Most air talents assume that if you’re on the air, you must have a good voice. But in reality, about half the people on the air in every format I hear have taken that for granted, and stunted their growth.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some pretty impressive voice actors that you hear on national commercials, station Imaging, and movie trailers every day. And universally, the ones who are the most successful have really studied what makes them unique, and how to fully use the vocal tools at hand.
Here’s what I mean…the other day, I was listening to a female air talent who literally said everything in what would be about a 4-note range if I played the pitch of each word on a piano. I also heard a male air talent the same week who talks so fast, you wonder if he just drank 17 cups of coffee before he got on the air. Then there’s the “growler” that does the station imaging on the Classic Rock station here in Shreveport. Every word that ends a sentence is exactly the same pitch, and he always goes DOWN in pitch at the end. He thinks he’s making an impact, and he’s right – I want to hit him in the forehead with a mallet every time he speaks.
The female voice has unique challenges, too. Being generally more limited in range and volume than the male voice, it’s easy to sound whiny or strident.
The male voice – especially if it’s a “big” voice, can easily sound either mad or tired.
KNOW your voice. Learn your dynamics. Hone your skills. Learn what to avoid. Master varied approaches. Become a competent voice actor. It may sound rudimentary, but if your voice isn’t appealing, it won’t matter what you say.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2018 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.