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merging XM and Sirius


If one is to believe the hype from the National Association of Broadcasters, the proposed merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio may lead a kind of broadcasting apocalypse. I’ve no doubt there are those who have studied the deep financial impact for both sides of the argument. The FCC is their usually failing wisdom initially showed their hand to be against it but may have softened that stance a bit.

If you’ll allow me, I’ll make it easy for everyone involved.

Let XM and Sirius merge. Do it. Do it now.

I do not have a satellite receiver, I am not currently a subscriber nor do I expect to be one in the near future. I don’t dislike satellite radio but I am also not drawn to it. So why am I so adamantly in favor of the merger?

It makes sense, that’s why.

Simple, I know, but the best answers usually are. We don’t need competing services and anyone with half a brain (thus leaving out the NAB, FCC and a voice over talent like me, for example) could see this merger coming as soon as the two services came out. Two satellite radio services is one too many. There is not and never will be enough customers to threaten terrestrial radio and its advertising pot.

And most importantly, if terrestrial radio stays true to its local roots, it will never seriously be threatened by satellite radio in any form.

Let me take you back a bit to the 80’s when we had two comedy cable channels: The Comedy Channel and HA! They merged. You know why?

It made sense, that’s why.

never bored with the voiceover boards


I think there are bulletin boards (boards) and interactive forums established for just about every industry and interest on the net and in voiceovers, we have plenty of them. Some of the popular ones dealing with voice over in general (as opposed to animation voice over, etc.) are

• VO-BB.com – Run by my friend and a great female voice talent named DB Cooper, this is (if not THE first) one of the first boards about voice over and likely the best moderated.

• Yahoo Groups Voice Over Board -There are frequently some interesting discussions on this board. It’s certainly time well spent (although I’m not as keen on the graphic format/layout of this board, but its a minor thing).

• Voiceoversavvy.com This is run by the voice talent supported Voice 123 and has more drama in it than a soap opera and more fights than a Rocky movie, more on that in a second

• Voice-overs.com/forum – Voice talent Julie Williams runs this one and it’s fairly new but so far seems to be growing.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of time to spend on forums between work and family, but when I do, it is enjoyable reading…for the most part.

Voice over talents like me don’t work in a building with fellow talents (say, for example, like accountants might or computer technicians might). So these forums are a nice way to chat or communicate or network with fellow pros or the occasional newbie who’s dipping his/her toe into the VO waters. Board participants are usually pretty welcoming, especially if we spot real talent (remember, we’re not competing against our fellow VO’s, we’re competing for the ear…and sometimes against the budget…of the producer.) But if you’re a new voice talent willing to take totally honest criticism and build on it…some boards can be a real learning tool.
But sometimes there is way silly drama in them there posts!

What I try and remind myself when I read some of these voice over board posts is:

• voice talents work alone mostly so they often want/need to have some kind of human contact…even virtual…and thereby can sometimes get a bit too involved in board life

• we are called voice over artists and thereby have our drama built-in…at no extra charge to you the consumer…which may be another reason these posts sometimes get catty or over the top

• people are people and just about any jackass can post on a forum…as I have proven time and time again

But what I have noticed and what has been opined in conversations with my fellow voice over pros is that if you want to the finest in snarky, childish and sometimes boorish voice over forum behavior, head to voiceoversavvy.com.

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the Voice 123 (V123) system (they own the voiceoversavvy.com board) and had decided not renewed my subscription just before their version 2.0 with SmartCast came out (I just keep the free page). In my opinion, the V123 site is a low ball (cheap price) casting directors’ dream with new “voice talents” (note quotation marks) seemingly willing to work for next to nothing. Other people really like the service and, not that they need it, but I offer God-speed and best wishes.

This board that V123 set up was to include the opportunity not only to participate in discussions about voice over topics but also to share input on the new version 2.0 web site that the company had introduced this summer. As with any beta (new) project, it had trouble at the beginning. Currently there seems to be a great deal of expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s new SmartCast system. It’s only the board’s most recent drama but we”l use it as a point of reference for this blog post.

At first, it seems, the clients (the voice talents who annually pay to be a part of V123) expressed their dissatisfaction (paying clients certainly have that right). But then some voice talents started hurling insults and disparaging the owner and staff to the point where the “Talkback” section of the board had to be shut down. The rest of the board’s forums are open and functioning but the owners had had enough “talkback”.

I don’t blame Voice 123 one bit for closing it down and I am sorry for them for the crap they had to put up with from some bone heads calling themselves VO pros. I am no saint and have been known to hurl a virtual stone or two but some of these posters were making a sport of it and that’s crappy. Not that my opinion counts for anything because based on the customer service I received from V123, they didn’t really like me anyway.

