Fourteen Questions with the Voice of the Huskies, Eric Radovich

with William Pennington

 

One doesn’t need to be a huge sports fan to appreciate different aspects of the game. Some fans come for the competition, while others cheer to be with their friends.  Many more fans don’t even make it into the stadium, and would rather party and tailgate outside, hanging out and enjoying beer and brats. One ESPN writer makes a living off of writing about the uniforms. A big motivation I have for attending any UW Husky football or basketball game is to listen to their in house PA announcer calling the game, Eric Radovich.  Not to be confused with the TV or radio announcers who broadcast to millions, only people in the stands and nearby the stadium can hear him call the game.  This makes his voice all the more special and unique, and all the more reason to actually attend a game. There are no clips of him online, and he's not a huge self promoter, which means the only way to hear him is live and in person, wherever he does work. Plus, he's actually funny, which I feel is a bonus for anyone paying admission. The University of Washington is lucky to have him, and hopefully you'll get to hear him at least once in your lifetime.

For his day job, Eric is the Executive Director at the Washington Beer Commission, an organization dedicated to promoting Washington made beer. Please visit Seattle Center on January 28th, 2017 for their Belgian beer tasting festival.  More information on all their local festivals can be found here.

 

Some people don't like hearing their voice on tape.  Are you ever annoyed by the sound of your own voice, or wish you had a different one?

Most of my friends will tell you, somewhat jokingly I hope, that I must love the sound of my own voice. Truth be told I’d love to be in the crowd sometime when I’m announcing. Just to hear what it really sounds like. I have listened back to many of my radio broadcasts (baseball and football mostly) and I can certainly be my own toughest critic. Always room to improve. Have yet to call the perfect game as an announcer, but I was the PA announcer at Safeco Field the day Felix Hernandez pitched his perfect game for the Seattle Mariners in 2012.

I love the thirrrrrdd doooooowwwwwnnnn you do. How often do you try and manipulate the other teams fans? What other subtle or subconscious methods do you employ?

Never intentionally trying to manipulate the other teams fans, just trying to get our fans fired up! The “thirrrrd  doooowwwnnn” call came on in 2009 when following the winless season in 2008, it seemed the crowd had forgotten to make a little noise to inspire our defense on third downs. I really just used it as a reminder to make some noise and the crowd responded. Coaches, players, and fans now count on hearing it and when I run into someone who finds out I’m the UW announcer they invariably ask me to do a “thirrrrd doooowwwnn” call. A signature of sorts.

I've known cafe barista's who didn't drink coffee, auto body repairmen who drove rusty old beaters, and preschool teachers who didn't like kids.  Do you think there are sports announcers who don't like sports?

I think it’s possible, but not very likely. You really do need to have a little passion for the game you’re calling to do a good job in my opinion.

Your voice kinda remind me of Jeffery Tambor on the Larry Sanders Show. When you watch tv, or a movie, do you study the voices you hear? 

I honestly don’t watch much TV, and I’m not familiar with Jeffrey Tambor, but I do listen to other broadcasters. Sometimes I wish my voice was a little more distinctive (southern accent, more grandfatherly, or maybe even deeper). I admire many broadcasters and occasionally critique a few as well.

Do you have any favorite on air announcers that you'd listen to no matter what they did?

I have always admired the national guys I grew up listening to: Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, Pat Summerall, to name a few. Locally I always enjoyed Bob Blackburn as voice of the Sonics and I could certainly listen to the late, great Dave Niehaus read me “The History of Molecular Biology” and still make it interesting and pleasing to the ear.

Do you have a website or podcast where you showcase your work?

I currently do not have a website or podcast to showcase my work. I have never really felt that it’s about me.

Have you ever thought of selling your voice for people who want a fun outgoing voicemail message?

I have done a few voicemail box greetings for friends and even introduced the wedding party at a reception in my “announcer voice” but never charged anything for it.

Are there any ghosts at Husky Stadium?

Not sure if there are any ghosts at Husky Stadium but I wouldn’t be surprised if the spirits of former head coaches Gil Dobie and Don James were present.

How do you rev the crowd up when/if the Huskies are losing by 40?

Remind them of the next home game or report the score of Oregon or WSU losing!

Do you have any ambition to announce the NFL or NBA, or maybe even be an auctioneer?

I really do love the atmosphere of college athletics and I consider my announcing more of a hobby, but if the NFL or NBA came calling I would be flattered and give it some serious consideration. I actually tried the auctioneer thing a few times. Tougher than it looks. I do some emceeing of events which is more up my alley.

What kind of voice preparation work do you do? Do you follow an opera singers guidebook, or do you just wing it?

I sometimes do voice exercises in the car, or sing along to the radio to loosen up on the drive to games. Mostly I just wing it.

Where do you practice?

Sometimes I’ll read articles in the sports section of the newspaper aloud and as I mentioned, I practice in the car on the drive to games.

When I worked at a gas station in college, late at night I would announce fake baseball games over their outside PA system when there was no one around. I imagine you did the same?

I used to play “Nerf Hoop” basketball at home and call the action like Bob Blackburn of the Seattle Supersonics. Seems like I would always find a way for Fred Brown to sink the winning shot to beat Jerry West and the Los Angeles Lakers. I would also occasionally strike out a Boog Powell or Frank Robinson while playing the role of Tom Seaver on the mound, throwing a rubber coated baseball against a wall in front of my house as a kid.

What was your first announcing job? Was it bingo at a church, or something fun like that?

Shorecrest High School basketball PA announcer. Not nearly good enough to play on a team that went to the State Tournament.