Regional Radio – the perfect training ground for Voice Overs

Content from Abes Audio

Working in regional radio calls for passion, dedication and a willingness to multiskill (and multitask!) It’s not for the faint hearted and certainly not always an overly glamorous job.

But working in regional radio is a great training ground for developing and honing skills – sometimes seemingly unrelated to the actual role you’ve been hired for. For example, writing copy can really help develop the writer as a voice over talent, as there’s nothing like the experience of reading hundreds of ads out loud to clients. It’s the best way to learn and hone the craft of using inflections, colour and emphasis in a delivery.

We recently sat down with Garth, one of Abes Audio’s most requested voice over talent. As well as letting us know which voice over artist he admires most (you’ve probably seen/heard him on TV), Garth shared with us about his journey, his first gig in radio and some things to be aware of from a voice talent’s perspective.

How did you get started in the industry?

After High School I went to the Academy of Radio and subsequently landed my first job at 5CC in Port Lincoln (when they only had an AM station) as copywriter/announcer. Writing and reading commercials to clients was my first real experience in the art of voice over performance, and as with all regional radio stations, those commercials then need to be voiced! I’m sure that everyone in the building was heard on air at one time or another, and that’s when I started doing regular VO sessions.

After 5CC I worked in a few other stations, culminating with a gig at a metro network as their network production manager. During this time I got to work with some of the best VO talent in the country – and did my best to pick up tips and tricks from them!

How long have been recording voice overs?

I started working at 5CC in 1998, and have been recording professional voice over sessions full time from my home studio since 2007.

What’s the longest voice over you’ve read?

It’s difficult to remember them all…I think it was probably a narration for a tourist bus at a mere 62,000 words!

What have you learned that’s helped you to deliver better voice overs?

Keep it natural and relaxed. Don’t over-pronounce words, as this will make the read much more engaging and easier to listen to. People like a little personality even if the script calls for a corporate style voice over, as some content can be quite long winded and detailed. Adding a bit of personality can help to give a script some ‘life’.

What are some things you wish you could say to a client when they’re preparing to send you a script, particularly for a narration

  • WRITE for the SPOKEN word – and remember to use punctuation.
  • Provide phonetic spelling as well as an audio guide for prickly words as sometimes it helps to have both. (A word can look different to how it should sound.)
  • Always use double-spacing and clearly separate paragraphs. It’s amazing how many scripts present all the text in a single block. Think about how you want the script to flow and any natural breaks and pauses it needs.
  • Please, don’t use Microsoft Excel to write scripts with the various paragraphs in individual cells. It’s a nightmare to read and makes it really difficult to determine the flow of a script!

Do you prefer client-directed or self-directed voice over sessions?

For long form narration voice over sessions I prefer to be self-directed. Based on a brief, I will always record a small sample to make sure I’m on the same page as the client in regards to delivery, style and pacing.

For radio or TV commercials, client-directed sessions work well and allow the client to get the last 5% out of my delivery. It always helps to have a second pair of ears!

What are the biggest challenges you find when recording

Drinking enough water. When recording a long script you need to drink litres of it! Also, trying not to get a cold – which can be hard with kids sometimes. While it’s only a minor thing, it can put a voice over out of work for days. No one wants a nasally, congested person as their voice over. (Unless it’s an ad for a cold and flu medicine!)

Outside of work, what do you love to do?

I love flying model RC planes & helicopters. Also, riding my bike with and spending time with my kids is the best.

Which voice over artists have you always looked up to?

I have always LOVED Mike Rowe’s narration voice over delivery and I think he’s one of the best in the world. He can be heard on any number of Discovery Channel shows – Deadliest Catch being my favourite. I’ve learned a great deal just from listening to how he reads and delivers lines. He’s a legend!

Side notes:

If you’d like to book Garth for a voice over, please contact Abes Audio.
(Even if your script is written in Excel. We won’t judge. Promise!)

This is an excerpt of a recent blog from voice over & production company Abes Audio.


Tags: |