Monday, July 07, 2008

Living Bi-coastal

Click. Fox News channel quickly materializes into view, with tele-genic hosts delivering in soft and modulated cadence. Up to the minute streaming news and human interest stories parade through one’s ken, presented in typically very soothing fashion allowing one the feeling to sit back comfortably, create a calming atmosphere around the electronic presence, and generally feel good about the world. (Okay, maybe not the last phrase.)

Another Click. And comes the screechy high-pitched voices of newscasters and program hosts, giving an almost caricatured and very loud rendition of news reporting or program hosting. Jolting one to sit nervously on edge, and maybe run reflexively for the remote to reduce volume.

A world of difference?

Wrenched from my adopted country of almost 30 years and living again in the old homeland for the last three months, I do need to be kept abreast of the news (and maybe, scandals) on both coasts, for very understandable personal reasons.

Cable TV affords one that convenience of surfing not only through local channels, but through many of the international channels as well. From CNN, to BBC, and to the local upstart, Fox News.

One cannot help but compare how news and messages are delivered from two sources separated by a wide ocean and thousands of miles apart. Differences abound not only in the language that they are delivered, but also in how news/messages are articulated over the air ostensibly for the listening delight of the listeners. Although, local news and programs are also done in English and at times in a combination of both, called locally under the euphemism of Taglish (Tagalog interspersed with English, or vice-versa).

Locally, to bring across passion, commitment, seriousness and deliberateness it almost seems like the “town crier” has to shout every word, with almost unnatural modulation, and definitely, loud voice. Live programs with audience participation are almost always a shrieking cacophony of shouting matches from hosts to audience, from light banter exchanges to ad-libbed live ads.

Why so loud with each talker holding on to the best sounding microphones very close to the mouth, one is left to ponder. And tossing one at sea in bewilderment.

Is it too much to expect from producers of shows or the hosts themselves to understand that delivery is very critical in bringing across from studio to listeners whatever messages they are trying to convey?

That shouting them, especially in unison and cadence with others only serves to audibly blur the messages, or worst muffle them badly as to be lost to or even misunderstood by the listeners?

Haven’t the ever vigilant and money-wise advertisers not wakened up to this, and politely requested for subtle changes in how their messages are articulated and delivered electronically?

But hey, maybe I am wrong. Very dead wrong. Maybe there is deliberate method to this seeming madness. Maybe surveys have determined this is the best way to deliver not only messages to the Filipino listener, but also to show commitment, passion, and deliberateness.

Whatever it is, please do not shout at me!

I am just wondering aloud.


  1. Nahhhh. You aren't wrong. You've just turned into an American. You have been ruined for life, never able to truly enjoy the strange (and irritating)way they deliver the news over here. I never watch local TV or listen to the yelling radio newscasters. Thank heavens for cable.

  2. Phil:

    I do not believe my preferences have changed over the years. I simply preferred one type of reporting and program hosting over what I now see on local media.

    Anyway, when I left the old homeland media wasn't as pervasive and popular as today. Whatever little TV we had in our parts of the islands was mostly canned foreign programs. Radio was listened to essentially for the music coming out of it.

  3. Ah you've noticed. I myself haven't gone abroad, but I've also tuned out.

    Note that you don't have to compare the popular prime time TV news to international ones. Compare it to not-so-famous local prime time TV news.

    I get my news only via the Internet, particularly Philstar and some blogs. I do know that there are equivalent agitating news delivery in the print media. You can see it in how they choose to word their headlines.

  4. Dave:

    I suspect the differences may be cultural, or even that of language. Because of how we enunciate our words, there is a tendency to shout out for emphasis or to be heard.

    I used to be reminded of that when I was quite new in the US, people cautioning me to tone down my speech. Yet I had thought that I was simply being emphatic.


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