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How Hard Is It To Pronounce A Word Correctly?

I claim no grammatical or lingual expertise or even competence in these areas, only thoughts and opinions. Certainly opinions.

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Okay, at this point in time there still is no House Speaker, Damar Hamlin is still under sedation and many of my former colleagues in Seattle radio are dealing with a tragic and sudden loss among their own. Pope Emeritus — a word I recently found out was difficult to pronounce — Benedict the XVI is still above ground and GMA3 remains in their version of a scandal.

So, let’s talk about pronouncers.

Really, this is Pick a Thing That Bugs Me Week in Bill Zito’s BNM column.

And while it has been brewing for a while, it came to the surface leading up to and after the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI. I quickly learned just how many members of the news media were either unfamiliar with or incapable of saying the word Emeritus.

Look, I’m nitpicking here for sure but this is a column and if not here, where?

And let’s be clear, I was no A student or B, really for that matter. In fact, if you look hard enough, the letters G.E.D. clearly will surface in my academic past. (I had issues showing up for class in those days)

I claim no grammatical or lingual expertise or even competence in these areas, only thoughts and opinions. Certainly opinions.

In other words, most people actually have true knowledge and feelings about the Oxford comma and the use of independent clauses for fun and profit.

Moving along here, I am not raining down on human error, more human disinterest or creatural apathy. There’s no reason, however and frankly no excuse for appearing dumber than we really are.

There are people, places, and things that have earned the right to be referred to correctly and in the proper context and I really have never found it particularly difficult to find a way to get it right or at least publicly acceptable.

Yet, I find an almost arrogant sense of self in watching the broadcast set try to power through it all when they could have taken the time or enlisted help to get it right.

It seems the Associated Press would set a standard in days past for providing reader pronunciations but most of the time that falls by the wayside except for the more obscure cities in Ukraine. And I offer no blame and no judgement, we’ve all been cut to the bone as far as resources are concerned.

Unfamiliarity is not a crime. Most of us don’t even know how much we don’t know but not trying or worse, not caring is a significant transgression.

I hear a network anchor who I can guess by appearance has been to Europe at least once, mispronounces Tibor River and I think, “Wow, that could have been prevented”. And that’s fixable just by looking online.

Believe it, if you don’t know already. There’s a lot out there that’s just unfamiliar to many of us because of a simple lack of regional or geographic knowledge, generation gaps and having never watched Jeopardy.

Try a small town in Nebraska, a county in Arizona, or a New England hamlet. A smart journalist or conscientious person is calling the local library, the city hall, or the sheriff’s office and nicely asking, “How do I say this?”

Big things happen in out of the way places so who wants to get it wrong for half a day until everybody who did feel like taking 90 seconds to check makes your station look dotty or worse, like they don’t care?

Even after hours when something breaks, calling the voicemail of the town library or a local business can save your image and spark some nice conversations

 “Hello, Saskatchewan Moose Optical”

“Puyallup Pizza, pickup or delivery?”

People and proper names are yet another challenge. The hero — if they’re truly heroic — will not really mind the initial gaffe but that’s not really an excuse. Gee, why not wait until we know for sure? You know, like that thing we’re supposed to do with all stories…what’s it called, confirmation?

When we identify victims for the first time on air it often leaves me pause. Nobody wants to hear the name of someone who met with violence or tragedy spoken incorrectly yet we often get it wrong or just guess.

If you don’t know, don’t say it. If you think you know, ask. If you do know, let everyone else in on it. Swallow your pride.

We need to look smart. I think we’re supposed to appear to know more than the audience. We don’t have to and we probably won’t but it would be nice if they thought we did.

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Corporate Radio Will Never Learn Job Cuts Aren’t the Key to Profitability

In most corporate settings, business ventures, and other fields of play, when the team is taking hit after hit and not recovering or regaining any ground, it’s time for an overhaul.

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There comes a point in time, sadly, when a self-labeled News/Talk radio station forfeits the right to describe itself as such. That generally happens when you are providing no or at least so very little actual news product that you should just call yourself a Talk station and move on.

