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Homeless man with perfect radio voice
January 4, 2011 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Ted Williams is a homeless man with the gift of a golden voice (SLYT)

And to make it even more of a feel-good story, it seems as though the success of this video has led to Ted getting a job offer from a local radio station.
posted by sarastro (83 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think this mostly came to get as big as it did thanks to Reddit. Here's that post, which includes an update listing all of the things members have claimed to donate to the guy.
posted by floam at 7:10 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


You beat me to it; I was just about to post this. My reaction upon hearing the voice was exclaiming, "MOTHERfuc..." which my 4-year-old immediately imitated.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:13 PM on January 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


That's so sad. He was a great baseball player.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:13 PM on January 4, 2011 [11 favorites]


He does have an unusually wonderful voice...and an informed and philosophical way of speaking about it. Hope he's able to stay clean and find some place to use it.
posted by Miko at 7:25 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


He does have a hell of a voice, though.
posted by brundlefly at 7:26 PM on January 4, 2011


Oh, delightful, unquestionably. I'd let him read me Ayn Rand.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:28 PM on January 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


I was going to post this but went for the coyote video instead.

The guy has a fantastic voice for radio and I hope he gets work.
posted by bwg at 7:28 PM on January 4, 2011


It's like Morgan Freeman was doing the bum-into-God sight gag from the tail-end of Bruce Almighty and got stuck halfway.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:29 PM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


He sounds like that even without the bass-enhancer radio mic setup!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:34 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


it seems as though the success of this video has led to Ted getting a job offer from a local radio station.

[citation needed]
posted by statolith at 7:37 PM on January 4, 2011


it seems as though the success of this video has led to Ted getting a job offer from a local radio station.

I'm basing that on the updates on the Youtube video description. I can't verify it to be true, obviously, hence "it seems".
posted by sarastro at 7:42 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm basing that on the updates on the Youtube video description.

Did you even read the Reddit thread?
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:47 PM on January 4, 2011


That was the first reddit thread I've ever really looked at. Are they all that filled with complete morons?
posted by item at 7:49 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't know about the reddit threat until after floam's post, so, no.
posted by sarastro at 7:50 PM on January 4, 2011


Are they all that filled with complete morons?

...because that's such a beautifully crafted sentence, showcasing my intelligence. Good on the internet for helping the guy out, anyway.

posted by item at 7:53 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, well, that's where all the fun happened. Also:

Are they all that filled with complete morons?

Generally, and I feel I've probably let them rub off on me too much of late. My apologies to John & co for the grumpiness.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:54 PM on January 4, 2011


No worries tapes, I'm rather new so I'm still getting a feel for the etiquette. Anyway, warm hearts all around and let us never speak of it again.
posted by sarastro at 7:58 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


[A few comments removed. Flag it and move on.]
posted by cortex at 7:59 PM on January 4, 2011


warm hearts all around and let us never speak of it again.

Perfect! Let us celebrate our agreement with the adding of chocolate to milk.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 8:01 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's so sad. He was a great baseball player.

sorry, not to correct a fellow Me Fi , but this above statement is about a guy who probably never picked up a major league bat, The baseball Ted Williams passed away in 1992. and his body is still frozen by that Company that will bring him back someday, when science permits.
posted by tustinrick at 8:04 PM on January 4, 2011



I didn't know about the reddit threat until after floam's post, so, no.

Typo or no, the reddit threat is real and needs to be addressed.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 8:04 PM on January 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


not to correct a fellow Me Fi

That's Mefite, buddy.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:07 PM on January 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Threeway Handshake: "He sounds like that even without the bass-enhancer radio mic setup"

That's what I found crazy - the delivery is one thing, but he somehow has the "car radio" tone (compander, equalization, whatever) totally nailed.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:10 PM on January 4, 2011


No, it's Mefitian
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:11 PM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think you need to adjust your sarcasm filter, tustinrick. Pretty sure that was a joke.

I've always sort of hated the "radio guy" voice because it sounds so smarmy, but this guy actually seemed genuinely enthusiastic about his pitches. I'm so conflicted now!
posted by Gilbert at 8:13 PM on January 4, 2011


This was much better than I expected. I had seen it floating about the interwebs but it took it appearing here to prompt me to click through.
Thank you.
posted by geekyguy at 8:16 PM on January 4, 2011


tustinrick must be thinking his son's friends are completely assholes.

We're just kidding, Mr. Haughey. Glad you're here!
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:16 PM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


no sarcasm intended, just pointed out a innocent mistake. happy new year to all.
posted by tustinrick at 8:30 PM on January 4, 2011


"Heh, we're gonna make you work for your dollar!"

Ugh. Fuck you, asswipe. How about you work on pulling this sign out of your eye socket!

