Fry, Vocal, Fry

Listening to the reporters on This American Life complain about being criticized for vocal fry makes me wonder why these people ever went into radio in the first place.

Yes, the story is nominally about how mean people can be on the Internet. and the complaint tweets and emails they’re reading are pretty cruel.  And they do seem to focus on younger, women reporters. And they quickly reviewed previous trendy complaints: upspeak and using “like” in place of a comma.

First, growling is going to be more noticeable in sopranos than baritones.  Stop trying to make a disparate impact claim out of what people like and don’t like to hear.

When Ira Glass interviews one young woman producer, who fries, upspeaks, and “like”s her way through the whole conversation, she moans that “people actually have a problem with the way I talk? Seriously?”

Yes, they do.  You’re in radio, for crying out loud. It’s a vocal medium, and your voice is your tool for communicating.  If it’s grating, annoying, or distracting, people aren’t going to be paying attention to what it is that’s so important that you have to say.  It’s why print reporters have editors, and it’s why magazines and newspapers spend all that time worrying about layout, graphics, and fonts.

If you want to be on the air, you need to find a way to speak that doesn’t send people screaming from the room. Or content yourself with being a writer.


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