This is what America is all about!  I love living in a country where people have safe public forums to exchange ideas.

Sharing comments is a great way to float a perspective, stimulate thought, and get people talking about issues.  And one of my favorite aspects of offering comment time on Town Meeting is that ANYONE and EVERYONE can have a voice.  You don't have to be an elected official, business owner, or big mucky-muck anything -- anyone who can pick up a phone or write a letter can participate.

It's been my experience that a lot of inexperienced listeners are hesitant to comment because they feel like they really have to be jacked up about an issue to warrant a call or letter.  But this is absolutely NOT so!  Something doesn't have to be a major crisis or huge city-wide issue to warrant a quick, easy comment on the show.  It can be as easy as something you saw happen on the street that concerned you, an interaction at a local meeting that caught your attention, even a good message you heard in Church last Sunday.

Note that we're not talking about gossiping here.  The airwaves are not a place to take cheap shots at someone or be maliciously degrading.  But sometimes an issue warrants a response that could conceivably fall under the heading of "complaint" or "criticism", and that's FINE!   There are good and bad ways to handle such comments (discussed in a separate section of this tutorial), but the bottom line is that there will be times when concerns NEED to be aired.  However, if no one steps up to the plate, then nothing can be done.

And of course, we need to be sure to remember that POSITIVE comments are just as important (and worthy of attention) as negative.

Let's look at some examples:

"Hi -- I was driving in to work today and saw that a lot of people are driving with no lights.  So I thought I'd remind everyone that with winter on the way, we need to start remembering to use our headlights again.  That's all -- thanks!"

"Hello -- I was listening to the council meeting last night and was concerned about the discussions over raising the property taxes again.  It seems like every time the city needs more funding, they are always coming to the property owners.  I just wish they'd come up with some way to spread the burden a little more so everyone pays a fair share"
    (Note that in this kind of call, it's really great if you can also propose a solution of some kind)

"Hi J.R. -- I just wanted to congratulate Stage of the Tide on "Steel Magnolias".  I had such a great time, and I'm so proud that we have such talented people here.  That's all I really wanted to say."

"Hey J.R. -- I've been listening to a lot of complaining on today's show and I'd like to change the subject.  I think it's important that we remember the GOOD things that are happening in our town and not get so stuck on the bad stuff.  So I'd like to remind everyone that the Future Problem Solvers are having a fundraising dinner Friday at 7 in the CHS cafeteria to raise money for internationals.  And if anyone else out there has some good news to share, I hope they'll take a moment and do it."

Comments can vary so widely that it's early impossible to provide any kind of fill in the blank helper form.  If you'd like a skeleton form, look through some of the other sections for more specific ideas.

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