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the very embodiment of class


The drama is over, the current story has ended.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Conan O’Brien is a funny, silly and classy guy.

Think about all the professional crap and public humiliation he’s just had to endure and then please watch this.

Could you be this gracious? I’m not sure if I could or not.

nominees for world news with diane sawyer fauxdition announced


With my sincere thanks to the record 96 participants in this faux-dition and the gracious judges (all of whom said the process was very difficult) there are now terrific 11 nominees for you to vote on (11 because there was a tie for 10th spot and 11 is a bigger number than 10 and because I said so.)

First, a little housekeeping (PLEASE READ)


1. The decision of audio’connell voice over talent (that would be me) is final

2. Nobody has a chance to get the real announcer job at World News with Diane Sawyer as the job has long ago been ably filled and because this is an unofficial and very silly contest.

3. Please choose your top three choices, numbering them 1, 2, 3 with your first choice (1) being your favorite (three different announcers, NOT three votes for one person, etc.)

4. Type your vote in the comment section of this blog post below

5. You may only vote once and you are on the honor system

6. Voting will end when I say it does, probably a couple of weeks I’m guessing

OK, the floor is yours. Have fun! Click HERE to listen to the nominees then please come back to vote below in the comment box.
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one last word on Justin from Justin

<em> Justin Kaiser, 1977-2010</em>

Justin Kaiser, 1977-2010

So I was culling through all my Google blog feeds as I was feeling the need to purge. Some people do this annually or some people do it like me – when the feeling hits.

I decided I was tired of the uselessness of the Craigslist feeds on voice over jobs that I started following about 6-8 months ago. Then while I was removing those 365 feeds, I thought – hey I’ll do a blog post about that (cheap jobs, VO’s posting how crappy the jobs were and how craigslist is about “cheap” – always has been- so we can’t get mad about it). Meanwhile I decided to go through and look at the other feeds and maybe clean a bit.

And then I noticed a feed entitled “Creating Conversations” by Justin Kaiser, a fellow voice talent who was buried this week at the age of 33 following from complications following surgery.

And my heart sank.

Craigslist didn’t seem so important nor did just about anything else. Sigh….big sigh.

And no, I can’t bring myself to delete his blog feed.

But then I thought I’d do something that I felt might be a nice remembrance of a special part of Justin’s life – his work at Creative Identities Group.

Justin’s last blog entry (I’m pretty sure he wrote this up…but I did not confirm it….I like to think he wrote it) was posted on December 3, 2009. It was a simple post about On-hold messaging. It made me smile and I sorta feel that’s the way he would have wanted it. I hope it makes you smile too because after reading all the posts about him, I believe that would please him very much.

5 Reasons to Use On-Hold Messages

by On Hold Identity Group

In these difficult economic times it’s worth using every marketing tool available to you. On hold messages are a simple, effective and cost-efficient method of getting your marketing message out to your clients. Think of an on-hold message as a form of infomercial about your business. It’s an ideal opportunity to tell your potential customers about the products and services you offer and the benefits they can bring. No one likes to be put on hold, and many of us feel it’s a complete waste of our time. So if you can turn this into a productive, entertaining 2 or 3 minutes, your callers will appreciate it.

Your company will also appreciate the benefits, as studies conducted by major telecommunication companies revealed that approximately 20% of callers that are placed on hold will actually make purchase decisions based on what they hear while they are on hold.

So what are some of the benefits of using an on-hold message?

1. Introduce new products or services to your customers.

2. You have a captive audience why not use this valuable undivided attention – Entertain and inform them but also remind them that you value them as a customer.

3. Callers are more likely to stay on the line if they hear a message and/or background music. A caller who doesn’t stay on the line is a potential lost sale.

4. Inform your customers of general business hours and holiday time opening and closing times. Use the message to answer frequently asked questions – saving your customer service team time and resources and increasing their efficiency.

5. Tell customers the benefits of using your products and services – remind them how your company can help improve their situation and solve their problem.

