How to Make Money in Radio Imaging Voice Over

By Susan Berkley Next time you listen to the radio pay attention to the voices you hear on the air. There’s music or talk and a show host, of course. But there are also other incidental voices that speak the station call letters or slogan (HOT 97, POWER 95 etc.), or promote certain on-air events. These recordings are called “liners” or “imaging,” because they help enhance the image and brand identity of the station. Although liners are short, often just a few seconds long, they are often embedded in some pretty ear catching and wild audio production, depending on the station’s format. Most stations have a production director who is responsible for producing the commercials for the local accounts that the sales staff brings in. The production director assigns these voice overs to the air staff or voices them him or herself. Working closely with the program director, the production director will also write and produce pre-recorded liners and imaging segments. Here’s where you come in.

To freshen up their sound, many stations bring in outside voices for their liners. Sometimes the talent produces the liner with music and sound. But they can also record the “dry” tracks (voice only) and send them to the production director at the radio station for post-production. It’s not necessary to provide music and sound effects with your liners, but you can probably charge more for your services if you do. Voice talent who do radio imaging can land lucrative contracts with stations in the US and Canada, some paying upwards of $500-$1000 per month depending on the market. You receive scripts every week and record them in your home studio. If you are interested in exploring work in radio imaging, you’ll need a special imaging demo, and a basic home studio to fulfill your jobs when you get them. Before doing your demo, listen to as many imaging demos as you can to get a feel for what other talent are doing. Gather copy by swiping it from various radio stations. Just about every station now broadcasts on line, so the supply of copy from available stations is unlimited Include 5-6 short, richly produced cuts on your demo. The whole demo should be no longer than :60 seconds. Some imaging contracts are for voice only (or “dry”) with the music and sound effects added by the imaging director of the radio station. Some contracts are for full production where you would be responsible for the whole shebang. If post production is not your forte, you can often partner with producers who can add the music and sound effects for you, and you would split the profits. To make your imaging demo, if you are not adept at production, call around to your local radio stations and speak with the production director. Radio doesn’t pay very much, so they’ll probably be pretty receptive to helping you produce your imaging demo after hours for a modest fee. You might even be able to establish a partnership with these production directors to post produce your voice tracks, just like many talent do with their production partners. In a partnership like this, you provide the voice and do the marketing. Your production partner does the rest.

Radio imaging is a great way to build up long term client relationships in voice over. If you are reliable and do a good job, the repeat business can really pay off.

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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors.

The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit