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a friend who looks out for you


If you ever hired for or been trained by a professional in presentation skills, sales or call center ops, chances are you have heard of Mike Aoki of Toronto. He also does some great motivational talks as well.

I first met Mike up in the T dot when we were both active in Ryze (I dropped my membership but still have friends from the group, Mike included). He’s a talented guy and good people.

Well out of nowhere, Mike drops me an email today about an online Newsweek article about political voice overs and how campaigns choose their political voice over talent. He came across it in his reading, I might not have ever seen it without his ping and I thought the article and video was great.

Even more impressive was Mike’s selflessness on my behalf. Thanks Mike!

a sound yankee stadium memory

bob-sheppard_courtesy_usa_today (Bill Kostroun, AP)

I am not what you would call a baseball fanatic. The Buffalo Bisons (for whom I have voiced commercials) counted me among their season ticket holders until it became clear they were not going to be able to secure a major league franchise.

Now that the New York Mets will have the Bisons as their Triple A Baseball affiliate, Mrs. audio’connell, who is a die-hard Mets fan, will likely drag me and the audio’connellettes to a game or two next summer. It will be fun.

But the reason I bring up the topic of baseball today has to do with a wonderful tribute I read, among many, with the closing of the original Yankee Stadium. Nope, I’d never been to a Yankees game and was not really a Yankees fan. But I absolutely get the history and magic of the place.

So I come across the Bronx Banter blog (try saying that three times fast as a VO warm-up exercise) and a post written by a guy named Ed Alstrom who plays the organ at the stadium. He was reminiscing about his most cherish stadium memory, the voice of Yankees Public Address Announcer Bob Sheppard.

Please read the whole tribute here.

Even I, who have never been to a Yankees’ game, know Mr. Sheppard’s voice, which first was heard on April 17, 1951 when the late Yankees greats Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were in the line up. As the late, former Yankee player then play-by-play man Phil Rizzuto might say “Holy cow!”

I totally can relate to how a public address announcer sets the mood. For me it was at Buffalo Sabres games. Our public address announcer was a gentlemen named Milt Ellis whose vocal timbre was somewhat similar to Mr. Sheppard’s. Goals, penalties (especially after bench-clearing brawls) and even weather updates if the snow got bad during a game…he made it all sound great.

And wouldn’t you know local broadcasting historian and WBEN-AM newsman Steve Cichon has a tribute to the retired Mr. Ellis on Steve’s amazingly informative web site.

So to all you public address announcers out there, remember you do have an impact and people do know you as part of the fabric of the game.

10 years

My dear wife, amazing mother of my two awe-inspiring children and the person whom I frustrate on a daily basis, married me ten years ago today.

I know I am lucky. I know I am unworthy. But I also know she’s still the one I want to grow old with.

My life is a gift, not a guarantee.

She is the gift. She has given me the gifts.

She has allowed me to believe in me.

I am grateful and rather speechless.

Cue the music.

do what you love and work hard – are you doing it?


Likely you’ve not heard of Gary Vaynerchuk or Wine TV. Go to his website if you’d like to learn more. He is a passionate and successful guy. Those who have met him in person truly enjoy his company.

The reason I am posting this video is to provide you with a pep talk. You may need one or you may not need one which I think is a pretty good time for a pep talk as you’re not combating negative feelings and can more easily build on the positive vibe you’re working off of at present.

Gary’s message is about passion and people and how we all need to do what we love. Easily said, right?

But sometimes we need a kick in the pants to remember it’s not a “slogan”, it is an action but for it to be an “action” we need to take action! This video from Web Expo 2.0 (which contain some HBO-like NSFW language) is a hyper reminder that passion, hard work and caring for people will result in success. There are no quick solutions. Social media has tools we can all use to build our brands but we have to make it work. It takes time.

However if you love what you do…time goes by pretty fast.

I hope this helps you. Go kill it!

