Continuity Announcers are the friendly voice equivalent of a combined schedule and programme guide: a trusted advisor who always seems to be speaking directly to individual viewers as opposed to a mass audience.
These familiar voices provide the out-of-vision, live narration that might combine the task of humorously highlighting an incident in the previous programme, while preparing and enthusing the viewer for the following programme.
The job is one of providing the informed, assured ‘behind the scenes’ voice that ensures the smooth, spoken links between what are often very different types of programming.
The Continuity Announcer is also the voice of the Broadcaster every time he or she is on air. Personality, vitality, professionalism and tone are all essential parts of what must be a trusted and friendly projection. In this regard, there is a brand ambassador dimension to the role in the way the Announcer becomes the voice of the Broadcaster.
To perform this role, you must:
Possess high literacy skills.
Have a good speaking voice with clear diction.
Know how to adapt tone and delivery to suit the programming and message.
Be able to keep a cool head, be able to ‘think on your feet’ react quickly to sudden on-air problems.
Have good general knowledge and a sound grasp of current affairs.
Appreciate and seek to perfect all types of pronunciation, especially of artistes and place names.
Have the ability to read in a natural, relaxed style from both typed scripts and AutoCue.
Understand the dynamics and pressure-points that are part of live TV.
Be able to write and edit short continuity scripts quickly and to length.
Have a social diary and stamina that permit long hours in a sound booth.
TV Continuity Announcers can often develop very different paths to this role, and, as with so many other positions in TV, there are no formal qualifications. Successful candidates may have come via occasional pre-recorded voice-over work, local radio, or have had acting backgrounds. Provided the necessary voice and related skills are present, Announcers can also come from a journalism background.