Blogs About The Voiceover Business

Radio Commercial Production

Posted On: August 02, 2016

So you’re a business owner advertising on a couple of radio stations.  You’re using the same script…and in an attempt to save some money, you had each station produce their own version of your commercial, probably because they offered a produced commercial as part of your contract.  However, the voice-over and production of the commercials sound nothing alike; and, as such, you’re not seeing the return you were hoping for.  Not good for creating familiarity. What do you do?  For your next radio campaign, call…

At JustMyVoice Production, we can write, voice and produce your radio commercial, ready for air-play, and have it in your mailbox within 24 hours.  In fact, we'll produce...

When you contract with multiple radio stations to air a commercial it should be the SAME commercial, not a variation.  Doing so creates familiarity. Listen to those big-corporate commercials; no matter what station you’re listening you’re hearing the same commercial.  Familiarity is important when you can associate 1 thing to a product or service from many sources. 

To increase your exposure, you could create a video by adding pictures and/or video clips to your radio spot and post it on your YouTube channel with links to your website and Facebook page.

After it's all done and over with, what you're left with is: 

by Rich Brennan


MP3 vs WAV: The Difference

Posted On: June 20, 2016

Without gettin into the nitty-gritty of digital audio this blog is about the basic differences between WAV and MP3 files.

Digital technology has done wonders in how the world works; none, more so than with audio.  I grew up listening to vinyl records, 8-track and cassette tapes; when the 'digital format' was introduced in the early '90s, the record companies were releasing remastered (digitized) music and I started hearing instruments/sounds that I've never heard before.  I often asked if the music I'd been listening to for all that time was being re-recorded because of these changes- it wasn't.  As the technology improved I learned (a little bit) about 'digital music'; and how much cleaner it was (compared to vinyl/tape). In the old days, when music was recorded some of the sounds (from some instruments) were lessened, or even phased out electronically, because of the recording process.  The same applies to voice-overs, too; although there's not much that's trimmed away (as is with music).

The most common form of digital audio is a Waveform Audio File Format (WAVE, or more commonly, WAV); with the most common settings: 44.1khz, 128kpbs, 16 bit (stereo, for music; mono for voice-overs); anything less would not be deemed 'broadcast quality'.  The problem with WAV files:  Their size. 

This 1:30 voice-over file (above) was an audition I recently recorded.

Clicking ‘Save As’ for this recording you’ll see the format is an uncompressed WAV file, 44.1khz, mono, 16 bit (standard).  The ‘Estimated File Size’ is 7.59 meg in size…pretty big; in fact, you’d probably have some issues if you tried to email it. 

By simply changing the format from WAV to MP3 (of this recording) you'll see a greatly reduced ‘Estimated File Size:  1.37 MB”.  Much easier to email and it sounds the same as a WAV file; but why is that?

Remember those hearing tests you've taken where you're sitting in this room with headphones on and you have to press the button when you hear the tone?  The human ear has a range of upper and lower tones and, depending on the 'health' of your hearing, you may hear sounds that others don't and vice-versa.  When you convert a WAV file to MP3 you are trimming out most of the audio spectrum that the human ear cannot process, as well as some of the audio we can. You're also minimizing repeated data. The end result is a much smaller file that sounds almost as good as the original, in fact most non-trained ears cannot even tell there's been some loss in sound quality. The result is an MP3 file that's smaller (in size) and will work better on portable devices with limited storage space like flash drives, mp3 players, cell phones and tablets.  This process is not limited to just music; voice-overs, sound bytes...basically any digital audio file would have the same result.

It's also important to remember that if you're converting an MP3 file to a WAV will NOT regain the audio quality lost when it was converted from WAV to MP3.  You'd need the original WAV file for that.

Yahoo answers

by Rich Brennan


Recording voice-overs: Sit or Stand?

Posted On: May 23, 2016

To sit; or, not to sit- that is the question.  Whether it is noble for one to sit or stand during a voice-over session depends on the project you're recording; and thus has been the subject of on-going chatter in the voice-over social media platforms.  Most would agree that standing is the best; but if you consider the nature of the recording (the subject matter), and/or the length of time you'll be at the mic or how long the project is, some say sitting would serve best. 

Standing at the microphone has its advantages...

  • You're able to use 'body language'; oddly enough, you can hear 'body language' in a voice-over recording. 
  • The use of hand-gestures is also easier when you're standing
  • Breathing is always easier. 

...and some disadvantages:

  • When you're doing a 'long-form' narration and you're going to be at the mic for an extended period of time (like for an audiobook) you tend to tire more easily; you can hear that, too.
  • You have a medical condition that prevents you from standing (even if for a short period of time).

