Reasons to Feel Enthusiastic

Some Mondays it can be easier to get into the groove than others, right? But today, just back from World Wide Radio Summit 2019, I am feeling about as motivated and enthusiastic about my work as a gal can feel. This is in large part the consequence of a panel that my friend, fellow voice talent, and Radio Imaging trailblazer Kelly Doherty AKA “K3” ran. There were hundreds of people from around the world, from Europe, South Africa, all over the US, and Canada, and all week everyone waited for Kelly’s panel. The energy in the room was amazing. You could feel the joy, the love, the pride, and the creative power. For the women in the audience, there was another element though. Kelly was running the show. Not that this is anything new for our beloved K3 as she has voiced the top stations around the country for more than a decade, but here, at this industry event, she was setting the standard and guiding what Radio Industry Imaging protocol was for everyone. So when she asked her highly selective panel of guests if a female voice can be the main voice of a station, Kelly’s question was met with a resounding “YES”!!

There were two sessions specifically targeting radio imaging at WWRS2019. K3 included several other amazing women as panelists, among them Melissa Thom,  Issa Lopez, and Ashley Cavalier. These women, unique, bright, and talented share an enthusiasm and passion for our industry. They are also all incredible talented. So I was incredible proud not just to be their to learn from them but to feel that they were representing us. And to clarify the “us” is both the women who are in imaging and at the conference, and those of us who plug away daily in our booths to contribute to an industry that we adore. To be sitting in the audience amongst power houses like Taylor Kaye, Rachel McGrath, Amanda Madi, Heather Walters, Heather Foster, Nicole Britton, Jenn Sweeney, Roberta Solomon… I could keep going but our presence fueled the message of the panel. It used to be they our voices were only used to compliment the mail voice on any given format. Now, as women we have an opportunity to take the lead. So, it is apparent that audiences across genres trust female voices and our moment to shine has come.

Trusting Female Voiceover Actors

While I could go on and on about my radio imaging work this morning because I just got back from this amazing conference, in truth I am super enthusiastic about my voiceover work across genres. I settle in to a commercial read or a telephony project with just as much passion. I try to always consider who I am speaking to and why my client need  my voice. According to the Daily Mail, “two studies have revealed that both men and women preferred female voices – which were found to be ‘warmer’ and ‘understanding’.” While I am often asked to be upbeat and conversational, I know that in essence the folks casting me want the listener to connect, and that connection will only happen if the read is believable and the listener trusts the voice they hear.

Apparently, even in the growing world of AI, the shift to women voices is a huge trend! Have you noticed that Siri, Alexa, and often your GPS all sound like women? In an interview of Amazon executives in PC Mag, they were asked why they often use women are for AI voices and Amazon explained “We tested many voices with our internal beta program and customers before launching and this voice tested best,” an Amazon spokesperson told PCMag. “However, for our objectives—building a helpful, supportive, trustworthy assistant—a female voice was the stronger choice,” according to Mr. Redmond. So, it is not only in radio imaging that more doors are opening for women.

Correlation Between Women In VO and Women in Workforce

As the trends for hiring women in voiceover start to shift in our favor in recent years, which I can assure you was not the case when I entered the industry years ago, I can’t help but wonder if this is directly related to changes in the work force in the United States in general. I found some hard facts that lead me to believe that it is. According to WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council):

  • As of 2018, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. Compare that to 1972, when there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses, representing 4.6 percent of all firms.
  • Women own 4 out of every 10 businesses in the U.S.
  • Industries with the highest growth rates in terms of number of women-owned businesses include utilities (151% growth), other services (126%), construction (94%), accommodations and food services (85%), and administrative, support and waste management services (70%).

So it is within this setting that women in voiceover have begun to sparkle. And my hope is that as  women entrepreneurs continue to expand exponentially, so will their confidence in the women of voiceover!