I wanted to take a moment and talk about how and why I became involved in voice overs. I’ve always had that burning desire to be in radio. In the mid 70’s, while in my teens, I started working part time at a small radio station in Flagstaff, Arizona just for the fun of it. I didn't really know what I was doing, but it was a lot of fun.
Radio had always interested me, and I found lots of fulfillment listening to powerful distant AM stations during the night, in the cool mountain air of Flagstaff. KOA in Denver and KOMA in Oklahoma City were big favorites. I also enjoyed listening to KOB in Albuquerque and their tag line “for the man who makes his living driving a truck.” The fascination of hearing so many different stations during those late evenings only fueled my passion for broadcasting.
As the years moved on, I realized that radio broadcasting was not going to be my main vocation. Far from it, as I entered a career path in the far more predictable world of government work. In the mid-80’s, an opportunity came along where I was offered a part time position as an airborne traffic reporter for KTAR News Radio in Phoenix. I jumped at the chance and was in the air reporting on developing traffic problems during morning and evening rush hours. I continued on for several more years, but despite a successful career, I still longed for a role in broadcasting.
I made some early inquiries during my time at KTAR to one of the station's star hosts, Charlie Van Dyke. Charlie is the kind of guy every broadcaster would want to be, gifted with amazing “pipes” and the experience gained from years of hard work. Charlie was kind enough to give me some idea of the business, but back then, VO artists, and the industry they would spawn, were still an emerging domain. In today’s world of the internet, and ISDN, I can’t imagine having to send magnetic tapes to stations across the country by FedEx with the latest promos or commercials. But it was guys like Charlie who paved the way and pioneered the world of voiceover as we know it today.
Then around 1998 or 1999, I was sitting with my accountant discussing how much money I would hope to have left after April 15th when I mentioned that I was wanting to start my own business and “get into voiceovers.” As luck would have it, my accountant knew a guy that was working full time in the VO business and offered to contact him to help me out.
Just as Charlie had done years earlier, Steve Wood was an amazing mentor, counselor, and friend. I talked at length with Steve about what I wanted to do, and he patiently helped me thru the different steps of starting my business and selecting the right production gear. Keep in mind, Steve was already “doing” the business, and I was going to soon be a competitor for the same business dollars. Although given Steve’s ability and success, I doubt I was much of a serious threat! But it’s interesting that Steve, like Charlie, was already an experienced and successful professional. A pro in every sense of the word. Yet, they still had time to help out a new guy. Well, Steve introduced me to yet another VO guy who was working at the same station where I had worked as a traffic reporter years earlier. Ken Moskowitz, Spanky, as he was to become know, picked up where Steve left off and worked with me on most every topic area imaginable. Spanky too was already a successful VO artist, and still, he was willing to help out the new guy as well.
It says a lot to me about the character of someone who is willing to help out a stranger and work with them to achieve their own goals and dreams, especially if it’s in the very competitive world of voiceovers.
So when I was talking recently with my friend Spanky about my new web page, and how to effectively approach the world of social media for my business, he once again stepped up and took time from his very successful advertising business, Wedgie Media, to guide me in the right direction.
That’s one of the things I would like to do with my blog. I’d like to “Pay it Forward”, and continue the example set early on by Charlie, Steve and Spanky, and do what I can to help aspiring VO artists get to where they can envision their own goals and dreams, and be successful in their endeavors.
I guess there are two take-aways from my experience. While I had a very successful and gratifying career in government service, I always had that passion for radio. Voiceover became my outlet to achieve that goal, and in turn I helped clients tell their stories and build their businesses. It certainly wasn’t for the money, there are only a handful of people nationwide who are really making the big bucks in the business. So it must have been my passion for the business.
The other take-away, is really what goes around, always comes around. Whatever degree of success I’ve achieved in my business, it’s because of guys like Charlie, Steve and Spanky.
So here’s to you and your ambitions. Remember, you never fail until you quit trying. So hang in there, and hopefully my blogs will, in some small way, help pave the way to fuel your passion and success!