Okay, Enough With the Sound Effects Already!

Is it just me or does anyone else find the sound effects used with increasing frequency on TV news and weather to be increasingly annoying?  The first time I remember hearing sound effects used in a newscast was back when I was doing mornings Down On the River.   When it came time for the traffic report, the audio person started using the honking horn of an 18 wheeler as part of the traffic open.  I don’t know if that was by orders of the news director or just something clever to get the attention of viewers at home who were running around the house trying to get ready to depart for work.  It was cute even if the frequency of traffic reports made the sound rather annoying. Unfortunately there are those who feel that if a little is good then a lot must be great.  The Weather Channel is apparently of that mind-set.  I noticed this morning as I tuned in for the “Local on the 8s” forecast that if there is a breezy forecast, then you hear the wind.  If rain is in the forecast, you hear rain drops.  I guess if a hurricane is coming, you hear some howling wind followed by some doofus saying “hell, I ain’t leaving my home.  I’ll ride it out here”.  I will admit I was somewhat confused when during the story on a lack of rain in the drought stricken areas I heard was sounded like a phone set on vibrate and left on a counter-top to buzz with a somewhat muffled sound.  I wasn’t sure what I was hearing and to be honest, I’m not sure if that sound effect was intentional or perhaps what I was hearing was accidental and merely somebody’s way to pass the time.

The problem with the sound effects is that if someone sees it on a national level, you can expect to see if filter down to the local level real soon is it hasn’t already.  Please, somebody just put me out of my misery.

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4 Comments on “Okay, Enough With the Sound Effects Already!”

  1. Doug J. Says:

    “click”
    I just want to say [whoosh!] that I completely agree with what you’re saying (boing…)

    Did you hear something?

  2. Ready Camera One, Take Two Says:

    Not only sound effects, but the whole mini-open for every story issue. Opens for “Breaking News”, “Developing Story”, “Since Six”, “Just In”, “Breaking-Developing-Action-EyeWatch Top Dog Story”…the list is endless. At roughly 5 seconds apiece that’s potentially time for another 30 seconds of actual news. Or, in terms of dealing with the modern attention span, a documentary.

    There is a worst offender list. ESPN had a promo campaign for their Thursday Night Football game at the time that included a sound effect that sounded like a tornado warning siren. Probably created a lot of edgy people across certain parts of the country every time a promo came on.

  3. the tall tv guy Says:

    Local news over-dramatizes “Breaking news”, with graphics and sound effects. Most of the time, it’s not worth the extra attention.

    ABC was rightly criticized for adding a thud sound effect to Marie Osmond’s fainting spell on Dancing With the Stars a couple of weeks ago.

    What’s next…voice overs on interviews or something like that?

  4. Memphis Guy Says:

    Morning television is to blame for sound effects. Its a “consultant” thing. The theory is.. people don’t “watch” morning television newscasts.. they “listen” to them. So.. the sound effects alert them to when traffic, weather or breaking news is on so they can stop what they are doing (getting dressed, making breakfast or changing diapers) and get to the television.


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