Many people don’t know his name, but Frank Tavares has one of the highest-profile jobs in all of public broadcasting.
And he’s about to lose it.
Tavares is the “Support for NPR...” guy, the voice of underwriting credits listeners hear during nationally distributed public radio programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
This summer, NPR posted his job, promoting it as becoming the “voice of NPR.” Tavares is OK with that.
“I’ve got enough to keep me busy: there’s the writing, I’m a professor,” Tavares said during an interview from his home in New England. “I’m having a good time.”
He said he was invited to apply for the new position, which will combine his part-time voiceover gig with a part-time producer/editor who coordinates the hundreds of weekly credits. But he chose not to.
Still: “That’s going to surprise me, too, the first time I hear a different voice [reading the credits].”
Tavares said the work can be intense, with 3.5- to 4-hour recording sessions every other Saturday. He estimated he has recorded around 330,000 credits over the more than three decades he has been doing it.
Tavares, a communications professor at Southern Connecticut State University, has released a new book this fall, a collection of 12 short stories called “The Man Who Built Boxes.”
“I think what I wanted in these stories is various glimpses of personalities or events or problems that people were dealing with that all of us, in one way or another, could identify with,” Tavares said. “ The stories all reflect the points of view of people trying to make sense out of where they are in life. All of these characters are in their own boxes to some degree, restricted in some way by decisions they’ve made along their journey. And they’re trying to make sense of this.”