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.

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.

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. 


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, 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

Caption: Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette
175 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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The anatomy of effective prose, and the poetry of anatomy. Ever wonder what it'd be like to audit a class taught by a famous writer? A graduate stu...

Bought by WCMU and WRIR


  • Added: Jan 21, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
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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 KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WYAP, WEZU, WCMU, and WRIR


  • Added: Jan 14, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
Echoes of the Greatest Generation, and a tasty bite of history. The language and melodies of military marching songs can connect grown children wit...

Bought by KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WYAP, WEZU, WCMU, and WRIR


  • Added: Jan 07, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
Clean cursing for modern times, more about communicating after a brain injury, and 1970's TV lingo with roots in the Second World War. A young woma...

Bought by KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WYAP, WEZU, and WCMU


  • Added: Jan 01, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Piece image
Novelist Charles Dickens created many unforgettable characters, but he's also responsible for coining or popularizing lots of words, like "flummox"...

Bought by KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WRIR, WYAP, WEZU, and WCMU


  • Added: Dec 25, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
We have books that should be on every language lover's wish list, plus a couple of recommendations for history buffs. Plus: how did the word boondo...

Bought by KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WYAP, WEZU, WCMU, and WRIR


  • Added: Dec 17, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing...

Bought by KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WEZU, WCMU, and WRIR


  • Added: Dec 10, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Piece image
Perfect sentences and slang that tickles your mind. A new book of writing advice says that a good sentence "imposes a logic on the world's weirdnes...

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


  • Added: Dec 06, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
If you want to be a better writer, try skipping today's bestsellers, and read one from the 1930's instead. Or read something besides fiction in ord...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, KNVC Carson City Community Radio, WEZU, WCMU, and WRIR


  • Added: Nov 26, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Piece image
A caller with a 25-year-old parrot wonders: How much language do birds really understand? Plus, Knock-knock. Who's there? Boo. Well . . .  you can ...

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


  • Added: Nov 19, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6