Voice-Overs: the Untold, Unsexy Story

Standing at the gates of hellSomething strange is going on.

Whenever I try to warn people about the intricacies and pitfalls of the voice-over business, I get two types of reactions.

More experienced colleagues thank me for painting a realistic picture of a complicated industry.

Beginners criticize me for spitefully dashing their dreams.

To some, I am a hero for speaking my mind. To others I’m a villain who wants to curb his competition. There seems to be no middle ground. Just look at the reactions to my YouTube videoThe Troublesome Truth About A Voice-Over Career.” Even though I made it a few years ago, I still stand behind every word of it. One of the commentators said:

“Why would anyone seek out this negative party pooper? Don’t just offer the problems, offer the solutions, or at least direct people to where they can find the solutions. That might be on your website, but most people will never go there as all you’ve done with this post is attempt to suck the life out of their dreams.”

Another one said: 

“Why is this guy such a douche bag? Haha. This is a video about a VO actor that sadly didn’t “catch the big break” and made a rant video.”

Here’s a third response:

“Tough love. I appreciate it. Thank you for this, but it has me more determined than ever!”

And one more:

“A very honest and accurate summary of the voiceover business. As I tell folks, my job is not doing voiceovers. My job is finding voiceover clients.”


Positive or not so positive, every response teaches us something about confirmation bias. It’s this very human flaw that makes us see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and believe what we want to believe. It’s a way of filtering information that confirms our preconceptions. Quite often, it makes people immune to facts.

Advertisers create entire campaigns to play into people’s biases by offering simple solutions to complicated problems. Here’s a familiar example from a new website, using the persistent myth (bias) that every ignorant fool with vocal folds has a good chance of becoming a professional voice-over!


Yes folks: anyone with a camera can make money as a photographer. Anyone with a hammer can become a carpenter, and anyone with a piano can be a concert pianist. You just have to believe in yourself, and sign up for whatever training program they’re trying to sell you. Clients worldwide are waiting for you!


Well, let’s do a reality check, shall we? If you believe I have a hidden agenda and can’t be trusted, perhaps you’re willing to listen to an accomplished colleague of mine. He’s a writer, producer, and voice talent. A while ago he responded to one of my blog posts entitled What Clients Hate The Most.” His story is a tale I have heard many times since I started writing this blog.

It is honest. It is raw. It is painful.

Minutes after he posted his remarks, he asked me to delete them because of possible repercussions. Sharing setbacks could be bad for business, he said. I think he has a point. 

Most of us do our best to look successful in the eyes of colleagues and clients. That’s why we share our latest and greatest accomplishments with our peeps. Colleagues refer colleagues with an impressive track record. Clients want to hire winners, not whiners. 

So, I shelved his message for months, but in some way it continued to haunt me. Here was a story from the trenches that deserved to be heard. I’m not saying it is representative of what every single voice talent goes through, but it tells a story you have to hear. This week he gave me permission to share it with you.


Hi Paul:

I’ve written and produced for thirty years. One of my pieces is used by Dan O’Day in one of his courses, specifically the use of music in a commercial. I am quite good at nuance and communicating just what the client wants in the way he wants it. I have top-shelf recording gear with a couple of the world’s finest mics and preamps, and my stuff sounds very, very good.

I’m a good editor with an instinct for timing, layering, choosing the right music when required, and knowing where to put it. My demo is as good as anything you’ll hear. I’m a nice person with good people skills, and an ability to empathize.

I was mentored by a writer who did “Where’s the Beef,” and “Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut.” He told me 25 years ago, after working with him for many months, that I had reached a level where I should be making $75K. This was in 1981. I have read the books, gone to the seminars and webinars, written and produced 2000 commercials plus audio and video pieces for corporations and government agencies.

This year I will perhaps make $30K, only because I’m now on social security, and have a couple of new clients. All my clients are local. The average amount they spend per month on advertising is $700-$1000. I have sent out very well-designed and well-written post cards. I made hundreds of phone calls. My average income 15-20 years ago was $20-25K. For the last five it’s $15-18K.

I used to believe that if I learned my craft, had natural ability, never stopped learning, and worked diligently in making contacts and handling them well, I would succeed. I no longer believe that. 

I have lost clients to people who don’t write any better than radio stations, and don’t know how to schedule for effectiveness. 

I went with the two large pay-to-plays, and after 200 auditions and getting one inquiry that didn’t go, and after seeing people make it who sound like every dj you ever heard, I believe that success comes only when you (luckily) land that One Big VO gig or (luckily) get that One Big Client, and it all flows from there. 

