Homeless Columbus, Ohio man with 'god-given gift of voice' becomes YouTube sensation

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Ted Williams, a former radio announcer from Columbus in Ohio, United States, has become a YouTube sensation after a video of the homeless man talking to a local reporter was uploaded onto the website.

In the YouTube video, he can be seen standing on the exit ramp of Interstate 71 at Hudson Street, holding a sign claiming that he has "the god-given gift of a great voice" and that he had "fallen on hard times", as well as speaking to Doral Chenoweth III from daily newspaper The Columbus Dispatch. Upon being asked to "[s]ay something with that great radio voice", he replied: "When you're listening to nothing but the best of oldies, you're listening to Magic 98.9. Thank you so much. God bless you. Thank you. And we'll be back with more right after these words."

In the video, Williams also mentions how "alcohol and drugs and a few other things became a part of my life and I got two years clean and I'm trying hard to get it back." This video achieved in excess of eleven and a half million YouTube views since the video was uploaded on January 3, 2011. However, the original video has now been removed because of a copyright violation claim made by The Dispatch. Copies of the clip are currently still available to view online.

Cquote1.svg I'm just so, so happy. I had no idea that something like this would have ever happened to me. It's phenomenal. Cquote2.svg

Ted Williams

Subsequently, Williams received interest from companies wishing to offer occupations, including Ohio basketball team Cleveland Cavaliers — who offered a house to him — and NFL Films, according to the Associated Press. Stating that "It's that voice," Kevin McLoughlin described: "When I heard him tell his story, I said, 'That's what we do. This guy can tell a story.' Somehow, some way, I need to get a demo with him." McLoughlin also believed that "[t]he man deserves a second chance". Kraft Cheese have also made an announcing job offer to him.

When asked about the effect of this YouTube sensation in an interview with CBS News, he exclaimed: "It's just sensational for one, it's numbing for another, overwhelming ... It's just amazing. ... Well, I've already been characterized as Susan Boyle. ... I'm just so, so happy. ... I had no idea that something like this would have ever happened to me. It was like, almost, winning the Mega Ball lottery. ... It's phenomenal."

Having attempted to make contact with his mother, aged 92, in New York, Williams met with her for the first time in approximately twenty years in a hotel in New York, New York on Thursday, according to msnbc.com. He greeted his mother by repeatedly saying the words: "Hi, mommy."

This story has been likened to the occasion when Susan Boyle became a YouTube sensation in 2009 after a video of her audition on 'Britain's Got Talent' was uploaded there. The video was viewed over nine million times within the space of five days.


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