The grind never stops for Greg Murray.
"Honestly, I'm the unseen voice in the building, I mean (arena host) Mike Todd is all over the place, he does such a great job at what he does," said Murray. "I'm kind of just the man behind the curtain, I like to call myself the "Wizard of Oz".
As the 20-plus year, in-game arena announcer for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Murray has taken no days off in the quarantine life, much so by choice and willingness to serve the community around him.
Murray has recently committed to help donate money to the CBJ Foundation, which gives "resources and financial support to organizations making a difference in the areas of pediatric cancer, reading, fitness through play and the growth and development of amateur hockey." His vehicle for donation? Doing what he does during a Blue Jackets game day, but from the comfort of his own home.
Through an app called Cameo, Murray is able to give personalized shoutouts to anyone who should request he does so. Through a $25 donation, fans can have Murray give a birthday shoutout to a friend, announce the goal of a favorite player, or anything else (appropriate) they'd like him to say in his famous Nationwide Arena voice.
Want a "Jackets on the POWER PLAY!"? He'll cover you there, too.
"We're up to over 170 cameos that we've shot in the past two and a half weeks...the fact that 170 people think enough of me to ask me to do a shoutout...or maybe because it's supporting the foundation," said Murray with a laugh. "The fans in this city are so passionate about this team, we've seen this over the years, the way the love between the team and these fans has developed."
Five weeks ago to the day, it was announced that the Blue Jackets would continue the season without fans in their home arena. To which Murray jokingly questioned at the time: "Well do I yell 'Jackets on the power play', do we fire the cannon when we score?"
Just a day later, the season was suspended altogether.
"I found out about it the way you all found out about it...we were so unceremoniously cut off between the team and the fans," said Murray. "Other PA announcers started posting "I'm doing shootouts for the fans just to stay connected with them,"...and I thought 'Well heck, I ought to do that, that might be fun'."
Murray didn't know how far it would go - maybe ten shoutout requests. Quickly, it climbed to 50, 100, and is looking at clipping 200 any day now.
"(The CBJ Foundation) that's a natural client, they do such good work in the community. so I threw it up there and started tweeting about it and by golly, people started sending Cameo requests," said Murray. "We've blown by the goal, the original goal was $2,500; we're up well over $3,000. All the proceeds are going directly to the CBJ foundation. We're going to keep rolling with it. Can we go to $5,000? Why not?"
The PA job has been a "side hustle" for Murray over the years. Along with that gig, he owns and operates a radio and TV production company with his wife. This company does voiceover and audio production for 25 Christian radio stations around the country and a handful of mainstream stations, as well as VO work for TV spots.
"I do the lion's share of concert tour commercials in the contemporary Christian format, so that's been put on hold. but we're just now starting to do spots for rescheduled tours."
This company's work has been "status quo" for the most part for Murray, as he is used to working remotely in that facet. This just gives him more time for Cameo requests, of course.
"I think I did 50 Cameos on Saturday alone. I got up Sunday and my wife was like "Honey, you need to be careful", and I'm like "Yeah, I actually feel it in my voice...like (the feeling) after I've done a really intense game where I really push my voice."
"...And then I went downstairs and did 15 more shoutouts."
Murray said he loves how much he's gotten to engage with the fans in a time where he can't physically see them on a daily basis. The quarantine has been tough for us all, especially those who have lost work in the time being or their work is being stretched thin, and he hopes to make a big change by using the voice that's been a gift for him for a while.
To request a Cameo from Greg Murray (with all proceeds going to the CBJ Foundation), visit his page at or download the Cameo app and search his name.
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