For the people I know, that’s how it happened for all of them. I’m sure for many it’s different, but I haven’t seen or talked to anyone like that. I know there are more than enough people out there whom I could greatly help, whose messages are off-point and blandly produced, and who believe a commercial should “sound like a commercial” because that’s mostly what they hear.  They’re tossing their money in the street and don’t know it, and don’t know they don’t know. But I’ve never been able to find them. 

It’s an understatement to say I’m crushed. I know several talented people who just can’t make it, who will probably never make it. I am one of them, apparently. It’s a horror, Paul. I mean that quite seriously.

I am 66, sound like I’m 40, am still firing on all 8, and am writing and editing better than ever. But after three decades of not making enough to keep my family above the poverty line, I feel I am condemned to having small clients forever: Moms and Pops who, God bless them, believe they know more about advertising than I do, because people think “anybody can do advertising” and “all you need to do is get your name out there” and advertising is an afterthought; something they can give to Mikey the office assistant. You know what I mean. My few clients think I’m a genius, and I’m always naturally ‘up’ when talking with them or talking to a possible new client.

Because I love doing this, I have offered my services free to several organizations including charities. I have yet to get one callback.

VO guys and people who write and produce, have told me they spun their wheels for five years before getting the break that opened the Horn of Plenty to them, and they complain about “all that time” it took before it happened.

Really? Try starting in 1981 and still be nowhere.

Dante posted a sign outside the Gates of Hades saying “Abandon hope, you who enter here.”

Well, I know how that feels.



So, here’s a guy who is a triple threat. He was trained by the best. He has tons of experience, and he owns the right equipment. Yet, he’s struggling. I don’t know enough about Rick’s situation to tell you where and why things went wrong, and how they can be improved. I do know that Rick is not alone.

If sharing Rick’s story makes me a party pooper, or a douche bag, so be it. Frankly, I don’t care what you think, because throughout history people have always blamed the messenger. The question is:

What do YOU take away from Rick’s story?

Does it upset you? Does it make you more persistent to pursue your dreams? What does it tell you about breaking into voice-overs? 

I’ve had some time to think about Rick’s story, and here are my two cents.

If there’s a lesson in his narrative, it is this: The advertising/voice-over industry is not fair. In fact, life itself isn’t fair.

Studying hard, working hard, having the right chops, and owning the right equipment does not guarantee anything. Putting out nice brochures or postcards entitles you to… nothing. Being a nice guy doesn’t mean you’ll make enough to pay the bills.  

Uncertainty is the name of the game. There is no promise of work. There’s just potential, talent, and subjective selection. 

This is not a message many want to hear. It is a message most Pay-to-Plays, training companies, and demo mills want to suppress because it’s not sexy, and it doesn’t sell.


Now, Rick was brave enough to stick his neck out, and I would like him to walk away with something positive. That’s where you come in!

Ideally, I’d love it if you would use the comment section to answer some or all of the following questions:

• Is Rick’s experience unique, or do you recognize what he is going through?

• If you’ve been in a similar situation, what have you done to get out of it?

• What needs to happen in our industry to make it more likely that people like Rick can make a decent living?

The floor is yours.

Your input is much appreciated!

Paul Strikwerda ©nethervoice

PS Be Sweet. Please retweet!

*As you can imagine, Rick is not his real name. 

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About the author

Paul Strikwerda

is a Dutch-English voice-over pro, coach, and writer. His blog is one of the most widely read and influential blogs in the industry. Paul is also the author of "Making Money In Your PJs, Freelancing for voice-overs and other solopreneurs."

by Paul Strikwerda in Articles, Career, Freelancing, Pay-to-Play

20 Responses to Voice-Overs: the Untold, Unsexy Story

  1. Stephen Pace

    Does getting that “one big VO gig” really open the flood gates of money making in this business? I’ve always been skeptical of that philosophy. Still working to get that gig though and hoping that it’s true!


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Look at sports. Winning one race is nice, but there’s always the next race, and the next. You may think you have an edge, until a guy named Usain Bolt shows up next to you. Oops!


  2. Pingback: Secrets From Successful Voice-Overs | Nethervoice

  3. Bob Wood

    I saw Bryan Cranston recently as he was in town plugging his new book. The man says, rightly, to do your best at an audition and to not let the results belong to you. The performance, yes, the outcome, no, as you can’t control it.

    My ego must be weak…it goes up or down depending on bookings, but I am trying very seriously to better adopt Bryan’s credo.

