The Power of a Great Voice
Listening to Robin Soster record the first of what we hope will be a series of podcasts about research at the University of Arkansas, I thought about the power of voice and what it takes to be a good oral storyteller. These anecdotes came to mind:
My wife camping years ago at Lake Fort Smith with KUAF news director Kyle Kellams and his wife Laura. They were sitting around the fire talking when a woman from another campsite, about a hundred feet away, walked over to their party and said, “Excuse me, but I have to ask this. Is one of you Kyle Kellams?”
My cousin who in 1989 tuned his car radio to a Royals game and Denny Matthews, the venerable announcer whom we’d listened to with our grandfather in 1974 and who is still broadcasting games: “This guy…” he said. “He’s like my best friend.”
Listening to KUAF after work while shuttling my kids around town. I’m not much of a foodie, but I was immediately drawn into a wonderful story about how to make homemade pesto. The reporter, who had an upbeat, engaging, almost soothing voice, explained the entire process, from growing basil and crushing its leaves, to spreading it on bread and other foods. (I recently tried it on baked halibut, which was delicious.) The reporter’s diction and enunciation were impeccable. Her timing, emphasis on the right syllable or word, and overall delivery were nearly flawless. My mouth was watering.
Because I didn’t recognize the voice, I assumed it was a national story. It wasn’t. At the end of the piece, Kyle Kellams’ came back on the air re-stated the reporter’s name. For the past five minutes, I had been listening to my boss – Melissa Blouin, former director of science and research communications at University Relations – explain how to make pesto from scratch.
Some voices – and personalities – are made for radio.
Robin Soster is one these people.