Happy Sunday to you all. Today, we have what could be history in the making. I am interviewing Lora Cain, the first ever female announcer Wheel of Fortune has ever had. Here’s a picture of her.
Just to show what a good sport she is, after I sent her the request, she friended me and then started chatting with me over Facebook Chat within a few hours. I didn’t have to do any editing for this one.
Greg Palmer: Hi, Lora. First off, how did you get involved in broadcasting?
Lora Cain: I’d been a professional actor since I was 12 and decided I would be a journalist. All my older and way smarter actor friends said “Don’t waste money and time on college for something unless you get some work experience in it and decide if you like it” so I applied at 17 for a newspaper, radio and TV station. A copywriting job came through at a radio station first and they decided that what I thought was a very ugly voice (I lost my voice at 8 due to pneumonia and have sounded like this ever since) should be on the air as a jock and doing commercials. “Kid, we’re going to make your career” was what they said and they were right.
GP: I’ve been listening to your Voiceover Reel on BuzzerBlog. Yeah, it sounds good. I think you can do it. However, it’s not easy. Most shows with female announcers were either on cable or didn’t last very long. You’re the first female announcer in Wheel‘s history. How did you do it?
LC: I owe it all to my fantastic agent who suggested me to the even more fantastic Wheel of Fortune Executive Producer Harry Friedman who thought a woman should have a shot and I had the chops to do it. It is hard work because it’s live but I had a ton of experience with live television on KERA TV in Dallas and that was a huge help.
GP: What kinds of VO have you done? What did you like? Where did you work? How is different from doing a game show?
LC: I’ve done everything from commercials to TV shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Platinum Weddings to corporate narrations, films, museum guides, promos for radio and TV stations, tons of stuff for the internet. I’ve run into my voice all over the world. JKL was fun because I would go down to the show in Hollywood but most of my work is done in my home studio. Wheel of Fortune is very different because you’re live in the studio.
GP: Why do you think announcing has been so male-exclusive up to the past 25 years?
LC: I think there’s a certain sound that they want for game shows – very upbeat and excited and it’s just been thought that a man does it better. Hopefully this is a chance to show that women can sound great on a national network game show like Wheel of Fortune. [It’s not a network show, Lora. It’s syndicated.]
GP: There are probably some people that are concerned you won’t be able to measure up to Charlie O’s voice; especially when a big cash prize is given away in the Bonus Round. Did you watch a few episodes of Wheel beforehand to study? Do you think you’ll be able to justify that enthusiasm?
LC: I’ve watched Wheel since I was a kid so I was very familiar with Charlie. His loss was a big blow to the WOF because they are such a family there and really lovely people to work with in what is a very high pressure situation. My favorite part was anytime I had the chance to give away money because I could really yell it out and they liked that.
GP: For these upcoming episodes, did you do post-production or were you actually in the studio?
LC: I was in a recording booth on the floor between the audience and the stage.
GP: Do you have any experiences you’d like to share with us?
LC: It was a lot of fun getting to chat with people between the episodes (we shot 6 in a day). Pat Sajak and Vanna White are the nicest people as is everyone that works on the show. I can see why people work there for years and never leave. Mark Corwin and Bob Cisneros directed me through a headset and they were incredibly patient and supportive. Even Pat Sajak and Harry Friedman stopped by my booth to say some words of encouragement which I so appreciated.
GP: Finally, what advice do you have for people (especially women) who want to enter your field of work?
LC: Take classes, find a good teacher, a good voiceover workout group then audition, audition, audition, practice, practice, practice and don’t give up. It’s amazing how many voice over actors think it’s beneath them to audition but the really successful professionals are out there doing it all the time and willing to do more.
GP: Thanks a lot, Lora, and good luck.
LC: Thank you Greg for taking the time to talk with me and I hope everyone can watch Wheel of Fortune January 10th – 14th and February 14th – 18th and then write that they like a female announcer to: www.WheelofFortune.com/feedback
Huh? Apparently you can decide who you want as announcer. Only choices I’ve heard so far are Jim Thornton, Rich Fields, and Johnny Gilbert. Who are the other 3 men? Who knows? What do you guys think? Will she be worth it? Only one way to find out. Watch this week on Wheel!