LEWIS BLOOM CHATS WITH DWIGHT:
Broadcast voices at a drag race seem to boom from the sky and echo across the track and stands. Often that echo is the voice of Lewis Bloom, a distinct tone in drag racing…so distinct that his voice often seems to sound like Bob Frey, veteran and venerable NHRA broadcaster…but Lewis is no echo of Bob Frey… Lewis arrived on the sidelines of the NHRA, and into the press box of the NHRA tower by practicing, working hard, and compiling racer stats over the past twenty-six years. Have a seat by Lewis Bloom, as I interview this talented announcer. Watch the words he chose to share with drag racing fans…this time you don't have to listen. Read Lewis. Here his words won't echo, but don't be surprised if his words jump across the screen.
How did you get started in announcing?
"Pure Accident. I was fourteen when I called my local drag raceway about events. Vince Knapp, the owner, answered. I talked to him for two hours, and he invited me to be an announcer because he wanted young people involved in the sport. I often wonder what I would be doing if Vince hadn't answered that phone."
Are you ever at a loss for words?
"Occasionally…but I know the tricks. I'm never really at a loss for words. At the motorcycle drag races, I have to talk the whole time."
Your job is reporting speed. What do you do to unwind?
"My hobbies are surfing, sailing and snow-boarding. Photography was my hobby…now it's a business. I love to go to New York City."
Do you have time for a hobby?
"I live by the New Jersey beach. My hobbies are nearby."
What do you like most about your job?
"I love drag racing, and I get paid to sit in the best seat in the house. Hanging out with Bob Frey is great."
What do you like least about your job?
"My memory isn't as good as it was. Remembering everything in drag racing is important. I keep notes and upkeep my database with the careers of the racers. Also, I'm not a morning person, so I have to get sleep to be ready for the early day."
Do you ever get butterflies before a broadcast?
"Occasionally. I'm better announcing when I'm a little nervous."
You travel extensively. What do you like least about it?
"Flight delays. But that's not much trouble. I'm prepared to do work on my stats when that happens. Besides, race crews have to drive the same miles I fly. I like travel, and I try to do fun things along the way. When I'm in Chicago, I go to a Cubs game.
How do you hide on-the-air mistakes?
"You can't really hide them. It's a live broadcast…and you are going to misspeak…Just let it go!"
What's your best advice for anyone young trying to break into the media?
"Work at your local track. Join the Track Announcing Guild. Pay your dues and be aggressive. Develop a generic speaking voice."
Are you happy?
"Oh, yeah…I've got a great job. As Bob Frey says…It's like stealing money."
How did you get started in motorcycle broadcasting?
AMA Prostar was looking for announcers in 1985. I was recommended to Scooter Kiser, and got the job.
"I'm extremely lucky, but I have twenty six years experience. I've worked at it a long time, and I worked hard. I appreciate being lucky, and I get to see the USA. I also enjoy getting respect from the pro racers. Motorcycles aren't the same as cars. I need to know what bike people want to know."
Thanks for reading Lewis Bloom. Drop by your local drag raceway, and you may get to hear him.
Selecting a final word to describe a guy who makes his living speaking words is no easy task. I surfed my dictionary and thesaurus and passed by many words that did not fit Lewis Bloom. I found one noun that Gary and I agreed was suitable. Lewis Bloom is an…