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‘Radio Free’ Montone: This Sound, ‘Nat’ Sound

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By John Montone, 1010 WINS

If you’re one of the millions of listeners who wakes up each morning to 1010 WINS, you’re likely familiar with the voice, and tone, of the station’s intrepid reporter John Montone.

Best known for his no holds barred, man on the street reporting, Montone has been getting in the faces — and ears — of New Yorkers for what seems like an eternity.

Montone is ready to add to his repertoire and bring his unique reporting style to print.

So please take a look and listen to John’s new venture: Radio Free Montone — a weekly blog where Montone takes you behind the scenes of news radio in New York City, and gives his observations on reporting in the greatest city in the world.

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – We are surrounded by sound and it often ends up on the radio.

Nat sound is what a radio reporter calls the street noise or the subway train pulling into the station that can be heard in the background as he tells his story. In the winter, it may be a snow plow scraping the pavement or at a ballgame, the crowd cheering. During coastal storms if you listen to 1010 WINS you will hear huge waves crashing upon the shoreline.

Last year as Sandy approached I was standing on the Hoboken bank of the Hudson River with only a metal rail between me and the water. My editor was quite excited to hear the howling wind behind me. The local police were not quite as pleased. They heard one of my reports and came to tell me to move figuring a good gust might deposit me in the drink.

TV has pictures. Radio has sound.

Sometimes the sound is subtle. Reporting from a suburb before sunrise it may be the faint chirping of birds. And there are sounds within the main body of sound. A barking dog may punctuate the chirping or perhaps if you listen closely you will hear the plop of a newspaper being tossed from a car window onto a driveway.

In mid-town, honking horns are mixed in with the steady rumble of cars and the hissing of brakes from city buses — the beep, beep beep of trucks backing up and a siren from a police car, a fire truck or an ambulance. Sometimes I’ll hear a doorman whistling for a taxi or meat sizzling on the grill of a food cart.

Out on the highways there is the steady roar of speeding cars and trucks with an occasional motorcycle …vroom!

One morning many years ago I decided to emphasize sound where there wasn’t any. I was on the Great Lawn in Central Park which was about to reopen after being replanted. There wasn’t anyone around to talk to at that early hour so I got down near the fresh sod and spoke in a very soft voice and said, “If you listen closely you’ll be able to hear the final blades of grass pushing through the dewy soil.” Then I said nothing for several seconds, a silent pause before ending my story with, “John Montone 1010 WINS watching and listening to the grass grow in Central Park.

I was curious as to what the folks on our news desk thought of the story, so I called in and asked an earnest young News Production Assistant, “How was that?”

To which he replied, “I couldn’t hear the grass growing.”

Be well.

John Montone.