I've always appreciated the huge role that sound effects (and background music) play in enhancing TV, movie and gaming experiences. Unfortunately, if used improperly, they can also detract from the main content, as I'm reminded each weekday morning when I tune in to "America's Business Channel," which appears to be suffering from a case of sound effects run amok.
I swear this network must have taken a page from the the classic Monty Python "Ministry of Silly Walks" sketch and created a "Department of Silly Sounds." They're everywhere, and used in a non-too-subtle fashion.
In some cases it's just semi-innocuous stuff like segments introduced with snippets from hit songs of the 70s or 80s, or the playing of an occasional silly effect for laughs during some light banter by the show's co-hosts. But they don't stop there.
Instead, in what I guess is an attempt to appeal to a younger audience - including, apparently, the Teletubbies demographic - virtually all of their animated graphics of market charts and screens are accompanied by over-the-top sound (and video) effects. These are at times so loud and distracting that they actually interfere with being able to understand the person who is talking:
Reporter: "The company will be making an important ..." - SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH - "... so investors and traders will be closely watching the stock price at that time to see how it reacts."
And recently, during some market discussion segments, I noticed what seemed to be a submarine sonar pinging sound in the background. My reaction when I first heard this was, what's that? Is it really there or am I just hearing things? (I keep my TV volume at low levels in the morning, so I considered the possibility that I had mis-heard something.)
And what did it mean? What did it have to do with a bunch of traders and analysts discussing the action in the credit markets? I don't get it.
Why would anyone feel the need to add sound effects to a segment where the focus and importance is presumably on the opinions and experiences of the speakers? Do they really feel that their content (or their audience) is so dull that they need to "spice" everything up to maintain the audience's attention?
Speaking of which, by the time I turned my attention back to the discussion, it was over. Thanks guys.
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