Tommy Kramer Tip #35 – The Challenges of having a BIG Voice

Hundreds of years ago, when I first got into radio, the easiest way to get hired was to have a BIG, DEEP voice. The guy with the biggest set of “pipes” was always the one most in demand. He got the best jobs for the most money, advanced up the ladder quickest, and got tons of voice work to make outside income.

As radio got more real sounding, those guys were simply described as “pukers.” And today, there are distinct negatives associated with the old-school big “radio” voice. Having worked with hundreds of “big pipes” guys over the years (and several Voice Actors that you hear everyday on national spots and movie trailers), some new conclusions have emerged.

In today’s radio, especially in female-targeted formats, big huge voices can easily come across as either tired or angry. So if you’ve got one of those giant voices, work on staying in the upper half of your vocal range all the time. Try to avoid “bottoming out” or the “growly” sound. Having a nice voice is a great gift, but in the modern era, it’s about resonance, not depth, like a great guitar. We’re not out to scare small children here.

Your “radio voice” doesn’t impress anyone except other disc jockeys. Get over it, and just talk to the listener like you would over lunch together.

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Tommy Kramer
Radio Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.