Voiceover Definitions

Station Genres and Imaging Types/Styles/Beds:

AC/AAA: Adult Contemporary/Adult Album Alternative  РVoicing is up and bright, beds and styles are high impact but not intrusive like Rock or Mainstream.
ALTERNATIVE: Voice style is hard driving direct “rocky” but the bed or production style is more laid back and not so intrusive like Rock.
CHR: Contemporary Hit Radio (formerly Top 40) – Voice style is direct and hard driving. Beds and production styles include dance rhythms, club mixes and techno beats.
CHURBAN: A hybrid Radio format which mixes CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) with Urban (Hip Hop, R&B, etc.) . Voice style is the same as CHR. Bed and Production styles lean toward R&B hip -hop.
HURBAN: Hispanic Urban Mix – A genre type Invented by Clear Channel in 2004 – before then it was just Latino Urban. Voice style is the same as CHR. Bed and Production styles lean toward R&B hip -hop with an Hispanic flare.
MAINSTREAM: Voice style is upbeat with some stutters and lots of vocal effect like enormous deep voices and on -hold filters. Beds and styles are high impact tense attention-getters.
NC: New Country – Voice is up and bright with a country attitude. Beds and production styles reflect rock -a -billy styles.
NARRATIVE: The true test of the voice actor. This is dry voiced, involves character voicing and the ability to act.
NEWS/TALK: A very corporate style. The Voice is direct and professional with very few up and down peaks or effects. The production style is corporate, serious.
ROCK: Voice style is hard driving full of stutters echoes repeating phrases. Beds and production styles are hot and high energy full heavy impact tense sound effects.
SOFT AC: Soft Adult Contemporary – Voice style is smooth and flowing. Beds and production are very light and low impact.
OTR: Old Time Radio – Voice is cheery and bright! Beds and Production reflect 50s commercials.
DRY VOICED/READ: Absolutely no production effects or music other than clean voice. You may request echoes, flanges, re-verb, other filters and stutters.
COLD READ: Voice Talent reads the copy unrehearsed the first time they see it. Not considered a voicing style but is often a method used by creative directors to determine talent’s experience.

Voiceover Lingo or Definitions:

