Radio vs Television

Radio vs Television

Posted by John in Articles

Radio Ravioli

  • One good radio script
  • Medium to high energy talent or announcer
  • Sfx and music
  • Studio


TV Taters

  • Television Script
  • Good Voice Actor
  • Studio
  • Music and Sfx


It may surprise you to know that each of these recipes requires different ingredients.  Every client has their own way of perfecting their recipe, but there are some general considerations when doing each of these mediums.  For the most part I will be referring to commercials, but overall these considerations can apply to anything done on radio/web/audio vs Television.

There are many different styles to consider here, but radio or audio of any form requires a great amount of make believe from the talent.  When I read a copy (no matter what format) I always try and imagine the visuals for everything that I voice.  And not only do I think of what are they showing on the screen (even though there are no images in radio/audio), I imagine what all the changes could be in the scene.


When I’m trying to be natural I don’t imagine price points and product shots, instead I imagine real people in real scenes or humorous scenes.  For example the line might be, “So you can get there faster”.  Instead of seeing a plane take someone somewhere, I might imagine a guy running across the country in his underwear…allowing me to put some silliness in my read or sarcasm, and not just think of the obvious.  That helps me to stand out in my reads.


In Radio/Audio there are no visuals, so your energy needs to be a bit brighter and you might be competing with background obstacles such as work environment, traffic etc.  You need to get peoples attention just using the sound of your voice.  If you don’t see the scene in your head, you can’t paint a picture to the audience and if you don’t paint a picture, then you can’t grab the audiences’ attention.


With TV the visuals are already there for you, so you might just be a compliment to the bigger picture and it doesn’t always require a ton of energy.   Again this depends on the direction, product or style of the commercial but you might not have to give as much to TV as you will with radio.  You may not have to paint the picture in the listeners’ head because the images will help you do this.  Many times they will require a ‘less is more’ type of read and use the images or video to draw the attention of the listener.


It’s very important to consider the medium when voicing any project.  If you are able to ask for a copy of the TV commercial or the music/sfx they intend to use, this might give you a better idea of where your energy level needs to be.  This is a luxury to get this during an audition, but it never hurts to ask when you’re able to.  If they do give you such a thing, make sure you watch it so you know what you are voicing to.  This will help give you a better idea of where to be.


I hope this helps you

Until next time everyone

All my best
VO Chef Deb


13 Jan 2015 No Comments

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