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Paul Payton
VOICE-OVER AND NARRATION
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CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE
Fellow Professionals *Unique & Exciting Radio Websites
Music & Musicians * Professional Organizations
Highway Hobbyists & Urban History 

Trains and Boats and Planes
*Friends * Oddities
(all links verified in November 2014 - please report broken links)




FELLOW PROFESSIONALS

The folks listed below stand out among many people I know who excel in their fields. I work with each of them and can vouch for their talent and competence; they are all really good people, too. This list is a constant work in progress, so check back frequently to see who’s been added!

PRODUCERS AND OTHER PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES:

Note: Although I’m cross-linked at some of these sites, the main reasons they're on this page are the high quality of their work, their reliability as people, and the good times I've had working with them. Here are just a few of my favorite people and places; I'm grateful to have many - with more to be added.

Sica Productions belongs to Dave Sica, one of the most creative corporate producers I know, a master of new technology and an scholar of old. Dave collects and restores classic radios and TV’s. (Ask him about his four “lollipop” Philco Predicta televisions.) Among many other things, he digitized the entire Benefit Street/The American Dream album, took my profile photo at LinkedIn and Facebook, allowed me to succeed him as President of ITVA (now MCA-I) New Jersey, and shepherded the "great reawakening" and maintenance of this website. Consider him "friended" a dozen times over.

Holdcom is the company that put my voice on some of Madison Square Garden's, Radio City Music Hall's and Robert Wood Johnson's on-hold messages among hundreds of others! (We've been doing this for a few years!) They are arguably the leading message-on-hold company (they also do audio for websites and on-line training), put out high quality work, and are a great bunch of people to know.

HCCS (Health Care Compliance Solutions) is the leading provider of online compliance training and tracking solutions to healthcare facilities, and I've been the voice of most of their courses for almost 20 years! Produced by DEG Productions, we record at Creative Sound Works with another long-time radio friend, Bruce Figler, in the aptly-named Pleasantville, NY.

Panetta Studios is one of favorite places to work. Angelo Panetta and engineer Siara Spreen always make me (and every other voice person who comes in) sound good, plus Angelo is a remarkable musician and soundtrack composer as well.

Liz de Nesnera is a great friend, a remarkable voice talent in English and French (and Russian if pushed!); her superb "ears" have been an invaluable help in assembling my new demos. If my male voice won't do it for you, try calling Liz!

TriVue Entertainment produces many of the “Spotlight On:” programs which run on many PBS stations nationwide (including WLIW). I am privileged to be narrate many of these programs since 1995.. President Larry Cohen is a creative and innovative producer, as well as being a really nice guy! Check the “Paul on the Web” links to see and hear many of these programs.

Antland Productions is "audio central" with Emmy-award sound designer "Uncle Roy" Yokelson at the heart of it all. He was Woody Allen's go-to sound person for over 20 years. Also, he throws great parties!

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UNIQUE AND EXCITING RADIO WEBSITES

With a long and varied radio career before I entered the voice-over field, my love for the medium at its best has never faded. While far too much of what's on the commercial dial has become a waste of electricity, here are some sites to take you to some of the best stations I know or knew:

WBRU, Providence, RI is where both my wife and I started in radio at our alma mater. Brown University's 20kw FM is the oldest college station in the US in continuous operation (since 1936), and a successful commercial station in a Top 20 market. I helped to found its freeform rock format, which evolved into today's modern-rock success. Although always an extracurricular activity, it has nonetheless been voted Rolling Stone Magazine's Station of The Year. Streaming audio.

WBRU IN THE 60s is primarily for station members during the transition from closed-circuit on-campus AM to its early FM days. Histories of me and many of us from those days are posted there; among our illustrious alumni are Ralph Begleiter formerly of CNN; and Andrew Fisher, President of Cox Communications. There are also airchecks and on-air production from my teenage radio years; consider yourself warned!

WWUH is the University of Hartford's "public alternative" voice. Their "magazine format" of a variety of music, news and community programming is still working well and serving central Connecticut with programing not heard anywhere else. Streaming audio. 

WFMU is New Jersey's homegrown completely freeform station at 91.1 FM – if "home" was a hip musician’s or artist’s loft with hundreds of fascinating alcoves. Non-commercial, non-conformist, totally strange and wonderful. Erudite, self-indulgent, highly-intelligent people playing the absolute best and worst music you'll ever hear. It's worth staying tuned to, because that best song will be on in just a moment. The website will entertain you for hours—then check out their links! Streaming audio and unique archives.

