Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

What Attracted You To Radio?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

October 1, 2007

Comments (14)

Microphone and RecordsRadio has always been a medium for all seasons, presenting news, talk, and music.

Working in radio has also been a profession with literally decades of history... what we want to know is what attracted you to radio?

Share your stories on VOX Daily and pass the torch with your inspiring comments.

To keep this post relatively brief, I'm inviting people who have been employed in the field of broadcast radio to comment with reasons why they got started in radio.

Also, if you have any anecdotes to share, we'd love to hear them too :)

Looking forward to discovering why you got into radio and what it means to you!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©©©iStockphoto.com/Peter Finnie

Related Topics: radio


Comments


    Radio has always been a way to communicate with people and to hopefully make their day better somehow. If the sound of my voice made them feel like I was a friend, then I was happy. This probably comes from a need to “do the right thing,” and without a doubt, making someone feel better was the right thing. But radio sort of came to me, when someone from my college radio station back in 1972 said that I ought to be on the air because I didn’t have a southern accent. So I gave it a shot and worked on the air for over 25 years. I was never interested in the “star” aspect of it, in fact I found it invasive and as, at the time, the rare female, it had its dangers.

    I’m not on the air now, nor have I been for over 10 years, and I miss being able to communicate. That’s what would get me back on the air if the right situation came along. Radio has changed a lot over the years.

    Posted by:

      I saw my first radio station when I was 10 and immediately decided that's what I wanted to do. I was impressed by all the dials, lights and buttons and that one person could run all that equipment! But the more I listened to radio and got into the pop and rock music of the early 60s, the more I realized I wanted to play this music for others, and make them smile in between the songs. Then the Beatles came to America and my fate was sealed.

      When I was in 9th grade I joined an after school internship program at a local radio station, where I learned how to cut ads out of newspapers and get coffee for the disk jockeys! But to be fair, they also taught me how to use the production studio and the importance of practicing reading out loud so I'd learn how to do it without making mistakes. I hung around that station for two more years after the internship program ended, and put myself into the position of joining the staff when I was 16, playing Top 40 rock 'n roll during my senior year of high school.

      There was no looking back. I've been in broadcasting full and part time for more than 35 years, and I wouldn't trade a second of it. Well, maybe that 1000 watt daytimer where I also had to mow the lawn once a week. Gone are the 45s, the cart machines, choosing your own music and getting paid in tee shirts. But I still find it fun and challenging and yes, rewarding. I hope I never grow up.

      Posted by:

        I'd grown up as a fan of radio itself, not just the music it played. I've always been one of those who liked to look inside and take things apart to see how they worked, and like a lot of radio listeners, I figured "I can do that!" Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out I actually could.

        No doubt like many others here, radio proved not to be a gateway to vast riches. Still, I made a bit more than your average mic jockey (at least in the small market where I worked) once I learned I could write ad copy and produce spots.

        Being an independent VO artist is easily the most satisfying and fun job I've ever had, but my radio days rank a close second.

        Posted by:

          It was 1969 - a time when hearing a woman's voice on FM rock radio was considered extremely unique. It was a whole new chapter in radio history. Album cuts, not just the hit singles, were played in high quality FM-stereo. Very hip. I was probably one of the first female air personalities in Milwaukee radio. I was drawn to the station like a moth to a flame, primarily because of the music. I had no experience, but they loved my voice, so I was trained and given the job. I remained in the radio career for over 20 years, and worked in my two favorite places; Milwaukee and San Diego.

          Thanks for listening.

          Bobbin Beam

          Posted by:

            Working in radio started off as a childhood dream. When I was 5, I had wanted to be that disc jockey on the radio. He sounded like he was having such a good time! Playing all that music, interviewing the artists - I just had to be a part of it! I used to pretend that I was on the radio by speaking into a pingpong paddle and playing 45s on our record player. ( For younger Vox readers, ask your parents about a 45 & record player). When I graduated high school, I drove through small towns and knocked on every radio stations' door along the way. I was hired one afternoon for $2.00 an hour. Minimum wage in 1975 was $2.75. I would have paid them to work there... I did a "rock show" and rip n read news. I was terrible. I still have airchecks I have not listened to from that period of my career.

