Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.

Forty years ago AM radios were tuned to WLS in Chicago to hear Bob Sirott’s suave delivery, witticisms, and the hit records he played.

“Bob Sirott’s First Radio Broadcast” is on YouTube. “In ten years,” Sirott said over the pre-sing introduction of ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine,’ “when someone says ‘Hey, I’ve got a trivia question for you. What were the first words Bob Sirott ever said on WLS?’ Just tell them this is one small record for man, but one giant leap for Bob Sirott. No good? How about greetings? That word works pretty well for the draft board.”

Sirott was on FM before joining WLS in 1973. Approximately a half-hour into his first show, he played Focus’ “Hocus Pocus” and quipped, “Hocus Pocus! I am on AM.” I remember that in the mid-1980s Sirott was one of the journalists on CBS-TV’s “West 57th ,” which was the network’s second weekly magazine, “60 Minutes” being the other.

I recently became friends with Sirott and he invited me to listen to his show from noon to 3 on WGN in Chicago. He talks about a mélange of topics, from Chicago’s finest restaurants to traffic cameras. I invite you to listen online. Mr. Sirott, sir, you sound better than ever!

1. augment (awg-MINT)

A. to make greater or stronger

B. to monitor

C. to censure

D. to coerce

Bob Sirott augmented WLS’s superb staff of announcers. A is the answer.

2. yodel (YO-dul)

A. a young model

B. to sing with frequent changes from a natural voice range to falsetto and back again

C. hoodlum

D. plank used for stirring

In Hocus Pocus the lead vocalist yodels. Sirott commented, “I thought the yodeling in that song would start a trend where we would see a lot of rock artists yodeling. I thought the word for it would be rodeling, yodeling in rock, or yock.”

3. bon appetite (baw-na-pey-TEA) is French for

A. I love to yodel!

B. Enjoy your meal!

C. I’m hungry.

D. Have fun!

Bon appetite, last week’s mystery word, is B.

4. Who recorded “I Heard It Through the Grapevine?

A. Marvin Gaye

B. Gladys Knight & the Pips

C. Creedence Clearwater Revival

D. All of the Above

This week’s mystery word’s first syllable has the sound of the first syllable in Sirott. It might describe some of Bob Sirott’s radio shows. Oh, D is the answer to No. 4. Gaye’s version is the one Sirott played on his first show.

Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D., of Eupora is a speech and theater professor at East Mississippi Community College, Golden Triangle. Contact him at dvaughan@eastms.edu.