Behind the Mic: Joe Alan
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
KZII/Lubbock, TX – WTNJ/Beckley, WV – WBRX/Cresson, PA – KSTT/Atascadero, CA – WBYZ/Baxley, GA CKOS/Fort McMurray, CA WSUX/Seaford, DE The Beat Online KNID/Enid, OK
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
I’m a morning co-host at 93-7 WSTW in Wilmington, DE (just south of Philly). I also handle imaging responsibilities for the station. I’ve been with the company since 2000. When I’m not on the air, I’m in my home studio auditioning for anything and everything.
Take a listen to Joe’s Demo:
What do you love about your job?
What’s not to love? I enjoy EVERYTHING about VO and radio! Nothing excites me more than when a station chooses ME to help with their branding. Hearing the finished/produced product on the air is always an event. I’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty amazing imagers/PD’s. I’m thankful for those who make me sound good.
How did you get started as a VO actor?
It sort of happened by accident. I started lending my voice to promos that I was producing for the station. After a few compliments, I put together a demo and started emailing stations my work. I actually signed a station! And then another….and another.
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
There are so many people who’ve helped me. I appreciate it when people at the TOP of this business are kind enough to respond to emails or answer phone calls. Chad Erickson is heard literally EVERYWHERE, but always takes the time to help me out. Sean Caldwell helped me setup my processing. I’ve gotten help from Dave Foxx, John Pleisse and too many to name. So many kind people in this industry.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
Driving a school bus probably. Haha. SOMETHING media or audio related. I’m an audio nerd to the max. Running live sound would be fun. If I couldn’t do any of that, I’d work on motorcycles.
How has new technology changed the way you work?
Technology has definitely made things easier and A LOT faster. Being able to receive copy, edit audio and email out a finished product within minutes is amazing.
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
I’m sort of a gear nerd. At home I use the sennheiser 416 with a WARM WA12 Tube pre into an Airtools Digital 2x processor. I had an Avalon 737 for ten minutes, I just can’t seem to fall in love. A really nerdy side note: The first station I ever worked for upgraded their studios and I got to purchase the (Wheatstone Audioarts A50) airboard I used on the air. I had it completely rebuilt (to new specs) and installed at home. I enjoy the red lights.
On the road I use the Senny 416 or Rode shotgun with a Yamaha MG10xu USB mixer, into my notebook. It’s always in the trunk of my car.
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Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?
I use an old (1.5) version of Adobe Audition. It’s totally antiquated but I know it inside and out and I just love it. When producing I’ll use the Waves Diamond Bundle. It can’t be beat!
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
I check my email for new copy first and foremost. I try to cut stuff as it comes in. Once I’ve finished recording copy I’ll start auditioning. Most of what I do now is auditioning. I’m always trying to land the next gig. Always!
How do you market your services to potential clients?
I’m fortunate to be signed with Benztown. They’ve been incredible! Cold calls and emails have proven to work well for me. I reach out to every PD I can! I try not use mass mail marketing sites… I have more luck with a personalized message.
What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?
I’m not sure that I have any real “tricks.” I use a little bit of gate and some compression and bump up the highs a bit (for an airy sound). I’ve learned that less is more when it comes to processing.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
I still consider myself a newbie in the business. BUT I’ve gotten a lot of great advice that I’ve found to be extremely helpful.
- Network! Talk to everyone! Make connections and friends. You never know who or what could potentially lead to a gig.
- Audition! I spend a ton of time reading copy for free in hopes that I’ll land the gig. If nothing else, it’s great practice.
- Have fun! It’s super cliche’ …. but if you don’t absolutely love it, you’re not going to want to put in the time to really make it work.
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?
I’d wanna hang out in the early 60’s. I think drinking scotch and smoking at the office would be cool….or maybe I just watch too much “Mad Men.”
There are few things you can put on a pizza that I won’t eat… That being said, my go to is ground beef, onions and green peppers. I wish I could still participate in the Pizza Hut “Book It” program. I’d read a book a day for the personal pans.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
That guy in the movie “Night of the living Dead” …. the one who says “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” He’s cool. We’d go to Outback and have the bloomin’ onion.
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