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Workers At A Minnesota Airport Are The Ones Making PA Announcements


At any big airport, you're going to hear periodic reminders over the public address system. You know what I'm talking about - watch out for the end of the moving walkway; if you see something, say something. At the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, managers are trying something different. Instead of hiring professionals, they audition people already working in the terminal to sit down at the mic. Matt Sepic of Minnesota Public Radio reports.

MATT SEPIC, BYLINE: Walk through the departure hall of the Twin Cities airport known as MSP and you'll hear this from the overhead speakers.

RADI PRINCE: May I have your attention, please? The president's executive order...

...Requires all individuals to wear an acceptable face covering while on MSP airport property.

SEPIC: The woman reading it sounds as if she could be a professional announcer or voice actor, but that's not her day job. In fact, Radi Prince may be the person who scans your boarding pass. Prince, a gate agent at Delta Airlines, is among 10 employees from all over the airport making the recordings.

PRINCE: I saw the announcement for it. If you want to audition, give it a try. And I said let's go for it. I wanted to just take the chance.

SEPIC: Airport customer service manager Phil Burke says about 65 workers auditioned.

PHIL BURKE: We thought that maybe this would be a fun way to get our employees engaged in something maybe different than their day-to-day job.

SEPIC: The announcers include everyone from a TSA supervisor to a rental car office manager. Glen Brown works at the United Airlines ticket counter.

GLEN BROWN: All checked and carry-on baggage is subject to search.

SEPIC: While in his previous job as a wheelchair attendant, Brown spoke at an airport commission meeting about the need for a $15 minimum wage, a campaign that was ultimately successful. Someone praised his speaking style, and Brown remembered that compliment when it was time to audition. Now Brown and his colleagues hear his voice echoed through the concourse every day.

BROWN: I have a co-worker right now that swears that I sound like Ice-T. And it's really funny. She was like, I knew I heard your voice, Glen; it's Ice-T.

SEPIC: The announcements that the staffers recorded are heard throughout the airport. Emergency communications supervisor Candy Capra reminds you where you left your car.

CANDY CAPRA: Thank you for parking at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. You are parked in the gold ramp at Terminal 1.

SEPIC: Capra's message has the added benefit of letting out-of-towners know that Minnesotans call parking garages ramps. Because of the strong interest from employees, airport managers say they'll make the PA announcer auditions an annual event.

For NPR News, I'm Matt Sepic in Minneapolis.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE KINKS' "THIS TIME TOMORROW") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Matt Sepic