The New Yorker once called A Way with Words “Car Talk for lexiphiles,” which sums up in four words why this public radio program is a sure thing on any public radio station and why station carriage has grown from just 12 stations to hundreds.
It’s an interesting hour of voices from all over having fun, smart, and contemporary conversations about language.
There’s nothing else quite like it on radio.
No Carriage Fees
There are no carriage fees or other costs associated with airing A Way with Words over the air or online.
We are able to forgo broadcast fees because like-minded listeners, donors, sponsors, and grant-making organizations who believe in our nonprofit mission, and in the idea and goals of public radio, cover the funds we would otherwise receive from broadcasters.
See a list of broadcasters who currently carry the program.
How To Get The Show
Send email or call (619) 567-9673 and tell us when you’d like to begin. There are no contracts to sign. To be notified of new episodes, tell us whom to add to the private announcement email list.
Episodes of A Way with Words are made available no later than Wednesday of each week. You can get the show:
- Through PRSS/Content Depot. An account is required but there are no carriage fees charged for the show.
- Through PRX. An account is required but no points are charged for the show.
- By download from our web site in WAV, MP3, and MP2 formats, in six-file and two-file versions. You can also download the show in broadcast-quality formats from our website. Email or call (619) 567-9673 to get the link.
Why You Should Carry the Program
- It constantly receives glowing testimonials.
- There are no carriage fees.
- It fills the infotainment void left in the public radio system left by the departure of shows such as Car Talk and Ask Me Another.
- It gently discusses issues important to listeners and society, such as gender, race, equity, and equality, all through the lens of language.
- Includes voices and accents of many ages, regions, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Everyday public radio listeners are heard.
- The hosts will help you at pledge time, if schedules allow, which can include custom pledge promos, live-pitching, fundraiser episodes, or anything else you might want to help boost your fundraising.
- When we hold public events in your town, we’ll work with you.
Content and Tone
A Way with Words is like Car Talk meets Antiques Roadshow, where what seems to be esoteric is really about human relationships and stories. This is a show with heart.
What it is: Martha and Grant are the teachers you wish you’d had. The show is upbeat, lively, conversational, fresh, contemporary. It’s a positive, information-based look at what is happening with all aspects of modern language and communication, using anecdotes, culture, relationships, and families as starting points. There’s a lot of first-hand, primary research and professional language experience that informs the dialogue.
What it’s not: The show is not like cobwebbed school-marms giving lectures. There’s no chiding, tsk-tsking, or finger-wagging. Nor is it simply a recitation of what one could easily find in a Google search — Martha and Grant have decades of knowledge and deep libraries that go beyond what the average person can find on the internet. There’s also no ranting about the decline of English (because it’s just fine, thank you).
What listeners tune in to hear:
- Comparison and history of dialects, accents, and vocabulary of regional and ethnic groups
- How thoughts and criticisms about the way other people speak are sometimes not about language, but instead are about cultural issues like racism, sexism, genderism, classism, elitism, ethnocentrism, parochialism, ageism, and other biases and prejudices
- Family expressions and linguistic heirlooms — old-fashioned things your family has passed down
- Word histories, etymologies, historical lexicography, and historical linguistics
- Teen and college slang, and new words from pop culture, technology, sports, current events, science, the arts, and more
- Discussion of similarities and differences beetween world languages
- Book recommendations, poetry, and examples of inspiring and uplifting writing
- Word games, puzzles, and quizzes
- Proverbs, idioms, sayings, and catchphrases, from the very old to the very modern
- Language in the classroom, including english as a second language
- Speaking and writing well at school and at work
Times and Clocks
We pre-produce our show as a call-out program which means that the show is delivered as files rather than as a live feed.
It may be aired at any time during the week as many times as you like. The show is highly effective between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekends, but 1 p.m. on weekdays turns out a surprisingly robust response, as well. It pairs very well with Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. Stations that are following the trend of reducing the number of times a week that they re-air public radio’s big shows will find that A Way with Words will fill any of those spots nicely.
Our broadcast clock looks something like this:
Segment 1: 13:00
Music Bed: 1:00
Segment 2: 19:00 Music Bed: 1:00
Segment 3: 19:00
Stations typically take NPR news at the top of the hour and start our show at :06 with breaks at :19 and :39 and out at :59.
Here’s a typical episode rundown:
—-Intro: 2-3 minutes
—-Caller questions: 10-11 minutes
—-Word Challenge 4-6 minutes
—-Caller questions 13-15 minutes
—-Lexbag 3-5 minutes
—-Caller questions 13-15 minutes