Normally, this space is reserved for behind the scenes factoids, little known production facts as told by various show producers and the incoherent thoughts and ramblings of yours truly, Big Break Florida’s Lead Producer, Brendan Havens. However, these frequently entertaining musings will be put on hold this week in order to pay tribute to a long time member of our Big Break Family. Bill Welter.
For those long time fans of the series, you know exactly who Bill Welter is, but you probably never even knew his name. Back in 2003, in the very 1st episode of the very 1st season of Big Break, the 1st voice you heard was that of Bill Welter. From that moment, on thru the next decade, Bill would continue to be “The Voice of Big Break”. I’ll never forget the 1st time I heard his voice in that episode. I was just a low level freelance Production Assistant working on Golf Central and I had heard about this reality competition show that was being produced in-house called “The Big Break”. Not being entirely happy with my current employment situation (live TV was NOT my forte), I was intrigued by the idea of this series, and thought this might be my ticket out. So one evening, after Golf Central aired, I checked out an early cut of the 1st episode just to see what it was all about. From that moment I heard Bill’s voice reverberate thru the speakers over a big dramatic music track with that trademark Big Break slo-mo video playing over it all, I was convinced. This was going to be my future at Golf Channel and I was going to do whatever it took to be a part of this series.
The 1st time I met Bill, I had just recently started working as a Production Assistant on the 2nd season and we had him come into the studio to read a bunch of voice-over lines for the premiere episode. Up to this point, I had no idea what this guy even looked like. The only thing I had to go off of was that big, gravelly, omnipresent voice. So, it’s only natural to try and paint a mental picture of what this dude actually looked like. I had it all figured out. Big, heavy set guy, with a no-nonsense type of disposition and a lot of facial hair. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I greeted him at the front desk that morning, here was this very tall, very lanky, mustachioed individual with a big smile on his face and an incredibly sweet disposition (ok, so I was kinda right about the facial hair). In the many years following, I sat in on countless voice-over sessions with Bill, each one usually dissolving into mutual bouts of laughter when he had trouble getting a tricky line out correctly or badly butchering a word pronunciation (personal favorite: 1st try at Macanudo came out as Mac-a-new-doo).
There’s no doubt in my mind that Bill’s instantly recognizable voice helped give the early seasons of Big Break an identity that separated itself from the “normal golf” programming that no other voice-over artist could have brought. Would I have been drawn to that 1st episode as much as I was without hearing his voice? I’m not sure I would have been. Bill was, and will forever be, “The Voice of Big Break”. We’ll miss you.