But first up, comin' at ya with some Bad Company - Can't Get Enough of Your Love - On 103.5.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:31 PM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


How about everyone who donated to help out Ted also donates the same amount to their local homeless shelter? Or hell, instead of donating to a guy who's just become InternetFamous, send double to the local shelter?
posted by incessant at 8:36 PM on January 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Somebody oughta make an auto-tune remix of this guy!
posted by Flashman at 8:48 PM on January 4, 2011


I've always sort of hated the "radio guy" voice because it sounds so smarmy

You don't know what you've got until it's gone, Gilbert.

In Australia we had quite a few very successful male radio announcers and talkback hosts with this kind of mellifluous voice but they're mostly retired now. The replacement generation are nasal, braying, and hectoring, and the effect is like a constant tapping on that sore spot on your back between your shoulders.

Here's an example of the genre—spectacularly NSFW. If you don't want him, America, can we have Ted Williams please?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:51 PM on January 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


What a fantastic voice -- if this story is what it seems at face value, then I hope this guy does great. He does seem like a genuinely nice person.

That was the first reddit thread I've ever really looked at. Are they all that filled with complete morons?

Wait till you see the misogyny...
posted by spiderskull at 9:17 PM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I saw this floating around today, and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Good for this guy, hope things work out for him, and I'm glad his unique talent helped bring attention to his situation.

But as anyone who's ever spent any real time talking to guys like this can tell you, almost all of them have interesting backstories. This guy's act may have been novel enough to warrant our attention, but I hate the idea that only novelty acts are somehow worthy of our collective internet sympathies. I felt the same way about Antoine Dodson. Good for him, but at the same time... really?

One thing I learned from my time hanging in the parks with the bums is how close we all are to that life. Some people are just born losers, for sure, but I've met so many folks who at one point had their shit all the way together, and lost it all to drugs, alcohol, mental illness, and alcohol. Did I mention alcohol? Booze is the absolute worst. I enjoy a drink as much as the next guy, but I treat it with a healthy respect. What about the homeless guy who was an amazing carpenter, but hocked his tools for meth? Now he's sober and has his shit together, but that doesn't make as good a youtube video, so no job for that guy?

I know...What are you gonna do? It's possible my idealism just gets the best of me sometimes.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:28 PM on January 4, 2011 [15 favorites]


What are you gonna do?

I dunno. Take a walk on the beach & throw the occasional starfish back in?
posted by perspicio at 9:52 PM on January 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


The thing that's interesting to me about this guy is that it's really all about context. A homeless guy with a classic radio voice? AWESOME! A guy with a classic radio voice on the Top 40 station? HE'S A HACK.
posted by dhammond at 9:54 PM on January 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I just wrote a long screed, hit preview, and saw that billyfleetwood said what I was going to say, and said it better.

I hope Mr. Williams gets that job and does well. More power to him. But this had the whiff of poverty tourism to me. I dunno.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:09 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's a lot like Susan Boyle all over again.

The response to this video very clearly demonstrates why advertising works.

Also, Social Safety Net = logaltruism(empathy)       ...or something
posted by perspicio at 10:16 PM on January 4, 2011


I dunno. Take a walk on the beach & throw the occasional starfish back in?

I thought of that parable too.

It seems very defeatist to say something like "I don't feel comfortable with this because it's not fair to all the others who need help." That's too similar to "Why bother saving one if we can't save them all?"

I wish it were possible to come to the aid of every person who needs a second chance or a helping hand. But a small glint of hope for even one person is worth celebrating. Ted Williams was able to draw attention to himself in a clever way, but that doesn't make his story any less meaningful. He deserves a happy ending just as much as anyone else.
posted by amyms at 10:21 PM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love this. If I may, I'd like to relate a tale.

I was spending some time in Japan in my early twenties, looking for work, which I had heard was plentiful for people with degrees in English Literature. I was on the isle of Shikoku and had spent the morning of my 23rd birthday visiting a temple up on a hill. I'd made it halfway up the hill, and had gotten a flat tyre. Walking back afterwards, bike by my side, I had stopped in the sunshine (pleasant, but a bit oppressive for one from my neck of the southern hemisphere) in a town-square like area, where I availed myself of beer from the wonderous vending machines they have in that country.

The people I'd been staying with has taught me how to say "today is my birthday" in japanese, and I knew some survival terms, so before long, me and the old men that were also drinking beer in the square were having a fine old time communicating in hand signals and broken internationalism.

Three o'clockish rolled around, and the old dudes called over some (high school?) students who had wandered by, in case they could help translate. This was similarly rubbish as far as international diplomacy goes, but eventually the students invited me to go to where they were going anyway and commit karaoke with them. Both me and one of the old guys came along.

Looking at the kids, I could see they were a bit concerned by the drunk old chap, but, face being face, they said nothing. So we got our room at the Karaoke parlour (rooms for private karaoke being something I'd never seen before but have since realised the awesomeness of) and they sang, and I grunted a bit (Born to be Wild, as I recall) when asked. Smiles all round.

