NAB Week in Vegas

nab2014The National Association of Broadcasters hits town this week.

Broadcasting?  I thought broadcasting was dead…taken over by the internet, tablet computers, Netflix, and Twitter.

…and yet, there it is, the National Association of Broadcasters convention…among the top-5 best attended conferences in a town that hosts the biggest international conventions anywhere on the globe.

The event prompts some immediate reactions for me as I straddle the dual careers of TV News Anchor and Voice-Over talent.

  • Broadcast talent are announcers, aren’t they?  Isn’t “announcing” the most vilified voice-over delivery on the planet right now?  How ’bout that!  Don’t believe it.  Announcing is alive and well.
  • See the tag-line to NAB:  “Where CONTENT comes to life”?  This is the broadcasters’ challenge.  Bringing content to life where the audience is.
  • Where’s George Whittam? (keep checkin’ out the blog this week!)
  • Pray that “broadcast” survives… a HUGE chunk of the work that comes to voice-actors is from the programs supported by radio and TV.
  • Next to CES and NAMM, NAB is also one of the top geek haven conventions of the year…making it a great time to have a press pass.

Over the weekend, my wife and I got together with VO Promo voice Joe Cipriano, Ann Cipriano, and Joe’s friend Stoney Richards, a broadcaster from D.C., L.A., Pittsburgh, and anon.  You’ll find Stoney as a re-appearing 2014-04-05 20.52.59 HDRcharacter in Joe’s new book “On Air”.  Stoney was in town working for CBS Radio, doing interviews with country stars for the ACM awards show.  Stoney works at KDKA in Pittsburgh…one of the most venerable broadcast properties on the map.

This week, I will also meet-up with John Pozadzides and Cali  Lewis of GeekBeat TV.

Am I going to hit the NAB exhibit floor?   You bet.  I want to see Steve Savanyu at the AudioTechnica Booth, Hillary Money at Blue Microphones, and Rebekah Wilson of Source-Connect over at Booth ##C1122.

All of that is “broadcasting”… so typical of them to cast that net wide to include so much of what’s old, new, and developing…truly a broad spectrum!  I’m proud to be doubly a part of an industry working so hard to reinvent and be agile in the marketplace.

Speaking of Source-Connect…did you see that Source-Connect NOW is in its Beta-4 stage?  How many stages do they get?  I’m not sure, but every time they run out a new update it gets better and better.  In this version:

  • Record - local audio in PCM WAV format
  • Multi-connect - conference with 2 others
  • Quality - you and your guest choose what quality you send, for better bandwidth management
  • Stability - huge improvements

See the complete announcement about Source-Connect NOW’s new Beta release here.

Hopefully, I’ll get even more about Sourcce-Element’s plans for the future when I meet Rebekah Wilson, one of the driving forces behind Source-Elements.


Are You Listening?

listening-aIn the middle of rushing through the commercial spot-sets in my DVR-recorded version of the latest episode of “Breaking Bad” I insisted my wife stop scooting through the ads, and let me listen.  She thought I was nuts, but she understands.  She doesn’t like it, but after having explained it to her umpteen times, — she understands.

This comes under the heading of “obvious but often ignored”:  Make a POINT of critically listening to all the radio and TV commercials you possibly can.

Sure, I understand the wisdom of perusing through the many professional demos on VoiceBank.  Absolutely.  Do that.  Your demo will be better for it.

But don’t ignore the immutable fact that the spots playing on the air in your favorite shows on TV, and on today’s best radio stations are the REAL WORLD.  Those spots were bought and paid for.  Someone wrote them, an agent casted them, a voice-actor recorded them, and an audio engineer produced them.  It’s not a demo.  Whatever the voice-actor was doing there, got them the job.

The spots you hear on the air today are the best measure of:

  • the VO delivery that gets work
  • the trends advertisers are paying attention to
  • the sound that’s current
  • the pitch bringing in consumers
  • the style clients are paying for

So, forget whether Walter White lives or dies… pay attention to what company bought the spots in this award-winning show;  how was that ad positioned;  who voiced it – and how;  and what was the style…the sound…the approach.  THAT’s what you should be listening for.

Then go audition THAT with the experience and sound that only YOU can bring to the spot.


VO Makes Osgood

Funny that being on TV, I almost never watch it.

One glaring exception is the CBS Sunday Morning News.  In my mind, it’s TV’s best regular programming, probably ’cause I started with Charles Kuralt, whom I considered a news God… and now with another “Charlie” — Charles Osgood…also a CBS stalwart.

A recent program had a brief story about Voiceovers by Nancy Giles.

Here’s the YouTube version for your enjoyment:

(props to my VO-BB chums for clueing me into this, ’cause once again…I wasn’t watching)


VoiceOvers @ the Oscars

Most twittered comment about the female VoiceOver for the Oscars Sunday night:

“She just said ‘pitcher’ again, instead of ‘picture’.”

Second most twittered comment about the female VoiceOver for the Oscars Sunday night:

“Did she really say ‘Barber’ Streisand?” (she did)

That female voiceover for the Oscars, BTW is Gina Tuttle.  I had not heard of her, but thought she did a pretty good job with nice energy.

HERE is a link with more about Gina.

And didja hear about the SNAFU Jeff Bridges got himself into with one of his best voiceover clients?  Hyundai was all set to run a rash of spots on the Oscars, but was turned-down for a conflict-of-interest.  Read HERE and HERE all the details.  Hyundai ran the ads anyway, but used several other celebs as substitutes for Bridges.  Hey, Hyundai…how ’bout trying out some PROFESSIONAL voice-actors???  Hmmm?

Finally, did you notice for the first time in over 20 years presenters were allowed to say: “…and the WINNER is…” instead of that contrived phrase: “…the Oscar goes to…”

I’m so glad they made that change.  If you happened to have missed the Oscars, what’s the first question you ask. Uh-huh….”Who WON”?


Video Voice Actor

Oncamera People think it's harder to be on-camera than just performing voice.

Not True.

With video you can use gestures, facial expressions, even your hands to convey messages.  With voice, all you get is what you bring to the mic. It's just that people are not usually happy with what they look like on camera.

Since I've been on TV for 30 years, it seems very natural to me…so it amazes me how freaked-out some people get when they're on-camera.  I remember my first few times, though, and it CAN be intimidating.

The other downside of being on TV that long is it seems like old-school to me.  But right now video is HOT.  So I'm trying to get back into it more….esp on the web.

Every afternoon at the TV station, I sit at my desk and record a video on my laptop cam(about 1:00) that gets posted to YouTube, but is also embedded on our station website.  I'm Dcourvo on YouTube.  The KLAS-TV website is HERE.  The video is meant to picque interest in our evening newscasts, but we're moving more and more to video on our website, and I came up with the idea to stay on the vanguard.

BTW, our station website (Las just won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for most effective TV News Website.  We beat out HUGE TV markets in Phoenix, LA, SanFran, SanDiego and more.

We go on to the national competition again all the other regions, soon.

For your edification.  Here is today's 1:00 minute News "tease":
(BTW, I've post all of these on MY YouTube website…so you'll find a ton of them there.)

Matt Loses out to Homer!

Don't look now, but Homer Simpson et. al. are about to surpass Matt Dillon, Kitty, Doc, and Festus as the longest-running prime-time U.S. television series.

Click HERE or HERE to read more.

Harry Shearer, Dan Castellaneta, and the others should be proud…
they're some of the best-paid character voices on the planet, and I
think I read that Homer Simpson, is closing in on Bugs Bunny as the
all-time most popular cartoon character.

See James Lipton interview many of the people who voice the Simpsons characters in THIS video.