Its also important to choose a voiceover artist whose voice reflects your company’s brand and image. Choose a voice that makes your company sound engaging and interesting. A voice that is clear and distinct, but also one that engenders trust and credibility. A professional voiceover artist can deliver a persuasive sales message as well as sounding polite and personable.

two very pleasant experiences

<em> Voice Talent Lee Gordon (I swear it's him)</em>

Voice Talent Lee Gordon (I swear it's him)

Last evening I enjoyed two very pleasant phone calls that I thought I would share with you.

First, I got a call from a number I had never seen before – which isn’t that unusual as many new clients call me all the time. But this wasn’t a client, it was my friend and fellow voice talent Lee Gordon (that’s his picture above) who shared with me the fact that he took my advice (yikes…I’d forgotten what I said) and got a cell phone he could use just for his business. This would be his primary business number: 860-805-8100. I was his first call on the new phone, which was a great honor in my mind. I hope if you read this here, you’ll call Lee and congratulate him while simultaneously putting the number in your own database, as I did.

Lee also called to share some other good news: he was cast as the “Sun” in a national commercial for SunSetter Awnings, though our mutual agent and friend (the two aren’t mutually exclusive) Erik Shepard at Voice Talent Productions. I was especially thrilled to hear this because Lee and I had spoken in New York in December about how we were both up for the announcer role for the SunSetter Radio spots, which I was hired for. Let it be known that the FIRST person to congratulate me on that win was Lee Gordon – the very definition of gracious. We both hope somehow our paths will cross on these campaigns and we’ll get to work together.

Later in the evening, about 8:00 p.m., I got a call from the agency president of one of my other agents, Lynne Heyman of Heyman Talent (that’s not her pictured above). She was returning my call, which I advised her automatically puts her in the upper echelon of my agents. But as I also pointed out to her, the dedication she shows to her talents on her roster by following up with a call even at 8:00 at night is very impressive. And as usually, our 5 minute call lasted almost 1/2 an hour and it is always time well spent with her. I just wanted to thank Lynne here for taking the time with me last night.

why not think like a broadcaster?


I watched with interest the Charlie Rose interview with NBC/Universal President Jeff Zucker who has been heavily invested in the programming debacle of the network’s entertainment division. Of most recent note was the late night changes forced by the failure of The Jay Leno Show in prime time.

So many opinions and rehashes of what was taking place at NBC have been published or put on air and I’m just a voice over guy and a broadcaster at heart…there’s not much I felt I could add to the mix.

Then, I watched the Zucker interview and I saw the nexus of this decades old problem in his answers. Thirty minutes of back and forth with Zucker’s use of the word “obviously” so numerous as to make it a drinking game – but I felt I saw the crux of NBC’s problem so clearly right away.

Going back to 1993, 2004 and through today, the decision makers at NBC, up until only recently owned by General Electric, were thinking like business people. They made their NBC decisions primarily based on profit and loss as if their network was the equivalent of a household appliance or a light bulb.

What Jeff Zucker (as well as his predecessors) and the brass at NBC were and are NOT doing was thinking like a broadcaster first. Broadcasters too care very much about profit and loss but they consider the audience first – what will appeal to the people buying our products?

How does that work? Let’s look at the Leno/O’Brien issue.

In 2004, a person who thinks like a “broadcaster” does not approach their longtime leader in the 11:30 p.m. time slot (by a pretty sizable margin) and say to him “Jay, we don’t think you can keep this rating momentum up much longer even though you are still #1, so we’re going to fire you from this job in five years time and put another host in.”

No, a broadcaster lets the audience decide on who stays and who goes and if the broadcaster wants to hedge their bets, they sign their current host to a 2-3 year contract, a shorter leash.

Carson always did one year deals in at least the last ten years of his NBC agreement.

