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For announcer, 'Right' job came along

By ERIC DEGGANS, Times TV/Media Critic
Published April 23, 2004

When Rich Fields is seen for the first time today as the new announcer on CBS's classic game show The Price Is Right, he'll be fulfilling a dream that began at a Tampa TV station four years ago.

That's when Fields, then a radio personality working with Mason Dixon mornings at WRBQ-FM 104.7, decided to start interning at WFLA-Ch. 8's weather department, helping meteorologists there prepare reports.

It was all part of a master plan to get work as a TV meteorologist in California, so he could reach his real goal: working for a network TV game show.

"It's so hard to get to see anybody in Los Angeles. . . . I knew I needed to get on TV in L.A.," said Fields, 43, who left the Tampa Bay area in 2002, when he snagged a job as a forecaster for KPSP in Palm Springs. "That's what Pat Sajak did, and David Letterman was a meteorologist for a while. It proves that anybody can be successful if they focus."

Long before becoming the voice of network TV's longest-running game show, Fields worked in Tampa Bay area radio for 10 years, appearing on such stations as WFJO, WYUU and WSUN.

He also announced the Florida Lottery's Flamingo Fortune game show in the mid '90s - a program produced by the same company that handles Price Is Right.

Replacing Rod Roddy, a flamboyant figure who died of cancer in October, Fields promised to bring his own style to a job that requires him to speak more often during a show than host Bob Barker.

And since initial announcer Johnny Olson also died while in the job (in 1985), Fields is well aware this is a gig he could hold for a long while.

"One (story) said, "If history repeats itself, Rich Fields will never have to look for a job for the rest of his life,' " he said, laughing. "I love that line."

The Price Is Right airs at 11 a.m. weekdays on WTSP-Ch. 10.

[Last modified April 23, 2004, 01:20:38]

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