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August 28, 2022 8:39 pm  #1


The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

I've written about this before, but it keeps making more and more of a comeback on talk radio stations (if it ever diminished at all) and it's one of the most irritating things you can hear. 

It happens with nearly every random caller they take to comment on a topic, and they should ban it immediately. If only that were possible. The phrase that doesn't pay is "As I was just telling your screener..." after which the caller launches into the subject he or she called about and presumably detailed to the producer. 

I realize a lot of this is nervousness on the part of the listener, but there must be a way to get them to realize no one cares what they just told the screener, no one knows that they talked to the screener and it ruins the magic of radio somewhat to even acknowledge that there is a screener in the first place.

I'm not sure how you stop it, because it's becoming a bad habit and a crutch for too many. And as I was just telling my screener, I wish there was a way to make that happen. 

 

August 28, 2022 8:58 pm  #2


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

That drives me nuts as well.   It's a crutch and maybe callers should not make it through the delay if they utter it.  I can almost put up with "long time listener, first time caller" but prefacing what you're about to say with the fact that you've already said it is rather pointless.

One that's almost as bad is when the caller asks "How are you doing today?"  I get asked that a lot when I do my customer service gig.  Drives me nuts.  Unless it's coming from someone I actually know, (even brief acquaintance is fine) mind your own friggin' business!  I swear one of these days, (probably the last day of the gig) when some bonehead asks how I am I'm going to let them have it with the full litany of my latest cancer and heart scans.  https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/devil.png


 

Last edited by Peter the K (August 28, 2022 9:00 pm)

 

August 28, 2022 9:16 pm  #3


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

Personally, i find radio people whining about callers saying "an extra six words" is irritating ..  i'm not joking either.  over a course of an hour show, what is that? .. all of a collective minute?

LOL, geez .. chill & be glad you actually had callers/listeners : )) ..   

 

August 28, 2022 9:21 pm  #4


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

RadioActive wrote:

I've written about this before, but it keeps making more and more of a comeback on talk radio stations (if it ever diminished at all) and it's one of the most irritating things you can hear. 

It happens with nearly every random caller they take to comment on a topic, and they should ban it immediately. If only that were possible. The phrase that doesn't pay is "As I was just telling your screener..." after which the caller launches into the subject he or she called about and presumably detailed to the producer. 

I realize a lot of this is nervousness on the part of the listener, but there must be a way to get them to realize no one cares what they just told the screener, no one knows that they talked to the screener and it ruins the magic of radio somewhat to even acknowledge that there is a screener in the first place.

I'm not sure how you stop it, because it's becoming a bad habit and a crutch for too many. And as I was just telling my screener, I wish there was a way to make that happen. 

Having worked in talk radio for years, I concur. I alway cringed when I heard a caller take to the airwaves and immediately announce "I was just telling your screener." Whenever I heard that, it meant that I, or the producer working with me, failed during the screening process.

A bad producer will allow a caller to yap for minutes as they share their detailed thoughts on the subject, pouring their opinion and emotions into that initial conversation. The caller will then have to essentially "reenact" the conversation to a lesser degree with the host. By that point, and depending on how long they wait on hold, they've already vented a bit, and a great deal of wind is out of their sail.

good producer will spend only 15 seconds or so with a caller before either "racking them up" (putting them on hold for the host) or dropping their call (either politely and quickly if they're good peeps but just not what your looking for, or unceremoniously if they're douche bags and giving you trouble). During that time frame, you can get the caller's name, where they're calling from, and a quick understanding of what it is they want to bring to the conversation, simply by asking "what do you want to say to Host's Name?"). Maybe an extra question here or there for clarity. But you should be able to determine whether that person is a fit after a handful of seconds. Don't let them ramble on - even if you have to rudely interrupt their spiel to get them to shut up and standby for the host.

If the producer is spending more than 15 seconds with callers, there's a problem: they're not screening, they're hosting their own show, albeit behind the scenes and for a rotating audience of one.

