Exceptional voices on radio
Published On January 4, 2014 » 6818 Views» By Administrator Times » Columns, Entertainment
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Radio Review - jack1I HAVE discovered why some broadcasters sound exceptionally well than others on air. I also know now why some broadcasters sound awful.

Radio broadcasting, as it has been said already, is all about a voice, a good voice, a clear voice and an attractive one.

Therefore, broadcasters without a natural clear voice, deep or light would labour but in vain.

It was last Sunday, December 29, 2013 when I sat to listen to Karen Nakawala’s ‘Sunday Mellow Madness’ presentation on Radio Phoenix. That was her very best presentation of the year.

Those who have heard Karen do her thing before agree that she has a natural saccharine voice. It is her choice of music, call it play list that, however, adds flavour to her entire presentation.

What made that particular presentation exceptional was that she played the most requested-for songs, thereby meeting listeners’ desires.

Imagine that type of voice synchronised in romantic ballads! The output is simply captivating.

That said, there are voices that go well with news reading, others for commentaries, others for interviewing and yet still others as deejays.

Like I heard Justin Kawisha read ZNBC’s morning main news on December 22, I thought he had a light voice – not good enough as news reader as his pronunciations were not accurate.

Examples could be that Radio Phoenix staffer Paddy Mukando’s voice which blends well in ‘heavy’ music, ZNBC’s Marrian Chigwedere’s could go with all sorts of tantalising and fast beats, Charles Mucholo and Ormond Musonda’s voices are best for local danceable beats.

Among some voices that proved exceptional on radio before are that of now Information Minister Mwansa Kapeya, Kenneth Maduma, Mannaseh Phiri, Ricky Banda, Kayula Chasaya, Ben Kangwa, Buumba Sikumba, Grace Msimuko, Sera Mubanga and Doris Mubanga.


One of the regular callers across radio stations is ‘Professor’ Elijah Ngwale. I have heard him make candid and accurate contributions on many topics.

While other callers simply want to be heard on radio, ‘Prof’ Ngwale is different in that he is fearless and quite analytical whenever he makes his views.


I have previously stated my liking for ‘Money Matters’ programme presented by Chella Silwamba on Radio Christian Voice, that it is one of the exclusive radio programmes.

It being a practical production, Brother Chella gives genuine Christian-backed principles of how to make money.

What could be more educative than this slot at a time when some weaker money-hungry souls turn to Satanism and borrowing, in a bid to survive business challenges?

In last week’s presentation, Brother Chella drew listeners to the Bible books Psalms 66 vs 12 and Exodus 13 as guides to sustainable wealth creation.

From my own investigations, Brother Chella ‘walks the talk’; he is practical by practicing what he preachers. A handsomely qualified banker with tempting experience, he chose to do farming where he is comfortably competing.


The choice of microphones for a production is the responsibility of the producer in consultation with his technical operator.

A producer must therefore, be very familiar with the sensitivity patterns and frequency responses of every available microphone.

It is also a very good idea when working on a multi-microphone production to plan on paper the placement of the microphones before entering the studio.

This microphone plot can then be handed to the technical operator.

When two ribbon microphones are switched on at the same time, a loss of bass response can sometimes occur.

This is caused by one microphone being out of phase with another. It can be simply remedied by turning one microphone around and listening carefully to the result until the bass response is restored.

It is always necessary to establish the proper working distance between a speaker or performer and the microphone. This is called balancing.

The object of balancing is to achieve a natural-sounding performance within the technical limitations of radio.

When two or more people are speaking at a microphone as in an interview or discussion they must appear to sound the same distance from the microphone although their actual distances may vary because of the varying strengths of their voices.

The speakers must also be seated in the fully active response area of the microphone so that all the voices sound equally full and rich.

If one speaker sounds off microphone or his voice is less clear, it is likely to distract the audience. This may call for the use of more than one microphone in a discussion.

Musical balancing demands a high degree of skill on the part of the producer and his technical operator. The first question is the choice of acoustic surroundings.

A country singing party, for example, is usually heard out-of-doors in the open air. This is a dead acoustic and so the choice of studio and positioning within it must be arranged to have as little reverberation as possible.

On the other hand, a cathedral choir is usually heard in highly reverberant surroundings and these must be re-created in the studio perhaps by the use of a near and a distant microphone, or the addition of electronic echo.

Another kind of acoustic is required for a high life band and still another for a small jazz group.

In musical performances a distinction is often made between a close and a distant balance.

In close balancing a microphone is placed close to almost every instrument and the output of the several microphones is mixed on the panel.

It is not natural balancing but it is popular with jazz musicians and does much to make the performance aurally exciting.

The distant balance, customarily used for studio choral groups, is arranged by carefully placing the parts of the choir or the various musical instruments at different distances from a single microphone. It gives a more natural but somewhat flatter effect.

A music producer needs to teach vocalists, particularly ‘pop’ vocalists, to work a microphone that is to move slightly away from it for loud passages and closer to it for softer passages.

This is true of some scenes in drama where a player may need to shout and must slightly back away from the microphone to do so.


How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Sunday January 5, 2014 20:00 | M-Net Movies Action+ (106)

A man is arrested by Mexican authorities and sent to a tough prison.

He soon learns that this is not an easy place to survive, and a young boy becomes his unlikely source of help.


Mel Gibson as Driver

Kevin Hernandez as Kid

Dolores Heredia as Kid’s Mom

For comments, observations and contributions; jackmwewa@gmail.com – 0955115777

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