CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers' radio studio towers high above the Bank of America Stadium, and that's where you'll find Anish Shroff.

Even on a weekday in the offseason, Shroff is surrounded by microphones, recording equipment and other radio staff, huddled together to work on a special audio project for the upcoming season. 

Shroff, the play-by-play voice of the Panthers on radio, is preparing for his second season behind the microphone for the franchise. 

What You Need To Know

  •  Shroff is in his second year with the Carolina Panthers

  •  Shroff, who works for the Panthers and ESPN, has called hundreds of collegiate and professional sporting events

  •  The Panthers say Shroff was the only person of color working as a radio play-by-play announcer in the league when he was hired

“Whether it’s the NFL draft, hosting the draft party at the stadium or emceeing the auditions for the TopCats, you’re representing the franchise in the community, in the greater Charlotte area, in the Carolinas,” Shroff said about the offseason workload.

Since graduating from Syracuse University, Shroff has called hundreds of college and professional football games, collegiate men’s lacrosse, baseball and basketball games. 

“As long as you’re not stagnant, you’re moving in the right direction. But I’ve also learned to embrace detours. And sometimes, detours become destinations. Sometimes, detours become better destinations than you can imagine,” Shroff said. 

While working for the Panthers, Shroff has continued working for ESPN, where he has been behind the microphone for dozens of major collegiate sport moments, including the last several men’s lacrosse national championships. 

In 2022, Shroff’s professional journey brought him to the Panthers, becoming, at the time, the only person of color play-play radio announcer in the NFL. But when he’s in the booth, Shroff said he focuses on letting sports be an escape for fans. 

“We live in a complex world, and we live in a world where there is so much division, so much polarization, so much anger, so much frustration. I’ve always viewed sports through the prism of an escape room,” Shroff said. “Now more than ever, [sports] can unify, can bring people together, because we’re all looking for things that disqualify each other.”

Shroff said he focuses on narrating the game, as fans feel all emotions and connect with one another through the field and their team.

From one of the sport’s only 32 team radio booths, he also represents a milestone for people who look, sound and have families like his, a first-generation Indian immigrant. 

“When I grew up, there weren’t a lot of people who do what I do, that look like me, whether it was on TV or it was on the radio. And the few that were there, they did inspire me a little bit,” Shroff said about his upbringing watching sports. “If you can be that for somebody else, having role models, it helps.”  

Shroff said his highly public role at the top of the profession is also an opportunity for older generations to see different examples of success.

“I just think as a South Asian, our community sometimes needs to see it. Our community needs to see its younger generation, its next generation, go into what are nontraditional fields,” Shroff said. “It is a very high-achieving culture, it is a very high-achieving subset. And so, there’s often this expectation that if you’re a South Asian, if you’re not a doctor, if you’re not a lawyer, if you’re not an engineer or you don’t have an advanced degree like an MBA, then somehow you’re a disappointment.”

Shroff said his parents inspired him to follow his passions, as they followed theirs, setting an example in his home.

“It’s a message to the community that, hey, if you do encourage your kids, they can do it. If you encourage younger South Asians, they don’t have to fall into one of four professions. They can be a musician, they can be an artist, they can be a teacher, they can be a broadcaster. They can be something that is nontraditional,” Shroff said.

Hundreds of games later, Shroff thanked his parents for always encouraging his sports dream and starting habits that paid off later in life.

“The deal that we had made, probably since second or third grade, was for every sports book I wanted to read, I had to read a book of [my mother’s] choosing, and I hated it at the time,” Shroff said with a smile.

But it gave him a head start on an expansive vocabulary, which comes in handy when you talk for a living.

“Doing a football game at Eastern Illinois,” Shroff said, “And it’s coming down and the clouds are real dark and gray and overcast and foreboding. And it’s starting to snow, and for whatever reason, the words that came to me, when I’m describing the setting is, ‘It’s like someone ripped a page out of 'Wuthering Heights.'”

It's a callback to his mother’s book rule, part of what molded him into the radio and television announcer he is today.