Incompetence in Broadcasting

October 26, 2004

It might be coincidence, but it seems like this week has brought us more than the usual amount of incompetence in broadcasting. My standards really aren't high. I just don't think these broadcasters are trying to entertain me as hard they used to.

First, I have to call out Donald Trump for what's left out of The Apprentice. No, I'm not crazy enough to believe that we see most of what happens on a reality show. I don't even think that we get the real story. Of course they are going to edit the whole thing in a way to make good TV for us viewers. The successful shows pull it off. We're entertained, and have a reasonable belief -- rightly or wrongly -- that we know what happened.

Donald Trump and Mark Brunett aren't making me a believer this season. There's just too much that they leave out. For example, last week, they got a phone call from the Don's secretary with a short, terse instruction to meet him in Central park the next morning. They all show up, and somehow, they all knew to wear casual clothes instead of their suits. Amazing coincidence that they wore those clothes and would be getting dirty? I think not.

The worst part has been the obvious voice-overs in the board room the last two weeks. Donald is talking about what a disappointment one contestant or other is, and the camera goes to their faces for reaction. Then, in mid sentence, Don's voice will change entirely. The words carry on like they're logically connected, but you would have to be mostly deaf not to catch it. The echo from the board room is gone. And Don goes from a natural speaking cadence to what you can tell is a read. It's not a bad read. He does pretty good. But still, it's not what was actually said.

If they would just take the tiniest effort, it wouldn't be so noticeable. Couldn't they re-record his comments in the same room so there aren't obvious acoustic differences.

Speaking of somewhat obvious reads, you have got to turn on WWL in New Orleans at halftime of the next Saints game. Buddy D's "comments" are delivered with such a bad read, that if you aren't a regular listener, you will think it's a spoof. I'm not kidding when I say that it sounds like a bright second grader or a dumb fourth grader. I think he has to sound out his words, and he's the one that wrote it in the first place! For cryin' out loud.

Oh -- I almost posted this without pointing out that the guy talks like he has a mouth full of cotton. Maybe not cotton, because he isn't quiet, but it does seem like there's something in his mouth that prevents him from making clear consonant sounds. I know it's hard to imagine if you haven't heard it for yourself. Believe me, it's hard to describe. he also does a nightly show that is 100% Saints, because if you get him off of that topic, he might as well be talking about the molecular structure of mitochondria.

I guess my point is this: how on earth does a barely literate guy who can't speak clearly and only knows one topic get a job in radio? And get this: he's immensely popular. Only in New Orleans.

On a similar note, Ashlee Simpson got busted in a lip-synch fiasco on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. For her second set, the music started playing the same song she had done on the first set. I happened to catch footage of this cluster on TV this morning. It is really quite hilarious. She didn't know what to do, so she hopped around like a maniac for about 30 seconds, and then she jogged off stage, bailing on the performance entirely. Impressive. Makes you feel a little silly about burning your old Milli Vanilli cassette tape doesn't it?

At least we know that Saturday Night Live really does run live. I wonder if Ashlee's disaster still played on tape out west, or if they cleaned it up before it aired out there.