I talk on the radio for a living. I am primarily a Traffic Reporter, but I also do a Sunday DJ shift, numerous commercial spots for the company I work for and I do Voiceover work on the side. I work out of a studio at my place of employment, which allows me to accomplish all of the above. I also have a small studio at home which I only use on occasion.
“I’ve been told I should do Voiceovers,” numerous people over the years have exclaimed when I tell them what I do for a living. “I wanna be on the radio,” others have lamented, as if that alone will get them on the air. “Do you fly around in a helicopter?” is the first question out of most peoples’ mouths when I tell them that I am a traffic reporter. When I tell them no, that I work out of a studio, I get responses ranging from, “Oh, that’s too bad, ” to “Well, you’re not a real traffic reporter, then.”
Although my worst day at work is still better than my best day when I was doing Graphic/Production Art 17+ years ago (I wasn’t very good at it), it is still just that: work. It is not always enjoyable. Like a lot of people, I deal with stacks of paperwork, time constraints, stuff falling through the cracks, miscommunication and whatever issue du jour. Unlike many, if there is a brush fire, traffic alert, water-main break or anything else that affects traffic in a bad way, my job becomes very complicated and stressful. Most days I would much rather be on a beach in Maui, sipping on a Mai Tai — even my front terrace with a cold, crisp pinot grigio would suffice — than be at work.
Where I am fortunate is that this is my actual career, and one that, if I have to come here Monday through Friday, I could do a helluva lot worse. I have done a helluva lot worse.
I work a split shift, during the drive times, so I am in the studio from 5-8:45 a.m., then 3:00 -6:00 p.m. Instead of “split shift,” I call it my “6-hour lunch break.” Considering Chuck is a 9-5er and we have 5 dogs that need attention, this schedule has worked well for us for over 16 years.
As I sit in my studio writing this between traffic reports and voicing a couple of radio spots, I have had a co-worker come into my studio looking for a file for something I had already voiced yesterday, that had temporarily fallen through the cracks (we found it), and an email from a Voiceover client (for some training videos I do) who needed me to re-read a sentence with the name “Du Bois” because, apparently, their client swears it is pronounced “Doo-Boys,” and not the way I originally pronounced it, “Du-Bwah.” Whatev.
If I didn’t have another 90 minutes of on-air work to do, plus my Sunday show to record after that (we call that voice-tracking; you can record a 4-hour show in about 30 minutes), I would run downstairs to BevMo and bring back something cold, refreshing and alcoholic. Slurring is frowned upon in my profession, however.
It’s been like this all week; busier than usual. The great thing is that the end of my work day I can leave it all behind me, go home to my husband and dogs, and hopefully enjoy the rest of my evening. This being Friday, I will appreciate it even more.
Stressed and blessed; that is indeed me. Just like any job, some days are better — or worse — than others.
I think back to 5th grade at Kimball Elementary School in Antioch, CA. Our class was putting on a play called “The Spirit of Christmas. ” The teacher chose me to be the announcer; I could not figure out why. Perhaps she thought I did a good job of reading aloud. Whatever the case, we performed this play on stage a total of four times in front of the whole school, parents, etc. The glee club, which consisted of boys and girls, were all standing on risers in front of the stage.
As I walked out onto the stage for the first time, I took a deep breath and with no script, began, “Room 13 5th grade presents, ‘The Spirit of Christmas,'” then proceeded to name off all of the characters in the play. I had memorized it perfectly. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the top row of boys in the choir were putting their heads back and peering up my dress.
A good friend clued me in after that first performance, so the next day when we did the play for the second time, a wave of snickers emitted from the boys in the choir as I walked out on stage in culottes (I believe we refer them as “skorts” these days) and proceeded to perform my announcer duties.
Even more unbeknownst to me back then was that I would one day work as an Announcer. A Radio Announcer. A Voiceover Artist. A DJ.
As crazy of an afternoon as it has been (and it’s not over yet) I do credit my multi-tasking skills with being able to write Day 10 during my shift. Or perhaps flying by the seat of my culottes is just my way of doing things?
If interested, here is my website: Kellydanek.com It’ll help put a voice to not only my writing, but this particular blog in general.