Ah but what about the other host who is gaining in popularity, how do you deal with that? After all, you grew that host from the ground up in some very shaky times early on and now he owns his time slot at 12:30 a.m. and is ready to bolt to maybe ABC, maybe at 11:30. You negotiate with the 12:30 host a right of first refusal for the 11:30 spot, should it come open, add money, other incentives and hopes he takes it. If not, you let him go.

Yes, the 12:30 host could become a big star and formidable competitor on another network in the way CBS was able to establish its own late night franchise in 1993. But those negotiations were also not handled by broadcasters…and what you are reading about in the papers today is, in my opinion, at least in part a direct result of the Carson / Letterman / Leno debacle of the 90’s.

Today NBC sons (Zucker / O’Brien) are paying for the sins of their fathers (Bob Wright / Warren Littlefield / Jay Leno with Helen Kushnick) because the succession that everyone who was a true broadcaster knew should take place at NBC then (Letterman taking over for Carson when Carson announced his retirement, did not. The GE executives didn’t like having to deal with Letterman who was not a pushover.

David Letterman and Conan O’Brien think like broadcasters (as did Johnny Carson before them) and have for the most part been revenue builders (Conan’s Tonight Show was always going to need time as did Jay’s broadcast when it started). Carson, Letterman and O’Brien all knew what the Tonight Show meant to viewers and the broadcasting industry.

Bob Wright, Warren Littlefield, Jeff Zucker and certainly Jay Leno did not and do not think like broadcasters. Two are strictly corporate in their thinking and one is solely a joke teller, a comedian. Jay did very well in the ratings, did what he was told by the corporation and that got him fired twice…a broadcaster would had more self-respect…sooner. They all saw the Tonight Show as a show that makes money and entertains.

The difference between the two schools of thinking makes all the difference in this dispute.

Bob Wright and Jeff Zucker are businessmen in the mold of General Electric even in spite of Zucker’s ascension through the broadcast world –listen to his quotes in the Rose interview. Does Zucker ever refer to these programs as broadcasts – are his programming ideas based on what the audience wants or rather what makes a good economic business decision? His “risks”, that he often refers to in the interview, seem much more shareholder driven rather than audience driven.

1. Audience 2. Bottom Line – not the other way around.

My belief is if Zucker (or his predecessors at GE) truly considered the audiences’ wants first (in the way broadcasters think), Zucker would still be able to fulfill his duties to shareholders (television IS a business yet it is beholden to the viewer first and foremost, not the stockholder). But it was Zucker, Bob Wright, Warren Littlefield and General Electric’s inability to put the audience first that ultimately has led to GE getting out of broadcasting. General Electric (and their by its leadership at NBC was never able to divert its eyes off of its stock value momentarily and put its customer (the viewer!) first.

None of this makes any of the NBC players mentioned here (past or present) bad people. They are all talented and smart. But they are not smart like broadcasters and for that one reason, they are or have been ill-suited for their positions.

This chapter has pretty much been written…and what I have proposed here is what the participants past, present and future can learn from it.

But it’s never too late to adopt a new (or in this case old-school) way of thinking. After all, NBC is the National Broadcasting Company.

evidently, everyone else on the planet said “no”


John Florian is usually a pretty savvy, smart guy. But I think he may have lost his mind. Either that or absolutely everyone else on the planet said no.

John pinged me last week to invite me to be on a panel he is moderating at VOICE 2010, June 2-5 in LaLa Land.

I am to speak eloquently on how I use the internet for my voice over career and for my companies: audio’connell Voice Over Talent, International Voice Talent and Voice Over Workshop. If he wants eloquence, I hope he has a script for me.

Trish Basanyi (who I had the pleasure of meeting at the NYC Voice Over Mixer) will be on the panel with me along with David Kaplan.

Our plan as panelists, I have decided here without consulting either Trish or David, will be to have a pre-meeting confab with John and us at the most expensive, trendy, posh restaurant in LA (on John’s dime of course, he’s rollin’ in it).

This way, when I open my mouth to speak at the conference and the audience realizes I have nothing to say and my voice over career promptly ends of the spot, I will at least have had one last good meal.