    I have three agents, from whom I rarely get an audition. I have several return clients. I completely get Rick’s story and feel for him and any who have a similar story.


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Hi Bob, I always tell my students that what we do is not the same as who we are. Our job is part of our identity, but we’re so much more than the work we do. For instance, I love the pro bono work I do as a volunteer emcee at our Farmers’ Market. Oftentimes, a few hours announcing at the market gives me more joy than a day of corporate narration. It’s because I know I am of service to my community, using the talents I was born with, and the talents I helped cultivate over the years.

    It’s a mistake to equate client selection with personal rejection. That’s why I believe it’s best to leave our ego out of it. Life becomes a lot lighter that way.


  4. Jeannie Stith

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks so much for another thoughtful blog. It really stuck with me since reading it last week.

    I’m a voice talent who has had a lot of success in a mid-sized market, Philadelphia. I think Jon Armond makes a really good point when he says that WHERE you live matters. People will tell you it doesn’t, but it does. I hear a lot “with ISDN, Source Connect or IPDTL, you can work for anyone in the world!” It’s true. You CAN, but you probably won’t.

    I started in the Philadelphia market 18 years ago, and 18 years later, I still do 90% of my work in Philly with people I’ve gotten to know in person over the years.

    On many accounts, I had lucky breaks that I wasn’t even aware of back then that led me to where I am. I had a connection in the V/O world who had been a voice talent for 15 years in Philly. He was an alum of my theater program. He came and did a seminar on V/O during my senior year and gave us all his card. I was the only one who called him – that part wasn’t luck, but much of what followed was. He let me take a voice over class he was teaching, sent me to the right engineer for my first demo, and then essentially, got me my first job by suggesting me to someone when a young woman talent cancelled at the last minute. I’m sure he dropped my name to engineers here and there. Even with this, I still only had one job my first year. But my second year, I had a dozen jobs, and it snowballed from there into a very profitable career.

    The luck – I entered a mid-sized market when there was no one else who sounded like me. This mattered because there were tons of women with deep, sexy voices in the Philly market. I was a recent college grad with a high pitched, very young sounding voice. I even had engineers say to me “We finally have someone to call to play a high school or college student!” At that time, there was a lot of character parts in radio V/O and I played the daughter, the valley girl (that was a “thing” at the time), the high school or college student, etc. I wasn’t the best voice talent, but I did have acting skills and I was essentially the “only.”

    Range isn’t my thing. My demos still demonstrate a very small range of stuff that I do very well. Upbeat announcer, moms, friendly best friend. If “gravitas” is in the notes, I don’t even audition.

    So I tell that story to give a real snapshot of how and why someone can make it in V/O because now I think it is much harder to find a place to be “the only.” The markets are saturated with voice talent, especially men with deep voices, which I’m willing to bet Rick is.

    However, if you can find a mid-sized market where you can be the “only” at something, I think you can have a real shot. Example – right now in Philly there seems to be a lack of older men with a “real guy” sound with a super gravely voice – think someone you’d hire for a low-end whiskey spot. I’ve been asked twice in the past year if I know anyone with this type of voice and I did find them an actor who isn’t typically a voice talent.

    Not knowing anything else about Rick other than what you’ve written, I’d suspect he was a sound-alike and because of that never made enough connections to make a go of it.

    You can still find holes in the market here an there, but if you sound like everyone else, don’t expect success.


  5. Rob Ellis


    Is “Rick” a person who after years as a writer and producer, decided that he could also be a voice talent?
    It am a little confused about whether he is talking about struggling as a writer/producer, or as a writer/producer
    who decided late in his career to become a voice talent.



  6. Jon Armond

    Hey Paul! I really enjoy reading your blog – it seems to cut through so much of the VO Bullcrap out there.

    I’ve heard Rick’s story a bunch of times. I try to take courses & seminars twice a year and always at the beginning of these, we go around the circle and tell a little about ourselves and where we are in our VO careers. There are a lot of “Ricks” out there. Two things I take away from his story – #1, we can’t HEAR him. If samples were included of his work, his lack of success might just be obvious. It’s like the people who auditioned for American Idol and everyone but them knew this was the last place they should be. “But it’s my dream”! Yeah, but you’re not good at it. You’ll never be good at it. Pick something else. It’s a cruel joke that God sometimes gives us gifts and dreams that don’t match. #2 WHY would anyone bang their head against a wall “since 1981 and still be nowhere”? Man, take a hint! This isn’t for everybody. There’s no way I would spend more than 5 years on something that was giving me nothing in return, no matter how much I loved it. Take the cues from the universe, Rick. This obviously isn’t for you. You have a gift, everyone does…this ain’t it.

