Michael Giunta

Member for 12 months •
"Masterful voice actor with many years at the mic."

There is only one me. I have a deep voice but there are plenty of those. David Byrne once said "And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?". This is my story... I grew up loving and living by the radio. Inevitably I found a volunteer station when I was attending University that was so all consuming that going to University became secondary. The thrill of radio is most sweet when you do things for the first time. It’s chilling, and it’s raw because the chance of failure is so outrageously high. I got used to the failure bits since I was having so much fun trying stuff out… It was trial and error in service to being a better communicator and getting to know the gear and the walls of music at my disposal!. We were not always in full command of all our senses either as I recall. After a few years of this type of thrill riding and a few On Air awards, it was time for me to ditch my real job. At the time I was a disconsolate clerk at a liquor store as a day job. I was afraid to let go of my first serious job. But one day I got a call. It was a monday...the day we received our liquor shipments. We were pilling up the Smirnoff near the conveyor belt in the basement. It was an out of town major Rock Radio station on the line. I was asked after a little bit of awkward chit chat if I wanted to work in big league radio (for about half the salary I was earning at the liquor store.) I did not take the job but I took the hint. In my impressionable and unhappy state, it was the sign I had been waiting for. I had said no thanks to the low ball wage offer but my heart had roared a life changing YES. I quit my job and went back to school. This threw me headlong into something I had only flirted with at campus radio. It was 1985 and I was back in school studying Radio & Television. Nearing the end of second year of Radio and TV school, I applied for a job as a Network television news director but lost out to a good friend from my grad year. It was decision time. I was graduated without job prospects. Fortunately a collection of campus radio mates had started a creative production agency and they needed a sound engineer. They were willing to hire me even though they knew of my desire to get into TV. It was a great testing ground for me. Once in a while, usually when the main voice was off, I would get to step behind the microphone. I produced an ad that won a Clio award which was a big deal for us at the time. As intense as this time was, it was obvious that it was time to move up.

 Training

My voice got noticed because of the ads I had begun voicing in my first job as producer and one day I got a call from a former campus radio friend who was PD at the major Rock Radio station in town. This progressive 100,000 watt FM powerhouse was looking for on air staff. I slid right into the afternoon slot and immediately began to do way more than my share of the commercial reading, interviews and all of the station imaging. I was suddenly in the deep end. Back then of course your air shift was your ongoing live "demo" and I used to get calls to do voicework for people on the request line! Ah the good old days!
Back then I would start my afternoons with some new vinyl which gave me about 3 minutes to find and cue up the next song. And on it went song to song… it was my own seat of the pants party and it worked mostly! It was the kind of flow you could never imagine in most jobs. I had it going on slipping from song to guest interviews, to live news, to spot clusters to live promos…and on it went for a decade. I got comfortable in the afternoon slot and about 5 years in, I began hosting a television music show with the local network affiliate for a few seasons and did many interviews with acts coming through town both live on radio and for television…sometimes at the same time. The list of people I got to speak to was a who’s who of 80’s and 90’s bands : SR Vaughan ,Tears for Fears , Bryan Adams , R.E.M. , U2 , Midnight Oil and all manner of up and coming acts. One of the best aspects of radio was the diversity of the day to day. I was kept very busy representing the radio station in the 15 years I was on air. Public speaking and making conversation became second nature. One night, introducing Ozzy Osbourne at the Arena and the next morning part of a grade 8 classroom discussion on career day. Radio in most markets is fickle. Hero to zero can be real quick. One should always have his antenna tuned to this reality. So, by this point my side hustle as a voice actor and host/presenter had prepared me well for the inevitable consolidation that came to radio. Of course the experienced (Read expensive) talent was the first to go. By then I was ready to spread my wings or more appropriately my voice.

 Experience

The most fulfilling things I ever did while I worked in radio was to design and project manage the building of our Radio group complex. We had grown to 5 stations when we were forced to relocate by a greedy landlord from our long standing location. I had studied and always loved architecture and I am also a bit of a handy man so I was taken off the air and entrusted with the responsibility of design and project management of the new broadcast facility. To this day I am proud to say we built the most comprehensive broadcast facility in the city on time and on budget. It was a crowning moment for me. Within 3 years though we were purchased by a large broadcast conglomerate who then decided to sell the property to a condo developer. I remember watching the wrecking ball tear into my beautiful dream. It was a type of karmic closure for me. Even though my building did not survive, it gave me the courage to build our own family home afterwards. My wife and I thought about it for a long time and after a few false starts, we were able to find the right lot and come up with a design we could both love. By the time this home project began I was a few years into full time voice work running all over the country to do in studio projects. I was fortunate enough to have my wife allow me to sneak a complete sound studio into the new house build which I have used ever since. By now it was a busy time in my voice career as I got to be the live OnCam announcer for the 2003 Juno Awards with Shania Twain, which turned out to be my audition to be announcer for the Ottawa Senators. I was with the hockey team as the arena announcer for 4 years. THAT is seat of the pants at a high level let me tell you... In the same period I was the host of a popular television show called BUY ME out of Montreal which ran for 10 seasons on HGTV. Looking back I frankly don’t know how I squeezed it all in. By this point in my voice work career I had also built up my imaging and promo work for radio stations across Canada to over 25 stations. Clients included TheEDGE Toronto and TheFOX in Vancouver and CTV Montreal. I was also getting to travel to do richer audio projects for National Geographic, Discovery and the IMAX movie platform by this point. By this point my live on air radio years were behind me but they were critical in launching the possibilities of my voice.

 Specials

I can sing...