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The Announcer's Test

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

February 23, 2010

Comments (10)

Female radio announcer testEver heard of The Announcer's Test?

One of my friends on Facebook happened to mention it to me and I thought you might be interested in learning more about this challenging yet fascinating elocution exercise.

This is the sort of thing that people wishing to enter into broadcast television and radio may encounter and warrants featuring and discussion amongst the voice over community.

Learn more in today's VOX Daily!

What Does It Take To Be an Announcer?

Announcers have the exciting job and responsibility of sharing the news or providing commentary live without much time to review what has been handed to them to read. To be a professional announcer, one has to be quick on their verbal feet and on the ball so to speak to deliver a message clearly.

While some aspects of announcing can be rehearsed in the cases of award shows, game shows, and special events there are always surprises along the way that an announcer needs to be mentally prepared for in order to articulate on the go.

How do announcers prepare for cold copy live to air?

They train!

The Announcer's Test, as it is commonly referred to, originated in the 1940s at Radio Central New York employed as a cold reading test given to aspiring radio talent to demonstrate their reading ability.

The Announcer's Test Involves:

๏ Retention
๏ Memory
๏ Repetition
๏ Enunciation
๏ Diction
๏ 10 factors that use every letter in the alphabet a variety of times

Here's a Demonstration Courtesy of Wikipedia:

According to Wikipedia, Del Moore, a long time friend of Jerry Lewis', took this test at Radio Central New York in 1941, and passed it on to him. Jerry has performed this test on radio, television and stage for many years, and it has become a favorite tongue-twister (and memory challenge) for his fans around the world.

Lyrics For The Announcer's Test

๏ One hen
๏ Two ducks
๏ Three squawking geese
๏ Four limerick oysters
๏ Five corpulent porpoises
๏ Six pairs of Don Alverzo's tweezers
๏ Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array
๏ Eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt
๏ Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth
๏ Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.

Variations on a Theme

Others have created variations of The Announcer's Test, even entirely new material in the same vein, compiling zany tongue twisters in the middle of relatively reasonable speech patterns. One such example is The Price is Right episode from September 15th, 1988 where announcer Rod Roddy (1937-2003) performed a number of "dreaded announcer tests" as he reveals the showcase packages.

I happened to find a video of Jerry Lewis reciting The Announcer's Test. Enjoy!

Do You Recite The Announcer's Test?

I'm curious to learn if this is something that you've come across before, and if so, how did you hear about the exercise and how often you use it?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/Andrey Tsidvintsev

Related Topics: acting, announcing, exercise, New York, radio, SAG, The Announcer's Test, voice overs, voice talent, Voices.com, YouTube


Comments


    LOL! That was a lot of fun - I tried the test and tripped up a few times! Jeez, I need to practice.

    Thanks for the interesting post, Stephanie!

    Posted by:

      Steph,

      This begs the obvious question: who won the showcase?
      ;)

      Best always,
      - Peter

      Posted by:

        That was fun. It reminded me of a day that I was running late. The network news had already run and the guy on the board opened the news with Good afternoon, it's 4:05 and with the WPHB news, here's Ken Owens... I swung into the chair as he swung out and gave the local news cold without missing a beat. Ah, the good old days. :)

        Posted by:
        • Ken Maxon
        • February 24, 2010 12:25 PM

          I'll admit, I did OK until the last one. I tripped up pretty bad there. That was fun. I think I am going to work on this a little more.

          Posted by:
          • Candace
          • February 24, 2010 2:38 PM

            Haha, I came across a variation of the Announcer's test in the late eighties or early nineties, cleverly disguised as a drinking game. I think I was the only person who made it to the end, and to my complete surprise, can apparently still recite it by rote!

            One fat hen
            Couple duck
            Three brown bear
            Four running hare
            Five fat, fickle females sitting sipping Scotch, smoking cigarettes
            Six simple Simon sitting on a stump
            Seven Sinbad sailors sail the Seven Seas
            Eight egotistical egoists echoing egotistical ecstasies
            Nine nude nublings nibbling nibblings of nuts, gnats and nicotine
            Ten, I'll never be a fig-plucker or a fig-plucker's son, but I'll pluck those figs till the fig pluckers come.

            (Perhaps ironically, I am now on a trivia team with the unfortunate name of... well... something that results when you screw up #10.) :)

            I never knew the origin of this odd list; I'm thrilled to finally have a bit more of a clue as to its beginnings-- thank you!

            ~Carolyne

            Posted by:

              Stephanie...

              I carry the "Announcer's Test" in my DayTimer. I use it mostly to demonstrate to skeptics who think 'just talking' is not really A JOB.

              Listening to them try to read it always brings a smile to my lips!

              Jay Lloyd
              Benicia, CA

              Posted by:
              • Jay Lloyd
              • February 25, 2010 9:10 AM

                Absolutely entertaining! I need to go practice...:)

                Posted by:

                  I was a radio announcer for years. You know what they say about riding a bike. I used to do these sort of exercises before a show. Good luck to everybody.

                  Posted by:
                  • shawna
                  • March 2, 2010 12:34 AM

                    Question: As the word "quay" is actually pronounced KEE (as is the word "cay," as in Cat Cay Island), was this put into the sequence as a "gotcha" to test the reader's knowledge, or did the author of the test just get it wrong? Should future users of the test replace "quay" with a real KWA word such as "quark" (rhymes with "ark")?

                    Posted by:
                    • Emil
                    • January 6, 2011 12:51 PM

                      OMG I haven't seen this in years and still can do it in one breath.. whewwwwwww

                      Posted by:
                      • Wild Bill Pollanger
                      • April 29, 2013 11:41 AM

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