Homeless Guy With Golden Voice Now a Web Sensation

If this isn’t a sign the job market is on the way up, I don’t know what is: Job offers are pouring in for Ted Williams, a former radio announcer-turned-homeless guy who used to panhandle on a highway ramp in Columbus, Ohio.

Ted Williams
video still
Ted Williams

Williams caught the attention of a local reporter, for his hand-scrawled sign that said: “I HAVE THE GOD-GIVEN GIFT OF VOICE, I’M AN EX-RADIO ANNOUNCER WHO HAS FALLEN ON HARD TIMES. PLEASE! ANY HELP WILL BE GREATFULLY (sic) APPRECIATED.”

In a video that went viral on the Internet, the reporter walked up to Williams and said, “ “Hey, I’m going to make you work for your dollar. Say something with that great radio voice.”

Then, in one of the most stunning moments caught on tape since Susan Boyle announced that she had dreamed a dream of times gone by, the homeless guy, with his wild hair and weather-beaten face, says in a perfect radio man’s voice, “When you’re listening to nothing but the best of oldies, you’re listening to magic 98.9 … and we’ll be right back with more after these words. And don’t forget, tomorrow morning is your chance to see this man live in concert.”

Williams told the reporter that he worked in the business for many years but then fell on hard times after getting involved with drugs and alcohol. Now two years sober, he said he hopes this little stunt on a highway ramp might catch someone’s attention and land him a job.

Well, it worked: He’s been interviewed by every major television network and the job offers are flooding in: A local credit union will pay him $10,000 for voiceover work. He's also received offers from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans, and a local TV station offered to use him as the narrator for a special on homelessness, according to local media. There's also buzz that ESPN and MTV are interested.

“We could make him a millionaire,” one Los Angeles talent agent told the Columbus Dispatch.

From homeless to millionaire — only in America.

Or maybe, only on the Internet.

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  • Cindy Perman is a writer at CNBC.com, covering jobs, real estate, retirement and personal finance.

  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.