A Way with Words

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A Way with Words is an upbeat and lively hour-long listener-based call-out radio show about language examined through history, culture, and family.

The show is conversational, fresh, contemporary at the same time it reflects deep cultural heritage. It’s a positive, information-based look at what is really happening with all aspects of language and communication, using listener questions and anecdotes as starting points answered by first-hand, primary research and professional language experience.

Journalist/author Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett talk with callers from around the world about slang, new words, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, jokes and riddles, and speaking and writing well. They settle disputes, play word quizzes, and discuss language news and controversies.

There are no carriage fees. You can begin carrying the program right away. Email or call for details: biz@waywordradio.org, 646 286 2260. 


Why You Should Carry the Program
  • It costs you nothing, but it's a high-quality national-sounding show.
  • Nowhere else on public radio features so many different American voices each week. Includes voices and accents of all ages, regions, races, and backgrounds. 
  • It’s true audience-service. Everyday public radio listeners are heard. We reflect the community back to itself.
  • Highly loyal listeners who show up in force at stations’ fundraising time.
  • Serves the core public radio mission of informing and entertaining at the same time.
  • Family-friendly.
  • We’ll do live on-air pitching to help you at pledge time, if schedules allow.
  • We’ll tell podcast listeners and social media about you, so you can reconnect with the part of your audience that is already listening to us online or by podcast.
  • We remind our listeners to pledge stations at pledge time.
  • When we hold public events in your town, we’ll work with you to make sure that’s to your advantage, too.
What Programmers Say About the Show

“WFYI has been extremely pleased with the results of adding A Way with Words to the radio schedule. As a weekend entertainment program, the show delivers quality information and has that ‘discovery’ quality to it that makes it so favorable in comparison to Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Our audience has made this show appointment listening and a part of their weekend routine. And, they call in regularly with great questions!”

— Richard Miles, former VP, Interactive Media & Content Strategy at WFYI, Indianapolis

“Our listeners love A Way with Words. It’s a no-brainer because public radio listeners love words. Your listeners will love A Way with Words, too.”

— Jeff Ramirez, vice president of radio, KERA 90.1 and KXT 91.7, Dallas, Texas

A Way with Words is the perfect public radio show. It engages our audience and gives them an opportunity to think about how they use language, the most fundamental building block of human nature. The show is smart without being academic and funny without being smarmy. You really learn something from Martha and Grant and they clearly enjoy themselves on the show. Their enthusiasm goes a long way in making AWWW one of the more accessible radios shows out there.”

— John Decker, Director of Programming, KPBS-FM and TV, San Diego, California

A Way with Words is NOT your grandmother’s grammar book. Number one, it’s fun. Number two, you learn stuff without even trying. Number three, it’s not just smart, it’s savvy. If you run a public radio station, this program is like manna from heaven — it will make your listeners happy. It will make your listeners gorgeous and brilliant. Most importantly, it will make YOU rich and famous.

“At North Country Public Radio, the show has gone viral. Even in a tough time slot it has attracted a real following … think Prairie Home Companion at 6 pm on Saturdays in the early days. If it’s good, they’ll come. And they sure tune us in for A Way with Words. Try it, your listeners will love it.

“Grant visited the North Country and we thought people would never let him leave. Our listeners LOVE A Way with Words. We haven’t seen this kind of reaction since Wait Wait … or A Prairie Home Companion. Grant and Martha are natural talents. Even if you don’t give two hoots about words, I know you want talented people on your airwaves. These guys are the real deal.”

— Ellen Rocco, Station Manager, North Country Public Radio, Canton, New York

Find out more about the program.

Get the show on PRSS/Content Depot.

Media Materials

Logos, graphics, photos, bios, and press details are here.

Series

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217 Pieces

A Way with Words is a national, lively, hour-long public radio show about language, on the air since 1998. Author/journalist Martha Barnette and linguist/lexicographer Grant Barrett take listener calls about slang, grammar, old sayings, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well.


Pieces

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A highly anticipated children's book and the epic history behind a familiar vegetable. Fans of illustrator Maurice Sendak are eagerly awaiting the ...

Bought by KXCR, KREV-LP, WSLR, KTSW 89.9, WYAP and more


  • Added: Oct 13, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
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Where would you find a sports commentator talking about high cheese and ducks on a pond? Here's a hint: both terms are part of what make the langua...

Bought by KXCR, WSLR, KTSW 89.9, WNJR, WYAP and more


  • Added: Oct 05, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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Restaurant jargon, military slang, and modern Greek turns of phrase. Some restaurants now advertise that they sell "clean" sandwiches. But that doe...

Bought by KXCR, KREV-LP, WSLR, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Sep 28, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
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Hundreds of years ago, the word girl didn't necessarily mean a female child. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the term "girl" could refer to a child...

Bought by WEZU, KXCR, KREV-LP, WSLR, KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Sep 21, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
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This week on "A Way with Words”: The language we use to cover up our age, and covering up a secret message. Do you ever find yourself less-than-spe...

Bought by WEZU, KXCR, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KTSW 89.9, KREV-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 14, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
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Choosing language that helps resolve interpersonal conflict. Sometimes a question is really just a veiled form of criticism. Understanding the diff...

Bought by WEZU, KXCR, KREV-LP, WSLR, WYAP and more


  • Added: Sep 07, 2017
  • Length: 01:47:30
  • Purchases: 6
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A wingnut is a handy, stabilizing piece of hardware. So why is it a pejorative term for those of a certain political persuasion? Also, is there som...

Bought by KXCR, KREV-LP, WSLR, WETD, WYAP and more


  • Added: Aug 30, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
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Our youngest listeners have questions about everything from love to one of their favorite foods. Kids ask why we might end a text with the letters ...

Bought by KMXT, 90.1 WFYI Public Radio, KXCR, WESM 91.3 FM, KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Aug 30, 2017
  • Length: 29:45
  • Purchases: 6
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The words we choose can change attitudes--and change lives. A swing-dance instructor has switched to gender-neutral language when teaching couples....

Bought by KXCR, KREV-LP, WSLR, KTSW 89.9, WYAP and more


  • Added: Aug 24, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
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This week on "A Way with Words": Grant and Martha discuss the L-word--or two L-words, actually: liberal and libertarian. They reflect different pol...

Bought by WEZU, KXCR, WSLR, WETD, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio] and more


  • Added: Aug 17, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9