World-Class Voice Talent in
Western New York
Listening to the Radio and Watching TV in his Hometown, Buffalo-born Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O'Connell Grew Up in the Shadow of Some America's Best Voice Talent
Voice-Over Talent PETER K. O'CONNELL, who was raised and lives in Buffalo, NY, reflects on some of the great voices in and around Buffalo, NY that have influenced his voiceover and broadcasting career from his earliest memories through today:
New York or Los Angeles- these are the two cities that most people immediately think of when they cogitate on locales to find the best voice over talent. They don’t often think of Buffalo, New York for voice talents.
But that’s because they don’t know about my hometown's amazing broadcasting history and some of the amazing voices who have worked in voiceover, radio or television. Some made their mark in Western New York and went on to major markets or national acclaim. Some could have easily gone on to bigger cities but stayed in Buffalo or Niagara Falls and simply enriched the community with their broadcasting talent.
To see and hear the sounds of some of Buffalo's broadcasting legends, Steve Cichon's staffannouncer.com has hundred's of great clips. If you'd like a quick and what I found highly enjoyable overview of some of Buffalo's legendary radio stations - check out this great article from the amazing Scott Fybush.
I wouldn’t consider myself part of the Buffalo broadcasting community - I was a high school intern at one Buffalo radio station (WFXZ-FM - Foxy 93), a college intern at a Buffalo television station (WKBW-TV) and worked for a week at WLVL-AM in Lockport before I quit and was fired at the same time. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t an engaged student of some of the finest voices in the business, all of whom worked right here in my own backyard.
Prior to developing my crazy voiceover crush on Ernie Anderson (the wonderful promo voice of ABC-TV in the 70’s and 80’s as well as scores of radio stations across America), I greatly enjoyed many somewhat lesser known voice talents (many primarily but not exclusively known to local Buffalo, NY radio listeners), all of whom should be nationally recognized for their talents.
Within my Western New York home, my house's radio and television became an amazing broadcasting classroom for me.
These are some of the voices that I grew up listening to (or have long known of) in Buffalo, NY and whose performances and styles help shape (some in small ways, others in bigger ways...all in good ways) how I sounded on air and later in the voice over studio. If you’ve not heard some of these talents – you really ought to listen.
I’ll never have their level of talent but as performers they will each always have my continued respect.
Buffalo Bob Smith – An iconic performer with a great old time radio
Jackson Armstrong – nobody but nobody performed on the radio like “Your
Sandy Beach – When he does an endorsement spot, you believe him. That’s
Iron Mike Benson – An aggressive, rock radio voice that cuts through
Foster Brooks - The creator of one of the most famous “characters”, he
has one of the smoothest voiceover styles I’ve ever heard
Tom Donahue – A deep rich voice that offers some of the best announcer
style reads anywhere
Pat Feldballe – A Buffalo voiceover institution – every other spot on
radio or TV in this market features Pat – and that doesn’t count all his
national Time-Life Music spots
PJ Foxx – Possibly one of the most under rated female radio jocks – a perfect
George Hounddog Lorenz – A pioneer who helped establish rock and roll
radio. A legendary and unmistakable sound
Susan Hunt – She’s to blame – she gave me my first job in broadcasting;
but what a wonderful smooth, deep radio sound- I can think of no other national
female voice talent who sounds like her
Jeff Kaye – His impact on Buffalo radio was impressive but his
voiceover work at NFL Films will likely be his most enduring legacy
Bill Lacy – One of radio’s last great conversationalists and a great
commercial voice over talent
Danny Neaverth – For more than a generation, “Danny Moved Your Fanny In
The Morning” in that classic radio DJ way and for that he has become a Buffalo
John Otto – Classic, smooth and in a class (the top of the class) by
himself. A truly distinguished broadcaster
Jack Paar – An amazing, unmatched story teller whose comfortable voice
kept you engaged
Joey Reynolds – beyond the comedic shock value of his radio bits, there
lies a great easy voice that folks were always ready to listen to
Mike Rozman – A growl of a voice (serious or warm, newsy or friendly)
that always made your ears pay attention
Shane – Nobody sounded like Shane, nobody talked like Shane, sometimes
nobody understood Shane but no one ever mistook that voice for anyone other
than Shane Brother Shane
Tommy Shannon – His conversational tone in the second half of his
Buffalo radio years made you feel like you had a friend in your radio
Robert W. Taylor – For me, his straight announce reads have always
stood out, making me listen to whatever he had to say