I was shocked to learn today of the death of Colorado radio personality Kyle Dyas. Kyle was a great guy, and I just wanted to pause for a moment and remember what it was like to work with him.
Most people knew Kyle as the long-time music director for KUNC—what some people might not know is that he was also an actor and theatre lover, deeply involved in OpenStage theatre company. And he was the voice of news announcer Chaz Williams in 16 Heads and Counting.
It was a huge thrill to work with Kyle, if only because he had such a familiar voice. I was raised in an NPR household, meaning that for as far back as I can remember, a radio somewhere in my house was tuned to KUNC, and so I heard Kyle’s voice more or less every day from 1996 until I left for college. So it was weird to have the actual man standing in my living room when he came over for his recording session.
To backtrack: when it became clear that we needed a news segment in 16 Heads, I knew immediately that we had to cast Kyle Dyas as the voiceover—nobody else would do. So I was ecstatic to hear back from him that he would do it. And let me tell you: his voice actually sounded like that; no microphone tricks here. A lot of voiceover artists and radio personalities artificially deepen their voices by sitting too close to the microphone and slowing their breathing (in the industry, this is known as “barfing”), but Kyle really did just have a magnificent voice that seemed almost out-of-place if you heard it anywhere other than the radio.
The recording session went about as smoothly as you could expect from someone with a decade of broadcast experience, and we were done in a matter of minutes, and that was the extent of his involvement in the movie, although I note with some pride that he came to not one, but two separate screenings of the film.
I always thought of 16 Heads as a quintessentially local movie, and being able to cast such a local institution in even a bit part is still a major point of pride for me. And never have I experienced a more immediate thrill than from handing Kyle a sheet of paper and hearing this voice that I’d been listening to since I was seven, reading something that I wrote: