Behind the Mic: Joanna Stadwiser
Joanna can be heard on radio stations throughout the US and Canada as well as on promos for television, commercials, and narration. Joanna has voiced promos for The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS, and Extra. Her radio imaging clientele ranges in format from Hot AC all the way to Sports Talk!
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
I got my start in college radio in Flagstaff, AZ, and I won’t tell you when!!! Lol. I always thought I would be on-air because of my love of music. That passion took me far and I ended up being on-air in San Francisco at Live 105 FM which is now The New ALT 105.3. This is where I met Will Morgan (former Live 105, KROQ Imaging Director) and discovered voiceover work. He would use my voice on sweepers and promos and got other people interested in me. I got bitten by the bug big time and sort of had this side-gig that eventually developed into a full-time career. So here I am!
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)?
Great segue!! I currently live in Carlsbad, CA and with all the luck of the stars have been with Atlas Talent Agency for the last 10 years. My bread and butter is still imaging, but I have expanded out into promo, commercial, and TV affiliate. I solely work for myself which is probably one of the things I’m most grateful for and I just finally built a studio! We did it out back and it turned out amazing. This is the space I have been dreaming about for 10 years!
Joanna’s dream come true!
What do you love about your job?
I absolutely love that I work for myself. I was so frustrated in the corporate world by the fact that no matter how hard you work, you do not necessarily get paid more. I love being in control of how much money I make. If I work harder, I make more money! That makes more sense, right? I also love the creativity. I literally get to wake up in the morning and see what auditions I have to see how I get to “play” that day. I love the intrigue of the opportunities and I absolutely love being able to work from home with my kids here (sometimes).
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
Well, Will Morgan is the first person who ever believed in me. Period. Radio can be and was tough for females especially back when I worked on-air. He saw something in me that no one else was willing to try and see. I will be forever grateful to him for that.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
Oh, I’d be a frickin doctor! If you know me, you know that I will diagnose you, sometimes even correctly!
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
I cried when I first heard my voice on TV. It was a big moment to take a leap of faith and have it pan out. Now, I cringe lol. I’m not sure what that means.
How has new technology changed the way you work?
Well, with Covid – it’s been everything. I really didn’t know how it was going to go with voiceover, but it has been crazy. Source Connect has become the new norm vs. ISDN. Finally, producers are starting to recognize that, I think. I still have one client that insists on ISDN and I have to rent studio time to have access to it which sometimes costs more than the flippin’ job.
Inside Joanna’s dream studio!
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
I personally believe that voice coaches are a must. Even if you’ve been at this 20 years (ahem). With this work, you work so much by yourself that you get in this bubble. You need someone to be honest with you and say, “you are suckin’ right now – no wonder you’re not booking anything!” but seriously, that extra pair of ears is essential in maintaining a read that is going to book.
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
So, this is interesting because I just recently changed how I do this. I used to wake up and hit all the east coast clients I had that got in line first for radio and TV. No matter if they were ASAPs or not. Then I would just go in order of what was in my inbox, but because I’m more diversified now it can be really hard to go from radio to affiliate to promo to commercial and back. So, I’m trying to group by ASAPs first, (whatcha gonna do about that) then clumping by genre. I’ve found that doing auditions super early in the morning after my voice warms up is my sweet spot. The kids are asleep, all is quiet and I can focus and stay in the zone.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
Yes. 1. Get a coach 2. Get a coach and 3. Ask ask ask others in the industry what they did and get tips that way. Facebook groups, etc. I find that most people (if they know what’s good for them!) will be happy to offer advice and help others along.
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?
The 50’s for sure! I just want to wear a poodle skirt!
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
Mushrooms and artichoke hearts.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandmother who I never really knew. She raised 5 children and moved all over the place while my grandfather was a General. She packed up that car with them almost every year. I’m longing to have conversations with her about how the heck to raise my 2 children and not go crazy!!
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