This Podcast is about voices and the power of the human voice. A long time ago I was fooling around with my CB Base Station (a home not mobile CB radio transmitter). My soon-to-be-friend, George the Book Bandit, plucked my tiny voice out of the atmosphere. He could hear the most amazing things. George once picked up a human voice transmitting from the Marshall Islands in the western Pacific.
Skywave propagation, also referred to as ‘the skip’ relies on refraction of radio waves in the ionosphere. Depending on conditions, it can relay signals from far away.

Later on, George helped me put up a ‘Big Stick’ antenna in the backyard. CB radios need pretty big antennas when they are not mounted on a car.

I spent about a year fooling around on the CB radio. I went to CB ‘coffee breaks’ and bowling meets. I joined the club George belonged to, the Voice of Canada (V.O.C.) . We weren’t that big but we could call ourselves by a big name. Broadcasting myself, I listened to many other amateur broadcasters and found that certain voices almost have the power to hypnotize.
Mike, a fellow that I met over the CB, had a real ‘radio voice’ , deep and reassuring. He had followers. There are a bunch of channels on CB radio. When he came on a Channel the word would spread and people would throng on to that channel. If Mike said something nice about someone that was a big deal.

I started a Dungeons and Dragons game over the CB. The power of the voice knit us together in a medium where there was nothing but voice.

I once ran a live D&D game in our Anglican church hall. What I noticed, there and later on the CB, was that the shared fantasy had a profound effect on the players. You had to be careful.
If a person got hurt in the game in a way that was emphasized by the Dungeon Master, it could be reflected in real life though an accidental injury. This suggests that there were some elements of real hypnosis involved. I became careful not to create such self-fulfilling prophecies.

If you tell someone in the game, “You have a wound that will not heal and you carry it with you wherever you go. You have sought healing and found none. You have a wound that will not heal”. Sometimes that was enough to give a player a limp. Strange but true.

Guys, and ladies too, who are radio announcers will tell you that fans out there think of them as friends because there’s a one to one quality about radio. It is as if the presenter were talking only to you. People become mesmerized by the voice of the presenter and tune in every week for a nice visit.

I am not immune to this phenomenon. I was taken with the voice of a radio announcer, Danny Marks, who has a well known blues program called Bluz.fm here in Toronto on http://www.jazz.fm It helped that I was a long time fan of blues music. We began an email conversation and I ended up running his website and I’ve done 32 guest spots and counting on his Show. I specialized in blues history which I research mainly on the Internet. I would review his Show every week because entertainers need feedback. In the beginning, before I came to know him, I was just simply mesmerized by his voice.

“Voice” in the Dune novel was training originated by the Bene Gesserit, permitting an adept to control others merely by selected tone shadings of the voice.

There was a fellow, early on in my online Guild Wars multiplayer war game who had the power of the voice. He built a team of accomplished players. He was a very good player himself because he pretty much spent his life in the game. Later I found out that, outside the game, he didn’t have too much of a real life but in the game he was a towering figure. We had something called Teamspeak that let us use our computer microphones with headphones to talk to each other while the game was in progress. Without Teamspeak our fearless leader was just another player. With Teamspeak and the power of his voice we would follow him into the most terrifying depths of the gaming Underworld. He had fatal flaws which became evident as time went on. Even the veneer of his mesmeric voice could not hide these flaws over time.
I ended up leaving that guild but for a while, oh God, I just lived to follow this fellow and fight things with the rest of the team. We all had our roles and our special armor and we were good at the game.

In another Guild now, I have been invited to use this microphone and headphone capability. I have refused. I’ve learned my lesson. I guess I have a suggestible personality and, knowing this, I am careful. Addendum: I have switched to World of Warcraft now but the same cautions apply. I use Skype to role play with my sister in British Columbia but that’s safe enough. We’re family :-)

I have received an occasional piece of fan mail from listeners to my Podcasts in England, the USA, Brazil, Mexico and even Australia. Something in my voice and the stories I tell has reached them there. We all have, to one degree or another, this power of the voice, but with power comes responsibility.

Wavy Line

© Sonia Brock 2008

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