live from baghdad, balad, mosul, ali base, kirkuk, sinjar and tikrit

Sgt. Chris_Kasbah_Eder

I try to avoid the “holiday-themed” blogs just cause they seem trite to me (people often mean well enough but…). This is a unique Memorial Day, however, for two reasons, the first of which is the United States is at war (though we also have standing at the ready military personnel all around the world even when we’re not involved at war, whom we should also not forgot).

The second reason this is a unique Memorial Day is because an international voice over effort was undertaken a few weeks ago to support our troops in the Middle East via the Armed Forces Network and their group of music radio stations in Baghdad, Balad, Mosul, Ali Base, Kirkuk, Sinjar and Tikrit.

Like many commercial radio stations in the U.S., Freedom Radio was planning to run a Memorial Day Countdown of the greatest rock songs of all time. Through his network of voice over friends (which is plentiful) voice talent and blogger extraordinaire Bob Souer was asked to lend his voice. Bob then asked Air Force Sergeant Chris Eder, who oversees these stations, if he needed other professional voiceover help to support the station’s announcers, providing, sweepers, bumpers and ID’s for the channel and its network. Maybe, they’d also wanted some voices to provide intros for songs on the countdown? Chris said sure but he’d asked for help like this before and usually if four people said they’d help, maybe one actually sent something. Chris had not yet heard of VO-BB.

Bob Souer posted the notice of what they needed on VO-BB and Chris nearly drowned is a sea of amazing voice talent who not only said they’d help but made fast work of providing great audio….lots of it! At last count 24 professional voice over talents from around the world, including yours truly cranked out everything Freedom Radio needed for a successful countdown, organizing ourselves as only former and current radio professionals can do…with fast, quality audio.

I fell back into my old production manager role from radio days gone by, voicing and producing some of my own stuff (which you heard in the second paragraph) and then producing for some other great voices including audio’connell female voice over talent D.B. and Kara, the aforementioned Bob Souerand a wonderful voice talent by the name of Diane Maggipinto.

My lesson that I took out of this experience (aside from getting to work with or be teamed with some terrific voice talents) is that my DJ talents, limited as they were even back in the day, have long since abandoned me. Fortunately for the soldiers, my contribution to this part of the project was fairly limited.

The donation of our collective time and talent was clearly something all the voices in the project wanted to do because it was the very least we could do to show our support to the men and women who leave the safety of their families and homes to follow orders around the world all the while putting themselves in harms way on our behalf. And such life and death stuff is never trite.

Our family’s thanks to all the men and women serving on our behalf all over the world (especially the two from our family). God bless you all and we hope you all come home soon and safe.

14 Responses to “live from baghdad, balad, mosul, ali base, kirkuk, sinjar and tikrit”

  1. Peter-

    Thanks so much for all of your help with this project. I look forward to working with you again. Please keep me in mind for any future project that my voice my lend itself useful.

    TSgt Chris Eder

  2. Peter,

    Thanks for the post and for the chance to hear even more of your superb production. Your DJ talents may have abandoned you, but I never had any to begin with.

    And I join you in offering God’s blessings to all of the men and women in our armed forces, standing in harms way this weekend.

    Be well,
    Bob Souer

  3. […] (Update: You’ll find more audio and comments at my friend Peter O’Connell’s blog, here.) […]

  4. Excellent work guys! As one of the donating voices from the VO-BB, it was a pleasure to add my voice to the countdown!

    Allen Scofield

  5. Peter,

    Thank you for including me in this project! I can’t wait to hear the first hour- my heart is warmed with all the support for our deserving troops!

    Happy Memorial Day!

  6. Hi ya folks!

    My congrats to everyone over at Freedom Radio who, likely as of this writing, are coming very close to the end of what I am sure was a very successful countdown.

    Chris, I loved the pictures you posted on your blog featuring the jocks in the studio. Being entertaining in the environs you have there no doubt takes a LOT of energy and yet you clearly all manage to pull it off everyday. Next time any of us are having a bad day in the studio, we should keep that in mind.

    Bob, thanks so much for the ping to what has easily become the most widely read blog (voiceover boblog) in the industry. “All the VO news that’s fit to print” 😉

    Allen, I think someone over on VO-BB started to post one of their countdowns and I was going to check if that had continued cause to me that would be a really fun thread…just one countdown cut from everybody. I’m not sure if they added as much stuff as I did (which my have been over kill).

