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bad Imus, bad channels, bad us…apologies not accepted

don imus

OK, Imus has been fired.

I don’t care about that so much because I really didn’t listen to him. The stuff I heard on his show I didn’t care for so I turned the channel. That’s what grown-ups do.

What Don Imus said about the women’s basketball team was stupid and offensive…to everybody. Depending on your social or political persuasion, you could argue that most of his show was usually either or both. He’s been doing some sort of inane or “shock” radio for 30 years; what’s the surprise about? People have been free to tune in or tune out Imus’ on-air belligerence for a long time

Controversy is pretty much the only ratings card morning radio has to play any more: A. all news or sports B. all music or C. comedy/stunting/controversial. So on average about 3.5 million people thought Imus’ controversial act (and some political chat) was worth listening to in the morning. Who’s blaming the listeners?

Imus’ employers didn’t care what he said or did as long as sponsors were happy. His sponsors didn’t care what Imus’ said or did as long as the audience and ratings were there. The audience either endorsed or was apathetic to Imus’ shtick (maybe they waded through the obnoxious stuff to get to the heady political interviews).

Then a political group gets wind of an Imus comment (that was stupid and offensive), a dust storm builds up into a tornado and repeated, likely heartfelt Imus apologies become mere interruptions in a diatribe which seem to be about social justice (a good thing) but more often are really about political and/or celebrity gain (a bad thing).

Sponsors and broadcasting companies who have long endorsed Imus’ shtick suddenly distance themselves as if ignorant to his previous work on their air. Who are they accountable to? Don’t say the government because in matters of broadcasting and any word that rhymes with “decency” our government is useless.

I don’t know if Imus is a good person or not but I do know he said a dumb thing, had his apologies summarily ignored and is now out of a job (two words: satellite radio). He gets most of the blame on this to be sure but not so much that dismissal was the only option. Shall we also fire the listeners, sponsors and networks? It seems they should shoulder much of the blame here too.

But we’ve become so comfortable with our scapegoat culture (protest here, finger point there) that once we’ve set our collective laser beams on a target (big or small) we fire at will. Then after the explosion, we move on with no perceptible improvement in OUR behavior.

Do we as a society even know how to accept an apology any more? Are we getting to a place in time where even saying “I’m sorry” is pointless?

Over at CBS News.com, Dick Meyer presented some other points (some similar to mine) on how our culture thrives on building up then tearing down celebrities. I don’t think we’d have to look to far to see how we do this in our own personal and professional lives as well.

Man, I hope we stop doing this soon.

voice 123 and their disclaimer

voice123.com

Editor’s Note: In the daily observation of life around him, the author occasionally feels the need to point out ridiculously inane behavior and general thoughtlessness. These are called “Rants” and this is one of those times.

As it’s kind of a quiet Saturday afternoon with folks sleeping or running errands from the house, I took the opportunity to visit Voice 123 and submit some auditions.  As I’ve mentioned before here, my bookings, auditions from agents and production schedule offer me less and less time to fiddle with the cattle call that Voice 123 has really become. But I still have months left on my paid subscription so I figured I better get to it. 

It has been awhile since I sent in some auditions.  I threw out the ones I didn’t think I’d be the right voice for and the ever present low ball audition (especially those folks requesting custom auditions for message on hold…who are they kidding?)  I was reading one audition that had a low price for the amount of work required and the usage of the voice and was about to delete it when I read down a little further and notice an addition to the usually inane Voice 123 disclaimer on price which read: 

“Voice123 Team Note: We recognize that this project may be below Voice123 pricing recommendations. We have become more flexible with budgets as it was brought to our attention that we could be violating United States federal anti-trust laws by limiting the participation of voice seekers in our marketplace when they don’t met our budget recommendations. It seems that, legally speaking, it is up to the providers (the talents and voice producers) and not the marketplace (Voice123) to determine to exclude the voice seekers they don’t want to work with.

Right after the release of the new Voice123, we will be working on several improvements that will help talents and voice producers filter the types of projects they want and better match projects with talent and voice producers depending on the budget and experience of the talent. On (sic) the meantime we are trying to be flexible to keep everybody happy.”

 “It seems that, legally speaking,…” Wow, what impressive attorney filed that hard hitting legal brief? 

As you might guess, I find this disclaimer highly suspect.  But I am also not an attorney. I am however a big David Letterman fan (not the stalking kind, I just like the show) and I thought of a Dave quote when he interviewed Bill O’Reilly from Fox News as I read the Voice 123 disclaimer. To paraphrase, it went along the lines of “I’m probably not as smart as you are but my gut tells me 60% of what comes out of your mouth is crap.” 

If Voice 123 is going to be “filtering” projects and pricing in their “next” version (which it seems they’ve been working on since 1950 and which might be ready by 2010) why can’t they filter now? Likely, they can.  In my opinion, the real answer is Voice 123 will take any voice job that comes through, slap it up on the board and let all the $50 announcers quote that price on a $2000 job just so Voice 123 can jack up the number of leads they provide VO subscribers and thereby justify the company’s existence.  

As always….I could be wrong.

