I think I can still blame my vacation for missing the news that St. Paul-based “Speaking of Faith” is changing its name to “Krista Tippett on Being.”
In her announcement, Tippett notes the “Speaking of Faith” title “has taken us as far in public media as it could. As much as we filled it with new meaning, the program’s title remained an obstacle for many programmers and listeners.”
Ironically, though, listeners appear to be stumbling all over the change, if a 200-plus comment thread is any indication.
Many liked the current name as off-hand but on-point, and view “Being” as too vague and pretentious. “[M]y first impression of new name was this: self-promoting talk show host on New Age commercial radio,” snarked one.
Technically, the host’s name is in the current title — it’s officially “Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett” — but of course the moniker last and not first. At one point in the discussion, managing producer Kate Moos — gamely responding to the brickbats — says she’s heard the complaint about Tippett overemphasis “a lot” and “it gives me pause.”
Still, Moos notes that “Being with Krista Tippett” is “an unfortunate double-entendre that hits the ears.”
Tippett is very present in the Peabody Award-winning show (more than most hosts, I’d argue), so putting her name first is not exactly false advertising. SOF execs note a short-term tactical reason: emphasizing her name amid the name change makes it clear the main attraction hasn’t changed.
Execs argue that over time, the show will be known simply as “Being,” reflecting all aspects of “religion, meaning, ethics and ideas.” Presumably, over time, “faith”-hating programmers and listeners will be soothed by a name as shapeless as the human spirit.