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A Slip of the Tongue

KPBS Radio's Kathryn Nelson in broadcast studios, 2010.
KPBS file photo
KPBS Radio's Kathryn Nelson in broadcast studios, 2010.

One of my greatest memories while working at KPBS takes me back a few years to a fundraising campaign. I was on the air that day with KPBS Environmental Reporter, Ed Joyce and things were going smoothly. We had all the essentials: scripts, snacks, and freshly brewed coffee -- everything to keep our spirits and energy high.

In typical campaign form, we were touting one of the many thank you gifts available with a membership contribution. You know…the various t-shirts, mugs, and hats that are available for a contribution. About three-quarters of the way through our air shift, I found myself enthusiastically describing a particular thank you gift: the KPBS USB Flash Drive. The nifty device boasted a data storage capacity equal to hundreds of discs.

I had delivered the same script many times in prior shifts: “The new KPBS Flash Drive will hold your photos, documents, or music ... and you’ll have storage on this drive equal to hundreds of floppy discs”. Maybe it was the coffee or the fatigue that sets in mid-way through the day. But whatever the reason, I didn’t say “discs”. Oh yeah, something else entirely came out of my mouth. The simple slip of the tongue left you with no doubt that it was live radio.


I tried to retain my professionalism and composure, continuing with my appeal as scripted, but Ed Joyce had already begun snickering. We struggled through, trying to keep from falling apart completely. Finally, the break ended and both of us were able to laugh at the faux pas.

To this day, I take great care in pronouncing the “s” before the hard “c” in discs.