Industry Views

Monday Memo: Ditch the DJ Voice

By Holland Cooke

Tip: If you’re auditioning for voiceover work, call yourself a “voice actor,” not an announcer.

The sound-alike DJ caricature delivery blends-into the blah-blah-blah that advertisers need to cut-through. Which explains why TV and movies actors are heard on so many national TV ads.

Listen carefully. You’ve heard George Clooney for Budweiser, Julia Roberts for Nationwide Insurance, Morgan Freeman for Visa. Tim Allen invites you to “Pure Michigan,” John Goodman pitches Dunkin, and Rashida Jones says fly Southwest. Not on-camera endorsements, unidentified voice-overs, with unaffected delivery. Network radio spots for The Home Depot? Actor John Lucas NAILS ‘em (pun intended).

Listen to the scene-setting voice-overs that “Magnum PI” star Jay Hernandez does within episodes, every bit as intimate as his predecessor Tom Selleck’s were in the 1980s version. Those Florida Orange Juice commercials Selleck V/O’d a while back sounded so effortless.

And maybe that’s the key. Don’t announce-AT-me, just tell me.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the E-book and FREE on-air radio features Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins;” and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke