On August 26, 2016, at age 67, Marco Antonio Garcia called the first New Orleans Saints play-by-play radio broadcast for the newly formed Louisiana Spanish Network. After a season without a Spanish radio broadcast of the games, the growing and dedicated audience of Spanish-speaking Who Dats enthusiastically welcomed Marco’s return to the airwaves.
Legend has it that, as a child in Honduras, Marco called soccer games play by play into a tin can. By age 19, he was on the radio announcing games professionally. But when he was asked to call his first Saints game on air at age 47, he almost declined. He didn’t know a thing about American football … but he found an expert teacher: his 10-year-old son, Luis Fernando. Six days later, Marco’s football announcing career began.
Over decades of broadcasting, Marco always paid attention to his audience, constantly seeking feedback, constantly refining his performance. When he first called touchdowns soccer-style, he learned quickly from listeners that “Goooooal-tooouchdownnn Santos!” was a hit. It became a fixture of his broadcasts. His broadcasts, in turn, became a fixture in the fast-growing New Orleans Hispanic community. When his radio broadcast of the games left the air in 2015, Marco could sense the disappointment among the Saints’ Hispanic fan base that he had cultivated for so long.
To reconnect the Saints to its Spanish-speaking fans, a coalition of community leaders rose this year and formed the Louisiana Spanish Network. When the Saints took the field in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in August, the man who once questioned whether he could call football at all went to work with a confidence built on a lifetime of learning. In a tribute to his first football advisor, he walked into the press box, looked at the roster, looked at the players on the field and launched the future of Saints Spanish radio broadcasts in Louisiana. That’s excellence through experience.
Marco Garcia … Peoples Health Champion.
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