The Struggle Of Announcer-y Versus Non-Announcer-y Voice Over

Photo by david de la vega on Unsplash

Hey there!

John Davenport recently left me a comment on one of my videos, the one on how I don’t think age range is a valid descriptor for voices.

He wrote, “I would love to hear you do a discussion about announcer versus non-announcer. So many of us who from the broadcast world who have been labeled as announcers in some genres of voiceover can’t seem to get work too much these days. Why do you think that is? Do you think it will change?”

Here’s what I think about that.

Hope this helps!

David

Responses

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  1. I recently was doing some live theater VO drop-ins, and needed to effect a 1940’s-style announcer. I mustered my best “Mid-Atlantic accent,” and once EQ’ed for a ‘40s taxi cab radio, they loved it! I spent five years in the 1980s as an on-air personality at a New York-market FM (36KW ERP). Felt like old home week! But realistically, I know that I could never make a career out of it. Still, doing it as a character was a blast!

  2. “People judge you by the words you use…” from the 80’s Verbal Advantage radio ads embody my “favorite” power voice. I sometimes put on that announcer voice, crank it up to 11 and read through my script so I can hear what I should _not_ sound like and get it out of my system.

    It can be cathartic.

    1. I think I’m screwed: 11 years as a radio reporter, followed by 30 years in courtrooms. Getting the announcer out of my head seems to be as hard — maybe harder — as getting the inner editor out of my writing head. Time to book some coaching time with Mr. Lawrence….

  3. Your comments really hit home for me. I have been involved with radio news since the early 1980’s and took voice lessons to improve my “delivery”. Even then my friends and children commented about how my voice changed just by reading out loud. I try to be conversational, but still having a hard time relaxing and imagining a talk across the kitchen table when I read. sigh!

  4. Very helpful reminder; thanks, David! Love these videos; keep up the good work.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

    P. S. It was great connecting with you via email the other night.

  5. Absolutely can relate. I’m embarrassed to say it’s a hot button for me. I went to a workshop one time and was asked to read and the presenter said, “Oh, you old radio guys all sound alike.” Yes, it’s a style I mastered long ago at a 5000 watt daytimer when I started in radio. The 90 degree turn to the right came when I got some coaching and the person working with me said, “Sometimes, you just have to try and sound like you’re talking to the guy on the barstool next to you.” Amen, brother.

  6. This split between “conversational” and “announcer” or “fake” or “cartoony” just drives me crazy. I always seem to pick the wrong approach. In a recent animation class I was warned to not do cartoon voices but just be “real”. We were using scripts from “She-Ra Princess of Power”, a kids’ show I somehow never saw. After failing to satisfactorily bring the witches, elves, magic cats, evil aliens, etc. to life in “my” voice, after class I listened to an actual episode. Every one of those far out cartoon characters had a goofy voice -very high or low or nasal or raspy or breathy or shakey etc. etc. NONE had a “normal” voice.
    In an audition for a car commercial I did my attempt at “SUNDAY, SUNDAY”, which seemed to fit the excitement of the script. The commercial ran with a very “real” read.
    I don’t believe there is a correct or current way to do a script, every script is different.

  7. Spot on conversation David! Being a 26 year radio vet, it’s an everyday struggle to shed the annoucer and just talk. For myself, I find I stress the word “and” too much. For instance, in radio, we read a promo that includes something like: “free food, beverages, and prizes.” My emphasis is usually on the word AND…now it’s driving me crazy! It’s where I learned to take my breath BUT it should come out: “free food, beverages, ‘n’ prizes.” I started studying my airchecks and maybe this’ll help my fellow radio folks…everyday I read out loud an article from the newspaper or a magazine and recording it…I’m learning alot about being normal and conversational while adding pace.