MEDIA RELEASE – Voxmarketising, Popular Voiceover Blog, Completes Extreme Makeover

audio'connell Media Release

BUFFALO, New York, April 2, 2007 – – Blogging since 2005, audio’connell Voice-Over Talent has uploaded a newly designed blog (www.audioconnell.com/blog) for visitors to the company’s web site, www.audioconnell.com. The blog is authored by company President and professional voice over talent Peter K. O’Connell.

“The upgrades were necessitated by the growth in blogging technology and by our web site statistics for audioconnell.com which revealed our blog (entitled Voiceover Blog On!) is among the most popular sections on the site and one of the most popular voice over blogs on the internet,” O’Connell said. The blog, which welcomes comments from visitors, offers insights on the voice over industry, advertising, marketing, radio, television and other “observations” by Mr. O’Connell, a professional voice talent for 25 years.

audio’connell Voice-Over Talent is a worldwide voice over talent service featuring professional male and female voice talents specializing in commercials, corporate narrations, voice imaging, podcasts and messaging on-hold (MOH) created for advertising agencies, media and broadcast production companies as well as both large and small businesses around the world.

The company also operates Voice Over Workshop to provide professional voice over training to novice and experienced voice talent around the world.
– 30-

NOTES TO EDITORS

Company Media Releases ON LINE:
http://www.audioconnell.com/media

Company Name Pronunciation:
au·dio·o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-oh-kah-nel) or au·di-o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-kah-nel)

Company Name Spelling:
Use lower case letters- audio’connell or audio’connell Voice Over Talent

Company Web:
http://www.audioconnell.com

Company Blog:
http://www.voxmarketising.com

O’Connell Voice-Over Resume:
See resume here

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unwinding with a little golf talk during masters week

masters.org

Everybody needs a hobby or something to unwind from work’s daily grind.  Yes, voice over can be a grind sometimes.  It IS a job, even though it’s among the most fun jobs around. 

So one of the things I do to unwind is play golf. I don’t play well or often enough, but I enjoy “playing at golf”. 

In the northeast, our golf season is somewhat short. So the annual Masters Tournament is kind of like a Punxsutawney Phil for golfers and he always sees his shadow during Masters Week.  The Masters means the golf season is a bit closer. 

Knowing how crazy golfers get at this time of year, I thought this article from ESPN was especially funny. Most golfers know not to take themselves too seriously.

i loves me some free wi-fi

wifi.org

If you’ve ever had to travel on biz and you didn’t have a wireless card in your laptop, you’ve no doubt been in search of free wi-fi (like my friend Bob Souer was on his recent trip to Vegas but his was more like an expedition than a search). While there’s money that can be made on almost anything internet, smart restaurateurs and café owners hooked up free wi-fi in their establishments and promoted it. Its not always easy to find either because smaller establishments don’t always think to find free wi-fi directories and submit their information. 

Chains like Panera Bread let people come on in (assuming they’ll spend some money while they are there, as wi-fi patrons should).  I was talking with the manager of my breakfast place, Bagel Jays, and they’re planning on adding wi-fi for customers as well (a little late to the party maybe, but welcome on in!) And unless your some totally ignorant student (and granted, there are a few of them around) you’re unlikely to loiter their all day. 

So I’m in Charlotte last week and I need to get connected and I must have had a brain fart of something because I thought ‘oh I’ll go to Starbucks, they have free wi-fi’. Uh…no they don’t. They also consistently make fairly poor hot chocolate (which is a critical point of difference if you’re not a coffee guy). So since it was lunch time, I left Starbucks and looked around this very nice mall-like set of stores in Sycamore Commons in Matthews, NC and saw a sign that said “deli”. Well when I got closer, I saw it said McAlister’s Deli.  I’d not come across this name (turns out its a chain, nothing wrong with that) but it looked like a fair amount of people were eating there so I walked only to see a sign on the door that said “free wi-fi”. 

Well the food was great, prices were fair, the service was outstanding, I made a couple of business contacts with a few patrons (who also had laptops, I might add), the wi-fi was strong and free and you won’t see me in Starbucks anytime soon.

bringing this blog into the 20th century

(Read the FULL PRESS RELEASE here)

Oh, I know it’s the 21st century but my blogging knowledge has really always been more about the “words” and less about the technology. But I came to understand that blogging without technology is like painting a white canvas with white paint…what’s the point? So I decided to finally embrace blogging technology a bit more.

The target date for all this was November 1, 2006 when I unveiled the redesigned the audio’connell Voice Over Talent. My web hosting company was led to believe by their software provider that the blog module the software company provided would offer me everything I needed to be a technically proficient blogger. Everything else the software provider had “provided” in the past had worked smashingly, so I hade no reason for concern…I thought.

There was very little “technology” in the blogging software I had until this weekend and this new blog version. Aside from looking nice, not much else of that old software resembled a blog. It was a web page with text and headlines. Crap.

The software provider, who evidently didn’t get much call for blogging from previous customers, wouldn’t be able to “upgrade” the blogging software until sometime this summer…maybe. Double crap!

The only sure solution, I determined, would be to use a 3rd party provider and try and develop a style sheet that had the look of the web site with usable blogging technology. That would be a lot of work, triple crap!

Well, much like an all night birth, the morning finally came and all that pushing (by me…I can be sorta pushy) has given birth (through the efforts of Rare Earth Interactive Design…many thanks) to a bouncing baby blog that, while it will constantly evolve and develop, really meets all my needs.

I hope you enjoy the words and the technology.