Behind the Mic: Jude Corbett
2020 will mark Jude Corbett’s 25th anniversary of being behind the mic for Radio and TV. He’s been Creative Director for various stations from St. Louis (KPNT) to Chicago (WLS) to New York (WXRK) all while doing freelance work.
“I’d like to say first, thnk you for having me on “Behind the Mic” and, second, thank you Benztown for including me on “The 50.” It’s an honor to be on the list!”
What radio VO work have you done in the past?
Just naming a few…
- Chicago – 890 WLS, 94-7 WLS, 97-9 The Loop, Q101
- New York – 92.3 WXRK, 92-7 WLIR
- Philadelphia – WDRE, WPLY Y100, 92.5 WXTU
- Dallas – 96.3 KSCS, Hot 100
- Houston – 104 KRBE, 96.5 The Mix KHMX
- San Jose – 106.5 KEZR
- Seattle – 107.7 The End KNDD
- Cincinnati – WKRQ Q102 *20th anniversary this year
- Boston – WKLB Country 102.5
- Providence – 95.5 WBRU *was on the station for 19 years
- St. Louis – Y98 KYKY, 101.1 The River WVRV, 104-1 The Mall WMLL
- Montreal – CHOM 97-7
- Toronto – Kiss 92-5 CKIS
- Vancouver – 102-7 The Peak CKPK
- Denver – 99-5 The Mountain KQMT, Alice 105.9 KALC
- Indianapolis – 99.5 WZPL
- Tampa Bay – 99-5 WQYK,
- Portland – 105-1 The Buzz KRSK
- Pittsburgh – 105.9 WXDX
- Milwaukee – 96.5 WKLH
A few television VO work include: ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, ESPN, VH1, CMT, Weather Channel, TLC, Discovery, FS1, CNN and Nickelodeon.
What are you up to presently?
My first 1099 VO gig was back in 1995 while I was working as Creative Director at The Point in St. Louis. In 2006 the side work became a full-time option and I decided to go fully independent. Then, a couple years ago, I added a client to my roster and to my surprise, the Creative Director was a fellow, successful VO artist. It got me thinking about going back to work. Radio is what I went to school for and it is what I love to do. So, about a year and half later, after 13 years at home, last September I accepted the Creative Director role at 94.7 WLS-fm and 8-90 WLS-am… in addition to the free-lance clients I have with Atlas Talent Agency.
Here’s a demo from Jude:
What do you love about your job?
How did you get started as a VO actor?
I was asked to impersonate Ronald Reagan in High School for one of our school plays. My first paid VO radio gig was for WDRE back in ’95.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
I was a volunteer for our local youth organization and I coached a lot of baseball. I really enjoyed it! Now my two sons are in high school playing ball and I’m enjoying being a fan on the sidelines. I think I would have liked being a high school teacher and a coach.
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on either on the radio or TV?
Radio – painful. TV – nervous! Anybody who says they liked their voice the first time they heard it is probably lying is definitely lying.
How has new technology changed the way you work?
From reel-to-reel to DAT to CD to thin air. MP3s are a hell of a lot cheaper than overnighting a DAT. I’m definitely more efficient and effective for my clients today. Can you imagine, “oh I had the date wrong on yesterday’s session, could you just read this one line? And overnight it on a DAT for me? Thanks!”
Which production system do you use and why?
I produce on Pro-Tools because it’s what I learned on and I think it’s the best and most versatile. I do my VO client recording on Adobe Audition because I can save files immediately in various formats. Plus, I can manage and send files easier on PC.
Have you ever had a voice coach? Would you recommend it?
I have seen coaches and done workshops. I think it’s good to get honest feedback and learn possible new techniques.
What is the best voice processing trick or voice-over technique everyone should know?
Use your headphones as little as possible. With headphones you’re constantly judging how you sound and that can be prohibitive. If you’re in a live session with a client, just wear them over one ear. The one ear approach is also a safety tip when you’re being fed audio by someone else. I have had my eardrums rung a few times by producers who’ve inadvertently had the volume cranked up. One ear destruction is way better than two ear destruction when doing a session.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
Shifting gears from promo to commercial is tough. There is an absolute mental adjustment to be made. From format to format, topic to topic, there are different approaches for radio and tv messages but, they’re all on the same “announcer” spectrum, a spectrum that commercial casting directors do not like, typically speaking. My “trick” in making a distinction between promo and commercial is the amount of air you start with in your lungs. I breathe in to begin promo and I breathe out to begin commercials.
If you could go back in time and hang out in any decade which one would you go back to and why?
While I’m fascinated with the Knights Templar, dying and defending by the sword doesn’t sound like very much fun. I think I would love to experience Philadelphia in the 1770s to watch the secret societies, the conflicts and the conspiracies.
Favorite 2 pizza toppings?
Spinach and mushroom.
If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?
Continuing with the Knights Templar, I would seek the truth from the dude who orchestrated the treasure vault on Oak Island. It’s mysterious and curious and, if this is true, it just might mean that I’ll have to tune in next week for more shiny things and petrified wood.
Connect with Jude on his website www.judecorbettvoice.com