The San Francisco 49ers announced Monday that Ted Robinson will become the fifth play-by-play voice in the 63-year history of the organization. Robinson joins a prestigious group of announcers that have held the play by position including Bob Fouts (1946-62), Lon Simmons (1963-1980, 1987-88), Don Klein (1981-86) and Joe Starkey (1989-2008).
"The San Francisco 49ers enjoy a proud history as a premier football organization and are now well positioned to build upon that legacy," Robinson said. "I am sincerely honored to be added to the short but esteemed list of distinguished announcers who played a role in bringing the 49ers accomplishments on the field to life."
Robinson has ties to the organization, serving as the third member of the 49ers radio broadcast team in 1983 with Don Klein and Don Heinrich. He also anchored pre/post-game coverage on 49ers radio network from 1983-86 and anchored the 49ers locker room coverage after 1985 Super Bowl victory.
"We are extremely excited that Ted Robinson has rejoined the 49ers family," said 49ers Chief Operating Officer Andy Dolich. "He has a wealth of experience at every level of broadcasting and is highly respected amongst his peers and sports fans throughout Northern California."
Robinson has strong local ties to Bay Area fans as he worked as a radio and television announcer for the San Francisco Giants for nine seasons, as the television announcer for the Oakland Athletics for three seasons, as television announcer for the Golden State Warriors and also as radio announcer for Stanford Cardinal football.
Aside from his local broadcasting career, Robinson has been a play-by-play man for the last six Olympic Games (three Winter Olympics and three Summer Olympics). For the past 22 years, Robinson has been the main broadcaster for the USA Network's coverage of the U.S. Open. Robinson can also be heard and seen as the lead announcer of NBC's coverage of the French Open and The Championships, Wimbledon, a position that he took over in 2000 after Dick Enberg left for CBS.
Robinson has also called many other sports, including NCAA Basketball Championship for 22 years on CBS and Westwood One, Olympic sports for NBC, Westwood One broadcasts of the NFL, Notre Dame Football on SportsChannel America and Pac-10 football/studio host for Versus and Pac-10 basketball on FSN.
While his predecessor was known for his "Touchdown 49ers, What a Bonanza," Robinson doesn't have anything planned yet for his first touchdown call, explaining that when he tried in the past for something unique in baseball, he essentially struck out.
"I remember when I went to Minnesota to broadcast baseball, I just for some reason, thought that, 'Wow. You're in the Big West. You'd better have a homerun call.' I tried one or two, and they were horrible. And, thank God I realized it fairly quickly, it was just not me," explained Robinson. "It was the old story that no two homeruns are alike. Not every homerun is the same, and so, to have a signature call for homeruns, to me, it kind of struck me as maybe forcing something. So, I would say the same thing. Something will naturally happen in a moment of excitement, the first real dramatic 49ers touchdown that I have to call, something will blurt out and I hope that registers. I guess if you're attracted to being a sports broadcaster it's because you love spontaneity. You love live. That's what attracts you to it, so, to script and rehearse something, or to pre-package something, now you're an actor and you're not a live sports broadcaster. And, I guess I've always tried to remain a live sports broadcaster because I know I'm not an actor."
One thing he does promise 49ers listeners is that he won't ever leave them hanging for the score.
"We're all spoiled now, we are in an era where when we turn the TV on, there's a score-bar that immediately tells us what the score of the game is, and now we've all become conditioned for that immediacy," said Robinson. "So on radio where there is no visual, if you don't get a score within 30 seconds, maybe 60 seconds, you start to get frustrated. You want to know what the score of the game is, so to me, that's the technical part of radio that's changed more because of television. You can't get the score enough, you can't call ball position enough, yards, down and distance. That will be foremost in my mind in the booth in Candlestick in August, on the radio people need to know what the score is, where the ball is and who has the ball and then the other things will fall in to place."