Wednesday, December 28, 2005

How do you pronounce “Bollwage?”

THIS MESSAGE IS COURTESY OF now really, do you expect a radio announcer to read an advertisement perfectly if it's written entirely in upper case, sprinkled with out-of-place commas and generally expressed in bad syntax?
A company that feeds a lot of ads to our radio station does think that way. I believe they run a special program to put their copy all in upper case, and then turn a second grader, loose on, it with a special, “comma” marker. When the ads come into our sales department, I expect somebody to do a little proofing, rescue the abused commas, and notice – just notice mind you – that the ad wants everyone to come to a church on Main Street in some town that's never identified.

Evidently I expect far too much. So thanks, everybody, for listening while I unload a little steam. But let me tell you about Mayor Bollwage.

Elizabeth's Mayor Bollwage is serious about combating drugs and educating kids. I know, because I read an ad about it last week at 8:20 a.m.. But before I read the ad on the air, I reviewed it, fixed the meandering commas, and asked myself, “How do you pronounce Bollwage?” A quick trip to the internet yielded a phone number, so I called him at home, and he was there, QUITE surprised to hear from me, but happy to tell me his name is pronounced “Bowl' wage”. So there. I put a little note on the ad about how to pronounce his name, just where that note should have been in the first place.

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