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That familiar voice

Slayton native has made a name for himself as announcer for the Super Bowl, the NFL Pro Bowl, the Olympics and other events

February 25, 2012
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

He's welcomed Tom Petty, the Black Eyed Peas, Prince and Bruce Springsteen to the Super Bowl stage.

Not only has Kelly Burnham, a Slayton native, worked for a Denver radio station for the last two decades, he's had the opportunity for many sideline gigs, which included the Winter Olympics, the NFL Super Bowl and Pro Bowl as well as being the stadium announcer for the Colorado Rockies for 13 years.

Burnham, whose professional name is Alan Roach, moved from Slayton to Brainerd in 1980 and attended high school in Brainerd.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Kelly Burnham, also known as Alan Roach, interviews Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos during the 2011 NFL season.
Burnham, a Slayton native, has been a public address announcer for various sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

"I had a student council class where I had to go to the radio station," Burnham said. He said he had to record something to do with patriotic speeches and it had to be two minutes long. Burnham recorded a snippet of a President John F. Kennedy speech.

When Burnham came out of recording the piece, the program director asked him if he was interested in coming down to the studio to do other work. A couple of weeks later, Burnham ran a Twins game.

"I started doing that on weekends," Burnham said.

Burnham went to Southwest State University (now Southwest Minnesota State University), taking mostly radio and television classes. He went to SSU for a year before he was offered a full-time job with KLIZ, a radio station in Brainerd. Burnham said he was asked if he would like to announce the sports for three minutes at a time. So he left SSU.

From 1984-1990, Burnham worked at nine different radio stations In 1991, he went to work at KOA, an AM station in Denver, Colo. and has been there for more than 20 years.

He had started doing public address (P.A.) announcing for sports in Colorado Springs, Colo. back in 1990 when a salesperson from the radio station, who was also a friend of Burnham's, asked if he wanted to go to a Colorado Springs Sky Sox baseball game.

"He took me to a game and introduced me to the general manager of the team," Burnham said.

Burnham asked the general manager if anyone was going on vacation or was ill, he'd like to fill in.

"(The GM asked) 'would you like to try it?'" Burnham said. An announcer was going on vacation, so Burnham filled in and ended up working with that job until 1991.

Burnham pursued other jobs, including the one with the Rockies in 1993. In 1999, he became the stadium announcer for the Colorado Avalanche.

Burnham has also announced hockey games at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Torino and Vancouver.

Burnham said he got his professional name in an interesting way. His brother, Mark, played football at SSU for four years, graduating in 1984.

"He was given the name 'Roach' by his teammates," Burnham said. And for some reason, Burnham became known as "Little Roach."

In the last couple of months, Burnham was busy with the NFL?Pro Bowl and then the Super Bowl.

"It was my seventh Super Bowl," Burnham said about working Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Ind. Burnham serves as the P.A. announcer, doing the pre-game show and interviewing guests on camera.

A few days leading up to the Super Bowl, Burnham said he does "man on the street" interviews with people.

"I interview people and ask them about the Super Bowl," Burnham said.

Burnham also hosts the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall, does the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Canton, Ohio and goes to London on an annual basis with the NFL international series.

Burnham said he'd like to keep the Super Bowl job for years to come.

"Hopefully I will do the Super Bowl for the next 20 years," Burnham said.

To maintain his voice, Burnham has a doctor in Denver he sees if he feels anything, like a cold or scratchy throat, coming on.

"I have many home remedies from tea to over-the-counter stuff," Burnham said.

Down the road, Burnham said he would like to work the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.



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