A Way with Words

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A Way with Words is an upbeat and lively hour-long public radio show about language examined through history, culture, and family. 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 Grant Barrett for details: grant@waywordradio.org, 646 286 2260. 

The show is conversational, fresh, contemporary. It’s a positive, information-based look at what is really happening with all aspects of language and communication, using anecdotes, culture, relationships, and families as starting points. There’s a lot of first-hand, primary research and professional language experience that informs the dialogue.

Why You Should Carry the Program

  • It costs you nothing, but it's a high-quality national-sounding show.
  • 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 off-air.
  • 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, 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

Caption: Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette
189 Pieces

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


Pieces

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Vocabulary that trickles down from the top of the world. Malamute, kayak, and parka are just some of the words that have found their way into Engli...

Bought by WEZU, KRPS, and KNVC Carson City Community Radio


  • Added: May 21, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
Secret codes, ciphers, and telegrams. It used to be that in order to transmit information during wartime, various industries encoded their messages...

Bought by WSLR, KRPS, WYAP, WEZU, and KNVC Carson City Community Radio


  • Added: May 14, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
Funny cat videos and cute online photos inspire equally adorable slang terms we use to talk about them. When a cat leaves its tongue out, that's a ...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, WYAP, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, and WEZU


  • Added: May 07, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
The dilemma continues over how to spell dilemma! Grant and Martha try to suss out the backstory of why some people spell that word with an "n." At ...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, WYAP, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, and WEZU


  • Added: Apr 30, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
An Ohio community is divided over the name of the local high school's mascot. For years, their teams have been called the Redskins. Is that name de...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, WYAP, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WEZU and more


  • Added: Apr 23, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Piece image
This week on "A Way with Words": This week on "A Way with Words": Can language change bad behavior in crowded places? The Irish Railway system has ...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, WYAP, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WEZU and more


  • Added: Apr 16, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Piece image
If you think they refer to umbrellas as bumbershoots in the UK, think again. The word bumbershoot actually originated in the United States! In Brit...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, WYAP, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, and WEZU


  • Added: Apr 09, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
According to Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, it's important to master the basics of writing, but there comes a time when you have to strike out on y...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, WNJR, WYAP, KNVC Carson City Community Radio and more


  • Added: Apr 02, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Piece image
Ever wonder whatever happened to responding to "Thank you" with the words "You're welcome"? A listener asks why so many radio interviews end with t...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, WNJR, WYAP, KNVC Carson City Community Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 27, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Piece image
What's in a mascot name? Maybe you're a fan of the Banana Slugs, or you cheer for the Winged Beavers. Perhaps your loyalty lies with the Fighting A...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WSLR, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WEZU, and WYAP


  • Added: Mar 19, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5