Hi. Oh dear, what am I thinking of, greeting you as if I’m appearing on the Today programme?

It’s a daily gripe. I sit in my pyjamas slurping the first coffee of the day and snarling at the wireless as our precious language is mangled and bruised by presenters and reporters, people who should be the custodians of good grammar, articulating the words and phrases in a clear and pleasing manner.

“Mornin’. How ya doin'?” Good grief. Is this really Radio Four? I don’t want to sound so grumpy, not on my first day back in these hallowed pages, but having been both a listener and a broadcaster for donkey’s years I’m bound to feel a duty of care towards the spoken word.

READ MORE: Plans SCRAPPED for live music venue at city church

I suppose it started with passing the 11-plus exam and going to Leamington College, a good old grammar school. Now gone alas, and sold off to become a rather posh retirement home. My name must have been kept on the books because for a long time after its closure and conversion I was receiving glossy brochures inviting me to become a resident, a prospect that didn’t please; I don’t think I could bear to shuffle slowly about a place where once I was a shiny-faced youth full of promise and ambition, hopeless at maths but not bad at English.

Norwich Evening News: Paul Barnes thinks broadcast standards have slipped in recent yearsPaul Barnes thinks broadcast standards have slipped in recent years (Image: PA Wire)

Lefty Wright, the English teacher encouraged us to read, write and speak our lovely lingo and it’s stayed with me ever since. He also taught us to cut the waffle and get to the point. I hear him now, glasses glinting, the chalk flying across the blackboard. Okay, Lefty, but I must apologise for the ever more crummy handwriting, wrecked by years of keyboard dependency, the legacy of computers that weren’t dreamed of in your day. (Believe it or not, we weren’t even allowed to use ballpoint pens in those days; every desk had an inkwell, topped up daily by the ink monitor.)

READ MORE: Can you spot yourself in our BUMPER gallery from the Norwich Christmas lights?

Get to the point. Okay. I was brought up listening to wireless (these were pre-TV days). We had the Home Service, the Light Programme and the Third Programme. Not many regional accents were heard then, and what there were had to be sand-papered and moulded to suit the medium; no slang, and certainly no smut. The ladies and gentlemen who presented children’s programmes never talked to us as equals but they didn’t talk down to us either. They respected their audience, and they respected the medium.

Norwich Evening News: Radio reporters stumbling over their words has frustrated Paul BarnesRadio reporters stumbling over their words has frustrated Paul Barnes (Image: PA Wire)

And the point is …? Well, how about that respect for the medium? The Today programme is on the slab so we might consider it a little longer. There’s a lot of fast talking, with presenters and reporters tumbling over vowels and consonants so that portions of words fall by the wayside: hospital becomes hospul; political can be brought to its knees as policul. There’s a female sports presenter who sounds as if she’s in a race to deliver the most words per minute.

READ MORE: Gas firm urged to take action over 'senseless' hedgehog deaths

Why have sports anyway? Day after day, whether they kick, catch, hit, run, jump, they all say more or less the same thing (know what I mean, Gary?)

Why do reporters shout so much? Since the dawn of broadcasting they’ve had at their disposal a miraculous piece of kit called a microphone, but all too often you’d never know it. Oh, and while we’re at it, why do reporters always have to walk, and why do they have to find something to lean against?

And now for the weather. “Hi, Louise …” Grrrrrrrrr.

Norwich Evening News: Evening News columnist Paul BarnesEvening News columnist Paul Barnes (Image: Submitted)