That concept is starting to climb the staircase to reality again thanks to last week’s developments in the ever-struggling world of broadcast media.

I was hoping to go at least six months without having to say the words Audacy or layoffs. No such luck. In fact, I get to put the two words together.

This is a company with well over 200 stations, covering nearly 50 markets across the country. What are they best known for in the last five years by my observations?

Failure.

An Audacy spokesman says the company is reducing its workforce by “less than 2%”.

Yeah okay, so that’s supposed to make us feel better somehow? That works out to nearly 100 people. All in the effort to try and reduce Audacy’s almost $2 billion in debt.

Bankruptcy and delisting weren’t enough, apparently.

In the spirit of full transparency, I worked under the Entercom and Audacy banners on two separate occasions, some 20 years apart. It seems under the old name — and prior leadership — things fared more than a tad better. Read into that what you will.

I’m no business person but I can read and I do have the ability to form the occasional coherent thought every once in a while. So, based upon what I’ve observed over the past quarter century, perhaps there’s some merit to the saying, “Bad things happen in Philadelphia.”

In most corporate settings, business ventures, and other fields of play, when the team is taking hit after hit and not recovering or regaining any ground, it’s time for an overhaul.

My dad ran a restaurant for several years and during that time he faced challenges, man-made and otherwise. And while he was no Wolfgang Puck or Toots Shor, never once did he think of adding me to the mix to try and improve the product or the business environment. Not everybody is a chip off the old block as no doubt everyone in radio has seen by now.

Interestingly, the company has once again made major cuts as it continues to tell us the focus and priorities are on streaming, podcasting, and the website. Laudable efforts, I suppose, but if you so decimate your core product there will be no platform left where you can promote all of these fabulous ventures, or more accurately there will be no audience to inform. I would think this is something a sharp or even moderately competent business person might recognize.

But the fact of the matter is no matter what you say or do, you are a radio station first. And to promote your podcasts and your website, there has to be something to listen to on your station.

These are the things that a sharp or even moderately competent businessperson might recognize.

At some point, there has to be a come about if there is to be much left at all for the radio lobbyists to fight for. The very essence of the radio product is what disappears when these slashes occur, and the voices, the names, and the people creating the content disappear. Somehow, those making the poor decisions, the individuals executing the wrong moves, or even more accurately, no moves at all, remain.

Those overseeing the poor decision-makers are themselves poor decision-makers. The proof is in the end result. Could single ownership of stations do any worse? Perhaps it’s time for the Titanic to cast off the lifeboats before they hit the really big iceberg that’s inevitably coming. They’ve hit enough of the smaller ones and perhaps at least a few of those in the lifeboats stand a chance.

I for one would give a station owned by a guy named Morty a listen or two. WKRP didn’t do too badly under the Carlson family.

In any case, if you have not surveyed the latest damage: major markets got hit, again, with this latest round of layoffs.

Just after launching their dedicated sports brand, Audacy made cuts in Pittsburgh, Boston, Hartford, and New York.

I’m guessing those now part of the new sports portfolio are overwhelmed with confidence.

Oh, and did I say Hartford?

Yes, two people I sat across from just a couple of years ago at Audacy were shown the door. Sad on a personal level and mind-numbing from a business angle as it leaves us to wonder exactly how low they can go before the station offers no news value at all to the market. Doesn’t leave much else to choose from either.

But after all, it’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

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BNM Writers

Corporate Radio Will Never Learn Job Cuts Aren’t the Key to Profitability

In most corporate settings, business ventures, and other fields of play, when the team is taking hit after hit and not recovering or regaining any ground, it’s time for an overhaul.

Avatar photo

Published

on

Audacy Logo

There comes a point in time, sadly, when a self-labeled News/Talk radio station forfeits the right to describe itself as such. That generally happens when you are providing no or at least so very little actual news product that you should just call yourself a Talk station and move on.

That concept is starting to climb the staircase to reality again thanks to last week’s developments in the ever-struggling world of broadcast media.

I was hoping to go at least six months without having to say the words Audacy or layoffs. No such luck. In fact, I get to put the two words together.

