Top 10 Voices in Broadcast Journalism

Today on the radio program Q with Jian Ghomeshi, Terry O’Reilly (sitting in for Ghomeshi) celebrated famous television and radio announcer,  Don Pardo. The legendary voice behind “It’s Saturday Night Live” died earlier this week.

During today’s radio program, O’Reilly interviewed pop culture expert Bob Thompson about how the golden age of television announcers—associated with game shows, talk and variety shows, even soap operas—began in the late 40s and ended in the 80s.

But it got me thinking how distinctive voices in broadcast journalism still resonate today. (By the way Pardo’s vocal talent played a significant role in the world of journalism too. For example, during WWII, he read news dispatches from the frontlines over the radio; he was also one of the first on television to tell the country, via NBC Breaking News, that President Kennedy was assassinated.)

Iconic voices are not limited to the traditional “television announcer”. Here is a list of some of the most articulate, most resonant communicators, characterized by their distinctive vocal timbers and tones along with their journalistic prowess, in the world of TV and radio broadcasting today.

Pelley & Obama

Scott Pelley
  • CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor
  • He began working with 60 Minutes II in 1999 and then 60 Minutes in 2004. Many of his stories have garnered the program major awards; he continues to work as their correspondent.
  • Studied journalism at Texas Tech University.
Amanpour - The George Washington University

Christiane Amanpour
  • CNN International’s chief international correspondent and host of Amanpour; ABC News’ global affairs anchor.
  • Covering the Gulf War was her first major assignment with CNN.
  • B.A. in journalism (University of Rhode Island)
Jane Pauley & Tom Brokaw Today Show - 1977

Tom Brokaw
  • Anchor/managing editor for NBC Nightly News (1982-2004)
  • Currently a NBC News special correspondent; in recent years he has continued to produce/report in a number of documentaries.
  • B.A. in political science (University of South Dakota); during his studies he gained experience as a radio reporter.

Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer
  • Currently the anchor of ABC’s World News.
  • ABC News’ website describes her as, “One of the most respected journalists in the world, she has traveled the globe delivering in-depth and breaking news reports and has conducted interviews with almost every major newsmaker of our time.”
  • Bachelor of Arts/Science, majoring in English (Wellesley College)
Keith Morrison
  • Correspondent for Dateline (NBC) since 1995.
  • Award-winning journalist, he has worked in radio and television since the 60s for both Canadian and U.S. agencies.
  • Bachelor’s degree in History (University of Saskatchewan)
Will Lyman
  • Narrator for PBS’ Frontline (investigative journalism documentary series) since 1984.
  • Has narrated documentaries for the National Geographic, The History Channel and other channels; has also acted in various film, television and stage roles.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (Boston University)
Terry Gross
  • Executive producer and host of NPR’s Fresh Air.
  • Known for her intelligent, curious and empathetic style of interviewing the variety of guests featured on her radio show.
  • Bachelor’s degree in English; M.Ed. in Communications State University of New York at Buffalo)
Robin Quivers
  • News anchor/co-host of The Howard Stern Show for 30+ years
  • Before beginning her broadcasting career, she completed a nursing degree and also rose up to Captain rank in the U.S. Air Force.
  • She graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland.

Secretary Kerry Prepares for Interview With NBC News Correspondent, Ann Curry

Ann Curry
  • NBC News journalist as a national and international correspondent, primetime special anchor, Dateline correspondent,and more.
  • Multi-award winner, including seven Emmy awards, a number of Associated Press Certificates of Excellent, four Golden Mikes, the Simon Wiesenthal Medal of Valor, etc.
  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism (University of Oregon)
Stuart Scott
  • Sportscaster with ESPN for over 20 years including his role as anchor on SportsCenter.
  • Recently made an inspiring speech about his battle against cancer when he was awarded the Jimmy V. ESPY Perseverance Award.
  • B.A. in speech communications (University of North Carolina)

This list obviously focuses on present day broadcasting voices. When considering radio/television journalists of all time, we cannot forget the distinctive sounds from greats like Walter Cronkite, Edward Murrow, Marlene Sanders…

What do you think of our list? Let us know who we are missing!

Meet the Author

Michelle - Contributing Editor

Michelle Brunet is a freelance writer who contributes to numerous print and online publications, including JournalismDegree.com. She holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies/Biology and a B.Ed. Prior to writing, Michelle spent time teaching (in Canada and South Korea), volunteering on an organic farm in Ontario, camp counseling in Hong Kong, and a range of other short term gigs, from waitressing at a resort to separating recyclables on a conveyor belt. She loves meeting new people and is constantly fascinated by their unique stories.

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