Luke Trembath, a.k.a. “The Dingo,” was a pro snowboarder until the day he was handed a microphone and told to make a career out of talking. While still competing, Trembath was approached by the editor of Snowboarder Magazine, and so began his career as an emcee, sports announcer and show host.
With his microphone in hand, Trembath has worked his outgoing personality and loud voice to becoming one of the biggest snowboarding announcers working today. If you’ve ever heard Trembath’s raw, captivating speech, you know what he means when he says he was born for his announcing job. Trembath commentates on other sporting events as well, such as NASCAR races. (He’s also a co-founder of Find Your Grind.)
Find Your Grind spoke to Trembath about what makes a good emcee, finding early opportunities in sports media, and how he transitioned out of his athletic career.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How’d you become the successful announcer you are today?
The editor of Snowboarder Magazine came up to me at the World Quarter Pipesand handed me a microphone. He said, “Not everyone can be a pro snowboarder,” and I took huge offense to that. All I ever wanted to be was a pro snowboarder.
He saw a path for me to go on, do bigger and better things and that would utilize my loud voice and my outgoing personality. He gave me a microphone, and that changed my whole life. I took note of what experienced emcees were doing. It worked as I went along, and I ended up being one of the biggest snowboard announcers ever.
What is a typical day for you?
There’s actually no typical day. As an emcee, announcer, broadcaster and radio host, there is a huge line of what I am to do throughout a day.
If I’m on Sirius XM, I wake up at about 6:30 a.m., drive to the studio by 7:30, and at 8, we go live for about three hours. Those days are simple because that schedule is quite simple. When announcing live events, which is usually on a weekend or Fridays, I have a schedule I have to stick to.
How do you prepare for your different announcing jobs?
For NASCAR, I have to be at the track by 8 a.m., look at what I have to do that day and know the time slots I have to hit. If it’s the Monster Activation, we have pro MMX guys, Harley Guys and Four by Four Trophy bike guys, and you need to know the info about each rider, driver, their backgrounds, their tricks, their stunts, and anything that’s going on. You need to keep the crowd or audience captive, and you need to know what you’re talking about. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you just shouldn’t be there.
What are lessons you have learned about being an emcee?
For live events, such as snowboarding, you have to learn how to utilize your energy at the right points. It’s about getting to the microphone and putting yourself out there and being uncomfortable. The great thing about being an emcee is that it’s typically nighttime or weekend events, so you can do what you like during the week.
As an emcee, you’re the curator of that event and of that day. Your job needs you to be strong, unique and loud. You have to be able to stick to a schedule, and you have to be able to talk in a way that the general public can understand what you’re saying. The days can also get really long, and you have to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. You have to put yourself out there and do the work.
What advice do you have for students looking into broadcasting?
If you really want to be an emcee, and that’s where you see yourself, knock on the local radio station’s door and tell them you want to intern. You’ve just got to start knocking on those doors because no one’s going to do it for you.
Honestly if you want to get wild, host a school dance and be a DJ, get on the microphone and be the party creator. Be the center of attention, so when you do speak or walk into the room, people say, “Oh, that’s that guy or girl. They’re just creating awesomeness. I need to be around them.”
Be the person people want to be around, and be that friendly face. You have to be personal, knowledgeable on what you’re talking about, have a loud voice and be able to tone it down at the same time. Sometimes less is more, and if you just talk all day long people can stop listening and get bored with you. You have to know when to peak your energy and keep that smile on because you can’t have a frown with people looking at you.
How can young announcers and emcees further their careers?
Do some dirty work and learn what’s going on. You can learn how local radio stations work. Podcasts are also a great way now for getting gigs. Do a podcast with the local high school students and try to build a following that way. Film it, record it and put it out there to try to find your niche.
Maybe you’re an athlete who thinks later down the road you’re going to want to get into commentating. You should start gaining knowledge on the sport you want to commentate on. Whatever it is, just start being super knowledgable about it. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Be the vibe creator. Manufacture that awesomeness. Put yourself in positions you wouldn’t normally put yourself in.