The Radio Reporter Who Can’t Speak – Ooh, Interesting! Fascinating Facts

June 22, 2018


We book speakers. We book speakers for events, conferences and awards hosting duties on a frequent enough basis that we have a whole page dedicated to a number of them on our website. Naturally this isn’t the full roster – some speakers are better for certain jobs than others – but it gives a good indication of the sort of person or celebrity you can book for an event. Today though, we are looking at what happens when someone noted for their voice, radio reporter Jamie Dupree, completely lost it. Even so, he is still able to do his job. How? Let’s find out!

It’s fair to say that Jamie Dupree isn’t a reporter that many in the UK would know. Since beginning his career in the 1980s, Jamie Dupree has covered numerous presidential elections for the Cox Media Group, a company that runs a number of radio stations across the US. As he was preparing for the 2016 elections, Jamie decided to take a trip to London ahead of what would be a long and arduous few months of work but rather than being a relaxing vacation, it turned into an absolutely nightmare because the top radio reporter lost his voice.

And it didn’t come back.

Struck down by what he initially believed was a stomach bug, Jamie wasn’t too concerned. He flew home as normal but symptoms continued to expand until ultimately he was left with a very squeaky voice that didn’t much resemble his own. Surely he couldn’t return to the radio in such a state? As it turned out, Jamie was suffering from focal dystonia, a neurological condition which results in involuntary muscle contractions that in turn cause a loss of control over the affected body part. Being neurological in nature, it is a cruel truth that dystonia affects people differently with the condition often causing an affliction to the part of the body that victims use in their professional lives.

Jamie sought to get his voice back and to an extent, he managed. By putting a pen in his mouth whilst he spoke, he realised that he was able to speak a lot more easily than when it wasn’t there. Sure, the voice was slurred but it at least gave him some control over his tongue. Even so, that wouldn’t allow him to return to his position in radio but thankfully, as of today, Jamie Dupree is back on the air.

How?

Thanks to the work of a top Scottish company called CereProc and their text-to-voice technology. Similar to the tech that Stephen Hawking used throughout his life, CereProc collect an extensive number of voice recordings for individuals to use as a soundboard and in Jamie’s case, there were more than enough recordings of his voice over the past thirty years that he could input his transcripts into the machine and it would speak for him into the microphone. As he wrote on his blog, Jamie Dupree is back in action but this time he can be called Jamie Dupree 2.0!

 

 

 

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By Henry Fosdike