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a taste of radio makes you hungry for it again

audioconnell radio production studioIn the past when I traveled, I used to bring my portable rig, build a pillow fort, hook everything up and try and make a good recording in a crap environment. For the most part, it worked out OK.

The best result was that it would sound OK. That’s pretty much it.

Folks who don’t travel alot, like I do, think it’s kinda fun to put all that stuff together. After years of doing all that, you find out it’s monotonous. From the actual fort building and jerry-rigging to getting a shot-gun microphone through airport security without TSA pooping their collective pants (reasonably so as a Sennheiser 416 mic looks very suspicious under the x-ray machine) it gets to be a pain.

Bottom line, if I don’t HAVE to bring a travel rig, I won’t.

Instead, I use recording studios in the cities I visit. You meet new people, make new contacts and generally enjoy much better recording conditions. Except for that recording session outside of Dayton, OH that got postponed because there was a drug-related murder that took place across the street just before I was set to arrive.

And by postponed I mean I cancelled it. Just to avoid the possibility of me getting eternally cancelled.

So recent on one of my trips, I was in need of a studio for a rush audition. It was inside a large radio station and being in the station’s production room was like a joyful time warp for me.

From the board to the desk to the Electro-voice RE-20 microphone (the same type I used in the 80’s when I worked in radio) it was a wonderful place to be.

People who used to work in radio (and there are tens of thousands of us) will rightly complain that we were poorly paid, over worked and undervalued. People of work in radio now may say the same thing.

But pay and some lousy bosses (and/or owners) aside, it brings most of us real broadcasters to our happy place. Playing the music, mixing the stop sets, the radio station jingles, banter, callers, on-location events – it was all so fun and yet professional. There were and are many very good people in radio. We were serious about doing a good job, being creative, working to make sponsors happy….it could be a good business to be in.

This isn’t a gauzy, romanticized remembrance for me…radio had many good parts to it.

But by the time I finished with it, the bad parts outweighed the good parts. That’s just how life goes.

I completely understand why people stay in the radio business (even for less than stellar wages) and why even a few of my VO friends have gone back into it.

Being in that radio studio for my recent recording, it was my brief happy place. And all we all want is to be happy.

national hat day or an obsession

Looking at social media, I found out that January 15 is National Hat Day. (Yes I agree, there is a ‘national day’ for waaay too many things.)

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Hats

Nonetheless, clearly it was my civic duty to participate and share my hat collection with the internet. If there is a National T-Shirt Day, I may have to participate in that as well.

So clearly I have an over abundance of baseball hats. Why, you ask?

PeterKOConnell Movember15 Week1There are a couple of reasons beyond that I just like wearing them.

As a golfer, I have been a member of the USGA for a long time. And every time you pay for your renewal, they send you a golf hat (really a baseball cap) with the logo of that year’s U.S. Open Championship. So there’s all those.

Next, when my boys starting playing little league, their teams would mimic the names of MLB teams, so I would get a couple of hats of each of their teams and their team would change each year.

Being from Buffalo, I just couldn’t have one hat from the Buffalo Bills football team, Buffalo Sabres hockey team, Buffalo Bisons Triple-A baseball team and Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team. I hat [sic] to have many.

Peter K. Peter K. O'Connell Bills Hat 2017

So there’s that.

Then, because the Bills weren’t making it in the playoffs, I would get a hat for the NFL team I was supporting in the playoffs to wear to football parties. The Bills weren’t in the playoffs for a loooong time.

Then the rest of the hats just sort of accumulated. If I went to a MLB game, I would buy a home team cap if I didn’t already have it. And it grew from there.

#cans4cans 2018 Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Talent

Radio Imaging Voice Talent Peter K. O’Connell participating in the 2018 #Cans4Cans Food Donation event, sponsored by Benztown

I’m kind of partial to a particular style of baseball cap. ’47 Brand has a style called The Cleanup. I do NOT wear the standard, boxy baseball style cap seen on MLB players and nothing with half cloth, half mesh (guess I’m a bit of a baseball cap diva).

Being from Buffalo, I do have various styles of baseball caps from New Era Cap company. Although I don’t know how many more I will buy from them because New Era Cap is closing their Derby, NY plant, displacing hundreds of workers who helped build the company to what it is today. A majority of their manufacturing is going overseas with only the actually MLB team caps still being made in New Era’s Miami plant . I understand that other manufacturers (like ’47 Brand) make hats in other countries, but I always held New Era Cap to a higher standard, because of local pride.

There you have it, the somewhat brief history of my hundreds of baseball caps. More to come!

proof that following your voiceover instincts can work

Trust Your Instinct audioconnellOne of the biggest challenges to ANY small business owner (in voiceover or elsewhere) is knowing when to make an important decision.

