Telling Tales

The Short Story of Me

By Don McDonald

Since you clicked on this link, I assume you want to know more about me. Thanks for your interest. I hope I don’t disappoint.

I learned, early on, that I was a storyteller. A bit later in life, I discovered that I was a decent actor, too.

Puberty was a good news, bad news age. I was cursed with terrible acne and blessed with a booming voice. This provided me with both a voice and a face for radio.

My love for performing helped me overcome the self-esteem issues that my skin exacerbated. I was the premier drama geek in high school, eventually playing R.P. McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” both at my school and, by professorial invitation, for cadets at the US Air Force Academy. 

I also competed as a storyteller in forensics (speech) competition with my interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.”

One of my most unique high school performing experiences took place at the big local mall, where I was hired as the weekend Santa Claus (at 17 years old). 

As an adult, I failed to pursue professional performing (although my brother David did, and has enjoyed many successful years on Broadway) and instead worked a variety of dead-end jobs to support my family. However, in a strange twist of fate, I eventually ended up utilizing my made-for-radio voice on the radio. 

As a young stockbroker at a huge Wall Street firm, prospecting for new clients was a massive challenge. Knowing that my preferred demographic listened to talk radio, I went to the top news/talk station in the market to record a commercial.

Both the production director and program director tried to dissuade me from recording my own spot insisting that I would be better off “leaving it to the pros.” Despite their exhortations, I insisted on doing my own readings. After the session, the programming chief insisted that I had “done this before.” I informed him that I hadn’t, adding that I had often imagined hosting a talk show.

The program director hesitated for a minute and offered, “Why don’t you come in Saturday and do one?”

I responded, “Seriously?”

To which he replied, “I’m not going to pay you, but you’re welcome to come in and try it.”

I’d like to say that I was an immediate success. I had no idea what to do, so I wrote a long script on a legal pad, which I started reading when the mic went live.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally received a call from an older woman who asked, “Are you reading to us?”

“Yes, ma’am, I am” I replied. I actually did use the term “ma’am” and still do.

“You seem like a nice young man, why don't you try just talking to us?”

I proceeded to crumple up my script and did just that. Months later, my show was so popular that I was given a weekday slot and a small paycheck, allowing me to quit that miserable securities sales job.

From there, I went on to work for the most popular radio station in the state. Within a few years, I ended up with a nationally-syndicated financial talk show that aired on 90 radio stations around the country.

Along the way, I studied voice acting and have recorded numerous commercials and corporate video scripts. Some of my favorite voice gigs have when I was hired to be the big, booming “voice of god” at dozens of conventions and awards programs.

These days, I continue to host a radio show, podcasts, and do some voice acting. Because I love reading stories, and needed a hobby as retirement approached, I created LitReading. 

A real labor of love, I hope that these stories will both enlighten and entertain. Please let me know what you think in the comments section of each story and, if you like what you hear, leave a review on your favorite podcast service.

Oh, and if you have a favorite story you’d like me to read, just drop me a line. Just remember, they must either be in the public domain or your original works (you own the copyright). I can’t guarantee to include your suggestions, but I’ll sure try.

Thanks for listening.

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Don McDonald - reader of stories

Don McDonald - reader of stories