CBC music channels play a wide variety of Canadian artists and songs mostly unheard in the US - but if you'd been listening you would have heard some amazing talent here first, including Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Neko Case, Great Lake Swimmers, The Wilderness of Manitoba and dozens more. CBC-3, the indie channel, is the most adventurous (if not as off-the-wall as WFMU), but there's plenty here to enjoy. (CBC-Sonica and CBC-3 are also on SiriusXM up in the 160s.)

WOVV is "Ocracoke's Village Voice," in a unique island village on North Carolina's Outer Banks. Within their approximately 6,000 year-round population is a disproportionately large group of very creative people. When they're not on live, their automation system is packed with an eclectic mix of all kinds of music. They're even kind enough to let me get on the air once in a while and remind myself why I loved to do freeform radio. As "live and local" as they can be! Fun, too.

WDRC, Connecticut's legendary first radio station, has an unofficial website devoted to its multifaceted history and exceptional staff. Always more influential than the size of its market, WDRC dates to 1921, operated one of the world's first FM stations, was a leading national tastemaker in the heady rock and pop days of the 1960's and went to FM rock programming in the 70's. This deliciously obsessive site chronicles the station's history, has classic on-air samples of many of its personalities (including yours truly, with an aircheck and a very nerdy photo), and reflects the love and devotion to the station in its prime of its staff and listeners alike. Think I exaggerate? See for yourself! (To better reflect the excitement of the Hartford "rock wars," a page devoted to WPOP, the "crosstown rival" station, can be found there, too.)

NJARC is not a broadcast site. The New Jersey Amateur Radio Club, as their constitution says, "educate[s] the membership and promote[s] the collection, restoration and repair of antique and collectible radios and related items." Remember the fun machines we watched and listened to? NJARC does – and keeps them working. Thanks to the multi-faceted Dave Sica of Sica Productions for the link.

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MUSIC AND MUSICIANS

I was raised to be a child prodigy, which gets tough when you get to be an adult and you can't just be cute anymore! Later I went broke trying to be a rock star. So I music-directed and deejayed on the radio for many successful years and later became a voice-over person, but never lost my interest in music – everything from seriously great stuff to the indefinable "whatever." The following sites are minimally commercial – or non-commercial – and are mostly run by hobbyists, fans and musicians themselves. I claim no responsibility for their activities or content; I just enjoy visiting them. Hope you do too!

SPECTROPOP - If you like Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, girl groups, “sunshine pop” and exquisite vocal harmonies, this remarkably-researched site delves deeply into these areas plus many other superbly talented producers and artists you may not already know (such as Gary Zekley, Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher) but whose work you've probably heard. And that's just the beginning. If you like the ambitious, intelligent pop of the ‘60's, or if you thought Brian Wilson’s recent "Smile" tour was something akin to a transcendent experience, you'll spend many happy hours here. Explore the discussion list, too; you’ll find correspondence from original artists, producers, and sidemen, plus many current professional music writers – and my comments under my old radio handle, ”Country Paul.” Truly, paradise for the aficionado. The direct link to the discussion pages is http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/spectropop/.

GOATS IN TREES- Every now and then the music of a particular artist just takes over your brain for a while. In 2000, I first heard Goats In Trees on WPKN in Connecticut. Their exceptional self-titled debut CD has been a favorite ever since. Their fine second CD, "Smoke and Mirrors," was released in December, 2001, and guitarist/writer Jason Crigler’s solo CD came out in 2004. Chief songwriter and lead singer Monica Cohen Crigler's memorable voice combines charm, strength and vulnerability into a potent package. Sadly, her husband, Jason, was hit with life-threatening health issues and the band's future was in jeopardy; but in 2014, following his miraculous recovery, the reunited group released their third CD, "The Golden Thread," a collection well worth the wait. Check them out!

BOTH SIDES NOW PUBLICATIONS encompasses an encyclopedic list of record-label discographies and histories in many styles and eras. Praised by no less an authority than the Encyclopedia Brittanica for its accuracy and thoroughness, it reads less like academia and more like the heartfelt life's work of dedicated fans. Use this important musical research archive for reference, or just get lost in the memories. There's also a discussion group to help you do that.

THE ALL MUSIC GUIDE - Biographies, discographies, album reviews and critiques, and other information make this site an encyclopedic resource for all kinds of music. They don't cover everything ever released, and a few errors have sneaked in, but you'll be amazed at what is there. 