In Short: Producers should only spend 15 seconds on a caller in order to save their verbal assault for the airwaves.

 

August 28, 2022 9:25 pm  #5


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

g121 wrote:

Personally, i find radio people whining about callers saying "an extra six words" is irritating ..  i'm not joking either.  over a course of an hour show, what is that? .. all of a collective minute?

LOL, geez .. chill & be glad you actually had callers/listeners : )) ..   

Fair enough! But, as per my response above, it's about more than just those extra six words cutting into the clock. The potential for radio gold is being eroded and undermined behind the scenes.

 

August 28, 2022 9:34 pm  #6


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

g121 wrote:

Personally, i find radio people whining about callers saying "an extra six words" is irritating ..  I'm not joking either.  over a course of an hour show, what is that? .. all of a collective minute?

LOL, geez .. chill & be glad you actually had callers/listeners : )) ..   

Well, you're not entirely wrong. But when you hear the same thing over and over and over in the course of an hour (or more likely, a 15-minute topic block, which just makes it worse) it becomes rather tedious and can hurt a show's momentum if it's repeated ad nauseam by caller after caller.

If you've just told the screener, the audience didn't hear you. Tell them. That's who's really listening. 

Peter the K wrote:

One that's almost as bad is when the caller asks "How are you doing today?"  I get asked that a lot when I do my customer service gig.  Drives me nuts.  Unless it's coming from someone I actually know, (even brief acquaintance is fine) mind your own friggin' business!  I swear one of these days, (probably the last day of the gig) when some bonehead asks how I am I'm going to let them have it with the full litany of my latest cancer and heart scans.  https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/devil.png
 

Perhaps when they ask "How are you doing?" your answer could be, "How am I doing what?" https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/laughing.png

     Thread Starter
 

August 28, 2022 10:23 pm  #7


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

Excellent points about bad vs. good producers. Re: quality... I dare say it also depends on the number of people calling in that the producer can choose from, also for practical purposes they've gotta fill that time in, get at least one or two listeners on-air.

Several times I've been listening to The Rush when the response from listeners to call in on a topic was less than keen and much verbal tap dancing was involved until they could go to traffic or a commercial break.

I fully understand how the "As I was" preamble can be irritating. It's never irked me before, but it probably will now.😒🙄😄

Last edited by betaylored (August 28, 2022 10:35 pm)

 

August 28, 2022 11:01 pm  #8


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

There used to be a theory that it would often only take one caller to start an avalanche of others. Getting that first one on a so-so topic was the key to opening the flood gates. So maybe that's why those who get on air first aren't always the best of the best. If it gets others to call, it's worth it.

     Thread Starter
 

August 28, 2022 11:10 pm  #9


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

Peter the K wrote:

That drives me nuts as well.   It's a crutch and maybe callers should not make it through the delay if they utter it.  I can almost put up with "long time listener, first time caller" but prefacing what you're about to say with the fact that you've already said it is rather pointless.

One that's almost as bad is when the caller asks "How are you doing today?"  I get asked that a lot when I do my customer service gig.  Drives me nuts.  Unless it's coming from someone I actually know, (even brief acquaintance is fine) mind your own friggin' business!  I swear one of these days, (probably the last day of the gig) when some bonehead asks how I am I'm going to let them have it with the full litany of my latest cancer and heart scans.  https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/devil.png

 

The late comedian Shelley Berman used to have a sketch where he'd be playing an ambassador from the U.S. meeting his counterpart from a different country, who didn't speak English and needed a translator. The bit went something like this:

----------

Ambassador: Please tell his Excellency, "How do you do?"

The translator and the guest exchange a dialogue in a foreign language, at which point they stop.

Translator: His Excellency wants to know, "How does he do what?"

Ambassador: No, tell him we have a question in English that doesn't have an answer.

The translator confers again, then looks at the Ambassador and responds, "His Excellency says 'Eh - Now and then.' "

Ambassador: What does he mean "now and then?"