            32 years later I am still on radio, CJAD & CHOM-FM Montreal and doing a fair amount of voice work too. It sure beats working for a living....

            Posted by:

              I was a Country Radio DJ (AM Stations). My love for the music got me in it.

              My off air duties in Victorville, CA, were as Production Manager. Roy Rogers was in studio with me to cut some short PSAs for the San Bernardino County Sheriffs Dept. He got tongue tied with the copy provided and, as we all know, the harder he tried, the worse it got. We were both laughing so hard that breathing was difficult. I will not say what he said but it was hilarious. After a short break, we were able to regroup and complete the task at hand.

              Ray Spencer

              Posted by:
              • Ray Spencer
              • October 2, 2007 1:59 PM

                I first was attracted to radio as a very young boy living in Ottawa, Canada. There were only two TV stations. Both run by the government. One English. One French. Both stations didn't go on the air 'till 1 pm. There is nothing so desperately insane as entertainment designed by bureaucrats.

                The only option was... radio. Which in sub-arctic Ottawa was pretty limited too.

                So I would listen to the announcer voices and use my imagination about what they looked like, and enjoy the word-pictures they created. The radio bug stuck.

                Later in life I became a radio reporter a talk radio station in Toronto. CKEY. Now defunct but with two million listeners a week--before the evil days of FM splintered audiences.

                These days, I sometimes think I'd like to get back into radio.

                But the options are limited. Especially in the talk radio format which has become rant radio. The airwaves are often used by frankly... imbeciles... who really have little clue about issues that matter to ordinary folks. But in the absence of alternatives to these syndicated predictable bubble-heads... well.

                I think radio is still the best visual medium available. I also think it is incredibly under served by the people who rant about liberals and democrats and so on... as though people with views that in a Canadian context are right-wing are somehow evil. It brings me to tears.

                Hey anybody lookin' for a great radio talk show host?

                Rich

                Posted by:
                • Rich Fallis
                • October 2, 2007 2:00 PM

                  As a child I honestly thought I would grow up and open a TaeKwon Do studio. A car accident in 1995 changed everything. After surgery to reconstruct my shoulder, I was teaching in-line skating (remember that fad?) classes when a man skated up and asked if I wanted to be on the radio. It seemed like fun, and I needed school credits. I began my internship at the age of 18 working for a mix station at ABC Radio. Next door, a new station was being built called Radio Disney. I was in the hallway one day talking to my boss, when the PD of RD walked by. With a voice like mine, it was inevitable I would wind up on the air for Radio Disney!

                  I was with RD for nearly 6 years, some of the best in my career. At the age of 24, I decided to move to Charlotte, NC to accept a job as a morning show co-host. I was growing up and wanted to talk about "big issues". Unfortunately, I spent most of the show cracking jokes and doing voices at the PD's request. Perhaps if I had sounded my age, they would have taken me more seriously. Still, it was a great 5 year run.

                  It had always been a dream of mine to one day focus on my passion for voice acting (something I had done on the 'side' for 11 years). I went for it, and haven't regretted the leap! Radio is a wonderful way to express yourself and meet cool people. However, I look forward to the day when there is a strong woman on every morning show :)

                  Posted by:

                    I kind of fell into radio... long story, but loved it from the start. Radio was a great way to earn a full time income for part time hours.

                    But back then, all DJs had to work weekends, and we had to work holidays... someone always had to be at the station.

                    Now, with new technologies, I am always pre-recorded ("tracked" or "Voice Tracked" we call it) on weekends, holidays, and if I need to be somewhere else!

                    Now there's an entire new voiceover genre... especially for radio talent... Voice Tracking. Many stations hire voice tracked talent to voice a show and upload the files. I know voice-over talent who track several stations. Many a station now has voice tracking on overnight shifts and even late evening.

                    Hiring talent to voice track eliminates the need to pay benefits to a full time employee, can dramatically improve the sound of the station---because a much higher caliber of talent can be hired from afar--and it's soft on the budget. Stations can get good voice tracked talent for between $500 and $1000/mo.

