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On nasal twangs and other thangs

By Staff
Leada Gore, Editor
"I saw you on TV," someone said to me at a Christmas party last weekend.
My mind went blank.
"TV?" I asked.
"APT," she said. "I saw you on 'For the Record'."
Oh, that. I had forgotten I was on the show a couple of weeks back. I was embarrassed and tried to quickly recover.
"Thank you," I said. "I hope it was OK."
I started doing "For the Record" earlier this year. The premise of the show is simple: a group of three media types appear on the 30-minute show to discuss that week's news events. The guests rotate every week, and the topics are tied mostly to state events.
I drove to Montgomery for my first appearance, but have opted to do later ones at the educational television station in Huntsville.
Because I'm in Huntsville and the show is in Montgomery, there is a 7-second or so delay from when I start speaking and when it's heard on the show. The delay means I often sound like I'm interrupting people or just a minute or so behind on the entire conversation.
But that's not my biggest concern. I was born and raised in Alabama and you can hear every bit of that upbringing in my voice. My accent is amplified on television and I can just imagine the people at home wondering how in the world someone who can't say the world "governor" without it coming out like "guuubernoor" got to be on TV.
I first learned how I sounded on television several years ago when I was interviewed by a local station about a tragic event that occurred in the small town where I worked.
I made it through the interview OK, until, at the end, I said "Columbiana will bounce back." As the words left my mouth, I knew how they sounded, something like "B (heavy on the B) ownce B (another heavy B) aaaack." It sounded even worse when I saw the interview later on television.
I had sworn off television since that time, thinking it better to spare the world another "Bownce Baaaack." I was talked out of the self-imposed exile when a friend said how much fun "For the Record" was.
Still, I am careful about what I say and how I say it while on the show.
I avoid the words "bounce," and "back" all together. I don't say things I normally say, such as "heavens to Betsy" or "goodness gracious."
I did let "the fat lady's a'singing" slip out one time, but I think I slipped it in under the radar screen.
And, for the most part, I think I will stick to the written word. No one reading this column cares about how I sound or if I say "bounce back" really funny.
Don't worry Katie Couric – your job is safe for now.