Radio bloopers have been around for as long as radio itself. Also known as blunders,
boners, screwups, goofs, flubs, slip-ups and gaffs.... they are an endearing and
humanizing element to a media that we have long felt a close relationship with having
been around as long as microphones and transmitters. DJs, hosts, presenters and
radio personalities have always, and will always, make mistakes. The fun part is
catching them on a recording.
A blooper is defined as an embarrassing public blunder, but as long as it's someone
else's mistake, most of us are quite capable of getting past the embarrassment to
enjoy the humor. The word blooper, which first showed up between 1925 and 1930,
has an interesting origin. In the early days of radio, a receiver that wasn't finely tuned
could generate signals that interfered with other nearby receivers. Based on what
someone in those days thought they sounded like, these high-pitched sounds came
to be called bloops, and the offending receiver was called a blooper.
One of the earliest alleged bloopers is attributed to 1930s radio broadcaster Harry Von
Zell, who allegedly referred to then US President Herbert Hoover as "Hoobert Heever"
during an introduction. To this day, this alleged occurrence remains in dispute as to
The immediacy of live-to-air radio is part of its strength, but also very exposing. If
there's a slip of the tongue, it's broadcast into the ether moments later, especially in
the early days of broadcast radio when almost everything was done live on the air.
There have been some celebrated 'bloopers' over the years - from 'colorful' language,
to laughing fits, technical glitches to amusing mispronunciations.
Here are but a few "bloopers"
- A recent Lawrence Welk show began, “And now you will hear Lawrence Welk and
his shampoo music.”
- Ralph Edwards: “And here is one of radio’s most charming and lovely young
- In a commercial for Ivory Snow. The announcer was supposed to ask the question,
"Ladies, do you have a particular washable such as a housecoat or slip?" Here was
what the announcer said: "Ladies, do you have a particular washable such as a
housecat or slip?"
-Our local weatherman, after a cold rainy day a couple of weeks ago, said "It was a
great day to pee inside!" He meant to say "be inside" but it didn't come out that way.
Either way, he was correct!
- "Don't forget, tonight at nine, our special guest... because it is.. .will be.. I forgot."
- "Today, thousands cheered today as Pope Pius the 12th stood at his bedroom
window in St. Peters Square and exposed himself."
-"Hurry up folks and deposit your letters now. We'll be waiting for your droppings in
- "Reigers furniture store features the finest, most durable furniture available. Shop at
Reigers, where we have been servicing the housewife for twenty-six years."
- Police dispatcher to all cars "suspect has blue hair and blonde eyes".
-"In Beirut today, 158 people were killed to death, some seriously."