    On the flipside, Voiceover ISN’T my dream at all, but it’s what I’m good at. My dream is something else, that I’m not good at, sadly. I decided to give Voiceover a try in January of 2015. I quit my job, had professional demos made, and availed myself of courses, workshops and mentoring by the best in the biz. In my first year, my client list included Draft Kings, Target, Honda, Yamaha, Murad, Honeywell and others. I have 4 agents currently in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Minneapolis. Granted, that ‘job’ I quit was a 20 year morning radio career, so it’s not like I didn’t know how to sit behind a mic, but radio and voiceover is very different, and being a 20 year “radio guy” has probably hurt more than it’s helped as you have to get out of that “radio mode-sound”.

    But, here’s what I believe – and I hope everyone reading this and struggling hears this – If you have another full time job but are doing VO from your home studio, when you’re not working, and you live too far to quickly drive into a big city, you’ll probably never get further than where you are now. I know people like Rick who are really talented, but work full time and live in Iowa. It doesn’t matter how good your equipment is. You’ve given yourself no chance…or at least much less of a chance.
    Here’s why…

    People will tell you that because of the internet, source connect, ISDN, etc you can do this from “wherever”. Don’t believe it. I mean, you can…sort of…but with limited success. You have to have the talent, but you also have to have more because a lot of people have talent. You also have to have AVAILABILITY!! I can’t stress how important this is. I have had the success I’ve had because I can be at studios in Burbank/Los Angeles/Hollywood at the drop of a hat. It’s not because I’m better than anyone else – I’m sure I’m not. I can’t tell you how many times one of my agents will call and tell me I “have to be in Burbank tomorrow at 10am” or “they’d like to see you in Hollywood this afternoon”. If I had another job, this would be impossible. If I lived in the midwest, this would be impossible. If I took all of the voicework I’ve done in the last year and a half and subtracted all of the “need you right away in LA” work, I’d be Rick too. I am a 4th generation Los Angelino and believe me when I tell you that people still want to SEE you and BE THERE during the session. Will they hire the guy from Kansas with ISDN? Yes…but only if he’s WAY better than the locals. I also get to meet all of the studio owners, engineers, directors and producers in this town and I know it’s 2016 and the internet has shrunk the world, but there’s still no substitute for a face and a handshake.

    I have a dear friend in Des Moines who works at a car dealership. He has an amazing home studio with everything you could ever need or want, and he’s a lot better than I am. He would beat me at every read. But, I book 200% more work than he does because of WHERE he is and because opportunities come when he’s working his other job. I get auditions that need to be done in the next 4 hours and so does he. You can’t do those if you’re working another job. I get work, not because I beat guys on the read, but because I beat them to the punch. Treat VO like a part time job or a sideline and that’s all it will ever be.


  7. Howard Ellison

    Long experience is not a reliable asset. My outspoken father, when he encountered professionals who tried to diminish him with “I have 30 years experience” would get his rejoinder “Could it be that you’ve had one year’s experience 30 times?”


  8. Debbie Grattan

    In response to your response…regarding most of us benefiting from “professional” help…I agree. And that’s not to say we all need to sit with a shrink and diagnose our childhood (although that could uncover a lot of things!) But being able to enlist professional assistance is something I use in my business all the time. I hire other professionals to help me in areas where I’m not an expert (website building, branding, marketing, SEO, social media management, blog writing, etc.) and also coaches, to keep me fresh in my vocal delivery, & demo producers to cut new and cutting edge demos – that seem to constantly need to be re-freshed. I get copies of my work to upload onto many different playlists on YouTube, and then key word those to attract potential clients. These are just of few practices that can make a big difference. Outsource, where you can, including housekeeping, yard maintenance, etc.

    But there are many FREE resources to assist with basically anything one needs as an entrepreneur in this day and age. You just have to know where to look and what to ask.

    But, knowing what to do, and DOING it are often two different things. Starting and keeping a client database up to date is not hard, but it’s tedious and time-consuming. But ultimately, having that client database on hand for marketing, is GOLD.

    And sometimes, you DO have to dip into the pocketbook to spend some of that earned cash to make more. Skin in the game can sometimes perk the desire to make sure it is worth the expense.