THE ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME takes you deeper into this musical style than any other portal, another reason that fan sites are so much more fun than commercial ones. Hear “true roots of rock and roll” in this mating of country, rock and blues. The best of it is a bit crude, often deceptively simple, and drives like a steamhammer. No site could be totally inclusive, but this comes close!

KEY OF Z - Irwin Chusid is a long-time fixture of WFMU. He is also a renowned producer, musicologist, and collector of some of the strangest and out-there sounds ever recorded. “Outsider music” is to sound what “outsider art” is to visuals: work created by people who may or may not be schooled in it – or even competent – but who are driven to create. Some songs are hysterical, some wonderful, some evilly bad, some so earnest as to be heartbreakingly poignant; all are fascinating. The website introduces you to Irwin’s remarkable book, “Songs In The Key of Z,” and two CD’s which give an overview of the “stars” of this music. You've been warned.

PHIL MILSTEIN is an amazing and complex musical historian, whose interests cover everything from song poems to contemporary. As of this writing [2014], his personal site contains obscure music, primarily out-of-print, in mp3 format for free downloads. Phil’s song-poem website, http://songpoemmusic.com, is devoted to the “found art” in those quirky recordings made when you “send in your lyrics to be put to music by a professional.” PBS aired a program about this phenomenon, and several volumes of CDs collect these original recordings in all their “glory.” Bring your sense of irony and open-minded amazement and prepare to be strangely entertained.

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PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

MCA-I, "The Organization Formerly Known as ITVA," is a business development and networking group for all professionals who "tell the story for hire." It started almost 35 years ago in North Jersey as a group of in-house corporate producers coming to terms with corporate visual communications moving from film to tape, and is now a worldwide organization based around corporate communications, training, capabilities or for whatever primarily non-broadcast purposes the moving image can be used, whether linear or non-linear, analog or digital. Well over half my contacts are directly or indirectly related to my membership in ITVA/MCA-I, and I'm a former President of the North Jersey chapter.

More to come…

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HIGHWAY HOBBYISTS AND URBAN HISTORY

As the "Have Voice, Will Travel" voice-over person, the travel is often part of the fun. Here are some of my favorite highway history—and other—sites put together by some entirely obsessive and devoted folks with enough time to pursue their hobby. Much of this stuff is absolutely fascinating!

NYCROADS.COM has detailed information on roads and bridges built and not built, including exit numbers. Find answers to many questions you never knew you had, such as, "Why is the Garden State Parkway interchange with I-78 incomplete?", "How come I-78 and I-278 never join?", and hundreds more. Also highway histories and area maps from 1928 to the present. For "real people" as well as highway hobbyists.

PHILLYROADS.COM - When you're tired of the New York area, travel south! Same wonderful obsession with detail and history.

BOSTONROADS.COM - …And when you’ve finished in Philly, the same enthusiast has gone into depth about the highways of Greater Boston.

KURUMI is a totally obsessive and wonderful site. There are Connecticut highways plus a bunch of other road information, all with excellent graphics. Among other fascinating tidbits, discover The Devil’s Roadgeek Dictionary page. (For example: New Jersey Turnpike, n. - An ingenious thoroughfare familiarizing the traveler with all aspects of the Garden State, so that sweeping generalizations may later be made therefrom.) 

FORGOTTEN NEW YORK - Do you know what you're traveling over, under, or near? Much more than just a road-fan site, this extensive e-library is a treasure trove of urban archaeology, including links to other unusual stuff. It's a thoroughly-researched tribute to the richness of NYC, beautifully designed with dynamic graphics. Fun stuff! You'll never look at the city in the same way. (Their "links" page alone is worth discovering.)

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TRAINS AND BOATS AND PLANES

RIDING THE RAILS

"Have Voice, Will Travel" sometimes means taking the train. Every wonder how the subway system became what it is? Here are some of the more interesting sites regarding the subways and other railroads put together by some devoted folks with the time and commitment to pursue their hobby. Some of this stuff is absolutely fascinating—and remember, for virtually every interest, there is a hobbyist!

NEW YORK SUBWAY RESOURCES is an extremely extensive unofficial site, replete with links and links and more links. Authoritative and remarkably well researched. If you like trains, this will grab you for hours.

THE NEW YORK, WESTCHESTER & BOSTON RAILWAY (see another great site here) was an extravagantly-built and under-utilized commuter line in Westchester and the Bronx that is sorely missed in modern times. The Bronx's Dyre Avenue subway line is the last operating remnant; its beautiful 180th Street Station, just refurbished,was the Westchester’s former headquarters. As a rail hobbyist, this is "my railroad"; I grew up in New Rochelle, NY, two blocks from the hulking concrete shell of the abandoned North Avenue Station, and have been haunted by the "what if’s" of this line since childhood.

