Non-traditional student finds voice at OTC

Non-traditional student finds voice at OTC

Monday, March 11, 2013

Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

When Roger Gray speaks, he hopes people listen.

The 73-year-old OTC student has been lending his rich, baritone voice to radio commercials and audio books for several years but recently enrolled at the college to expand his knowledge in audio engineering through the Electronic Media Program.

"He’s been doing voice-over work at the house for some years and took a class here to catch up in what's new in audio. We’ve adjusted the curriculum in order to meet his needs and accomplish what he needs to do," said Jeff Johnson, EMP instructor who has Gray in his class.

Gray’s class project is putting together a demo reel that he can use on his soon-to-be complete Web site that will allow him to expand his horizons in the voice-over business.

"Most voice people freelance. There are a lot of jobs available online," said Gray, who came to Springfield in the 1980s when his mother moved to Branson.

Using his voice is the most recent career in a list that includes being a group speaker and pastoring counselor in former lives. Gray also had a radio show in the 1960s and was doing free radio ads for friends. At the time, Gray said, he was too busy to pursue a voice career.

Several years ago, Gray saw a notice for a voice-coaching class being held at the OTC Community Enrichment Center. He attended that class and then decided to go to work on his own voicing commercials and audio books business.

He has a home studio but is in class now to learn the ins and outs of producing and engineering along with computer training. He’s taking theater classes to work on how to use his voice.

"I could hardly turn on a computer. I learned some of it through YouTube," he said.

Gray, who overcame prostrate cancer many years ago, has five brothers and three have the same rich voice as him, but they’ve never pursued a voice career.

He has voiced 11 audiobooks and has a contract to do three more. He hopes after completing the EMP courses, he will have a better knowledge of what goes into the work and be able to publicize his new skills because he has no plans of slowing down.

"I tried retirement 10 years ago and I’ll never try that again. I can do voice-over work for a long time, anywhere in the world," he said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.