So what does this all mean?

Summary opinion one: The voice talents offering the insults on any boards and within these forums must be forgetting that their name and insulting posts can find their way to casting directors and that they are risking the only brand they have…their name…by coming across as (at best) unprofessional. If I was casting for voice talent and came across the posts of these whiney and carping voice talent posters, I wouldn’t even think of hiring them. Opinions are fine, even impassioned discussion is OK…but whoa on the name calling.

Summary opinion two: while I applaud Voice 123 for trying to adapt to the web 2.0 concept of openness and transparency by having this particular forum on their board, better moderation and even more importantly better customer service to address initial customer complaints would have saved them significant damage to their own brand’s reputation (and make no mistake, the Voice 123 brand IS now damaged). When you are dealing with people who talk for a living as your business’ primary source of revenue, you’d better quickly realize that if you (V123) even appear to screw up…the voice talents ARE going to talk (or post).

Summary opinion three: when the majority (not ALL) of the talents involved in Voice 123 are too willing to work at ANY price and are involved in a service (V123) that is just a costly cattle call, at least a few of your clientele (the voice talents) are likely going to lack a certain maturity both personally and professionally. With some immature clients, Voice 123 was bound to attract immature posters.

audio’connell in ft. myers


Hot and humid pretty much covers the summer weather in much of the southeastern United States and boy is that true in Florida.

On this trip, I was in Marco Island, Florida, just south of Naples, staying at the very nice Marco Island Marriott with a lovely room looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. Every morning and evening I went out on my balcony to enjoy the view and very quickly went back in my comfortably air conditioned room. Too humid outside for my liking.

What was to my liking was an impromptu visit with professional female voice talent Caryn Clark , aka “The Hip Chick Voice”. My schedule on this trip was constantly changing but it worked out that I could meet up with her before my flight home out of Fort Meyers this evening.

After some navigational missteps, I did find the Denny’s near the airport and had a very nice visit with Caryn, sharing voice over war stories (are there any other kind?) Caryn recently walked away from a successful career in the insurance industry to take up voice over full time.

Things are clearly going well for her in that regard or maybe I’ve just become her Irish lucky charm because while we were visiting, she got a call on her cell and booked a voice over job. Well done!

Yeah, we forgot to get a picture, I always forget that. Shame on me.

My thanks to Caryn (find her blog here)for taking time out of her obviously successful voiceover duties to visit with me. She’s a talented announcer and a nice person too.

common craft explains social bookmarking

del_icio_us logo

If you’re at a stage in your life, like me, where you’ve mostly stopped caring about what other people think of you (call it maturity, experience, selective amnesia) then you too can be brave and identify yourself publicly as a new technology idiot.

Pick your new technology and I’ll almost guarantee you’ll have to explain it to me twice. I don’t know if I suffer from bad wiring (I used to blame it on my floppy disc but we don’t have floppy discs to kick around anymore)…whatever, it’s the way I am.

So I am continually indebted to Lee LeFever and his Common Craft Show for again presenting a 3 minute explanation on new technology, this time about Social Bookmarking.

His videos, which I have referenced here before, are always entertaining.

Technology and gadget makers often focus too much on the “what” and “how” and not enough on the “who” (us mere civilians who will be using the “what” and need to SIMPLY understand the “how”.

I am the “who” (and so are you) and we “whos” owe our thanks to Lee LeFever.*
* Apologies to Dr. Seuss and the Whos of Whoville

a debate without presidential candidates

smartmob.com friendster pic

There’s been a fair amount of chatter on blogs I subscribe to and also featured on pages like digg and reddit about social networks. I’ve even addressed it briefly here.

The hottest brands at the epicenter of this cataclysmic topic are Facebook and Linked In. Should you be in just one, should you be in both, which is better?

I’d not given the debate much thought because I am in both. But in reading Christopher Penn’s blog today, he very fairly sums up each network’s value.

As I jokingly chided him in his comments section…if goes around calmly, accurately and succinctly summarizing internet debates like this, the internet will fall apart, we’ll have nothing left to debate!

Great post Chris, thanks!

i look taller in real life…but not much

Peter O’Connell, Voice Over Talent, headshot

Not one to shy away from blatant, crass commercialism (what commercial voice talent would?), I have been Simpsonized for your viewing pleasure.

The home of the Whopper® has sponsored this little device that supposedly takes a picture you submit and reproduces it in the style of a Simpson cartoon.

The movie employees voice actors so I suppose their is some connection to this blog.

Well, they got the hair right.