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VO4TA: Reading and Announcing

Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at


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VO4TA:  Reading and Announcing


So I’m listening and directing… (another day at the office) and I have this random thought: I wonder how much of what we understand as the “traditional announcer sound” (almost everything that contemporary voiceover is not) comes from the early live radio practice (think the 1920s) of announcers actually reading from a script in hand?  

Today we are tasked with making announcing sound as natural as possible, but that’s a fairly recent development - say, the last 30 years.


We deliver words very differently when reading out loud, rather than in (or pretending to have) a conversation. So - didn’t that really start with 1920’s radio?




Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at


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Comments Section

I do think the over-projected "announcer" sound began with the radio announcers of the 1920s through the 40s, prior to the birth of television. The network radio serials and game shows were done live, and had orchestras and studio audiences. In order to hear themselves over the music and applause, the announcers projected their voices and cupped a hand over one of their ears. After the serials and game shows moved to TV and radio stations began playing records, the over-projected style was adopted by many disc jockeys, and ultimately became known as the (now dreaded) radio hype sound. Because radio stations wrote (and produced) many of their local advertisers' commercials, they were read live or recorded by the disc jockeys and, hence – with few exceptions – the commercials tended to all sound alike; a disconnected, insincere sound. Thanks to the stations' audio processing, many who worked in radio came to love the way they sounded in their headphones. And, coming from a radio background myself I have to admit, losing that "radio announcer" sound is not easy to do. But it is made somewhat easier when we take off the headphones and concentrate on the read and not on how we sound. ;-)

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