And then the old guy, obviously a bit put out in the walking department by beer and the sun, put something up to be played. And sang the most heartbreaking enka it has ever been my privilege to hear. And by that I mean I understood not a word of it, but I was crying before I even looked at the kids, who were doing the same thing.

TL;DR I am hugely jealous of people who can actually sing, but old guys with perfect voices have a special place in my heart.
posted by Sparx at 10:25 PM on January 4, 2011 [19 favorites]


Are they all that filled with complete morons?

No more than other forums where registration is free and easy. Hell, even some places that you pay for have the same amount of idiocy in the comments.
posted by flatluigi at 12:02 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


no sarcasm intended, just pointed out a innocent mistake. happy new year to all.
posted by tustinrick at 1:30 PM on January 5 [+] [!]


Um, it was a joke, not a mistake. Happy every day!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:13 AM on January 5, 2011


The thing that's interesting to me about this guy is that it's really all about context. A homeless guy with a classic radio voice? AWESOME! A guy with a classic radio voice on the Top 40 station? HE'S A HACK.

I beg to differ. I love pros with classic radio voices and they're few & far between these days. If this guy gets hired, I'd be happy for that reason alone.
posted by brundlefly at 12:34 AM on January 5, 2011


Are they all that filled with complete morons?

Reddit is a younger crowd, largely unmoderated, and IMHO, pretty fucking awesome given that the laughs, specialized subreddits, and an often generous community pretty much outweighs the stupid trolling.

Quite a few posts on metafilter, I notice, are also ganked from reddit. (Vice versa too, though of course not as many because of reddit's sheer size.)
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:19 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good for him, and I hope it works out.
posted by fixedgear at 2:26 AM on January 5, 2011


According to this new CNN report it looks like he's going to be working very soon.
posted by Duug at 3:48 AM on January 5, 2011


Howard Stern will have him interviewing celebrities soon.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:16 AM on January 5, 2011


Last man to bat .400. Glad they found him.
posted by Senator at 4:56 AM on January 5, 2011


That was a different baseball player.
posted by yerfatma at 6:19 AM on January 5, 2011


Seeing him hit a ball clear over the Green Monster at Fenway Park was one of the proudest moments of my father's otherwise unremarkable life.
.
posted by Flashman at 6:35 AM on January 5, 2011


billyfleetwood: "... but I hate the idea that only novelty acts are somehow worthy of our collective internet sympathies."

It's not so much novel as perhaps serendipitous. Call it 'being discovered', like some out-of-work actor waiting tables who gets noticed by a casting director and ends up being a star.

If the Internet exposure gets him off the street, then it's a good thing and I won't knock it. Maybe Ted knows other homeless guys with some kind of talent and can in turn help them turn their lives around.

It begins with one.
posted by bwg at 6:41 AM on January 5, 2011


I think this mostly came to get as big as it did thanks to Reddit. Here's that post, which includes an update listing all of the things members have claimed to donate to the guy.

So the guy ended up with 700$ in games on steam and 12 pizzas?
posted by Ad hominem at 7:04 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ted Williams offered a job and a house with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:12 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's a really happy ending until he uses that golden voice to tell Cleveland to drop dead and he moves to Florida!

(Seriously, though, that's pretty awesome)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:59 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


sorry, not to correct a fellow Me Fi , but this above statement is about a guy who probably never picked up a major league bat, The baseball Ted Williams passed away in 1992. and his body is still frozen by that Company that will bring him back someday, when science permits.

The baseball Ted Williams died in 2002.
posted by dfan at 8:01 AM on January 5, 2011


Ted Williams offered a job and a house with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Yay! I iz happy! I hope it works out!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:10 AM on January 5, 2011


I look forward to seeing this guy on Celebrity Rehab.
posted by hellbient at 8:17 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about the homeless guy who was an amazing carpenter, but hocked his tools for meth? Now he's sober and has his shit together, but that doesn't make as good a youtube video, so no job for that guy?

Actually I think that would make a great video. If you're in Boston, I know a guy who would probably make the video for free. Construction is tricky right now, because we're just not making houses. Even amazing carpenters who didn't hock their tools for meth are hocking them for food. But in general -- why the heck not? Let's try this for everyone who wants to and see what happens.
posted by jhc at 8:30 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Update.
posted by availablelight at 8:31 AM on January 5, 2011


The job offer with the Cavs sounds pretty amazing.
posted by availablelight at 8:33 AM on January 5, 2011


He does have a bit of a lisp.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:36 AM on January 5, 2011


I saw this story on CNN yesterday while I was waiting in line at my credit union.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:44 AM on January 5, 2011


New interview with the CBS Early Show. Seems like a good guy who is really trying to come back.
posted by jeanmari at 8:58 AM on January 5, 2011


I wish it were possible to come to the aid of every person who needs a second chance or a helping hand. But a small glint of hope for even one person is worth celebrating.

