How to fry your vocals and sound like a bullfrog on the radio

Comment from Peter Saxon –

Perhaps no one noticed, but I’ve been away for a few weeks..

To mark my return at the dawn of 2024, which I believe will be a historic year for the world, I wanted to write something truly momentous. Perhaps an article that might bring peace to the Middle East and the war between Putin’s Russia and Ukraine to an end – to prove, once again, that the pen (keyboard) is mightier than the sword. Or to scuttle Trump’s bid to end democracy in the USA which, if he’s re-elected will surely have an adverse impact on Australia and the current world order.

Having come to the conclusion that solving such complex and highly partisan issues is way above my pay scale, I found a subject more fundamental to the craft of radio. It’s a subject that’s been bugging me for some time now, like an itch on one’s back that’s just out of reach. I was struggling to describe it.

Just as it seemed that all was lost, a post on Facebook from Aussie expat Ella James hit the spot and called it by name, “Vocal Fry.” It’s that irritating back of the throat style of speech that was first made popular, mainly among young Kardashian fans in America, and has more recently found its way to Australia and, regrettably, on to our airwaves.

To be fair, it’s not so much presenters and newsreaders but politicians and expert guests such as scientists or lawyers who seem to think that a lower pitched voice will give them more gravitas. No, it just annoys the listener and makes them sound like their teenage daughter.

Vocal Fry has taken over from the equally irritating high-pitched inflection at the end of a sentence that makes any statement sound like a question. Happily, the two are mutually exclusive because it is impossible to perform both affectations at the same time. Kids, don’t try this at home just to prove me wrong.

For the full story on Vocal Fry, what it is, who does it, and why people hate it, you must watch this video from Dr Geoff Lindsay.

Main Pic: Still from video of vocal cords from Mayo Clinic

Peter Saxon – Managing Editor