Why a Popular Announcer Suddenly Quit and Chose a “Second Career
Perhaps being an announcer is one of those strange professions where the harder you work, the more you want to quit. When I was working as a director, I once heard a veteran announcer say something like this, which is one of the reasons I came to think that way.
One of the reasons I started to think this way was because I heard a veteran announcer say, “Announcers have to lose themselves in some aspects. That’s why, when you’re doing your best to be an announcer, there are moments when you don’t know what you really want to do.
Announcer Taichi Masu of Nippon Television Network Corporation has announced his intention to pursue a career in academia, and announc er Yuki Oki of TV Asahi has changed jobs to a venture travel agency.
In fact, there have always been many announcers who suddenly choose a second career that seems to have nothing to do with announcing.
Just to name a few of my juniors who immediately come to mind, there is Yuki Maeda, who changed her career to a flower store and became a floral artist, Tamayo Marukawa, the former minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympics in the national government, Airi Ryuen, a mother of a son with Down’s syndrome, and Shin Kawamatsu, the most outspoken member of the Liberal Democratic Party in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. The list goes on and on.
In general, announcers at broadcasting stations have a strong image of being glamorous, special, and so-called “flowery professions. That is why many people wonder why announcers suddenly quit their jobs when they are so popular and talented. It’s such a waste.” Some people may wonder about announcers who chose to pursue a second career.
However, having worked as their colleague in the broadcasting industry, I can somewhat understand their feelings. I think the reason behind their decision to change careers has a lot to do with the fact that, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, “announcing is a strange profession where the harder you work, the more you want to quit.
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The profession of “announcer” does not require one to express oneself.
To begin with, what kind of person is an announcer? I feel that the definition of “announcer” is a bit vague. According to the Kojien dictionary, an announcer is “a person who reads the news on radio or television, or acts as a host or broadcaster. I think that’s about right.
However, since many “celebrities” also act as “hosts” and some “anchors” read the news, this does not mean that all people who read, host, or broadcast the news are announcers. This is not the case.
So what is the difference between a TV personality or an anchor and an announcer? I think it largely depends on the degree to which they are allowed to present themselves in their programs.
Generally speaking, celebrities and anchors are “entertainers” who have been hired for their name recognition and individuality. Therefore, the broadcasters want them to express their opinions to the fullest extent and make the program more lively by demonstrating their individuality. Even if it is a news program, a program that is hosted by a person who openly expresses his or her personal views can be said to be a “show about that person.
However, announcers are different. Whether they are station announcers or freelance announcers, announcers are expected to be “behind the scenes” in principle.
They are required to be “professional storytellers” and work as staff to realize the intentions of the director or producer to the maximum extent possible.
If they are to read the news, they must do so in a way that is accurate and easy to understand, and as a rule, they are not allowed to interject their personal opinions. In other programs, they are required to act in a way that complements the other performers. They are not allowed to put themselves out there beyond the scope of being a “puller.
That is why, as the veteran announcer mentioned earlier said, it is a job where you have to “lose yourself”, and it is not uncommon to “lose yourself when you are a dedicated announcer”. It’s no wonder that being an announcer can make you want to quit.
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The Changing Nature of the Announcer
Of course, there are some people who work hard as announcers and never want to quit. For example, sports announcers who are masters of the art of storytelling, like rakugo (comic storytelling) masters, can happily continue to work as announcers for the rest of their lives.
However, those announcers who do not have such an orientation often move on to other positions within the broadcasting station, even if they do not change to a “second career in a completely different field. For example, there are many cases where people change from news announcers to news reporters because they want to cover a field that interests them.
There are also many examples of people who become directors of sports and documentaries, going behind the scenes and showing their talents as directors. There are also many people who use their excellent communication skills to work as businessmen in sales, public relations, and management sections. In a sense, they are “announcers who quit being announcers and chose a second career.
Furthermore, I think that “popular announcers quitting the station and going freelance” can be considered as one of those “quitting announcing and going into a second career.
They stop “losing themselves” against the backdrop of their own ability and popularity, and voluntarily choose to “continue hosting and reading the news while exerting themselves to the fullest as entertainers,” thus gaining the status of “famous celebrities. That is clearly different from the freelance transition of an announcer without name recognition or popularity.
In this sense, I think that the image we tend to have of a popular announcer who quits the station to become a freelancer in order to get a higher salary and other benefits is wrong in some respects. Of course, one of the reasons why popular announcers quit the station is because of the high pay, but I think it is more correct to see them as people who wanted to quit being announcers and live freely as celebrities.
Looking at it from that perspective, it makes a lot of sense that Masu Taichi decided to go into academia while continuing to work as an MC for NTV, his old home. It is an expression of his determination to master what he wants to do and say what he wants to say.
If you think about it, the way of being an announcer, where you have to erase yourself, is no longer suitable for the times. The harder you work, the more you want to quit” is not a job that fits the times.
Evidence of this is the popularity of “announcers who put themselves out there,” such as TV Asahi’s Ayaka Hironaka, in variety shows, and the growing acceptance of “announcers who speak out” in news programs.
An increasing number of popular and talented announcers are quitting to pursue second careers, and the remaining announcers are breaking down the “conventional image of announcers.
As the Japanese television industry is undergoing a transformation, I believe that the “unique Japanese way of being an announcer, a mysterious profession,” is also about to undergo a major change.
Text： Hiromichi Chinmoku / TV producer and writer
Joined TV Asahi in 1992. After working as a reporter in the Social Affairs Department covering the Great Hanshin Earthquake and Aum Shinrikyo, he worked as a director for Super J Channel, Super Morning, and News Station before becoming a producer. After working as a director of Super J Channel, Super Morning, and News Station, he became a producer. He has been involved in many overseas projects, including coverage of China, the Korean Peninsula, and the terrorist attacks in the United States. In August 2019, he became an independent producer and has been active not only in broadcasting but also in various media. He is also a part-time lecturer at the Department of Newspapers, Faculty of Letters, Sophia University. As a member of the Society for Public Communication, she has studied regional media, and has researched and written articles on face-hame-panels as her life's work. His recent publications include "Dramatically Increase Access and Registration! (Nihon Jitsugyo Shuppansha).
Photography： Yuri Adachi