In a casual, off-mike conversation with Kim Barnes, you’ll detect just a twinge of Texas accent in this Spectrio voice talent’s velvet edged, sunny sounding delivery. But on camera or in front of the mic, the Texas drawl disappears and it’s all business. Voicing both on and off camera is very much business these days for Kim Barnes. Voicing informative, educational message-on-hold scripts for a variety of organizations is a good fit for someone with fifteen years of experience in the news business.
From Broadcasting to Voicing
A University of Texas Broadcast Journalism grad, Kim’s TV news career started in 1989 at KWTX-TV in Waco, Texas. After working several years at the CBS affiliate, Kim married sportscaster Mike Barnes, and moved to Austin where Mike worked as a sports reporter for KVUE-TV. The ABC affiliate also hired Kim, and after several years as reporters, Kim and Mike found themselves together on the same set, as news and sports anchors on weekends. “So Kim Barnes was anchoring weekends with sportscaster Mike Barnes,” she laughs. “Many viewers never made the name connection until they saw us together in public. Then someone would say, “Oh! Kim Barnes -- Mike Barnes -- I get it!”
During her twelve years at KVUE-TV, Kim gave birth to two children, Brandon (now 17) and Taylor (now 14). After Taylor’s arrival in 2000, Kim moved to part-time, anchoring the weekends, which gave her a little more flexibility with her children. She found time to occasionally teach broadcast journalism at University of Texas and also for The Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible TV Journalism. “I love teaching and sharing useful information with people,” she notes. “Because so many message-on-hold scripts are informational or educational, I really feel that MOH is a good fit for me. My TV journalism background has served me well in that regard. I’m comfortable with projecting credibility and authority in my delivery. I know that both qualities are important in making that key first impression with callers.”
From On Camera to in Front of the Microphone
Eventually retiring from TV news, less than a year later Kim was back at KVUE-TV in a new role; as a free-lance commercial TV talent. One on camera talent project led to another, and soon Kim was a frequent face in training videos and other video productions. She also started her own business on the side as a party-planner with marketing company Southern Living at Home. At one of her parties, Kim met Tama Williamson, owner of Austin’s audio messaging business, Broadcast Marketing and Entertainment (BME). Tama encouraged Kim to join BME as a message-on-hold voice talent. Several years later when BME merged with Spectrio, Kim’s voice work expanded into new markets.
Voicing to Educate
Like many talents, Kim records from her in-home studio. What’s her biggest voice tracking challenge? “That’s easy,” she laughs, “Keeping Diamond quiet!” Diamond is Kim’s three year old black, floppy eared “Chiweenie,” a Chihuahua Dachshund mix. “Sometimes Diamond finds something to bark about at inopportune times! That means I have to re-record!”
Kim particularly enjoys working on scripts about complex topics that call for a credible, authoritative delivery. “After anchoring the news, I feel very comfortable voicing a script that’s technical, medical or educational in nature.” She also finds working with a variety of topics stimulating, and loves voicing for clients who give specific direction about how they want their messages to be read.
Have Voice, Will Travel
After voicing four years with Spectrio, Kim’s on-hold demeanor even surfaces at home. “Sometimes when I pick up our house phone and say hello, I hear silence for a moment. When I say hello again, the caller says, ‘oh, I thought it was an answering machine.’ I guess they are expecting me to tell them to ‘Press One’!”
Used to being recognized on the street as a local news anchor, Kim says it surprises her how familiar her voice has become in her own community. “I’m the voice talent for all of the Austin Regional Medical Center Clinics. Often someone will say to me, ‘I called my doctor this morning, and you answered!’ Now that I’m working with an international company like Spectrio, I’m recording for companies all over the place! I have no idea how many places my voice is now heard in!” These days, Kim Barnes’ voice travels far and wide, wherever Spectrio clients are.
Take a moment to hear Kim’s demo, by clicking her name below, and be sure to request her for your next Spectrio on-hold production!