It is worth celebrating, and I really wish the guy well. He used what he had - that great voice - to make himself stand out, and it actually worked for him because he ran across someone with access to media and public attention. People try to do the same with any talent, whether it's carpentry or playing an instrument or singing, and sometimes it works. You have to exploit whatever gifts you have to get yourself where you'd like to be.

But that approach won't work all the time or for everyone. That's why we need the social safety net. It actually IS possible to "come to the aid of every person who needs a second chance or helping hand" - it's entirely possible and in many countries, they do it - we just don't actually make any serious, collective attempt at it.

As uncomfortable as the flat-out unfairness of some people using a talent to get ahead of other equally deserving people is in this life, in truth, being employed and housed is not a zero-sum game. It is possible for Ted Williams to get a job and media attention, AND for the rest of the currently homeless to be housed and employed. No one has to lose so Ted Williams can win. It's possible...if we want it.
posted by Miko at 9:47 AM on January 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I vote that he should replace Alan Kalter, the announcer on the Letterman show. Nothing against Kalter (sp?) - good guy, great voice - but it would be cool.
posted by davidmsc at 9:50 AM on January 5, 2011


Oh, if we're nominating him for jobs, put my bid in for having Williams replace the annoyingly accented Bob Ooooeewks on the Boston NPR affiliate.
posted by Miko at 9:57 AM on January 5, 2011


As I biked toward his spot on the way to work this morning, I go down Hudson past it every day, and saw him being interviewed by the local channel 10 news with a big crew on the other side of 71 from where he usually is. I really wanted to wish him a good day from the internet but he seemed busy. It looks like there really is enough momentum for there to be a happy ending if he can handle it.

As I kept going though, on the other side of 71 on that island he was shown on in the youtube video, there were another two gentlemen with signs still out there in the cold and wind.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:08 AM on January 5, 2011


Good for Ted, and maybe this story will make more people pay attention to the signs that people hold on the side of the road and the plight of those around us....I know I will.


Looking forward to following his story...want to meet his Mom!!!
posted by pearlybob at 11:15 AM on January 5, 2011


From the chat transcript here:

[Doral Chenoweth (videographer for Columbus Dispatch)] I post all my videos to dispatch.com. They are actually copyrighted by the Dispatch, but people steal them and put them on YouTube. It's wrong, but there isn't much we can do about it yet.

Steal away, folks. Violate the Dispatch's copyright every day.
posted by fixedgear at 11:33 AM on January 5, 2011


Wait, didn't this already happen already? [Daniel Mustard]

Not that there can't be two feel-good stories within a month of each other. They're both awesome. Just strange timing is all.
posted by jng at 12:42 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


FYI, Nightly News with Brian Williams just did a teaser about an upcoming piece on Ted Williams. Should be coming up any moment.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 3:44 PM on January 5, 2011


FYI, Nightly News with Brian Williams just did a teaser about an upcoming piece on Ted Williams. Should be coming up any moment.

Link!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:30 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


He also looks a hell of a lot like Barack Obama. So if the voice thing doesn't pan out, there's always the celebrity lookalike circuit, or being one of Obama's assasination decoys.
posted by Flashman at 7:40 PM on January 5, 2011


He also looks a hell of a lot like Barack Obama

To me, he looks - and sounds - like a relative of Tim Meadows. If Tim Meadows were more in the Andy Kaufman mode of comedy, I'd be suspicious that the entire thing was a put-on....
posted by Miko at 8:14 PM on January 5, 2011


Surely you mean... P.K. Winsome!
posted by hippybear at 10:28 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The real hero of the Ted Williams story.
posted by ghharr at 7:38 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ted's first commercial.
posted by BeerFilter at 2:13 PM on January 7, 2011


The real hero: his ex wife. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/01/07/2011-01-07_behind_goldenvoiced_ted_williams_is_exwife_patricia_kirtley_the_real_hero_of_the.html

Posted from crappyphone ui.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:40 PM on January 7, 2011


Or if I were paying attention, I'd have seen ghharr posted it already.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:40 PM on January 7, 2011


This is good for him, but it's also scary how fast the offers are coming in. I hope the people helping him are up to the challenge. If it were me, I'd set up access to a quality voice studio somewhere in Columbus, so he can do offers without traveling across the country.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:58 PM on January 7, 2011


Well, shoot. That didn't take long. Get yourself well, buddy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:49 PM on January 12, 2011


Hope he gets it together. Homelessness usually has complicating factors, and he's got a few. Good luck.
posted by Miko at 6:38 PM on January 12, 2011


After getting rehab help Ted returned to his old street corner and gave a wad of cash to his buddy.
posted by Kerasia at 3:26 PM on January 28, 2011


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