‘NPR Voice’ Has Taken Over the Airwaves


In literary circles, the practice of poets reciting verse in singsong registers and unnatural cadences is known, derogatorily, as “poet voice.” I propose calling this phenomenon “NPR voice” (which is distinct from the supple baritones we normally associate with radio voices).

This plague of pregnant pauses and off-kilter pronunciations must have come from someplace. But … where?

A primary cause of NPR voice is the sheer expansion of people broadcasting today. Whereas once only trained professionals were given a television or radio platform, amateurs have now taken over the airwaves and Internet. They may not have the thespian skills necessary to restrain the staginess of their elocution, leading to “indicating,” or overacting to express emotion. —NYTimes