This is a topic that will inspire mixed opinions, and probably some passionate disagreement. As most personalities will tell you, listeners are not calling radio stations as much as they once did. And, the audience has a higher expectation of being entertained in every segment. This has led to more and more personalities using ringers or voice actors as callers.
There are many sources for set up phone calls, including regular contributors, family and friends and paid voice actors as a service. For this article, I’ll refer to them all as voice actors, mostly because the term covers anyone playing a prescribed role on a radio show, regardless of whether they’re paid or not.
There are many solid reasons, starting with the fact that they simply sound better. Voice actors can be directed, personalities can count on them and it’s easier to manage a story on the air when those “callers” are in synch with the storyline.
Simply put: Voice actors can have a major impact on developing a successful segment.
Some personalities refuse to perform any segment with voice actors. They feel their radio show should be pure, and would rather take their chances on listener calls moving a break forward. Often it’s a matter of semantics.
What’s right for your show? I prefer to look at it as a form of exaggeration to make a story more compelling.