Sitting at the mic has some advantages too:

  • Although 'body language' is possible, there are limitations.
  • The same applies to hand-gestures.
  • You can be at the mic for longer periods of time.
  • You're comfortable.

Keep in mind that when I refer to 'sitting' at the mic, I don't mean in a chair (like in the graphic to the right).  I'm referring to a bar-stool type of seat where you can have your knees slightly bent (as opposed to parallel to the floor).

Try doing a video search for 'voice-over recording session'; you'll see that most of the videos show the person standing while recording.  Use your common sense, if the script is energetic and/or emotional your best option would be to stand; whereas, non-dramatic or (dare I say) boring scripts you could sit down, because they typically don't require much emotion or energy.   

For the most part when I record voice-overs, I stand; however, I sometimes let the script decide (barring any direction I've gotten) as to whether I sit or stand at the microphone. 

Your results may vary.

by Rich Brennan


Do Listeners Trust Male or Female Voiceover Recordings More?

Posted On: April 29, 2016

Unfortunately, for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, political advertising is everywhere. If you try and escape from the barrage of attack ads by scrolling through your social media feeds, then you'll still get hit with non-stop Bernie Sanders and Trump supporters urging you to "Feel the Bern" or "Make Donald Trump Again."

The insane amounts of money these candidates are spending on radio advertising is mind boggling, but a new study reveals some interesting new information about voiceover recordings.

Researchers from the University of Albany, in New York, listened to 7,000 different political ads from 2010 to 2012 and discovered that male voiceover artists were used twice as much as women. The study found that 63% of the ads used male voiceover artists; 28% used female voiceover artists; while 9% of the ads used both genders. The study's other findings actually defied political stereotypes.

Not only were male politicians more likely to use women for voiceover recordings, but Republicans were also more likely to use women's voices than Democrats. There was one exception to the latter finding: "the more Democratic the district or state, the more likely the ad featured a woman's voice-over, suggesting that audience characteristics enter into campaigns' choices about the content of ads."

"One of our most striking findings is also the most basic -- men's voices dominate political advertising by more than a two-to-one ratio," said lead author, Patricia Strach. She added, "However, we can find no good reason for this disparity. In many circumstances, men and women as voice-over announcers are equally effective. And, at times, it is more advantageous to use women's voices."

According to an old radio advertising superstition, 'attack ads' are less likely to backfire when women's voices are used to soften the blows. Plus, female voiceover recordings were more common in ads about education or family values while male voice talent was used for issues like national defense.

Whether the voice-over recordings are for a television ad or radio advertising, these types of ads are a mainstay of political campaigns in 2016 America. As the second most wide-reaching medium in the country today, some 13,500 radio stations reach 59% of the country on a daily basis. Every week, at least 236 million people listen to the radio, which doesn't even account for streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.

And while you might think that listening to 7,000 political advertisements would be enough to drive anyone insane, the researchers persevered long enough to publish the study, "In a Different Voice? Explaining the Use of Men and Women as Voice-over Announcers in Political Advertising".


Getting into Voice-overs- Beware of...THE SCAM

Posted On: April 04, 2016


There’s no doubt you’ve heard about the voiceover scams going around; I recently received an email about a voice-over job that caused me to relive a scam that I almost  fell into.  Thanks to my colleague, Doug Turkel, for allowing me to share part of his blog content.

You may have seen an email similar to this, but if you haven't – pay attention! The information in this blog could save you from a very big, and quite possibly, expensive headache.  Here’s what the email said:

"Hello and how are you doing today? My name is Jamie Bridge. I found your profile while surfing the internet, and found it interesting. We are currently seeking voiceover artist for an upcoming audition in your area next month. Kindly respond to this email if you are interested. I look forward to reading from you so we could proceed with further details. Thanks, Jamie"

After reading it, I quickly hit the delete button.  Here's why:

  1. "I found your profile while surfing the internet … and found it interesting"?  There's usually never any mention as to which profile (on which site) they're referring to, and isn't that the same 'wording' you see when your spam folder is full from those adult sites?
  2. “We are currently seeking voiceover artist for an upcoming audition in your area next month."  Currently seeking a voice over artist? Shouldn’t it read: Currently seeking voiceover artists (plural) - see the difference?
  3. "I look forward to reading from you so we could proceed with further details."  This is poorly written! (Reading from you?) If this were a real notice you would have been given many details about the voiceover job, as opposed to having someone tied to a keyboard waiting for a response so that they can THEN give you the details.
  4. And finally, "Thanks, Jaime".  This, if anything, should be the kicker to tell you this is a scam.  No email signature and no contact information whatsoever; this usually means that the email is coming from outside the United States.

