Category Archives: Public address
Johnny Addie (Ring announcer, boxing. Born, New York, NY, Aug. 12, 1902; died, New York, NY, December 12, 1971.) Starting at the Fort Hamilton Arena in 1942, Johnny Addie became one of the better-known of the small club announcers, reinforcing the tradition of working in a tuxedo (now an industry norm) and, having learned sufficient Spanish, introducing Latin fighters in their native language. Born as one of eight Addonizio children on the Lower East Side, Addie achieved the height of his profession when he first worked at Madison Square Garden in 1948. He remained the regular voice of the Garden ring (and its Gillette-sponsored Friday Night Fights) until his finale on Oct. 28, 1971 (George Foreman vs. Luis Pires). He worked over 100 world championships, including several at Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds.
Dom Alagia (Public address. Born, Union City, NJ, Apr. 20, 1928.) Among the most versatile and hard-working public address announcers in the New York area for more than 40 years, Dominic Alagia has called the plays and announced lineups for baseball, basketball, football and numerous other sports. He has also worked on almost all levels from high school to professional teams. Alagia got his start with college basketball in 1960 when he took over the microphone for the Peacocks of St. Peter’s College in the Jersey City (N.J.) Armory. During his 18 years there, the Peacocks had some of their finest teams, going to the N.I.T. five straight years. From there, he branched out into other sports including minor league baseball (Jersey City), N.F.L. football (Green Bay and the Football Giants at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City), and eventually to the Meadowlands Arena where, from 1982-83 through 1990-91, he was the voice of college basketball. In that capacity, he worked N.C.A.A. Regional action and many nationally-televised matchups. Alagia became the public address voice of football at West Point’s Michie Stadium in 1972. His first game was a 77-7 rout of the Cadets by Nebraska, but that team rebounded for a 6-4 mark, including an upset of Texas A&M and a season-ending win over Navy. Alagia worked football at Montclair State and William Paterson colleges in New Jersey as well as basketball at both schools, college baseball regionals and many New York and New Jersey scholastic championship events. In 2001, he became the voice of the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones.
Alex Anthony (Public address. Born, Flushing, NY, June 5, 1972.) Starting with three seasons at the Islanders (1995-98), Alex Anthony has become a major public address voice in New York. In 2002, Anthony succeeded Rich Kahn as the Jets stadium announcer. Two years later, he took over the Shea Stadium microphone for the Mets. Anthony had earlier experience as a club and on-air disc jockey, beginning while still a student at Adelphi U. He is also a professional voice-over artist.
Harry Balogh (Public address. Born, New York, NY, 1891; died, New York, NY, Aug. 16, 1961.) As a boxing ring announcer, Harry William Balogh had few peers. During his early years, Balogh was known as “the Voice of the Armories” in the days when nearly every major armory in New York and Brooklyn staged a fight program at least once a week. Balogh worked nearly every night, moving from one armory and one borough to another. Balogh actually began his career at the famous old Grupp’s Gym on Eighth Avenue, where many famous fighters and trainers (including Whitey Bimstein and Ray Arcel) also got their starts. Balogh began at a time when the fabled Joe Humphreys was the most celebrated ring announcer in the country and handled all the major New York fights. But when Humphreys (who worked without a microphone) retired in 1933, Balogh became the principal voice of the sport. Balogh, the first ring announcer to work in a tuxedo, began a tradition that endures to this day. But he was also a relentless speaker against racism when black boxers began to come to the fore. He frequently addressed the crowd on allowing the fighter’s talent and not his skin color to be the principal way in which he was judged. After starting professionally in the Queensboro Arena, Balogh did many fights at Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds and in Madison Square Garden following Humphreys’ retirement. Balogh retired in 1957.
Fred Capossela (Public address. Born, Brooklyn, NY, Aug. 13, 1902; died, Upland, CA, Apr. 3, 1991.) Fred Capossela was a classic example of what can happen to a young man who hangs around the racetracks. In his case, he became part of the legend of New York sports. Capossela, or “Cappy” as he was fondly known around Belmont, Aqueduct, Jamaica, and Saratoga for over three decades, started in 1926 as a racing writer for the New York Evening Post. But a funny thing happened about some years later. Track officials were looking for a race caller with a distinctive voice. Anyone who ever heard Cappy say “It is now post time . . .” knows what a distinctive voice sounds like. His. In 1934, Capossela had begun announcing at Tropical Park in Miami, and then worked at Hialeah. In 1940, he was named assistant announcer in New York and in 1942-43 was promoted to Official Announcer, a position he held until retiring in 1971. Under contract with Gillette Safety Razor, he began doing the calls of all three Triple Crown races in 1950, and when the Kentucky Derby went to television in 1952, Cappy went along. He worked those Triple Crown events until 1960.
