Hi, I’m AJ Dukette, and here’s way more about me than you ever wanted to know!
For over 20 years, producing audio content has been my passion. It’s how I’ve put food on the table for practically my entire adult life. For many years, I was an on-air talent and programmer in commercial radio. And now, 100% of my focus is on my voiceover business.
I operate out of my home studio in Portland, Maine, equipped with top-of-the-line gear and connectivity for live directed sessions. Producing voiceover and operating my own business, working and living life on my own terms, is a dream come true. Like any job, my career comes with its own unique set of challenges every day. But my hard work and determination to succeed in the industry has given my family and me a quality of life that I am eternally grateful for.
The Early Years
As a child, I LOVED radio. One of my earliest memories was using a cassette recorder to emulate my favorite local DJs. Then, in the 8th grade, I got my first taste of the business – an internship at New Hampshire Public Radio, in my hometown of Concord, New Hampshire. Obviously, they weren’t about to let me anywhere near a microphone at that point, but I loved getting to know how it all worked behind the scenes. One of the big and seemingly never-ending projects I was assigned was transferring hours and hours of archived programming from reel to reel to cassette. Thinking back, I wonder why they had me do that…is cassette quality actually better than reel to reel??
My Radio Career
It all started for me in the summer of 2000. I had been out of school for a few years, and my dream of moving to L.A. and becoming a rock star surprisingly just wasn’t happening. It was time to pursue a more realistic career. I thought back to how much I had loved radio all my life and decided to go for it.
My first radio job was at WKXL, a news/talk station in Concord, NH. I began as a local producer of Boston Red Sox games, as well as handling whatever other operational tasks they threw at me. Soon after, I was on the air, reading local news.
It wasn’t long before I was given the opportunity to work at my first music station, WJYY. I started there as a part time weekend DJ, but quickly moved up the ranks to become host of the weekday afternoon show. From there, I was promoted to Music Director, then Program Director, and eventually Operations Manager for that station, and several others within the cluster.
After fifteen years of radio in my hometown, I had the opportunity to work at some legendary stations in Portland, Maine. I took a job as the morning show host at 94.9 WHOM, and Program Director of that station, as well as Q 97.9. That group of stations was my home for five years, before I made the leap to full-time voiceover artist.
I’d been doing voiceover on the side throughout most of my radio career. I had a handful of clients that would give me consistent work, but it only amounted to supplemental income. I never had the opportunity to pursue new voiceover clients, because all of my professional time was dedicated to radio.
Transitioning to a full-time voiceover career was scary. Sure, being my own boss and working my own hours sounded great. But the thought of being on my own, being the only one accountable for my success or failure, was terrifying. I knew I was good at it…but wondered if I was good enough. And looking back, I really had no idea of exactly what goes into running a voiceover business.
When I made the leap, I went all in. I spent many hours researching, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and eventually training with voiceover coaches. I auditioned like crazy. Marketing became a daily routine. I kept going until I couldn’t go any further, then I did more. I made significant investments, in both time and money…without cutting corners or cheaping out. And after a much shorter time than I expected, I was doing it. Once I eclipsed the highest radio income I ever earned, I knew I had made it.
Now, and the Future
I don’t say this to brag. In fact, there are no promises that my career will continue to thrive as it has. I have to approach every single day with the same drive to keep it going. But I realized a while ago that while it is hard work, I enjoy it more than anything I’ve ever done professionally. It’s always fresh. I never know what kind of jobs I’ll be working on from week to week, what people I’ll meet, and what goals I’ll meet or personal records I’ll break.
I’m not just a voiceover artist, I’m a business owner…so that always keeps it interesting, too. I’m always learning, and always growing, little by little every day. And the best part is, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the growth of my business. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in one year, five years, ten years. I’m confident that if I continue to work hard, develop good professional relationships, keep an open mind, and have a positive attitude, my business will always be something to be incredibly proud of.
Whatever brought you here, I appreciate you taking the time to read this. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to reach out anytime and ask!