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.

There are no carriage fees. You can begin carrying the program right away. Email or call for details: biz@waywordradio.org, 619 567 9673. 

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.

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, ethnicities, 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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220 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. There are no carriage fees.


Pieces

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This week on A Way with Words: Language is always evolving, and that's also true for American Sign Language. A century ago, the sign for "telephone...

Bought by KUAT, RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WYAP, WSLR and more


  • Added: Aug 22, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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This week on "A Way with Words": When there's no evening meal planned at home, what do you call that scramble to cobble together your own dinner? S...

Bought by KUAT, KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, WYAP, WSLR and more


  • Added: Aug 15, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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How long can a newly married woman be called a bride? Does bride apply only as long as her wedding day, or does it extend right on through the coup...

Bought by KUAT, KVSC, RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9, WYAP and more


  • Added: Aug 08, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
Piece image
A librarian opens a book and finds a mysterious invitation scribbled on the back of a business card. Another discovers a child's letter to the Toot...

Bought by KUAT, KTXK, WYAP, RADIOLEX, KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Aug 01, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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Whether it's a Rubik's cube or a round of Wordle, why do so many of us find puzzles irresistible? A new book celebrates the allure and psychologica...

Bought by KUAT, KTXK, WYAP, KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX and more


  • Added: Jul 25, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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You know that Yogi Berra quote about how Nobody ever comes here; it's too crowded? Actually, the first person to use this was actress Suzanne Ridge...

Bought by KUAT, KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX, WYAP, WNIN and more


  • Added: Jul 18, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
Piece image
Throwing cheese and shaky cheese are two very different things. In baseball, hard cheese refers to a powerful fastball, and probably comes from a s...

Bought by KUAT, KTXK, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KTSW 89.9, RADIOLEX and more


  • Added: Jul 11, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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When a teenager went a week without talking as part of a school project, he noticed a surprising side effect: Instead of rehearsing a response to w...

Bought by KUAT, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KTXK, KTSW 89.9, WYAP and more


  • Added: Jul 04, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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Old. Elderly. Senior. Why are we so uncomfortable when we talk about reaching a certain point in life? An 82-year-old seeks a more positive term to...

Bought by KUAT, KTXK, WYAP, WNIN, WSLR and more


  • Added: Jun 27, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Piece image
We tend to take the index of a book for granted, but centuries ago, these helpful lists were viewed with suspicion. Some even worried that indexes ...

Bought by KUAT, RADIOLEX, KTXK, KTSW 89.9, WSLR and more


  • Added: Jun 20, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18