My Favorite Storyteller Is Tom Durkin

Tom Durkin performs 400 original mini dramas during 7 weeks each summer as the announcer at Saratoga Springs, NY historic racetrack. I hope you’ll listen to his call (that’s horse racing jargon for announcing) of Rachael Alexander winning the Woodward in 2009. I was there, and he made a great contest even more exciting.

If you enjoyed that, you also can listen to his call of Lost in the Fog winning the 2005 King’s Bishop Stakes sprint.

If you don’t think his story telling adds much to the excitement, just listen to either one of these races with the sound off. I’ll bet that you don’t watch the entire race because the visuals don’t have much impact without Durkin’s exhilaration and information about how your horse is doing…how likely your bet is to pay off.

While there are quite a few storytellers in town who perform at Caffe Lena Folk Club, they craft and refine their story over several months to make each one perfect.

As the track announcer, Tom must use a different approach: Memorize an average of 8 horses, jockeys, and silks (colors) every 30 minutes for each of the 10 races daily.

Then 10 times daily he gives you a contemporaneous updating of where each horse is in the field, how the race is developing, and builds excitement so that every race is a wonder for about 2 minutes.

You can hear this magnificent storyteller Saturday August 27 on NBC from 5-6 PM Eastern as he calls the King’s Bishop and the Travers, a $1,000,000 race that has been run in Saratoga Springs for 142 years.

Since this blog is about marketing, I feel a need to make the marketing lesson obvious: Great audio builds on the visual story to deliver the most excitement and impact.

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



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