Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Special Note to "A Way with Words" Listeners

You can read the news about KPBS suspending production of "A Way with Words" in the San Diego Union-Tribune. This was part of a massive layoff at the station.

The good news is that Grant and I are already in talks with other radio outlets and potential sponsors who see a bright future for our show’s distribution at the national level.

So I’m sure “A Way with Words” will land well, although of course I’m saddened for our local audience. In the end, as we added podcast listeners and other stations around the country, it seems that continuing to serve our growing national (and international) audience became too much for KPBS to handle.

(In fact, I’ve been spending the summer digging through and trying to answer hundreds of emails we’ve received from ardent listeners around the country and around the world. Sorry if I haven't gotten to yours yet, but honestly, I'm doing my best!)

Meanwhile, I’m very happy to report that my brilliant co-host Grant already has our new “A Way with Words” website up and running. Stop by there and sign up for our email list, which will keep you informed about what we're up to and where "A Way with Words" will land.

http://www.waywordradio.org/

Check it out, and let us know what you think. And if you want to let KPBS know how you feel about their decision, call 619-594-1515 or email Doug Myrland directly at dmyrland@kpbs.org

And thanks again for your continued support of intelligent radio for passionate lovers of language.

6 Comments:

Blogger Marc Naimark said...

Maybe you and Grant should pretend to be an irascible gal and her cranky brother, with abundant dope slaps in each episode...

Just kidding. And crossing my fingers that you find a new producer and sponsors. I would really miss AWWW!

A real problem is that many public radio broadcasts have listeners all over the country and the world, and there's no system for membership that shows which shows we listen to and appreciate. When you are a local listener and you contribute to your local station, you are voting for the shows you enjoy. But when you listen to any number of shows, each produced by a different station, there's no way for any contributions to reflect your taste. How about a public radio podcast/internet membership site that allows listeners to indicate the shows they want to support?

11:04 AM  
Anonymous mundungus42 said...

I have never been more disappointed with KBPS as when I found that they were cutting A Way With Words, and I've written the program director to tell him so.

Best wishes to you and Grant- I look forward to the day that new installments of AWWW return triumphantly to the KBPS airways in the form a nationally distributed program whose demanding audience insist that KPBS carry it, in spite of it costing more than when they funded the program. You'll be the "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" of the public radio world!

Many thanks for the hours of delight you've given us, and we look forward to many more.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous mundungus42 said...

I have never been more disappointed with KBPS as when I found that they were cutting A Way With Words, and I've written the program director to tell him so.

Best wishes to you and Grant- I look forward to the day that new installments of AWWW return triumphantly to the KBPS airways in the form a nationally distributed program whose demanding audience insist that KPBS carry it, in spite of it costing more than when they funded the program. You'll be the "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" of the public radio world!

Many thanks for the hours of delight you've given us, and we look forward to many more.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Martha, I can't say I'm sad to see "A Way with Words" go. It used to be a wonderful and intelligent show. Something changed around the time you joined, but I'm not sure it's entirely your fault. Didn't Richard's former co-host leave because he didn't like the direction the show was going?

If I remember correctly, you study the way language and word usage changes. This frustrated me because I listened to the show to learn what's correct versus incorrect. If all I wanted to know was what's popular I'd look at Urban Dictionary online, not listen to language professionals on the radio.

It seemed like you had a habit of asking the callers what *they* thought instead of providing expert advice. This is fine if, and this is an important if, you add content to the caller's opinion. Whether they're right or wrong, explain why and talk more about it. Perhaps their mistake was a common one. Perhaps the caller was partially correct. Perhaps there was a change in usage over time. Regardless, I expected the hosts to add content and share their knowledge, not just validate what the caller said.

The show used to be professionals talking about the rules and standards of language. For lovers of words and word usage there was still fun to be had, but historical standards were being enforced.

The latest incarnation just seemed less professional. It was driven more by the opinions and comments of the callers instead of the professionalism and expertise of the hosts. Whether this was a production decision or just the way you and Grant are, this was a critical error and why I'm not sad to see the show go away.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

Thanks, Marc and Mundungus. Comments like yours just tell me that the best is yet to come for this show, and I hope you'll sign up for updates about that progress at

http://www.waywordradio.org

And Michael, thanks for your comments. You're talking about the old prescriptivist v. descriptivist debate. Standards of language Do change, after all, though. I tend to think of myself as more of a journalist covering the language beat, rather than a blue-nosed, knuckle-rapping grammarian. Just like other journalists, I'll report to you what the authorities say, but the "opinion pieces" I write (or in this case, say) don't necessarily fall into line with them.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

Oh - and to answer your question, Charlie left in a contract dispute with KPBS.

12:45 PM  

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