Soap Announcer Ken Roberts Has Passed

Broadcasting has lost one of its pioneering legends with the passing of Ken Roberts at 99.

Roberts, a native of New York City, was one of the most familiar voices of the early days of radio and television and a founding member of AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild. Born Feb. 12, 1910, Roberts gave up plans for a law career after appearing in a Broadway play written by Garson Kanin.

Roberts was best known to soaps fans as the daily voice for CBS’s LOVE OF LIFE and THE SECRET STORM. American Home Products (Aerowax, Black Flag, Freezone, etc.) owned both soaps and its executives felt Roberts brought the proper setup and sendoff tones to its dramas. Along with stars Audrey Peters (Vanessa Sterling) and Ron Tomme (Bruce Sterling), Roberts rotated for two weeks with on camera announcements in 1958 touting the LOVE OF LIFE’s expansion from 15 minutes to [ a half ] hour, the first of the old quarter-hour soaps to double its daily length.

Through the sixties until the lead character of Peter Ames was killed by the show’s writers, Roberts (usually on the Wednesday show) weekly re-explained---ostensibly to new viewers---“THE SECRET STORM is the story of Peter Ames and his three grown children……..” The show would end with: “This is Ken Roberts inviting you to join us again tomorrow for THE SECRET STORM.”

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