President-elect Donald Trump has quietly dumped a legendary announcer who has been the voice of the inauguration day parade, breaking a 60-year-old tradition that has been followed by the last 11 American presidents.
Charlie Brotman, who has announced every inaugural parade since Dwight D Eisenhower in 1957, will now be the ‘Announcer Chairman Emeritus’.
In all, the 89-year-old has served as lead announcer for 11 presidents during inaugural parades. He is also remembered by many fans as the iconic voice of the Washington Senators baseball team.
He had already started preparing for the 45th president’s parade on January 20, but said he was left “heartbroken” when he learned he was not invited to resume that role this year.
“I’ve been doing this for 60 years...At first...I was destroyed,” Brotman told WJLA-TV about the disappointment he felt when he learned of the change in an email.
Presidential inaugural committee director of communications Boris Epshteyn, in a statement said, “Since 1957, millions of Americans and countless entertainers have come to recognise Charlie Brotman as the voice of the inaugural parade. The presidential inaugural committee will be proud to honour Charlie as announcer chairman Emeritus on January 20th.”
“We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade,” he said.
Ray is a DC-based freelance announcer, audio engineer and producer. He has also done promotional segments for the Washington Nationals.
“I’m not replacing Charlie. I’m not filling his shoes,” Ray was quoted as saying.
“I’m really just the guy who’s next, because Charlie is irreplaceable. He’s an absolute legend,” he said.
Brotman said he still has not been told why this happened, but suspects it is because Ray supported the Trump campaign and the president-elect values loyalty.
“I want (Ray) to do good. As opposed to, boy, I hope he fouls up so they say, ‘We want Charlie back’. No. I don’t want that at all,” Brotman said.
“I’m saying, ‘You know what? Good luck, young man. I hope you do spectacular’,” he said.
Brotman has been offered a VIP seat and special recognition during the event. However, Brotman is still not sure about whether he will attend the parade.
He said he is weighing whether to accept the role of ‘announcer chairman Emeritus’. Brotman is also considering several options and offers from multiple media outlets and networks.