Randy Thomas' voice is recognized by millions of television viewers each day, as the signature voice of CBS Television Distribution's "Entertainment Tonight," the most-watched entertainment news magazine in the world. Since the beginning, Neumann and Sennheiser microphones have been trusted, foundational building blocks of her sound.
After getting her start as a radio DJ in Detroit in the mid-70s, her career has been built on many 'firsts.' In 1993, Thomas was the first woman ever to announce the Motion Picture Academy's annual Academy Awards broadcast, which she has since reprised for seven return performances.
Thomas was also the first woman to announce the Miss America Pageant, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Democratic National Convention. Other major credits include announcing 11 Tony Awards, six Emmy Award shows and Super Bowl XLI's Halftime Show, and the voice of "Entertainment Tonight" sister show "The Insider." Most recently, she has co-authored the book "Voice for Hire: How to Launch and Maintain a Lucrative Voice-Over Career" and will soon be the voice of HUB Network's newest family game show "Scrabble Showdown."
As a leading voice-over talent in the world of entertainment programming, Thomas always uses her own microphones: a Neumann U 87 large-diaphragm microphone for when she is in the studio, and Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun mic when she is on the road.
What is happening in your career right now?
Well, I feel like I am at the top of my game. I am blessed to work for "Entertainment Tonight," the most watched entertainment news magazine in the world, and The Insider. We shoot 12 shows each week--shooting starts at 7:00 a.m., and I'm on standby all day to record promos. We usually work like crazy until the show feeds out at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
When did you first come across Neumann and Sennheiser microphones?
I first encountered Neumann microphones during my radio career. I loved getting that deep and natural sound, which really enhanced the cool DJ persona that was so popular at the time. Sennheiser, meanwhile, was the first microphone I used in my voice-over career and is still considered the workhorse microphone in the industry.
How important is tone in voice-over readings and how do microphones play a part?
As a voice-over artist you have to take people to the heart of what you are trying to convey by pulling emotion with words. Both Neumann and Sennheiser microphones are very sensitive, which is critical since the slightest tonal difference can impact the ultimate sound of a project. On the road, I rely on my Sennheiser MKH 416. This microphone has amazing range--it can deliver a big, loud projected read, and also allows you to move in to create something more intimate. My Neumann U 87 is my "go-to" microphone for narration projects where I really want to create a special, distinct sound and carry the emotional weight of that narration to a very focused, specific place.
As a respected voice-over artist, what is your perception of Sennheiser and Neumann microphones overall?
In my mind, the Neumann and Sennheiser brands stand for the ultimate in quality and distinction. Everyone I know in this industry either already owns them, is working towards owning them or dreams about owning them. With the Neumann U 87 or the Sennheiser MKH 416, it's clear that you're stepping up to a quality product that will uplift your performance and also deliver the best sound quality available.