Without a Paddle

Eugene Levy has a recognizable voice, especially to those of us who watched him pn SCTV and in movies like American Pie. I heard his voice on NPR as I was flipping around the dial and I stopped to listen to the interview.

As a radio guy, I was frustrated that interviewer Scott Simon didn’t mention Levy’s name while I was listening. I later looked up the interview online and realized that Simon only said the name of his guests during the introduction and the close. There was no reset during the six and a half minute conversation.

Many radio hosts fall into the trap of addressing their guests in the second person, thereby forgetting about the listeners. One helpful technique is to think of the listeners in the second person and the guest in the third person. For example, Simon could have said, “You’re listening to Eugene Levy and his son Daniel talk about their new show.” Or better yet, “We’re talking with Eugene Levy and his son Daniel about their new show.”

If the host thinks of his or her radio show as a cocktail party with new people arriving, it’s easy to remember to introduce the new arrivals to the guest of honor. Instead, NPR interviews often sound like a private conversation that leaves the radio listener excluded.

Despite my complaints, I was thrilled to learn about the Levys’ new show. I found the first episode online in advance of its U.S. broadcast premiere on February 11.

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