Saturday, June 27, 2009

On The Media: Missed Opportunity and What's With "Edited . . . by Brooke"?

I've been listening pretty religiously to the weekly radio program On The Media for the past decade or so and I generally love it (though I'd, not surprisingly, love to hear more criticism of radio content). The show is produced by public radio station WNYC in New York and distributed by NPR to affiliates around the country. In the past year or so, I've been doing most of my listening via the weekly podcast (the program is heard Sunday evenings in Seattle, but is available by download on the preceding Friday).

This week, the show apparently had the unfortunate timing to have been produced before Thursday's death of Michael Jackson and the web vs. traditional media frenzy that followed. I just listened to this week's On The Media (midday Saturday, June 27) and was dismayed to find no mention of what's looking to be a defining moment in new media (and what was being characterized as such as early as late Thursday, when TMZ was credited with breaking the story of Jackson's death). Granted, On The Media doesn't bill itself as a to-the-minute topical show, but it seems to me that if there were ever a time to pull an already produced episode and start over, or at least re-edit to include a story about the unprecedented quantity and nature of media coverage of Jackson's death, this would have been the week to do so (particularly since topics in this week's show included what could have been complementary stories: an interview with bloggers hired by old school newspapers and a piece about ambush interviews). I guess I have next week's episode to look forward to for what will likely be insightful analysis of the Jackson coverage.

While I'm at it, as much as I like On The Media, the little "audio editing inside joke" near the end of each episode when co-host Bob Garfield says that the show is, "edited . . . by Brooke" is sometimes cute, sometimes irritating. Not to kill a joke by trying to analyze it, but I assume that the pause between "edited" and "by" is made by Mr. Garfield so that co-host and editor Brooke Gladstone will have to make a manual cut using ProTools or whatever audio editing software she uses (though she never does make such a cut). Am I wrong? Is it an oblique tribute to Ed Murrow's "This . . . is London"? Am I over sensitive? Is there a backstory to this that I'm not aware of? Please set me straight!


  1. I've wondered the same thing, and came to the conclusion that, in this particular instance, ignorance is bliss. OTM is generally pretty good, despite this repeating, irritating joke, and their "The present and future business models for monetizing the newspaper industry" song, which made me want to pull a gun every time I heard it.

  2. Apparently Brooke is a (markedly) better editor than Bob, and it has taken him a long time to "gracefully" accept. Seems he still tweaks her nose about it.

    Look here: