Editor Column: Spin that interview, DJ
I was hesitant the first time somebody asked me to do a radio interview.
It was always sickening each time I had heard my own voice played back to me, and it inevitably led to the panic-induced question of “is that how I sound to everyone else?”
However, no circumstance will ever illicit the horror of watching a fifth-grade talent show performance in which your’s truly belted the lyrics to “Back in Black” by AC/DC. Unfortunately for me, my attempt to dress like lead singer Brian Johnson dressed in the music video did little to distract people from my shrieking, which I can only imagine resembled the sound of a flock of seagulls being clubbed to death.
I can hear the last lines of Marlon Brando’s character in the classic film “Apocalypse Now” just thinking about the talent show nightmare. “The horror, the horror.”
Sorry, where was I?
Radio, that’s right. The first request came shortly after taking this job. Being a new face, I figure Amy over at KDNK thought it wouldn’t hurt to have me on and talk about coming on board at The Citizen. I can’t remember why I ultimately said yes, but I did.
And I was nervous. Radio is my second-most-consumed form of media — after newspapers and their related websites, of course. (I will avoid a lengthy rant about how some radio stations claim to report the news when they really just read the first couple sentences from newspaper stories. It happens … a lot.)
I’ve never done the math, but I would feel comfortable saying that on average I probably listen to three hours of public radio every day.
It’s the first preset in my car, and on most days it is the first thing I hear in the morning and last thing I hear before going to bed.
Before you start judging me, options are limited when you do not have cable, which I don’t, and I need some noise to fall asleep at night.
I’m a news junkie and NPR does a solid job of reporting stories you might not hear or read elsewhere. (It also has some programing perfect for falling asleep.)
Not all NPR affiliates are equal, but I’ve encountered quite a few stellar stations during my time in Colorado, which only fed my neurosis when I was first asked to do an interview.
The people on public radio, for the most part, sound intelligent and balance brevity with insight when they talk — all things beyond my capabilities.
I frequently take long pauses when I speak and use far too many “ums” and “likes” than I care to even think about. I remembered a college friend who shared some tips she learned during an internship about proper radio cadence and how you’re supposed to speak in a slightly lower tone than your normal speaking voice.
Of course, as all this was going through my mind, I had never thought to ask if the interview was live or prerecorded. Luckily, it wasn’t live and some skilled editing made me sound mildly intelligent. And I even hated my voice a little less.
Since that first interview, I think I’ve done six more — three in the past two weeks due to some increased upvalley interest in the Parachute election — with local stations. I’ve come to enjoy those opportunities and I now jump on them anytime they’re presented to me. More importantly though, I appreciate the fact that people beyond the immediate distribution area are learning about and reacting to certain events in western Garfield County.
One of the things I heard pretty steadily after starting here was that a lot of people felt this area had been neglected by local media.
I can’t speak to that, the feeling of neglect, but it does bring about an interesting reaction to media coverage that I’ve observed, not necessarily here but elsewhere.
When things are good people feel unappreciated. And when things are bad it feels like they’re under a microscope. (Again, this is a more general observation and not something I’ve encountered at The Citizen.)
Part of that is due to the nature of news — ordinary events are not news. But I’ve made a point to try and include as much of the picture as I can in my coverage of life out here.
And I’ve come to love sharing it over the airways with those who are interested.
We’ve a lot going on out here, some good and some bad, and I’ll share that news anyway I can.
Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.