Entries Tagged as 'NBC Nightly News'

back at it

NBC News Announcer Howard Reig & Anchor Tom Brokaw_CourtesyNBC

Sorry to have been off line a bit. Much west coast travel to Seattle last week and Pittsburgh and San Francisco this week. Last week in SEA I also came down with food poisoning which forced me to switch from a dinner meeting with Jeffrey Kafer to an evening at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle (nice place if you happen to be sick in Seattle). Again my sincere apologies to Jeff…I would have much rather spent time with you and will again on my next trip.

Alls well now and the travel load shall lighten for a bit.

I came across a recently posted video of the late, great NBC announcer Howard Reig’s retirement that I very much enjoyed watching. This type of thing is NOT the norm for announcers unless they’ve been around as long as Howard. Clearly he was beloved.

P.S. The NBC News team also held a memorial for Howard inside their main news studio on Friday which Brian Williams noted on his blog here.

a friend has died

NBC News Announcer Howard Reig & Anchor Tom Brokaw_CourtesyNBC

I never met Howard Reig, the former announcer for NBC and specifically NBC Nightly News but his great service and the retirement of his voice was well covered on these pages. And as a fellow voice talent, I consider him a friend of sorts.

So it is with a heavy heart that I note the passing of my friend Howard at age 87 at his home in Venice Florida.

I’ve noted before how difficult it was to replace him as an announcer and I am sure that same sentiment is now felt by his family, magnified to infinity. I am so sorry for their loss.

NBC News’ Brett Holey wrote this tribute to Howard in 2007 and it is wonderful. Here is a wonderful tribute site Howard’s son created for his Father.

Requiescant in Pax, sir. I was a fan.

letter to brokaw

Buffalo, NY

June 16, 2008

Tom Brokaw
NBC Nightly News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
Room 1420
New York, NY 10112

Dear Tom:

I hope you will convey to Betsy Fischer and everyone at Meet the Press what a great broadcast you all put together to remember Tim Russert on June 15th. I know you also did a special and there were countless other quality remembrances from NBC News, MSNBC and competing news outlets but the MTP show was the one that had to soar above all others and it did.

In our internet age, I actually saw the special report of the Russert announcement Friday on MSNBC.com and was momentarily surprised to see you breaking the sad news. I kept thinking how uniquely difficult this particular bulletin must have been for you to deliver compared to the many incidents you have had to report over the years.

Surely all the subsequent broadcasts up to and including Sunday’s show were equally as taxing for everyone in the news division. You all lost a great friend, a respected colleague and via both his political passion and personal joie de vivre– a real force of nature at the network. A positive force but a force none the less.

Our city lost a great friend too. I didn’t really know Tim at all except for a couple of brief introductions at some local functions here (we attended the same high school albeit 14 years apart). But I think his wonderful everyman demeanor for me clouded the great impact he was having on the national stage. It was “Buffalo’s Tim Russert” simply doing a bang-up job. And maybe like all of us, I assumed I’d have lots more time to reflect on his influence.

Just know that all the efforts NBC News put forth on behalf of your colleague and friend was likely appreciated deeply by his family, certainly by his hometown and absolutely by this writer.



Peter K. O’Connell

an unexpected voiceover marketing lesson


Creating the Unofficial NBC Nightly News Voice Off was an epiphany for many reasons not the least of which was the power of the web.

1. Until the very moment I came up with the idea, I really hadn’t been searching for a breakthrough idea for the blog which would garner lots of attention. After the event’s successful completion, I’m still not. While the blog is an important web marketing tool, it remains for me a creative outlet that, while I hope others enjoy, laugh and learn from it, doesn’t need be anything else besides that outlet. I am however thrilled that the blog provided a useful channel through which the idea could blossom. For those two reasons, I really am happy I have the blog.

2. There are so many tremendous voice over talents that I “met” for the first time through this exercise. Many I had known of for years and some are even great friends but coming across so many heretofore unheard (by me) voices was a real treat.

3. Finally, the big epiphany: some voiceover talents (not naming any names nor does this part reflect upon the aforementioned names) are crappy marketers.

Well, there goes all the new professional goodwill I just engendered from the Voice Off. But I feel if I address the issue, folks can learn from it. And folks, I witnessed all this first hand.

Lesson 1 – If you do not have your own voice over web site, I consider you a voice over wanna-be. Ouch, harsh! “But I have a page on voices.com and voice 123,” you say. Good, that’s right, direct your prospective client to your page there and hope and pray they don’t start fishing around the other talent pages on those sites (some of whom will do a 10 minute narration for $5 and a cup of day old coffee, just to get experience). Bad odds. Spend the money, get your own web page (or full site) and create a brand. Stop whining about money and do it!

