Do You Have a Radio Voice?
How can you improve your speaking skills, but still sound like “you”? Lisa B. Marshall shares tips from David Candow, The Host Whisperer, that will improve your audio delivery without making you sound like a phony. Learn how to sound conversational and speak plainly.
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I was interviewed on a podcast recently. When the host was talking to me before the show, his voice sounded great—commanding, yet sincere. However, as soon as the show started, his presentation totally changed into a strong, affected, radio voice. It was as if he was trying to imitate typical AM radio hosts. Today’s episode is dedicated to him and others who feel like they need to change their voice when they are making a recording.
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How you sound when you tell your story can be more important than the story you’re telling. In fact, "one of the most compelling sounds for the human ear is the sound of another human voice,” says David Candow, a voice coach for some of NPR’s most well-known hosts since 1995.
Radio hosts often speak loudly and with a lot of hype to get attention. They’re looking for an emotional response from their listeners, and they often use volume, pitch, and tone to get it. But unless you’re Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, that loud, brash talk show host sound probably won’t work for you—particularly when it comes to podcasting. Podcasting is very personal, more personal than radio, and it requires a more conversational authentic style.
I know, I know, you’ve probably seen the skits on Saturday Night Live poking fun at NPR’s quiet, comforting style. In these parodies, all the hosts sound alike. In reality, each host has a distinct delivery style; it’s easy to recognize the unique voice of each host. That’s what a podcaster should strive for—finding their own authentic voice.
Those who have worked with David Candow affectionately refer to him as “The Host Whisperer.” Although I have never worked with him (but boy would I love to have that opportunity!), I've learned quite a bit from reading his advice. Here’s what I’ve learned from his common sense approach: