11 October 2004
Voices made for newsprint
Public radio has an impressively-diverse collection of voices, from avuncular and garrulous Garrison Keillor to studiously-pinched Diane Rehm, from cheerful yenta Susan Stamberg to gruff Carl Kasell. What they all have in common, of course, is that they're all professionals, and they all sound like it. (Don't even mention Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers.)
However, not every voice on public radio is that of a professional, as Wendy reports:
[A]t some point they both started TALKING LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE. No verbal italics, no strutting around in vocal drag just two people talking in ordinary tones and cadences with voices that were perfectly pleasant to begin with.
And I liked them so much better, and actually enjoyed listening to them, and began to think of them as my friends, even, until Mr. Super-Syllables suddenly remembered that he hadn't yet over-enunciated "Viva Voce" that morning and had at least three semi-obscure producer names to drop before 9:00, and Woman Newsreader realized it was time for her to breathily make love to a lengthy sequence of words as if they had nothing whatsoever to do with the dismal economy, war, terrorism, poverty, or death and destruction of any kind. And I went back to wanting to gouge out the radio tuner with my windshield ice scraper.
There aren't any real fingernails-on-the-blackboard voices on our local public-radio stations, though KGOU manager Karen Holp comes closest: there's always the sensation that she's just gotten to the bottom of her box of Cracker Jack and inexplicably didn't find a Coupe de Ville hiding therein.