Editor’s Note: Some of the most successful Black VO people in the industry that I know (including myself) end up booking their own clients because of severe racism in the talent agency industry. Many black talents are signed then held out and often never submitted over white talent for VoiceOver gigs.
Leading audio brands launch call to action to diversify voices in media and advertising
Pandora, SiriusXM and Stitcher, via its Studio Resonate audio-first creative lab, announced today that it is taking a stand for Sonic Diversity by making a measurable commitment to casting more Black voices on its platforms. The company launched today a website, Stand For Sonic Diversity, which outlines its ambitious goals to diversify voices in advertising and media.
Some of these include:
- Diversifying its internal talent rosters with a goal of having BIPOC talent represent 50% of the roster.
Striving to have Black voices represent at least 15% of the total advertising voiceover roster.
- Diversify casting with the goal of increasing Black voice talent cast by 30% over 2020 levels.
Refuse to support casting where white voice actors are cast in Black roles.
- Diversify voices cast for the “general market,” rather than defaulting to the use of a white voice.
Audit casting practices on a regular basis to ensure adherence to diverse casting practices.
The program is being led by SiriusXM/Pandora Group Creative Director, Roger Sho Ghermann who leads the company’s audio-first creative lab Studio Resonate who says, “Despite the fact that the U.S. population is nearly 40% non-white, the voices we hear broadcast in the media via voiceover talent are still broadly white by default.
We have made a commitment to enact meaningful, measurable change and invite other companies in our space to do the same. It’s time to take a Stand for Sonic Diversity.”
Roger will participate in a discussion at SXSW next week entitled Breaking The Sonic Color Line which will discuss the lack of diversity in on air voices.
The virtual panel discussion will take place next Friday March, 19th at 1:30 pm ET and will also feature MC Lyte, Kyra Kyles, the CEO of YR Media and Joan Baker, the Vice President of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences. More information is available HERE.