A just-for-fun group for former radio announcers that have made the transition to full-time VO, leaving their DJ days behind. What we miss (and what we don't) about being on the air, and working in radio in general. Share your stories!
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  • Fellow DJIR's, my name is Bill, and I'm a voiceaholic.

    "Hi, Bill, welcome," comes the droning of professional mouths about the room.

    What a great idea. I'm ashamed to say I was never fired from radio because I discovered the hottest format around: "Beautiful Music," (Mantovani, Percy Faith Orchestra, the occasional Lionel Ritchie hit...you get the idea - stuff you'd hear in the podiatrist's office in 1979.)

    I started in '77 at K-Kiss 99 in Walnut Creek CA, and ended up on the morning show at KBIG-FM 104.3/Los Angeles '80 to '85. In the Spring of '85 my PD said, "We want you to write and produce a comedic radio drama script every morning before you come into work, and produce it with the newsman."

    I sat at the typer for hours, came up with some decent sh_t, and realized, this would take me an extra ten hours a week...at 4 in the morning!!

    I looked at my v/o income and realized I was making three times the money freelance lip-flapping that I was as a morning show host. I said, "Double my pay ($40,000 to $80,000) or I'm outta here."

    "We'll offer you a 15% increase," said the PD.

    I gave notice and never looked back. VO master Jack Angel had always encouraged me by yelling in my face every time he saw me, "GET OUT OF RADIO! QUIT! STOP DOING THIS! SAVE YOURSELF!"

    That and Sweet Dick Whittington's admission, "When you get up at 4 in the morning, swing your legs over the side of the bed, and begin to sob uncontrollably for reasons you don't understand, it's time to get out of radio."

    Since then I've become a virtual person: http://www.billratner.com/

    And the big news is, in addition to continuing to flap my lips for a living doing v/o in Hollywood CA, I'm hitting the live stage this June in the Hollywood Fringe Festival with a 55 minute one-man show about my uncle who played "Bobby the Bellboy" in I Love Lucy. Bob Jellison was a well-working character actor in network radio comedy in the '40s & '50s, and did bit-parts in TV episodics & sitcoms through the '60s. VU member get a discount: go to: http://www.hff13.org/1191 and type in the discount code: rattix. I'm very proud of the show, and as a v/o master & DJIR, I think you'll enjoy it.

    ...Is this thing on...?

    Bill Ratner


    Bill Ratner | Voice-Over Arts, Storyteller and Public Speaker
    Bill Ratner is a published author, American voice actor, and solo performance artist. His personal essays are published in: The Baltimore Review, Blu…
  • Mister Herron? (bowing and scraping out of respect)

    I too am a WWDC AM alum. I was there in the Johnny Holiday, Ross Simpson and Captain Dan heydays. Back when the Bender family still had it. I did overnights on the AM side of the house and an occasional fill-in shot for Johnny. Nice to meet you!
  • Hi all
    Even in Australia we had turntables like the ones shown above...and i have a couple of stories about them.

    1. On my "1st" night on the air" i was responsible for replaying the radio serial that was aired in the morning program each day.
    back in those days the radio serial came on vinyl - and on a disc that was 48 inches across.
    I had never seen a 'record": so large...and had the correct Ep cued up ready to go. It was the 1st track on the disc.
    Play sponsor credit - hit play on the turn table.....and the whole arm and needle come flying off the TT with much scraping and clattering...
    Confused i quickly re-cue and try again....same result.
    Now this was at 10.30 at night - i was the only one in the station and i naturally assumed (NEVER ASSUME) that the TT was broken. infact i was so sure that wrote a report for the tech saying that it was possessed and needed a possible exorcism. I made apologies on the air and put a song on the other TT which was working fine.
    The next day - while reading the large amounts of complaints received from people who didnt hear their serial that night - the Tech politely explained how "INSIDE OUT" playing radio serial discs worked.
    Track 1 started from the track mark right beside the lable - and played "OUT" on the disc...not the track mark on the outer edge of the disc and played inwards.

    Another night i followed a guy on the air who - some hours previously - had spilled a can of COKE over 1 of the turntables. As i was half way through "Macarthur Park - Richard Harris Version - the Turntable BURST INTO FLAMES
    after all the sugar and syrup got so hot being mixed in the drive mechanism...LOL
    Small panic but i put the fire out pretty fast and the TT KEPT work the whole time.
    Just thought i would share.
    Cheers and see you at Voice2010
  • I loved Randy's story!! Hahah..I totally relate to that! How many times did you miss a whole stop set?!!
  • Randy,
    Your resume is inspiring and. your website is good. Ironically there is a buzz on the audio of your video.
  • Hi All-I just uploaded a new BLOG on the Voice For Hire book website abut Breaking Through. I would love your feedback on this!
  • Alright - this one wasn't a dream: I was Asst. Program Director/Afternoons at KKSS in Albuquerque - I remember I did something - which I've since blocked out - that required getting a memo. The PD was getting ready to leave for the day (we shared the same office) and he looks at me and says "Randy - don't forget to write yourself up and sign the memo, then put it in your personnel file." Now THAT'S self-service lol Of course the memo didn't sound half as bad as if the PD himself had written it :)
  • Yeah, Dave, I think it was elements 1, 2 and 9 for the 3rd Class ticket. I remember taking the test when I was 15 and messing up one of the elements, so I had to re-take the test when I was 16. Got the license and my first radio job that year. Everyone's license had to hang on the wall of the studio. That's when I realized that not everyone was using their real names on the air! I've still got the last one I was issued in a scrapbook somewhere.
  • Hey Dave! Where I worked we always called the First Class License the "First Phone". I do still have my 3rd Class Radiotelephone Operator's License with Broadcast Endorsement though. (that's a mouthful) If I remember correctly you had to pass Elements 1 and 9 of the FCC exam to get it. I think it was pretty much memorizing Ohm's Law and answering questions like "If the flashing red light is out on top of a transmitter tower you should [a] contact the FAA [b] take a smoke break [c] ignore it and continue your conversation with the phonejammer on the request line". And still, somehow I passed it!
  • A couple of observations about the studio in the picture above...those turntables were huge! I worked the morning show at a daytime-only station in Maine. The heat was turned down to about 60 overnight, so I had to warm up the turntable by putting them in 78 RPM for a few minutes, otherwise that first record of the day would "wow". That open bottle of soda makes me verrry nervous... Anyone remember the reset button that you hit to sync the wall clock with the top of the hour tone from the network? Sorry, gotta go -- the teletype machine needs a new ribbon!
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