Ahhhh... perhaps the most underutilized aspect of what local talk radio has to offer -- the opportunity to pay someone a compliment.
Isn't is bizarre how a talk about boroughs, or property taxes, or who to blame for an avlanche, can make the phone ring for 2-3 hours, but almost no one ever calls just to say how excited they are about the most recent pick for citizen of the year, or to share their joy at seeing a good deed being done by an individual or group the previous day?
Isn't it interesting how people will flock on droves to beat up on city council for a decision they are working on, but hardly anyone ever calls up to thank them for their time?
Isn't it a shame that it's so easy to call up the talk show and rip into city crews for being late sanding the roads, but so rare that those same folks don't get our public praise when they are up at the crack of dawn and working as fast as they can to make the streets safer?
Isn't it odd how the town will rally to beat up on the police when a covert operation at the burn pile catches dozens of us blatantly violating the rules, and yet we never hear someone call to thank them for a life they saved, or a crime they prevented, or an education program they did for our kids at the schools?
What's the deal? Do we think people will think we are lame if we make a habit of thanking people? Do we think we are degrading ourselves by celebrating others? It's kind of bizarre when you think about it, isn't it?
Why we humans seem to be so eager to publicly complain, and so reluctant (or otherwise absorbed) to take just a moment or two to publicly praise will always mystify me. But even though you and I may never solve that mystery, we can at least think about how to get better at making compliments as big a priority as complaints.
What we're talking about here is celebrating good deeds, successes, and so on. If you see the girl scouts out cleaning up the city cemetery, call or write Town Meeting and compliment them. If you hear a story about how someone helped rescue a fellow fisherman during an opener, contact the show to tip your hat. If you want to congratulate the latest citizen of the year, or a student who made honor roll, or an athlete that made the game winning shot, or a CHS sports team that won the championship, or anything else you can think of (no matter how big or small).
The best way in the work to break the back of negativity is to inject a regular enthusiastic dose of positivity.
Here's an idea -- a time when a compliment should definitely
be considered is after a situation you've complained about has been resolved.
-- If you called the show and spoke out against a property tax increase, and later learn that council fixed the budget without raising property taxes, then make a mental note to call in again and compliment them.
-- If you complain about potholes, then make a mental note to call in and praise the crews after the finally get fixed.
-- If you complain that some local agency failed to do it's job, make a note to call in once they fix the problem
-- If you complain that the police are not patrolling a particular area, call back and praise them after they make the adjustment you requested.
-- If you insist that a borough is a horrible idea, and the council passes a resolution opposing it, then call in later and praise them for their wisdom and courage.
-- If the schools were to take an action that you disagreed with and you spoke out about it publicly, then be sure to publicly thank them if/when they make the change you wanted.
It's a good rule to keep in mind -- if you are going to complain, then be sure to balance it with a compliment later if you get the resolution you are looking for.
I don't know that there's much more that I can add here, other than to simply point out that most compliments that are good enough for a public meeting are just as good for the radio show. Remember, most of the negativity in the media is the result of audiences not taking any kind of interest in making things better. Cordovans have the the power to dictate the tone of local talk radio. If you feel that there's too much negativity flowing out of the audience on a particular day, the BEST way to combat it is for you to interrupt the flow with a compliment about something positive. Sometimes that can be a hugh slap in the face to a big rolling slimy ball of negativity that is ready to take on a life if its own.
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