Anyone who has spent any length of time in broadcasting and/or journalism has used these terms on the air and in their stories. Including me.
And if you watch and listen to enough content you are likely to hear each of these little gems of nonsense.
For the offending broadcaster, sometimes the realization of how godawful these terms and words are only comes after their ridiculousness has been revealed by a colleague, superior or listener moments after uttering them into a microphone.
I present to you five of those shudder-inducing broadcast-isms that I have come to hold in contempt.
1) “It’s a crash-free drive.”
I used to say this one in about every “crash-free” traffic report I delivered up until it was pointed out to me how backwards it is. The way it was phrased to me by my superior was something like, “we would never report a knifing-free night in Kitchener.”
So report what the drive is, not what it isn’t. No crashes to report? It’s a smooth drive, it’s a great drive, typical drive-time volume. Just not a crash-free drive. Please.
2) Use of the word “blaze” in place of “fire.”
I’m guilty here too. But honestly, why say it? We hear it all the time when the announcer tries to soup-up their script with synonyms to fire. Sure, by definition a blaze is a very large fire. But is an overnight kitchen fire really worthy of being elevated to the status of blaze? And is this word even really used in conversation? Between human beings? Just say fire.
Additionally, overly flowery writing in broadcast makes me scratch my head. Just say it.
3) “Give yourself extra time.”
This phrase, while well-intentioned, is absolute nonsense. If I could give myself extra time I would win a Nobel Prize, because it’s impossible. Time is intangible. Time is fleeting. Time is a human construct used to measure the rotation of planet Earth.
Time is not something one can give themselves more of.
This little treat of poppycock language is dragged out of the broom closet and dusted off every time the road conditions turn for the worse. What the announcer means is either “leave early,” for where ever you’re off to, or “leave extra space,” between your vehicle and others on the roadway, because it’s covered in a slippery substance known (on the radio) as “the white stuff.”
Which brings me to 4) “We’re going to receive 10 to 15 centimetres of the white stuff today.”
I can honestly say I have never conjured up this phrase for use in person, on the air or online (except right now). Why? Because it’s another one of those things that only broadcasters say. Broadcasters, just do yourself and the public a favour and call it what it is; snow.
5) “Welcome back.”
Usually heard in talk radio after a commercial break. I wonder to myself, “where did I go?” when hosts use this phrase. Includes the variation “we’re back.”
What are some broadcast language crutches that irk you? Remember, by bringing them forward we can improve the quality of our collective radio and television experience together. Get me on Twitter, @McCullochKW.