If you replied to an email like this, you'd most likely begin a very long game of email-tag; which is another indicator that this is a scam.

A legitimate email would have told you that they found you while doing a search for voiceover talent, or on one of the P2P (Pay to Play) sites. They’ll probably tell you they have a narration or a commercial they would like to have you submit an audition for and they would probably tell you the length of the project as well.  Contact information along with a company name, phone number and website would most certainly be included. In most cases the script will be embedded in the email or attached.  And finally, they would likely ask you to submit your audition with a quote; not ask if you’re interested.

This voiceover scam is so typical and similar to how the other scams are run, but the outcome is always the same:  Overpayment!  I'll explain that later on. 

Let’s now go back to July of 2010, where I almost  fell into the scam.

I was emailed by a Jim...(something) last name began with a 'T', claiming to be from Great Britain.  Jim stated that he had a :30 tv commercial, for a new energy drink, that he was looking to have the produced audio aligned with video.  After replying that I was interested a script was sent; I voiced and produced a demo and submitted with a quote (about $2000 USD).  A day or so later I was notified that I was selected for the job with the proposed quote; as you could imagine, I was a very happy dude.  I was then asked to provide an itemized invoice- which I did; then the check came:

When this showed up in my mailbox.....I was very excited...until a few things caught my eye:

The amount (more than I quoted)
Different fonts
RE:  James Simpson (who's that?)

Immediately, I emailed 'Jim T' about these issues and got this as a reply (paraphrased):

The amount:  The client paid me the full amount instead of cutting several checks; just remit the balance of the check (from my quoted amount)- Bell #1  (Overpayment)

Different fonts:  He couldn't give an answer, only to claim that's the way the bank cut the check- Bell #2  (only banks can make out a Cashiers Check, the font is consistent.)

RE:  James Simpson: I was told that this was the energy drink representative (so what's that name doing on my check? I have no dealing with him at all.)- Bell #3

I contacted 'Jim' with my concerns about the validity of the voiceover project and would be happy to submit the check once this check cleared. 

'Jim's' reply to that was that the project was already in delay and would I submit the return-payment immediately; 'Jim' guaranteed the checks validity.  During this process I began researching (while the endless emails were going back and forth imploring me to make the return-payment); I called the financial institution, where the check was drawn from, and was told that they had no record of this check.  I did find it odd that a British business would pay from a U.S. bank (located in Atlanta, GA).  The bank did ask for a copy of the check and contact info from anyone associated with it- which I happily surrendered.  The last email I recall sending to 'Jim', I informed him that I've reported the incident to the proper authorities- I haven't heard from 'Jim' since.

Moral of the story?

1- Avoid the endless emails about a project before getting a script;
2- No contact info in an email?  DELETE;
3- When dealing with a company outside of the U.S. insist on eletronic payment;
4- And never, EVER, send money back (because of an overpayment). 

I hope this information helps to prevent you from becoming a victim of these voiceover scams.  The bad guys are always going to try to steal money from you; the more we spread the word, the harder it will become for them to succeed. 

by Rich Brennan


Is Radio Really the #2 Widest Reaching Medium in the U.S?

Posted On: March 03, 2016

In previous blog posts, we've reported that as per the latest data, 236 million Americans listen to 13,500 different radio stations. We've told you that radio is the second most powerful medium in the United States, reaching 90% of the population on a weekly basis and 59% on a daily basis.

Well, turns out we were wrong. So just how wide of a reach does radio really have in 2016? According to the latest data, radio has the #1 widest reach of all mediums.

A recent Forbes report found that an incredible 93% of U.S. adults listen to the radio at least once a week, compared to 87% for television. Forbes concluded, "In terms of the American population, this means that 243 million people over the age of 12 are listening to old-fashioned broadcast AM/FM radio every week. It may all come down to the fact that as long as we have cars, we’ll be listening to the radio. And since a time coming when that won’t be the case is unforeseeable, it’s quite clear that radio -- and its tremendous reach -- is here to stay."

In the bizarre world of show business, voice acting and radio commercials might not seem quite as sexy as television or the silver screen. And while new media technologies like the Internet, social media, and apps get all the attention, American businesses underestimate radio at their own peril.

In February 2016, Nielsen's latest data showed that these numbers held steady in Q3 2015, even topping streaming music services like Spotify. Not only that, but Nielsen's latest data shows that radio is one of the most effective mediums for reaching black and Hispanic consumers as well.