MEDIA RELEASE – Voice Over Company on Track for Strong 2008 Finish

audio'connell Media Release

BUFFALO, New York, September 23, 2008 – – Citing a 25% increase in new client growth over 2007, retention and expansion of existing client work in 2008 and web site improvements this year that resulted in increased web-based inquires, audio’connell Voice Over Talent is expected to achieve 20% year-over-year sales growth versus 2007, it was announced today.

Company president and professional male voice over talent Peter K. O’Connell cited three primary factors for audio’connell Voice Over Talent’s growth thus far in 2008 – expanded existing engagements with current voice over clients throughout the year, an increased menu of voice over services available to existing and new clients. Finally, improvements to the company’s web site infrastructure enhanced the site’s search engine optimization and marketing functions.

The company introduced a new service in 2008, International Voice Talents, which features a growing roster of professional, foreign language voice talents, helping fuel audio’connell ‘s year-to-date revenues.

“There has been a bunch of rotten economic news this year that has reached a near-crescendo recently in the U.S. but we have been fortunate that our business plan and services menu is more global in scope so we won’t take the potential wallop a lot of other small businesses are bracing for,” O’Connell said.

“While not everybody gets it yet, it does seem that the business we deal with understand that in a strong economy marketing and communication are important to business growth and in a bad economy marketing and communication are vital to business growth,” O’Connell said.

A professional voice over talent and audio producer for over 25 years, Peter O’Connell is president of audio’connell Voice Over Talent, a worldwide, English language-based voice talent organization. Mr. O’Connell also operates International Voice Talents, a company featuring professional foreign language male and female voice actors.

Both companies provide voice talent for commercials, animation, corporate narrations, documentaries, broadcast voice imaging, audio books, podcasts and messaging on-hold (MOH). Industries served by the two companies include advertising agencies, media and broadcast production companies as well as both large and small businesses around the world.

Mr. O’Connell also owns Voice Over Workshop, which provides professional voice over training to novice and experienced voice talent around the world.

audio’connell Voice Over Talent, International Voice Talents and Voice Over Workshop are all a part of O’Connell Companies.
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Use lower case letters- audio’connell or audio’connell Voice Over Talent

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this is what customer service is all about, charlie brown

So this evening I attend this season’s first member meeting of the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives. This professional association has been around since 1942 and is chalk full of great folks. Full disclosure in that I am a proud past president of BNSME, having originally joined in 1989.

I get to the Millennium Airport Hotel for the meeting about 10 minutes after the networking begins and I check in. The Vice President for Programs this year, Todd Salansky who owns online thymes, llc, says to me out of the blue “You do the invocation.”

“Huh, what?” I so eloquently reply.

“We don’t have an invocator for tonight, can you do it?”

Well when you’re a past president, you know exactly how crazed the first meeting of the year is for new board members so you know that you gotta say yes, which I did.

For some reason, though, I just trotted my way up to the bar and started chatting with friends and guests. While talking with one of the night’s featured speakers, it dawned on me that I had just agreed to give an invocation and hadn’t written a damn word!

People seem to like my invocations because I usually spend some time on them but holy crap…I’d now given myself about 15-20 minutes to come up with something that usually takes about 30-40 to write.

Oh and about the computer that I didn’t have on me to write that invocation….

So I did what any self-respecting A-Type personality would do…I marched into the office of the Millennium Airport Hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing and my friend Russ Papia and said “I need to use a computer…right now.”

Now if you ever looked up the term gracious in the dictionary you’d see Russ’ picture. He’s says without missing a beat “no problem” but instead of putting me at someone else’s desk, he gets up off his seat and gives me his computer.

Let’s review….this is the man responsible for all the revenue collected at his hotel, fielding much of the food and beverage issues at the Millennium ….which is neither a small nor quiet hotel. And yet he pops up like a jack rabbit for me and says “here you go.” I wrote my invocation, it was applauded (which is not normal for invocations) and it was all because Russ Papia said “here you go.” He served the customer.

There’s a reason Russ has been successful in that position for over 100 years (give or take) and it’s because he delivers not only the revenues but more importantly the kind of memorable customer service that is sadly unique in today’s world.

If you come to Buffalo, please stay at the Millennium Airport Hotel and make a special effort to say hi to my friend, Russ Papia.