Behind the Mic: Jules Riley
Jules has been on air and programmed stations across the U.S. including 103.3 KLOU and The Arch in St. Louis, T95 in Wichita, BEN in Philly and The Peak in Phoenix. She has worked in multiple formats including: Adult Hits, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country and Hot AC. She is currently Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartmedia St. Louis. With a radio programming and improv theatre background, Jules knows how important your station voice is to executing your brand vision. She can be heard across the U.S and Canada on radio and television commercials and on stations like 680 News Toronto, WSOC Charlotte, WBAP Dallas, KCKC Kansas City, KLOU St. Louis, WBBB Raleigh and KOLA Riverside-San Bernadino Represented by Nate Zeitz /CESD Talent Agency.
What radio VO work have you done in the past (stations/markets)?
Current: 570 News Kitchner, 660 News Calgary, 680 News Toronto, News 1130 Vancouver, 1310 News Ottawa, KBVB Fargo, KCKC Kansas City, KKTX Tyler, KLOU St. Louis, KOLA Riverside/San Bernadino, KPRF Amarillo, KQSR Yuma, KVDU New Orleans, KYMK Lafayette, News 95-7 Halifax, WBAP Dallas, WBBB Raleigh, WERK Muncie, KSD St. Louis, WSOC Charlotte, The City Fargo
Former: WARH St. Louis, WFMS Indianapolis, WLWK Milwaukee, CHLG Vancouver KVRV Santa Rosa
What are you up to presently (freelance/on-staff at a station)
Senior Vice President of Programming iHeartmedia St. Louis, VO for above stations, commercial voice work for regional and national platforms.
What do you love about your job?
That listening to music is a big part of my day! Also, like the variety of stations I get to voice. Always fun to move from a News Talk to a snarky adult hits.
How did you get started as a VO actor?
I was working as a consultant with Folger Media and we developed a format. We needed to put a demo together so potential clients could get a feel for the brand. I voiced the demo, the first client that bought the format wanted to use me on the station. Thanks Popster and Ingstad Broadcasting!
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
The first long term one was the on hold voice for a pizza place in Wilkes Barre. It’s pretty annoying hearing your own voice thanking your for your patients while “we are helping other customers”.
Who are your VO idols/mentors?
Ann DeWig, She was on a few of the stations I programmed over the years. When I moved to Phoenix, we met and became great friends. She was instrumental in getting me established as a VO talent.
If you weren’t doing voiceover, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
Programming radio stations ☺
What did it feel like the first time you heard your voice on the radio/television?
It definitely makes you stop for a second…then it’s like…is that me…I think it is. No maybe not, oh yea, I remember that read.
How has new technology changed the way you work?
It has allowed me to build a solid studio at home, so I don’t have to head in to the station if I get copy late at night! Also makes it so much easier to record on the road.
What gear do you use on the road? In your studio?
Rode NTG 3 Shotgun Mic, Sound Devices USB Pre2, a small Mackie board, computer, phone line
Which production system do you use and why? Any favorite plugins?
I use Adobe Audition. Pro-Tools gives me the sweats, too many choices! Since I rarely produce, I just need a simple platform to record with.
Skills & Helpful Tips
How do you schedule/prioritize your work? How much time do you spend auditioning for new work?
I work before and after my day job! I like to turn copy within 24 hours (usually less time). I’m on both sides of the equation, so I know how awesome it is to get your new production on the air quickly. I get auditions from my agent, but I’m not doing blind auditions from websites or cattle calls much anymore.
How do you market your services to potential clients?
CESD, website, bothering friends, word of mouth., Benztown!
When it comes to VO work, studio & gear, what are your most ingenious methods/discoveries for saving time and cash?
A trick I learned from Ann DeWig, have a set of you doing #’s (500-1) on hand with your different reads (Rock, AC, News, etc.) that way when the end of the year hits and everyone is doing countdowns, you already have all the #’s recorded.
If you do a lot of work for one company and they tend to use the same keywords, contest pieces, etc. Once your record for your first station, send to other stations in that group, then they have what they need without event asking!
If a major event happens in a format you do a lot of work in (Artist passes, unexpected single drops out of the blue) record some generic lines about the event and send to your brands that may be able to use them. Be out in front to help the PD and Imaging Directors get breaking events on air quicker than their competitor.
Do you have a different approach to reading radio imaging copy as opposed to TV/Radio commercial ads?
Yes, but really a different approach for different formats and brands too. All want to convey a feeling, you’ve got to find what is going to best sell the brand you are currently reading for. I probably do more research auditioning for a radio station/audio platform, then a commercial.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
- Find your style/your brand and look for potential clients in that wheelhouse. Very few people are good at EVERY type of read.
- You may need to take some free or low paying jobs at first. You have to be heard what you can do.
- Audition as much as you can. The more you do, the more comfortable you will get.
Favorite 2 Pizza Toppings?
Pepperoni and Mushroom (though jalapeños are moving up)
Keep up to date with Jules at her website julesrileymedia.com