Lesson 2 – Telephone numbers are not optional. Maybe you have a studio in your home and you don’t want clients calling your house and having your 10 year old answering the phone and, while sounding cute, still sounding unprofessional and I get that. Get a cell phone number, make that your business line, plaster the phone number everywhere and always answer it professionally. But get a phone number. Here’s your slogan – “The Telephone – its how business gets done!”

Lesson 3 – An email signature block is mandatory. Typing “Joe” or whatever at the bottom of an email doesn’t cut it. Every email you send out is an electronic business card. People may have kept your email just to have your contact information…unless of course you DON’T have it on there and then your important email really becomes expendable. An email signature block, which you can set up on most software to go out with every email automatically (so you really have no excuse) should contain at minimum your name, your company name, your phone number and your web site where folks can find your demos.

There are only two people now who know of your errors, you and me. And as you can see, I’m not using any names in the crappy marketers section. So quietly go about fixing these changes and go make some money. Nobody else will know how you did it cause I’m not telling.

vote for your voice choices


1.11.08 5:00 p.m. ET – – VOTING IS NOW CLOSED.

We have been blessed with some terrific voice over talents willing to share their abilities with us on our unofficial, unsanctioned and possibly unholy quest for a new announcer for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Of course, if NBC takes my original advice and gets Michael Douglas back into the voice over booth with proper vocal direction, he’ll surely nail it the second time and we’ll all be back selling pencils on the street corner.

But for now, we vote! And here are the rules that I may change or amend to suit my fancy at any particular time (as my parents used to say) “just because!”

Rule 1 – Please listen to all the voices here (its a faster loading page now for more enjoyable listening). Not just because it’s polite but because as maybe the one person who has heard all of them, especially from names I was not initially familiar with, I don’t want you to miss the joy that I’ve had of discovering some new talent.

Rule 2 – You may not vote for me. There are so many reasons why this rule makes sense:
• It would be bad form to be voted best on my own blog
• The appearance of my vocal talent being somehow considered superior to my peers within my blog would be gauche
• This avoids me suffering the embarrassment of either losing or not being voted for at all (OK, now you know the truth, deal with it)

Rule 3 – You may not vote for yourself

Rule 4 – Please vote only once. If you have so much time on your hands that you can vote more than once, you’ve got business or family problems that require your immediate attention.

Rule 5 – Please order your choices as best or first (1st), gooder or second (2nd) and good or third (3rd). I will tabulate all the scores and announce the final top three finishers, with prizes to be determined by how reasonable or ungodly high my Christmas bills turn out to be.

Rule 6 – Voting takes place right here in THIS blog post within the comments section below only. It’s up to you if you want to be anonymous or not but I’m only giving you three choices so your friends shouldn’t hold it against you if you don’t vote for them. If they do, get new friends.

Go vote and tell all your friends, the polls are open!

P.S. If you haven’t already SUBSCRIBED to this blog, hit the orange subscribe button at the top of the blog. If you need to get a blog reader, this is the FREE and easy one I use.

MXL USB 008_Large Gold Diaphragm USB Condenser Mic
P.P.S. 12/30/07 – This evening I received a call from a voice over friend of mine who is watching the voting here with great interest and enjoyment. He said he wanted to make it even more interesting and asked if he could donate a prize. I said that wasn’t really necessary but he cut me off and shut my mouth when he said the prize was a MXL 008 Large Gold Diaphragm USB Condenser Microphone. He wants to remain anonymous (what a character!) So this prize will be included to one of the top three vote getters. What a gracious and unexpected donation, thank you!

If you are a voice talent in this voice-off, right about now would be the time I’d start contacting friends, family and anyone who owes you a favor to LEGITIMATELY place their votes. The voting will be open for at least another week.

and the nominees are….


UPDATE: As of 12/27/07, the nominations/auditions are now CLOSED! Thanks everyone…join us in the voting here.

As you’ll recall, I put out an unofficial open casting call for auditions (that link is also where you can find the Nightly News theme music)for the announcer position on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

To following are the submitted audition (in the order they were received) for your listening pleasure. Thanks everyone for participating.


12/27/07 – THE AUDITIONS/NOMINATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. Thank you all. Look for our voting post HERE!

1/12/08 – THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED. Please check out the top 3 HERE