Talking To Your Station Voice

It happens every day at radio stations across America, possibly at yours. Here’s the scene: An urgent, last-minute promo needs to be produced “ASAP,” and it must be awesome. You’re rushed, but it’s all good because you have a great idea. You fire off a script to your station’s imaging voice with a quick note like “Have fun” or “Do your thing.” Or (gasp) worse yet, with no instructions at all — because, of course, you figure they know exactly what you’re thinking — only to request a reread because the performance wasn’t quite what you had in mind. Sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone. But with a little groundwork, a great line of communication, and a few simple instructions, your VO talent will nail it for you every time.

It all starts with fostering a good rapport. “Develop a strong working relationship with your voiceover talent and it leads to better results over time,” advises Scott Pitek, imaging producer for Groove Tools. “As you become comfortable with each other’s preferences and styles, your collaboration will become more seamless, resulting in more effective promos and radio imaging content.”

Providing clear and detailed directions each time serves as a blueprint for success. It not only enables talent to focus on their performance but also ensures they deliver the best reads and results for your station. “Receiving direction from a client at the start of a session is crucial,” says Greg Hunter, a voice actor and SPLAT! producer. “Once I understand the station’s needs, I can provide the perfect read every time. Not only does it make the sessions better, but [good direction] allows me to turn around projects much quicker.”

Voice talent and producers agree, everything is better when all parties are on the same page, but it doesn’t have to be a one-way relationship. Some of the best sessions result when allowing your station voice to offer creative input. “Treat your voiceover artist as a creative partner, not just a performer,” advises Pitek. “Encourage them to provide input on script interpretation and delivery, and be receptive to their suggestions. This approach can lead to more authentic and engaging performances.”

The collaborative spirit can take various forms. It could be as simple as requesting alternate takes of key lines or experimenting with different tones, paces, or inflections. Better yet, give them the freedom to ad-lib or suggest alternate wording. This often leads to a wealth of valuable audio and can even elevate a good script to greatness.

As both a voice talent and producer, Hunter emphasizes the importance of clarity, “As a producer I always put production notes and even indicate song hooks in the script so the voice talent can get an idea of the session. Many voice talents come from radio backgrounds, so they understand the copy but letting them know what I’m thinking when I write the copy is worth the extra minute.”

By focusing on these strategies, you can get the best performance out of your station voice and from yourself, but it all goes back to clear communication and a good working relationship. “We [station voices] might not always be in the building, but we’re still part of your team so keep us in the loop,” advises Hunter. “We’re invested in delivering the best possible product on-air. After all, we want to win, too!”

Pic by MyJuly for Envato Elements.

Dave Marsh is the CEO of Splat! Media offering a full line of imaging libraries, custom production, jingles, production music, and more.

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