Most stations employ the use of a “voice.” A really good one can set the mood, frame a station, and even build a brand. For the audience, it's the first voice they hear – and that's why it's such an important element.
But how well do stations make use of and manage that voice that’s heard several times an hour, representing the brand and the vibe it creates? Used effectively, a station voice can become a bit part of a station's personality.
We consulted with one of the best – Rich Van Slyke – a guy who’s been in the production trenches at stations that include WCMF and WKLS. As a voice actor, he’s been providing his talents since 2001 to more than 40 radio and TV operations, as well as radio networks. Rich is also an accomplished jingle writer and a guitarist.
You can hear his work here.
These days, return on investment is a conversation at every station. Translate that to “How can I get the most ROI from my station voice?” and you’ve got the gist of today’s “Guest List.”
Here’s Rich’s punch list of the ways any station can get the most from its station voice:
A great read is better than a mediocre read because it gets people’s attention, helping you make a good impression. Lots of good impressions amount to powerful branding.
Seth Resler shows you how to use webinars to generate leads for your radio station's sales team.
Here are 5 simple tips you can use to maximize the performance of your station voice:
1. Type scripts the way you want them voiced.
- Use lower case. Lower case means the normal sound.
- Quotes means it’s the “Name Of The Contest.”
- All caps MEANS LOUD!
- Bold caps IS EVEN LOUDER!
- Italics means an explanation.
- Underline means more emphasis.
- Skip a line for a new thought.
- Three dots… means a pause.
2. It’s better to demonstrate than to describe.
The absolute best way to get the inflection you want is to read it yourself, and let your voice guy mirror you. Pull out your phone and record yourself. Send an mp3. Believe me, it's much easier to understand what you want, when I hear your voice, than if you try to describe it in an email. And it’s faster, too!
3. Help your voice talent understand local words and phrases.
Here's a line from a promo, “and we’ll be cruising for action on Bleeker Street!” If your station voice understands Bleeker Street is where all the hookers work, the line will be delivered much better!
4. Encourage outtakes and ad-libs, if you like them.
Some stations want lots of outtakes, off the cuff remarks and character voices. Other stations hate it. But we don’t know what you want unless you tell us. So, let your voice know, and you’ll get more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
5. Send your voice talent the finished product.
Sometimes, it’s much easier to understand what a PD is looking for when you hear it produced. Many times, I have altered my reads after I hear how they are produced. If the production is loud and aggressive, I know to make sure everything will cut through. But if the production is softer, I can be a little more subtle. It’s so easy to email a produced liner, yet many stations just don’t think about it.
6. If you use a production service, send the preview.
Do you use an online imaging service like Production Vault? For each piece, they provide a preview cut with a demo voice. If your voice guy hears how the preview liner or promo is voiced, and how the voice will be used in the finished piece, he’ll understand exactly how to read it. He’ll be able to put the pauses in the right places, and match the inflection to the production.
Below is Rich's contact information:
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