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The Need for Diversity in Voiceover

As a creative director, you’re obviously going to prioritize someone who can sound more natural than someone who sounds like “they’re not from around here”. It’s quite understandable considering that natural sounding talent is what offers the impact you’re looking for.

However, in a world that’s increasingly becoming diverse, sticking to that natural sound may not be a wise idea. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for a little diversity in the voiceover industry. Audiences are becoming diverse and if you want to cater to everybody, diversity is the key. But, some considerations have to be made before fully embracing it.

An Example

Let’s look at the recent incident involving BBC1. When an announcer spoke in a foreign accent, he was met with criticism from the audience. The announcer, Russel Evans, was ridiculed for his voiceovers advertising the Thunderball numbers and announcing BBC1’s schedules.

Evans, who boasts an urban London accent, pronounced “Th” as “F”, saying something such as “friller” instead of “thriller”. His usage of the “F” sound was met with immediate criticism from viewers. Some called it “painful” while others simply made fun of it by tweeting entire sentences with words having the “F” in place of “Th”.

Of course, BBC1 came to his defense and in doing so, pointed out something important – the percentage of diverse audiences that actually follow the channel. In fact, the channel stated that they intentionally added a range of accents and voices to make sure they were representative of all communities in the UK and to offer a rich view of the diversity present in the country.

The channel also added that the announcers were specifically told to speak in their natural style and to bother about only communicating the right information.

The Dilemma

However, the positive move from BBC to embrace diversity is not without issues. Of course, it is a smart move to attract the diverse groups of people in the UK by catering to their tastes and expectation. However, on the other hand, the channel is risking losing a much more loyal fanbase by moving away from the traditional and recognizable elements.

In fact, their older fanbase is a significant one and if they were to feel alienated, BBC1 would be caught in the middle of a storm.

Diversity cannot be avoided as the world grows more global. However, it is important to consider who your primary audiences are. Catering to a growing market cannot be done at the risk of losing the more loyal one. There needs to be a calculated approach to the whole thing.



Roberta is a Professional AND award Winning International Voiceover Actor, as well as an accomplished on-camera actress and spokesperson. She lives in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area and is the owner of Roberta Kennedy Voice Talent and RK Productions, Inc.

She voices for companies around the world using her state of the art, broadcast quality studio. She’s hired for commercials, web demos and explainer videos, product infomercials, documentaries, promo/imaging, political ads, e-learning videos, podcasts, guided real estate tours, telephony/IVR projects, high profile corporate presentations, video games and character animation.

Her voice is described as:  playful, contemporary, compelling, commanding, inviting, sultry and smooth.  A hip edge with sophistication, bold, warm, interesting and engaging are also commonly used adjectives to describe her voice.

Her home studio is equipped with ipDTL, ISDN and phone patch capability with lightning fast turnaround times! A voiceover talent with over 20 years of voiceover acting experience, she offers a full range of voiceover services at highly competitive rates & will work with your budget to help you promote your business to new levels of excellence!

To request a personal quote or audition and/or to review more of her credits & demos, feel free to visit her website: www.robertakennedy.com – or mail her at roberta@robertakennedy.com.  You can even give her a call on (408) 313-7202.