The History of the 50
Sure, you know the Benztown 50 award, but do you know its story? An award doesn’t magically just poof into existence and suddenly become the first and best of its kind. It takes hard work, dedication, some coffee, a sandwich, a couple of headaches, several drawn-out meetings, and a few beers to come to fruition. Now, in the award’s 6th year, we are taking you behind the scenes and giving you a look at the history and process of the Benztown 50!
Way back in 2014 (yeah, that feels like a lifetime ago now) we thought that voiceover artists weren’t getting enough credit for the important role they play in the radio industry. And we were right! Our team thought, “We hear them voice talents talk about themselves and how great they are at conferences, but maybe somebody else should shine a light on their greatness for once!” (or something like that . . . it was a long time ago, it’s hard to remember). And that, ladies and dudes, was the beginning of the Benztown 50.
The Benztown 50 trophies from 2018
From the beginning, the Benztown 50 list has been a list of the top 50 voiceover talents in radio station imaging in the US and Canada. Many names have come and gone on the list, but the honor and privilege to be included has remained the same (or so we’re told). The professional research team at P1 Media Group partners with Benztown every year to collect data from radio station groups, talent agencies, and the voiceover artists themselves to create the Benztown 50 Voice Power Index. The index was devised surveying over 300 US & Canada broadcast groups, and using a proprietary formula weighting voice talent visibility from a number of factors, including station count, station information, and audience. In short, we ask people who are really good with numbers and research to collect and decipher the numbers and research, then the data and results just poof into our email inbox and we get all giddy and excited.
Here is Jinny Laderer of vCreative dancing with Gary at last year’s Benztown 50 party perfectly demonstrating how we feel when we receive the results!
Now that you know what goes into deciding who the Benztown 50 are, let’s get to the best part: the award itself. Originally, when this whole thing started, we gave winners a certificate and warned them to stay away from any open flames until they could store it safely, but the past few years winners have been receiving a certificate and a trophy because being on the Benztown 50 list is just that big of an honor. Plus we like making the winners feel extra special.
VO people really know how to party!
Traditionally we notify the winners and send out a press release announcing the list, then the awards are presented to the prestigious Benztown 50 in person at All Access’ WWRS conference in Burbank, CA at the end of March. Unfortunately, COVID-19 came along and canceled 2020 for us all, but it did not cancel the awards, just the fun party where we all schmooze and booze while nibbling on cookies and pigs in a blanket.
Our beautiful “Class of 2018” Benztown 50 winners receiving their awards last year!
While we are sad we couldn’t see your beautiful faces in person this year, we are so grateful to be able to honor the “BZ 50” class of 2019 with our best trophy yet! In fact, just yesterday the awards were finished, dusted, blown a kiss from 6 feet away, and shipped off to their rightful owners. We can’t wait to see photos of everyone with theirs!
Notice how perfectly this Gary-shaped award accents any desk. It screams “I’m important!”
The 2019 Benztown 50 award was designed and provided by our favorite swag dealers, Gaye and Dave Ribble of StandOut Marketing Strategies. These awards are uniquely Benztown featuring everyone’s favorite mascot, Gary, holding a microphone (a voiceover artist’s best friend), and the winners’ name. They’re so cool that several Benztown team members are trying to get their VO careers started just to earn one! The joke is on them though – they’re ineligible due to their conflict of interest as a Benztown employee.
Chachi is one of the Benztown employees hoping to win this award someday.
We hope these unique awards make the Benztown 50 feel special and appreciated, because they absolutely are. Thank you for allowing us to continue to honor the best in voiceover!
Check out the 2019 Benztown 50 winners!