I’m Getting Worried About Derek Wang

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:48 am

Derek Wang (pronounced “Wong”) is the weekday morning anchor for our favorite local Public Radio station, and in general seems like an ideal fit for the job. His voice is a pleasant, well-rounded tenor, quite easy to listen to; he is articulate, seems quite intelligent and makes few if any errors in pronunciation, grammar or sentence structure during his time at the microphone. And, he has the added and highly valuable quality of not being Deborah Brandt, the host whose blessed departure in early 2007 spared KUOW’s dues-paying members another agonizing moment of her ham-handed segues, stale or often incomprehensible humor, and towards the end there, her occasional galaxy-collpasingly inappropriate on-air gaffes.

All in all, Derek’s ascension to the throne of weekday mornings has been a breath of fresh air—or perhaps Morning Edition; Fresh Air‘s on in the evening—and hardly a day goes by when I’m not grateful.

But over the last six months or so, Derek’s normal, calmly-paced and eminently sanguine demeanor has thinned just a titch. The ham has begun to show through, and it makes me fear the possibility of rhetorical trichinosis to come.

Case in point: the other day, at the conclusion of a Morning Edition segment on the fictional character Harriet the Spy, Wang stepped in with the line, “Now, let’s ‘spy’ on the morning commute with Metro Traffic’s Harmon Shay.” Ugh.

This is by no means the kind of groaner that Brandt used to rub out on a regular basis, such as her excruciating, “Well, over in Europe right now they’re holding the Tour de France, but here on the highways of the Puget Sound we’re doing the Turtle Pants, right, Harmon?” (Really, no kidding; she actually said that. I thought I’d have to cauterize my ears shut with a soldering iron after that one.) But it does nonetheless exhibit an unsettling sort of proto-lameness to it. And interjections in a similar vein have been coming more and more often as of late. Like watching a complex life form magically and tragically devolve into something resembling one of its more rudimentary progenitors before your eyes, I fear that this seemingly innoxious bit of banter might be the first warning sign of far worse to come.

Please please please, Radio Gods, say it ain’t so.

I have neither the guts nor the requisite innate assholery to contact Mr. Wang directly with my concerns, but on the off chance he might come across this posting while trawling the search engines for mention of his name, allow me a moment to address him directly:

Derek, should you happen to visit Uncle Andrew dot Net and stumble upon these words, please understand; I mean you no ill will, my opinion of you as a radio personality remains high, and of course my or any other listener’s feelings regarding your on-air performance have nothing whatsoever to do with your elemental and multifaceted value as a human being. It’s just that, having been burned once with the banal flame of sophomoric and at times unfathomable humor at the hands of your predecessor, even the barest whiff of smoke imbues me with fear of the fire. I beg you, handle us your listening audience with care. I’m sure I speak for more than a few of us when I say that I’d like my Morning Edition over easy, with coffee. Hold the ham.

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