By Graeme Easton, Edinburgh.
For me it’s one of life’s great mysteries how little fascinations and interests in your childhood may have been a spark for what you end up doing in later life.
Back in the late 70s/early 80s I recall listening to football updates on the radio and also being fascinated by the vidiprinter football results as they came in at the end of Grandstand on BBC1.
So it’s somewhat bizarre, yet ultimately thrilling, to be the voice that announces at Hampden Park for football finals and internationals and also at Murrayfield for rugby internationals. I was also delighted to be selected for the announcer role at the London 2012 Olympic Beach Volleyball and the Glasgow 2104 Rugby 7s.
Over the years many people have asked how I got into being the voice of all these sports. Well, like many people who have found themselves in radio, TV or some other form of ‘entertainment’ – it stemmed from the dizzy heights of mobile discos.
Sometimes the mention of a mobile disco gets an ironic eyewink or creates perceptions of terrible sound systems playing some horrendous chart bothering tosh and mature ladies doing the slosh. That still happens and did happen in the early days of my brother and I as we dj’d as Woosh! Discos.
Looking back now, there is no doubt djing gave me the confidence of speaking into a microphone. Like the vidiprinter obsession I mentioned earlier, we probably don’t realise the significance of something until much later.
The first sport I announced at was basketball at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh. I got a buzz from introducing the starting fives, playing the music when baskets were scored, and encouraging the crowd to show their support.
Someone from Scottish Rugby saw me at a game and asked me if I would be interested in doing rugby. One thing has led to another and I’ve had the genuine honour of announcing at some tremendous events.
To focus on the question “what does it feel like.?” Put simply, it’s an adrenaline rush, similar to that of a singer. I’ve a few friends who are singers or in band and it’s no different to them; it’s the enjoyment and response you get from a crowd that gives you the energy to do the thing you do.
For me, it’s the way I enunciate or emphasise certain phrases or statements that changes how I naturally speak into a ‘performance’ when there is a crowd. Like the players you do feed off the crowd.
The biggest part of many international matches is the raw roar when you announce team line-ups. I’d like to think the Scottish crowd get the feeling that I am as much of a fan as they are. It’s important to me that I come across as genuine and when (or is that if!) Scotland score then I am come across as excited as they are. If that transcends onto the pitch then it’s job done!
In terms of job satisfaction, it’s what all jobs should feel like.