As a passionate, lifelong Phillies fan, I did something that many would consider somewhat odd. On Wednesday night October 29, as the long-delayed Game 5 was coming to its intoxicating conclusion, as reliever Brad Lidge built strikes against Tampa Bay pinch-hitter Eric Hinske, I did not join in on the building crescendo of the crowd. Normally a rambunctious fan, I instead grew quieter and quieter. Finally, as Hinske went fishing after fate, swinging and missing at Lidge’s final offering, I stood perfectly still as the sights and sounds of delirium simply poured over me. I wanted to drink it all in; to perceive this monumental moment with every molecule of my being. And I did it by doing nothing at all.
Broadcasters—play-by-play sportscasters and even news and sportscaster on news programs—would be wise to utilize silence to enhance their broadcasts. In terms of play-by-play men, Fox broadcaster Joe Buck is one of the best at doing this. Frequently, the bigger the moment, the less he has to say, allowing the pictures to do the talking instead. Finally, when he does add something, those few words he says stand out in bold relief.
Even if the moment is not a huge one, many play-by-play announcers are advised to “lay out” on occasion during a telecast in order to allow the game to “breath” a little. Again, the less you say in general, the more meaning your words will take on when you finally do speak. Even for radio play-by-play men, laying out a bit during the action to allow the fans to hear the sounds of your game or to say nothing after a goal, home run, touchdown or big basket and allow the crowd to fill the void, many times makes for great radio.
To some extent, news and sportscasters would be wise to allow a little “breathing room” too. Take written copy for example. Sometimes during an on-camera segment, a slight pause or a simple gesture might bespeak a lot more than all of those words, words, words you’re trying to cram in.
So, don’t fall in love with the sound of your own voice. Instead, when you sense an exciting moment in a sporting event or perhaps you feel yourself needing a proper pause in the copy you’re writing, allow it to happen.
At www.marczumoff.com, we’ll show you that many times, in any sort of broadcast, less is actually more.
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