Thursday, January 23, 2003
WHO CAN HEAR THE FINE PRINT?
An increasing number of radio commercials feature fast-talking announcers spouting all the "fine print" at break-neck speed. The companies buying the spots may be fulfilling their federal obligations to lay out the specifics, but the manner in which the material is read is not conducive to understanding.
One of the primary rules of radio journalism is to make it clear the first time. Listeners to radio spots, unlike readers of newspapers and magazines, do not have the luxury of going back and rehashing the material to get all the details.
To make matter worse, production companies are speeding up the digitally produced spots so the announcer, although sounding like Donald Duck, actually does say all the material -- but who can understand it?
As baby boomers become a later part of the population, the problem is worsened because a growing number of people do not have the astute hearing they had when they were younger. Since most commercials are written and produced by younger and younger production people, the situation is bound to get worse.
For consumers caught in this "I wish they would slow down" mess there is still a call to the company involved or the radio station airing the spot. Don't be afraid to call and ask. After all, the stations have to fulfill an obligation to broadcast in the "interest, convenience and necessity" of the city of license. And, if the world is not "convenient" to easy listening, make that call.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.
All rights reserved.