair amount of the announcing is not addressed to anyone on this blog...the seasoned RARA vet. It's to appeal to those who are attending Reno or an aviation event for the first time or those who only occasionally come to Reno. As for the sound gear, yes, there were extenuating and unforeseen circumstances at the last minute that forced RARA to scramble. A very unfortunate occurrence but one RARA recovered from well.


    I'd also propose: if anyone has constructive critic of the manner in which the event is operated I'd encourage you to contact RARA directly and in a reasonable and professional manner. The management team at RARA is open to hearing from anyone who values this event and has something to offer...be it an expression of support or pointing out an area of opportunity. It's one thing to offer complaints about it here...all well and good. If you look at some of my posts in the past, I've done the same. But it does little to actually address your concerns if that's all the further it goes. If you're truly concerned about certain aspects, it would seem prudent to take your concerns to those who have expressed a willingness to listen and who have the power and authority to address them to the extent possible. To do otherwise actually does a disservice to RARA and the event we all enjoy. Perhaps some of you have done so in the past or have done so already after this year’s event. That's a step in the right direction. Fact is: if RARA doesn't hear about concerns from racers, vendors, performers or guests, they cannot address and/or correct them and in doing so, make the event even more enjoyable that it has been in the past. After all, if we’re to attend Reno for years to come, it’s incumbent upon everyone who has a stake in its continued success to do what is reasonably necessary to ensure it.

    My $0.02…for what it’s worth.
    Owen Ashurst
    Deputy Air Boss - Reno Air Races
    AIR BOSS ONE
    San Diego CA
    http://airbossone.com

  8. #8

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    Hear! Hear!
    "young" Thomas

  9. #9

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Judge View Post
    While I may not be exposed to the days-long announcing that most, if not all, of those on this thread are exposed to, allow me to offer the following.

    Based on my experience in the airshow industry I must say I would not wish to trade places with those who spend countless hours speaking for a living at Reno or any other airshow. The pressures to fill time, ensure sponsor hits are timely, be accurate in every syllable, and yet...entertain, is not something to be taken lightly. I've worked with all three of these gentlemen, some more than others, and I regard them as professionals each in their own right. When you consider the total number of hours they are asked to fill, it's no wonder there is some repetition or missteps. If only considering a Wed-Sun gig, they are asked to fill eight to ten hours a day for five days, be it speaking or filling time with music. That's an incredible amount of time regardless of the fact it is split between three announcers and each class rep who adds color to each heat and race. And to an earlier point, a fair amount of the announcing is not addressed to anyone on this blog...the seasoned RARA vet. It's to appeal to those who are attending Reno or an aviation event for the first time or those who only occasionally come to Reno. As for the sound gear, yes, there were extenuating and unforeseen circumstances at the last minute that forced RARA to scramble. A very unfortunate occurrence but one RARA recovered from well.


    I'd also propose: if anyone has constructive critic of the manner in which the event is operated I'd encourage you to contact RARA directly and in a reasonable and professional manner. The management team at RARA is open to hearing from anyone who values this event and has something to offer...be it an expression of support or pointing out an area of opportunity. It's one thing to offer complaints about it here...all well and good. If you look at some of my posts in the past, I've done the same. But it does little to actually address your concerns if that's all the further it goes. If you're truly concerned about certain aspects, it would seem prudent to take your concerns to those who have expressed a willingness to listen and who have the power and authority to address them to the extent possible. To do otherwise actually does a disservice to RARA and the event we all enjoy. Perhaps some of you have done so in the past or have done so already after this year’s event. That's a step in the right direction. Fact is: if RARA doesn't hear about concerns from racers, vendors, performers or guests, they cannot address and/or correct them and in doing so, make the event even more enjoyable that it has been in the past. After all, if we’re to attend Reno for years to come, it’s incumbent upon everyone who has a stake in its continued success to do what is reasonably necessary to ensure it.

    My $0.02…for what it’s worth.
    You make some fair points.

    I understand the announcers have a diverse audience, from first timers to veterans that make my ~10 years of attendance seem short. That has a full set of challenges. I am fully aware of the need to present the advertisers and sponsors over the PA. They are an important part of the funding for the event, and paid to be mentioned. While I might wonder how many people in the stands have an Eclipse that needs serviced in Florida, that doesn't matter, and hopefully that sponsor got value from their ad buy.

    I think my point and complaint is partially about style. Why is it thought that every second of the 8 - 10 hours needs someone talking? I appreciate that takes a lot of work, but is it needed? Why do stories that don't have anything to do with the race we are tying to watch have to be told in the middle of a race? I have heard people yell shut up at the announcers during a race. Is it thought that if announcers are not constantly talking about something meaningless that people will go home? I have worked and put together small events, but nothing of this scale, so I don't know if things are different.

    Your point about venting here versus trying to help is a good one. I filled out the survey they sent, and put some basic comments about the announcers in it, but I could try to figure out how to reach out directly. I tried a few years ago on a different topic, and they didn't seem interested, but maybe things have changed. Worth trying again.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Whittier CA, Los Angeles USA
    Posts
    496

    Default Re: Airshow Announcing

    I recommend bringing soft foam earplugs everywhere just in case. Would never walk on the field without them. I have custom molded ones for gigs and concerts. Yes in some of the pits where I usually am there is no announcing.
    Last edited by John H; 09-28-2018 at 11:01 AM.

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