I have listened to voice tracking take the place of live jocks at many stations, including some here. Although voice tracking is a real cost-saver, listeners are mostly disregarded. Are we giving them what they deserve?
I can’t help but wonder about the long-term effects. Future technologies are exciting and I welcome them; but the way we’re going, how can we accrue future talent? If a handful of experienced voices make up voice tracking now, where will new talent come from? Worse yet, many jocks today think this is the norm.
Have we really made radio more fun with voice tracking? The early years may not have brought much pay, but they were fun; and I believe they were fun for listeners too.
My first year in radio was 1966. We were encouraged to be entertaining and engaging. To inspire the listener, we were told to get them involved and talking about us.
Putting a phone bit together with a listener, timing it out and running it was rewarding; it gave the jock substance if done well. Much of what I hear with voice tracking is hardly that.
My first gig in radio was at a station that had a Western Union Telegraph clock in each studio. These were wired to an integrated clock network, synchronized, displaying the exact time.
On the bottom of our on-air studio clock, the station manager had written a note, “Time and temp after each record.” Maybe that era is gone, but can we always just ignore this with voice tracking?
At one station I was encouraged to include double time checks during mornings. That is to say, “It’s 6:44 … sixteen minutes until seven.”
Rarely, if ever, do I hear the time with voice tracking.
Offering less than we should is not fair to the listener. How many times while the sky is going from yellow to green have I turned to a voice tracked station and heard nothing about the weather? I’ve also heard weather that had been recorded days earlier and broadcast as a current forecast with voice tracking. Meanwhile, TV has picked up where radio has slipped. This should not be.
Good talent inspires loyalty by listeners in return. Listeners deserve it.
Assistant Corporate Program Director
Midwest Communications Inc.
Green Bay, Wis.