Entertainment & Arts

Radio Times searches for best voice on airwaves

John Humphrys and Emma Bunton Image copyright BBC/PA
Image caption Radio 4 Today veteran John Humphrys and Heart's former Spice Girl turned breakfast host Emma Bunton are on the shortlists

Radio Times is asking radio listeners to vote for the presenter they think has the best voice.

The weekly listings magazine has come up with separate selections of 20 men and 20 women from which to chose.

Contenders come from across the radio industry and include famous names such as Radio 4's Jenni Murray and Heart's former Spice Girl Emma Bunton.

Radio Times's Jane Anderson said they wanted to know who on radio created a "thrill" or "buzz" for listeners.

"The rules are simple," said Anderson, who is the publication's radio editor.

"We're not looking for the cleverest presenter, the most ground-breaking reporter or a relentlessly accurate weather forecaster.

"We want you to tell us who creates that thrill, that buzz or that sense all is well in the world when you hear them speak.

"Which radio voice can't you resist? Read the shortlist and allow the voices to linger inside your head.

"And then pick your favourite three men and three women in order of how much you love them."

A panel of experts - including Radio 2's Jeremy Vine and Radio 4's Eddie Mair, John Humphrys and Sue MacGregor - drew up the shortlist.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Terry Wogan won best male radio voice the last time the poll was run

They were not allowed to vote for themselves but some have nonetheless been shortlisted.

Radio Times has given each competitor's vocal chords a description.

Woman's Hour host Murray, 65, has a voice described as "velvety... and simply very, very easy to listen to".

The Today programme's host Mishal Husain, 43, is said to have an "authoritative voice" which is "easy on the ear" because of its "elegant timbre".

Bunton, who presents Heart's breakfast show, has a voice imbued with "an infectious happiness".

While Leona Graham from Absolute is said to have "husky, sultry tones" which "have even led to her voice being mistaken for that of a man".

Among the men on the list, there is Radio 4's Test Match Special commentator Henry Blofeld whose voice is described as "plummy as jam".

Of LBC's Steve Allen, Radio Times asks: "Is there a more mischievous voice on the air today?"

A similar poll among listeners was run by Radio Times 14 years ago, with Radio 2's Terry Wogan, who died on 31 January, being chosen as the winning male and Radio 4's Charlotte Green the favourite among the women.

This time, voting will be open until 4 April with the winning male and female presenters announce in an issue of the Radio Times two or three weeks later.

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