This is a company with well over 200 stations, covering nearly 50 markets across the country. What are they best known for in the last five years by my observations?

Failure.

An Audacy spokesman says the company is reducing its workforce by “less than 2%”.

Yeah okay, so that’s supposed to make us feel better somehow? That works out to nearly 100 people. All in the effort to try and reduce Audacy’s almost $2 billion in debt.

Bankruptcy and delisting weren’t enough, apparently.

In the spirit of full transparency, I worked under the Entercom and Audacy banners on two separate occasions, some 20 years apart. It seems under the old name — and prior leadership — things fared more than a tad better. Read into that what you will.

I’m no business person but I can read and I do have the ability to form the occasional coherent thought every once in a while. So, based upon what I’ve observed over the past quarter century, perhaps there’s some merit to the saying, “Bad things happen in Philadelphia.”

In most corporate settings, business ventures, and other fields of play, when the team is taking hit after hit and not recovering or regaining any ground, it’s time for an overhaul.

My dad ran a restaurant for several years and during that time he faced challenges, man-made and otherwise. And while he was no Wolfgang Puck or Toots Shor, never once did he think of adding me to the mix to try and improve the product or the business environment. Not everybody is a chip off the old block as no doubt everyone in radio has seen by now.

Interestingly, the company has once again made major cuts as it continues to tell us the focus and priorities are on streaming, podcasting, and the website. Laudable efforts, I suppose, but if you so decimate your core product there will be no platform left where you can promote all of these fabulous ventures, or more accurately there will be no audience to inform. I would think this is something a sharp or even moderately competent business person might recognize.

But the fact of the matter is no matter what you say or do, you are a radio station first. And to promote your podcasts and your website, there has to be something to listen to on your station.

These are the things that a sharp or even moderately competent businessperson might recognize.

At some point, there has to be a come about if there is to be much left at all for the radio lobbyists to fight for. The very essence of the radio product is what disappears when these slashes occur, and the voices, the names, and the people creating the content disappear. Somehow, those making the poor decisions, the individuals executing the wrong moves, or even more accurately, no moves at all, remain.

Those overseeing the poor decision-makers are themselves poor decision-makers. The proof is in the end result. Could single ownership of stations do any worse? Perhaps it’s time for the Titanic to cast off the lifeboats before they hit the really big iceberg that’s inevitably coming. They’ve hit enough of the smaller ones and perhaps at least a few of those in the lifeboats stand a chance.

I for one would give a station owned by a guy named Morty a listen or two. WKRP didn’t do too badly under the Carlson family.

In any case, if you have not surveyed the latest damage: major markets got hit, again, with this latest round of layoffs.

Just after launching their dedicated sports brand, Audacy made cuts in Pittsburgh, Boston, Hartford, and New York.

I’m guessing those now part of the new sports portfolio are overwhelmed with confidence.

Oh, and did I say Hartford?

Yes, two people I sat across from just a couple of years ago at Audacy were shown the door. Sad on a personal level and mind-numbing from a business angle as it leaves us to wonder exactly how low they can go before the station offers no news value at all to the market. Doesn’t leave much else to choose from either.

But after all, it’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

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BNM Writers

Does Conservative Media Secretly Want a Second Term for President Biden?

The evidence — from recent polling — suggests he could be a one-and-done president. But that doesn’t mean many in television, radio, and online media business don’t want him back for another go-round.

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A photo of President Joe Biden
(Photo: Gage Skidmore, C.C. 2.0)

Many of the biggest names in conservative media secretly want President Biden to win again in November. 

Sure, the evidence — from recent polling — suggests he could be a one-and-done president. But that doesn’t mean many in television, radio, and online media business don’t want him back for another go-round. Simply put, Biden’s material makes captivating and shocking television. 

Take, for example, podcast host Megyn Kelly and guests last week, who had a rip-roaring good time discussing President Joe Biden’s latest teleprompter gaffe, in which he read a word that was meant to tell him what to do.

