I feel your pain. Having been in the business, feel it deeply. Not that the craft shouldn't have changed with the times. I think the common approach to classical broadcasting heard in the 60s or 70s would sound anachronistic today. Presenters tended to be artificially elevated and formal, just because it was the classics and therefore above all the rest. A bastion of the male basso-macho-profundo. Ugh! I think we hit a pretty suitable compromise for a while; natural voices using common parlance, informed yet not overdone or self-indulgent commentary, personality but never a doubt that the music was the central reason for the whole exercise. It's that last aspect that's been lost, I think.
Regarding the basic suitability of voices for broadcasting, I'm flummoxed by some of the choices NPR is making. I've never cared about beautiful voices, but in a visual culture that is so concerned about just the right look, how is it that we are expected to accept aural ugliness? Ear of the beholder? I'm too old to understand, but my guess is it's an immature, half-educated, nitwit management who assume, naturally, what the ideal should be - people who sound just like them. It's the dictatorship of the "creative class."
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of DAVID BURNHAM
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 6:00 PM
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Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Toothpaste
I have long bemoaned these very characteristics of modern radio. In Toronto, there is a classical music station that exemplifies every thing negative about broadcasting. The compression is so brutal that the other night we listened to the most comical presentation of Ravel's "Bolero" - it started out loud and got quieter as the piece progressed with the bass drum at the end swallowing all of the big final chords. Their announcers always pounce on the end of the piece not to tell us what it is or who was performing it but to tell us how wonderful this station is. It's the same after the intro, the piece will start during the last consonant of the introduction. The questioning nature of radio speak that Tom referred to, (what I call "up-speak" so that every statement sounds like a question), is another style that gets irritating very fast. (I guess it evolved from the way Canadians are supposed to speak with an "eh?" at the end of every sentence. I have never heard a Canadian speak in that manner in real life.) I wonder if they still even have broadcasting schools. At CBC they always had a person whose sole job was to monitor proper pronunciation, grammar and voice levels on the air and if you pronounced Purcell with the emphasis on the last syllable, you could count on this person entering the studio.