Voice for radio with Tim Wedgwood BBC Radio Stoke
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Voice for radio with Tim Wedgwood BBC Radio Stoke

November 7, 2019


so have you had any any training at all
in in voice or…? A lot of the time the training comes from listening to others
and hearing what you think sounds acceptable and I think using your voice, it’s like an instrument isn’t it? and it’s the instrument I use
particularly for the radio to tell a story or to hold politician to account
or to entertain someone to play music to to talk with someone on the phone around
what’s going on in their lives and you can use your voice in a variety of ways
for that of course Could you give me an example? if someone is talking to you about
something that it’s traumatic in their life, well you know your inflection might
change, you might put on a more sympathetic tone so that’s one instance
another instance perhaps if you’re interviewing a politician who’s avoiding
a question then you can be more forceful you can start to press them a
little harder and be more willing to interject when before you might be
stepping back slightly to listen more to what’s being said because they’re
telling their story you know if to get a point across you might use your
voice in a different way, so your approach to using your voice it depends
on various factors that depends on your your guests how you might want to be
received from their point of view or depend what their agenda is I
suppose as well. Not only might they want to take control you don’t want
to let let that happen. do you have, not an agenda
but you’ve got you’ve I suppose your agenda there is time you’ve got to fill in a
certain topic or slots you know like we’re trying to do now do you have any
anything else you do what sort of us what you know
I suppose it’s not particularly connected to your voice but… I know what
you’re saying, I think and of course when you’re filling a radio program (yeah) for
instance yeah it depends is a news based program yeah or if it’s more
entertainment based (yep) so your tone will change depending upon what it is
you’re doing yeah the program you’re presenting yeah so if it was more light
hearted then then yes, you know you might inject a bit more personality in to
reflect the story you’re telling may be you can still throw personality into
needles yeah you can still be a personality driven news interview again
it comes down to your confidence to tell the story to ask the right questions to
to use the right tone with the questions you’re asking and perhaps not
belligerent maybe and I suppose again you’re using your voice in a multitude
of ways to achieve those ends that means yeah so yeah you’re thinking of the
topic you’re thinking of who it is you’re interviewing why you’re
interviewing them what story they have to tell and a lot of it is listening to
their story but knowing when the audience might have heard enough and
again sometimes your guests will be very animated and very authoritative
sometimes they won’t be so you have to try and coax them into telling them a
bit more you can use that again in the way that you might use your voice so I
might lean in yeah to try and make myself appear more visible on a camera
you can do the same thing with your voice don’t you just yeah lean in with
your voice and a smile and that can be picked up sure so tell me more about the
yeah yeah the new car you just bought, it sounds fantastic. it yeah yeah great yeah yeah and you’re
pushing them into in a way you’re calming their own nerves around the topic they no more about than you. yeah it’s putting someone at ease… so you use your voice to do to do that subconsciously I well not necessarily over time this
becomes a self conscious? it becomes more habitual right yeah so you you’re using
your voice habitually to to put someone at ease to give them the I supposed to
give them the floor space to you know to give their story I suppose in a way you
know sorry… yes, I think I think it’s important that you know as an
interviewer you’re not afraid to let someone open up and tell their story
yeah so the whole reason why they’re on yep but all you are if you like is the
conduit yep between that story and the listener but it’s an important conduit
because you’re trying to keep the whole story flowing and together and meaning
something and not being and knowing when to step in and intervene yep and that
could be you know if the story is as we’re now legs if you like further to go
so there is finding having listened to what the interviewer has said,
it’s finding another question to go in on that might be pre-planned based
on some research or some evidence you know you’ve done some research
beforehand you know what you’re talking about so yeah then you can then take it
to the next level I think from a broadcasters point of view using your
voice is so important you need to know how to use it and when to use how to
change the tone of your voice and the inflection of your voice not be afraid
of a pause and rather have a pause around the words that you use, and rather than ‘umming and arring’ I would rather stop whilst my brain is engaging yes thinking this is a
word I need to use yeah this is the warning to express something don’t be
afraid of a pause because I think sometimes be better than having these
extraneous noised going on… yeah! it’s very much like it’s like music sometimes it’s what
you don’t play is as important as what you do play and I think it’s the same
thing with language and communication I think sometimes a pause you know can be
(pause) (laughter) a little bit embarrassing… But, it can also be …… very powerful yeah yes yes because you’ve drawn someone in yes and if you’re telling a story yeah