John F.X. Condon (Public address. Born, New York, NY, Aug. 29, 1914; died, New York, NY, Oct. 13, 1989.) John Francis Xavier Condon achieved many unusual objectives in life but one of them was one he didn’t choose. When he became the public address announcer at Madison Square Garden in 1947-48, Condon became the permanent successor to Alfred Frazin, a man who had been with the third Garden since it opened in 1925 and a man few thought could be replaced. Some 40 years and more than 3,000 basketball games later, John Condon was praised by The New York Times as a “civic treasure voice.” In addition to calling some 1,500 Knicks regular-season and playoff games and an equal number of college games, Condon’s famous greeting, “Good evening, ladies and gentleman, and welcome to Madison Square Garden” was part of the sports lore of the city. Oddly, Condon’s first love was boxing. He was the public relations director for Madison Square Garden boxing for more than 20 years and from 1979-86 was president of Madison Square Garden Boxing. In 1976, he started the famed “Kid Glove” program for youngsters aged 10 to 15.
Bud Corn (Public address. Born, New York, NY, Jan. 30, 1913; died, Boca Raton, FL, Sept. 3, 1999.) For 25 seasons (1937-61), Belmont Corn, Jr., was the public address voice of Columbia football at Baker Field. During that period, Corn missed only one game. That was in 1957, when he was detained by the government of Venezuela while returning from a business trip. Corn’s spotter during virtually his entire stretch was 1928 N.C.A.A. diving champion Walter Krissel. Corn was the founder and president of The Displayers, exhibitry specialists in New York engaged in worldwide construction of displays for trade shows and conventions.
Del DeMontreux (Public address. Born, Brooklyn, Nov. 19, 1945.) A popular radio personality in New York for nearly three decades, Del DeMontreux also served for most of five seasons (1995-99) as the Mets public address announcer at Shea Stadium. Following his separation from the U.S. Army in 1970, DeMontreaux was hired at WHN (AM 1050), then a country music station. Over the ensuing 25 years, he moved to WCBS-FM, WPAT-FM, WYNY-FM and then WQEW. After a season (1994) in which the brothers Don and Doug Gould shared the mike at Shea, DeMontreaux was hired. He adapted to the changing nature of the job, with its between-innings contests and scoreboard games, in addition to a professional delivery of lineups and baseball-related matters. Late in the 1999 season, DeMontreaux suffered a stroke and was replaced permanently in 2000 by another disc jockey, Roger Luce. Earlier in his radio career, DeMontreaux worked in Steubenville and Youngstown, O., and at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Penna., before entering the Army in 1968.
Al Frazin (Public address. Born, New York, NY, Mar. 21, 1905; died, Satellite Beach, FL, July 9, 1988.) Alfred Bender Frazin was perhaps the best announcer in the early days of arena public address systems and was so well known that he was frequently included in such non-sports material as comic strips and cartoons as an announcer. His career began at Madison Square Garden in 1925, when he was the announcer for the New York Americans, the city’s first National Hockey League team. Frazin’s microphone duties rapidly expanded to include the New York Rangers when they joined the N.H.L. in 1926. Frazin was also the voice of such diverse Garden events as six-day bike races, the National Horse Show, college basketball, track meets, industrial shows, skating exhibitions and rodeos. He was also heard as a sports announcer on WMSG, a radio station owned by the Garden corporation. He came into the business by accident. As an amateur speed skater, Frazin once filled in as an announcer during a competition and was hired by a Garden executive to work regularly. In 1942, after working thousands of events before millions of fans, Frazin resigned to join the U.S. Army. During his 23-year military career, he rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel before retiring in 1965. One of the finest all-around athletes produced by New York’s McBurney School, Frazin became an avid golfer in his retirement and set a course record in San Francisco with four holes-in-one at the Presidio Golf Club.
Jim Hall (Public address. Born, New York, NY, May 30, 1933.) Perhaps the most-heard but least known public address announcer in New York sports, James Joseph Hall began filling in for the legendary Bob Sheppard in 1963. The pair became acquainted as student and teacher when Hall went from St. John’s Prep to St. John’s, where Sheppard was already the notable voice. After beginning a teaching career at John Adams H.S., Hall in 1959 started teaching speech and public speaking at St. John’s. He also coached the debate team. Four years later, Sheppard invited him to work with him as a backup and also his spotter for the Giants N.F.L. games at Yankee Stadium. In the ensuing four decades, he did over 300 Yankees games, dozens of Giants games, and also became the voice of St. John’s women’s basketball, lacrosse, baseball, and football. In 2006, Hall succeeded Sheppard as the regular Giants announcer and, in 2008, took over for the Yankees when Sheppard was incapacitated by illness, working virtually every game, including that year’s All-Star Game. Hall eventually became a department chairman at St. John’s and manned the microphone for football, lacrosse, baseball, and women’s basketball. When the Yankees moved into their new Stadium in 2009, Paul Olden became the regular P.A. announcer.