A booming baritone brings audible life into a small room. Sitting at a desk with a tabletop microphone in front of him, Bob Carter injects his dynamic personality into a morning traffic report, which listeners will soon hear on several Atlanta radio stations.
Meanwhile, Carter’s wife arrives at the office after taking their kids to school. Once her husband is done, she’ll record a string of commercials for the Pandora Internet radio service in the vocal booth just a couple of feet behind Bob’s desk.
Flashy comic book art hangs on the office walls. While Bob and September Carter don’t wear tights or don capes, there’s definitely a correlation. Call them the dynamic duo of the voice-over business, each with their own super powers and opinions.
“We both have different perspectives on the business,” Bob said, a sly smile stretching across his face.
Video game fans might recognize Bob’s pipes as Balrog, the massive bruiser from the “Street Fighter” series, or Odin in “Smite.” The list rolls on, and the same goes for his anime TV credits with “Dragonball Z,” “Full Metal Alchemist” and “Samurai 7” among them. Simply billed as Carter, you’ll hear him waxing traffic locally on Power 96.1, V-103, Your Georgia Country 106.1/107.1 and elsewhere. And that same voice carries on other stations throughout the Southeast.
September, whose voice can range from soft and soothing to smooth and playful, lends her speech to the Amazon Kindle Fire. Commercials for mega brands such as Subway, Michael Kors, Mary Kay and many others utilize her vocal chops. Pop stars have heard her announcing live at the MTV Video Music Awards. Employees from Pentax, Fujifilm and other companies may know September’s inflections from corporate training flicks.
The couple juggle their respective voice-over careers and share teaching duties at The Neighborhood studio, while parenting Cadence, 6, Patience, 5, and Jack, 4 out of their Lawrenceville home.
So how did these voice pros wind up communicating in harmony? After graduating from Georgia State University in 1995, Bob landed a job at 99X during the alternative rock station’s heyday. He became Carter, an on-air personality and live event go-to guy.
An avid listener, veterinary technician September Day often found herself calling into 99X and meeting her favorite DJs at promotional appearances. She and Bob soon struck a friendship.
“She had the most amazing voice,” Bob said. “I kept trying to get her into the station to record for me. I knew she could be an incredible voice talent.”
Bob never persuaded September to record. By early 2000, he took a radio job in Dallas, Texas and began performing improv comedy on the side. An invitation by fellow actors to recording sessions where they dubbed voices for Japanese animation eventually led to Bob voicing characters in the flash-bang digital world of video games.
In 2009, Bob returned to Atlanta for a job with Total Traffic & Weather Network, which provides news, sports and weather reports to radio, TV and other outlets all over America. One afternoon, passing by a co-worker’s desk, he saw a web page on a computer screen. It belonged to September Day.
Bob’s colleague was attending a voice-over seminar September taught. After leaving the veterinary world and trying other entrepreneurial avenues, September began working in the voice-over business in early 2007. By fall of 2009, she was announcing live for the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas. With that credit to build on, her career continued its assent. So she decided to share what she learned with others. Bob reached out to her, and September invited him to one of her commercial voice-over workshops.
Bob, who had 18 years in the business at that time, said, “There she was giving everything away that she learned in two and-a-half hours and saying, ‘Good luck, and go get ’em, champ’. I was blown away.”
Bob and September soon began spending time together dating and volunteering their voice talents to nonprofits. In October 2010 they were married, and the children began arriving shortly thereafter.
Today Bob spends his mornings and afternoons providing those reports for Total Traffic & Weather Network on radio stations throughout the Southeast. When he’s not on air, he’s auditioning for commercials, corporate work, animation and video games.
September’s day-to-day varies. Her success allows her to devote approximately 10 hours each week to voice-over gigs, while having the freedom to wrangle the kids, coach students, and manage the couple’s careers and studio.
“I don’t have a set paycheck, so I’m the one who has a lot more freedom,” September said. “Everyday is different for me.” She might be recording voice mail and interactive tracks one day and commercials the next.
After school, the parents spend time with their children at local parks and attractions. On select evenings and weekends, Bob and September pass on their skill smarts to others at The Neighborhood, where other instructors teach creative writing and acting.
It’s in their studio classrooms where Bob and September’s perspectives differ. While Bob champions versatility and the ability to try any style of voice, September prefers mastering a strong set of voices. She says she has honed six to seven in her arsenal.
“An Olympian is going to try and train in their category and not be a gold medalist in everything,” she said. “Bob teaches differently, and because of that we can both teach in the same space. It’s contrary, but also complementary.”
However, they agree on motivating new crops of voice-over talent and empowering others to take advantage of the opportunities available locally, nationally and internationally.
The Carters’ long-term vision for The Neighborhood is a creative service provider specializing in corporate and commercial production, and eventually independent and original film, TV and video game projects. By doing this they can draw from their student talent pool and cast their own projects.
September explains this with, of course, a superhero analogy. “We’re kind of like the Wonder Twins,” she said, while bumping knuckles with her husband, “because he’s got the more creative side and I’ve got the more business side. So when we do activate, we’re good to go.”