Yesterday I went to the BBC radio studio and read my "Letter to Darwin" for my 15-minute
programme (to be broadcast on Radio 4 on January 6 at about 3:30pm). I've done radio
before, but always when being interviewed or chatting. It's fascinating to see how that
differs from reading something out. Rather like the reading of an audio book (only more so)
the reader has to inject enthusiasm and "life" into their voices constantly. We're so used to
hearing it done by newsreaders, that we perhaps only notice when overdone on some
adverts. If we wrote in the same way using formatting for each
new tone I think it would become quite irritating.
I think I managed it without difficulty, but there's a part of me that cringes to hear
my voice sounding slightly patronising with different tones. So I
now have slightly more patience for the TV advert voiceover people who often sound like
idiots - it's not really their fault - they've been trained to speak like that.
However I'm not really that patient. I still think the guys who do voiceovers for popular
Saturday evening shows and some adverts go ten steps too far... I swear the guy who does
The X-Factor has invented his own unique form of speech - somehow a cross
between Circus Ringmaster, TV Evangelist and the Wizard of Oz amplified wizard
voice. Why is it that speaking to excitable audiences requires a silly voice? Or is that the only
way to make them excited? Perhaps academic conferences are missing this trick:
"Welcome to the GENETIC and evolutionarycomputationcooooonference!"