The First Amendment Teach-In is an electronic newsletter published by Chris Roth ( ). Subscription information is included below. In addition to Action Kits like the one below, the newsletter features dossiers and FAQ's on free speech, artist's rights, and separation of church and state. Posted with Chris Roth's permission, the following Action Kit includes some excellent tips on how activists can use talk radio and public affairs television to get their message out to the public. Chris encourages activists to create similar telephone lists of call-in radio and television shows within their own community.
This directory was updated on 31 May 1997
WRJN-AM 1400 khz Racine (414) 634-WRJN WLIP-AM 1050 khz Kenosha (414) 694-1050 WTMJ-AM 620 khz Milwaukee (414) 799-1234 1-800-877-1620 (414) 967-5562 (FAX) WISN-AM 1130 khz Milwaukee (414) 799-1130 1-800-838-WISN WNOV-AM 860 khz Milwaukee (414) 799-1668 WHAD-FM 90.7 mhz Delafield
when WPR programming originates from Madison studios, if you are calling from Madison or Milwaukee, touch: (414) 263-1890
when WPR programming originates from Milwaukee studios, if you are calling from Milwaukee touch: (414) 227-2050
outside of Milwaukee and Madison touch: 1-800-486-8655
WGEE-AM 1360 khz Green Bay (414) 455-1360
WTMJ-TV VHF channel 4 Milwaukee (414) 799-TMJ4 WITI-TV VHF channel 6 Milwaukee (414) 799-1500 WISN-TV VHF channel 12 Milwaukee (414) 799-1212 WVCY-TV UHF channel 30 Milwaukee (414) 935-3030 1-800-733-8830 WDJT-TV UHF channel 58 Milwaukee (414) 799-2085
Tom Snyder's CBS talk program 1-800-952-2788 National Empowerment Television 1-800-5000-NET National Public Radio 1-800-989-TALK (8255) MSNBC 1-888-MSNBC-USA (be prepared to record a concise message)
MATA channel 14 on Warner Cable in Milwaukee (414) 799-LIVE (5483) MATA channel 47 on Warner Cable in Milwaukee (414) 225-3565
Please send additions or corrections to:
(c) 1997 by Chris Roth. All rights reserved.
If you have Call Waiting, then cancel that function. Touch *70 before entering the number for the station. (Many auto-dialers allow you to program those three digits into individual entries. Each time you call a particular number, such as a specific station, Call Waiting will automatically be suspended.)
Do not use a cordless or cellular phone. All untethered phones-- including digital models--have lower fidelity as compared to hard- wired units.
Buy a telephone with a capacious auto-dialer feature. Then program most of the call-in numbers. Clearly label each number with a typed, gummed label.
Turn off all noisy appliances, including your air conditioner, computer, TV and radio receiver, fan, etc. Sometimes a kitchen refrigerator can make a lot of noise. You way want to go into a room where there are no other people and no pets. Shut the door.
Print out the list of call-in numbers (see above). You may want to laminate it. Mount it on a wall near your telephone. Insert it in your telephone book or personal directory. Photocopy it.
Incorporate a recent event, trend, famous person, or catch phrase into your comments--even if that topic or phrase isn't First Amendment-related.
If an attack on the First Amendment erupts in your city or state, then get on the air immediately.
The broadcast audience is constantly tuning in and out. Therefore, you should make your presentation free-standing insofar as the listener's ability to understand it. For example, you should not begin your call with anything that sounds like this: "I just want to say that I disagree with the previous caller. He is entirely wrong. There haven't been any people on your show today who are correct on this except maybe for you. I must say that I definitely disagree with the previous caller. (That's approximately what one WTMJ-AM listener actually said after one of my calls was over. He threw away too much air time with his substance-free content.)
Refrain from using these nonwords: uh, ah, er
Use one or two of these words to describe procensorship agitators and the effects of their proposals:
snooping, censorship, government censorship, prude, prudish, repression, extreme, extremist, intrusive, nosy, intolerant, uneducated, unhealthy, repressed, suppressed, busybodies, superstitious, needless guilt, jail, arrests, prison, belief, backward, medieval, primitive, unsophisticated, opinion
Use one or two of these words when sharing information about the First Amendment:
freedom, free, guarantees, liberties, Bill of Rights, First Amendment, Founding Fathers, choice, choose, decide, research findings, separation of church and state, free society, sex-is- healthy-and-fun, safe sex, erotica, fact, facts, objective
Do not interrupt the host nor the guest.
Do not try to introduce too many topics. Just one is fine. You don't want to sound pushy. You don't want to sound like a nut. (Talking about more than one topic is the sonic equivalent of adhering more than one bumper stick to the back of your automobile.) If you make one point, fine. In most cases, that is your goal.
Don't waste time "beating around the bush." People who are not professional communicators might say "Am I on the air? Oh." Also, do not throw away precious seconds thanking everyone at the station for the opportunity to speak. Instead, get to the substance.
At the same time, you should know that TV viewers and radio listeners need a few seconds to get used to your voice. In the opening seconds of your speech, listeners will be thinking about your voice, not the substance of what you're saying. The bottom line is simple: Don't present the most vital information during the opening seconds. Nobody will be able to comprehend it. (This phenomenon is true for radio and TV. It is not valid for print media nor Internet content.)
Never say these words: I, me, my, in my opinion, I feel, it's my opinion that, I guess
This is an age of everything-is-personal-and-intrapersonal psychobabble. Sometimes a radio host will try to frame your contribution as if it's your personal opinion. If you fall into that trap, then your credibility will shrink.
If you live outside of Wisconsin, then consider creating your own list. Distribute that list only to people who oppose attacks on cherished First Amendment liberties (artists' rights, separation of church and state, reproductive autonomy, the right to die, official prayer in public school, evolution, etc.). You can distribute your list via electronic mail, US Mail, or during presentations to pro-First Amendment community groups.
The list of live call-in numbers presented above is largely confined to SE Wisconsin. Numbers for some stations in the Madison, Janesville, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Wausau, and Fox Cities (Appleton, Green Bay, etc.) population centers are missing. If you live in or near one of those cities, then you may want to find out what the local numbers are and send them to to me at . (Here's how to obtain those numbers. Open up your telephone directory. Call TV and radio stations in your area and ask for the telephone numbers used during live call-in segments. Or you could just listen or view during live call-in programming and record the number on a sheet of paper.) I will add your submissions to future versions of this Action Kit.
Many Wisconsin-based TV stations now air viewer feedback. An onscreen number is used to gather brief voice mail comments. Those brief comments are bundled together and aired. If you record a message, know that you do not need to explain what the topic is. Viewers will already know what the issue is because an anchorperson will announce that before your recording is broadcast.
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(c) 1997 by Chris Roth. All rights reserved.
Chris Roth, an expert on the First Amendment rights of artists, is also a writer, close-up magician, and magazine cartoonist. He is currently writing two nonfiction books. Roth has taught at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM) and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD). He is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and People for the Amer- ican Way (PFAW). Roth's articles have appeared in the Journal of Com- munication, Privacy Journal, Writer's Digest, The Artist's Magazine, The Humanist, and Shepherd Express. His e-mail address is: