With only a few exceptions, talk radio is becoming amateurish, tedious and nonsensical.
Of increasing annoyance are radio news editors using actuality for the sake of actuality – I presume just to give the bulletin a bit of spark.
Typical of this abuse of actuality is when the newsreader reports on a story and then plays actuality of someone saying precisely the same thing.
Newsreader: “A taxi overturned outside Beaufort West this morning when the driver apparently lost control on a bend. Two passengers and the driver were killed and six others seriously injured. We cross now to our reporter at the scene.”
Reporter: “A taxi overturned outside of Beaufort West this morning when the driver apparently lost control on a bend. Two passengers and the driver were killed and six others seriously injured:”
Reporter: “I have with me a senior traffic officer for the Western Cape …”
Senior traffic officer for the Western Cape: “A taxi overturned outside of Beaufort West this morning when the driver apparently lost control on a bend. Two passengers and the driver were killed and six others seriously injured.”
This sort of idiocy is becoming rife on radio and if you don’t believe me just listen carefully to the next radio news bulletin.
The whole point of actuality is to provide something the newsreader is not able to do. It’s that simple.
Frankly, these irrelevant sound bites are becoming increasingly annoying particularly when cell phones are used and interference makes hearing what is being said something of a mission.
Once again, what one is looking at here is a decline in the standard of journalism in this country. No apparent training or mentoring, just allowing newcomers to mimic those who came before them and to follow a litany of unwritten rules such as using as much actuality as possible.
Something else talk radio management doesn’t appear to do is train presenters. Many of the newcomers seem to love the sound of their own voices and when interviewing people they tend to babble on with their own opinions in the hope, I expect, that the experts will agree with them
Many presenters have quite clearly had no voice training and even after months behind the microphone they still sound like lawnmowers trying to plough through thick grass.
My worst are presenters who believe that rather than using a conversational tone of voice, believe it important to become theatrical. One annoying fellow puts the emphasis on consonants in an effort to display some sort of urgency and import.
Radio is such a powerful medium and for me, it’s a tragedy to see so much of it being prostituted with such incredible abandon.
Chris Moerdyk (@chrismoerdyk ) is a marketing analyst and advisor and owner of Moerdyk Marketing with many years of experience in marketing and the media as well as serving as non-executive director and chairman of companies.
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