The first 2009 forum: Maybe it’s time to change the format? | Street Jazz

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The first 2009 forum: Maybe it’s time to change the format?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Come next week, Fayetteville’s Telecomm Board will have a aubcommittee meeting to discuss having a special forum to deal with some matters that have long plagued it. Though the kibosh was put on roundtables and forums in general last year, in the Great Public Forum War, certain types - such as the one authorized by the Telecomm Board - still make the grade.

Though I voted in favor of keeping the public forums on the Government Channel, I am more than a little disappointed that the people who were so hot on the forums that were abruptly canceled last year never tried to have them done on C.A.T. Quite frankly, it’s insulting to the many producers who have been trained at C.A.T., and have taken part in many live studio productions, to say that the quality control on a round-table or forum done in the C.A.T. studio would not be up to the standards on the Government Channel.

And I’m not just talking about a contract production, where one would pay the C.A.T. staff to produce it, either.

I’m talking about contacting independent C.A.T. producers and asking for their help. There is a lot of genuine  talent out there, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is an idiot.

But I digress - then again it is my blog, and I’ll digress if I want to.

I’ve been having thoughts about the “official” format of the Government Channel forums. Sometimes, the Old Ways are not always the Best Ways, after all.

While I believe that public involvement is vital to the democratic process, I believe that too much of a fetish has been made of the dreaded speaker-phone and the laptop that have been ever present at whatever forums or roundtables the FGC put on over the past few years.

What? Get rid of the laptop? Get rid of the speaker phone? Are you mad, sir? Are you trying to block public involvement?

No, Silly Person, I’m trying to preserve the lost art of conversation.

While I like forums and round-tables, I absolutely despise the “stop-and-start” type of conversational flow that occurs when the demonic devices mentioned above are present, especially when the conversation is on a roll, and the question deals with something that may have been dealt with a few minutes before, or is completely off-base.

I think the best sort of forums took place when there was plenty of conflicting opinion, and viewers at home could see passion and enthusiasm, rather than dry conversation. Probably the best forum I ever took part in was the FGC forum about controversial programming on C.A.T.

No calls or emails came in, but we had plenty of good, old-fashioned conversation.

Part of this comes from the fact that I think my own show got better after we got rid of the calls, and just concentrated on conversation. Part of it comes from years of watching - and taking part in - other televised discussions over the years.

But a lot of it comes from talking to viewers, who tell me they get bored, or downright annoyed by the calls that interrupt a fascinating conversational flow.

And I think that’s one thing that people easily forget, that it’s television, and that you have to keep the interest of the folks at home.

Keep it interesting, and when you can, create an atmosphere for great conversation. That, more than anything else,  will increase public support for more forums.

And oh yeah, try doing one on C.A.T. 


Quote of the Day

When I look back at the three or four choices in my life which may have been decisive, I find that, at the time I made them, I had very little sense of the seriousness of what I was doing and only later did I discover what had seemed an unimportant brook was, in fact, a Rubicon. - W.H. Auden


Another blog you should check out

Last week Steve Smith emailed me and told me about this blog - - that is concerned with things union related.. You gotta add this to the list of blogs to check out on a regular basis.

Also: For those who missed it, some new guy coming into the White House and all, the show we did on the  Employee Free Choice Act is being repeated next week: Same Same Cat-Time, Same Cat-Channel!

Any way, here is an excerpt from the blog:

They're calling it a miracle--the successful landing of a US Airways jet in the Hudson and subsequent rescue of all 155 passengers. They're detailing the heroism of all involved, starting with the pilot and including cabin crew, ferry crews, and first responders. What they're not telling you is that just about every single one of these heroes is a union member.   

There's the pilot:

What might have been a catastrophe in New York —— one that evoked the feel if not the scale of the Sept. 11 attack —— was averted by a pilot’’s quick thinking and deft maneuvers,
On board, the pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, unable to get back to La Guardia, had made a command decision to avoid densely populated areas and try for the Hudson,
When all were out, the pilot walked up and down the aisle twice to make sure the plane was empty, officials said.

Sullenberger is a former national committee member and the former safety chairman for the Airline Pilots Association and now represented by US Airline Pilots Association. He--and his union--have fought to ensure pilots get the kind of safety training to pull off what he did yesterday.

To read more, click on the blog. There’s lots of other fascinating things there, as well. Have you hugged a union member today?

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