-- Edmund Burke
"So much of the history of the struggle between right and wrong can be explained by Edmund Burke's observation. Time and again those who profess to be right seem to clearly outnumber those who are wrong, yet those who are wrong seem to prevail far too often. Seldom is it the numbers that determine the outcome, but whether those who claim to be right are willing to stand up and fight for what they know to be right. There are numerous examples of this sad and awful scenario being played out over and over again."
-- Taken from an essay on Edmund Burke
Welcome to our TOWN MEETING 101 pages. I'd like to start right from the top by congratulating you for taking the time to be here. Your presence obviously indicates at least SOME level of interest in exploring your potential for being a more active and effective part of community communication. Whether you've never participated in the show before, or you have some experience and are interested in broadening your skills, your decision to take a look around this site puts you in a position to be a real help to our community.
It's very possible that much of the material in here will not be anything new to you. In fact, some of it could seem downright patronizing or condescending. Please believe that it is NOT intended to be that way. Every issue I address in here is based on actual experience -- real encounters, misconceptions, positives and negatives. In other words, I'm not making this stuff up. If I point out a problem, it's because I've seen people having that exact problem numerous times. So PLEASE don't be insulted if the tone of this material should strike you as demeaning or offensive. That's the LAST thing I'm trying to do. The ONLY purpose of these pages is to encourage and empower folks just like yourself.
I've been the host of Town Meeting for well over a decade now, and have seen the incredible capabilities of this resource when it's used effectively by Cordovans. Unfortunately, the show is not utilized anywhere close to its potential -- which is a real shame because I know there are lots of good ideas, comments, and solutions out there if we could just get them to light. But as a result (I believe) of numerous misperceptions about participation in talk radio, this airtime goes largely unused.
In an effort to encourage you to take advantage of this forum to exercise your right (and ability) to speak out and be heard, we've created this "Talk Show 101" section of Cordovaradio.com to accomplish several goals:
(1) We want to dispel many of the most common misperceptions and falsehoods with regard to participating in Town Meeting.
(2) We want to cover some theoretical and philosophical ground that can help make you a productive and contributing member of the Town Meeting audience.
(3) We want to highlight all of the ways that Town Meeting can be used for sharing many different kinds of information
(4) We want to particularly address the subject of "how to complain without sounding like a complainer"
(5) We're even going to provide some sample "fill-in-the-blank" scripts that you could print off and use verbatim, or simply use as a model for shaping your own calls or letters
Bottom line -- we want to make this process as easy, stress-free, and comfortable for you as possible in order to encourage you to be an active participant in your live and local talk show; and we're happy to provide as many tips, tricks, tools and strategies as we can think of to help you.
And by the way -- if you have an issue that's not addressed in this tutorial, or you consider any part of it to be in error, please let me know right away so we can improve the information (not only for you, but for anyone else who might have the same issue). Plus, if you'd like to tell us anything about the tutorial that you especially appreciate, please share that too so we can be sure the good stuff stays! Just email me at TM101@cordovaradio.com.
I sincerely hope you find this helpful, and I look forward to hearing from you on the show!
Now, here's how this tutorial works:
If this is your first time here, visit the "COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS" page and see the truth about the most typical concerns people have about participating in a talk show.
The other sections deal with the different ways we encourage people to use the show. If you're a listener, you've probably heard me say "call or email us with your questions, comments, concerns, complaints, compliments, criticisms, commentary... share your ideas, tell us about upcoming events, or follow up on events that already took place and tell us how they went". What we'll do below is take each of these areas and break them down. We'll give you tips, help you to avoid pitfalls, and even provide samples (when possible) that you can feel free to use to enhance your own participation.
(includes topic/guest suggestion)
Concerns, Complaints, Criticisms
Share your ideas
Tell about upcoming events
Follow up on events that already took place and tell us how they went
A few more things to keep in mind:
* Something you can do on or off the air that's really helpful is to recommend guests for the show. If there's an issue that needs to be covered, and you'd like to hear from a particular person on that issue, PLEASE let me know and we'll try to set it up. We won't always know who the best guests are for every issue, and we promise we won't be offended if you make suggestions on topics and/or guests to discuss those topics.
* There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing in lieu of calling. People vary widely in the methods that best help them to express themselves. Some are very verbal, others are much better in writing. I would never want anyone's participation to be limited or undermined by an inability or lack of desire to communicate verbally. So don't feel like a letter is a cop out, a cheat, or a cowardly act. The point is to get the ideas flowing -- not to glorify one form of communication over another. The email address assigned specifically to the show is email@example.com.
* Some media require people to attach their names to their comments.
This is mandatory at city council meetings, and as of this writing, it
is also the policy of our local newspaper. I completely respect and
agree with their reasons for such policies, and the fact that our policy
on Town Meeting is different should not in any way be taken to mean that
we look down on such requirements. However, a radio talk show is
different than council testimony or a printed opinion. Even at the
national level, identity is not truly required. If you've ever listened
to Coast to Coast AM, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, or any big programs like
those, you've heard people give a first name, and sometimes a city or state
of residence (e.g. "This is Bill from Chicago"). But in a show with
millions of listeners, that's still virtual anonymity. On Town Meeting,
we have chosen to embrace that same general philosophy by NOT requiring
people to identify themselves at all if they choose not to. Unlike
our national counterparts, a requirement to mention even a first name in
conjunction with a particular issue would be enough to completely expose
the participant -- and on Town Meeting. we don't believe that imposing
that pressure on citizens is always in the best interest of dialogue on
the issue. If you are interested in the philosophy behind that decision,
feel free to have a look at our "Principle,
Policy, and Procedure" document from the KLAM page.
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