Radio industry voices approval, frustration at Ted Williams story
Ted Williams is seen in this still from a Columbus Dispatch video posted on YouTube.
January 7th, 2011
01:12 PM ET

Radio industry voices approval, frustration at Ted Williams story

There is no doubt that Ted Williams has an amazing voice. It's a voice that only belongs behind a microphone announcing a basketball game, voicing an infomercial, reading the news or reminiscing with us on our favorite oldies station.

And who doesn't love a story about someone getting a second chance at life? It's inspiring to know that when we might need that second chance or if we are looking for one right now, there's hope. To see the outpouring of jobs, opportunities and support Williams got after his video went viral, reminds us that there are good people in our world ready and willing to help.

But let's put the fairy tale aside for a second. This man was struggling and looking for work - a story that many people nation wide can very much relate to, especially in the radio industry - filling out resumes, applying for jobs, practicing voice exercises, re-editing the voice reel. Take a look at Voice123.com. It's a warehouse full of voice talent. A basic search for an adult male voice will give you thousands of quality voice samples to listen to. And then you see "Homeless Man Gets Radio Job" top the headlines across the country.

Industry expert Tom Taylor who blogs on Radio-Info.com has heard the backlash this story has created in the radio world. Taylor summarizes the frustration, not in a way to completely deflate this "feel-good" story, but to remind everyone there is a harsh reality to the business.

"What you're hearing from some radio folks isn't jealousy or resentment, exactly - but a reminder that life's not fair," Taylor blogged. "Especially in an industry that has tossed talented people out the door for much of the last decade."

Did Ted Williams' voice change everything we thought we knew about radio? No. So this post is for the people in radio working hard to get their break. It's to acknowledge that no matter what the industry, people are struggling to find work. As inspiring as this story is, it's got to give some people a headache.

Imagine you get that automated e-mail sent from an HR department after they closed your profile saying, "Thank you for your interest in job #0002792614, but we have filled the position. In fact, we actually hired a homeless guy who we saw on YouTube. Good luck in your job search!"

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Filed under: Drugs • Jobs • Ted Williams
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Mike

    I think Ted Williams story is amazing. What a fantastic feel good story to kick of 2011! Being a former Radio announcer for the past 20 years (and yes I said former, as I got laid off 5 months ago) I wish Ted all the best, he has an amazing voice that most people in our industry would only dream of. Heck I can probably only name a handful of friends who come close to that kind of quality.

    What some people seem to forget, or don't know, is that a lot of problems in broadcasting have nothing to do with Ted getting a job. Let's be fair if he didn't someone else would have gotten the gig. That's they way the industry works and that is fine by me. The real issue should be directed at the big Radio companies. Maybe it happened by mergers, automation or cost cutting, but the truth is that the amount of jobs in the industry has diminished quite significantly from what it was just two decades ago. And the amount of positions lost does not equal the small amount gained from either new technology or by "streamlining". Big companies have found ways of cutting back the smaller jobs, and increasing their profits over the backs of broadcasters. Now it's fair to say that big market radio will always have a morning show, and a drive show. But some trends are growing where Midday show's are voice tracked, evening show's vanish and forget about overnight positions. Now I now that's a blanket statement that certainly doesn't' apply to every radio station across North America, but to say it doesn't' happen is ignorant.

    I am glad that Ted Williams got another chance, hell he deserves it. But when we talk about problems in Radio, let's not forget where to point the finger. Reform for big business radio is sorely needed, someone needs to step in and speak for the broadcasters, otherwise I would hate to see where the industry will be in 20 years from now.

    January 8, 2011 at 3:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Christopher Dycha

    The harsh realities of the job market. I was naively raised to believe that if you are good at what you do, a company will keep you. I have seen numerous qualified, dedicated employees that delivered more than the company expected be released for various reasons and companies not hire for various reasons. It is not enough to be good. You need some luck and timing. If it behooves the company, they will find room or invent a position for a hand picked person even when they are not officially hiring. This is why I have little use for unemployed people who justify there lack of job hunting efforts to the age old excuse of; "there's no jobs out there or no ones' hiring". You are wrong and live in a world of convenient truth. Christopher Dycha

    January 8, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ro

    I think its Great for Him!And he seems so Humble!I loved the way he called His Mother "Mommy".I wish him all the best!And that he will be surrounded by people that wont take advantage of him!

    January 8, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ed Bailey

    This man has done a great thing! His success is a beautiful miracle in a sea of madness.the american dream is dead for the majority,don't stone the lucky handful.thank you ted.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nexus

    May the best VOICE win!!! That's the story.....truth be told.... Yes Ted is a bit of a novelty but his voice is undeniable

    January 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D'sacach

    Live my friend there is so much to go for and to breath! show the life!

    January 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Suzy Nameth

    this is it boy's GO JETS!

    January 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Snooks

    He's not jealous...just has an opinion on this subject like the rest of you. Ted Williams could have had a long successful career in broadcasting but booze & drugs got the better of him. I think he should have been offered a position and made to work his way up like most everyone else.

    January 8, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. what

    Someone is mad a homeless ex drug addict is making more money then him.nobody complained when ryan seacrest took over radio and he sucks!

    January 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. what

    Binder get a real job.sad cnn is promotes racism and hate towards minorities

    January 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lola in the Southwest

    Ted Williams has a phenomenal voice. It all boils down to what's good for business. I am continually amazed and awed at how Mr. Williams blows current professionals out of the water with his skills whenever he gives an interview - he is truly just that good. He unintentionally makes the professionals interviewing him seem dull, mediocre and thin voiced. Again, he is truly just that good. This CNN blog article is pure petty jealousy. Ted Williams is not just a feel good story, Ted Williams truly is head and shoulders above what is out there currently today. I am appalled at the pettiness being shown by some in the radio industry. But I will say this: I have bought Kraft Cheese and Macaroni for the first time in 20 years because of Ted. Sleep with that knowledge, you petty jealous ones. And I look forward to hearing Ted Williams voice on my tv, on my radio, on my phone menus, and at my movie theatre. Sleep with that knowledge, too. Let go of your pettiness, and be happy for Ted. He has revitalized interest in helping the homeless, interest in faith, and interest in the radio industry. He is good for business.

    January 9, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    "Life's not fair."
    The irony in the people complaining. Yes, life's not fair... which is probably one reason why Ted Williams got a job. The argument goes in both ways.

    January 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JR

    He is talented and he got discovered. End of story. Stop crying.

    January 9, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Daniel Nguyen

    The man has paid his due! Everyone needs a second chance and this is his. Someone has to hit the jackpot & it could be you, me or anyone else. Do you all just go on and hate anyone that hits the Lotto? Life is fair and luck does not discriminate. So, live life the best you know how and let it takes its course. Keep buying Lotto tickets, 'cause you don't win if you don't buy.

    January 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Glenn Danzig

    Ted is a junkie and a born LOSER! he will most likely relapse once his income comes in.don't get your hopes up poeple.

    January 10, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
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