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October 7, 2009 > Gary Williams, Fremont local with sports connections

Gary Williams, Fremont local with sports connections

By Sargunjot Kaur
Photos By courtesy of Gary Williams

"You're watching Eyewitness News at 5!" That would be the voice of Gary Williams. For the last nearly 30 years, Williams, 56, has been charming radio, television, and sports fans with his "voice talent extraordinaire." Essentially, Williams explains, "I am an actor without the benefit of having people see me. Everything I do must be emoted through my voice." He does voice- overs for radio, television commercials, and corporate comedy shows. Williams was the announcer for CBS channel 5 for eight years announcing news and introducing reporters. Today his "Clientville," as Williams calls it, includes Taco Bell, Bank of America, Hewlett Packard, Macy's, and many more national corporations.

"I was initially working for an advertising agency promoting particular products, and I thought why not promote me. Why not use the advertising skills to help me?" says Williams on how he got started in the voice-over career. Williams, who has a recording studio in his backyard joked, "I love my commute - it's about 50 feet. Sometimes I even shave and dress up before heading off to work, but most of the time my attire includes tennis shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt."

In Fremont, Williams's voice makes a presence at many sports events. With four sons, Williams has been a constant presence in local Niles - Centerville Little League teams for the past 20 years, as the public announcer for the championship games. However, Williams doesn't restrict his voice strictly to baseball games; he has been the public announcer for Stanford University's football games for ten years, not to mention the PA announcer for the Oakland Raiders home games for the past five years. "It's not that easy to get tickets, even as the PA, as people think," says Williams. However he does mention the many perks of being the PA for the Oakland Raiders includes going into the locker rooms and down to the fields before and after the games. "I really get the chance to see the NFL from the inside out. I'm the fly on the wall, and most importantly my voice represents the Raiders to the fifty to sixty thousand fans out in the stands."

Williams' work as a PA goes way back to his father, who worked as a spotter for many Stanford games. A spotter is the advisor who helps make the calls for the PA - the "second set of eyes," explains Williams, who also initially worked as a spotter. Williams has traveled cross country to announce NFL and football games for ABC.

As for training and keeping his voice radio ready, Williams explains how he never screams or yells, not even at sports events. "My voice is my livelihood. I am a complete hypochondriac. If I get a cold, I will take about every single medicine available. I try not to get sick, get a good night's sleep and exercise."

Williams describes his job as one of the best in the world, if not the best, but also explains that there is a certain responsibility to the job. "It's different than the job of a standup comedian. I have to be enthusiastic while also providing the public with true information."

As for the business side of his job, Williams does mention that being a voice-over is not a job for people who need security. "Work comes on a day to day basis, and often times on very short notice," says Williams. However he says that his jobs hours, for the most part, are very flexible, and that it's a well-paid business where he gets to be his own boss.

Williams encourages others who are interested in his career choice, but mentions that his job requirements encompass a lot more than just a nice or pleasant voice. "The real question is can you read three lines together without making a mistake? You are given a script, and you have to read it cold and make it sound convincing with no mistakes."

Gary Williams can be contacted at www. gwilliams.com.

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