The presidential inaugural parade will sound a bit different this year, as it will have a new announcer for the first time in 67 years.
Steve Ray, a 56-year-old broadcaster, will be replacing Charlie Brotman, the man who has lent his voice to every single presidential inaugural parade since 1949.
“The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be proud to honor Charlie as Announcer Chairman Emeritus on January 20th,” Presidential Inaugural Committee Director of Communications Boris Epshteyn said in a statement. “We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade.”
Here’s what you need to know about Steve Ray ahead of the inauguration parade on January 20th.
1. He Volunteered For Donald Trump During the 2016 Election
Steve Ray served as a volunteer for President-Elect Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, according to The Daily Beast.
Ray’s Twitter profile has since been made private, but according to BuzzFeed, it previously included a tweet in which Ray wrote, “Thank you @realDonaldTrump for the honor of driving in your motorcade 10x over the past year in DC.” Ray has also retweeted many pro-Trump memes on his Twitter account.
Charlie Brotman, the veteran announcer who previously worked at every inaugural parade for the past several decades, told BuzzFeed that he believes the Trump campaign wanted to reward Ray for his support by giving him this job.
Ray told Fox 5 DC that this isn’t a political favor because he won’t be paid for the event.
In a statement, Steve Ray said that he hopes to promote bipartisanship, adding that this is an apolitical position.
“It is an absolute honor to be named by the Presidential Inauguration Committee,” Ray said. “My personal goal for the Inauguration Parade is to make this about celebrating the seamless transition of power and moving past divisive partisanship.”
However, Ray did confirm to Fox 5 DC that he is a Trump supporter and even has a “Trump Supporter” card that’s given to those who donate $35 or more.
2. He Has a Background in Broadcast Journalism
Steve Ray has been working in radio for over 30 years, both behind the scenes as an audio engineer and in front of the microphone as a news anchor.
Recently, Ray was an anchor for America’s Radio News in Washington, D.C. Before that, he was a producer and host for WMAL, a news and talk radio station in D.C. that also features conservative talk radio hosts like Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh.
Ray continues to read the news as a voiceover artist for SpokenLayer, which converts print news into audio broadcasts; he primarily reads stories for Reuters World, according to his LinkedIn page.
Ray graduated in 1980 from American University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
3. He Has Worked as a P.A. Announcer at Baseball Games
In addition to his radio work, Ray has experience providing announcements for sports games; that includes working as the announcer for the Potomac Nationals, a Minor League Baseball team in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Ray was also a promotional voice for the Washington Nationals, doing voiceover work for some of their commercials, on-hold voice services, and DVDs.
Finally, Ray did promotions for Washington Nationals Radio Network, a network of stations that airs Washington Nationals games throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
4. He Has Cameoed in Movies & TV Shows, Including ‘House of Cards’
Steve Ray’s resume also includes several cameos in film and television projects, many of which shoot in Washington D.C.
For example, Ray has appeared as an extra in episodes of House of Cards; that’s him to the left of Claire Underwood in the screenshot above. He worked on four episodes of the Netflix original series, being credited as a day player and a photo double. He was also an extra in two episodes of the HBO comedy Veep.
Surprisingly, Ray’s resume of film roles includes work on the original Die Hard; he was a stunt driver in the 1988 film.
5. Charlie Brotman Says He Is ‘Devastated’ to Have Been Replaced
Charlie Brotman, who had previously worked at every presidential inauguration for the past 67 years, says he is extremely upset that he was not asked back this year.
“I was demoralized, absolutely demoralized,” Brotman told BuzzFeed News.“I’ve been doing this for 60 years and for somebody to take over the announcing duties from me, I was devastated.”
He also told The Daily Beast, “I am the only person in the world to do that job for more than 60 years and now they found someone younger. I hope he knows what he’s getting into. There’s a lot more to it than just reading a script.”
Steve Ray told The Washington Post that he does not see himself as a replacement for Brotman.
“All of us think of Charlie as as much of the Washington landscape as any building,” he said. “I’m on top of the world. From my point of view, I am not filling his shoes, I’m not taking his place, I just happen to be the guy who’s next.”
Ray also told Fox 5 DC that he respects Brotman and that there isn’t as much negativity between the two as you might think.
“Charlie knows how I feel about him,” Ray told Fox 5 DC, adding that Brotman is a friend and that the two have spoken over email since this inauguration decision was made. “I don’t think there is the type of friction or negativity that’s being portrayed by some media outlets.”
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