We asked Buzz readers to give Metro train announcements a shot by calling in and reading the following message: “Next station L’Enfant Plaza. Transfer to the Orange and Blue lines. Doors open on the right.”.
Among the callers was Bernie Wagenblast, the voice of the “next train” announcements for the New York City subway system and the AirTrain at Newark and JFK airports. The transportation vet offered his tips for creating a good announcement:
“There are two key elements, and the first is good equipment,” said Wagenblast, a former radio traffic reporter in New York now based in Cranford, N.J. “The equipment has to work — everything from the mike to the speakers.”
The second element is the clarity of the announcement. “Being very crisp and articulate...it’s really the key,” he said.
Wagenblast also noted that New York City subway stations have more speakers installed to ensure that announcements are heard clearly and over passing trains. Also, while signs could replace standard announcements, as one reader suggested, it wouldn’t help the visually impaired. Audible announcements are also beneficial to visitors who may be riding the system for the first time.
So would he record the D.C. Metro announcements if asked?
“Sure I’d be happy to,” Wagenblast said with a laugh. “Though I’d need pronunciation pointers for the more difficult stations.”
Listen to his take on a D.C. Metro announcement below, followed by your best impressions of the worst station announcements:
Best of the worst:
What a deep voice you have...