Chances are if you’ve lived in Central Oregon for a spell, you’ve heard Tim Underwood over the High Desert airwaves during the last 20 years. His distinctive voice and cool professionalism as a Bend radio disc jockey and audio producer has graced many a local radio and television commercial. Founded in 1993, Tim Underwood Productions first emerged as a side business in tandem with his bread and butter record-spinning gig.
You might also recognize him as the voice of Bendbroadband’s TV ads or his company’s work in Microsoft tutorial videos any time you’ve hit the help menu in Word or Excel.
Now he’s branched out into cyberspace with a potent stable of voice talent under the digital roof of TheWebVoice.com site, providing excellence in audio production in all its myriad forms via the internet.
“I was always in the radio field since high school,” he recalled. “After graduating I started as a DJ in the professional radio arena and later as a news guy. By about 1999 I decided I’d had enough of radio and shifted to Tim Underwood Productions full time, doing radio commercials for regional, national and international clients. About that time, the internet came into existence and companies were doing voice-over narration for e-learning courses via the computer where employees could learn at their desks.”
Underwood originally came to Bend from Portland after finding himself a victim of the budget cutter’s ax in 1991.
“Well I knew one of the Les Schwab voice-over guys and he recommended me for a job,” he said. “At that point I went to work for The Twins 98.3 as a classic rock dj and production director. In some ways it was disappointing coming from a huge market like Portland and in other ways it was very positive and enlightening.”
After The Twins, Underwood switched allegiances to Bend’s Clear 101.7 in 1999, playing a set list of adult alternative tunes for High Desert listeners.
“I loved that radio station. If I could go out with another swan song I wouldn’t have it any differently. It was a great station, great people and it was a nice way to put a bow on the end of a career.”
The radio and recording industries are constantly in flux, with technology keeping players on their toes and pushing the envelope.
“The last twelve years have seen the internet, e-learning areas and IVR work continue to evolve and explode. There’s just more and more of it and we’re blessed to be busy every day. I have two full- time employees and two part-time. I’m still doing a fair share of local and national commercials with my e-learning projects.”
Wearing two vital hats in his professional resume, Tim Underwood Productions is the more familiar, local enterprise with his global online presence associated with The Web Voice. Together they encompass a wide range of services and offerings to corporations, regional businesses and creative productions in film and television.
Conceived as an alternative to expensive metropolitan recording studios, both enterprises offer quality, affordable voice talent to suit any professional needs.
“We’ll give you all the services of a professional talent agency with less or no commission and provide you and your client with affordable radio production, on-hold/IVR messaging, professional narration and anything else in the audio realm.”
Underwood’s impressive roster of satisfied customers include Microsoft, BMW, Starbucks and Exxon-Mobil, regional businesses including Harris Teeter, Les Schwab and local institutions like Sunriver Resort.
But all is not smooth sailing in the murky oceans of the web.
“In some regards computers and technology have cast a false illusion that anyone can be a producer or graphic artist or writer.” he explained. “People can go out and buy the most rudimentary software and think they’re a voice talent. Unfortunately it can never replace people who have steeped themselves in years and years of training. A computer will only get you so far, but you still gotta have the smarts.”
And what does he attribute his longevity to in the audio industry?
“There’s a lot of people who go into this biz and fail,” he said. “A positive attitude is everything and throwing out some good into the karmic universe. It’s all about how much you put into it.”
For the future, Underwood’s well-cultivated prospects sound sweet.
“I’m looking forward to retiring in about 15 years and living comfortably and calling it a day. There’s always going to be opportunities for this kind of work and in an odd way it turned out to be recession-proof. It’s been a great living and I love every minute of it.”