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About civildiscoursenow

“Civil Discourse Now,” Indiana’s longest-running progressive podcast, now streams live from its own platform, Live365, 11 am to 1 pm, each Saturday. We also are on FaceBook and Twitter. Origins of “Civil Discourse Now”: epiphany over beers. In 2010, shows with political content either were one-sided (“rah-rah us!”) or shout-fests with little civility. Americans have been conditioned to be thankful if “both” sides are represented. Important issues are complex and involve many perspectives. Over a few beers came the realization we could stream an internet show without an FCC license. With the push of a button the domain name “Civil Discourse Now” was purchased. From video to audio and beyond. CDN first aired in January, 2011, as a weekly debate on a specific topic. We used a Sony video camera (with mediocre sound) to tape, then download, minimize, and finally upload to the internet. Preparation for a different topic each week was a grind. Also, guests were difficult to recruit. The format went to panel. A focus on audio meant the quality of the sound improved. The goals of “Civil Discourse Now” are of equal importance. 1) Inform and educate the listener—and ourselves. The American public is uninformed or misinformed about most topics. Many people know and (sadly) care more about the latest pop idol than about the Constitution of the United States and prefer to spout the latest meme than study a subject. One can complain about Mexicans far more easily than one can study the problems of economic inequality, the course of U.S. invasions of our neighbor to the south, and the history of immigration. 2) Entertain the listener—and ourselves. Even the Book Channel is a bit dreary after 15 minutes. The means by which people most efficiently acquire information vary, but even highly educated people more easily assimilate information presented in an entertaining format. The flip side is Paddy Chayevsky was prescient in his movie Network. The entertainment division long ago took over the news division. 3) Provide non-monochromatic exchanges of views on various topics. If such labels bear efficacy, I probably am more left-wing than most people. Our guests’ beliefs have covered a broad spectrum. The most common post-Show comment we have received is, “That was fun!” The exchanges have been just that. 4) Create a venue for civil exchanges. The original reason to create what became this podcast was to provide diversity of opinion in a civil environment. 5) Give publicity to local businesses and festivals. We try to shoot “live” at different locations. Local TV and radio used to do that a lot. There only are a few, functional rules on “Civil Discourse Now”: 1) Two people cannot talk at the same time. Cacophony does not lend itself to communication and leads to rudeness. We ask guests please to listen as well as speak. 2) Do not wear stripes. The Show started as, and in the next few months will return to, a video podcast. Stripes screw up the contrast on the cameras somehow. 3) Do not use an iPhone or other PDA during The Show—unless to look up something for the discussion at hand. Cell phones and similar gadgets impede communications. Please do not screen through your latest text messages or e-mails; wait until we go off the air. Format of “Civil Discourse Now” CDN lasts two hours. We punctuate 18-minute segments with commercials or other “bumpers.” Guests come onto The Show via Skype. Listeners can call us on Skype. We also record interviews. The first segment introduces The Show and our guest panelists. The last segment consists of “Bullet Points in the News.”