From MSNBC – Howard Reig, the last staff announcer for NBC, retired today at the age of 84. Reig’s title is special. “Staff Announcer”. They came from radio and made the transition to television. In this new media age, they are a dying breed.
So few staff announcers remain on the rosters of the nation’s networks and broadcasting outlets that they constitute an endangered species. Staff announcers are increasingly being replaced by “daily hires” and freelancers who, in many cases, live hundreds of miles from they stations they identify or promote. They pre-record their announcements and ship them to the point of transmission by post, Federal Express, satellites or ISDN lines. Instantaneous audio synthesis of text files by means of hardware and software will mark the final stage of the staff announcer’s evolution.
The only “real” announcer left is Don Pardo. He’s still working, but at age 87, he’ll be the next to go.
A significant era is coming to an end. In another 5 years or so, the job of staff announcer will be only a memory.