Now that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NY) has improved the quality of the automated announcements on its subway platforms, The New York Times wants to liven things up. The Times has asked Bernie Wagenblast, also known as the platform voice of the Seventh Avenue and Lexington Avenue lines: Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, to make a few special recordings in his distinctive style.
Wagenblast, who is also known for editing the Transportation Communications Newsletter, had this to say on his Facebook page: “I haven’t taken requests since my days as a college DJ, but this Friday The New York Times will be having me record what you’d like to hear on the NYC subways.” The Times is soliciting suggestions from readers through comments on its story. So far most of the comments have asked for concise and useful information, and a sizable contingent sought silence instead. Some examples:
“Short, clear (get good writers!), to the point, funny sometimes, and repeated only as needed.”
“I would like them to talk a whole lot less. The noise pollution of useless announcements erodes thought, mood, attention, and the ability to think for oneself. Just because we have the ability to make announcements doesn’t mean we should constantly have them. Except for announcing the stop, please save PA use for essential communications by live people.”
“No shtick please. Just speak clearly. And please get rid of all those useless public service reminders (e.g., inappropriate physical contact). There’s enough noise already.”
“Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Giants, Jets, and Nets scores (when applicable)”
“I have always thought the announcement apologizing for delays should say, “Thank you for your patience,” instead of “Please be patient.” It’s more appropriate to be thanked than to be told what to do.”
“Encourage conductors and other announcers to be personal, topical, and funny.”
Announcements will be posted on the City Room blog. Link to full story in The New York Times.
Photo source: MTA NYC Transit Facebook page