or you’re interviewing someone yep I’m interviewing the leader of the council
yep you’ve got to make 20 million pounds worth of cuts? Why are
you having to make these cuts? and say no more! it’s a clear obvious question leave
that person then to say what they need to say yep listening very closely to it
and one that you think they finished “but I still don’t understand yes yes yes
because you’re making 20 million pounds worth of cuts but you know you’ve spent
13 million pounds on yeah this I don’t know new cars you know your senior
officers yeah yeah that’s outrageous isn’t it!” yeah but
there’s no uming or ah’ing there, you’re stopping and thinking yeah what I’m
going to say yes in the most powerful way possible yes using language yes
that’s not too flowery yeah I mean it’s better to use something than it is to
utilize because you don’t speak in that way you know don’t find a word that
complicates a situation speak naturally speak with warmth speak with a smile
because a smile really comes through yeah and with the radio unlike
television where you have pictures tell a story this is true theater of the mind
football commentary is another prime example football commentators on the
radio having to explain absolutely everything down to the smallest blade of
grass that a TV picture will say straight away
so it’s using words language in a way that tells the story or sets a scene and
that could be for instance an episode of The Archers you know you know where you
are because you have the sound effects of a field yep
and someone walking through a field yeah you know exactly where you are and then
you can concentrate on the language around it so much of what goes on goes
on in the background yes you can focus what’s going on in the foreground yeah
so the location of the environment is taken care of with folio or exactly…What tips would you have for anybody coming into the business or the broadcasting business now? I suppose my question is really related to where we are with
social media now for instance? There’s market saturation these are days and everyone
can be a journalist yep with the different platforms available –
you can be a citizen journalist! You, never know where you’re going to be when
something will happen and everyone carries a smartphone these days yeah and
people have the ability to publish that material, whether that’s on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter.. A lot of that material has come
from the public absolutely most of it from the public? Absolutely, most of it has come from the public… You’re main
terrestrial broadcasters if you like and satellite broadcasters all have a
presence on social media yeah such as its importance and the fact that there
is this proliferation of social media channels millions and millions of people
use it every single day yep and publish their own material on it
every single day and there are some well you know as well as I do that there are
people who your job is to be a youtuber yeah and they’re as much a journalist as
I am sure it’s all about the stories you tell and whether you reach an audience
of 10 or 10 million it’s still broadcasting
or publishing content so it’s essentially down to the individual to
work out what suits them, now it could be that not everyone’s going to walk
into the BBC channel for ITV sky whoever but that doesn’t mean to say they can’t
be experimenting with their content in the social media world yeah so a YouTube
channel a Facebook page and again it’s being able to tell a story create
content that others might be interested in perhaps you want a business it’s
being able to present yourself in whichever medium whichever forum you’re
in in a clear and concise manner and it’s I suppose again if it’s visual it’s
knowing to stay fairly still whilst you’re talking it’s knowing not to ahm,
and ahhhh, you find these superfluous words you don’t need it’s about creating something
that’s professional and something that’s that someone else wants to see there’s
no point broadcasting something with us you know so narrow in its fields that
nobody wants to see although I suppose that might even fit into a niche market
but I suppose my advice to anyone wanting to get in to the media industry
and it’s you know there’s a lot of competition in terms of getting into the
vo industry there are a number of ways it depends what you want to do if you
want to become a journalist a news journalist then you know I would
recommend you know you you become you got a university degree or possibly a
Masters in Broadcast Journalism, whether that’s accredited to you know the
newspaper industry or the broadcast media industry there are opportunities
yep but that’s not necessarily the only way in because you know radio television
is always looking for people that have a knowledge of something else something
different music so it could be that you’re an
expert in world history you can still be a broadcaster and the next person world
history that is your field within broadcasting yes does that make sense absolutely you
know or a musician a carpenter whatever you do in life you can pass on those
skills and it can be of interest of someone in a broadcast sense yes
whether that’s looking at how to wire a plug or how to make a lasagna
you know there’s scope for you to to do that and to publish it to a wider
audience yeah so you have to do that in a way that’s I think that looks
professional that looks as though you’ve thought about it you’re thinking about
the words you’re using you might not necessarily have a teleprompter but you
know bone up beforehand, you know think about what it is you’re going to
say yes think about what your end result is and then find the best way to explain
it in the simplest form possible good

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