    I think where a lot of VO actors can fall down is not looking at the industry as a business, and having a proper plan and professional mindset to operate like one. For many, it just seems like something fun and creative to do, and if they’re lucky, make a little money…so that’s as far as they go. One has to think bigger and then plan to expand everything to take that business up the ladder if the goal is to really sustain a higher income. I think most just don’t understand what is required, or if they do, they aren’t built for executing a professional and sustainable business plan.

    And I suppose for some, even with all things in place, there is still some (or many) factor/s that hold them back….talent, mindset, tenacity, follow through…and so on.

    Just like being a professional athlete – even with the desire and training, there are only so many spots on the team. With VO, at least the opportunities are boundless, but there are certainly lots of factors that are key to attaining and then maintaining that position in the top percentages.


  9. John N Gully

    I can relate very well to Ricks story as well. After working as a Part-time VO for 20 years I only just went full time 3 years ago and I am in the midst of my best year ever. I am tracking to make 30K this year. Still only a third of what I used to make as a multimedia developer. But I am much happier. I never topped 10K all the years prior which was why I needed to work a full time job. But having experience in the multimedia industry and Radio industry (7 years on-air and producing spots for radio) I have been able to leverage all my previous experience in my full-time VO career. I realize I may not ever hit the “Big-Time” But it doesn’t deter me from continuing in this industry because I am happy. I know the pitfalls and in my opinion, they are less stressful and more rewarding than any company I worked for all my life. Except for maybe one which was out of the norm as most companies go. It’s not all peaches and cream, its perspective and I appreciate honesty above all. Less surprises that way. Thanks Paul for sharing that. It also helps me realize I am not the only one!


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Yes, we are not alone! 90% of actors are permanently “in between opportunities.” The happy few that made it, are hired again and again.

    I agree with you that there’s more to work than making money. Being happy in one’s job is a huge reward in and of itself. But financial stress plays a huge factor is people’s health and well-being. It can lead to bankruptcy, divorce, depression, and even suicide.

    It can take a lot out of a person to stay positive, and to keep on going. It’s an experience many of us have, and we rarely talk about. Thank you for adding your voice to this story!


  10. Debbie Grattan

    Like you, Paul, I’m struck by what Rick has to say. Yes, there are many who try and fail, but this guy seems to have done everything right…so why didn’t large success visit him in his chosen field? Hard to know without more details. From what he wrote, I would question if he has stayed up with the times. Just because you’ve been doing something for 30 years, if you’re working from an old paradigm (copywriting from Where’s the Beef) then perhaps you need to expand into a new way of thinking…not only with copywriting, but vocal delivery, music mix, and message.
    When he says he works with largely local clients, I question what he’s doing with a website. Does he have one? If so, is he getting traffic? How is his SEO? I have clients contacting me from all over the world, and my website is the main way they do this. But certainly, in our world today, there are many places to expand on the internet, to create a more powerful draw of clients.
    Does he diversify? Seems like he’s focusing a lot on commercial work. How about being open to niches in narration, explainers, phone messaging, audio books, video games. The VO world has expanded so much from 30 years ago, with niches opening up that didn’t even exist before. So I would question how open he is to wanting to stay competitive with the times.
    And finally, I wonder about his own personal mindset. His story and writing sounds like someone who has accepted his inability to break through his own self-imposed glass ceiling. In the entertainment world, as we know, it’s dog eat dog, and the competitiveness of wanting and doing everything possible to succeed has to be there. In what he writes, he makes a case for doing this. But I would question his motivation and his own self-talk in this. We can often be our own worst enemy with what we unconsciously BELIEVE to be “true” and can sabotage our own best efforts, because deep down, we really think we don’t deserve success, or some other faulty belief that we keep living out and finding evidence to support. So I would also dig in to find out what’s under the surface.
    That’s my 5 cent Lucy diagnosis, just from looking at the surface, and also understanding what IS required to be successful in the VO industry. Certainly there are many more aspects that can be covered here as well.


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    A very useful diagnosis, Dr. Debbie! Obviously, Rick didn’t want to give too many details in order to protect his identity. I do think that your questions and suggestions are very helpful, especially because you come from a place of experience.

    I believe that what we focus on consistently, is more likely to materialize. In that respect, negative self-programming can be a serious obstacle on the road to success. In some cases it may lead to a vicious circle: negative self-talk leads to negative actions, bringing about negative results, leading to more negative self-talk.

    Very few people manage to pull themselves out of this kind of situation. Most of us could benefit from professional help.


