Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis every Friday, 3-6pm CT

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Talk Like Real People!

Three years ago on this site, I wrote:

One of my pet peeves as a broadcaster is when people on the air don't speak like real people. What was the last time you asked someone if they knew the weather for tomorrow and they said, "there's a chance of precipitation" or "we'll probably get some white stuff" when they meant it might rain or snow?

I once made a traffic reporter on my show stop saying "motorists, use caution," because he would never say that to anyone if he weren't on the air -- he'd say "drivers, be careful." There's no real reason to remind people of that in the first place, I told him, but if he felt compelled to play the role of traffic nanny, he should at least do it in plain English. And while you're at it, stop referring to a "vehicle" on the side of the road, when you can see from the helicopter or traffic cameras whether it's a car or truck.
In a similar vein, I recently heard a sportscaster use these phrases:
  • "On the bump," referring to the pitcher, who works on the mound. 
  • "Southpaw hurler," referring to the same pitcher, who is a lefty.
  • "Blanked," referring to a shutout.
I've been around a lot of sports conversations in my lifetime and have never heard non-broadcasters talk like that. No one in a bar has ever had this exchange:
John: I'm going to the Cardinals game tonight.
Jim: Great! Who's going to be on the bump?
John: Their young southpaw hurler.
Jim: Oh, he's good. I was there when he blanked the Phillies.
Bartender: Would you two nitwits stop talking like that and order something already?