Jane Barbe

From Academic Kids

Jane Barbe (July 29, 1928July 18, 2003) had one of the most recognized voices in the U.S. even though few know who she was, because she made the recordings long heard by telephone callers when they dialed a number "no longer in service."

Barbe, a Florida native who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, studied drama at the University of Georgia and started making announcements for the Audichron Company (now known as ETC) in Atlanta in the 1960s, announcing time, temperature and weather as well as sponsors' messages. In the 1970s and 1980s, she made recordings used when a number was disconnected or no longer in service. She also recorded the time announcements used to this day on NBS (now NIST) radio station WWVH.

The recordings are part of an automatic intercept system which replaces generic recordings with custom messages, such as repeating the number dialed and then giving a new number if the original had been changed. The first automatic intercept systems used rotating magnetic drums containing multiple recorded phrases, with a computer or mechanical control system playing phrases in the proper sequence.

Barbe, a former professional singer who once toured with the Buddy Morrow Orchestra, gained a small notoriety in recent years appearing in commercials and on television shows as the "Time Lady."

Barbe died July 18, 2003, in Roswell, Georgia at the age of 74 of complications from cancer. She is survived by her husband, John Barbe, her daughter, Susan Stubin of Passaic, New Jersey, her son David Barbe, of Athens, Georgia, and seven grandchildren.

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