  11. Shane Morris

    Sadly, Ricks experience is a tale told too often not only in the VO biz but life and work in general. We all have dreams, some bigger than others. Most people just dream then go to work. I don’t know why Rick was mediocre at success, but at least he chased his dream and thats more than you can say for most peeps. High five to you Rick! You danced!

    As far as my similar situation, I struggled with low self esteem and kicking around in mediocre jobs my whole life, some success but nothing to cheer about. I was making a living, period. I Read all kinds of self help books looking for answers, Anthony Robbins, Shakti Gawain, Ramtha, Primal Scream, Who Moved My Cheese, The Road Less Traveled etc……….. you get the picture. The bottom line is this, at least for me it was, get rid of all the negativity in your life, believe in yourself and thank the powers that be for all the good fortune in your life. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow doesn’t exist so that leaves today! Working on today is what I do very well!

    The industry will morph into its own and will always have the cheap seats, the P2P’s, talented contenders (the 10%’s) and the cream of the crop (1%’s). You can’t stop the dreamers or the short cutters. The world is filled with them as in any business. Cheap will always be a commodity. Success and luck have everything to do with “time”! Putting it in every day and of course “being there at the right time”! Einstein was a genius! “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from minds of mediocrity”

    Thank you for the insight Paul as usual! And thank you for sharing such a painful story Rick. Just remember, your a hero to someone! A lot of peeps can’t say that! Be proud!


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Low self-esteem can creep up when we confuse what we do with who we are. That probably sounds like a quote from one of the self-help gurus, but I believe it is true. I think the work we do is part of our identity, but we are so much more than that.

    Many of us are trash collectors. We collect our own trash, as well as trash from our parents, our friends, and our past. What most people don’t realize, is that a huge chunk of that trash does not even belong to us! They just keep on carrying it around like a huge weight. No wonder why so many people turn to food and other drugs to feel a bit better.

    A huge key to success is preparation, and that’s a problem for so many hopefuls. They want the glory, but they’re not prepared to do the work.


  12. Kevin Scollin

    Hi Paul,
    Unfortunately I don’t think Rick’s situation is unique… I can relate very well. There’s been a few years where I “Landed the Big One” and was living high on the hog…followed by many, many years of scraping by.

    For my sanity, I’ve had to look at the VO business as a part time job…even when that was all I was doing …
    So those years where I was barely making $25K were a pretty good part-time gig… those years I was making $75K… bonus! Paid some bills and went on vacation…

    For me, the bottom line is…I love what I do and plan on continuing until I can’t speak anymore!



    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Hi Kevin, I like your attitude! It’s got to be tough to make a full-time income on a part-time basis. Kudos for hanging in there, and for recognizing the importance of vacations!



    “Rick” and yourself have pretty much summarised the problem, Paul…Life is often (not always) unfair. At 62 and still working full time (Sales) in the Australian commercial radio industry, I’ve had my fair share of crap things happen to me BOTH on and off air. I was sacked from my second on-air position aged 19 because I became sick on-air and had to call in the Programme Director to take over. I lost my Radio Management job of 11 years a week before Christmas in 1992, as new ownwers wanted a cheaper Manager, who was more of a ‘yes man’. Myself and 10 others lost our radio positions overnight in 2004, when the new radio station owners went broke, after a sport format of 5 months failed and the bankers foreclosed. And of course in Sales you are constantly getting knockbacks and dealing with a fair degree of negativity in a very competitive advertising marketplace. On the freelance voice over side of things, because I still have a full time sales position, I treat the VO part of me as an enjoyable hobby. If I was to suddenly have no full time radio position (and believe me I still need an income, as radio generally is no cash cow for most employees) I would have to market myself like crazy. It’s true, if you’re not prepared to find the clients (including lots of rejection and roadblocks) the voice over business for most (irrespective of talent and equipment) becomes drudgery. In Rick’s position, I’d have a very close look at his marketing approach, see what hasn’t worked and where there has been some success and go for the area of your niche. The other thing is, if you just find cold calling too hard, perhaps a simple partnership arrangement could work with a person who’s prepared to share the load and the spoils ? My simple thoughts from ‘Down Under’. Thanks Paul and best of luck (and ultimate success, no matter how big or small) Rick. We all just want to be happy and respected.


    Paul Strikwerda Reply:

    Thanks for chiming in, Ian. Your story illustrates that there are many factors in this business we have very little influence over. A friend of mine was a popular, knowledgeable announcer at a classical radio station. His audience loved him. Performers loved him. But at some point he was shown the door thanks to a little thing called “age discrimination.” It was a bitter experience for him, and for his listeners. Many of them withdrew their support from the station.


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