Brotman has been behind the microphone for every inaugural parade in Washington, DC, since 1957, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in for his second term. Barack Obama's second inauguration in 2013 was the 15th consecutive ceremony that Brotman has announced, and his 16th overall.
Prior to taking on his inaugural duties, Brotman had been the stadium announcer at Griffith Stadium, home of the Washington Senators baseball team. Brotman noted that on Opening Day 1956, Eisenhower was at the ballpark to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Later that year, a White House staffer called Brotman and said Eisenhower was impressed with his work, and he wanted Brotman for the inauguration.
The staffer asked Brotman, "Will you charge a fee? Because our parade budget is very minimal." Brotman responded, "No, as a matter of fact, to be honest, I'd pay you for the honor."
Brotman, the son of Russian immigrants, grew up in northeast Washington, DC, graduated from McKinley Technology High School and studied at the University of Maryland. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1948, then attended the National Academy of Broadcasting. Brotman was one of the academy's students selected by the organizers of Harry S. Truman's inauguration in 1949 to broadcast the first-ever televised inaugural ceremony.
Following his graduation from the academy, Brotman worked as a disc jockey and sports announcer in Orlando, Florida. A 1956 meeting with Senators' owner Calvin Griffith led to him returning to his hometown of Washington to take the Senators announcing assignment. He later became the team's promotions director as well.
In the 1960s, Brotman started his own public relations firm, Brotman|Winter|Fried, specializing in sports promotions. (His firm was acquired by Sage Communications in 2011.) He continued to announce on Opening Day for the Senators each year until the team moved to Texas following the 1971 season. When the Washington Nationals relocated to the city in 2005, Brotman returned to his Opening Day duties.
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