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What's in a Name? Only the Death of my Dreams...

I like science and technology, I like learning, and I like NPR. I think it will come as no surprise that a science correspondent for public radio would definitely be up there on my list of dream jobs. There's one major problem...I have a horrible name. Now don't get me wrong, I have come to appreciate my name in it's entirety over the years but it just doesn't translate to radio. I'm talking 8 syllables and a last name that i swear I trip up on occasionally.

It'd be one thing if I wanted to work for clear channel, I could put some stupid adjective before my first name or find some terrible nickname (that lasted for 3 days, 14 hours, and 32 minutes in the 3rd grade) to use but at National Public Radio, this just won't do.

If you want to make a start, you need a name that is easy to pronounce, you don't want the hot shots at the top struggling with your name, you just won't last long. Guy Raz is a really good name, it's 2 syllables, easy to pronounce, easy to remember. If your name isn't going to be very short and memorable, the safest bet is an alliteration. Vikki Valentine and Ron Rapoport are perfect names for radio, they roll off the tongue and are memorable. When you name your child a name like that, it's like they're destined to have their names read to people all over, every day.

The next type of radio name that works is a long name, either using a middle name or a hyphenated last name. Karen Grigsby Bates is a nice strong radio name. She uses three names, all with a strong consonants at the start, creating a kind of pause and set up for each name. Lourdes Garcia-Navarro works equally as well but hers works because of how well it flows together. With a name as smoothly as delivered as that, what's NOT to like?

At the top tier of NPR's most memorable are names like Don Gonyea, Ina Jaffe, and Neda Ulaby. If you notice, these people always have the best jobs, foreign correspondents, white house correspondents, bureau chiefs, etc. If you have a good enough name, and the knowledge and knowhow, you end up with regular shows like Brian Unger, or Robert Krulwich (two of my favorite commentators). But of all the names on NPR, my favorites have to be Lakshmi Singh, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Sylvia Poggioli, and Ofeibea Quist-Arcton. Not only do these 4 ladies have possibly the best names on radio, they also happen to provide excellent coverage from abroad so that I might have a small idea of what is happening in the rest of the world.

I don't doubt the credentials of any of the people working at NPR, all I'm saying is that with 8 syllables, a tough last name, and every name starting with a soft sound, while I might be destined for a great many things, public radio I am not.


mike said...

hahahaa.. i've always noticed too how NPR correspondent names are wiiild.

i always liked the name cokie roberts... like... cokie? srsly? hahah.. so tight. and for some reason i always laugh when john ydstie sits in for steve inskeep cause they're sort of similar sounding. nina totenberg's a good name too. although, ofeibea is probably my favorite name ever.

for real though, the broad range of names is a testament to how diverse the NPR staff is which i think is what makes it so amazing.


adrian said...

Man, better go cop the
Nina Totin' Bag then!