THE JOE KORNER offers more magnificent obsessions from another fascinating New York train person, Joe Korman. Also interesting music notes and links, plus links to other neat stuff, too, including the ever popular Darwin Awards. (Special thanks to Joe for being the first person to cross-link me!)

JOE BRENNAN, another completist, has lots of trains, pictures, links, etc. You'll get happily lost here as well. Joe is a denizen of Columbia University; give him an A+ for style and substance. And if you get tired of trains, he’s got variants of Beatles’ recordings, the Bee Gees’ songbook, and other unusual tours.

THE CATSKILL MOUNTAIN RAILROAD operates two segments in Kingston and Phoenicia, NY. This beautiful heritage line has beautiful rides in the mountains, but is in imminent danger no thanks to irrational political pressures. Check out their wensite, and take a ride or two! 

THE FLYING YANKEE - Once upon a time, this sleek 1930's icon ran from Boston to Montréal until it was retired and displayed at the Edaville Railroad. Its rusting and vandalized carcass was moved to New Hampshire several years ago, and is being restored from the frame up to its pioneering sleek grandeur. Check on the progress of this unique streamliner as it is prepared to run again! (FYI, its sister train, the Burlington Zephyr, has been only cosmetically restored, and is on display in a parking garage in Chicago!)

THE LATE GREAT PENNSYLVANIA STATION - The wrecking ball pulverizing this magnificent structure in 1964 was what finally turned New York City’s attention to preserving its valuable architecture. This site is based on the excellent book of the same name, and proves that what now passes for Penn Station is a sad shadow of the "real thing." This is one of four books by historian  Lorraine Diehl profiled at this site.

AND FOR THE NAUTICAL MINDED:

THE CANAL SOCIETY OF NEW JERSEY 74% of New Jersey is bordered by water: the Hudson River, the Atlantic Ocean, and Delaware Bay and River. Before roads and rails, the early industrial age travelled by canal. Two of the most famous were The Morris Canal and The Delaware & Raritan Canal. The Canal Society's pages tell the histories of these two main routes of commerce; The Morris Canal is almost completely lost to time, but much of the D&R remains as a linear state park.

No planes yet - got any outstanding recommendations?

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FRIENDS

Please check out some really good friends who are also really good at what they do:

TIGER MOON GEMS has beautiful silver, gold, and beaded handmade necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, pendants and brooches. A portion of their income is donated to help save endangered big cats. Even without that incentive, the company is worth checking out. Owned and operated by friend since college, Noel Brennan, she’ll ship anywhere. (Pronounce her first name like Christmas.)

JAMES BEACH BRENNAN, photographic illustrator, has been bringing visual poetry to corporate and product photography for over 40 years – and to artistic, portrait and documentary photography for much longer than that. I know him even longer than I know Noel, and his excellent work speaks for itself. Based in Rhode Island, Jim travels easily. His web pages load quickly, too, even on slower-speed modems.

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THE UNUSUAL, THE QUIRKY AND THE STRANGE

The following are definitely "out there," and may not be to everyone's taste. However, they may also be some of the most interesting things on the net. You’ve just gotta know where to look! Here are some places:

WEIRD NEW JERSEY is the on-line version of the famous/notorious magazine. I moved here 10 years ago, and never previously encountered a place that celebrated its eccentricities with quite the verve of New Jersey. From Shades of Death Road to the Turnpike, The Sopranos to the Boss, Jersey’s cool. (And you can say "Jersey" and people know what you mean. Ever try that with York or Hampshire? Fuhgeddaboudit!)

THE RHODE ISLAND DICTIONARY - Then again, "Little Rhody" has its own language and terminology. Although this site doesn’t provide samples (but you can buy the book), here are a couple: "PSDS" ah what a guhrl can get at a jewelery staw at the mwall (say it out loud fast….), a Fawd is something you drive, you drink a cabinet, and two people walking down the street go side by each. It may be the smallest state, but it’s got the biggest haht. (That’s "heart" to the rest of the country.) I love the place. Awnest.

MODERN RUINS is a site for folks curious about just what the title says. Abandoned mansions, hospitals, railroads, even entire towns. Mostly northeast US for now. Not weird, just eerie and morbidly fascinating; OK, it's a bit weird. Good pictures, too.

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© 2003 - 2014 Paul Payton
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