September 15, 2012

If You Just Tuned In

I’ve been listening to Weekend Edition Saturday this afternoon. One announcement on this show, like many similar announcements one hears on radio, drove me crazy. It went something like this:
If you just tuned in, this is Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio.
That may not have been the exact wording, but you get the idea. The general form is
If you just tuned in, this is [fill in program name here].
Is it not obvious that this is a dumb statement to make? Even if one did not just tune in, the program still is  Weekend Edition Saturday. There is no need at all for the if construction.

Better is simply
This is Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio.
If one feels the need to identify the target audience, the announcement can something like on of the following:
If you just tuned in, know that this is Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio

If you just tuned in, you should know that this is Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio.

If you just turned in, we’d like you to know that this is Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio.
Alas, I suspect that the unnecessary conditional construction is too much of a radio tradition to be susceptible to change. This locution differs little from the conventional statement, however, and makes good sense:
For those of you who just tuned in, this is Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio.

Note: This post was updated slightly 9/19/2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are not allowed. Gratuitous profanity or libelous statements will be removed. Comments will also be removed that include gratuitous links to commercial Web sites. Please stay on topic.