The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The inaugural parade announcer since Eisenhower wasn’t asked back this time. Now he’s got a new gig.

Charlie Brotman, local PR guy and former Senators announcer has basement rec room full of baseball memorabilia. Charlie reenacts some of his announcing days on October 22, 2004. (Photo by Len Spoden For The Washington Post)
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Charlie Brotman, 89, has once again secured a gig to commentate the inaugural parade.

The mostly retired broadcaster was crushed last week when he learned that he wouldn’t be announcing the inauguration parade just as he has done every time since President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second term in 1957.  The Trump team decided on someone else for the job, and said they wanted to instead honor Brotman as “Announcer Chairman Emeritus.”

The inaugural parade has had the same voice since Eisenhower. This year it’s changing.

Brotman said he got offers to be a parade commentator from a handful of television stations after his story was covered at the Washington Post and other outlets. He decided to work that day for the Washington region’s NBC station, NBC4.

“Now, I’m all young and excited again,” Brotman said.  “It’s a new day. Instead of talking to a few thousands people, I’m talking to a few million people.”

A spokesman for the station said Brotman would be part of its inauguration coverage, and would draw from his extensive knowledge of presidential and parade knowledge to entertain viewers.

“Given Charlie Brotman’s long history in Washington and unparalleled experience with Inaugural parades celebrating presidents in both parties, we have invited him to be part of our Inauguration coverage on January 20,” the station spokesperson wrote in an email. “Charlie will provide his unique insights that people in Washington have enjoyed for many decades.”

Brotman, a Washington native, was an announcer for the old Washington Senators baseball team and was also the voice of what is now D.C.’s Citi Open tennis tournament for 46 tournaments. He said is honored by the Trump inauguration committee’s recognition of his work, though won’t be able to attend because of his NBC commitment.

Each inauguration, there are a handful of announcers along the parade route. But Brotman has been the guy who announces the parade to the president, from a perch inside the media viewing area directly across the street from the presidential reviewing stand.

This inauguration, Steve Ray, a D.C.-based freelance announcer and former Trump campaign volunteer, will take the lead. Both Ray and Brotman stressed that announcing the parade is a non-partisan job. Brotman was spotted at a Clinton campaign event at his retirement home, and though he has expressed admiration for the Clintons, said that a friend dragged him in to the campaign event so he could tell Bill Clinton he had announced his parade.

“I was down, I was dissapointed and I thought I would be doing it for the next 100 years,” Brotman said. “Now I’m not thinking about the old news, I’m only thinking about good news.”