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Who's doing the play-by-play?
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Who's doing the play-by-play?
Martin, for-r-r three! If youve been to a Skidmore basketball game in recent years, youll remember the enthusiastic cadence that announcer John Meaney gives to a successful three-point shot. I am excited about announcing my threes, says Meaney. Its turned into a thing. And its a thing no matter which team sinks the long shot. Sort of. I try not to be up for the home team more than the visitors, he says. I try to be enthusiastic about visitors threes.
But the irrepressible Thoroughbreds fan can perhaps be forgiven for any extra oomph aimed at the home crowd. He has been a courtside fixture for twenty years, and speaks warmly about the maturing of Skidmores athletics programs. I can remember, back in 1985, we were lucky to have thirty people at a game, he says. Now we get 200. There is more than a little pride in the way he says This is my hometown college.
Meany first grabbed a microphone at a Saratoga Springs High School junior-varsity football game. After studying communications at Ithaca College, he worked at Saratogas WKMJ radio station, where he lined up Skidmores sports information director, Bill Jones, to give live reports on Skidmore athletics. Soon Meaney reciprocated, volunteering to announce Skidmore basketball games. He continued as a volunteer for seventeen years. Now a paid announcer for mens and womens basketball and mens ice hockey, Meaney says it still all starts with being a fan. Im doing it because I love doing it.
Meaneys regular job has him on the air with three local radio stations
co-hosting a morning show, doing news, and serving as operations manager. Meany is humble about his radio voice, which is resonant and reporter-like, but he takes a special pride in his sports announcing. He has a good memory for names, is handy with the electronic paraphernalia (hes been known to handle the clock at hockey games while announcing), and holds himself to high standards (for example, you dont speak while play is actually happening). He never hams it up or distracts from the game. And his work ethic is impeccable. I think he got that from his dad, who was a mailman, says Jones. Hes here rain or shine
snow, sleet, whatever.
Skidmore basketball regulars appreciate what English professor Murray Levith describes as the professional polish he lends to the games. For Meaney, its all about generating enthusiasm. You want to create a mood, he says, but without being the center of attention.
If no one notices him sitting on the sidelines, thats fine. But he admits hes pleased when fans and coaches from visiting teams compliment his announcing. Which must mean not only that he is accurate and clear, but that he succeeds in announcing all the threes with equitable gusto. KG