Stephen Lyons - International Voice-over
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The Voice

The Magazine on the Internet for Voice-overs
& Radio Commercial Producers


You can thank one of the worst flus in years for this Issue. How else would I find the time to have so much fun with my keyboard? Its hard to believe that ISDN has been a part of my life for over two years now and even harder to believe that I have retained my sanity - though many would dispute that. Thanks for your support for The Voice over the last year. I hope you'll stick with me for another year. Merry Christmas & a Prosperous New Year to you all. Ed.


VOX 97, the industry's first ever bash of its kind, offering fine food and entertainment, a chance to gas with friends and colleagues and to do a bit of networking, has attracted an enthusiastic response.

Designed by Peter Dickson, Tony Aitken, Jacqueline Davis and Lois Lane to bring together everyone involved in radio commercial production, the event has been well received by all sides of the business, now working in isolation and eager to find out what their employers and employees actually look like, or even that they really exist. Reservations have been made by Radio Station Comm. Prod. departments, Independent Studios, Music Libraries, Voice Agents and Voice-Overs. Simon Bates is amongst the many celebrities who will be attending.

"The response was instant and enthusiastic", says Tony Aitken, "Within eight weeks of launching VOX 97, 70 to 80% of our original allocation of places had been booked. The Hotel has made more rooms available but those who haven't yet reserved their tickets should do so straightaway."

VOX 97, sponsored by The Radio Magazine, centres around an evening's dining, dancing and entertainment. Nicral, the UK's leading supplier of ISDN audio broadcast equipment, will be starting the evening in style by hosting a Welcome Champagne Reception.

"We are very pleased to be associated with VOX 97." explains Catherine Oates, Director of Nicral. "Voice artistes are a very important part of our market and, as the leading UK supplier, Nicral counts nearly every one of them as a customer. Much of our work with Voices is done by telephone and we don't always have the same opportunity to meet as we do with our corporate customers. VOX 97 is a wonderful opportunity to meet and say Thank You to all our customers and to enjoy together what, I am sure, will be a wonderful event."

The Welcome Reception will be followed by a four course dinner, and then dancing to the 96.4 FM BRMB disco and entertainment by a variety of acts.

The venue for VOX 97 is Mor Hall Hotel, near Sutton Coldfield, which combines modern facilities with traditional country house character. Guests can make the most of the Health and Leisure Club - use of the tropical indoor pool, spa bath, sauna, steamroom and gymnasium are all free of charge to those staying overnight.

VOX 97 - 10th MAY 1997

To book or for further information contact Kim Prior Marketing & Events - +44 (0) 1737 814532


Voice artists are invited to bring along their demos - a special display area will be set aside for them. If you would like to speak to the people associated with making radio commercials one-to-one, the organisers say that you shouldn't delay in booking your place, reserving a table, or speaking to them about exhibiting at VOX 97.

By Chris White

We just finished the first read through of the script and looked up expectantly at the engineer. He cracked open the talkback and told us that the read was forty five seconds long. There was no indication on the script as to the length of this epic so we couldn't tell if it was a short sixty or a long thirty. The client on the phone said, "Let me cut something." Ah! It was a long thirty. We waited patiently for the client to tell us what to edit. Since our read was real fast, we knew that a lot of copy had to be removed. Unfortunately, the client took the surgical approach.

"Andy," said the client, "Cut 'the' in the your second sentence. Chris, make a contraction out of 'it is' in your first sentence. OK, let's try it again."
"Wait a minute!" Andy shouted. "You're kidding about these cuts, aren't you?"
"What do you mean?" Asked the client.
"Why," Andy said sounding as innocent as possible, "That will make the spot too short!"
Since the client was already in a bad mood, I had to fake a heart attack to cover my laughter.

Another time there were five of us doing a sixty second spot for a small town car dealer. We did a couple of rehearsals before getting the client on the line and the shortest we could get it was seventy two seconds. The engineer gets the client on the line who immediately asks us to do a take. We break two consecutive land speed records and manage to squeeze the spot into seventy seconds.

The people in the fertiliser industry have a phrase for this. It's called squeezing six pounds of manure into a three pound bag. We all looked at each other knowing that this was going to be a long afternoon trying to pack this baby into a three pound sack. But, as clients always do, she surprised us. She said, "Hey, that's good enough for a market this size. It's a wrap!"