                    Linda O'Brien, a talent in Dallas, wrote an article on the pros and cons of voice tracking in the August issue of the V-ZINE. If you would like to read that, please email julie@voice-overs.com and I'll email it to you. Linda tracks several radio stations all over the country. Linda was also one of the very first members of the voice-over forum at www.voice-overs.com/forum!

                    I've been in (and out of) radio for 30 years, an it's never been more fun than it is today. With technology as it is, we can record and edit phone calls to entertain with phoners. We can paint a picture like never before, with a few sound effects. I don't mean the old... flushing a toilet thing. I mean sfx of applause when we have a contest... easy to play background music under us as we talk, etc.

                    Radio is a totally different world today than it used to be. It's easier. And with the technologies that most stations use, there is more time for air personalities to concentrate on content and connecting with the audience, rather than creating a technically perfect show!

                    Thanks for taking me down radio-memory lane, Stephanie!

                    Julie Williams
                    www.voice-overs.com

                    Posted by:

                      I’m happy to respond to this one:

                      I LOVED TV. That’s all I ever did when I was a child was watch TV. I decided at an early age that I needed to be in it, because I loved it so much. I pursued acting when it presented itself to me and cried every time I watched the Academy Awards (or the like) (still do strangely enough) in my hopes to some day walk that red carpet and be famous. However when you’re a teenager, having fun is much more important and I unfortunately had a bit too much fun and got pregnant at the early age of 16. This changed all my acting plans, as I had to get a real job to raise a child as a single mom.

                      My mother saw an article for Columbia Academy of Radio/Television Recording Arts. This was a one year broadcasting course. I thought, why not. I can’t pursue my life long goal to be famous as an actress, so broadcasting will get me out there. I graduated with high acknowledgment and one of the top in my class with 7 job offers upon graduation. Little did I know that DJing wasn’t the best fit for me.

                      At the time when I went into broadcasting (1990), you had the choice of DJ, News, Sports and a variety of Radio Station jobs. I thought I read the news very well, in fact, I felt I had the best delivery when I was reading any kind of script, but I didn’t think I could be unbiased reading news. I couldn’t ask someone how they felt about losing their loved one, without tears in my eyes etc., so I knew I couldn’t pursue news. I don’t prefer sports, so that wouldn’t be fair, so DJ was the only option.

                      I loved voicing commercials or anything written, but didn’t prefer the ad-libbing by myself without any reactions from the audience. It takes a special person to talk to themselves in hopes of reaction, without actually getting to see anyone. So my first job in Ft. St. John, B.C. as a DJ was a bomb. In fact so much so that I swore on the air (by accident) and had to bring my daughter (2) in to the station twice due to a babysitter not showing up, so I was fired. In school it was fun, but you were pre-planning your own show with no one governing you and you could see other students walking by… not like the real world DJ booth. Isolated, usually no windows…

                      If I went back to DJing now, I could handle it. Now you can really involve the audience or do a show with another host. In fact I plan to host my own show one day (hopefully this one will be on TV & Radio). It’s interesting how times have changed in the broadcasting world… but the one thing that hasn’t changed that I don’t miss, it doesn’t pay! The odd broadcaster (radio) makes it well and gets paid well, but the rest of us didn’t… so it’s a tough gig. Can be a ton of fun though.

                      When I finally discovered that I could become a freelance voicer that changed my world. I think all broadcasters should take the plunge to re-educate themselves and get on board the acted delivery of voice. It’s an amazing world. It’s fantastic to have the broadcasting background for those odd jobs that want that DJ JOHNNY read, along with my acting background, I am able to offer a solid mix to my voice over stable.

                      Thanks for listening.

