Thursday, December 6, 2007
Editor's Rant: Air America's News Hurts My Ears
As an avid listener of Air America Radio, I know a bit of their rocky history. Their shows have shuffled around a bit, and they've had some inelegant departures of on-air talent. But that stuff happens in radio of all kinds. Far worse has been their financial backing, which has probably caused their employees more grief than it has the listeners.
And that would be with one notable exception: their news programming. As with most radio content providers, they have an allotment of time for news at the top of the hour. Many stations that run AAR carry their own news, or other syndicated news programs. But if you listen to AAR via Internet streaming, you get their news too. Some time back, their in-house news was scuttled in favor of something called Free Speech Radio News. And here's the rub: it stinks.
FSRN is an example of a liberal idea--and not a bad one--simply not working in practice. FSRN consists of a large crew of reporters from all over the world. Sounds great, right? Not so much. Unfortunately, some of their reporters' accents are so thick, their pronunciations so skewed, it can be impossible to understand what they are saying. It actually almost hurts your ears sometimes.
The first few times I heard one of those reporters, I thought it was someone being interviewed who barely spoke English. Then I figured out these were the actual reporters, and not a "Stephen Hawking" talking device!
When a word like "toppled" becomes "top leed," or "signed" becomes "sign ed," your message is simply not getting through. I'd rather listen to almost anything else.