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Corey Deitz

119 Words You Can't Say on the Radio, at Least WGN Chicago

By March 12, 2010

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Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels has issued a list of 119 words and phrases which should never be spoken on WGN-AM/Chicago by anchors or reporters.

"WGN news director Charlie Meyerson, good soldier that he is, passed on what he identified as Michaels' 'list of forbidden "newsspeak" words and phrases' in a memo to his staff Monday, with the explicit warning: 'Don't say them on WGN,' according to Robert Feder's blog.

Included on the list: "Alleged", area residents", "campaign trail", "diva", "incarcerated", "perfect storm", "reportedly", "untimely death", and "you folks".

You can see the complete list in Feder's post.

March 19, 2010 at 10:39 pm
(1) Greg says:

Well, he might have more important things he could be doing, and he may be going too far asking people to nark on their co-workers, but most of the phrases on that list SHOULD be removed from our lexicon. I am glad that someone spoke up for once in the wake of so many over-hyped stories using such emotionally charged rhetoric designed to make the reporter sound intelligent, but just turns out making them look stupid. It’s been going on for some twenty years now. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Every single time a politician gets incarcerated while on the campaign trail, or a diva reportedly meets her untimely death. I wish I had more time to really go for it, but…

I am glad that someone did point out how stupid some of these things sound, and how overused they are.

March 20, 2010 at 11:16 pm
(2) Rod Douglas says:

Dear Cory,

Isn’t Randy Michaels the former CEO of Clear Channel?
I don’t feel like the average listener is that particular to
those words that Michael’s is talking about. Just give the
listener unbiased reporting and exciting and interesting
cutting edge talk programs. I also believe that listeners are tired of talk show hosts getting up on a soap box
to express their feelings and opinions.

When I did my talk show in Vegas years ago, I would
tell listeners that the stars of my program are my guests
and the people who call in. I would allways be polite to
callers and not treat them like crap if they didn’t agree with my guest. We would talk about things that you wouldn’t see or hear about in the main stream media.

WGN has always been a great station and I feel that they will continue to be great even after Michaels


Rod Douglas

April 9, 2010 at 10:46 am
(3) John says:

One of the questions when you take a ham radio exam is “where do you find the obsene discriptive words and unappropiate content that you should not use on air” the answer is there is no list with the fcc. maybe there should be a list approved by all services as well as broadcasting to disclude words that downgrade, hurt, and etc intellectual content on the air use and any other such as sattlelite radio even Citizen Band maybe “on the air” would be better where you wouldnt mind your kids listening to radio.

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