0238 -The Tonal Construct for a Presenter

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0238 -The tonal construct for a presenter

There are then certain parameters for a news reader, but not so for a presenter. Those on the radio, TV or fronting a video will benefit from showing more, authentic emotional tone in their voice. But there again there are tricks and techniques in doing so.

First, don’t forget what the emotion is that you want to convey to your audience. It’s easily said, but so many presenters have that disconnect that we talked about earlier when they get in front of the mic and lights. And that’s partly because they have told the story before, or they have rehearsed it, or they are recalling something that happened a long time ago – or inventing a situation from scratch – that they forget to inject the authentic emotional experience in their voice for the listener.

Remember the Twenty-two Tones we had earlier? ((no it comes later) Consider them, so you read something with sincerity or authority. Or you pass on a story with humour or excitement. Or you give details of a personal experience with anger or frustration.

Think about what you are saying and the listener’s likely reaction to it, just as you would if you were speaking with a friend who was right in front of you.

Understand the need to exaggerate your natural emotions. Actors are taught that if they acted totally naturally when they performed to an audience some intensity is lost. The emotions seem flat. They have to overplay to seem normal. The same is true for radio. Your highs and lows need to be pushed just a little further, to give a sense of naturalness when they come out of the speaker the other end.

You need to be ‘You+’.

Your audience has to feel as though they know you, before they can begin bonding with you. And that means that you have to show a variety of real emotions.[1] Note I said “real emotions” – and that’s not to say that that you fake them, you just heighten them. You need to show that you have a variety of emotions, but realise that does not mean that you have to be ‘emotional’.

And if you try and fake your tone (“I’m so pleased to be back and to share my ideas and help you…!”), well, it’s likely to be heard at 100 paces. Acting is, after all, only an act and a fake façade foretells failure.

[1] I once trained a TV newsreader who had a story in her bulletin about a missing girl who was thought to have been murdered. She almost sang the story, with no feeling for the story or the victim’s family who may have been watching. The reader and I worked out that because she had read the story so many times, she had forgotten its significance.

Audio recording script and show notes (c) 2021 Peter Stewart


Through these around-5-minute episodes, you can build your confidence and competence with advice on breathing and reading, inflection and projection, the roles played by better scripting and better sitting, mic techniques and voice care tips... with exercises and anecdotes from a career spent in TV and radio studios. If you're wondering about how to start a podcast, or have had one for a while - download every episode!


And as themes develop over the weeks (that is, they are not random topics day-by-day), this is a free, course to help you GET A BETTER BROADCAST, PODCAST AND VIDEO VOICE.


Look out for more details of the book during 2021.


Contacts: https://linktr.ee/Peter_Stewart


Peter has been around voice and audio all his working life and has trained hundreds of broadcasters in all styles of radio from pop music stations such as Capital FM and BBC Radio 1 to Heart FM, the classical music station BBC Radio 3 and regional BBC stations. He’s trained news presenters on regional TV, the BBC News Channel and on flagship programmes such as the BBC’s Panorama. Other trainees have been music presenters, breakfast show hosts, travel news presenters and voice-over artists.


He has written a number of books on audio and video presentation and production (“Essential Radio Journalism”, “JournoLists”, two editions of “Essential Radio Skills” and three editions of “Broadcast Journalism”) and has written on voice and presentation skills in the BBC’s in-house newspaper “Ariel”.


Peter has presented hundreds of radio shows (you may have heard him on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, Virgin Radio or Kiss, as well as BBC regional radio) with formats as diverse as music-presentation, interview shows, ‘special’ programmes for elections and budgets, live outside broadcasts and commentaries and even the occasional sports, gardening and dedication programmes. He has read several thousand news bulletins, and hosted nearly 2,000 podcast episodes, and is a vocal image consultant advising in all aspects of voice and speech training for presenters on radio and TV, podcasts and YouTube, voiceovers and videocalls.


The podcast title refers to those who may wish to change their speaking voice in some way. It is not a suggestion that anyone should, or be pressured into needing to. We love accents and dialects, and are well aware that how we speak changes over time. The key is: is your voice successfully communicating your message, so it is being understood (and potentially being acted upon) by your target audience?


This podcast is London-based and examples are spoken in the RP (Received Pronunciation) / standard-English / BBC English pronunciation, although invariably applicable to other languages, accents and dialects.


Music credits:

"Bleeping Demo" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

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"Beauty Flow" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

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"Envision" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

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"Limit 70" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

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"Rising Tide" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

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"Wholesome" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

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