By the way, this session must be listed in some book of records. It was the first time five radio actors were in a studio together and were completely speechless.


Porridge & Chips

Following installation of the new chip in her CDQ2000 several months ago, Nadine Shenton can't praise it enough. "It's brilliant" says Nadine, "I have had no porridge or drop out since. So many stations have commented on what a difference it has made."

Nicral lent Nadine a CDQ2001 while they upgraded her codec, returning it within 48 hours. Nadine supplied Nicral with a DAT recording of instances of porridge but, to date, the U.S., based technicians have failed to identify the root cause.

It would seem that some porridge or drop out is still down to the incorrect configuration of some CDQPrimas.

Dominica Warburton has also reaped the benefit of the new chip. She says that voicing is far less frustrating now and involves far fewer takes.

ISDN update

Latest ISDN devotee to go solo is Lois Lane. Also new on-line is Helena Breck.

Sonoptics is the latest producer on-line. Voice-overs should send demos (no faxes please) to Nick McGurk, Rosier Farm, Coneyhurst Road, Billingshurst, West Sussex RH14 9DE

Artists On Line

A new group of Voices has been gathering chez Nadine Shenton to offer another repertory service. Working from midday to closing time on Tuesdays, Nadine has been joined by Ian Swann, John Culshaw (of Spitting Image fame), Roger Tilling and April Ford.


One of the myths and, indeed, oversights relating to working from home, is that everything is covered on your Home Insurance. Well - It certainly is not and you'd better believe it!

If anything you make a claim for on a Tax Return or which is used for business activity at home were to be stolen or damaged (by fire etc.), your Home Contents Insurer could refuse to pay out for any loss or damage (even to domestic items), if they have not been informed that you work from home. Voice-overs would be well advised to investigate the two alternatives available - either a working from home type policy which covers both your domestic and business items, or a separate Business Policy, having made sure that your Home Contents Insurer is aware and has accepted the fact that you work from home (not all of them will). Your new policy should include cover for Contents, All Risks items (items you travel with e.g. mobile phone), Income Indemnity (due to Business Interruption) and Loss of Accounts Receivable.

If you do not have Cover for working from home you should seek immediate advice from a reputable Insurance Broker.

Simeon Cran writes from Brisbane

In Sydney and Melbourne, most of the voice talent is controlled by agents. In Brisbane there are some agents, but they mostly have people who are actors as well. The agents in Brisbane have no power because they don't control enough of the market.

Because of the lack of agents, the only thing keeping talent fees up was the union (The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance). Unfortunately, because the agents in Sydney were doing such a good job of controlling the market down there, the union seemed to lose interest in voice talent. As a result, Sydney and Melbourne rates rose substantially compared with union rates. Brisbane, without agent support, ended up working on the union rates, thereby losing out. The union rate for a 30 second commercial is (Aus)$148.00, whereas the Sydney rate is $225.00.

A few things have happened over the last two years. First up, I noticed that agents were producing casting CDs and these were being used more and more. Unfortunately, with no agents to speak of in Brisbane, people were beginning to cast from the Sydney CDs. So, I worked out a plan where I could produce, with low financial risk, a CD for Brisbane artists. There are fifteen artists on the CD and, with professional art work, it looks really good. Another CD will come out soon with another fifteen artists on it.

This year, having encouraged a co-operative spirit and gained their trust, three of us got together to do something about the rates. We held meetings, designed a rate card, did all the publicity and created a rate system that will equal the Sydney rate within three years. believe it or not, there was virtually no complaining from the employers. We have been very well organised about it.


Changes to the minimum Equity rates for commercials recorded at UK radio stations or at subcontracted production studios are as follows:

  • �10.80 -� �11.00
  • �13.50 -� �13.80
  • �16.80 -� �17.20
  • �18.70 -� �19.10
  • �20.50 -� �20.90
  • �20.70 -� �21.10
  • �36.50 -� �37.30
  • �72.50 -� �74.00

These rates have risen in line with the R.P.I. and are effective from 1st January 1997.

Publisher & Editor
Stephen Lyons, Cwmcaddon, Ochrwyth, Risca, South Wales NP1 6EL

No.1 Sept '95| No.7 June '96| No.8 Sept '96| No.10 April '97| No.11 May '97|
No.12 July '97| No.13 Sept '97| No.14 Xmas '97|