“Here he was yesterday, speaking in front of members of North America’s Building Trades Unions in Washington D.C. It was such a simple assignment. It was so simple. Here’s how it went,” Kelly said as she began the segment with Josh Hammer, host of America on Trial with Josh Hammer, and Sara Gonzales, host of Sara Gonzales Unfiltered

Kelly then played a clip of the Democrat President.

“Imagine what we can do next. Four more years. Pause,” Biden said, as the crowd began the “four more years” chant.

“Oh my God,” Kelly interjected, suppressing the laughter. “Four more years….pause. Pause. And when the White House transcription guy, God love this poor slob, who knows what he’s had to go through. They changed it to ‘unintelligible.’ They refused to write ‘pause.‘ Sir, we know what it was. It was very clear. He said ‘pause.’ He embarrassed himself again and he cannot be saved by the White House transcription guy! Sara, I will start with you on it. I really think this is the kind of thing that will horrify and stick.”

“I agree. I mean, look. We have watched gaffe after gaffe after gaffe with Joe Biden throughout these three and a half years. And even I, as critical as I am about Joe Biden and as aware as I am that this is basically a Weekend at Bernies presidency, even I was like, I still cannot believe this happened,” Gonzales said. “I saw it yesterday afternoon and even in the evening I’m like, I still cannot believe what I just watched here. This man has been in public service for what, forty, fifty years and he still cannot read a teleprompter? It’s because he’s not here.”

As conservative media personalities, Kelly, Hammer, and Gonzales know how to read from a teleprompter. Even media newbies know this.

The trio then watched the clip again, and again shook their heads in disbelief.

“It also can’t be lost on everyone that the four more years chant was clearly, completely staged, because they wanted him to pause,” Gonzales said. “Because they couldn’t trust the audience to be that enthusiastic. They had to map it all out. Unfortunately, they overestimated Joe Biden’s ability to read from a teleprompter, which I’m sure we’ve all read from. It’s very clear when they want you to pause. It’s written differently in the prompter. There’s no reason for him to make this mistake, other than the fact that the man is half dead.”

The title of Kelly’s program episode read, Why Joe Biden’s Massive “Pause” Gaffe Could Lose Him the Election, and she made the point repeatedly that Biden’s continuous mistakes simply reinforce the narrative that he is not up to the job of being president. She went on to play a few other clips of Biden similarly reading the instructions from the teleprompter during written speeches. 

“Megyn, I’m really happy you mentioned what the White House transcriber reproduced this as, because what that actually reminded me of was that viral moment from the NASCAR race two and a half years ago. Where the crowd starts chanting F Joe Biden, and they’re like, they’re saying Let’s Go Brandon. That was a Let’s Go Brandon moment in a nutshell right there,” Hammer said, alluding to the depths the media has gone to protect the Democrat. “And I think you both are right that things like this are actually going to matter.”

Hammer continued, saying that these occurrences are nothing new.

“I think it’s worth pointing out that Joe Biden has been a gaffe machine for the entirety of his political career. He’s palpably senile at this point. It’s not a fun thing to say. I have a 94-year-old grandmother. I mean, these things are difficult. I mean, it’s not fun to discuss. But he obviously is senile,” Hammer said. “But that can’t necessarily hide the fact that he’s been a genuine gaffe machine since the moment he first set foot in Washington, D.C. back in the 1970’s.”

Certainly, if it weren’t so serious and dangerous, it would be even funnier.

“This is a major issue insofar as you look around the world, Megyn. I don’t need to be the one to tell you. You cover it every day. But the world is on fire right now,” Hammer added. “The universities are on fire. All of our enemies are looking at this stuff. Shi Jin Ping, Vladimir Putin, they’re kicking their feet up on the table and they are getting a bigger laugh out of it than the three of us just got on your show.”

Kelly finished the segment by playing a segment from the movie, Anchorman, in which Ron Burgundy pulled a Joe Biden and embarrassed himself by reading verbatim from a teleprompter.

“It’s Bernie Burgundy,” Kelly laughed. “It’s so funny to me.”

Conservative media knows Joe Biden is probably toast in this November’s election. The mainstream, liberal media knows it too.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t secretly, and selfishly, want another round of material, with which they can shock and entertain audiences for four more years.

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