Question: Who does the voices for MAX train announcements?
Hat tip to AJH1993 for bringing this up and requesting the info (and to whoever it was manning the TriMet twitter account that provided the names. The pics, background info, & audio clips I found by Googling). I’m posting about it here since it’s relevant to the scope this blog covers, and in the event anyone wonders in the future, it will be easier to link here for reference than it would be to dig through the busy TriMet twitter.
Jodi Lorimer’s voice is the one you will hear most when riding MAX. Jodi announces the name (and door side) for each stop, welcomes you aboard, advises you to please use caution when crossing tracks, requires you to move for seniors and people with disabilities, tells you when it’s the last stop in Free Rail Zone and that this station at the end of the line, and thanks you for riding TriMet. You probably read that paragraph in her voice.
Her voice acting resume is extensive, covering both local and national work. An audio sample of the range of jobs she’s done (not including the MAX announcements) is available on her Voice Professionals page, so for all those times you’ve been riding the train and wondered what it would be like to hear the female voice speak in a French accent about boiling lobsters that have been hypnotized by an Indiglo watch (wait, was I the only person wondering that?) now’s your chance.
Hear more of Jodi
Finally, at her agency’s website, another voice demo is available. Which then begs the question, why do we not use the clip beginning at 1 min 6 sec on our trains (and a follow-up question – who does use that clip?!)
Enrique Andrade is the voice of the Spanish announcements on MAX. Readers of Portland Afoot may remember the Street Talk interview or wiki entry on Enrique from this past April. His work with TriMet also includes the narration of the Spanish-language version of “How To Ride”:
You may have noticed that not all of the announcements in English are done by Jodi (e.g. the external announcement “This is a Yellow Line Train to Expo Center” is a male voice). These alternative English announcements are done by Bill Stevens, who I had the least amount of luck finding information about online.
The story behind why Bill instead of Jodi did these announcements is quite interesting – evidently the Ambassador Hotel complained that Jodi’s voice was too loud, so TriMet brought in a male voice actor. Even though the decibel level is the same (and the decibel level that played Jodi’s voice was acceptable for city limits), the lower frequency of Bill’s voice was perceived as quieter and therefore satisfied the complaint. (source – TriMet Twitter)
And there you have it – the names behind the voices of your MAX commute. This is all, of course, working under the assumption that the APACU hasn’t fallen over and died, in which case the announcements are instead done by your friendly neighborhood rail operator.