Listening to Fighting Texas Aggie broadcaster Dave South is an acquired taste, much like fine wine or prune juice. Just give it some time and you’ll come to appreciate it. Among many jaded Longhorns, they listen sparingly and only to his classic calls - Sound of Silence. I had the pleasure of taking in a full three hours of Dave South on my drive back from the Red River Rivalry. It took some getting used to, but after an hour or so, I came to understand why he’s YOUR voice for the Aggies.
Listening to a Dave South broadcast is much like waking up after being sedated or from a drunken stupor. You don’t know where you are or what’s going on and you feel a bit nauseous and dizzy.
Dave South - the only play by every other play broadcaster
The first thing to do is orient yourself to the surroundings. Are the Aggies the home or road team? This is crucial in interpreting the abstract musings of Dave South. It’s pivotal that you couple the crowd cheers and band noise to know if it’s a positive or negative play for your Aggies.
Example #1 – "Johnson takes the snap from center….[K State crowd cheers}…2nd and 19."
By not actually describing the action on the field, you get a visceral reaction. It’s almost as if you are in the game. The great Vin Scully uses this technique to let the listener take in the moment, as he did after Kirk Gibson’s World Series walk-off. Dave South takes it one step further, and actually does not explain what happened. You only hear the crowd. You are there.
Other times, like a great jazz musician, Dave South improvises. He’ll give you his feelings – from his gut. The great ones all do. Sometimes, with onomatopoeia. Like Madden, "BOOM!"
Example #2 – "Michael takes the handoff….[K State crowd cheers]….wow!"
In this example, Dave South is brilliant. It’s freelancing. Sometimes, his color commentator has to clean up the play by play and describe that the Aggie running back Christian Michael was knocked down by 3 K State defenders for a loss of 3. This is just Dave South nurturing his broadcast partner – passing the baton, if you will.
Because the color commentary many times explains the action 6—7 seconds after the play, a Dave South broadcast is perfect for the lag you get combining radio with the TV broadcasts. You can simply turn off those biased, BOMCs and tune into South. That’s innovation. That’s synergy.
And, Dave South knows his audience. Your Fightin’ Texas Aggies. Or, Your Aggies. Why all this pretext over hiding his allegiance. Dave South is an unabashed Aggie and he’ll tell you in virtually every sentence he utters.
Example #3 – "Harrell back to pass, heavy aggie pressure, HE’s ABOUT TO BE!!!…….[Silence at Kyle Field]…….Tech score"
Why should Dave South describe negative plays? Who is that going to help. Let the audience digest the news. At the same time, you have to love Dave South enthusiasm and optimism.
Example #4 – "Johnson to GRAYYYYYY!. YES! YOUR AGGIES CONVERT A THIRD DOWN! YOUR AGGIES CONVERT A THIRD DOWN!"
Example #5 – "It’s now time for your Aggie Defense to get a stop here. [down 59-7]"
Boundless enthusiasm. Boundless enthusiasm. Imagine the solace Dave South would have brought to the families of those killed in the Hindenburg disaster. What a maestro! He’s like Atticus Finch in a way.
Dave South is an innovator, a motivator, a legend. No other announcer has ever mastered stream of conscious commentary quite like Dave South. He’s a cross between Edward R. Morrow & Jack Kerouac. A master artist – the Jackson Pollack of broadcasting. And just like many modern artists and A&M’s traditions, you can’t understand it from the outside. You have to be part of it.