Behind the Mic: Dena Yasner

Dena Yasner Benztown Behind the Mic

Dena has enjoyed a lengthy and successful radio and voice over career, from small market to major market stations. Her warm, lower register voice has been described as friendly, sincere, intelligent, and luxurious. Dena has voiced the imaging for a variety of formats, from CHR to Alternative, Hot AC to Oldies, Country, and SiriusXM satellite, too! Dena always wanted to work behind the scenes in radio programming, but because she has a great voice, every station also wanted her on the air! Her first major V/O imaging campaign was for the legendary Y-95 Phoenix back in the early 90’s, all done in a whisper. Since then, Dena has voiced for many radio and tv stations’ brands, and she just might be the right voice for your station!
Dena is represented by CESD Talent, and available for barter through Benztown.


What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?


I started at college WRUV-FM at the University of Vermont. Then I got hired while still a senior at UVM to do mornings at WXXX-FM Burlington, VT; I had a brief stop at KCPW-FM Kansas City; then on to Phoenix, where I’ve worked at and done imaging VO (KOY-FM, KKFR-FM, KMJK-FM, KHOT-FM, KOOL-FM, KZON-FM, KMLE-FM, KNIX-FM); KGWY-FM Gilette, WY; KJJZ-FM Palm Springs.


What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?




Check out Dena’s demos!


What do you love about your job?


I love that every day is different, and often that, on any given day, you don’t always know from where the work is going to come (agent/agency, referral, long-time client direct). It took a while to make that adjustment after many years of steady paychecks! Now, I really lean into it.


How did you get started as a VO actor?


It was all because of radio! Once people started hearing me on the air every morning back in 1984, calls started coming in for voice over work.


What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?


My first side vo gig came from IBM. They were a big employer in the Burlington, VT area, and they called me to voice one of their internal industrial videos. Any memorable ones since then? So many! Too many to list. The obvious ones are the projects for nationally recognized name brands like Brawny paper towels, Dreyer’s ice cream, PBS, GM, Sirius/XM, What-A-Burger, etc. I just recently did an eLearning project for adults with disabilities, that went over things like how to set up an email account; how to work in a business and treat customers, co-workers, etc. It feels good to know that some projects I voice actually help others in some way. I love that.


If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?


Jewelry designer (I do that now as my side hustle @Yasnerjewelrydesigns, as both my grandfather and father were jewelers); nature photographer; baker/pastry chef; lawyer. Not necessarily in that order!


What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?


Very bizarre! I remember it, too, very vividly. When I was doing mornings at 95 Triple X in Burlington, VT, it was a small town. And the station took the market by (CHR) storm! A lot of businesses and offices used to play the station all day. I was in a store in a shopping mall, pawing through a clothing rack, when a spot with my voice came on. It was such a shock, I looked both ways to see where it (I) was coming from! I think other shoppers were a bit concerned about me hahaha.


How has new technology changed the way you work?


It’s made it easier and more efficient to be a freelance voice over talent. Also, it’s much less expensive now to set up a great home studio than it’s ever been.


What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?


I don’t have a road set-up. If I’m out of the studio, I’m out of the studio. In my studio, I use a Mackie board and preamp; and a Shure SM27 Microphone.


Dena’s Studio Setup!


Which production system do you use and why?


I use Adobe Audition, probably because it’s what was used at my last full time radio station (KMLE Country 108), so it was pretty seamless… once I got a little extra help from one or two Production Director friends.


Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?


YES! I would recommend! (because believe me, other voice talents are working with coaches and probably getting more bookings as a result!).


How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?


I schedule/prioritize work based on client deadlines. Usually TV and Radio Imaging clients need audio turned around same day or next day. Larger projects like eLearning, etc, usually have more time built in. I probably don’t spend as much as much time auditioning as I should these days.


When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?


A time-saving discovery just happened a few years ago, was when I discovered the ‘De-esser’ setting in my software. Where had THAT been the first 10 years?!? Saving cash came when I went microphone shopping when I was first setting up my home studio. I loved the way my voice sounded in the $1100 Neumann mic; found the $300 Shure had my voice sounding just as great. I didn’t take my own opinion for that, though. I had a few guys at Guitar Center weigh in!


What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?


(See previous. “De-esser”!!).


Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?


Yes, I think every project and client deserves their own unique approach, as far as tempo, energy, etc.


Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?


Sure. Tip 1: Invest in treating your recording space for quality recordings; Tip 2: Invest in VO coaching; Tip 3: Invest in having at least one of your demos professionally produced. More if you can afford it. Bottom line: Invest in yourself!


If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade, which one would you go back to and why?


Hmmm probably the 1990’s. I was working in Phoenix radio at the time, a very competitive market, music was great, and Phoenix hadn’t gotten too overcrowded yet.


Favorite 2 pizza toppings?


Pepperoni, and pepperoni. Oh, and more cheese.


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