Mike Rowe Discusses the Ins and Outs of Professional Voice Acting

by Clayton Edwards

Many fans know Mike Rowe from shows like Dirty Jobs and How America Works. However, he does plenty of voiceover work. Anyone familiar with his shows knows that he has golden vocal cords. So, it only makes sense that he lends his voice to narration and other voice work. Recently, Mike even got in the recording studio with John Rich to record a Christmas song.

On the latest episode of his podcast The Way I Heard It, Mike Rowe and his guests talked a little about the ins and outs of voiceover work. The episode features fellow voiceover artist Lindsay Schnebly and Mike’s producer and longtime friend Chuck Klausmeyer, who also does voiceover work.

To start the episode Mike Rowe gave a little background on Schnebly. About him, Rowe said, “You may not know the Schnebly name, but I guarantee you’ve heard the Schnebly voice. From ESPN to Animal Planet to CNBC to every other network in between, Lindsay Schnebly has been telling you what to watch, when to watch it, what to buy and where to buy it, for many years.”

With a laugh, Mike Rowe kicked off their conversation about the ins and outs of voiceover work by saying, “If this doesn’t end up being the best-sounding podcast in the history of The Way I Heard It, I ought to be horsewhipped.” Then he pointed out that all three men make money with their voices and that they all had “professional or semi-professional” microphones.

The Question Mike Rowe Hears the Most

Mike Rowe said he’s been getting the same question every day for the last twenty years. Surprisingly, it isn’t “What’s your dirtiest job?” Instead, people come to Mike to ask about getting into voice work. “I’ve been told I have a really nice voice,” Rowe says in his best radio announcer voice, “and I’d like to work in voiceovers. Where do I sign?” Then, Mike and his guests share a little advice with those hoping to break into that field.

Schnebly said that the idea of starting a voiceover career with an “announcer voice” is “so done.” He went on to highlight how wrong that idea is. “If I read 40 pieces of copy in a week, 38 of them will say…sound like the guy next door.”

They talked a bit more about the voiceover industry. At one point, Schnebly pointed out that you don’t need a home studio and expensive equipment to get started. “With a decent microphone and even a free app on your laptop and some bedsheets in a linen closet, you can turn out a pretty darn good-sounding piece of audio.” Mike Rowe nodded in agreement at this.

Then, he talked about the time he had to record something for CNBC. So, he ducked into a friend’s coat closet and recorded the audio on his iPad with a portable microphone. When he sent it in, the producer told him the audio sounded better than things he recorded in his private studio.