The title is a usage example from Merriam-Webster Learners Dictionary…
broadcast [noun, noncount]
the act of sending out radio or television signals : the act of broadcasting something
My first thought when I was asked about this in an ELL comment was that I personally would have used the gerund -ing form there (on checking Google Books I find about 201 results for the M-W version, and about 317 for the gerund, so at least I’m in the not-exactly-overwhelming majority).
I’m not saying I think M-W’s usage is “incorrect” – but as implied, I feel it’s at least slightly “marked”. Offhand the only similar case I can think of is traffic, where the uninflected version occurs 540 times, but the gerund version gets only 115 hits for a similar context.
I wasn’t surprised by the fact that the ratios reverse for traffic (again, my preference matches the majority, but I don’t find the alternative completely unacceptable). But I’ve no idea why this might be so (unless maybe we tend to avoid traficking because of that awkward-looking extra k).
I don’t know if it’s relevant, but I think I lean more towards including a definite article with the uninflected noun in the title example and, say, We will legislate against the traffic in illegal drugs.
Can anyone explain why some “uninflected verb used as noun” usages like this occur? Are there are any more examples, and if so, do they have anything in common?
Some alternative examples I can think of:
The doctor authorised (the) discharge of the patient.
ordered (the) lockdown of its embassy.
All of the words in bold seem like they may have started life in this form as jargon specific to the sector they pertain to (they are all technical terms) but have made their way into common usage.
I would say that “broadcast” and “traffic” (of drugs) fall into the same category.