Mumbling through the news

13 Jul

There is a culture in television that ignores a large segment of its audience.

Yes, the pictures are everything.

After all TV is a visual medium and a picture is worth a thousand words.
Blah, blah.

What they ignore is the sound.

TV manufactures caught on to that a couple of years ago and most televisions today come with good speakers and a fairly decent sound system.

But we’re not talking music.

We’re pointing to the news people on local TV.

Almost none of them come from radio anymore because there’s no radio news outside of KSSK.

That means they have no understanding or training in sounding “good”.

Line up 10 TV reporters and we can point out the more than half that are monotone in their speech.

The 4 of the 5 left over will have an irritating speech pattern, such as ending all their sentences the same way.
Radio people call it broadcasting the period.

It’s something the viewer probably wouldn’t notice until it’s pointed out – then it’ll drive you crazy.

It’s sad to hear because it is correctable.
If you recognize you do it.

The TV news departments are actually doing themselves and the reporter a disservice.

With a couple of months of part-time inexpensive speaking lessons from a good radio person will help them be a better communicator.

It’s not difficult.

It’s just “hearing” how you say something and working on doing it differently.

It’s actually amazingly simple if the student wants to improve and will work at it.

Better communicators bring larger audiences and everyone wins.

Don’t blame the reporter.

They have no idea how they sound compared to how they could, or should.

You can’t correct something you can’t hear yourself doing.

It’s an art that has to be learned.
It’s not overly complex and can be done if the person makes an effort.

What triggered this was an Olympics report on Hawaii News Now from some reporter in London.

A radio person would say she was “mush mouthed”.
What it actually is, is “lazy” mouth.

She didn’t articulate well and it sounded like she had a marble in her mouth.

There are several simple exercises, that once taught, will fix that right up.

Cadence, rhythm, and learning how to end your sentences effectively is the hallmark of any good speaker.

Just listen to James Earl Jones.

So why don’t the TV news departments run their folks through some lessons?

Pick a reason, they all apply:

– The news directors don’t hear it because they don’t know
– The TV station sees no point in spending the money to have great reporters when good is enough
– The talent’s ego won’t let them admit they could be better

What to hear a former radio reporter sound great on TV?
Check out Jill Kuramoto on KITV’s Morning News.

3 Responses to “Mumbling through the news”

  1. Autumn Rose July 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    You are too kind to TV news. I finally gave up watching it. Sick of fire-police-weather report and the same “stupid news” circulating on yahoo. If I missed a good report I can find it later on the internet. It’s sad… the dumbing down of our consumer society. Just discovered your site today, via

  2. Anonymous July 13, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Couldn’t agree more. Worked in radio for 10 years but never heard ‘broadcasting the period.’ Thanks for a new useful phrase.

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