    Kara: thanks for being volunteered by a PITA production guy and turning around a “series” of voice cuts….the “dry” cuts were better and you know what I mean :)) You’re awesome.

    Say a prayer for our folks “over there!”

    Best always,

  7. Peter,
    An excellent and insightful article, and so on point for this weekend! I too, am on the vo-bb, and having been a broadcast “rocker woman” for over 20 years in my early career, I would’ve loved to have been part of this. But I think I replied a little late to get in on it. The response from our wonderful and talented vo community was overwhelming, and rightfully so.

    Hope there’s going to be a Firecracker or Labor Day 500, I’d be so gratified & honored to participate.
    All the Best,
    Bobbin Beam

  8. Hi Bobbin:

    Thanks so much for visiting the blog!

    While I hope there can be resolution to this conflict before the summer’s end, I’m guessing there might not be, so Freedom Radio will likely be doing another “weekend” promotion and I know Chris would greatly appreciate your participation!

    Best always,

  9. Peter–
    Who friggin’ knew, huh? I just answered the call, busted out a lot of liners, promos and countdown material and sent it off to Kasbah. And so on Memorial Day, mostly what I did was imagine our fine men and women in uniform getting some small break from the action for the greatest rock of all time. I know every single thing you did made it even better! And doG love you and Kasbah for all that tedious production.
    It was a privilege, honor, and great joy to be a part of it. Let me know about Flag Day and Independence Day, okay??
    xoxo to all

  10. Diane:

    Thanks so much for visiting the blog and your comments. All our “vocal” support, as you pointed out, seems the very least we can do and I too am awed to be asked to help, even in such a small way.

    I am thinking a great deal about our military personnel and their families this night.

    I am watching the CBS News program “Flashpoint” about correspondent Kimberly Dozier’s horrendous injuries suffered in Iraq as a result of a Memorial Day car bomb attack in 2006. The story of her on-going physical, mental and spiritual recovery (indeed, the recovery of all involved in the incident) was quite stunning.

    As with most such attacks, many military personnel and civilians were injured in the blast. Dozier’s cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan were both killed while the trio was on patrol with the 4th Infantry Division to cover a story.

    Killed too was the planned subject of the CBS’ crew’s story at the time of the attack, 35-year-old U.S. Army Captain Alex Funkhouser. Funkhouser led a unit of the 4th Infantry Division taking the CBS crew on what was thought to be a fairly “routine” mission, if such a thing exists in a war zone.

    There have been thousands of casualties in this war, both military and civilian; the same can be said of every war. But what those who don’t have family or friends in the military may occasionally forgot (intentionally or unintentionally) among the almost numbing daily casualty reports are the families who struggle daily with the lost of a son or daughter or wife or husband or mother or father.

    It was the program’s interview with Funkhouser’s two small daughters that left a crushing impact on me. His four year old who said with a cherished smile that she ‘missed her Dad’s tickles’ and the two year old with sad eyes who spoke of her late Father as a ‘hero’. Their voices had the same timber as my own daughter and their honesty was just as true. Father’s Day will never be the same for these girls and their Mother will never remember her wedding anniversary as she had prior to Memorial Day 2006.

    The phrase “ultimate sacrifice” is a polite euphemism for our war dead. Each member of our Armed Forces understands that exact sacrifice is a real risk of their job and that each is risking the future of his/her family and children when they go out on a mission.

    And yet they go.

    I remain humbled and grateful and saddened that such lives have long been lost in the name of peace and freedom. Reconciling the very real need to protect and defend versus the TOTAL number of war causalities in our world’s history (not just our dead) makes me wonder if man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man can ever end. And if not, why not?

    Pax vobiscum
    – Peter

  11. […] Firecracker 500″ countdown. You may recall we were enlisted originally via the VO-BB for their Memorial Day countdown…so I guess we all did such a good job we got invited […]

  12. […] They sacrifice their families, their futures and yes their lives. So if they call me and say hey, could you help out our stations so that the troops can listen to more professional sounding radio…not yes but HELL YES I’m going […]

  13. […] with Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, a number of my professional voice over collegues were tapped for service […]

  14. […] I kept myself very busy.  I orchestrated several radio-thon shows on Freedom Radio, like The Memorial Day Countdown, and The Firecracker 500!  These ‘major thrills’ were balanced with me starting […]