WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Exactly two weeks away from President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, we're learning the longtime and legendary voice of the parade will not be behind the microphone this year.
Charlie Brotman has announced every inaugural parade since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1957. The walls of his Silver Spring, Maryland home are lined with memorabilia and photos of him greeting many presidents, celebrities and sports stars.
In all, the 89-year-old has served as lead announcer for 11 presidents during inaugural parades. He is also remembered by many fans as the iconic voice of the Washington Senators baseball team.
He had already started preparing for the 45th president’s parade, but said he was left "heartbroken” this week when he learned he was not invited to resume that role this year.
“I've been doing this for 60 years,” he said.
He learned about the change in an email. “At first this is [Thursday], I was destroyed,” he said.
In a statement, Presidential Inaugural Committee Director of Communications Boris Epshteyn said:
"Since 1957, millions of Americans and countless entertainers have come to recognize Charlie Brotman as the voice of the inaugural parade. The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be proud to honor Charlie as Announcer Chairman Emeritus on January 20th. We are thrilled for Steve Ray to be introducing a new generation of Americans to the grand traditions of the inaugural parade.”
Ray is a D.C.-based freelance announcer, audio engineer and producer. He has also done promotional segments for the Washington Nationals.
“I'm not replacing Charlie. I'm not filling his shoes,” Ray said. “I'm really just the guy who's next, because Charlie is irreplaceable. He's an absolute legend.”
Brotman said he still has not been told why this happened, but suspects it's because Ray supported the Trump campaign and the president-elect values loyalty.
“I want [Ray] to do good,” Brotman said. “As opposed to, boy, I hope he fouls up so they say, ‘We want Charlie back.’ No. I don't want that at all.”
He added, “I'm saying, ‘You know what? Good luck, young man. I hope you do spectacular.’”
Brotman has been offered a VIP seat and special recognition during the event.
Now that he has had time to digest it all, he said he is feeling better.
“And I'm thinking - you know what, Charlie Brotman? You are one lucky son of a gun!”
So, will Brotman attend the parade? He is still not sure.
He said he is weighing whether to accept the role of “Announcer Chairman Emeritus.” He is also considering several options and offers from multiple media outlets and networks.
“Two more came in just today,” he said with excitement.