“Train Call" got its start 23 years ago, when the airport opened, as a piece of public art by Jim Green. The original voices who recorded those bossy announcements urging you to "hold on, please" were Reynelda Muse, Denver's first African-American anchor, and Pete Smythe, a longtime radio announcer. In 2007, after Muse moved to Indiana and Smythe went to that great waiting room in the sky, they were replaced by (now former) KUSA 9News anchor Adele Arakawa and Denver sports announcer Alan Roach.
When Arakawa retired and moved to Arizona last summer, airport officials decided to look for new voices and issued a call for nominations in Denver's broadcasting community. The initial list of sixty was trimmed to ten finalists (five men and five women) by a panel of experts representing the airport, the City of Denver, Visit Denver, the Colorado Tourism Office and the governor’s office, as well as “Train Call” artist Green and Arakawa.
And the finalists are (pictured left to right):
Vic Lombardi, Altitude TV and sports radio; Mike Nelson, KMGH/7; Jeremy Hubbard, KDVR/31; Gary Shapiro, KUSA/9; and, yes, Alan Roach, Colorado Avalanche and Rapids game announcer.
Kim Christiansen, KUSA/9; Kathy Walsh, KCNC/4; Kathy Sabine, KUSA/9; Denise Plante, KOSI 101; and Anne Trujillo, KMGH/7.
Roach has been speaking up about his desire to remain a voice of the train since he was surprised by the airport's announcement of the contest last November. Although he'd given up his job as the Denver Broncos announcer in summer 2016 when he got a similar gig with the Vikings (Roach is originally from Minnesota), and does high-profile jobs around the world (you heard him announcing at the Super Bowl February 4, and he's now working at the Olympics), Roach never moved out of Colorado. And he'd like to continue voicing the "Colorado spirit" on the airport train. Now it's up to you to decide whether Roach will still be heard...or be silenced.
You can vote for your two favorite finalists (but only once) until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, February 25, at flydenver.com.