Nielsen reported last year that "This growth trend is also evident when examining black and Hispanic audiences-the weekly reach of radio among African-Americans and Hispanics has been growing steadily over the past five years. Since 2011, the weekly national black radio audience has grown 5% (from 29.8 million to 31.3 million) while the Hispanic audience has grown 11% (from 36.5 million to 40.4 million)."

And because radio advertising, voice acting, and audio production usually cost less than video production, these numbers confirm what we've known all along: radio production is often the most cost-effective format for reaching the widest audience.


Trump, Clinton, and Jeb! All Betting Big on Radio Commercials

Posted On: February 22, 2016

This January, Time magazine declared "Radio is a different kind of battlefield."

While radio advertising might not be as sexy as social media or television, in the digital age, it's one of the widest reaching forms of mass media in the world. And while you'll find all the major presidential candidates on social media, candidates are spending tens of millions of dollars on radio commercials during this election year.

In a previous blog post, we reported that the one and only Donald Trump chose radio for his campaign's first-ever commercials all the way back in November.

Why does radio have such a strong appeal for politicians like Trump and Bernie Sanders alike?    

commercial“You can do some targeting on television, especially on cable, but nothing like you can do on radio, where the demographics of the listeners are so much more tightly targeted than even on cable television,” Hendrix College professor Jay Barth told Time.

As of 2015 there were more than 13,500 radio stations in the U.S., covering more than 40 different formats of radio production. After a century of popularity, radio is still the second most powerful mass medium in the country, reaching into the lives of 59% of Americans every day and 90% every week. So it's easy to see why radio commercial production remains such an integral part of modern political campaigning.

So how are the disparate 2016 presidential candidates spending their radio ad dollars this year?

The main Hillary Clinton Super PAC, Priorities USA, is currently busy trying to turn out the South Carolina primary vote, where they've spent $500,000 on new radio ads. On the other side of the aisle, Jeb Bush has tapped his big brother George W. Bush, who remains very popular in South Carolina, for a new radio ad. Jeb Bush's mortal enemy, Donald Trump, is also calling on family members to help with his audio production projects. Trump recently featured the voice talents of his daughter, Ivanka, in new radio commercials.

So if you're one of the lucky Americans who doesn't live in one of the early primary states, it's only a matter of time before all those political commercials start flooding your neighborhood as well. Just don't expect to escape them by turning off the TV and turning on the radio...


Is Radio Dead? The Truth Behind the State of the Radio Industry

Posted On: January 18, 2016

radio advertWith all the new advancements in music streaming technology, many people are quick to assume that traditional radio is dying. Traditional broadcast seems to have taken a backseat to other, newer, on-demand music services. Although new channels for listening to music have been introduced, radio is far from dead. It isn't dying; in fact, it's alive and well.

Radio is still a popular medium in America, reaching 59% of the country's population every day. A recent article from Forbes magazine claimed that radio is doing better than ever, despite consumer's usage of the newer music streaming platforms. The article stated that the second quarter of 2015 had seen the highest number of people tuning in to radio -- ever.

A whopping 245 million people tuned into the radio at least once per week during that time, and about 236 million tune in on average. Radio is still a leading force thanks to how readily available it has become for consumers. Nearly every automobile is equipped with a radio and people are constantly listening whenever they are in their cars. 

Radio companies have tapped in to the popularity of smartphones and begun developing applications that allow their listeners to tune in anywhere. People can listen to recordings and podcasts of their favorite on-air talent right from their smartphones. Radio continues to thrive because it has become accessible on many different devices, which draws us to a simple conclusion: Radio isn't dying, it's merely evolving.

Radio advertising is reaping the benefits from this spike in listenership. A radio commercial can be incredibly beneficial when there are so many people who are receiving the message. Radio stations have become niche-markets, offering stations that only play a certain genre or decade of music. There are over 13,500 radio stations that cover over 40 different formats. Radio advertising companies are not going to put their spending practices on hold; they are becoming keener to the changes in the way people listen and are tailoring their messages to fit their target audience. The power of radio will continue to pulse the more radio advertising companies choose to invest.

In short, the radio industry will never die as long as advertisers spend and listeners tune in, and the trends show that neither will stop happening any time soon. The radio industry will keep growing as talented newcomers offer new ideas to keep up with the media’s ever-changing demands. If you want to get involved in the industry, don’t let anyone talk you out of pursuing a career in radio. From voiceover work to audio production, there are so many opportunities to be a part of this amazing industry.

by Rich Brennan