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Saying Um on the Radio

Since Um… came out on August 21st, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to say “um” on the radio, to interviewers, and even on television. I am sure that I said “um” to Dante Dominick of The Onion’s A/V Club, Harris Salat of Visual Thesaurus, Robert Lowman of the LA Daily News, and Scott Blackwood at the Austin Chronicle, but they’re too kind to say anything (and they also read the book, so they know better). Sara Reistad-Long of Real Simple, Whitney Fuller of O Magazine, and Hannah Morrill of Allure also heard a few of my “uhs” and “ums.”

I said “um” to Debbie Elliott of NPR’s “Weekend All Things Considered,” to Tavis Smiley of the “Tavis Smiley Show,” and to Bob Garfield of “On the Media.”

Michael Feldman of “Whad’Ya Know” got a few, too.

Live radio provides abundant opportunities for people to say “um,” and I took them all: on KUOW, the NPR affiliate in Seattle; KLTK-FM in Minneapolis; “On Point,” from WBUR in Boston; and the “Marc Steiner Show” on WYPR in Baltimore. All were great fun.

I said “um” to Mike Carruthers of “Something You Should Know.”

I also said “um” on the “Jim Scott Morning Show” in Cincinnatti, 700-WLW AM; on “The Armstrong and Getty Show,” 910 KNEW in San Francisco; on KOLE news radio in north Texas; on “Journey Home,” Diego Mulligan’s show on KSFR in Santa Fe; on “Morning Drive” on AM800 CKLW in Detroit; on “America in the Morning,” Westwood One Radio Networks; on “The Bax and O’Brien Show” on WAQY-FM in Springfield/Hartford; on the “Morning Show with Ken and Kitty” on WODE 99.9 FM in Allentown/Easton, Pennsylvania; to Fred Reiss on his show on KFOX in California; and on the “The Literally Literal” show on WSUM in Wisconsin.

An aside: Fred Reiss called the book “The Tipping Point meets Elements of Style.”

I said “um” on “The Bill Handel Show, KFI-AM 640 in Burbank, and to Michelangelo Signorile on his show on Sirius Radio.

I even said “um” to ABC’s Chris Connelly on i-Caught.

And that’s not all: I said “um” on “The 55KRC Morning Show with Brian Thomas and John Phillips” in Cincinatti; on Voice of America’s “Wordmaster,” with Avi Arditti and Rosanne Skirble; on “Aeilli Unleashed,” with John Aeilli at KUT in Austin; on the “Colin McEnroe” show on WTIC News/Talk 1080 in Hartford; and on the “Busted Halo” show on Sirius Radio.

So if you or your show isn’t on this list, and you want me to come on and say “uh” and “um” — and, more importantly, talk about the only book ever written about the accidents and spontaneities of speaking for a popular audience, let me know.