Sometimes circumstances are clear and the business decision seems easy. Most times it’s not. That’s when business owners need to look at as many facts as possible and make the call, decision time.

Often, when circumstances and facts don’t seem as clear cut, a decision comes down to the business owner’s instincts. Their gut feeling.

So it was some years ago when I was reviewing the voiceover agents I work with.

I had many of them but more than a few were agents in name only. I never saw a lead for a new voiceover job from these few, never got a phone call from these few nor had I had my phone calls to these few returned. Most of my agents did all these things. Not these few.

Looking back it on my emails from these few, it had been multiple years since I received any communication from them. Any. That should have been reason enough.

Yet, I was hesitant…could this hurt my career if I decided to cut ties with these unproductive voiceover agents? Even though it seemed like they were not doing anything on my behalf, that they weren’t responsive to my communication, maybe (I briefly thought) they had a big job in the offing…maybe I should keep them on for just a little while longer.

My gut said no. My instincts told me I had reached out to them enough (and got little to no response) and also that if I met them in person they would not be able to pick me out of an audio or video lineup.

So I sent them a professional letter and advised them their “services” were no longer required.

I hadn’t thought about that time for a while until I received this advisement email from the Lori Lins Ltd. Talent Agency in Milwaukee, one of the few.

It read:

To: Kalah Spaude
Subject: New political commercial demo for Peter O’Connell
Sent: Monday, June 4, 2007 10:21:42 PM (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

was deleted without being read on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 12:13:55 PM (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada).

I had sent the agency a political voiceover demo in 2007. TWELVE years later, the agency deleted the demo email WITHOUT IT BEING READ.

Now maybe there is a technical reason for this…maybe a legitimate email went into a spam folder or maybe it got rerouted to a computer that went unused and they just cleared the system. Maybe somebody read it and forwarded it on to a technical person to post on a web site who ignored the email – with the person who emailed it not following up.

Or maybe no agent at my agency read the email. Maybe they just ignored it. Based on the service I experienced there (and with the other few), I tend to believe it was the latter.

In my opinion, my gut was right to part ways with this agent (and I cut the cord with them after 2007). This recent email notice was one of those “signs” we get in life. I have little doubt they even noticed my departure.

I’ve been successful without those few, and hopefully they have been successful without me. It’s not personal, it’s strictly business. I bear them no ill will.

But I am reminded by this email notice: go with your gut. Trust your instinct.

MEDIA RELEASE – Massachusetts State Lottery Picks O’Connell for Radio

Massachusetts State LotteryBOSTON, MA, January 2, 2019 – – One of the most successful lotteries in the United States, the Massachusetts State Lottery recently completed it’s holiday radio advertising campaign which featured the voice of award-winning male voice actor Peter K. O’Connell.

All part of the “Holiday Fatigue Syndrome” radio ad campaign, the commercial spots offered the Mass State Lottery’s Holiday Scratch Tickets as a great way to avoid the holiday blues and make spirits bright for gift givers and receivers.

About the Massachusetts State Lottery

Since selling its first ticket in March 1972, the Massachusetts State Lottery has generated $110.4 billion in sales, awarded $76.7 billion in prizes, returned $24.7 billion in net profit to the Commonwealth for unrestricted local aid available to cities and towns, and paid $6.3 billion in commissions and bonuses to its statewide network of retailers. Over the last 45 years, Massachusetts has grown to become one of the most successful lotteries in the nation and adapted to the ever-changing marketplace to provide innovative and exciting games to its players.

About Peter K. O’Connell

From Fortune 500 companies to companies that think $500 is a fortune, multi-award winning male voiceover talent Peter K. O’Connell has shared his voiceover and audio production skills with a wide variety of companies, world-wide.  In addition to his most recent voiceover work for the Massachusetts State Lottery, some of Peter’s commercial and narration clients also include L.L.Bean, IBM, Duracell Batteries, General Electric and Kraft Foods.

O’Connell owns audio’connell Voiceover Talent, a division of O’Connell Communications, LLC. He can be reached via audioconnell.com or peterkoconnell.com.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

CONTACT

Peter K. O’Connell

Your Friendly, Neighborhood Voiceover Talent

audio’connell Voiceover Talent

P.O. Box 5493 | Raleigh, NC 27512-5493

PH. +01 716-572-1800

EM. peter@audioconnell.com W. audioconnell.com

COMPANY MEDIA CENTER

http://www.audioconnell.com/media

PETER K. O’CONNELL VO CREDITS

VO Credits Link

COMPANY NAME SPELLING

Use lower case letters- audio’connell or audio’connell Voiceover Talent

COMPANY NAME PRONUNCIATION

au·di-o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-kah-nel