Translator: His Excellency says if you asked him a question to which there's no answer, he gave you an answer to which there is no question!

-------

Which is a very long-winded way of saying that's what your story reminds me of. 

     Thread Starter
 

August 28, 2022 11:11 pm  #10


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

Thanks for taking my call.

 

August 28, 2022 11:18 pm  #11


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

The best phrase in radio whether it's in talk radio or two co-hosts of a morning show talking before turning on the mics...
"Stop.  Save it for on air."

 

August 29, 2022 12:10 am  #12


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

I was just reminded that way back in 2016, I put up this post, which involves more than just the screener issue. I thought my complaint sounded familiar!

The Top 10 List Of Things You Hope To Never Hear On Talk Radio

     Thread Starter
 

August 29, 2022 9:14 am  #13


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

One phrase really overused is in sports whenever there is a great play or sometimes a bad play...the sportscasters often scream...
"Are you kidding me??"  They will even repeat that more than once if the play is really exceptional.  Watch greatest sports highlights and the number of times sportscasters say this. 

 

August 29, 2022 9:30 am  #14


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

RadioActive wrote:

It happens with nearly every random caller they take to comment on a topic, and they should ban it immediately. If only that were possible. The phrase that doesn't pay is "As I was just telling your screener..." after which the caller launches into the subject he or she called about and presumably detailed to the producer. 

I realize a lot of this is nervousness on the part of the listener, but there must be a way to get them to realize no one cares what they just told the screener, no one knows that they talked to the screener and it ruins the magic of radio somewhat to even acknowledge that there is a screener in the first place.

I agree, definitely irritating and highly overused.

I read once this "I was just telling your screener" is an extension of part of natural human psychology/behavior. For example, if you're in a room where the person you just told an anecdote to is within earshot, it's natural to want to include them with an "I was just telling [whomever] about..."   Even if you're mingling in a room where the first person isn't there or not within earshot, it's human nature to acknowledge that exchange so you don't feel you're just repeating the same anecdote or story over and over. The caller might feel the producer is listening, of course, once put on-air. It's not a "natural" situation to be saying the same exact thing again without acknowledging a prior exchange - you call it nerves, and I agree there too, but human psychology is amplifying that.

Now in our Zoom or Teams-based world, I've seen countless times where people arrive at a meeting on time and someone is talking about their weekend adventure or a story about their kid or pet or something. The main meeting organizer or leader might be delayed and shows up 5 minutes late, asks how everyone is or how the weekend went, and the same person who was talking says "I was just telling the folks that..." or "I was just telling everyone that..." and then re-encapsulates the story.

 

August 29, 2022 2:43 pm  #15


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

Then there is the host who can't complete a sentence with out at least one " You know " or using the word " problematic " . That is enough for me to change the dial. 

 

August 29, 2022 11:25 pm  #16


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

mic'em wrote:

Then there is the host who can't complete a sentence with out at least one " You know " or using the word " problematic " . That is enough for me to change the dial. 

Then there are the people who post vague references without filling in the details.

 

August 29, 2022 11:30 pm  #17


Re: The Most Irritating Phrase In Talk Radio

paterson1 wrote:

One phrase really overused is in sports whenever there is a great play or sometimes a bad play...the sportscasters often scream...
"Are you kidding me??"  They will even repeat that more than once if the play is really exceptional.  Watch greatest sports highlights and the number of times sportscasters say this. 

I am so sick of that phrase. 
Also, "There are no words" drives me insane.  There are literally words for everything and your job is to use them to convey what you're seeing and feeling.  If you aren't able to do that you're in the wrong profession.  The one and only time that phrase was appropriate was when Aaron Brown used it on CNN as the second tower fell on 9/11.  If you can't find the words to desribe a no hitter in May, get out of the chair and resign.
 

Last edited by Tomas Barlow (August 29, 2022 11:33 pm)