When I worked at NPR, I wrote a promotional-imaging script for Bob Edwards, then Host of Morning Edition. That same week, I wrote a different message for Scott Simon, Host of Weekend Edition Saturday.
I admit to being apprehensive, scared, nervous, unsure, lacking all confidence -- you get the drift.
Even scarier than writing for both was waiting to hear back from them once they had a chance to read through, and then ultimately record them for broadcast.
When I got the tapes back from them, the individual scripts were attached to each reel (this was a while ago).
I nervously unfolded the Bob Edward script and saw that he had put a red line through…..only one word. One word.
I went through a similar experience when I got the script back from Scott Simon, anticipating “red line city.”
No red lines…but he did add one additional word. One word.
This is not about me and my ability to write for, and get affirmation from two NPR giants.
It’s about the one word. My scripts were probably good enough. But whatever I had written was now dramatically improved by the addition and deletion of just one word. In radio terminology, both scripts now “popped.”
Everything we do has a small, special ingredient. Add one thing…subtract one thing. For the performer, it might mean leaning on a certain note…warming it up in some small way. Or pulling back on one phrase, letting what the composer wrote speak on its own, trusting that the composer knew what she or he was doing.
It might mean removing that hype-adjective in your bio. “Great” is a good word to red line. (Go to your bio or any artist bio and find the overblown word(s) that diminishes your or their authenticity and credibility.)
The meat, and total impact of what you’re saying or playing can be
greatly enhanced by one simple stroke.