Because of the popularity of football in West Texas, television cameras are almost always rolling on the field.
Thousands tune in to the games, so there is pressure to always be timely and considerate of what will and should happen. Even when there is a halftime performance, there is a need to watch the clock and make sure there is no lagging behind.
This means there is much pressure on the announcer for the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, Texas Tech’s college marching band and typical halftime show.
This responsibility currently falls on Dave King.
“I’m from Eastern New Mexico, I’m a farm boy raised on a farm out there between Artesia and Roswell,” King said. “I think, probably, my counselors thought I had a good voice and I should pursue that. So there was this company, Houston Broadcasting Academy, and they were prevalent in my school and made people aware they were recruiting.”
Coming to Lubbock Christian University in 1968 after completing broadcasting school in Houston, King began his broadcasting career with Lubbock’s KBFM, now KLLL-FM, he said.
King worked with stations like KLBK-TV and radio and later opened an advertising agency in 1982, he said.
“I think it takes somebody with at least a pretty good voice and also somebody that has the personality to do radio,” King said. “Somebody that enjoys being on a microphone and speaking to others. And I think that I kind of fit that bill and I kind of enjoyed that.”
A Brief History
King comes from a short line of announcers for the Goin’ Band, he said, the first being Leon Harris in 1946. King, who is also the owner of Dave King Advertising, is similar to Harris in that both of them owned their own firms, he said. Whenever King was a young man in Lubbock, he also happened to know Harris.
“So Leon Harris was the voice of the Goin’ Band from 1946 to 1986. Forty years,” King said. “And then at that time, Paul Archinal became the voice of the Goin’ Band in 1986, and Paul was a fella also that I knew.”
Archinal was also heavily involved in broadcasting and advertising, King said, and had a kid show on Lubbock’s KAMC channel 28 in the early 70s.
Then in 2006, Archinal retired and King was chosen as the announcer for the Goin’ Band.
Now, King is coming on his 10th year as the announcer for the band.
“I think at that time, I think Paul was going to retire and they were recruiting,” King said. “And my wife actually read about it in the newspaper that they were going to be auditioning for a new voice for the band.”
It was through his wife’s insistence that King decided he should send in an audition tape, he said.
There were more than 20 others who auditioned, King said, and soon after he dropped off his audition tape and résumé, he received a call back saying he was chosen as the new voice, he said.
As the voice of the band, there is actually minimal interaction with other band members, he said. Usually there is too much concentration on the script that is given to him to watch what is happening on the field.
“Of course some of the routines are pretty complex and all. So what I have is a grad student that meets me upstairs in the box,” King said. “And the grad student is the one who has run the script with the band and worked out the timing, and he knows where I am to talk and he knows about how long it’s going to take and how it all is going to fit with the timing of the performance.”
Part of the Process
Duane Hill, associate director of bands and director of athletic bands, writes the scripts for every football game, he said. The more important aspect of King’s job, Hill said, is the timing. That determines what King says, or if he says anything at all.
“It’s really just a way to introduce what’s next and what’s about to happen,” Hill said, “and do it in context of a good flow, so that way there’s not a lot of dead time between the pieces.”
In most cases the shows last around six to seven minutes, Hill said.
For Hill, this is the second announcer he has gone through with the band, he said. Coming to Tech for an undergraduate degree and being involved with the Goin’ Band, he said he remembers the previous announcer, Archinal.
“I think you have to have the right voice to introduce you,” Hill said. “It sets the tone, it sets the mood for everything. I think it’s like any other means of communication, whether it’s visual or whether it’s via announcing in this case,” Hill said. “You need something that catches people’s attention, that’s excited, that doesn’t distract but add to what you’re doing.”
Because of the nature of things, there is a slight immunity members of the band have with the announcer, he said. In most cases, they have different cues and do not listen to King in the moment, but rather listen to what they have been practicing.
However, whenever they watch themselves online or hear their show after they have performed they do hear the hype in King’s voice, Hill said.
Throughout the performance, the graduate assistant gives cues through hand gestures and King knows when to talk, he said.
All eyes are focused on the band, he said, and it is the announcer that sets the tone for the entire halftime show.
“The band is going to go whether I’m there or whether I’m not, whether I’m correct when I talk and what I say or whether I (don’t),” King said. “And so I can mess it up really bad. And I’m always mindful of that. And there is a lot of pressure on just trying to maintain a focus and put on blindfolds.”
Those Who Benefit
For drum major Tyler Simon, a senior music education and performance major from Houston, there is pride in having his name announced by King, he said. Through watching old videos and performances, Simon said, he has always wanted to have his name called. Along with Tyler Brown, Simon said their main goal was to achieve that position.
“(And) having the announcer announce our names together,” he said, “it’s a good presentation of our friendship.”
King does a good job in what he is doing, Simon said, which makes it more special hearing his name over the intercom, he said.
“It’s an acknowledgement of our hard work for the past two years of our craft,” Simon said. “Some people will know at the very least that we are the drum majors.”
Do not get distracted
The key to a good performance from both parties, he said, is to always eliminate distractions — something he figured out the hard way.
Early on in his tenure as an announcer, King had some struggles figuring out a good routine to go about announcing, he said. Not realizing how impactful timing is in almost every situation, he lost his place in the script, which started to snowball into a difficult situation, he said.
Because nearly all games are televised, timing is the most important element to his job, he said.
“People are probably not aware how much television dictates how the entire game is formatted — the kickoff, the halftime (show), the band, everything, and pre-game particularly is formatted to the second of where you’re supposed to be, whether you’re part of the band or whether you are a part of receiving an award on the field,” he said. “It all has to happen by the clock.”
In this instance, the band was late getting onto the field, about nearly a minute off the scheduled time, King said. It was hard to stay concentrated in the booth while waiting, he said.
“I was distracted, I was distracted and I just garbled and blew the lines,” King said. “And it was very embarrassing for me, but I realized then, I realized why I had done that, I had allowed the chaos to distract me.”
After that hiccup King said he knew what he needed to do afterward to avoid the same type of mistake. He even said that this last season of football was a near perfect year.
It does not matter what happens throughout the rest of the day either, he said, there always needs to be cheer in his voice.
“Because (disc jockeys) are expected to be up and bright and happy,” King said. “You’re supposed to be up at that level. People aren’t going to listen to a (disc jockey) that is not bright and happy.”