                      All my best,

                      Deb Munro
                      My Voice, Your Way!
                      Fulltime Voice Talent/Instructor
                      www.debsvoice.com
                      info@debsvoice.com

                      Posted by:

                        Radio and my interest in music was a creative outlet for me for 10 years as I also got to write and produce specialty rock 'n' roll programs while hosting a midday time slot on a local rock station as a twenty year-old. I interviewed some of the biggest acts around. As I wrapped up my radio career in 1991 (before transitioning to Warner Music Canada and helping launch Barenaked Ladies) I did one of my last interviews with Metallica on the phone in Belgium:) I also remember my very first radio shift one late night when I picked to play Steve Martin's "King Tut":)

                        Sincerely,

                        Ralph Hass www.HasTheVoice.com
                        - MSG-TV imaging voice for the NHL's Buffalo Sabres

                        Posted by:

                          I was in kindergarten in 1969 at Mount St. Joseph Academy (well, it was called the Medaille School then but it changed and…aw you don’t care).

                          Sister Donna Marie took the class on a field trip to a radio station – WEBR. Now up until that point, I was under the distinct impression that the music coming out of the radio came from a building where all these musicians stood around waiting their turn to play their songs live on the radio.

                          Imagine my surprise.

                          We stood in the control room and watched the broadcast live and I was mesmerized. Knobs and lights and oooo what’s that? A microphone! I want me one of those!

                          Wait, it gets geekier.

                          Some kids like to draw…. space ships or cowboys…. I drew pictures of radio and TV studios…. 100s of them. Microphones, cameras, technicians. Paging Dr Freud!

                          Um, it gets geekier.

                          I’m in 2nd or 3rd grade and I come across an audio production catalog which has…. microphones! Oh I thought that was the coolest thing. Lots of em to broadcast my voice. I finally got a used one and I thought it was super cool. It didn’t work, it wasn’t hooked up to anything but I had me a microphone.

                          Fast forward early high school where it occurred to me after everyone said I had a nice voice (my Dad had won public speaking awards in high school and my mom wanted to work in Television before women were really permitted to do such things… do you think the broadcasting bug I have was genetic?) I started reading copy from magazines like they were radio scripts. And I gave them pretty good reads. The quizzically look my Mother gave me one day when she heard this was priceless (“what are you doing?”) But I was too far gone.

                          College time rolls around and I am looking for a broadcasting program. I thought I would head right to one of the best broadcasting programs in the east, Syracuse University, until they said “no” (who wants to be an “Orangeman” anyway… what the hell is an “Orangeman”). The University of Dayton I liked for many reasons not the least of which was their 50,000 FM commercial (non of this public radio stuff) station broadcasting to three states with a professional GM, PD and sales staff…. and all student air staff.

                          WVUD-FM was the equivalent of Geek Bingo!

                          What an amazing introduction into broadcasting and my future in radio and voice over. Sadly, the University sold the station and now one of the big radio chains owns it, WLQT (an old competitor, Kim Faris, a staple at Z-93 for years now does mornings on Lite 99.9... very nice lady).

                          But what an introduction and what a ride.

                          Best always,
                          - Peter

                          Posted by:

                            I could hardly imagine getting paid for something I would do for fun! That's what radio is for me.

                            My first big break was as "guest teen dj" on mid America's friendly giant... WLS Chicago. 15 minutes on 50,000 watts. Talk about a high! Radio quickly became my drug of choice. Although it has certainly changed over the years. I've done evenings, morning drive, afternoon drive, all of it. Something about talking one on one to thousands has always amazed and thrilled me. Wouldn't change a second of my career. I agree with Peter's comment... "what a ride".

                            The challenge for me as a voice talent is to come away from being the radio guy to being a real person.

                            Anyone else resonate with that struggle?

                            Larry Wayne

                            Posted by:

                              Ever since I was about 5, I was always intrigued by the mystery of radio. Who was the announcer? Where was he? and what did the room look like that he was in. I was also excited and mesmerized by all the lights, dials, meters and equipment. Not to mention the music, talk and entertainment value it had. I just love everything about it. Production as well. I like the concept of Theatre of the Mind and How your imagination can work.
                              Although I am not in radio full-time. I've had the pleasure of doing community, internet and my personal favourite, commercial radio. Other than being a musician, it's the great love/job in the world.

                              Steve Suekey

                              Posted by:
                              • Steve Suekey
                              • November 15, 2008 1:07 AM

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