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At WGN-AM 720, the Tribune's CEO limits DJ's so they'll sound more professional


Tribune CEO, Randy Michaels has a lot on his mind. His newspaper division, which has been in the tank for years, is starting to pull viable businesses down with it, such as WGN-AM and WGN-TV. While the Tribune company struggles to right the books, you'd think that their CEO would have better things to do than sit down and write out a list of 119 colloquialism. CEOs for whom I've worked certainly wouldn't be dictating journalistic phrasing in such times;. No, they'd be searching for ways to make money or trim expenditures..

It reminds me of that scene in Titanic when the ship is going down but the band is still playing. I wonder if, in a few years, we'll say, "Remember the sinking of the Tribune? Their English was perfect, even at the end."

WGN's news director was given the task of informing the plebes down in the broadcast booths. In a memo, he wrote, "Don't say them on WGN."

The purpose behind editorial restructuring was to keep newscasters from sounding like they were reading rather than speaking. I wonder if  WGN-TV will start hiding their scripts next week?

What are the chances that Meyerson will be listening to any given broadcast at the exact time an announcers slips? I haven't seen the latest book, but I don't think that WGN-AM is breaking any records. Meyerson took care of that little glitch by directing the WGN staff to keep tabs on other staff member''s compliance. Very Stalinesque of you, Mr. Meyerson. 

Just for the record, any time a word that was not in a dictionary or thesaurus became part of a culture (Xerox, for instance), the word is usually added to the dictionary or thesaurus. It's never banned. Recently, "ain't" wasn't considered to be a proper word, but America rolled on. A few years later, ain't was added with little fanfare. Below is the composite list. Unfortunately, Meyerson mis-spells a word, and I've never heard of half the phrases. Maybe we can form a live call-in posse to help Meyerson further lose friends and influence no one. Oh, and one last thing; in case you can't decipher something, Rick Myerson's added notes to help us out. For the sake of humor, I added my comments in italics..

The List
"Flee" meaning "run away" Flea, meaning bug is okay.
"Good" or "bad" news  based on the premise that only  bad news sells?
"Laud" meaning "praise"
"Seek" meaning "look for"  Looking is much better. Seeking seems to designate a higher purpose.
"Some" meaning "about"
"Two to one margin" . . . "Two to one" is a ratio, not a margin. A margin is measured in points. This is said during baseball games all the time. 
"Yesterday" in a lead sentence  how about a song? "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so...."
"Youth" meaning "child"
5 a.m. in the morning
After the break
After these commercial messages  rather than  messages meant to sell stuff 
All of you
Allegations  Real word. No problems.
Alleged  Real word. No problems.
Area residents  What is the neighborhood had visitors from China? 
As expected
At risk
At this point in time        
Authorities                       Your in the news biz, sometimes you have to be hush hush
Auto accident                  I have auto insurance. Says so right on the policy.
Bare naked                     
Behind bars  Incarcerated? In the slammer? at the big house? Up-state?
Behind closed doors    Technically, this is correct. 
Behind the podium (you mean lecturn) (no Rick, it's lectern. The red squiggles mean it's spelled incorreclty)
Best kept secret  until  it was banned from WGN-A
Campaign trail   Why?
Clash with police  I get along with the CPD. Others do not, so some clash with the police
Close proximity    is the best proximity. Banned! Oh, the horror of it all.
Complete surprise 
Completely destroyed/abolished/finished  etc. blah blah blah. Go count beans. 
Death toll
Definitely possible
Diva                     Someone call Cher and Bette. You're in trouble now, girl.
Down in (location) a hole? a well? the dumps? Those are locations.
Down there  I just returned from Haiti, and hings down there have taken a turn for the worse.
Dubbaya when you mean double you
Everybody (when referring to the audience)
Eye Rack or Eye Ran You're worried we're mispronouncing terrorist nations? Don't you run a company?
False pretenses   perhaps hollow pretenses, fake pretenses, dishonorable pretenses? False is easier.
Fatal death  even idiots don't use this.
Fled on foot  We're not allowed to use "flee," why would we use "fled"?
Folks   Works fine for nearly everyone in the country.
Giving 110%  because you can never give over 100, right? It's a "motivational phrase,"
Going forward  nitpicking. Is the dictionary your friend?
Gunman, especially lone gunman  Because "the lone man carrying a pistol" just rolls of the tongue
Hunnert when you mean hundred  Again, no one says this. 
Icon  Is cursor okay? Superstar? 
In a surprise move  In an unexpected turn of events is so professional. 
In harm's way  
In other news
In the wake of (unless it's a boating story) Of course *wink* We all have boats and golden parachutes. 
Incarcerated     imprisoned, jailed, in the slammer, doing time? What is the problem?
Informed sources say . . .anonymity would be my guess on this one.
Killing spree  Spree is a synonym for rampage. Is rampage off limits as well?
Lend a helping hand   You are helping, and you want the hand back. 
Literally   Figuratively, physically. All used to describe.
Lucky to be alive  "He karma-laden to be alive." is smooth, baby. Smooth. His Buddha was with him.
Marred   Marred surfaces? Marred events?
Medical hospital  Hate to say it, but there are medical clinics, labs, medical plazas. Veterinary hospital?
Mother of all (anything)
Motorist   Commuter? Driver? Car-pooler? 
Mute point. (It's moot point, but don't say that either) and no one says it in a conversation.
Near miss  It was a near miss. It missed. It nearly hit him. 
No brainer  Hmm. Too easy.
Our top story tonight 
Out in (location) 
Out there
Over in    Where? Over in the other offices across the hall. 
Pedestrian  A walking person. A stroller. Oh! A non-motorist
Perfect storm  
Perished  So, pretty much, you want to say DEAD, DEAD, DEAD
Perpetrator  Cops call 'em perps. I bet it sticks.
Seek     No more Best Buy promos.
Senseless murder
Shots rang out  Shots shattered the silent neighborhood
Shower activity
Sketchy details  Ah. You'd prefer sketchy, non-verified information. Instill trust first. I get it. 
Some (meaning about)
Some of you
Sources say . . .
Speaking out  Use Speaking in instead. MLK did.
Stay tuned  
The fact of the matter    While this is over-used, the fact of the matter is that it feels good to use it
Those of you
Thus...perfectly fine to use in speeches and presentations
Time for a break  a moment, time-lapse, retreat from reality?
To be fair
Torrential rain  Some is soft, some is medium,some is hard, and Torrential is good.
Touch base  
Under fire
Under siege
Underwent surgery  He had surgery. Boring.
Undisclosed  It is not known how much was taken because the police haven;t told us yet
Undocumented alien There are documented aliens. Look it up.
Unrest     Anticipation, agitation, aggravation
Untimely death 
Up in (location) the air? a tree?
Up there as in a hayloft?
Utilize (you mean use)  they're synonyms. I can utilize Use, or Use utilize.
Vehicle  What if they have to say vehicular? Does the root-word mean conjugations are out, too?
We'll be right back  We'll be talking at you real soon.
Welcome back  Son of Gun. Let's continue this broadcast until fruition. 
Welcome back everybody
We'll be back
Went terribly wrong  This is fine. Wrong is kissing you friends wife. Terribly wrong is...other stuff.
We're back
White stuff
World class   Highly respected in all country clubs
You folks

Of course, language is malleable, and unless some stodgy fellow tries to change the way you speak, I'd not worry about it.  If he can't handle regular English, what happens when reporters begin using words like mashup, #fail, and memes? 


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