If you are thinking about making your own podcast show available on the Internet, you may want to consider hiring some quality voice talent to create your show opening and closing audio titles, or more importantly to professionally dub your advertisers and sponsors messages.
As much as it is true that podcasting, like video-blogging and blogs are very personal mediums of expressions, it is also true that your future listeners have been long trained to hear quality professional voices, well written articles and, at times, truly masterful film/video/editing talent.
So, no matter how you look at it, being able to mix and manage spontaneity, rough and uncensored personal expressions, together with professionally recorded opening and closing titles or professionally sounding sponsorships can only add to the overall media experience you create, without limiting your desire to sound independent and grassroots driven.
A new online service makes it extremely easy for anyone to search, find and hire professional voices to be used for whatever purpose or media production you may have.
Though it may not be easiest to find all voices that may fit your needs, this is the best service I know of to rapidly find voice talent that is digitally enabled and ready to take on most any assignment you may have.
At Voice123.com you can immediately dive into searching for your preferred voices by browsing or searching through a catalog of a few thousand professionals.
The great thing is that all voice talent listed at Voice123.com, is accompanied by a streaming demo of their voice, as used in some of the many pro gigs completed before in their career. You click the play button and you start hearing your selected voice talent almost instantly (it varies according to the speed of your Internet conection).
For each professional voice, you have also plentiful information about the artist too, including sex, voice traits, voice "age", recording equipment and formats supported, languages and dialects supported and a full personal profile.
A search facility makes it easy to specify the variables you want to focus on (e.g.: English language, female voice, etc.) and then to access the catalog of matching talent.
On the con side, there is so much talent available at Voice123.com that given hundreds of matching results it is difficult, with the sorting and filtering criteria now available to be able to taste the true range of potentially interesting voices.
A one-click feature allows to find "talent similar to..." but apparently the feature is based on description traits that are way too generic to allows an effective selection of voices on their audio characteristics.
As a matter of fact, this would be my preferred method of selecting any audio talent over using pre-set word-based categories. A spectral audio analysis of all voice talent stored in Voice123.com archive would possibly allow to search for similar voices based on the actual sound traits of any voice, allowing much more precise and useful identification of unique voice traits and characters.
Hopefully, Voice123.com will add reputation, rating and user-generated tagging and commenting of the talent available, offering easier paths to find what are you are really in need of. As, in fact, more users can provide personal feedback on the talent they use, while enriching in bottom-up approach their personal profiles, the easier and faster we can learn about talent strong and weak points.
Costs for voice talent may range quite a bit depending on the professional status and experience of the selected voice as well as to their adhering to industry unions setting the reference rates for this type of work. For more information about rates you can in fact look at the official American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which nonetheless being filled of technical or insider-bound terminology, does provide a glimpse of how much your recording rate could turn out to be. For what I have been able to see myself, a rate of $183,25 should guarantee you a full hour of audio recording from a professional voice. In another table, $ 235 seems to be the minimum amount to get an audio recording conforming to the radio advertising rates paid in the US, but it is likely that these same rates cannot be applied uniformly to those creating Web-based podcasting programs.
Due to the rapid evolution of the podcasting market and the significant lack of major advertising budgets on this new medium (not for long though), it is likely that the talent available through Voice123.com will be willing to accommodate much more accessible rates for podcast use.
I have myself done my research, found some interesting voices and have placed my first official request for bids on a number of audio podcasting needs.
It is now the turn of Voice123.com system to alert those selected talent so that they can post a custom demo of what I have requested (optional to each bidder) along with a full cost estimate for my request.
Voice123.com requires no software to be installed, and no fees to be paid to search for your matching voice talent. Only a simple registration is required to access all of the service features.