​Red Leather, Yellow Leather

Tongue exercises for jocks, does anybody still do them? Back in the day, the tongue twister was part of an announcers’ callisthenics.

It was the warm-up one did before going on air to loosen the muscles used for speech so that the mouth, lips and tongue were agile enough to clearly enunciate each and every syllable.  Just as circus audiences expect jugglers to keep their balls in the air, broadcast professionals are expected not to drop their aitches.

While they may otherwise sound like average Australian in the street, they’re also expected not to slur their words and to clearly define each consonant.

To ensure that the ‘equipment’ is operating at peak efficiency, a variety of tongue twisters were practiced in a quiet corner of the studio when, hopefully, no one was listening or watching.

One favourite was Betty Botter bought some butter but the butter she bought was bitter. So she bought some better butter to make the bitter butter better.
Another, which should never be tried on air without a seven second delay, was…
I am not a pheasant plucker,
I’m a pheasant plucker’s son.
I am only plucking pheasants
Till the pheasant plucker comes.
But according to an article in the SMH, the world’s toughest tongue twister is “pad kid poured curd pulled cold”

Perhaps you have some of your own that you can share and tell us your warm up routine, if any, before you go on air.