Aircheck: Recorded copy of a broadcast, either digitally or on magnetic tape. These are often just the DJ or announcer with the music removed.
Bed: A production element, usually instrumental music, but occasionally a continuous sound effect (like wind, for example) that is used as background for a commercial, promotional announcement, etc. A pre-made bed is a bed that is used over and over again applying different voice over copy and talent.
Backsell: Refers to the DJ technique where the deejay announces the title and/or artist of the song just played.
Brown Noise: Noise that’s created from inconsistent annoying background sounds like a fan, jet flying over, cars passing by. Brown is short for – Brownian motion – Noise showing a random walk behavior, as in Brownian motion. It has a frequency spectrum. It’s very difficult to edit out unlike white noise.
Bumper: A pre-recorded audio element consisting of voice over and music or effects that acts as a transition between elements like two songs. Bumpers are quick – usually 10 seconds or under.
Bumper Sting: Bumpers which provide high humor for the purpose grabbing attention in a shocking but humorous fashion.
Call Sign/Call Letters: The official, legal name of a Radio station. For example: WABC or KOSL -FM
Cans: Industry term for Headphones. Experienced jocks will still call them cans although it’s not a common term anymore. Most people call them phones now.
Copy: Written material such as a commercial, a promotional announcement, a public service announcement or any other worded information that will be read by Voice Talent. Many people still learning the biz will call this a script.
Dead Air: The big no-no in radio – complete silence.
De-esser or D’Ser: Is either mixing hardware or mixing software which is used to eliminate over pronounced S’s that have a tendency to crackle the mic.
Donut/Doughnut: Yes an essential food source for DJs but also terminology meaning to surround another message. Typically it’s formula is content – sound bed – content. There’s jingle donuts and voice donuts. Another voice, other than the beginning and end voice talks in the middle of the donut.
Drops: Sound bites lifted from movies, TV and other sources.
Image: Anything that creates a station image – sweeper, liner, bumper, call letters, jingle.. etc..
Imaging: Imaging is a general term for the type of sweepers or promos you produce. Imaging is how you position a Radio station within the marketplace. Imaging defines the station as a product so that the listener (consumer) knows what he/she will get when tuning in.
Jingle: Produced programming element which is usually produced by professional studio singers who sing DJ names or station positioning phrases. While not as popular today, some US oldies stations still prefer this style of imaging. Some stations will refer to sweepers as jingles however it is not the correct industry term to use for sweeper.
Liner: A written imaging phrase, sentence or sentences that are repeated over an intro of a record or during a break between songs and spots. Usually, Liners stand by themselves and are meant to communicate concise imaging.
Lead in/Lead out: A few seconds of silence at the beginning and end of voice work which allows for proper cross-fading. Typically they’ll be about 1 to 2 seconds of silence.
Logo: Not a common term but is slang that’s being used more and more with internet radio stations to mean the radio slogan. It’s not encouraged to keep using this term.
Mic: Simply it means microphone.
Montage/Music Montage: Typically voicing in between snippets of songs to create a promo for a particular event. Montages are only encouraged for promotions since they can be long (30 – 90 seconds) and bring a listener out of their music enjoyment. A common mistake is for stations to use montages as part of their imaging. Listeners already know what the music is about, there is no need to remind them in your imaging unless you’re using it to promote a station event. A lot of stations are using this as well for DJ show introductions. These should be kept under 30 seconds to keep the listeners tuned in.
Nail It: To say the copy perfectly the way the client or director intended.
Pitch: This is somewhat like singing where you find the pitch – the correct note. Pitch to voice actors means whether their voice should become higher or lower as they speak much like a singer changing octaves. More successful voice actors can do a variety of pitch levels changing the age and enthusiasm level in their voice.
Production Element: Any audio element such as music, sound effect, audio effect (re-verb, echo, etc.) used in creating a final audio mix.
Pop: Not just a refreshing beverage but a description of the Popping sound in the mic usually when saying the letter P. “Popping your P’s”..Getting yourself a Pop Screen to attach to the front of your mic usually solves this problem but more often than not is setting the mic to the proper angle.
Promo: An announcement which promotes an upcoming event, promotes a specific element of the station, a show, or a DJ. Today is also a common term among web-casters to mean commercial.
PSA: Public Service Announcement Рa free commercial-like element usually done for non-profits or for governmental agencies.  An example would be a promotion to get tested regularly for HIV.
Ramp: An instrumental beginning or intro leading up to the vocals or the voice. A DJ will often talk during the ramp portion of a song.
Rumble: An unwanted occurrence creating a low disturbing dominant sound louder than the voice – this can be caused by speaking too closely to the mic, shaking the mic, breathing across the mic, popping your P’s, air conditioning vents or fans pointed at the mic.. etc.. Mic rumbles are very hard to remove if captured in a recording. It’s always advised that the mic is positioned properly on a firm surface or mounted from the ceiling and the studio is completely sound proof. Bass rumbles on the other hand are caused by having the bass volume up way too high while recording. Many females will do this to have more seductive sounding voice – however over-doing the bass will cause a rumble and also more often than not causes the voice to sound distorted and slurred or washed out.
Script: A book or pages of lines that a voice actor will say. Unlike Copy, a script is the correct term when speaking of narration jobs or film parts.
Slogan: The catch phrase for a radio station, product or service like Microsoft’s – Where do you want to go today?
Slate: A device used to mark the beginning of a new segment/scene etc.. A bookmark for editing later. Some voice artists will use bell tones while others will use timer slates.
Soundbite: A snippet of audio usually culled from an interview and used in conjunction with a news story. The length may vary, but in general, soundbites are anywhere from :05 to :15 seconds. But, this is not a firm standard.
Spot: Another word for a commercial.
Stinger: A sound effect or musical effect that punctuates a punch line or emphasizes a thought. This is not a sweeper, it is a production element.
Stop Set: The place where commercials are played during a typical broadcast hour.
Sweeper: Usually a recorded element (dry voice or voice over music or sound effects) that bridges two songs together. It’s purpose is to create a transition from commercials back to music. A sweeper is unlike a bumper in that the music and style may be in direct contrast to the elements which come before and after. Common length is 20 seconds. Any longer and it’s referred to as a promo.
Take: Each time a voice actor records a particular copy or portion of script. There are one take wonders – but it’s not common nor encouraged. If a voice actor is settling for their first take every time – they’re not really trying to be their best. To the contrary, if the voice actor always uses many takes to nail it after a cold read – they need more practice. The less of the directors time you take up, the more jobs you’ll get.
White Noise: Noise in the background that sounds like static at a consistent level or an electrical hum from equipment not being grounded properly – the formal definition: Acoustical or electrical noise of which the intensity is the same at all frequencies within a given band.