Packers hire new P.A. announcer

Knafelc retires after 40 seasons in the booth

The Green Bay Packers have hired Bill Jartz, a local news announcer and a northeastern Wisconsin native, as their public address announcer starting with the 2005 season. Jartz replaces Gary Knafelc, who was the team's P.A. announcer for the last 40 years.

Jartz anchors newscasts on WBAY-TV and previously performed play-by-play duties for preseason Green Bay Packers football games.

"It's a dream job," Jartz told "When it comes to football venues, (Lambeau Field) is the gold standard, and to be the so-called voice of that stadium is very much an honor."

Knafelc, a flanker for five years before becoming a tight end for the Packers between 1954-62, was the public address announcer for every Packers home game from 1964 to 2004. He has announced his retirement from the booth in order to spend more time at his retirement home in Orlando, Fla.

"He did it because of his feelings for the organization," Packers President and CEO Bob Harlan said about Knafelc. "He was always a very dedicated guy and loved the Green Bay Packers."

Jartz has extensive experience covering the Packers and other sports teams, making him a natural choice for the position. He hosted "Monday Night Kick-Off," a lead-in show to Monday Night Football, which featured Packers such as John Jurkovic, Eugene Robinson and Santana Dotson from 1993 to 1998. He served as WBAY sports director from 1985 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1998. Before joining WBAY, he anchored the 10 o'clock sports at WSAW-TV in Wausau, Wis. from 1980 to 1983.

"I know what to look for," he said.

The new P.A. announcer can also reflect on a wealth of football knowledge. He played guard at Northwestern University from 1977 to 1980.

Growing up, he would spend Sundays watching Packers games and throwing the football around between breaks in the telecast.

"You don't grow up around here without being a Packers fan," the Clintonville, Wis. native said.

Jartz will continue his role as news anchor at Channel 2 News. The station has agreed to let him take time off on gamedays, preventing a conflict between his television work and new job as P.A. announcer.

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